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StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Three SEO Considerations When Choosing Your Next Hosting Company

Let’s start with a couple of statements about hosting. True: hosting companies do not generally affect your organic ranking. False: hosting companies have no bearing on your SEO.

Many business owners aren’t aware that cost and convenience aren’t the only consideration to make when opting for a new hosting company. While these two points are valid and extremely important to growing organisations, what can’t be underestimated is the impact on website SEO that the correct – or incorrect – provider can bring to your site.

Whether your company is trampling the competition, or you’re looking for ways to save money while maintaining a great service, there are many reasons why you may wish to switch your hosting company.

For some businesses, loyalty means ease and convenience – and that works for them, but it’s not always the best option. For one thing, you could end up improving your services dramatically – and at no extra cost. Some brands may even find their hosting costs reduce when they switch, because plenty of operators are looking for new business and offer attractive incentives to the right customers.

So what should you look out for in a service provider? And what could the pitfalls be? Read on to find out the three major considerations you should make before making the commitment to change your hosting company this year.

Speed

Site speed is a huge ranking factor – and it may well be the case that you are considering a hosting move in order to create a more rapid site with better performance. Ranking improvements are definitely seen when a website greatly increases its speed and useability – and that’s simply due to the fact that Google loves to see websites that are slick and ready for customers to use as soon as they click.

Of course, there are ways you can control some of the factors that slow websites down, such as the content, coding and application of imagery and widgets, but a lot of the blame can often be portioned off to your host. So, you can rest easy that you’ve done nothing at all wrong.

The speed of your website can fluctuate normally, so the best and most accurate way to measure your current site speed is to take a look at it, as often as you can, to observe any changes or stalling points that concern you.

Once you’ve double-checked your site’s speed and you still feel it could benefit from being faster, start shopping around to see if your host (or a competitor) can offer you a better service.

The best results for a speedy website will come from migrating a website to a server that’s closer to you and your customer base. This doesn’t necessarily mean in the same town, but swapping a stateside server for one in the UK (if you’re based in England) could make a huge difference. Other host-related factors you can look into are the availability of a Content Delivery Network (CDN), or simply the type of hard drive technology used. It may also be worth asking if the server you’re being linked to is optimised to your content management system – such as WordPress or DNN.

Security

The safety of your site is a huge consideration, and should be taken seriously from initial build to the development of further mini-sites, as and when your business grows. SEO can take a huge hit if your website ranks low on the secure rating, and can end up being hugely damaging if left to deteriorate.

If your website isn’t deterring hackers, they can easily create spam pages and generate fake backlinks that can swoop underneath the radar for months. Google hates this sort of activity as it can be damaging to users’ experience, and so guess what? It penalises without mercy. Poor security can be fixed manually, but often this takes time and the harsh penalties may already have taken effect.

If your website is not hosted on a truly secure server, your site may also be open to malware attacks, infecting your website and putting your visitors at risk. Not only is this a huge inconvenience to your visitors, it also opens you up to having a security warning shown by your results – a huge turn-off for potential customers – or even being blacklisted by search engines completely. And no one wants this for their website; trust us!

To avoid any of these potential headaches and heartbreaks, make sure you talk through the security options available with your web host and request information and costs for any malware removal support, and other hacker defenses they offer to protect your website from attacks. Entrepreneur.com also suggests requesting information about data encryption, to ensure your information is being held and shared securely.

Technical Support

There will come a time that you will need the professional support of a web hosting specialist. Don’t get stung with a huge bill when you really need the help; make sure you’re prepared from the start with a package that includes support right from the off.

Web hosting comes with a variety of potential pitfalls and even if this isn’t your first time at the start of a big project like moving servers, there are many ways in which small things can be overlooked. And small issues will no doubt lead to bigger issues further down the line. The best advice – as with most things – is to seek out a professional’s opinion wherever you can. Or even better, seek more than one opinion to make sure the advice you’re getting is sound and relevant to your particular needs.

Should your website go down – heaven forbid – you need to know that the support is there to get you back up and running quickly and with minimum upheaval or stress. Make sure your web hosting company offers 24/7 technical support to get those issues fixed quickly and have your website back on track in as little time as possible.

To give yourself even more peace of mind, delve into the experience and qualifications of the staff you’ll be working with whenever you contact your web host. Will you have a specific team assigned to your website? Do you know their names and their credentials? All of these things will help you to gain a better relationship with the people who can fix any of your issues quickly and will give you a better idea of the expertise you are paying for, too.

Sometimes you get what you pay for. Often with web hosting, you’ll be better off paying more for a better service if it means keeping your SEO ranking high, your customers safe and your website up and running efficiently and quickly.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Driving Traffic To Your Ecommerce Site

When you have a physical store gaining footfall is a huge influence on your advertising and how you design your store. And all of that is still valid with an ecommerce site. The only differences lie in the fact that you aren’t aiming to grab the attention of someone walking by, but to target your audience when they are browsing the internet – whether or not they are searching for you. An ecommerce site has so many advantages, as does a physical store, but it gives you the ability to reach so many more people than a fixed location does. You just have to know how to go about getting that attention in the right way. The saying ‘any press is good press’ is 100% wrong; you need to strive to have a good reputation while using the right tools and software to attract and retain your customers.

