Alphagraphics blog

Archive: October 2015

Enhancing Your SEO Efforts with Strategic SEM Campaigns

When you get into the wide world of online marketing, the importance of SEO is constantly pressed upon you. Without a good grip on what search engine optimization is and how it works, you’re bound to fall down the rankings and lose valuable face time with customers as competitors continually rank over you. But, just as important as SEO is a less talked about acronym: SEM or search engine marketing.   Any good SEO effort is bolstered with a strategic SEM campaign and if you’re not privy to what SEM is and how it works, you might be losing valuable traction to those who understand that online marketing is a two-headed beast.   Understanding SEM   Whereas SEO is the on-page optimization of your website to help it list better for relevant searches, SEM is what you’re doing off-page to enhance your presence through Google and other search engines. In a more watered down sense, SEM is paid search advertising—usually pay per click (PPC)—that shows up in search engine page results (SERPs).   SEM is a modern, digital form of soliciting people at the point of inquiry. Think of it like a salesperson at your local hardware store: if you ask them a question, they’ll give you a response that directly addresses that question. Google and other search engines are your hardware store where you can ask questions and PPC ads are your way of giving customers the response they’re looking for.   Why is SEM important?   There are a number of reasons why SEM is an integral part of any good online marketing campaign and a complement to SEO practices. Take a look at just a few reasons:   - SEM can be tailored to fit your needs, whether you’re trying to funnel leads to your website or get the word out about a new product or service. Like any form of advertisement, you’re in control of the message.   - You can gauge the intent of your prospective customers and target demographic with SEM ads, based on what people are searching for and what SERPs your ads are displayed on.   - SEM ads float straight to the top of the pile on SERPs, which means even if you’re ranking poorly for some SEO keywords, you’ll still make the front page. This can also boost your SEO efforts in helping your target demographic to relate certain keywords with your business.   - There are millions of searches each day, most of which don’t apply to you or your website. Having SEM that’s targeted and tailored means a better chance of reaching that small group of searchers who are actually trying to find you.   - You can measure SEM efforts with tangible data! Any good marketer knows that results come from refined data and tailored approaches—having SEM data to give you these hard facts means a more measured approach to marketing yourself online.   Kick your SEM efforts into gear   If you’re not engaged in SEM practices or you’re still throwing ideas at the proverbial wall to see what sticks, perhaps it’s time to take a new approach to understanding and implementing SEM. Take a step back, consult with a marketing professional and make sure your approach and goals are defined. And, if you really want to make a splash on SERPs, let AlphaGraphics help you create a campaign that’s targeted at success. Read article →

The Beginner’s Guide to On-Page SEO

If you own a website, you’re probably familiar with the term SEO—and rightfully so. SEO makes the digital world go round and if you know what it is and how to capitalize on it, your website will reap the benefits: namely more visitors, better leads and a higher rank on major search engines like Google.   The problem is that unless you’re a website wizard, you probably have little knowledge of what actually goes into a good SEO approach. Don’t feel bad—many small business and first-time website owners are lost in the sear of industry jargon, niche practices and tailored approaches that SEO generally is associated with. The good news is, however, that SEO needn’t be as complicated as people make it out to be—especially if you’re a local small business owner who’s just looking to capture honest leads.   The basics   First things first: what is SEO? Search engine optimization is the practice of addressing the content on your website so that it’s more relevant to people who might be searching for businesses like yours. Simply put: SEO means showcasing your expertise and capabilities in a way that’s easy for people to understand.   A good example can be found on an automotive repair shop’s website. Not every mechanic does the same thing: some are routine maintenance shops, others offer auto body repair, still more offer niche services like paint or transmission rebuilding, and so on. When people look online for an auto shop that fits their needs, they’re looking for a website that will give them all of the information they need, up front and clearly explained—what a shop does do, doesn’t do, why a customer should pick them and any other relevant information.   The concept of SEO is as simple as that! The practice of manipulating SEO and zeroing in on factors that will exemplify it is a bit more challenging, as you’ll see.   The methods and practices   Now, telling people what you’re all about is a great foray into the world of proper SEO, but knowing how to get your name in Google’s mouth is a bit harder. It comes down to a myriad of variables, but in the case of on-page SEO—content that’s directly on your website—the approach is all about keywords, phrases, locations and links.   * Keywords are words or phrases that Google picks out as relevant to what people are searching for. As an example, if you’re an auto repair shop that specializes in transmission rebuilds, having iterations of “transmission rebuilding,” “transmission shop,” or any other similar keywords in your content lets Google and customers know about your specialty. Because of this, when people search Google for transmission shops, you’re more likely to come up because you’re a recognized source for that service.   * Location has become hugely important in proper SEO practice—especially for location-based businesses with brick and mortar shops. Ideally, if you serve a specific area—such as Olathe, KS—you’re going to want to make sure you’re showing up in Google searches in that area. It does you no good if people halfway across the country are seeing results for your business, which has a defined service area! Attaching cities, counties and states to your keywords or on your website is a great way to let Google know where your service area is.   * Links are also an essential part of SEO because they’re what ties the Internet together. Having links on your page to other websites and having other websites link to your pages means strengthening the web that is the Internet—just make sure the links are relevant and make sense!   * The world of SEO is infinitely more complicated than what’s laid out above, but the concepts are simple enough for anyone to grasp: write good content, make sure to define your business and make sure you’re connecting the right dots!   Take a look at your website and ask yourself if it’s telling people everything they need to know—if it’s not, take steps to make it more relevant to your audience’s interests. If you’re still looking to improve, contact the SEO experts at AlphaGraphics and start seeing just how important good SEO is and what benefits it can have for you. Read article →