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When it comes to site optimization, numerous strategies can be used for the purpose.

Though you can get your desired results by any method, the question that which strategy is the ‘best’ is subjective and sometimes debatable.

There’s just one distinction that you must fully know: White hat SEO v. black hat SEO.

Below, we will have an in-depth look into all the differences present between these two approaches of site optimization. We will also describe the practices involved in the two methods along with a few examples to give you a better understanding.

In addition to that, we will also get to know a lesser-known midway approach, known as the grey hat SEO. So keep reading to learn it all.

White Hat SEO

Let’s first understand what white hat SEO is.

If we were to summarize it in one sentence, white hat SEO is the ethical and correct way for the optimization of a site.

To help you better understand the concept, an SEO strategy is white hat if it fulfills the following 3 conditions.

1.     It follows Google’s guidelines

If your site optimization strategy is in accordance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines (or the guidelines of the search engine you’re using) then it’s safe to assume that you’re using white hat SEO.

Google and other search engines have laid clear rules regarding how to optimize your site.

These rules, describing the tenets of ‘ethical’ site optimization, are extremely comprehensive. However, they can easily be summarized into one simple tip, and that is, don’t manipulate.

It means, if you are not trying to manipulate your organic rankings or deceive Google in any way, you’re most probably following their SEO guidelines, i.e. white hat approach.

2.     It targets humans, not bots

If your SEO strategy adds value to your site’s visitors, you’re using white hat SEO.

The top priority of Google and other search engines is to give their customers the best results whenever they search for anything. That’s why if you make your site beneficial for users, the search engines will reward you with higher rankings.

You can improve the user experience of your site by various techniques.

For instance, you can enhance the loading speed of your page to give them a better experience. Or you can provide them with quality content, relevant to their search keywords.

When your SEO strategy targets humans in a bid to provide them a great experience, you’re doing exactly what Google wants from you, i.e. using white hat SEO.

3.     It takes more time and effort

An SEO strategy that’s in line with Google’s site optimization guidelines and that gives a great user experience takes more time and effort as compared to black hat techniques.

However, your effort will be worth it, because white hat techniques always have a long-lasting impact on your site.

Since you invest in your content and you don’t use any manipulative tactics that can cause penalization from search engines, white hat SEO is a long-term approach for site optimization.

Black Hat SEO

As you can guess, black hat SEO is 180o opposite to that of white hat SEO.

To give you a better understanding of the concept, an SEO strategy is black hat if it fulfills the following three conditions.

1.     It goes against Google’s guidelines

A black hat SEO strategy violates Google’s site optimization guidelines.

In most of the cases, the black hat practices have been clearly described in search engine guidelines as the tactics you must avoid in all circumstances.

2.     It uses manipulative techniques

A black hat SEO strategy uses manipulative techniques to deceive Google’s algorithm in a bid to get higher rankings.

In contrast with white hat SEO, black hat doesn’t provide a good user experience.

However, it uses deceptive tactics to trick Google into believing that the site is providing a great experience to its users.

3.     It tries to get ‘quick wins’

A black hat SEO strategy tries to exploit the loopholes present in search engine algorithms to get higher rankings without putting in much effort.

Even though black hat tactics can improve the ranking of a site, the result never lasts.

Google and other search engines constantly improve their search algorithms to prevent the sites that don’t provide value to users from ranking higher in search results.

It means if a site gets good results due to black hat tactics, it would lose its ranking every time Google updates its algorithm.

To put it simply, black hat SEO is a myopic approach with short-lived success.

Difference Between White Hat And Black Hat SEO

The biggest difference between white hat and black hat SEO is that the former gives a great user experience and complies with Google’s guidelines, while the latter has no regard for user experience and violates Google’s guidelines.

Examples

Since white and black hat approaches are the exact opposite to each other, the tactics deployed in both the strategies are also entirely different. Here are the most notable techniques used in both these approaches, as per Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

What To Do: White Hat SEO

Google lays out a framework of basic principles that site owners can consult while optimizing their site. Here are a few of those principles:

  • Never try to deceive users.
  • Make your pages for humans, not for bots or search engines.
  • Try to make your site unique, engaging, and valuable. Your website should stand out in the crowd, at least you should aim to make it stand out from competitors.
  • Don’t rely on tricks to enhance your search rankings. If you’re not sure about something, ask yourself if it would help your users. Another great test is to think if you would find it comfortable to explain your site optimization approach to a Google employee, or any of your competitors.

Google also makes it clear that the rankings of site owners who resort to deceptive practices would be poorer to those who act in accordance with “principles.”

So, if your efforts are intended to provide a great browsing experience to users, you can rest assured that your site optimization approach is in total compliance with Google.

It means, writing relevant and quality content, enhancing page loading speed and making your site mobile-friendly are all white hat tactics since they improve user experience. These ethical, Google- compliant techniques will have a positive and long-lasting effect on your search rankings.

What Not To Do: Black Hat SEO

In contrast with the general and broadly defined things Google recommends you to do, the tactics that you shouldn’t use (black hat) are specifically pointed out.

According to Google’s guidelines, the following (black hat) practices can cause penalization:

  • Webpages with irrelevant keywords
  • Malicious pages, containing trojans, viruses, or other badware
  • Hidden links or text
  • Pages with scraped content
  • Doorway pages
  • Pages with cloaking
  • Pages with sneaky redirects
  • Sending automated queries to Google
  • Abusing rich snippets markup
  • Pages with automatically generated content
  • Pages with little or no original content
  • Participating in link schemes with no value
  • Participating in affiliate programs with no value

It must be noted here that this list isn’t comprehensive. There might be more tactics that violate Google’s guidelines but aren’t listed here.

Grey Hat SEO

You might have sometimes heard the term ‘grey hat’ SEO, even though it’s not a very common concept.

As you can probably guess from the name, grey hat SEO refers to the strategies that lie in between black hat and white hat SEO.

The grey hat practices can be manipulative in the majority of cases, but they are not specifically labeled by Google as something one should avoid.