Design

The first thing to consider is the base of your operations; your website. An ecommerce site doesn’t need to be overly complicated. In fact, you can easily start one with a DIY web building platform. But making sure that it can be easily navigated by anyone is key. Keep things simple and uncluttered, with drop menus and different categories clearly found and all key contact information on both a contact page and at the bottom of each page. And make sure that you stay true to your style – if you are selling custom skateboards you need to stick to the cultural designs surrounding that to attract your main audience base.

Research

Do the research before and after you have launched your ecommerce site. You need to know who is searching for what you’re selling, what demographics are visiting your page and who is sticking around long enough to buy something. Look at Google Analytics to get you started, and look into applying applications and advice from Veon Consulting to increase your ecommerce statistics. The right software and tools are key here, and never think that doing the job once means completing the task.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation are key words and phrases that increase your standing on a search engine results page. Use them well by wisely – Google do block pages that appear to dump a lot of phrases together in the hope of being first on that list. Keep it relevant- use Google AdWords to figure out the right phrases for you and check in regularly. As trends change as will the most commonly searched phrases. Integrating SEO phrases comes naturally to a content writer, so maybe you should look into hiring one for your web content, or you can give it a go yourself.

Deals

Just like a giant SALE banner in a window catches the eye, does a good deal encourage clicking. Use social media to advertise any deals or promotions you have going on. You can use cookies to target the right audience, but it can also help to interest people who otherwise wouldn’t think about visiting your ecommerce store.

Can You Manage Your Website’s SEO Strategy?

Businesses need websites to promote themselves to prospective clients, and creating an effective site is a science, and indeed an industry, all its own. Whether you choose to build your own site or employ a specialist to do it for you, all your efforts will be in vain if you don’t get your website to the top of the search engine rankings. It’s hard to move on business and marketing websites for references to SEO and how important it is, but is it something you can manage yourself or is it the digital equivalent of brain surgery – best left to the experts?

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization; it simply means there are certain things you can do with your website that will result in search engines listing it closer to the top of the results list when someone searches for terms that are relevant to your business. That’s the simple part; the complication is how this is most effectively achieved. Different search engines use different algorithms (the combination of factors and how much weight is applied to each) to rank search results, and they are not inclined to transparency when it comes to providing details of their methods. Added to this, algorithms are regularly changed and updated according to a search engine’s development programs.

Tackling SEO yourself

There are some elementary steps you can take to lay the basis for a sound SEO strategy, based on some of the more static principles that algorithms take into account:

• Ensure your site has quality content and is well-written. This is a fundamental requirement, and algorithms place significant weight on the quality of your content.

• Include links to relevant, quality sites. Use sites that have the authority and high traffic for their subject area. The higher the quality and authority of your links the better your site will be rated.

• Get backlinks from other websites to your site. Again, concentrate on authoritative, popular sites. You will need to make connections with other website and blog owners, and you will need to add links to your site in exchange for them adding your link to their site.

• Use appropriate keywords in your metadata and content to highlight the relevance of your business to terms people are searching for.

It can be a time-consuming process to research where you want your site to be linked and agreeing on terms with the hosting site. There is no reason why, with time and dedication, you shouldn’t be able to accomplish this work yourself but remember to keep educating yourself about SEO methods and updates to the algorithms.

Professional SEO services.

Given the huge impact SEO has, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of companies offering marketing and SEO services. Some companies have experience and expertise that can be very effective in formulating a successful strategy. If you are contemplating this option, be sure to find a reputable company like Dymic Digital SEO, and avoid the scammers and the companies that are simply not very good at their job. If you’re contemplating this solution, do some research on the results of companies you are interested in and view their case histories. You can also consult forums and find out what other customers have thought about a company’s services.

Taking a middle path

If you have the skills, time and interest, you may want to deal with some elements of SEO yourself and leave the more complicated aspects to professionals. As long as you can work in harmony with your SEO company, this can achieve successful results. You need to be clear about what each of you is responsible for, and be open to the SEO advisers on every aspect of your strategy to ensure a good working relationship. If you have staff who are interested and capable, you could assign the best candidate to take charge of your SEO. You would need to facilitate appropriate training courses to enable them to be effective in the role and make sure they continue to develop their skills.

Assessing the success of your SEO strategy

Before you begin, whether you are doing it yourself or employing specialists, you need to know how well your website is performing. Use tools like Google Analytics to see how much traffic you’re generating, how many click-throughs and how many conversions. Once you have the figures, compare them every month to see what is improving and what isn’t, so you can adjust your strategy to aid in increasing site views and purchases or inquiries. Reviewing progress and results is a vital step, the same as with all your marketing activities, for without knowing what actions have increased sales, you can’t address any issues and find ways to fix them.

