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The world-wide-web is a massive entity and SEO is at its core. It’s difficult to break through the noise. But as a business, you have no choice. You have to be found. You have to be doing everything you can to increase your online footprint and overall visibility.
Your website is the hub of all of your internet activity. Even though you might have very active social channels, or a YouTube following to die for, your website is where all of your lead generation takes place. It’s also the home of all of your most valuable content, so you need it to have as solid a foundation as possible. This is where search engine optimization comes into play.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, needs to be the foundation of all of your online marketing efforts. It needs to build upon the keywords most relevant to your consumers and the services you offer. It is tied to the content on your website, your business directory listings, your social channels, the structure and technical foundation of your website and more. Well-done SEO will drive organic traffic, up your rank in search results, fuel lead generation for your business and help lower your paid online advertising costs.
SEO is so important — it’s also the most misunderstood of all the modern marketing disciplines. It is a vast field that touches many of your marketing efforts. While it used to be quite basic, as the practitioners became more creative, the realm of Search Engine Optimization became more broad. Search engines began looking at how prospects and customers were interacting with your brand across all the web, meaning that SEO now powers your brand’s online presence.
SEO and your brand have a lot in common — they both should touch every aspect of your online efforts. But SEO goes farther than your brand does — it encompasses and supports all of your online brand building efforts. It’s the technical foundation of your blog. It’s part of your digital PR and social efforts. It’s a major component of all of your content marketing and the design and navigability of your site. If you have an online commerce site, it’s part of that as well.
The critical starting point for an effective online presence is learning to understand your customers. To start, you need to create targeted personas that capture all the details of your targeted consumers — these are a key component. They help you understand your prospects’ intent at each of the different stages in their buying cycle. This information drives most, if not all, your keyword research, something critical for your SEO to be effective.
60% of the modern sales cycle takes place without your company as a part of the process. It’s important to know where your prospects are doing their own research and what they are looking for. If we optimize your content, your brand has a better chance of showing up during a prospect’s research efforts, which leads to providing value and driving conversion.
Offering your prospect valuable content when they visit your website can create lead generation. This can be anything from downloadable checklists to presentations, from white papers to case studies. While lead generation and SEO do not appear to have a connection, our Search Engine Optimization research teaches us what we can do to provide value to and engage with target prospects.
All of your content needs to be promoted, and we mean everything. The blogger covering your brand, press releases, social media posts and paid ads all should be included.
These promotion tactics are all different, but together they should all help drive traffic and links back to your site. Traffic and clicks bolster your SEO efforts and grow your brand’s position, helping you become an authority in the eyes of consumers and the search engines.
Part of your content marketing strategy should be creating fresh content regularly and publishing it on your blog. This content provides value for your customers and prospects and elevates your brand’s engagement.
If you’re a local business, local SEO could be more important for your business than your website.
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing a website in order to increase traffic, leads and brand awareness from local search. This means you’re aiming to rank higher on search pages in your local area rather than overall. Local searches are a huge part of SEO, so you’ll want to be sure you understand how they work.
From a basic standpoint, local SEO works in the same way as “normal” search and “normal” SEO. A prospect searches for something on Google, and the search engine gives them the best results based on their keywords. But with local SEO, Google uses a unique set of ranking factors to rank local search results.
There are unique ranking signals involved in local SEO, including the location that the person is searching from, a Google My Business listing, the number of “check-ins” at that location, shares on social media, the Google Maps star rating for that business and more.
If you’ve ever searched on Google and your results included a map with three local businesses on the top, then you’ve experienced The Map Pack. The addresses are pulled from Google Maps, and the regular search results show up underneath. The Map Pack is the place you want your business to appear, so it’s important to remember that it has its own algorithm and set of rules.
Finding keywords for your local market is also another important step of the process, and you can’t get started on local SEO without them. In most cases, you need a short list of keywords that people are using when they search for your business. For example, if you run a garden center, the top results may be garden, gardener and flowers. Systems like Yelp Suggest, Google Suggest and Google Keyword Planner can help give you an idea of the most prominent keywords you should use.
Name, address and phone number (NAP) citations — places where your name, address and phone number are all listed together — are one of the trickiest parts of local optimization. You want your business’s NAP to be consistent anywhere it can be found online, and that includes directories and listings sites that other people run.
To start, you’ll want to run an NAP audit to find your listings, and then you’ll want to fix incorrect NAP. You also want to find more opportunities to get your NAP listed, making sure that you’re listed in all the same places as your competitors.
Having a Google My Business profile is important for your business, as it plays a huge role in your ranking in The Map Pack. It’s not enough for the profile to just exist, though — it needs to be optimized to make the most of it. Everything on your profile should exactly match the information on your website and on your NAP citations across the internet. When your information matches up, it helps Google realize that you are a legitimate business; non-matching information becomes a red flag.
Other ways to optimize your Google My Business profile include making your profile as complete as possible, keeping important data up-to-date and receiving and replying to reviews.
