eBusiness Blog

How Meta Tags Influence SEO and Website Rankings

Why Business Owners Need to Go Beyond Just Adding Content to a Web or Blog Page

How Meta Tags Influence SEO and Website Ranking

If your business has a website (of which I hope so!), then it’s important to think beyond just writing keyword rich copy for the page. It’s also vital to utilize the catalog of Meta tags available that can be associated with that page in order to get better traction in the search engines.

Business owners must think beyond keyword rich content and use SEO Meta tagsClick To Tweet

One of the parts of good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques includes HTML Meta tags. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a programmer to learn the basics of Meta tag relevancy and how you can use them to draw your ideal client in to visit your site.

Unlike the early stages of search engines, adding relevant keyword meta tags won’t rank your website higher up the search results anymore. However, Meta tags are a great way for business owners to provide search engines, and their users, with information about their website.

But when used incorrectly, the negative impacts can be detrimental to your business.

Simply put: Tags, by definition, are snippets of text that describe a page’s content but they don’t appear on the actual website itself, they only appear in the pages’ HTML code.

In this article, I’ll cover the six different types of meta tags and why you need to pay attention to them for all pages on your website, including blog posts.

  1. Meta Keywords Attribute (Aka. Keywords Meta Tag)

    Usually, a good keyword meta tag is a list of 10-15 essential ideas related to your web page. They should be based on a specific theme or topic of discussion on any particular page or post on your site.
     
    As mentioned, the “keywords” meta tag was once crucial in the early stages of search engines. In modern times, however, Microsoft’s Bing is the only search engine that still looks at these keywords. Bing also uses keywords to detect spam.
     
    Since some search engines still these tags in their algorithm, we recommend adding them anyway despite many SEO experts saying not to bother.

  2. The Title Tag

    A title tag, on the other hand, is the most important title tag to use on a web page and blog article.
     
    Each page should have a unique title tag that specifically describes the content on that web page.
     
    You will always find the title tags of each web page at the top of your browser, giving the viewer direction as to where they are and more importantly, gives the search engines a primary look into what that page is about.
     
    Meta Title Tag demonstration in Google

    Ideally, you want to use keywords in the title tag but in a way that makes sense to the reader in efforts to draw them in and want to click to continue reading the piece.

  3. The H1 and Other Heading Tags

    These tags are also important. The search engines will look at these as indicators of context.
     
    In terms of on-site SEO, header tags are certainly here to stay–it has been demonstrated that careful optimization can lead to major ranking increases.
     
    Use heading tags as a means to help organize your page or article:

    • H1 tag: What is this page about?
    • H2, H3, H4 tags: What is this section about?
  4. Meta Description Attribute (AKA. Meta Description)

    First and foremost, the Meta description is a short summary sentence that appears in the search result pages under the Page Title.
     
    Often, the meta description information is what shows up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results’ Page) as the page’s description.
     
    Google description Meta tag example
     
    Even though Google had stated that keywords in meta descriptions have no impact on website rankings, they are still considered very important to many SEO leaders.
     
    We at eVision Media, feel that using relevant, well-researched keywords in targeted demographics & geographic regions can only benefit your website ranking.
     
    Another reason to pay careful attention to the Meta description tag is your SERP sales pitch. Use this tag to describe your page in such a way that the user will want to click.
     
    To make the description sound both applicable and sensible isn’t easy; hence, why, we are here to help!

  5. Meta Robots Attribute

    The meta robots attribute is a lesser known meta tag but nonetheless, ranks as the second important meta tag. These tags direct the search engines on what to do with your webpages:

    • HTML code: index/noindex – whether to show your page in the SERPS or not
    • Follow/nofollow- tells the engines what to do with the links on your pages, whether to trust and “follow” your links to the next pages, or not.
  6. Blog Post Tags

    Although not considered official Meta tags, blog post tags are very valuable to your site’s visitors and to search engines.
     
    Much like in WordPress, tags can be used as “categories” next to every blog post to ensure  visitors find the topics they want to read.
     
    From a visitor’s stand point, blog post tags improve the usability of your website as they can identify specific post topics.
     
    Ultimately, blog post tags categorize information on the web page and group them into topics, which in the end, will increase your site ranking.

At eVision Media, we provide hassle-free SEO services that aid in your success of running your business.

Hiring an SEO professional will avoid you from making costly marketing mistakesClick To Tweet

Hiring a professional will avoid you from making costly mistakes.

A little mistake you make now could cause large problems for you in the eyes of the major search engines later.

Some examples include using your primary keyword too often or giving the images in your blog posts the wrong name. SEO mistakes like these can get your website penalized or maybe even blacklisted by Google.

If you don’t wish to take on the big task of search engine optimizing your website, give us a call. This is what we do every day and achieve incredible results for our happy clients.

To your success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

How Meta Tags Influence SEO and Website RankingClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

The Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat SEO

Do you get emails or phone calls out of the blue from somebody promising they can get your website at the top of the search engines?