It means they’re less risky as compared to the black hat practices, which are strictly defined as a no-no by Google. But they could still lead to negative consequences, though the risk might be less.

To give you a better understanding of the concept, practices like submitting to link directories, building microsites, and creating doorway pages all fall under the grey hat umbrella.

The Risks Involved In Grey Hat Or Black Hat Tactics

If you use grey or black hat tactics in a bid to trick Google’s algorithm, you can face any of these two possible consequences.

Google can either manually penalize you, or you could lose your rankings after an algorithm update. Let’s have an in-depth look into both.

Manual penalties

Google has clearly specified that it will take Manual Action against the sites that use black hat practices.

Once a site is flagged for violating Google’s guidelines, Google’s team members review it and issue penalties in accordance.

When a manual action is taken against a site by human reviewers, it fails to appear in search results in all subsequent searches.

It means the result of using black hat practices is the exact opposite of what the site owner used them for in the first place.

Algorithm updates

In order to improve their search results, Google and other search engines regularly update their algorithms. And most of the updates are aimed at addressing the loopholes that are exploited by black hat SEO users.

For instance, the ‘Penguin’ update of 2012 was one of the most noteworthy changes. This update targeted the sites that bought links or used spammy link tactics.

As soon the update was out, tens of thousands of sites that were using the aforementioned link practices lost their rankings.

Google has since then released numerous updates to target deceptive SEO practices.

Even though the algorithm updates don’t try to target or penalize a specific site owner, they dramatically affect the search rankings of site owners who rely on black hat practices.

Is Link Building A Black Hat Practice?

A common question that may arise in your mind could be whether link building also falls under the umbrella of black hat practices?

It’s a well-known fact that a majority of site owners try to build links to improve their rankings. Regardless of the user experience, their sole aim is to enhance the credibility of their site with Google or other search engines.

So, should you or should you not try to build links to optimize your website? Fortunately, link building is not prohibited by Google – but you must be very careful about how you earn links to your site.

According to Google’s guidelines, you must not participate in affiliate programs and link schemes that don’t offer value. Besides that, you must never ever try to buy links.

To put it simply, earning links is not a black hat tactic until and unless you don’t try to manipulate the search engine algorithms with spammy and unnatural links.

The Takeaway: Adhere To White Hat Practices

White hat practices take effort. You will also have to invest a notable amount of time, and often some amount of money as well, to achieve your desired outcome.

So, you might see black hat SEO as a shortcut to achieve your desired results.

But the truth is, the risks the site owners face when they resort to a black hat SEO strategy are simply too much, and definitely not worth the probable rewards.

If you want to be successful in the longer run – without ever worrying about potential penalties or algorithm updates – you must invest in a white hat SEO strategy.

Conclusion

White hat v. black hat SEO is a debate you may often come across as you explore the best ways for site optimization.

And when it happens, remember that this debate isn’t worth investing your time.

Using white hat practices is, without a doubt, the approach you must take as a digital marketer. Don’t even bother hearing if anyone tries to convince you otherwise.

Black hat practices may help site owners in achieving quick wins, but they rely on deceptive tactics in clear violation of Google’s guidelines and lead to penalization, sooner or later.

On the other hand, white hat SEO takes a long-term effort, focuses on humans, and complies with Google’s guidelines — leaving a positive and lasting effect on your rankings.

Contact us today, to help you rank your website

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You got your site off the ground the right way, gained momentum with your content, and amassed a huge online following. However, somewhere down the line, you lost direction and decided to decrease or stop your SEO efforts entirely.

You may decide to stop SEO possibly because it’s too expensive or you’ve been taken in by misinformation about SEO.  It’s also common for people to abandon SEO because they expect incredible results in the short term.

If you’re asking, “Why is SEO important?” read on to get the answer.

Why Is SEO Important?

The main objective of any SEO campaign is to get the site to the top spot on the SERPs. In doing so, SEO drives traffic by exposing your site to more web users.

SEO helps to generate revenue for ecommerce sites, by making products more visible on the search engine results page.

One thing about SEO campaigns is that you have to keep constantly improving them. That’s because Google analytics are continually changing, meaning you have to adapt your SEO to the ever-changing analytics to retain your site’s ranking.

What Happens If I Stop Doing SEO?

Since SEO is so important, there are probably consequences for stopping your SEO campaign. On the other hand, maybe you’ve done enough to get you’re a high-ranking site and stopping your SEO efforts could be harmless.

Let’s boil down to what exactly happens when you stop paying attention to your SEO campaigns. It’s normal for your site’s traffic to remain consistent for a couple of months after you stop SEO, but you’ll notice some decline sooner or later.

Here’s what happens when you:-

Stop Posting Quality Content

Quality content is essential for your site’s success. That’s why most web designers and marketing agents emphasize on quality content for your SEO strategy. So when you start slacking off on posting quality of your content, you should expect:-

  • Slower traffic because you aren’t continual targeting new keywords, which is essential for your site’s ranking
  • Your content is no longer worthy of sharing in social media, which also translates to lesser traffic influx
  • Your frequent visitor stop visiting as often because there’s no fresh content on the site
  • The number of backlinks on your pages drastically means, which hurts your online income

When you stop posting fresh quality content, Google will think your site is inactive. It’s only logical for Google to lower your rankings because your site no longer adds value to the web users.

Stop Updating Pages

Nothing screams my site is no longer active than static content. If your last post was in November 2017, then it beats the point of having a website in 2020.  We get it, sometimes there’s simply no fresh content to add to your site, but here are some ways to always keep your pages fresh.

  1. Make your previous text longer- You don’t necessarily need new topics for fresh content. You can simply add on to your current content. Always remember to notify your visitors of any changes through newsletters or your email list.
  2. Add Some FAQs- Adding more FAQs to your FAQ page counts as a page update. So add a few FAQs to your site for both you and your web visitors’ sake.
  3. Add links to other articles- When it comes to adding links to other articles, ensure what you’re linking to is relevant content. That way, you’ll also be adding value to site visitors apart from just updating your pages.

