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Digital Marketing

My name is Chad Alvarez, and I am the founder and CEO of Digital Curve Marketing, LLC in Grasonville, MD.  I want to share my story about the best decision I made early in my career with my start-up business.  I didnt have to look that far because this valuable resource is right in my back yard on Kent Island – The Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce.

Green and Blue QAC Chamber of Commerce Logo

I joined the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce in March of 2018.  As a new digital marketing company, creating a networking plan to meet other business owners in the area was crucial to the growth of my business.  With brick and morter stores depending more and more on online exposure, I have a great opportunity to work with every customer from A to Z with the Chamber of Commerce since I work in digital marketing.

The big question people may ask is, “What does the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce do?”  How can they help my business and why should I care?

First off, Linda Friday and Tracy Wilson from Day 1 made me feel right at home with helping me establish my business to the community and learning about my niche in the marketplace.  This is a very important process, because the more they understand about your business, the easier it is for them to refer you when people come into their office asking for local business solutions.  The resources are there.  As a business owner, it is a matter of utilizing their resources and network to become a part of a unique business community.

How to use the Chamber of Commerce Website:  https://www.qacchamber.com

The chamber of commerce website provides you with a directory of businesses that are chamber members with all of their contact information.  As shown below, I have access to almost 700 local businesses at my fingertips to reach out to via email or by phone.  When you login to your account, here are some of the key features you will see:

 

Directory: A to Z Listing of over 700 local business at your fingertips with contact information.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself as a fellow chamber member.  We want you to contact us as we all can benefit from our services we offer each other. The term “BUY CHAMBER” is a real thing!  We want to keep our budget spends with local businesses and maintain a healthy business community.

Keyword Search:  Not sure of a business name?  No problem.  Just search by an industry keyword and you’re all set!

Also, the chamber will allow you to post monthly press releases about events you may have, or even discounts you want to run on your services! Just ask about their press releases they can help you with.

My Experience as a New Member

Within my first week of joining the QAC chamber, I received 7 direct leads from local business owners who needed my services, and the referrals just keep coming.  BONUS!

The human element that you get from your local Chamber of Commerce is an added value to any business in Queen Anne’s County. They offer monthly social events where you can meet fellow business owners face to face and exchange information while learning more about the business community we live in.  They offer email blasts where you can have them send out email messages to over 700 businesses.  Monthly “Lunch and Learns” where you can present or attend to learn more about the services and industries that surround us.

There are so many added benefits in joining the chamber of commerce and it really is a no-brainer to become a member for an annual fee of around $200.00.

If you are a local business, and still on the fence about joining the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce, I highly recommend you stop in and introduce yourself to Linda and Tracy.  They are a valuable resource and one that any local business would benefit from.

For more information on the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce and how to join, feel free to contact them:

Location:

1561 Postal Rd
Chester, MD  21619

Mailing Address:
PO Box 511
Chester, MD   21619

Hours:
Monday- Friday
9:00a.m.-4:00p.m.

Phone Number:

410-643-8530

Chad Alvarez is the Founder and CEO of Digital Curve Marketing, LLC.  If you would like to learn more about Digital Marketing Solutions for your business, visit us at: www.digitalcurvemarketing.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sinkging Ship Representing your Website Dropping in rank online

 

It’s a new year, and that means a fresh start, but are you still struggling with the same lead generation issues from a stagnant website?  If this is you, then you already know a change is needed to generate leads, but the question is… How?

THE TRUTH:

You may have a good website with great content, but is google penalizing you for things you cannot see?  Even veteran web developers often miss these details.  I would like to show you how you can diagnose your own issues immediately.  A few tweaks may be the secret to your future success!

Let’s get started with what is killing your website ranking and costing you free leads.

Improper Meta Tags – (Title Tags & Descriptive Tags)

These snippets of information are one of the first things Google scans when determining what content is relevant to a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). It is important to have the Title Tags and Descriptive Tags properly match the content on your web pages.  For example, if someone is searching for “Auto Body Repair” it is important to have that keyword, and/or family of keywords within your Title Tag (See example below).

Auto Repair Organic Search Results

The top organic listings in a SERP have relevant keywords, and related keywords spread all over their Title Tags, Descriptive Tags, and ultimately their web pages.

