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Archive for the ‘SEO/SEM’ Category

SEO Specialist Employee Spotlight

How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role?  Jake Peterson - SEO Specialist and Content Marketing Guru

I joined the Atiba team in May 2020 as the SEO specialist and content marketing virtuoso on the digital marketing team. Web design has been part of the fabric of Atiba for over 20 years, so it only made sense to bring in an SEO specialist to complement the web design side.

Atiba is based in Nashville, but I’ve been in Madrid, Spain for almost seven years now taking remote work to the next level. That makes me, unofficially, the self-appointed King and Emperor of Atiba’s European Division.  

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba?  

Culture is one of those buzzwords that gets tossed around, but you can really tell there’s something special about Atiba’s culture. Everyone is understanding, empathetic, encouraging, and team-oriented. I also love the flexible work hours Atiba offers as it can be challenging to juggle working from home and parenthood. 

What motivates you to wake up and go to work? 

When it comes down to it, I really enjoy what I do. In college, I studied history and have always loved writing and research which is what got me into content writing. On the SEO specialist side, the job borrows a lot of things from many different disciplines. You have to find the right balance between being analytical, technical, and creative while also being very, very patient. 

What makes you a geek? 

I’m a big video game, tech, and fantasy geek. I’ve built my own PC a number of times and always try to optimize it for my favorite games. I listen to a few Dungeons and Dragons podcasts and love listening to data-centric, analytical sports podcasts.  

Jake Peterson - SEO Specialist at AtibaWhat’s the best vacation you ever took? 

My wife and I went to Sardinia for our honeymoon and that was a blast. We had to take a ferry from Barcelona to the island. We took our car and then spent the rest of the week driving around the island, visiting small towns and going to beaches. It’s still the clearest water I’ve ever seen. 

What’s your go-to snack during the day? 

Spain is wonderful for a lot of things, but they severely lack in the snack department. I miss trail mix from back home, so I have to make my own here. Usually, that just involves peanuts, raisins, and smashed up dark chocolate but I’ll sometimes mix other nuts or add some extra flavor. It’s easy to make and decently healthy. 

 

 

How to Do a Local SEO Audit in Under an Hour

local seo audit

If you’re a local business, one of the most important things you need to do is build up your local SEO. Local SEO is a bit different than regular SEO and while the broad strokes are the same, the nitty-gritty is going to vary slightly.

That’s why you need to perform a local SEO audit. You can take the pulse of your current standings on the web while also looking at what your direct competitors are doing. Running an audit can sound scary, but it really doesn’t have to be. In fact, we’re going to tell you how to do a local SEO audit in under an hour.

Let’s get started.

What’s the Point of a Local SEO Audit?

The goal of any local business is to improve their organic rankings. According to HubSpot, only 25% of Google searches will advance past the first page. If you’ve got your business ranking at the top page, it’s no doubt that traffic, clicks, and eventually, customers will increase.

An audit is there to help you figure out where you’re standing and what you need to do to improve. If you see yourself ranking lower than you want, which of these steps can you focus on? If you’re ranking high, what can you do in order to stay there? What is going to set you apart?

Your audit is not going to solve all your problems. It’s going to get you started on the right path but this is the first step towards success.

Step 1: Don’t Freak Out

When people run audits on their websites, they can sometimes get overwhelmed by the number of things they feel like they should be doing immediately. If pages aren’t optimized and listings aren’t perfect, then your site is bound to fall into the depths on Google and never be seen again, right?

Wrong.

An audit is a part of the process to give you a comprehensive local SEO strategy. From your audit’s findings, you can lay out what has to be done and what steps should be taken next. Don’t feel like you have to rush in and fix everything immediately. Take the time to make those changes and best improve your rankings.

So, what are those steps?

Step 2: Layout Keyword Research

keyword research

Keyword research can be a lengthy process for big websites but for local sites like yours, it doesn’t have to be a giant ordeal. That’s because your website should be focused around a few search terms in order to zero in on your audience.