Of course, the best way to keep your page up-to-date is by adding fresh new relevant content. Don’t be too lazy, scout around for new content and keep your site updated.

Neglect the Technical Issues

Managing a website isn’t the easiest thing on earth because apart from worrying about rankings, you also have to deal with a heap of technical issues. Choosing to ignore these technical problems only spells disaster for the site.

The best approach to fixing technical issues is solving them as they occur. These technical issues may include stuff like duplicate content and site clutter, among others. If you let these issues pile up, they may overwhelm you when you finally decide to solve them collectively.

Plus, remember that the more the issues pile up, the costlier it will be to solve. Keep that in mind the next time you want to put off fixing your website’s technical issues.

Stop Adding New Pages

Adding new pages is more difficult for some sites than it is for others. That’s because some niche sites can’t add new pages since they can’t segment their sites any further. Regardless of the niche of your website, do your best to add some new pages to the site.

Remember, these new pages should coordinate with your overall site’s structure and organisation. You can make these new landing pages if you aren’t keen on boosting your SEO. Make sure these landing pages target keywords for an even greater effect on SEO.

However, remember not to clutter these pages as they might hurt your loading speeds, which is bad for SEO.

Stopping Your SEO Campaign Is Never a Good Idea

From the above, we can conclusively establish that stopping SEO works to the detriment of your site. Plus, having answered the question, “Why is SEO important?” you should be focusing your full attention on SEO.

The effects of good SEO takes some time to pick, but eventually, you will have a high-ranking site with a massive online following.

Contact us today, and we’ll see how we can help refine and streamline your SEO strategy for more traffic and a successful website.

Let us help your business succeed.

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If you need to improve your company and brand’s ability to close sales, your work isn’t complete without making sure your website is top-notch.

When it’s not, your website can actually become a liability. There are some tell-tale signs that a website is causing you to lose business, to the point of creating a sales bottleneck.

To prevent this, there are some strategies you can put into place that will help you redesign your website in a way that creates tremendous improvement.

Follow the points below so that you know when you need a website redesign that will prevent your site from cutting into your sales.

1. Your Site’s Bounce Rate is Too High

Run the analytics of your website so that you know exactly how visitors are interacting with it.

A high bounce rate is one of the worst metrics that truly tell the sign of a site that needs to be redesigned. This refers to users clicking out of your site after only visiting one page.

The average bounce rate for a website is about 58 percent, which means that out of 100 different visits, 58 people click a single page alone before leaving. If your bounce rate is much higher than 58 percent, it points to the fact that something is wrong with the site and that it isn’t connecting with your visitors in the way that it should.

2. The Site Doesn’t Represent Your Brand Well

Your website needs to always represent your brand.

If it doesn’t, people will be either confused or put off. Your brand needs to truly resonate with people, and this can only happen when your site is well-designed and fitting with what you are trying to convey.

When you work with web designers, make sure that they are great at what they do, but also ensure that they understand your brand and what you are trying to get across.

3. It Isn’t Mobile-Optimized or Efficient

People spend far more time on their mobile devices today than they do watching TV. As such, it’s up to you to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile viewing and use.

With this in mind, it is important that you improve your site so that it is usable across iPhone, Android or any other mobile devices.

4. The Website Functionality and User Experience Aren’t Great

Test your website relentlessly to make sure that the navigation experience is smooth and seamless.

When your website is well put-together and easy to use, people will be less likely to click out. The better you design your website, the easier it is for your visitors to use it and to move forward with sales and conversions without an issue.

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Poor or Subpar

Right now, search engine optimization (SEO) is an €80 billion industry that is continuously growing.

With this in mind, you should redesign your site in a way that gives you much greater SEO performance. By making this happen, your site will be very visible in Google and other search engines, which will inevitably grow your traffic and your customer base.

6. The Site Doesn’t Accurately Serve its Purpose

Make sure that you fully and completely improve your site so that it serves the purpose that you need it to.

This is part branding and part simplification. For instance, you might be rolling out a brand new product that deserves its own website, as opposed to a section in your company’s home site.

When your site is set up to serve a specific purpose, you cut out the confusion and will give your visitors the experience that they are expecting every time that they access it.

7. You Need to Improve Your Content Quality and Execution

Be sure that you are always putting out quality content since this will be the lifeblood of your website.

Operating a blog will be worth its weight in gold because it informs your customers about who you are and what you do. In fact, quality content is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization, and will continuously drive quality traffic that leads to conversions.

Regardless of what type of content you create, make sure that you are telling stories, engaging your visitors and making use of quality multimedia whenever possible.

8. The Load Time is Slow

It’s also important that your site has a speedy response time.

Nothing makes people click away quicker than a site that loads slowly. Since people are increasingly accustomed to high-speed internet, make sure that your site is up to par and that you test it until you’re satisfied with its load speeds.

9. It Lacks Security Protocols

This is also a time in which a lot of people are dealing with security breaches. To make sure that your site is protecting its visitors, upgrade to an “https” protocol, and keep the security of the website at the very top of your priority list.

When your site is secure, your visitors have nothing to worry about and will stick around.

Work on a Quality Website Redesign

When you’re experiencing any of these issues, a website redesign is definitely in order.

Putting these tips to use will help you not only uphold your brand but also beat out the competition. If you need any sort of help at all, we’d love to assist you.

For the best in website design, web development and digital marketing services, contact us today!

Do you need to redesign your website? Our team is here to help you!

Contact us today to see how The Web Ally can help your business succeed.

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If you want to separate yourself from your competitors, then you need to up your digital marketing game. Content marketing uses the content you create on your site and elsewhere to bring traffic to your site and improve your overall sales performance.

People know that content is king, but what kind of content does your business need? Should you bother with content marketing services when there are so many other forms of digital marketing out there? We’ll show you why content marketing is worth it and how it helps many other areas of digital marketing.

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting content marketing for your website.