See the trend here?  From top to bottom, you must do what you say you do, and Google looks for that consistency.  You cannot say in a Title Tag that you provide Auto Body work and then chat about oil changes on the same page.  It must be focused, relevant content to rank well in organic search.

Auto Repair Search query on Google

In December of 2017, Google recently doubled the Meta description length from 160 to 320 characters. This allows you to provide more descriptive detail about your business message in the SERP.  Now is the perfect time to take advantage of this expansion and revisit your Meta Tags while doing so.

Also, when creating new Title Tags, make sure they are unique for each of your pages to avoid duplication penalties. You should practice doing organic searches in your category to make sure your Title Tags do not look like your competitors.  You want to avoid “sameness” even if it means using dashes instead of bars to distinguish yourself from the rest.

The goal here is for your Title Tags and Descriptive Tags to stand out and generate a click.  Google does look at Click-Through Rate (CTR) as they want the best user experience possible.  Meta Tags that get clicks, move up in organic search.

Duplicate Content

Without a doubt, if you want your website to sink like a stone, having duplicate content is a one-way ticket to the bottom. This happens when similar content shows up in different URLS.  I am sure you are thinking, “I don’t have duplicate content because I haven’t copied anything or have no reason to reproduce pages.”  Well, most of the time it’s a technical issue.  You can create duplicate content without realizing it, so checking regularly for duplicate content is recommended.

Duplicate Content on Websites

 

Often, if you have several products that are very similar, and only differ by color or size, the pages may be flagged as duplicate content.

 

You must designate which URL you want people to see in search results. Placing canonical tags on a main page will help search engines understand which page should gain the authority and all other pages not compete for organic rank.  More information about canonicalization.

Think of it this way.  Too many “cooks in the kitchen” will confuse search engines, and will not be able to distinguish authority if all pages are optimized for the same keywords.  Canonical tags will make that decision easier for search engines.  One chef per kitchen please!

I am sure you are wondering how to check if you have duplicate content.  One of the Free tools we discuss later (Google Search Console) will show you how.  This is my #2 SEO killer that can’t be ignored.  Here is an informative link from Google Search Console giving insight on duplicate content issues and how to fix them.

 

No Mobile-Friendly Website

With Google’s search results now over 60% on mobile, the company has implemented a “mobile first indexing plan that could see the light of day by the end of this year” per Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, while addressing the SMX West Conference in March of 2017.  Now in 2018, Google has started to roll out the mobile first algorithm. 

What does this mean for you?  Well, no longer can you ignore the importance of a mobile-friendly website.  The time to act is now.

 

Mobile Friendly Website Before and After

 

FACT: Mobile devices have less real estate to work with and have fewer tokens than desktop.

Mobile sites don’t have a lot of the metadata that desktop sites have. The goal is to condense and optimize your mobile site in smaller chunks.

 

Here are 3 KEY POINTS to ensure you create a mobile-friendly website:

 

  • MAKE SURE YOUR MOBILE SITE HAS THE CONTENT YOU WANT TO RANK FOR.

FOCUS ON YOUR CORE PRODUCTS – Prioritize which products are most important and rank accordingly. Think less copy and create content that is quick and easy to digest on a mobile phone. Smaller paragraphs prevent a “wall of text” issue for easier readability.

It’s crucial to make navigation as easy as possible. Also, don’t forget to test the mobile experience yourself to see how your customers will interact with your mobile site.

  • MAKE SURE STRUCTURED DATA IS ON YOUR MOBILE SITE.

Structured Data is a standardized format Google bots read to understand what is on a web page.  It then can break out numbers, dates, and groups of words and numbers called strings.  A great example would be ingredients to a recipe.  Structured data can allow someone to search by ingredient, calories, cooking time etc. and pick up your recipe in a search query through structured data.

Websites with structured data can also appear in a graphical search snippet.  If your website does not currently have structured data, it is highly recommended that you learn more about it as Google prefers this method of organized data lists.  Here is an intro guide on structured data to learn more.

  • MAKE SURE REL-ANNOTATIONS ARE ON YOUR MOBILE SITE.

A rel-annotation helps Google’s algorithm understand the difference between your mobile page and desktop page. Your web developer would need to add a rel=”alternate” tag on your desktop to point to the mobile URL and vice versa.