One of the best free tools to start out with is the Google Keyword Planner. It can tell you keyword volume and difficulty for ranking for a specific keyword. You do have to create a Google Ads account to make use of the tool, you can access it without paying.

If you’re willing to pay, there are a few other options such as SEMRush, Brightlocal, Moz, and Keyword Finder which can help you find certain keywords and terms related to your business. Many of these services offer free trials, so you can test the waters to decide if you want to pay or not.

For example, if you were running a local plumbing business, you might want to target keywords such as:

  • Plumber Nashville
  • Nashville plumber
  • Nashville plumbing service
  • Best plumber in Nashville

Once you target some of your keywords, you’re going to want to move onto the next step.

Step 3: Competitor Research

One of the most important steps during a local SEO audit is checking to see what exactly your competitors are doing. How do you expect to outrank them if you don’t know their strategy?

You don’t have to deep dive into each competitor, but you should know who you’re competing against to start. If you’re not sure, start by Googling the keywords that you came up with. From there, make a list of the top 5-10 competitors in your niche. That number could vary based on things like location, local area, and more.

You should be looking at things like:

  • Their GMB profile
  • Rankings for the KWs you’ve selected
  • Local listings
  • Review count and presence
  • Basic social media presence

Most of this information can be taken right from a quick Google search. It’s best to put it into a spreadsheet so you have a bird’s-eye view of everything.

Step 4: Audit Your Google My Business Page

Get ready to see the acronym GMB so many times it will make your head spin. You can’t do any local SEO without making sure you have a proper GMB page.

If you don’t have a GMB page, then it should be one of your top priorities to make one as part of your local SEO strategy. For those that already have a GM page, what should you be looking for? Your quick checklist should include:

  • HIGH-QUALITY Images related to your business (we cannot stress high-quality enough)
  • Correct category and sub-category
  • Description and proper keywords (750-word maximum)
  • Hours of operation
  • Any relevant information (menu for restaurants, basic Q&A, etc.)

If you don’t have any of these items, make sure you add them to your to-do list of things to take care of. Having all of those properly listed will not only give potential customers all the information they need but will also help build up your local SEO and improve rankings.

Step 5: Check Out Your Links and Citations

links and citations

There are plenty of things that determine your ranking on Google, but one of the most important is the number of links you have pointing towards your website. The more links you have coming from high-authority, relevant domains, the better it’s going to be for your business. On the flip side, if you have lots of low-authority domains pointing towards your website, that could be hurting your rankings.

But how do you check out the quality of your backlinks? The tools listed above also have backlink checkers, but Ahrefs offers a free trial of their backlink checker tool. You’ll be able to plug in your domain and check out how your links look from a quality and quantity perspective.

Along with the topic of links, you’re going to want to check out your citations. A good citation is one that has the following criteria:

  • Lists the NAP (name, address, phone number)
  • Uniform across all citations
  • Placed on high-authority websites

When we say uniform, that means uniform. That means ‘street’ isn’t the same as ‘st.’ or ‘Nashville Plumber Service’ isn’t the same as ‘Plumber Service Nashville’.  When it comes to finding citations, BrightLocal is a great tool to help you manage them. Run your business through their checker and see where errors may be popping up.

For adding citations, should you just blast your business listing everywhere? Most certainly not. In fact, there is a list of the top citation sites where you should be building out your business listing.

Step 6: Review Your Reviews

One of the most important parts of running a business is garnering online reviews. Over 90% of Americans say they trust online reviews, so having a few one-star reviews may send your business cratering.

Do you have a lot of reviews? If you don’t, what can you do to get more reviews? Are you responding to reviews?

Responding to reviews is a way to show Google that you are an active business that continues to participate and pay attention to your customers. In fact, it’s a sneaky important ranking factor. For your reviews, make a plan on how to obtain more of them and the best way to respond to customers who aren’t satisfied.