Build Trust with Customers

You’re an authority in your business niche. You know many aspects that most other people don’t, but how can you let people know what if they don’t visit your shop or website? Content marketing lets you create highly authoritative content and get it out in front of the eyes of potential customers.

When people read your content, they understand that you’re not just your average person off the street, but someone who knows the business in and out. Content marketing builds trust with potential customers because they trust you as an authority.

Grow Your Website Traffic

Google wants people to get the best possible results when they do a search. They have a very complex algorithm designed to evaluate your website for many factors including authority and trustworthiness. One of the ways they determine this is by the content on your site.

By creating great content, you’re improving your authority in the eyes of Google. They’ll improve your ranking for various keywords, and this can grow your organic traffic. The higher your ranking the more likely you’ll be chosen by a searcher.

Website traffic is the bread and butter of e-business success and the more qualified traffic you get, the higher your conversions.

Higher Return on Investment

There is a cost associated with all aspects digital marketing in both money and time. Marketing ads take a heavy investment and many times the return isn’t the greatest. Content marketing has a much better return on investment.

It’s estimated that content marketing provides three times the number of leads compared to paid advertising. Consider having an ad budget of $500 per month. Unless you run an incredibly good ad campaign, the ROI isn’t going to be large.

One month it can be great and the next almost nothing. Each year the cost of PPC advertising continues to increase.

Content marketing has a cost of creating the article and getting it out there. Once it is, then it has a lifetime potential for leads. Ads are only there for a short period, but articles can be on websites for many years.

You end up with a better ROI because the content never goes away and it can earn leads years after it was written. Each article you write increases that lead opportunity.

Build Your Brand

You know your business, but unless you’re getting your name out there many others don’t. If you’re an e-commerce business only without a brick and mortar store, you could be missing out on conversions because people don’t know who you are.

Content marketing gets your business name out there. Your name is associated with high-quality content. It builds your brand name and reputation because more people see it. In e-commerce where you’re one website in a sea of millions, brand management is essential to growing your business.

Content marketing is one of the best methods to create brand awareness.

Content Marketing Services Generate Sales Leads

If you’re looking to add a new service or product, would you prefer a business that you found using highly trustworthy content or one that has a sparse website with little content at all?

Content marketing helps build sales leads by showing you as an authority. They may not even be on your website, but they know you’re a leader because you’ve been published through guest blogging. You can use great content like e-books to further draw them down the sales funnel.

You can’t beat creating awareness and trust with potential customers and content marketing is a great way to do that.

Attract Qualified Traffic to Your Site

One of the biggest problem’s websites have is converting website traffic into sales. They can get plenty of traffic to the site, but much of it doesn’t convert into sales. It could be because they’re not interested in buying or got there by mistake.

Content marketing is about sharing your expertise. The people reading it are already interested in your product or service or they wouldn’t be reading the content. By sending them to your website, you’re increasing the amount of qualified traffic going to your site.

This can lead to more sales

Content Could Be Shared on Social Media

Part of content marketing is taking your existing website content such as blog posts and sharing them on social media like Facebook. You’re not only getting it out in front of an audience that’s not on your website but also increases the chance of it being shared.

If a customer thinks your content is great and wants their friends to know about it, then they’ll share it. Who knows where it can go from there? Your content can get spread far and wide through social media because you put it on Facebook for people to read.

Builds High Authority Backlinks

We talked earlier about how Google uses many factors when determining search results ranking. Backlinks are another important factor. Backlinks are links on another website that link back to your website.

Part of content marketing is getting other sites to publish content written by you and then linking back to your site either in the article or in an author bio. The more backlinks you have from websites that are in your business niche, the better chances you have of ranking better in Google.

Create a Community Around Content

One of the hardest things for a business to do is keep customers coming back to their site. People visit many websites every day and once they use your business, they may not have cause to come back again.

Creating content and sharing it through social media, email marketing, etc., gives people a reason to come back to your website. You’ll create a community around content that you create on a regular basis.

Businesses Need Content Marketing

Content marketing services help businesses out in many ways and complements other forms of digital marketing. It should be part of your overall marketing plan.

If you want to learn more about content marketing and digital marketing, then please explore our site.

Do you need to improve your your website rankings? Our team is here to help you!

Contact us today to see how The Web Ally can help your business succeed.

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The ideal for any business owner is to have people just show up that want to buy your products and services. There’s no hard sell, they just call.

Local SEO services can help your business reach that ideal. It doesn’t matter where you are in the EU, if you are a local business, you need to consider local SEO as part of your marketing strategy.

Read on to learn more about local SEO and how it can transform your business.

What is Local SEO?

You’ve probably heard of search engine optimisation, or SEO. That’s the process of optimizing your website and online presence to rank high in search results for specific search terms or keywords.

Local SEO is very similar, except that it focuses on local search results. About 80% of smartphone users search for products and services that are near them. About 90% of those who turn to “near me” searches will click on the first search results.

A part of Google’s algorithm is the proximity to the user. The algorithm can figure out the location based on the user’s phone or IP address and can then find the closest-matching services near that location.

There are about 199 other things that Google’s algorithm factors into the equation before it produces search results.

Local SEO services help your website be found by Google’s indexing bots and positions your site in the best light possible to appear higher in search results.

What Local SEO Services Can Do for Your Business

Why does local SEO matter to your business? When people are ready to buy a product or service, they’re going to look up where they can buy that product or service online.

Restaurants are a great example of that. If you’ve ever been hungry and indecisive about where you eat, you probably turned to Google for help. Tourists and other people that aren’t local to Malta make up about 33% of all local searches.

If your business is trying to capture the tourism market, local SEO is a great way to do that.

Local SEO Follows the Buyer’s Journey

Does your website get a fair amount of traffic that just leaves without taking action? There could be a lot of reasons for that. One of those reasons could be that you’re driving the wrong type of traffic to your site.

For example, if you have a fitness centre that’s trying to attract new members to your business, you may find that you’re getting clients who aren’t ready to commit yet.

There’s a path that customer’s go through before they make a decision. That’s the buyer’s journey. They take their time to research products and services before buying.