Where to go for help if it’s not working

If after repeated efforts you are still not seeing improved results, it might be time to engage a professional company. The competition for ranking position is fierce, and there are many other websites all clamoring to take the coveted page one positions. You will be at an advantage if you operate in a very focused niche because there will be far fewer relevant results to be retrieved. However, if you have a product or service with general appeal, you will be vying with hundreds or thousands of other businesses, and there are only a few who can make it to the front. If you are determined to or have no choice but to go it alone, you should at least do as much research as you can on optimizing your SEO so that you have the knowledge to make the right changes.

Don’t underestimate the power of SEO to make or break your company. Your website could be beautifully designed and full of exceptional high-quality content, but if it’s not marketed well, you’ll never get high levels of traffic visiting the site. Most people looking for products and services look to a search engine for information, and if you’re not on the first few pages (preferably page one) you’re unlikely to be seen, so give SEO the time and attention it merits.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Four Tips on Hiring an SEO Agency for Your Startup

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article
In today’s business market, online brand visibility is key to getting your new start-up off the ground. No matter what type of products or services you are selling, the type of audience that you are reaching out to or your goals for your business future, it’s important to have a strong online presence in order to reach success. A strong visibility in search engines and the ability to showcase your expertise and knowledge about your industry online is key to building your customer base and improving customer retention and sales. One of the first steps towards building a strong online presence is search engine optimisation; search engines are one of the first places that customers will go when they are trying to find a brand like yours.

We’ve put together some top tips to help you choose the right SEO agency for the job.

Tip #1. Ask for Recommendations:

As a business owner, you probably spend some time networking and building relationships with other business owners and influential, experienced individuals in your industry. One of the best ways to find a good SEO agency is to simply ask around within your business circles for recommendations – chances are that you know somebody who’s hired an SEO agency before, and will be able to point you in their direction if they were satisfied with their work and believe they’d be a good choice for your needs.

Tip #2. Check Out Portfolios:

Before you make a final decision on an SEO agency, it’s important to take a look at their portfolio of past work to determine whether they are offering the kind of things that you are after. Most good SEO agencies, will display a portfolio that prospective new clients can easily access to get an idea of the kind of work that they do on a regular basis. Take the Lexel SEO agency in London as an example. They have a section on their site dedicated to case studies which their audience can browse through. This is something you should be looking out for whenever you visit an SEO agency’s website.

It’s also a good idea to look at how well any prospective agencies have been doing their own SEO; are they high up in search engine rankings themselves?

Tip #3. Understand What You Need:

When choosing an SEO agency for your business, it’s important to have a list of needs and requirements in mind to ensure that you make the right decision. For example, if you run a smaller, local business, then you’re going to prefer an SEO agency that specialises in conducting local SEO and improving your brand’s visibility within your local area.

Tip #4. Conduct a Background Check:

Finally, once you have determined a few SEO agencies that seem like a good fit for your needs, it’s a good idea to take a closer look into them. One of the best ways of doing this is to get information from past clients regarding their experiences with the company. You can often do this by simply searching for online reviews – third-party websites are the best place to look since you’ll often find more honest and reliable reviews there.

Did you find these tips helpful? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Off-Site SEO: Maximising Your Search Potential

The world of web design is a complicated and often confusing one. Most companies will have a professional to handle their development, along with someone to handle their marketing. But, out of all of this, most businesses will need help with SEO most of all. It’s likely that this aspect of your website is already handled for you. But, this doesn’t mean that you’re doing everything you can. There’s a lot of work you can do off-site which will make a huge difference to the search rankings your pages are given. To help you with this, this page will be covering some of the ways you can achieve this goal.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article
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Backlinks

Over the years, search engines like Google have had to make their algorithms more and more complicated. This is the unfortunate result of people taking advantage of older methods to get their sites into unrelated searches. As a part of this, search engines like to make sure that your website is trustworthy before they display it to their users. Having links from other sites going to your own website will help to do this, as it shows that you are significant to them in some way. Building a backlink strategy that works will take some time, and you might need some help along the way. Thankfully, there are loads of resources available across the web to help you out.

Social Media

Social media has had a huge impact on the way that people live their lives over the last few years. Of course, though, on their own, they probably won’t do much for your SEO. Using a tool like this, you have the chance to spread loads of backlinks which will come from a reputable site. Along with this, having people visit your site from social media will be very likely to increase your website’s viewership. This will help to improve the ranking of your pages, as search engines will see that your site is popular.

Google Search Console

There are loads of tools out there to help you with SEO, and a lot of them are completely free to use. Google’s Search Console is a great example of this, and a must for any website looking to get good rankings. Using this sort of tool, you can have search engines re-index your pages as you make changes and improvements. Along with this, you can get detailed data and information about your keyword success. Using this data, you can start to make easy improvements to the SEO on your site, as well as being able to make sure your efforts are successful.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article
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The Benefits

Doing this sort of work is almost guaranteed to have a positive impact on your website. Along with increasing the amount of hits your site gets, it will also increase the chances of people buying from you. People trust websites with higher search rankings, and will rarely go onto the second page of a search engine. To stand out from the crowd, you have to make sure you’re at the top.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on your off-site SEO. A lot of business will ignore this sort of work, assuming that their current standing will last forever. It’s important to keep improving this area, though. Otherwise, search engines will stop favoring your website.