Step 7: Get Started on Your SEO Plan

Now that you’ve gone through the audit, it’s time to start laying out your plan. You’ve done the groundwork and now it’s time to start taking actionable steps. As you move onto the next part, it’s important to remember a few things.

The first thing to remember is patience is key. SEO is a long game and it will likely be months before you start seeing yourself climb the rankings.

The second, which goes hand-in-hand with the first, is to not get caught up in daily rankings. We often see people get frustrated because they search for their service and city and don’t see it climbing up. Be dutiful, smart, and celebrate the baby steps.

Conclusion

Performing a local SEO audit may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can do all of these steps in just under an hour. Remember, this is just an audit and not a list of things you need to do immediately. Proper SEO takes time and while you may want to see results right away, a thorough audit is the first step to climbing in the rankings and seeing more results.

Here at Atiba, we perform SEO audits and a larger number of other SEO services. We can look at your local SEO and also do a complete audit including analytics, links, in-depth competitor research, and more. Reach out to us today to schedule a free SEO audit and start achieving the rankings you want to achieve!

6 Mistakes to Avoid With eCommerce Website Development

ecommerce-web-development

The COVID pandemic hit a number of industries hard. There were some industries, however, that were able to withstand the global upheaval. One of these was eCommerce.

For proof, we don’t have to look any further than Amazon. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos saw his net worth grow by $25 billion during the pandemic. They also hired around 75,000 workers in order to keep up with the demand.

Although the growth of a colossus enterprise such as Amazon isn’t exactly shocking, eCommerce growth tends to be a national trend. In fact, US eCommerce sales rose by 14.5% from the previous year. With so much attention in the industry, it’s only natural that interest in starting an eCommerce business has risen over the past year as well.

Check out this graph from Google Trends on “how to eCommerce” grew over the last 6 months.

ecommerce-growth

 

So, what does that mean? It means a lot of people are trying to break into the eCommerce world and if you’re one of them, how do you stand out?

One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is by using sound eCommerce website development. Web development can be tough but necessary to keep visitors coming back to your website and increase sales over time. Web development plays a huge role.

When it comes to building the perfect eCommerce site, what web development mistakes do you need to look out for? Check out six things you should be aware of.

 

Consuming too Much Bandwidth

In today’s environment, people expect things ASAP and that’s never been more true than someone visiting a webpage. In fact, studies show that if your site or a page doesn’t load in three seconds, the user will bounce right off.

The average website is filled with high-quality images, banners, push notifications, and more. But if those items aren’t properly optimized, then your website will look like it’s trying to wade through mashed potatoes.

What are the processes and items you should be optimizing? For starters, you should:

  • Optimize all images, compress their file size so they load faster
  • Minify JavaScript and CSS. Too much on a page is going to slow it down
  • Lower the amount of HTTP requests

There are other things you can be doing, but it’s best to start off with those three. Not only will you have a fast-loading site, but you’ll also rank better in Google.

Speaking of ranking better in Google…

Underestimating the Importance of SEO

Get ready to see this little acronym everywhere when you start developing an eCommerce website. You might think that search engine optimization is all about on-page elements, such as content, title tags, meta descriptions, and more.

While those things are very important, there are plenty of other SEO aspects you should be concerned about.

On the web development side you have to ask yourself: is this site crawlable?

For a website to be crawlable, it needs to have a proper site structure, minimal redirects, proper canonical tags, no duplicate content, a sitemap, and much more. The easier you make it for Google to crawl your website, the more visibility you’re going to gain over time.

You can check how Google sees your website by making use of Google Search Console. It’s a free tool that can easily be connected to your site.

Ignoring Responsive Design

eocmmerce-responsive-design

Whenever you hear someone talk about web development, you’re almost guaranteed to hear them talk about responsive design. These two are the new peanut butter and jelly.