You could be reaching people earlier in the buying process and missing them when they’re ready to purchase.

This applies to every business, even ecommerce.

Local SEO enables you to target your ideal customers at every stage in the buyer’s journey. That allows you to build trust with them before they make a decision. When they are ready to make a decision, you’ll be well-positioned to get their business.

Improved Online Presence

Local SEO isn’t just about your website. It’s about how your business appears throughout the online world. Things like directory listings, social media accounts, online reviews, and links to your site all play a role in search results, too.

You have to look at every aspect of SEO and make improvements to achieve results. That results in a stronger SEO online presence.

You’ll have a more consistent presence, which search engines and internet users appreciate. If you don’t think that can have a positive impact on your business, think again. Brand consistency has been shown to increase sales.

Engaging Website Content

One way to reach potential customers and build relationships with them is to provide a lot of value throughout the customer journey.

How can you do that? Give them content that they’re looking for as they’re doing research for products or services.

For example, a fitness centre can provide useful articles for potential clients who are interested in losing weight. They can target keywords like “weight loss programs” or “how to lose weight.”

They can have articles about these topics that people can use in their daily lives. They’ll then look for specific workouts, such as “kettlebell workouts for beginners.” Again, the fitness centre can be positioned to capture that traffic.

By this point in the process, they’re familiar with the fitness centre and trust the content that they provide.

When they’re ready to find a fitness centre, they’ll search for “fitness centre near me” and when you appear, they will join your fitness centre because they already know the brand and trust your content.

Ways to Improve Local SEO

How can you start to improve your business’ appearance in search results? It starts with a website audit.

An audit will tell you where improvements need to be made on your site.

Your website needs to be a high-performing machine. It needs to be fast and provide code so search engines know exactly what each page of your website is about.

After the audit, you can use local SEO services to make recommendations and to prioritize improvements.

Local SEO Services Can Build Your Business

Can local SEO services transform your business? The answer is a resounding yes.

Local SEO can put your business in a position to get in front of potential customers at the most crucial moment – when they’re ready to make a purchase. That leads to more website traffic, more sales, and more revenue for your business.

Are you ready to explore local SEO services for your business? Take this free website SEO analysis to see where you can improve your search results today.

Do you need to improve your Local SEO rankings? Our team is here to help you!

Contact us today to see how The Web Ally can help your business succeed.

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There’s a new kind of web developer in town.

He (or she) could prove to be one of the most important members of your digital marketing team. That’s because he’s has taken the time to learn skills usually associated with a marketer instead of a programmer.

We call this new specialist a SEO Developer. Here’s a look at why you need him, how she can help you and where you can find a great SEO web developer.

What Is a SEO Developer?

Ten years ago, when you hired a web design firm to create a website for you, they had graphic designers on staff who could create the front end look and feel of your site. They also had back end developers who could program your site to complete the complex tasks associated with running your operations.

Once your site was built, you may have turned to your own in house marketing team or to an outside consultant to help you get your site noticed by people in the search engines. All too often, a search engine optimization (SEO) professionals would tell you they needed to change some of the things your web developer had just done, or request that you have that developer add things to improve your search visibility.

There’s a lot of overlap between the two roles. There’s also a lot of compromises that can and should be made between the two to arrive at a successful balance between performance optimization and search optimization. An SEO Developer has experience in both worlds and can make many of those decisions for you.

What an SEO Developer Does

There are three sides to a search engine optimization campaign. One focuses on offsite growth; building backlinks, social signals and engagement. Another focuses on the structure of the pages that make up your site and the content that is on them.

Our new SEO developer would work on the third side that focuses on sitewide and on page optimizations code changes. This has traditionally been known as the “technical” leg of SEO.

Because they are programmers as well as marketers, an SEO Developer can do the actual hands on work required to optimize your site. Here are some of the things they would or could actually touch:

  • site structures
  • sitemaps and robots.txt files
  • url structures
  • page load speeds (external javascript and css files as well as image compression)
  • server side coding for 301 redirects
  • canonical tags
  • responsive web design coding
  • social media cards and tagging
  • schema markup

Don’t worry if you don’t know what half the terms on this list mean. There are dozens of online seo technical glossaries for marketers. You can also allow your SEO Developer to tell you which ones are most applicable to your site and should be prioritized.

Where to Find an SEO Web Developer?

There is actually a job description template for an SEO Developer your HR team can use to help you try to locate one of these specialists to hire. However, there aren’t too many of these specialists out there. Nor are there formal classes and degrees being offered in this area.

Your best bet is to do what you did 10 years ago to get a great website built. You should consider outsourcing these duties to a web design and development firm. You will save yourself a lot of time and money if you do. Here are ten more reasons why you should outsource this and all your web development needs.

Do you want your website on top of Google? Our team is here to help you!

Contact us today to see how The Web Ally can help your business succeed.

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If there is one thing your business needs, it’s a website. Based on studies, current trends predict that over 51% of purchases will be made via mobile devices by 2021.

Maybe up until now, you’ve done well with your networks, circles of influence, social media, events and/or consulting. At the same time, you’ve known deep down inside there is a missing ingredient – a website. You want more free time to spend enjoying your life.

A website works for you 24 hours a day seven days a week and it doesn’t need to sleep as we do.

Connection, communication, consulting, cultivation of relationships are all possible with a business website. Let’s explore why there are more reasons than one as to why you need a business website.

The Missing Ingredient: Why You Need a Business Website

We’re sharing the most compelling reasons why you need a business website. We are also giving you helpful tips, tools, and technology to make it simple and easy for your business website to start and grow.

In today’s hyper-connected world, having no website could mean losing business. You and your team may have some insight into why you need a business website.

However, when is the last time that you took a deep dive into digital marketing, business websites, and the essentials for success in today’s online world? We are almost positive that a lot of what we share here will surprise you. Here are the basics of why you need a business website.

Start Simple

The basics of setting up your business website initially include a hosting site and website builders. There are many options out there for hosting solutions and business website builders and templates. There is no need to break the bank.