Sounds appealing doesn’t it? Sadly no such promise can be made since Google does not divulge how their algorithms work; therefore, no one knows how to get a website to the number 1 search results position.

Many of these people making such promises attempt “Black Hat” SEO techniques to try and fool Google.

Watch today’s eTip as I explain what Black Hat SEO is and the difference between it and White Hat SEO, which is what your online marketer should be doing instead:

 

If you do get approached by an “SEO Expert” who promises you they will get your website to number one on Google and your business will soar as a result, ignore them.

These people are after only one thing: your money. The odds are great that you will not get the results you were promised and you will have wasted your money.

Often they will use illegal “black hat” SEO techniques to try and fool the search engines at their own game. Yes, your website may see a temporary spike due to these efforts, but alas, it will be fleeting and your business reputation will suffer as a result.

Google Penalizes Blackhat SEO Techniques

The illegal and unethical use of black hat SEO techniques can be detected by Google’s Panda and Penguin’s search algorithms. These two algorithms were developed to detect and penalize sites that incorporate these tactics.

Black hat techniques include cloaking, link exchanges, duplicate content, buying links, keyword stuffing, hidden text, link farms, writing specifically for search engines while offering no real value in the content, and over-optimization.

As a result of using these types of SEO tactics, your website will be de-indexed and will not be found when someone does a Google search for your site.

Embracing White Hat SEO Techniques

White Hat SEO is what Google and other search engines will reward you for when it comes to search engine rankings.

Here, the focus is on using researched keywords, writing content for your ideal target market, optimizing your website with optimal META and description tags and other various legal tactics that can be used to help your site be higher in the search engines.

There are many things White Hat SEO specialists can do to get your website visible in the search engines. One thing they won’t do, however, is promise you will be at the top. Ethically, they cannot promise something they do not have any control over.

Stay Away From SEO Scammers

Avoid the temptation of reading scammer’s emails or listening to their compelling sales pitch who are promising you things that are too good to be true. You will not get the results you are looking for.

We have had many clients that come to us who did get talked into an SEO program by somebody who called or emailed them out of the blue. They got talked into it and were severely disappointed. They spent a lot of money with little results and a big mess to clean up.

After working with us, we got them back on track with a long-term SEO program that provided long term results.

Preserve Your Business Reputation – Hire a Professional

You need to invest in professional marketing and SEO in order to drive organic traffic to your website on a daily basis. The goal being to get people into your sales funnel and attract qualified leads.

Whoever you hire to do SEO for you, make sure you vet them properly and only use White Hat SEO tactics. Your website, and more importantly, your business reputation is too important to not do your due diligence first.

If you have any questions about SEO, feel free to leave a message in the comment section below and I’d be happy to answer. Also, if you’re looking for a qualified SEO specialist who can boost your search engine rankings, give us a call to discuss.

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. New to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

The Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat SEOClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

The Many SEO Benefits of Creating Keyword-Rich Website Content

How to Use Highly Effective Keywords for a Search Engine Optimized Website

The Many SEO Benefits of Creating Keyword-Rich Website Content

Last week I wrote about the basic search engine optimization principles all entrepreneurs and business owners should be aware of when representing their business online.

And because search engine optimization can be a complex subject, I thought we’d dive further into keywords.

After reading this article, you will be well-informed on the importance of keywords for your website and how to find and use highly effective keywords in order to make your website search engine friendly.

The Importance of Keywords in Your Website Content

How often do you update the content on your website? What about your blog? Has it been abandoned?Falling prey to the busy world of entrepreneurship?

The thing is, search engines love new, current and unique content. They pull the freshest and most relevant content each time a search is performed.

So if your site hasn’t been updated regularly, you can bet your competitor’s content will rank higher than yours in the search results.

Search engines love new, current & unique content; don't miss sales by not being SEO friendlyClick To Tweet

To avoid being ignored by Google and lose out on important organic traffic to your website, it’s important to update it often.

A great way to do this is by consistently adding a new blog article at minimum once a month but more often will get you better results.

(Watch: Overcoming Your Resistance to Blog Writing)

To ensure you provide new and exciting content for Google to index, use different keywords for each article that focus around a specific topic or theme.

Be Careful With Keyword Density

Adding keywords to your blog and website copy is vitally important for SEO but some people can get a little too overzealous and incorporate far too many into their prose.

They write articles using a specific keyword a dozen or more times while aiming for high “keyword density” to let the search engines know they’re targeting that word or phrase.

Unfortunately this strategy actually works against them due to search engines penalizing keyword stuffing.

Instead, focus each piece of content around one or two keywords and let synonyms, variations and so on come up naturally.

Short Tail Vs. Long Tail Keywords

There are two types of keywords to be aware of when writing with SEO in mind: Short Tail and Long Tail.

Simply, short tail keywords are 3 words or less. Long tail are a little different. They are more than 3 words, more targeted and not as broad as short tail.

An example of a short tail keyword would be: “Business ideas” where this would be a highly competitive phrase due to it being so general.

A long tail keyword is more specific such as: “Small business ideas for women entrepreneurs”.