These days, the three devices people browse the internet on are: computers, mobile phones, and tablets (and iPod touches for those who were locked in a time capsule in 2008).

That means your website must be able to adapt to the various screens that people are using to browse the web. When it comes to building responsive websites, there are a number of proper practices and methods for doing so. WordPress will let you know if their themes are responsive or not.

However, even though you may be choosing a theme or design that says it’s responsive, there might be some more work to do on the development side to make it so. Oftentimes a theme or layout will look responsive but menus or other sections may not display properly, frustrating any visitors.

Being Browser Specific

Even though over 60% of web users have Chrome set as their primary browser, that doesn’t mean you should make your site Chrome-specific. Everyone has their favorite browser, but some of your users might be in that small percentage of people who still use Internet Explorer. If your website isn’t working properly for them, why would they stick around or ever come back?

It would be overkill to test out your website on every browser with every major change, but you need to be doing periodic checks in order to make sure your website is functional with each browser.

CSS is often a culprit in robbing you of all-browser functionality, so make sure you feel confident in your abilities if you jump into complex tasks.

Implementing Poor Web Security

ecommerce-web-security

“Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!” is just one of the many great quotes that Dwight Schrute had from The Office. But Dwight does have a point.

eCommerce websites with poor security can damage relationships with customers and torpedo your business efforts. When it comes to security, we often run into two words: authentication and authorization. What’s the difference?

Authentication is verifying the identity of a user and confirming who they are whereas authorization is giving said user access to a website, system, etc. More often than not, inexperienced eCommerce web developers will grant authorization without authentication.

Yikes.

In order to best protect users on your site, you need to implement proper security measures by using proper authentication and authorization methods. While the two words may be different, they must come together as one.

Sloppy Navigation

Above we mentioned some sound practices for making sure your website is crawlable by Google. Now we need to talk about how to make it easy for users. User interface and user experience will often fall onto the web design side. But you can make it easy for your web design team by thinking about navigation during the development process.

Plus, a crawlable website is much easier to navigate.

That means making easy-to-read menus, using simple structures, plainly distinctive categories, and a handy search function. The last thing you want to do is have visitors come to your site and be confused or frustrated while trying to navigate to a product page. Don’t count on users “figuring it out”. With thousands of other websites begging for their attention, they’ll just leave.

When it comes to eCommerce web development, there are plenty of mistakes that can be made. Some of them may be too complicated for those not fluent in web development. Here at Atiba, we have web development experts on hand to help you with any doubts. Make sure and reach out when you’re ready to take your eCommerce website to the next level.

 

 

 

When Family and Business Mix Well Together

I’m fortunate enough to have a great family. I was recently telling my younger sister – who happens to be attending Michigan State University – that even though I’ve been in the business world for about 15 years, I’m constantly meeting new people and learning new things. It’s part of what keeps a successful business culture moving in the right direction.

Learn SEO Nashville: Google Geeking Event on 8/20

Cabedge Design, LLC, a subsidiary of Atiba Holdings, LLC announced the topic for the upcoming Atiba University event on August 20, 2013 at E|SPACES Belle Meade, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Cabedge Managing Director and chief marketing geek of the Atiba Holdings family, Paul Hickey, and Cabedge Director of Digital Marketing Services, Allen Willis, will cover how to fully optimize your business’ Google Presence. Hickey and Willis will be joined by friend of Cabedge, Chris Work, from Work Media.

Paid Social Media Campaigns: The Rest Of The Story

Let’s take a real look at whether or not Twitter promoted ad campaigns can help your business.

In a tribute to Paul Harvey, I wanted to take a look at something that has probably been popping out at many social media users these days – paid / targeted social media ad campaigns. You know, the ones you see when you log into Twitter on the traditional web-based app and you think – “hmmmm, I know I’m not really following @walgreens or @mcdonalds, but they seem to be showing up in my list of recent posts as a follower…with one slight difference. The word “promoted” with an arrow icon shows up.