Some of the cheapest website builders you want to know are hosting and template options such as Wix and Squarespace. These website builders will help you start creating easily and effortlessly.

They are both simple to use even for a non-traditional website creator or designer. The beauty of it for the non-coders is that there is no coding required here. They offer user-friendly options at every turn.

They also offer incredible templates by themes, industries, and categories that allow you to simply input text, images, and videos. You will find yourself with your first website in no time.

Branding Enhancement

As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. You may want to think of your website as your first impression because often times it is. A business website gives you a visual platform and digital location where you get to control what you present visually to people.

Your business website will include the theme you select, your colors, your bio, your writing, your testimonials, what you offer, FAQs, your location, and email to name a few parts that will help you enhance your brand and credibility.

Enhance Credibility

In today’s online world with increasing information at our fingertips, it is important to enhance credibility. By having a website, you automatically increase your credibility. Your business website provides information to help people learn about you.

One of the biggest fears people have is fear of the unknown. When you have a business website, it helps alleviate this for people. They may see information about your business, your biography, your blog, testimonials, where you are located, and more without even talking to you face to face.

Not only may you include information about you, but you may also easily add backlinks to press features, videos, and testimonials to help build your online presence.

Attract People

The primary reason you want a website is to attract people, create value, and engage people in a deeper relationship e.g calls to action and conversions. Did you know that over 81% of people will do research online before deciding to make a purchase? It gives a whole new meaning to “window shopping”.

That is why it is essential that you are clear on who you are, what you offer, and who your target market is. You also want to be sure you are communicating this clearly on your website.

The ability to attract people is increased when you know who your target market is. It is easier to position the information when you know who you are speaking to and what you are offering them. Think about what pain points you alleviate, what problems you solve, and what solutions you offer.

So, if you have a business website, you will attract new people, create a relationship, set yourself up to grow your business, and save time.

Save Time

Who doesn’t love to save time? Think about how much time you may currently spend on phone calls, networking events, and face to face meetings. Maybe you do an experiment this week or for the next month to track it? A website will give you the ability to dramatically reduce that especially with initial overviews, about, and FAQ sections.

You may want to think about what time you spend manually now on initial client information. You may also incorporate Google Forms as an intake process via your website via a button. You will also want to think about how your business adds value.

Add Value

The missing ingredient may be a business website, but you don’t want people to simply come to your website and bounce off within less than 30 seconds. You want to get people to your website and keep them there.

You get people’s attention by adding value. Let’s say you have a consulting firm. You may want to creatively express yourself, and your value by starting a blog and contributing to it regularly. You may want to tie themes on your blog to what you offer so it also increases credibility and shares value upfront.

If you have a blog, it will increase the know, like, it trust factor and keep people on your website longer. It will also make it likelier they will return. This then increases the probability of them working with you and spending money.

Get Social

People may find your website via Google, but that isn’t the only way. Another great way to add value and invite people to visit your website is via social media platforms.

This could be sharing short stories, posts, testimonials, sneak peeks, highlights, and behind the scenes on social media. Each Social Media platform offers different features, interactions, and demographics. If you aren’t on any platforms yet, you may want to outline a strategy and start with 1-2 platforms. Each social media platform also offers a way to integrate your link or website.

If you don’t integrate social media platforms with your website, and vice versa, you may be not only missing out on social proof but also on conversions. If you miss out on conversions, you miss out on more people, impact, and money. This could range from .5% to 8%+ on various platforms and search engines like Google.

Speaking of which, you may be curious about how to have your business website be Google friendly.

Google Friendly

With all the websites out there, how is it possible to get your business website on Google? For starters, you may be particularly interested in setting up SEO and/or improving SEO from the start to improve rankings on Google.

This includes everything from strategically outlining your content with themes, keywords connected to your target markets, blog posts with keywords, consistent content creation, credible backlinks, and tracking your metrics on Google.

You will want to track Google Analytics to improve the experience people have when they visit your site. Google Analytics offers extensive data at your fingertips to track on your business websites like users, sessions, bounce rates, session duration, traffic sources, goal setting, conversions, and more.

Did you know that the average person spends over 4 hours a day on their phones? You will also want to increase your exposure, visibility, and access via a mobile-friendly site.

Mobile Friendly

Perhaps you get to the point that you’ve set up your hosting, template, target market, and adding value. You will want to make sure your business website is mobile-friendly as well.

With people spending over 4 hours a day on their phones, it is likely their first impression of you may be via a mobile website first. You also don’t want to miss out on making the first impression a great one with your business website.

Lucky for you, to help make this simpler than you ever thought possible, WixSquarespace, and WordPress and other business website templates and tools often include easy adaptability process between the desktop and mobile website.

E-Mail Marketing

There is another compelling reason why you need a business website, and that is e-mail marketing. Maybe you are ready to connect with customers directly with personal messages. If so, email marketing may be next for you.

You may find it interesting and surprising that over 59% of Business to Business Marketers said e-mail is their best marketing channel for revenue generation. As a result, you definitely want to pay attention to this channel.

Email marketing works because you are connecting with people who already chose to connect with you on a deeper level by subscribing to your email list.

It is also a great way to keep people on your website engaged and offer more value. It is very simple to give them an invitation to opt-in to a freebie with even more value at the end of your blog post. This could be a free guide, webinar, whitepaper to name a few options. This then makes it easy to transition to e-commerce with online offers among others.

E-Commerce

The natural flow for your business website after e-mail marketing is e-commerce. This offers a deeper way for your community and clients to connect with you. This could be guides, online courses, and online sales for physical products to name a few options.

A great brainstorming session could be sitting down and writing down what blogs, guides, online courses, or physical items you could share and sell online to people.

Many businesses now start as solely an online business. They see the lower overhead as highly advantageous vs. investing in a brick and mortar. Some of those businesses never open a brick and mortar due to the ease and success now of solely e-commerce options.

The basics of what you will need will include an online storefront, shopping cart, and payment processor.