Which then begs the question:

Which Is Better: Short Tail or Long tail?

Short tail keywords have several things working for and against them. If you are trying to drive a lot of traffic to your site, you should use short tail keywords.

But the challenge is if your site is new, you are starting at the back of a very long line while facing an up-hill battle.

Simplifying your options in the table below, you’ll see that long tail keywords are the far better choice for focus and more importantly, getting the highly coveted conversions:

SEO Keyword Comparison Chart

At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you and your small business.

Finding Ideal Keywords for Website Copy

Keyword research is the process of finding the right keywords in your niche market. This step is important if you wish to grow your blog/website in a shorter span of time.

There are various methods you can use to find keywords. Here are a few we prefer to use at eVision Media:

15 Top Keyword Research Tools

  1. Google Keyword Planner (Free) You must have a Google AdWords account to access.
  2. IMForSMB (Free) Great for localized businesses but has a very limited range of industries.
  3. Long Tail Pro (Free Trial) A very comprehensive keyword tool finding profitable keywords.
  4. 7 Search (Free and Fee Based) Used mainly for paid advertising keyword searches.
  5. Soovie (Free) Multi-platform based tool.
  6. Seed Keywords (Free) Create your own scenarios; very useful for specific niches.
  7. Hit Tail (Free Trial) A long tail keyword tool.
  8. Keyword Tool Dominator (Free Trial) Uses Google, Amazon, You Tube and Bing databases.
  9. Term Explorer (Free Trial) Used by many in-house and SEO-based companies.
  10. SEO Cockpit (Paid) More useful in Pay Per Click paid advertising scenarios.
  11. SEM Rush (Paid) An online tool that lets you find great keywords. You can also put in the URL of a website and it shows all the keywords your website is ranking for.
  12. Word Tracker (Free) One of the best free alternative tools to the Google Keyword Planner that reveals 1000’s of profitable longtail keywords with SEO competition.
  13. Moz Keyword Explorer (Free Trial) Great tool to discover and prioritize the best keywords to target.
  14. Buzz Sumo  (Free Trial) Helps you see what’s being shared so you can get a handle on what’s popular on social networking.
  15. Keyword Tool (Free) One of our favourites. A great Keyword tool that helps you find the keywords people are typing as a Google Search.

There are many benefits to conducting high level keyword researches, including this can lead to thousands upon thousands of long-tail searches.

You probably won’t use all 15 of these tools since many provide the same level of features, but it’s worth it to experiment with several if you want to tackle SEO alone without the expertise of an SEO professional.

Why You Should Hire a SEO Professional

Hiring an SEO professional saves time. Trying to do your own SEO will take up a lot of time, especially if you don’t know a lot about marketing or SEO.

Running a full SEO campaign can be a daunting task to handle alone; fortunately, SEO experts have the knowledge and expertise to do this much faster and more proficiently than someone who is also focused on running their business in a different industry.

Hiring a professional will avoid you from making costly mistakes.

A little mistake that you make now could cause large problems for you in the eyes of the major search engines later.

Some examples include using your primary keyword too often or giving the images in your blog posts the wrong name. SEO mistakes like these can get your website penalized or maybe even blacklisted by Google.

If you don’t wish to take on the big task of search engine optimizing your website, give us a call. This is what we do every day and achieve incredible results for our happy clients.

To your success,

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

The Many SEO Benefits of Creating Keyword-Rich Website ContentClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

SEO 101: Why Entrepreneurs Need to Pay Close Attention

Whether you are a solopreneur or run a busy business, SEO is a piece of your marketing pie that you can’t ignore.

What the heck is SEO anyway? I know this phrase has been around for years but a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners do not really totally understand what it means.

Watch today’s eTip as I explain exactly what SEO is and what you need to know so you can take advantage of its power in driving qualified traffic back to your website:

 

The acronym SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In terms of your website, your SEO objective is to be visible in front of your target market when they are doing a search in search engines such as a Google, Yahoo!, Bing or any of the other search engines available.

Understanding What Your Target Market is Searching for

When people do a “Google” search, they are looking for a solution to a problem. If your business offering matches that solution, your goal is to position yourself in front of those people so you can provide the solution they are seeking.

This is where SEO comes in.

SEO is a form of marketing that captures the interest of people who do not know you yet but your product or service will be the solution they seek. Your goal is to position your website listing high enough in the search results rankings to be seen by those people.

Ideally you want to be in the first 3 pages of search results. If they can’t find what they are looking for after the third page, they are going to try a different Google search.

Why Keywords are Important

Your job is to understand what your target market would be typing into the search engines. Do some research to find out What keywords they be using if they were looking for your product or service.

Once you have that understanding, take those keywords and phrases and infuse them into your website through title tags, description tags, keyword META tags, and the website page and blog content as well.

No One Knows the Secret to High Rankings

The biggest problem marketers face is not knowing what the best solution is to get a website ranked number one in the search engine rankings.

Nobody knows. No one has that secret to success so be aware of those that promise you rankings at the top of search engines. No one can make that kind of promise.

