Category Archives: Website Tips

google rating

How Google Rating Stars Can Help Boost Your Site Traffic

Earlier today, user reviews on Amazon saved me from losing $100+ on a low-quality product with misleading photos.

Moments from clicking “add to cart,” I scrolled down to the customer reviews just out of curiosity.

Several one-star reviews immediately caught my attention.

The photos those customers included confirmed my worst fears. I shook my head and moved on to purchase a customer approved product from a competing brand. (It’s an adorable mini-fridge you can write on with Expo markers, for those wondering!)

Organic customer feedback can help you dodge bullets like I did this morning. But more importantly, a good Google rating based on real customer reviews can drastically improve a company’s online presence and click through rate.

A Local Consumer Review Survey from 2014 showed 88% of consumers trust consumer reviews as much as a personal recommendation!

But don’t just take my word for it. Read on to see how much those little yellow stars can boost your business:

How Google Rating Stars Work

Back in 2010, Google introduced “seller ratings” (star ratings) for companies that paid Google Shopping for ad space at the top of search results pages.

Soon star ratings were expanded to organic search results as well, though certain requirements have to be met to show them. Today, Google uses something called Rich Snippets to assign these star ratings to organic results.

Put simply, Rich Snippets are a form of structured data that Google uses to extract relevant information and display it as a sort of sneak preview right under search results.

To come up with appropriate star ratings, Google takes Rich Snippets from several different “trusted” third-party review sites (that they refuse to name). The star review for any given search result is the average of all of these trusted reviews.

Why Google Rating Stars Help So Much

According to a newly updated post from Google Adwords, showing seller ratings under your text ads can boost your ad click through rate up to 10%. And that’s just data collected by companies paying for ad space from Google, not organic search data.

Amidst all the blue links and faded gray text on every Google Search Results Page, a row of bright stars jumps out at the reader.

Within seconds, your Google rating lets strangers know your site is legitimate enough to have collected honest feedback from previous customers.

If that rating is positive, you’ve just nailed your first impression before they even see your website.

All of these obvious benefits aside, increased engagement will help move your site up higher on Google Results pages. Just being higher on a Google Results page increases your traffic, as shown in this study by Chitika.

A good Google rating has the potential to snowball into significantly more exposure and engagement with new users searching for your services.

How To Get Your Stars

Google doesn’t just let any organic search results show Rich Snippets and star ratings. There are a few things you need to do earn your rating:

Display Real Customer Reviews

As of this year, Google now requires your reviews from customers to be visible on your page–not just on third-party websites–in order to show your star rating. (This is only required for stars under organic search results, not Seller Ratings given to companies paying Google Adwords and Google Shopping for ad space.)

You can accomplish this by:

  • Taking screenshots of external review sites and posting them on your site (cheap, fast, and effective, though probably not the most professional looking)
  • Paying for a plugin or script that makes it easy for customers to write and publish new reviews right to your site
  • Setting up automated emails to ask recent customers for reviews of a product they just purchased

Label The Data You Want Google To Find

Remember our conversation about Rich Snippets earlier?

It will be a lot easier for Google to understand that the customer reviews on your site are relevant if you turn plain text on your site into structured data.

The easiest way to do this will depend on how you’ve built your website.

In WordPress, you can do this with a free Structured Data Schema plugin that lets you edit site-wide data.

Squarespace, however, already has forms you can use to enter all the info you want to show up as structured data. (You can also do this manually with some coding, but not all of us are over-achievers okay?)

If you haven’t already, set up sitewide data to let Google know your business name, logo, hours, etc.

Next, on pages containing reviews let Google know what is being reviewed, number of reviews, average rating, so on and so forth.

Once you’ve left this breadcrumb trail of structured data for Google to find, all of this business info along with your precious stars and reviews should typically start showing up under your Google Search Results within a week.*

*(Assuming, of course, you don’t go overboard with trying to work Google’s algorithms to your advantage. If Google senses you’re trying to artificially skew review results or the visibility of your reviews, the penalties are harsh!)

Get Started Now

Content marketing, building quality backlinks, and establishing site authority takes time and industry know-how.

Your company’s Google rating is just one small part of a good SEO campaign.

Good reviews build trust with the public, but trust is just one-third of the holy trinity of SEO. To really drive up site traffic, you’re also going to need authority and popularity.

Do you have enough backlinks to other quality sites? Do quality sites link back to you? You can’t collect customer reviews if customers don’t know how to find your webpage!

Get a free link building consultation today to make sure you’re getting the most out of your company site’s SEO.

You don’t have to do all of the backlink sleuthing by yourself. Talk to one of our seasoned professionals to see which of our SEO services is right for you and your unique needs.