This will help your business with security, insights, sales, and return on investment. You will wonder how you ever survived without e-commerce with your business.

The Missing Ingredient: Why You Need a Business Website

You may see clearly now from every angle why you need a business website. It functions 24/7, attracts people to your business, saves you time, enhances credibility, increases exposure, offers digital options for sales, and more.

Imagine the connection, communication, and community that could form with time the more you apply this information. When you think about it, figuring out why you need a business website isn’t complicated. It’s simple.

You likely agree now that you need a business website, and it is the missing ingredient. However, what action will you take next? The importance lies in implementation. You will want to think about the next action item you will take and by when.

Don’t you owe it to your business to take this seriously? Don’t you owe it to yourself? Don’t let this simply be another blog post. Take action now.

Please comment what was your favorite tool and tip down below!

Check our blog for more on Digital Marketing, Website Insights, SEO, E-commerce, and more.

Do you need a Business Website?

Reach out to us today so we can build a website that will give your company the results it deserves.

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You’ve worked hard to design your website, learned everything you can about your target market, and built your overall branding strategy.

However, if you don’t develop a strong SEO strategy, all of your efforts will be for nothing.

But what is SEO, and how does it work?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.

In a nutshell, it means taking certain SEO tactics to make sure that your website ranks as high as possible in the search engine result pages (SERPs) for short. But it’s not only about getting on the first page of Google.

It also helps to get your website’s content — and the products and services you offer — in front of the people who are most likely to buy or book.

When you use a billboard ad, for example, you just hope that someone who happens to be interested in what you’re selling drives by. But in SEO? You’re directly targeting people who are actively looking for what you have.

This means more growth, higher rankings, and of course, bigger profits.

Read on to learn more about the top SEO tactics that you can implement today.

1. Focus on Website Speed

Many professionals don’t fully realize the influence that website design — and more than anything else, website speed — have on their search engine rankings.

If your website takes even longer than one second to load, users are going to click away from it. This increases your site’s bounce rate — and search engines take that to mean that either your website isn’t well-designed or that it doesn’t offer useful information to consumers.

This means your website will fall in the search engine rankings.

In addition to focusing on intuitive, clean website design, you also need to make loading speed a priority.

To do this, always enable browser caching, enable compression, and minify your HTML requests. You should also limit the number of website plugins you use. You may even decide to work with a content delivery network (CDN) to ensure that your site loads as quickly as possible.

2. Consider the Rise of Voice Search

By the end of 2020, roughly half of all searches will be conducted via voice.

This means that Siri, Alexa, and the Amazon Echo are your new best friends. It also means that you’ll have to adjust your keyword strategy to fit with this sudden rise in voice search.

Don’t worry — this essential SEO tactic is much easier than you think.

Focus on keywords that mimic the way people actually speak, not the way the type. For example, it’s pretty common for someone to type a phrase like “best shoe shops Malta” into a search engine. But no one would say that out loud.

Instead, try to adjust the keyword phrase to include “who, what, where, when, why, and how.” So, a voice search-optimized option of that same search query might be:

“What is the best shoe shop in Malta?”

Include that phrase and others like it in your written content, and you’ll have a much greater chance of being featured in the snippets. This means your content will actually be read out loud.

3. Rethink Your Definition of “Local”

It’s no secret that local SEO is one of the most important parts of your digital marketing plan as a whole.

But the definition of the word “local” — at least, as it relates to SEO — is changing.

It’s no longer “local” enough just to list the country, the city, or even the region where your business is located. Now, you need to choose keywords that include the names of other businesses near your location, local landmarks, your street name, and the name of your neighborhood.

This is known as “hyperlocalization,” and it’s absolutely the next big thing in the world of local SEO.

4. Claim Third-Party Business Listings

One of the top things you can do to boost your SEO strategy is to claim your third-party business listings.

These are things like Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and even pages in an online community directory.

Countless consumers read reviews of your company before they decide to do business with you — and third-party listings allow consumers to write about their experience with working with your brand.

They also list your hours, nearby transportation options, accepted payment methods, and even include photos of your storefront.

5. Include Keywords in Headers and Titles

It’s not just about choosing the right keywords — it’s also about making sure that you put them in the right places on your website.

You should absolutely use keywords in your page and post titles. But make sure that you also use keywords in your headers.

Doing so won’t just give your site a boost in the rankings. It also breaks up your posts and pages, making them much easier for readers to digest.

Be honest: would you really interested in reading a wall of text?

We didn’t think so.

6. Create a Consistent Posting Schedule

If you want to understand how SEO works, you need to realize that search engines don’t just look at the keywords you use and the websites you link to.

They also look at the frequency with which you post.

Even just dashing out a quick blog post tells search engines that you’ve “updated” your website in some way. Search engines have been programmed to “think” that sites that have been recently updated will provide the most accurate and most up-to-date information to users.

So, sites that are marked as frequently updated or recently updated will rank higher in the search engine results.

We understand that it can be seriously tough to post every single day.

That’s why we strongly suggest creating a content calendar. Come up with blog content ideas, dedicate a weekend to writing them (or hire experts to do your content writing for you) and then post them throughout the month, not all at once.

While you’re doing this, also consider creating a social media posting schedule.

7. Always Optimize for Mobile Traffic

How does SEO work?

In today’s world, on a mobile-first scale.

Since more people now use mobile devices than desktop computers to access the Internet, search engines look at how well your website loads on things like tablets and smartphones to determining your ranking factor.

In short, how well your site loads on mobile devices is now more important than how well it loads on desktop computers.

To optimize your site for mobile, get rid of pop-ups and banner ads. Ensure that buttons are large enough to be clicked on mobile devices, and that your content loads quickly and completely on mobile.

You may even consider creating a mobile app for your brand, or at least enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to improve the mobile user experience.

8. Include Google Maps

Google Maps is six times more popular than all other navigation apps combined.

In short?

Chances are pretty high that your target market is using Google Maps to help them find out the best way to get to your store from their current location.