Your Google My Business Profile plays a huge role in your ranking in The Map Pack, but your personal website is important as well. By listing your NAP citations on your website (and getting them listed on other sites as well), Google ranks you according to SEO and can confirm that your business information is accurate.
Positive online reviews are another way to boost your local SEO rankings. While that’s a good thing, it also means that negative reviews can hurt your rankings. It’s important that you reply to reviews, both positive and negative, to help your SEO rankings.
While these ranking factors are all big parts of local SEO, it’s also important to remember that normal, traditional SEO rules still apply. Creating content, optimizing your pages and building backlinks, usually thought of as tips for regular SEO, are still necessary for local SEO rankings.
Before you can get down to the nitty gritty of local SEO, make sure your traditional optimization approaches are airtight. Then it’s time to work on the specialized local SEO strategies, including making sure that you have unique content for each landing page of a different brick-and-mortar location of your business. Another tip for local SEO is to create title tags that are longer than Google’s word limit — by creating a cutoff that people want to see, you can generate more clicks.
Local link building is one of the easiest parts of local SEO, because luckily the same link-building strategies that work for regular SEO also apply. There are even more opportunities for backlinking in local optimization — if you play your cards right, you can use other local businesses, your local Chamber of Commerce, local PR and more to get your website listed in other places.
NAP and Google My Business optimization are the best way to take advantage of your local search presence, but there are also a few tips and tricks that can help your strategy. Embedding a Google map on your “About” page to emphasize your location, making sure your local-focused keyword shows up at the very top of your page by including it in a headline, and optimizing your homepage title tag around 2-3 keywords are just a few tricks that can help you reach the top of the search results.
Since SEO is so important, it means that choosing the right SEO company is one of the most important things you can do for your business. At RedShift, we understand digital marketing and how SEO plays into the big picture. We help build your strategy from the ground up, and then we help put together your tactical plan and execute it — either alongside you or for you.
When we take on a project, we are in it for the marathon. This is not a sprint to the finish. We follow a very precise and data-driven process. When we engage in an SEO project, we plan on working together for at least 12 months.
We spend time up front executing our discovery phase. During this phase, we perform an audit of your current market position, audit the current state of your website (technical and user experience), learn about your business and objectives for the next year, learn the competitive industry landscape and develop a detailed profile of your prospects.
Once we have a better understanding of your business’s position, what the competition looks like and where we need to go, we plan.
During our planning phase we zero in on your competitors and compile all the data we can to understand how they are positioned in the market and what they did to achieve that positioning.
We do extensive keyword and content research to understand what topics are resonating with your prospects. Once we understand the topics we need to be focusing on, we dive deeper into your buyer’s journey and identify what content aligns best with the different segments of that journey. Then we get into detailed content planning so we know what resources we need over the next few months to properly execute our plan.
After all this, we sit down with you and present our findings and our blueprint for moving forward. We want to be sure we come to an agreement on how to proceed and that you’re clear about our decisions behind the plan.
Now the plan is in place, so it’s time to begin the implementation phase. For the next few months, we constantly monitor and review the data behind everything we execute. As needed, we make adjustments along the way and sometimes even regroup to make larger, more impactful changes to your plan.
After monitoring and reviewing all the data behind our efforts, we begin the optimization phase. We make sure that the business objectives we set out to achieve or support from the beginning are coming to fruition. During this phase we are testing and optimizing your plan and our tactics to better meet your business objectives.
It’s easy to take advantage of our free website and SEO audit. We know there are a lot of SEO companies to choose from, but we believe that we can do the best job for your business.
Contact us to talk to one of our SEO consultants.
Your brand is present throughout all your marketing and advertising. It’s key in establishing trust with your customers, and it’s a major component of your online marketing strategy. Search engines are more sophisticated today. They look at the technical search engine optimization of your site, and they look at your consumer engagement and user experience.
There are not a lot of local brand building or lead generation campaigns that are not intertwined with local SEO — so finding a well-rounded Pittsburgh SEO company makes sense for any local business.
If you could shout your message from the rooftops to every one of your prospects, we’re sure you would. But online, you have to settle for an optimized platform that serves as the hub of your online brand activities.
As a full-service digital marketing agency, we at RedShift believe that SEO is prominent in the essential components of building your brand — and it’s absolutely necessary for building your business presence in Pittsburgh.
It’s critical to choose a digital marketing partner that offers local SEO services if you are a local business. Make sure they can build your brand and put a holistic digital marketing strategy in place. If you’re from Pittsburgh, not only do you need a Pittsburgh SEO company, but you need a Pittsburgh SEO marketing company — one that can help you in all aspects of your digital marketing efforts within your local market.
Why not take advantage of our free website and SEO audit? Begin with insights from a professional SEO company. We know there are a lot of SEO companies to choose from, but why not talk to one of our SEO consultants and take us for a test drive?
Ready for a free website and SEO Audit?
Talk to one of our Consultants and take RedShift for a test drive.