Our Offices Will Be Closed on April 21st and April 22nd for Passover Observance. To contact us please complete the contact form and we will get back to you on April 23rd. Email urgent@ajaxunion.com for immediate assistance.

Top SEO Mistakes Companies Make

We asked some of the best marketers at Ajax Union to name the top two SEO mistakes that they’ve seen companies make. Here’s that they said:

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Elle Spektor, Marketing & Events Coordinator

1. Bad Content — Poor quality, robotic text with little to no value to your readers will not help your company, no matter which keywords you use.
2. Not Putting Words On Your Page — Once you’ve researched the proper keywords, make sure you have on your page. Too many companies have keywords in images, which doesn’t count and won’t get seen by Google’s Spiders.

Mike Jablonski, Senior Google AdWords Manager 

If they are working on SEO:
1. Targeting keywords that bring traffic instead of keywords that have high conversion rates
2. Link building in the wrong places

If they don’t know what SEO is:
1. Not having a crawl-able site
2. Not having title tags Optimized

Sruly Lipsker, Agency Account Manager 

1. Worry about the user experience on your site more than anything else.
Concentrate on customer acquisition not sales.
2. Stay in touch with current, past, and potential clients.

Matt Sieracki, Agency Account Manager and SEO Expert:

1. Indiscriminate back-linking.
2. Lack of a properly formed, hosted, and Webmaster Tools-submitted sitemap.

Rikki Miller, Administrative Marketing Assistant 

From the sales side:
1. Expecting immediate results, expecting short term sales increases.
2. Assuming SEO is a one-time process, i.e. take a couple hours and plug in some magical keywords or formulas and you’ll be good forever.

Gabby Swed, Social Media Strategist

1) Using excessive/just-plain-wrong keywords.
2) Link-farming

Do you make these SEO mistakes with your company? Need help with the right things to do for your Search Engine Optimization campaigns? Comment in the box below or email marketing@ajaxunion.com.

eCommerce 101: How To Think Like Your Ideal Client

ecommerce marketing

Our COO, Yehuda Apfelbaum, has put together a presentation teaching business owners to think like their ideal customers and set business metrics in time for the fourth quarter.

Review the presentation to learn:
How To: Rely On Multiple Sources For Leads
How To: Measure Efforts
How To: Optimize Your Checkout Page
How Can I Market My Products To A Target Audience?

We hope you enjoy the presentation. Email us if you have any questions: marketing@ajaxunion.com.

3 On-site Tips To Boost SEO

Sometimes businesses focus so much on link building, blogs, and other off-site SEO practices that they forget the most important page to optimize: their website! Not only are potential customers interacting directly with your website, so too is Google. We could spend hours talking about ways to enhance your site, but today we’ll focus on just three principle tips to make Google take notice.

Page Titles and Descriptions

There’s nothing more confusing to Google, and to customers as well, as a poorly laid out website. Page titles direct users to appropriate destinations, and those titles should also reflect in URLs. (A good URL is fewer than 255 characters and uses hyphens to separate words.) And just as page titles should accurately reflect what users can expect from the page, so too should the descriptions. When we speak about descriptions, we’re talking about what a user sees in search engine results. Be descriptive as possible, but stay within the 150 character limit. It’s your job to convince the searcher to click your page instead of the competition.

Onsite SEO

Formatting

How well-organized is your website? Does it look like a jumbled mess from the Geocities days? Aesthetics are everything for a website. If it looks like you could get a virus from the website or browsers can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll seek answers elsewhere, and Google will not rank the site highly. Good design goes hand-in-hand with formatting and organization. Make good use of headings (H1) and sub-headings (H2). Reserve H1 for the main title of the page though. Too many on a single page is a red flag. Use a readable font—no Comic Sans please—and split text into paragraphs.

Images

Lastly, we come to images. Pictures make for better viewing. While it’s very true that people, and Google, rank content supreme, and do, in fact, still read, visuals keep readers interested. There should be images on your website, but not to the detriment of the site’s loading time. Let’s go over a few tips to properly utilize images.