That’s why it’s so important — especially when it comes to local SEO — to include a Google Map on every page of your website (the homepage alone isn’t enough.) This is also a great time to ensure that you have your contact information on every page of your website.

Visitors don’t want to have to comb through your entire site just to find your phone number or address.

9. Optimize Your URL

One of the top quick and easy ways you can boost your overall SEO score and get more targeted traffic to your website is by optimizing your URL.

We’re not just talking about your actual website address — though of course, that matters, too.

Instead, we mean including keyword phrases in your actual URL structure.

For example, let’s say the keyword phrase you wanted to target was “best dive shops in Malta.”

You’ve written a blog post ranking the top 5 dive shops in Malta, and you want to make sure those who are ready to book a dive ASAP see it.

Instead of just a URL address that’s a bunch of random letters and numbers, try a URL for the post like:

www.YourWebsite.com/blog/5-Best-Dive-Shops-in-Malta

This is an awesome way to get the right kind of traffic to your site and to increase your conversions (AKA, make more sales) in the process.

10. Include Links to Your Site on Social Media Profiles

Many people struggle to understand how SEO works with their brand’s social media profiles.

The best way to think about how your social media accounts direct traffic to your website, increasing your ranking as a result.

This is why it’s so important to include links to your website in your profile’s bio or even in specific posts.

Embrace the “shoppable posts” trend by allowing your followers to click on social media images directly to be sent to the page of your website where they can buy them.

Share blog posts on your Facebook account to encourage followers to read them on your blog.

Remember the power of dark social, too. If users share links you’ve posted on social media in messenger apps, email, or even through text messages, you’ll still get a boost to your overall SEO score — even if these shares are a bit harder to track.

11. Rethink Your Images

One of our easiest search ideas?

Optimize your images for SEO in every way. Begin by using one of your keywords as the image’s file name. Include keywords in a caption underneath or alongside the image, as well.

Use JPEG image files whenever possible, as they’ll still look great even when resized.

You also need to consider how the size of the image will impact your SEO score. Compress images to decrease their overall file size without compromising the quality of the pixels.

In general: just stay away from oversized images whenever possible. Usually, the picture doesn’t really need to be that big to get your point across.

These tips will also help you to understand how to optimize your images.

12. Never Stop Monitoring Your Site

Remember that popular SEO tactics — and even search engine algorithms — are constantly changing.

The same goes for the ways in which people search for things they need online.

To ensure that you’re keeping up with the times and that your current strategies are still effective, you need to constantly monitor your website.

Look at your most and least popular pages. Be aware of the average amount of time a user spends on your website. Check your site’s speed and mobile-friendliness by using tools like this one. Ensure that links are still functioning and that the keywords you’re trying to rank for are still the best options.

Remember, it’s not just about getting to the first page of search engines. It’s also about staying there.

Try These SEO Tactics and Watch Your Rankings Soar

This post has given you an excellent understanding of some of the most important SEO tactics you need to implement in order to outrank your competitors and make more sales.

But here’s the thing.

Most companies — regardless of size or industry — don’t actually have the time to implement all of these SEO strategies on their own. They have to make meetings, pitch clients, go to industry events, and create and test new products and services.

But even if they do have the time, they often don’t really have the expertise needed to succeed.

That’s where we come in.

We offer a wide variety of the top SEO services that you can’t afford to do without.

Reach out to us today to start creating an SEO and overall digital marketing plan that will give your company the results it deserves.

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Which is more important: a website that makes human visitors happy or one that makes the search engines happy?

If you’re like most business people, you don’t really care. You just want a website that supports your business and makes you money.

Unfortunately, if this is the objective you’ve given your web designer for your new site or site redesign, your website may not do a great job at either supporting you or making you money.

The problem is that web development and SEO objectives can sometimes be at odds with one another. One team wants to just please people, while the other sees that many of these efforts to please people hurt your efforts to be found in the search engines.

Let’s take a look at where and why these conflicts occur. Then let’s talk about how you can get web dev and SEO teams working together to give you a truly “best at everything” website.

Web Design and Development Teams

Web design and development efforts are all aimed at making your site look and act a certain way. The web design team handles the front-end work that your visitors see.

Designers want your site to lure people in with a fresh and interactive look and feel. They want that smooth scrolling, single page site that looks great on a mobile device and cuts down on (or eliminates) all the clicking and page loading that can slow a visitor down.

Web Developers work in the backend code that supports these front end objectives. They make sure that all the functions of your site, like collecting email addresses from prospects and playing videos to handling sales orders all work perfectly. In addition, they make sure these functions all work perfectly with each other and with that nifty layout with the hidden, then exposed content.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Team

Years ago, search engine optimization experts referred to Google as a “blind five year old.” The search engine spiders could not see still images or video and navigated the web by touching and following links from one page to another.

Googlebot has progressed some with the growth of the Internet, but the spider still has trouble seeing and understanding some images, videos and codes. Textural content cues have become more important as the use of different media has grown.

Along the way, Google and BIng have made other adaptations to keep up with changing design trends that sometimes put SEO in direct conflict with designers.

For example, John Mueller, spokesperson for Google, said in January of 2018 that Google does see and index text that is “hidden” on a page and only revealed when a visitor clicks a tab or “read more” text. He also said that Google discounts the importance of this text because it is initially hidden.

Web Development and SEO Can Work Together

In order to avoid as many conflicts as possible, you want to get your web development and SEO teams talking with one another as early in the process of designing your new site as possible. Both these experts can then look at ways code and content can work together to please both audiences.

In our hidden text example above, this could mean changes are made to both code and content. The code could be rewritten to display the first three lines of the content on the page before a “read more” link needs to be triggered. The content can also be rewritten to ensure the most important keywords and thoughts appear in those first three lines.

Page load speeds, site structures, and url structures are just a few of the other areas where web dev and SEO compromises can have big benefits for your website’s performance. Here are even more ideas of how you can push your site to peak performance when these two work in harmony.

Do you want your website on top of Google? Our team is here to help you!

Contact us today to see how The Web Ally can help your business succeed.

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