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Catchy or uncommon business names can be great but not when it comes to Google search results. You certainly do not want potential clients typing your name into search, and being unable to find you because they cannot spell your name.  Don't go to the drastic step of changing your name to something that is easy to spell. You also do not have to follow our example of calling ourselves, Chicago Social Media Marketers, a name we chose when the words in your url affected SEO.  We have found several steps that you can take to help people who are misspelling your name, find you in search.

First go to Google search and type in the common misspelling of your company’s name. Google is very good at correcting misspellings. We have all seen the, showing search results for, when we misspelled words. If they are fixing it you have nothing to worry about. If they are not able to guess what the searcher really wanted to search for, you need to scroll down and see for yourself if your business is at the top of the search results.  If your company name is not at the top of the list you need to take some steps to make sure that potential customers can find you.

I recently worked with the automotive marketing company LotLinx. Their problem was that there were nearly as many people searching for Lot Links as for their actual name. They were on the first page of search results for Lot Links but at the bottom of the page.

There are several steps that you can take to fix this problem:

Buy the website name for the misspelled word and redirected it to your homepage to ensure that people typing the misspelling directly into the address bar end up on your website. A good idea but, as a freestanding page with no SEO, it will not show up in search results.

Create a Google AdWords ad and use the misspelling as a keyword.  This will result is that when  anyone searches for the term, your ad will appear at the top of the page. A good option if you have an AdWords account. The downside is that you are stuck paying for every click on the ad and many people ignore ads.

For LotLinx I recommended adding the misspelling of their name to their website.  Luckily while it is a misspelling of their name they are correctly spelled words. We do not recommended just adding incorrect spellings to your site, there are some ways around it. In this case we used: “LotLinx, commonly misspelled Lot Links” and “LotLinx, pronounced Lot Links”. We were able to add the keyword phrase to the website a couple of times and Google noticed them within hours, something that we found amazing. By the next day LotLinx had moved up several places in search results for Lot Links and they were near the top of the page.  On Yahoo the change was even more pronounced and they went to the top search result.

These few easy steps can help people who are actively searching for your business find you and hopefully become customers.   

 
 

Your website is looking old and out-of-date so you hire a web design firm. When they are done it looks great. The graphics really pop and your website is visually stunning. So you happily pay them their website design fee and move on to other projects.

The problem is that Google does not care about your wonderful graphics or that fancy font your website developer used. What they care about is the nuts and bolts of your site: what the site is about, does it load fast, and do people spend time on it or do they immediately leave after opening your homepage. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long and sometimes arduous process and so we are not going to cover that here. If you do want to take on a full-blown SEO project on your website we recommend that you checkout MOZ’s guide to SEO. What we are going to cover in this article is whether or not your website is properly designed to do well in search results. Most website designers are concerned with putting together visually pleasing and easily navigable sites. They are not concerned about the SEO elements that are so important. Recently we conducted a SEO Analysis for a business that was concerned that they were not getting more website visits. We quickly found out that the homepage of the organization’s website did not appear in any search results due to a setting that had been established by the website designer.

The purpose of this blog is to show you some simple steps to make sure your website does not have any major flaws that will keep new customers from finding you in search results. You do not need any advanced technical skills and most of the corrections that will be needed to be made should be done by the website developer.    

The first step is to identify that your website has the elements that Google is looking for. These include: Title, Meta Descriptions, H1, noindex.

Luckily there is an easy way to check for all of these important elements:

1.       Go to your homepage or a particular page that you want to check.

2.       Right click and scroll down to view page source and click on it.

3.       Don’t panic. You are going to see a lot of code that will make no sense to you. That is okay. See photo below.

4.       Hold down the ctrl button and press “f”. This will bring up the search function.

5.       You are now ready to search the code for the different elements. Simple type the following words in the search box.