As an entrepreneur you want to get your website as high up in the search engine rankings so your target market can easily find you.

Then it’s up to your website to appeal to that target market and convert those people either into your list so you can further nurture them or to make a purchase.

The Reality of Entrepreneurship

The reality of being a business owner is you have to keep inviting your target market to come to your website. The best way to do that is by investing in SEO to drive qualified traffic to your website. You want to nurture new people who do not know you yet and convert them into paying clients.

If you have any questions about SEO, feel free to leave a message in the comment section below and I’d be happy to answer. Also, if you’re looking for a qualified SEO specialist who can boost your search engine rankings, give us a call to discuss.

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. New to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

SEO 101: Why Entrepreneurs Need to Pay Close AttentionClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Basic Search Engine Optimization Principles for Entrepreneurs

Basic Search Engine Optimization Principles for Entrepreneurs

How Keyword Rich Content is Directly Related to SEO for your Business

Ever wonder what SEO really is but were afraid to ask?

SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. It’s the umbrella term for all the methods you can use to ensure your website is found by various search engine result pages (SERPs).

Google is the most widely used search engine but it’s certainly not the only one. There’s Bing, Yahoo!, AOL and others.

If your website does not appear higher up in their search rankings, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity.

If your website is not SEO friendly, you're missing out on a huge opportunityClick To Tweet

The goal of SEO is to get qualified leads and prospects to discover your business when they are searching for products or services that you offer in the search engines.

SEO isn’t Rocket Science but it can be Complicated

When it comes to SEO, a few important tactics can greatly improve your presence in the increasingly crowded online space.

If you’re attempting search optimization on your own or more wisely hiring an SEO expert, it’s important to be informed with certain SEO fundamentals before proceeding.

Search engines try to provide the most relevant results to a searcher’s query. Whether it’s an answer to a simple question like, “how many ounces are in a gallon?” to more complicated queries such as, “what is the best Chinese restaurant nearest to me?”

After reading this article, you will gain a better understanding of what you need to know before beginning an SEO campaign and what your role is if you decide to outsource this valuable marketing strategy.

Know Your Audience and What Content They’re Looking For

Why Content Marketing Plays a Big Role in SEO

First let’s look at what SEO feeds on. And that is content (text, images, videos etc) found on your website.

Since great SEO relies on how well your content is ranked,  as well as factoring in your social media and local engagements, you want to keep fluff content to a minimum and focus on quality.

While it sounds time-consuming, quality content has benefits that reach beyond SEO.

Quality website content has benefits that reach well beyond SEOClick To Tweet

Good content is useful across all marketing mediums and forces you to think through your message from a topic and keyword perspective.

The key is to ensure you are honing in on what actually matters to your audience.

It’s imperative you know who would want to buy your products or services and what they’re searching for in the search engines in order for them to find your website as the solution to their needs.

Your initial instincts may be correct, but you might be missing things that could gain additional website traffic, potential relationship opportunities, or new market segments to your business.

Therefore, proper due diligence is paramount in order to map your target audience to the keywords, topics, and phrases they’re using in and around your industry.

Create SEO-Driven Content

Writing only for search engines usually makes your content boring. Typically that strategy won’t help to  convert your visitors into customers.

It’s far better to focus on people first. Make your content as value-driven as possible and then optimize it for search engine bots without sacrificing the quality of your content.

The underlying content is extremely important. Too many people skimp on content but it’s one of the major anchors that tether you to Google’s relevancy algorithms.

The problem we see a lot of entrepreneurs run into is them creating content “they” think is perfect and sounds great to them but SEO wise, can at times be utterly worthless.

Being authentic is important but do so while factoring in the reason why you’re creating the content in the first place with marketing, branding, lead generation and of course SEO in mind.

Thin content with errors, or duplicate content and spun or spam content can really hurt you.

Instead, the content not only has to be lengthy, but it has to be well-written, keyword rich and highly engaging where readers are spending a good amount of time digesting and consuming that content.

Content Creation for SEO Success

As you create content, you’ll want to make sure each page is optimized for:

  • Page speed,
  • bot crawling,
  • responsive friendliness, and
  • overall findability.

An Initial investment in a site audit or recommendations for establishing a few initial best practices will save you much time and money in the long run.

Ideas for new content can be gathered from questions your own clients often ask or visit online forums and social media to find questions around your industry, products, and marketplace for more inspiration.

Check the competition with content ideas to ensure you’re on par with your competitors when it comes to covering topics and questions in the industry concerning your company.

Manage Your Keywords Wisely

The key to pleasing both search engines and visitors is to have quality content on our website that includes keywords your target market would be using in the search engines when looking for a solution to a problem your business can solve.

To do this, you want to run your keywords and topics through a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to make sure the topics and keywords you have chosen have enough search volume and potential traffic to make them worthwhile.

Be sure to take into account the relevance of the search to your audience.

The narrower the topic focus, the lower the traffic typically. This is often offset by the accuracy and interest of the audience.

Do not Spam the keywords!

This also means using different connotations of the same words over and over again within your content.