  • Use original images whenever you can. If you need to snatch from other resource, always follow the instructions to properly source the image and avoid copyright issues.
  • Use keywords and descriptions in the Title and ALT tags to boost your SEO efforts.
  • Optimally size images without decreasing the quality.
  • When creating file names, shy away from “photo_1.jpg” and instead use keywords or descriptions.

To learn about more on-site SEO tips, be on the lookout for our webinars.

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How Black Hat SEO Can Damage Your Business

black hat seoThose who have been chugging away at SEO tactics over the past few years have surely come across the terms black hat SEO and white hat SEO. If you couldn’t guess by the color designations (and the title of our post), black hat tactics hurt your rankings, while white hat strategies boost your PageRank. Black hat SEO attempts to manipulate the system, but thanks to the algorithms behind Panda and Penguin, Google is able to crack the whip on poor tactics. The punishment for enacting such heinous crimes? Don’t expect to find your website on the first page of Google—actually don’t expect to see it on the first 10 pages!

The Panda algorithm is aimed at low-quality content, while Penguin fights against spam and bad links. What are common black hat SEO tactics and how can you implement better strategies for your business?

Common Black Hat SEO

  • Low-Quality Content: Don’t have much to say on your site? Is your content riddled with spelling errors and poor grammar? Google will push it to the back. Low-quality encompasses poorly written text, overuse of keywords and links, and duplicate content.
  • Content Spinning: Did you write a really great blog post? Did you then copy and paste that same blog post on multiple sites which all link back to your website? That counts as duplicate content. Always write unique content across the board.
  • Keyword Stuffing: A very common practice years ago, keyword stuffing was actually a proven method to rank highly. Websites would fill their pages with dozens of keywords, usually tacked onto the bottom of their site. “Savvy” web developers would take keyword stuffing a bit further and hide the keywords by making the text white against a white background so users wouldn’t see it. Today, these practices can be detrimental to your site.
  • Link Stuffing: A close relative to keyword stuffing, this is a similar practice but with inundating your pages with links. The more links, the less purpose they serve.
  • Over-Optimized Anchor Text: Using keywords for anchor text is awesome for SEO, but not when it’s all over your site. Vary the anchor text on the site so it sounds natural.
  • Unnatural Link Building: Link building can be a tricky game. Never purchase links and do not spam sites with links to your website. Be careful with affiliate links as well. Clients linking to your site increases your inbound links, but Google devalues them and could actually penalize you. Instead, make no-follow links so you can still enjoy the traffic without annoying Google.

Quality Content Reigns Supreme, Both On- and Off-Site

SEO back in the “good ol’” days wasn’t much of a concern. Toss in tons of spammy links and keywords somewhere on your website and there was a good chance you’d rank fairly well. Those days are long gone. Websites today actually have to be informative—that means full of useful content. You don’t need to write an encyclopedia, but people do read what’s on a website. A good website begins with a clean, easy-to-navigate page. Headers, drop-down menus, and search bars organized and paired with an excellent color scheme will make for an approachable site.

Long-form or short-form content? When it comes to your onsite page, long-form is actually better. Despite our increasingly short-term attention spans, people still read so your conversions will be higher. Just imagine yourself shopping for an appliance repair service. Would you choose the company that lists only a form of contact and a laundry list of services they provide, or the company who goes into more depth about what they offer, their company history, testimonials, and troubleshooting articles?

Investigate Suspicious Links and Get Rid of Them

Just as important as the content of your website are the inbound and outbound links. What constitutes suspicious and unnatural links? Links from poor-quality pages that have tons of outgoing links, a high number of keyword-rich inbound links, links from unrelated industries, links from articles with unrelated topics, and a high number of links from website footers and blog comments.

Google Webmaster Tools makes it easy to view your inbound and outbound links. If you find questionable links, follow Google’s guide to disavow the links. Once disavowed, you can once again build your link portfolio with only relevant, quality links.

To learn about more useful SEO tactics and avoid black hat SEO, sign up for one of our webinars!