Title- Title is what shows up in the search results. It not only signals Google what is on the page, it is important to have a phrase that will encourage people to click on your site in their search results. You are looking for: <title>Chicago Social Media Marketers - Social Media plans for Chicago businesses</title>

Description- This is the description of your page that will appear in search results below the title. It is not important to SEO but it is an important way to get people to click on your site. Look for: <meta name='description' content='Chicago Social Media Marketers offers inexpensive and effective social media plans for small businesses and not-for-profits.' />

H1- The H stands for Headline. This is what Google considers the most important headline on your page.  Look for: <h1> Affordable social media plans for Chicago businesses </h1>

Noindex. This is the one you do not want to find. It tells search engines like Google and Bing to not include your page in search results.

While you want all of these elements on your page, except noindex, you also want to make sure they contain the keywords that are important to your page.

Check your site speed. Google has a page speed analyzer that they generously let you use for free. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/.  Research shows that the slower your page loads the more likely that people will leave it before even looking at it. Google will also penalize you for having a slow site. Do not be too concerned unless it gives your website a “poor” rating.

Type site:”yoursite” into Google search. This will show all of the pages on your site that Google has indexed. Make sure all of your pages are being indexed.

Doing all of these steps will not guarantee you will be at the top of search results but missing any of these important elements will all but guarantee your site will not appear on the first page of search results.

 
 
SEO for Images on Google
SEO for images on Google.
The most overlooked aspect of SEO (search engine optimization) or in layman’s terms, trying to get your website as high as possible in internet search results, is image SEO. According to Jumpstart nearly 1/3 of all Google searches are for images. That means millions of people are searching millions of images every hour. Look at the attached image of a search, content and images, for Chicago Skyline. Even thought this was not an image search, the top of the page is covered in image search results. So what is the importance of your image popping up in someone’s search results? When someone clicks on a photo that Google has grabbed from your website it enlarges the photo and shows them a link to your website. That means potential clients are just one click away when they see your image.

An image search is also a great way for the small fish in the internet world to compete with the big boys. Most small businesses only have a few hours each month to spend on SEO while big companies have entire departments devoted to improving their SEO. Small business simply cannot compete in regular search results. But the good news is that the most important (and time consuming) factors in regular searches play only a small role in image search results. So you can, with minimal effort, get your photos near the top of image search results which will ultimately drive traffic and customers to your site.

Keep in mind Google is not currently able to look over photos on your site and identify what they are and what they mean so it is up to you to tell them. 

6 Easy steps to getting your photos on the first page of search results.


1. First and foremost use captivating photos. By this I mean they should be interesting, eye catching and sharp. They do not have to be taken by a professional photographer. Studies have shown that consumers find amateur photographs more believable than staged professional shots. That said blurry or dull pictures will not cut it.

2. File name. Use a file name that not only describes what is in the photo but also use words that you think will match the search terms people that you want to attract will be using. For example, if you are a home decorator in Chicago name the file, beautifully decorated home in Chicago. 

3. Alt text. This feature is designed to help the visually impaired identify the photo. It is an important feature to employ for consumers and for Google. Google uses this to better understand what is in the photo.

4. Captions. Make sure the caption for your photos lets Google know what is in the photos.

5. Make sure the image is a standard image size and shape. Google is less likely to use an image that is oddly shaped, such as long and narrow or circular.

6. File size. There are a lot of misconceptions about high resolution photos. Image resolution really has a lot more to do with printed photographs. For online images, I recommend not using large file sizes.  A large file size will slow down how fast your site download and this may cause people to give up and leave your site. Download speed is a factor in Google’s search ranking algorithm. Alternatively, if a file is too small, the result will be a poor quality image and it will not get shown in search results. I recommend file sizes between 200 MB and 500 MB. 

There are other factors that will help determine how high up Google puts your image.


The actual text that surrounds the image on your website page. If you have an image of a cat on your plumbing page it probably will not get shown.

The amount of actual text that is on your website page. Google does not like to use images from pages that are all photos. Sorry about that photographers.

How your page ranks in normal search results. This is one factor that is not easy to fix but luckily it is not an important factor. 




 

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