Google loves NEW content. Keep in mind that websites are liquid so this is where your blog plays a major role in effective SEO.

What Search Engines Are NOT Looking For

Search engine spiders only have a certain amount of data storage. If you’re performing shady tactics or trying to trick them, chances are you’re going to hurt yourself and your business reputation in the long run.

At the end of the day, focusing on quality content that can be easily found by your target audience will benefit all of your marketing and sales efforts. Spend a lot of time on the things above and the rest will fall into place.

Ready to Hit the Top Pages of Google for Your Best Keywords? We can help!

eVision Media offers robust SEO Services.  We are experts in optimizing WordPress sites to rank higher in the search engines. Contact us today to find out more how to boost traffic and rankings with SEO strategies for your business website today.

To your success,

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Basic Search Engine Optimization Principles for EntrepreneursClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How Personal and Business Branding Begins with a Professional Headshot

How Personal and Business Branding Begins with a Professional Headshot

Why it’s Time to Ditch Your Selfie Profile Photo for a More Favourable First Impression

Does your social media profile photo reflect the professional business person you want to be perceived as by prospects?

What about your website or other touchpoints a prospective client might encounter to help them determine if you are the best person to work with?

I find many solopreneurs and business owners are not as keenly aware as they should be about how acutely important professional headshots are to their personal and business brand.

Many solopreneurs aren't aware of how important headshots are to their personal & business brandClick To Tweet

I know I didn’t for many years until I finally broke down and had my first photoshoot done a few years back.

Wow, what a difference it made to my overall brand positioning and the perception others had of me as a business professional!  Suddenly the first impression I was making on prospective clients and business-related connections was far more favourable.

All thanks to Taneane Twele of TT Photography in Mission and Judy Doduk of Judy D Beauty in Abbotsford who have teamed up to provide photography, make-up and even hair services in their Shine Portraits package.

Professional Make-up for Photoshoot with Judy DodukSince it’s been 3 years since those initial photos were taken, I recently headed back to Taneane’s studio to better reflect how I look today.

I know how many business owners strongly resist having professional photos done. Me too. I was overweight and avoided the camera lens at all costs. But somehow, miraculously as far as I was concerned, Taneane was able to position me in various poses that showcased ME instead of the excess weight I was carrying.

Whatever your reasons for avoiding the camera, trust me when I tell you a professional photographer, combined with professional make-up application, will make a world of difference and enable you to be showcased professionally in front of your prospects and clients.

Using a professional photographer & make-up artist makes a huge difference in your personal brandClick To Tweet

Click here to watch a quick video I did with Taneane while on location during our shoot.

At the end of the day, professional photos give the impression you care about your personal and professional image. It’s that favourable perception others have of you that will greatly enhance the success of your business.

If your profile photo was taken years ago or not done by a professional photographer, it’s time to step up and create a better lasting impression by booking a professional photoshoot. And once you have your new photos in hand, ensure you use them!

Here’s several places to incorporate your professional headshot:

  • All Social Media Profiles

    Whether you are active on them or not, people are accessing any and all of your social media profiles at any given moment.
     
    Try to vary your photos if possible. For instance, I use a more personable, friendly photo on my personal Facebook page where a more professional photo is used on the Business page, LinkedIn and other professional networks.
     
    They are each professional photos but what I’m wearing and my pose makes the difference between the friendly and casual look compared to a more polished and professional one.

  • Online Profiles

    If you do any form of content marketing, the odds are good you have bio profiles scattered in several places that showcase you being the author of your piece. Take a look at places like Storify, Business 2 Community, or YouInc and ensure your professional headshot is in place.
     
    Don’t forget about other websites and platforms you might not visit often like Skype, Medium, Alignable, WordPress, DISQUS, Gravatar, and other places that require an avatar to go with your name and bio.

  • Social Media Banners

    If you are the face of your business, then you need to get comfortable with seeing yourself in the spotlight. For instance, if you are a speaker, author or industry leader, then your social media banners should also include your photo.
     
    Have your photographer take shots of you “in action” either posed or live when on stage. This welcomes followers and prospects into your world and gives them a feel for what their experience would be like if they went to see your presentation.

  • Your Website

    Most entrepreneurs are the face of their business regardless of the industry they are in. Placing a professional image of you throughout your website is imperative for prospects to get a favourable impression of you and your business.
     
    Use your About page wisely and ensure your photo evokes trust with your website visitors. You want your photo to give the impression you are friendly, approachable and honest.

  • Email Signature

    How many emails do you send out in a day or week? More than likely that’s a lot of eyeballs you have an opportunity to gain better brand visibility with through an email signature.
     
    Get a professional eSignature designed that includes your photo so when people meet you in person, they feel they already know you and are a familiar face.

  • Marketing Collateral

    Whatever you do when it comes to your print and digital marketing pieces, you are definitely leaving a lasting impression on whoever it comes in contact.
     
    Whether it’s your business card, promotional materials or advertisements, take advantage of the opportunity to have your personal and brand be showcased by using your professional head shot.
     