These tags tie your two site versions together, so search results are better synchronized. This also helps Google pull up the appropriate version based on the device being utilized for the search.

 

Here are: 3 FREE TOOLS TO IDENTIFY YOUR WEBSITE ISSUES IN A MATTER OF MINUTES!

 

  1. Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool & Meta Tag Generator

 These 2 FREE tools go hand in hand as they allow you to customize your Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and preview how your pages will appear in a Google search query.

The Snippet Optimization tool allows you to format your messaging and prevent any truncation of your content.  It best used when writing unique Meta Titles & Meta Descriptions to prevent duplicate content as we discussed in our SEO killer section above. It is very important to write unique content on each page to prevent any duplicate content penalties.

 

Here are the quick steps.

 

  • First, you build your Title Tag and Description Tag with your focus keyword(s) in mind. In this case, we are focusing on “FREE SEO TOOLS”.

 

FREE SEO Tool to create Search Engine Results Page Snippets

 

  • Next, you can preview how it would appear live in a google search. This allows you to see firsthand how your keywords are placed and if you feel you are speaking to your target audience.  The goal here is not only ranking, but to generate interest and gain a click.

 

FREE SEO Search Engine Results page snippet tool

 

  • Third step, once you have the right content for your Meta Tags written, the question is, “How do I write the HTML code to place on my web pages?” This is where the Meta Tag Generator from SEOBook comes in.

FREE SEO Meta Tag Tool to use when creating Meta Tags

 

This is the second phase to completing your HTML code for your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions.

 

  • Copy the Title Tags and Description Tags from Step 1 from the Snippet Optimization tool then click “Create META Tags” as seen in screen shot below.

 

FREE SEO Meta Tag Tool to use when creating Meta Tags

 

  • Next, copy and paste the HTML code from the results and paste into the <Header> section of your web page.

 

  • Copy the following lines of code and insert them between the <HEAD> and </head> tags in your HTML document. That’s it!

<title>FREE SEO Tools | Digital Marketing Tools to Use Now!</title>

<meta name=”Description” content=”Get your FREE SEO Tools to help you optimize your website in a matter of minutes! Learn SEO Strategies, Content Marketing, Blogging, and MORE!”>

<meta name=”Keywords” content=”SEO Tools, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Blogging”>

 

Keep in mind, there are several free sites that can help you with your snippets and generate HTML codes for you, but these 2 should be part of your arsenal when it comes to free SEO tools for your META data.

 

  1. PageSpeed Insights: PageSpeed Insights analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster.  It is a FREE Google tool that will point out deficiencies in your desktop and mobile versions of your website.

 

PageSpeed Insights gives you a roadmap of exactly what needs to be fixed in detail.

 

PageSpeed Insights Tool for use on your website

 

Google takes pride in how fast it produces results in its SERP (Search Engine Results Page).  If two competitive websites have quality content, Google can penalize a site with a slow page load speed.

Google is all about the user experience and providing fast results has been their forte. That is due to the high standards they expect from quick loading pages along with relevant content.

Clicking on the “Show how to fix” arrow will provide detailed information on what is needed to fix problems causing optimization issues.  Sometimes, it could be a simple image that needs to be compressed to speed up loading times, or Minify CSS and Javascript files.  This often overlooked FREE google tool is a “must have” in checking your website health.

 

PageSpeed Insights FREE TOOL to check the speed of your website

 

  1. Google Search Console (Formerly known as Webmaster Tools): Another FREE web service provided by Google for webmasters. This tool allows you to check the indexing status of your pages and optimize the visibility of your website.

It looks at 4 key areas on your website:

  • Site Configuration – (Preferred Domain, Sitelinks, Sitemap etc.)
  • Site Health (errors, broken links etc)
  • Site Traffic (website activity, demographics, audiences etc)
  • Site Optimization (SEO suggestions, improvements, keyword content etc)

I am surprised at the amount of business owners that either A) are unaware of this free tool’s existence, or B) simply do not have it set up at all.

Think of this tool as a mechanic plugging your car into a diagnostic computer and analyzing the issues under the hood.  The same analogy applies here. Google Search Console provides direct tips and suggestions on what is needed to pave the way for a healthy website.