    This will help build upon the valuable “Know, Like and Trust” factor you want to achieve with your target market.

Sadly, the truth of being a business person is prospects are going to judge you based on your appearance. That first impression could literally make them decide whether or not they can trust you to do business with or move on to your competitor.

If you want to give a lasting and positive impression to your followers and potential clients, make the small investment to get professional headshots done. This type of business investment will get you great returns – it did for me!

Have you resisted getting professional photos done for your business? Share below your reasons.

To your success,

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

How Personal and Business Branding Begins with a Professional HeadshotClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Why Website Development Is More Important Today Than It’s Ever Been

Website development is as many parts science as it is art. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, your website speaks volumes about the credibility of your business. And that’s especially true in today’s competitive digital environment.

 

If you’re clear about the type of clients you want to attract, building a thoughtful, fully-fledged website framework upfront can save you a lot of time and frustration.

Not to mention the alternative could be costing you engaged and loyal customers.

Think about it this way:

When you meet someone for the first time and start networking, chances are, the first thing they’ll do after you part ways is go check out your website.

What do you want to impress upon them there?

Remember, you won’t be able to provide any feedback while they’re online, so the user experience has to be enough to convince them you’re the real deal.

Ideally, it should also help you with the holy grail of entrepreneurial prowess: customer retention.

 

So should you invest in website development?

There’s an easy way to determine if you should invest in your business website by asking this one question:

Will you be inviting any paying customers or potential clients to view it?

If you answered yes, then the smartest move for your business is to get a professionally designed website.

You really can’t afford not to.

If you have any questions about website development and design, feel free to leave a message in the comment section below and I’d be happy to answer. Or if you are interested in more information about how to market your business, sign up for my free newsletter.

Until next time,

P.S. New to Social Media and online marketing or finding it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

3 Powerful Ways to Energize Your Business at the Equinox

Energize Your Business at the Equinox

 

To all those in the Northern Hemisphere, Happy Spring! The Equinox was on the 20th of March, which marks the shift into a new season’s energy.

In this case, it is from the introspective, dark time of winter to the expansive, bright light of spring, which promises the emergence of new life and potential for growth.

For many of us, we truly welcome spring to help us awaken from our slumber.

This is indeed the perfect time to take advantage of this new energy and make simple, but highly effective changes in your business and life.

Here are a few ideas on what to do:

  1. Lighten Up! It’s time to open up the shades and invite the new light into our world. The upward energy of spring beckons you to get going and take action:
    • Embrace the common seasonal ritual of “spring cleaning” and do a thorough clearing and organizing of your workspace. This will immediately improve your productivity.
    • Find ways to brighten up your office. Maximize natural light; consider adding color with paint or fabrics; and bring nature into the space with fresh-cut flowers. Your uplifted mood will reflect in your work.
    • Change up your daily routine. Try to get up with the sun to add more space to your day; switch your morning beverage from coffee or black tea to green tea (with honey and coconut milk); lighten up your diet with seasonal vegetables and salads; and add more movement, such as an afternoon walk or yoga in the morning or evening. Tuning into the natural rhythms of the season keeps you on a healthy track.
  2. Refresh Your Online Presence. We often get too comfortable (or busy) to consider how we project out into the virtual world. Take this time to keep your online presence relevant and current:
    • Redesign your website home page that has been the same for at least six months; make sure your offerings are up-to-date; and attend to all of your online accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). You may decide to reduce your online obligations to only those that give you the best return for your time investment.
    • Are you using the best tools? It seems that the online products and services change monthly, but usually for the better. Make sure you revisit the tools you have and update to more efficient versions (or switch) for a better client experience.
    • Consider creating new pages and new content; use brighter colors to match the season’s energy; and change out photos and graphics for a new look and feel. Your clients will welcome the breath of fresh air!
  3. Renew your commitment to your community. This season is a time for new beginnings, and renewing your commitment to your clients (and potential clients) will undoubtedly expand your business:
    • Ask your clients for feedback. Interview or survey them to ask what is working and not working with what you are providing. The most important step to this strategy is to follow-up with what you heard needs change and what you are committing to do for your clients.
    • Offer free “clarity” sessions. Present the opportunity as a casual conversation (“Tea Time with E”) to help them get unstuck with old winter energy and jumpstart their efforts for the next 3 months. This offer will result in renewed commitment from your clients as well.
    • Consider offering new programs. The creative energy at this time can be used quite effectively to build and offer “pilot” programs to meet your clients’ needs.
    • Above all, be sure to listen to your clients and meet them where they are in the process. Your time together will be that much more productive (and fulfilling) when you approach the work as a co-creative adventure!

It’s hard not to get excited about what spring brings, particularly the insurgence of energy to grow and prosper. The trick is to tap into it and go with the flow to a better and brighter life and work.

To your abundance and success,
Elizabeth Walker

About the Author, Elizabeth Walker

Elizabeth Walker

Elizabeth Walker is known as a "natural" in reinventing herself. After nearly 25 years as a consulting urban forester, and more recently a farmer and blogger on sustainability and permaculture, she is exploring ways to help others become the best of themselves with her unique Alignment Magic system.

She looks forward to identifying and engaging her ideal clients through nature-based coaching and mentoring and help them achieve abundant and sustained health, wealth and happiness in their lives. For more information, visit her website: earthbodywellness.net


How to Optimize Your Website for Local Search

How to Optimize Your Website for Local Search

13 Strategies to SEO Optimize Your Local Business Website

If you run a store-front business or offer a service that is within a specific local-based geographic area, then you will want to focus your marketing efforts on getting in front of local traffic.

Since many marketing initiatives are of a more global nature that don’t help you at all, there’s actually a few specific things you can do to ensure you get visible in front of the local people that you want to attract to your business.

Aside from using targeted Facebook and Google Ads, local search optimization can help your business be found in searches when people are looking for a business likes yours in their area.

Local search website optimization can help your business get found in searchesClick To Tweet

So what can you do to get your website to rank better for local search?

Here’s 13 techniques to improve your rankings locally:

  1. Make a list of local regions you’d like to rank for: This will include your city, your major metropolitan area, county, and province or state.  Think about the neighbouring towns that your business can also service in addition to your own.
     
    Then create long-tail keyword phrases for each of these.  For example instead of optimizing for “home staging”, you can optimize for several phrases including:”Yourcityhere home staging”  “Yourmetroregionhere home staging”, “YourCountyhere home staging”, “Yourregionhere home staging” etc.
  2. Add your business address at the footer of your website in text:  This not only acts as a clue that shows Google you are a local business but also shows your website visitors that they are in the right place.
     
    Showing your location and the areas served on your website is vital for localized businesses. It’s also a good idea to embed a dynamic Google Map for good measure and ease of customers finding your location.
  3. Add a link to your business on Google Maps: Check to see if your business is showing up on Google Maps and if not, add a submission to have it included.
     
    Not only will this serve to help customers find directions to your place, but it’s also another marker that tells Google where you are locally.
  4. Write a web page or blog post dedicated to each local keyword phrase: Using the keywords and geographic locations throughout your website is also important for the search engines to keep you top of mind in their search results.
     
    I’m not a huge fan of this technique as it can crowd your website but you can create a local keyword phrase-based web page or blog post for each page including each service you offer to give those rankings a boost. Avoid adding these pages to the primary navigation if possible; however, they do still need to link back to your website home page in order to get indexed.
  5. Optimize each web page to rank well for the keyword you are targeting: Put the keyword phrase in several spots in the wording and coding of your website pages including:
    • Meta keyword and description tags
    • File name or URL of the page. For example: best-home-staging-Abbotsford.html
    • Header of the page within an H1 tag
    • Sub headers of the page within H2 and H3 tags
    • File names of graphics used on the page
    • Hyperlinked text containing the keyword phrase, ideally located in the first and last paragraph of the page
    • Header tag using the keyword phrase at the end of the page
  6. Regularly write and post new local content: Adding new content to a website, especially as a blog post, is important for all websites. Making that new content location-based with your keywords in it makes it even more valuable.
     
    This could be a press release about things you are doing in the community.  You could do a review of a new local service or product.  You can also create a recommended links page that shares information about other complementary local businesses.
  7. Get back links on other local business sites: Ask other local businesses if you can trade links.  When they post a link or recommendation to your website, it improves your own website rankings.
  8. Take and share local pictures: Make a point to take pictures of your business doing things in local places. Name these pictures when you post them to your website or blog with file names including your local keyword phrases.
     
    When people go into Google Photo Search and look for “best home stager in Abbotsford,” if you have a photo with that file name, your image will come up at the top.
  9. Reference local landmarks: If you are near any major landmarks, reference them on your website.  For example if someone is typing “bedroom lamp shop near Grand Central Station” if you have that referenced on your website you can come up in Google searches for that phrase.
  10. Use Alt tags:  Make sure all the images used on your website have local keyword phrase file names and alt tags.
  11. Create an XML map or Site Map: This makes it easier for Google to spider all the pages of your website.
  12. Manually submit your website to local and niche directories: Using local directories and major directories with local listings is invaluable to getting your local business found.
     
    Directories such as Yelp, Foresquare. Moz, Hotfrog and Houzz are great places to start.  Create a full profile and be sure to add lots of pictures.
  13. Use Review Sites:  Leverage the power of review sites. Create free business accounts with some of the big reviews sites like Yellow Pages, Insider Pages, Angie’s List, etc. and encourage happy customers and regulars to write reviews about your business.
     
    Good reviews can go a long way with your customers and the search engines

Once you have optimized your website for local SEO, there are other off-site methods you can follow to boost your local search results as well.  So take the time to review your website and add local keywords, links, content and images and you’ll be on your way to getting more local customers.

Local SEO techniques plus off-site methods will boost your local business search resultsClick To Tweet

In order for your website to be found in the search engines and rank well in them, implementing standard SEO techniques like the ones listed above are paramount. If you are needing your website to get better found in the search engines, hiring a website and SEO specialist can ensure all of the necessary bases are covered. Give us a call today at eVision Media to help!