It will diagnose most issues from duplicate content pages, to search traffic, and how many of your pages are properly indexed.  I will walk you through the steps to set up your own personal Google Search Console.

To get started, you need to add your website and verify you are the owner of the site, webmaster, or authorized user.

 

How to set up Google Search Console for your business.

If you currently have a Google Analytics Account installed, the process is easy.  All you must do in Google Search Console is click on the “VERIFY” button and you are all set!  You must have a Google account to access Search Console, you can setup your Google account here.

 

  • Once you have logged into Google Search Console with your Google account, in the upper right hand corner, click on the red “ADD A PROPERTY” button.

 

Google Search Console

 

  • Next, add the URL of your website and click “ADD”.

 

  • The next segment will ask you to verify your website in a few ways.
    1. If you can verify your ownership through your Google Analytics Tracking ID.
    2. If you can upload an HTML file to the root of your website.
    3. If you can verify your website through your host provider. (GoDaddy, NameCheap etc.)
    4. Or, using your Google Tag Manager and verify with your Google Tags.

 

Now that you are all set up in Google Search Console, it usually takes 1-2 weeks to fully analyze your data so keep checking frequently.  (The size of your website can dictate how long this process takes)

With 2018 being the year of mobile first indexing, and a changing of the guard with how we search content with our mobile devices, now is the time to take a serious look at the state of your website.  These Free SEO tools are just the tip of the iceberg and can point you in the right direction to build your website as a serious lead generator.

Chad Alvarez is the Founder and CEO of Digital Curve Marketing, LLC.  To learn more about SEO strategies, social media marketing, mobile-friendly web design, or anything we discussed in this article, please contact him at chad@digitalcurvemarketing.com to get a fresh start in 2018.

 

Digital Curve Marketing Logo

Digital Curve Marketing’s website is now live.  After many months of blood, sweat, and tears, We can finally introduce the company to the outside world.

The seeds of Digital Curve Marketing were not dug up from some graveyard and put together in a science lab, but actually from the ashes of a yellow page phone book in Chicago back in 2006.

In what we consider the wild west of the SEO boom, Google decided to partner up with Yellow Page companies to bring small to medium businesses into the digital age.  No longer could brick and morter stores depend on foot traffic to drive revenue, but keywords on search engines to bring future customers to their “digital storefront”.

In the yellow page world, we often said, “Nobody can see a billboard in the basement.”  No matter how well your website looks, you have to be seen to be found.  It sounds pretty simple right?  Well, not if you do not know how to get there.  That is where I knew we could help business owners change with the times and move into the digital space.

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to put a spooky spin on our first post.  While doing so, I want to explain the importance of keeping your customers engaged.  Much like Frankenstein,  you need electricity and a spark to keep your online message alive and active.

Here are 3 Simple “Things” You Need to Stay Alive Online

.

  • Fresh Content
  • Who doesnt love a good story?.  When google’s “spiders” are searching the web, active websites are seen as fresh and relevant.  Think about it.  Can you move forward if you are sitting still?  Writing a blog about your day to day experiences in your industry will help grow your weight online and help search rankings.  Most of all, customers trust businesses more that blog and respond to reviews than those that do not.

 

  • Mobile-Friendly Website
  • Over 60% of all google searches are now performed on mobile devices.  That shouldnt be a surprise as the install base of mobile devices has surpassed the desktop in 2017. Test your own website on your mobile device and ask yourself,  “Is this easy to use and mobile friendly for my customers?”

 

  • Find Yourself Online
  • Every month, make sure you are searching for your content online and see who is populating the front pages of search engines.  If you are slipping in the ranks, check your competitor’s sites and see what they are doing differently.  Imitation is the best form of flattery, and dont think companies out there arent researching your success.  Always be innovating.  Always be looking over your shoulder for an up and comer.

Something to remember when coming into the fall months.  Searches online go up in the 4th quarter as the weather cools off.  People spend more time indoors and less time on vacations, which means more time researching products online.  4th quarter revenues will make or break many businesses, so it’s important positioning yourself online now for the 4th quarter push.

Thank you for checking out Digital Curve Marketing.  Have a Happy Halloween and enjoy the fall season.  Contact us if you wish to learn more about our services.