To your success,

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Here’s 13 Strategies to Optimize Your Website for Local SearchClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Website eTip: First Thing to do when Considering Building a Website

Today’s eTip is for you if you are thinking about building a new website or redeveloping your existing one. There’s one thing you need to do first before anything else.

Watch today’s video tip to find out what that one thing is that you need to do before getting started on your new website.

You may not have a website up yet or you might be a brand new entrepreneur, or you’ve been in business for a while and you haven’t gotten around to putting up a website yet, which is understandable I did that.

I was in business for several months before I finally got around to putting up a website. It was the old Shoe Cobbler’s Son Syndrome for me!

Whether you already have a website – maybe it’s not working well for you. It’s not really providing you with the business leads you really are hoping for and you’ve come to realize that part of the problem is your website.

Or you’re brand new in business and you’ve been told by so many people, “You have to have a website!” Yes, in today’s day and age, you really do have to have a website.

There are some industries where a website isn’t needed, nor an absolute necessity, but for the most part every business needs to have a website because it is the new Yellow Pages.

In order for your business to be noticed and found, you have to have a website.

In order for your business to be noticed and found, you have to have a website.Click To Tweet

Whether you are in transition or brand-new at your business, I implore you to do this one step first.
A lot of people miss this step and that’s one of the reasons why their website isn’t really working well for them. That reason is to do a situation analysis first.

You really need to be very clear on how you want to be positioned.
What is your brand position?
How do you want people to perceive you as?
What’s your area of expertise?

And then even more importantly, understand who it is that is your ideal client. I talk a lot about finding out who your ideal client is, and attracting your ideal client, but what does that really mean?

It means you need to get into the mindset that just because somebody is breathing and alive they are your client and in actual fact that’s not very good business. There’s a lot of people out there who aren’t a good fit for you they will drain your energy.

They might rip you off, might not pay your bill, or other things that annoy you. There’s a lot of different people out there who you don’t want to attract into your business.

A really good example is if you see on the call display one of your clients and your heart literally sinks or you get filled dread or you say, “I do not want to talk to this person again!”
That person is not your ideal client.

That gives you an idea of who you don’t want to attract more of into your business but the people who you do want to attract more of are the people who absolutely love you and you love working with them.

The results you bring to your clients is immense and they are grateful for you and you’re grateful for them. They are referring other clients to you.

That’s what I mean about attracting more of those people. All that positive energy infused into your business builds more and more and you get more and more of those kinds of people. I know because that’s exactly what happens to me.

Once I focus more on the people that I really want to work with, more of those people show up. And that’s what I want for you.

Focus on the ideal client you want to work with and more will show upClick To Tweet

Back to your website, you need to be super clear on who that person is.

Are they male or female? What kind of age group are they in? What are their specific problems that they’re facing? What kind of challenges are they facing that you can solve for them?

How can you present yourself in front of them that they can relate to so that you can easily build
the ‘know, like and trust’ factor with them? It then becomes a no-brainer for them to say ‘yes’ I either want to purchase from you or your work with you.

Whether you’re providing a service or product, you want to position yourself so you are the ideal choice for them. Once you have that clear in your mind, and by the way this is something I do with all of my clients – I want to make sure before I do anything, before we design a logo for client or we before we build their website, I want to know who it is that we want to attract.

That particular group of people are going to feel connected to certain imagery. That means colours, fonts and what photos are you are selecting. How is the copy – the text that is on your website how can that be written so that it relates immediately to them? It pulls them in and gets them engaged with your website?

If you don’t do that – if you just put up something that appeals to you only or that you’re just throwing something up that’s better than nothing, then all of those wonderful people that are coming to your website are not going to see it. They’re not going to feel that connection.

They’re not going to feel you got them or that you have them figured out and that you’re a solution to their problems. They’re off to your competitor if that happens.

They’re going to go and follow somebody else that they relate to.

So how you are positioned on your website – that immediate first impression – is critically important. It’ll make or break the sale.

They have to come to your webpage and they have to immediately know they got the right place and that comes to your brand positioning – understanding who your ideal target market is and what’s going to relate to them.

I implore you to work with a professional design marketer to figure that out with you. It’s really hard to do that on your own unless you go through a whole process or course on knowing and understanding what your ideal target market is.

This is what I do with my clients every time. I get into their head to figure out who their ideal client is and how can we position that client in front of their ideal target base. It’s then a win-win situation.

They will attract more of the wonderful people and far fewer of the ones that give you dread when you see their number on the call display.

Please sign up for our newsletter and download our free website guide. Once every Tuesday morning we send a new article and eTip into your inbox designed for people who want to learn more about how they can position themselves so they can build a successful business.

I’d love to hear what you think – are you in the process of building a new website? Share your response below in the comments section or if you have a question, I’d be happy to answer.

To your success,

P.S. Are you needing guidance on how to define your niche market and how to position yourself in your industry? Having a mentor to help you through this process can save you time and costly mistakes.
CLICK HERE

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".