Let’s see if your SEO and backlink strategy earns 5/5 stars!

The 7 Best SEO Tricks For Creating SEO Friendly URLs

Are you trying to boost your SEO efforts? Who are we kidding, of course, you are!

You’ve created excellent content, used powerful links to build authority, and sprinkled ideal keywords throughout your website. But what else can you do?

Have you ever thought about how your URLs are impacting your SEO practice? Creating SEO friendly URLs is one of the best ways to boost traffic to your website.

Read on to learn the seven best SEO tricks for creating SEO friendly URLs.

1. Remember the human element

When you’re trying to optimize your website for SEO, it’s easy to forget that human beings are a huge part of SEO.

Often times we’re worried about the Google bots that crawl through our website, indexing pages and the like. But how humans interpret your URLs can affect your SEO.

If your page looks sketchy, or the URL is too long, humans are simply not going to click on your link. This drives down visits to your site, which also drives down your SEO efforts. Your rankings will drop like a bad habit!

Some things you should consider when you’re remembering the human element:

Domain

Have you ever done a Google search and looked through the results only to find a bunch of .net and .biz domains? You probably skimmed right past those websites. And you’re not alone!

People are more apt to click on a website they find trustworthy. The .com domain is considered to deem a website higher quality. Consider this when you’re choosing a domain.

Reader-friendly URLs

If your audience can’t read your URL, chances are they’re going to skip your website. They’re not going to a website they can’t even read.

So when you’re creating your URL, you want to make sure that you’re creating one that your visitors can read and understand. You want the URL to make sense to your website.

For example, a website that reads www.catsarecool.com is going to read a lot better than www.XYZwkdiayw@.catsarecool.++.biz.

2. Use keywords

Keywords are huge. But you already knew that. So why not incorporate them into your URLs?

By placing strategic keywords in your URLs, you’re letting your audience know exactly what they’re getting. This way, there’s no confusion.

When ranking sites, Google takes a look at whether or not you’re adding keywords into your URL. Those Google bots that crawl through your site and index your pages also find it easier to index your site when the URLs are clear with keywords.

However, you want to make sure that you’re not using repeated keywords within your URL. In fact, Google will not like this at all. So one of your SEO tricks? Don’t repeat.

3. Reduce redirection

Have you ever gone to a website page and then had to be redirected several times before you reached your destination? Annoying, right?

Google thinks so as well. So when you’re creating your URLs, you want to make sure that you’re reducing your redirection strings.

4. Shorten your URLs

Bigger isn’t always better. One of the best SEO tricks you can take away from this list is that your URLs should be shortened.

Is there a specific number of words that you should focus on? Yes. According to studies done by Backlinko, the magic number is around 50 words within your URL. So if your current URL is around this length, then you’re golden.

Your site will rank higher on Google search result pages than longer URLs. Plus, they’re easier for your visitors to read.

5. Watch out for unnecessary characters

Your URL is going to have some characters within it. And that’s fine. But there is a list of characters that won’t work well for you.

Not only will users be completely confused when looking at your URL, they won’t know exactly what the URL entails.

Even worse for SEO, these characters make it hard for search engine crawlers to get through your site and index pages. Some of the characters you shouldn’t include within your URLs:

  • The space character
  • < or >
  • ” ” or #

The question mark (?) and the dollar symbol ($) are two of the several “safe” characters that won’t ruin your rankings.

6. Reduce the number of folders in your URL

The number of folders within your URL can affect your SEO efforts.

The folders are denoted by the slash between words in your URL.

Not only will several folders within your URL make your URL longer, it will also affect how you rank in search engine results. The extra folders will confuse search engines, making them dig deeper for your pages. Plus, search engines will have a harder time determining what your URLs mean if they’re stuffed with folders.

7. Http versus Https

You’re living under a rock if you haven’t heard about online fraud, hacking, and the like. It’s huge in the internet world, and it’s something most consumers are concerned about.

And it’s also something that Google and other search engines are worried about. Google states that “security is a top priority” and they are cracking down on it in full force. They’re making sure that web pages are taking security seriously, as well.

In fact, they’re now using website safety as a ranking factor when looking at websites. This is especially true if a website is selling products or services and taking credit card information.

So how can you ensure that your website is secure? By using one of these SEO tricks. You’ll need to make sure that your website is encrypted. You’ll need to use HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) as opposed to HTTP.

You’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate to ensure that your website is safe for users. And you’ll rank higher!

SEO tricks to create the perfect URLs

For the average bear, SEO can be a tricky thing to tackle. But throw in URL optimization and your mind may explode.

URL optimization can be daunting, especially if you’ve never considered it before. You want to ensure that your URLs are appealing to both users and search engines.

Have questions about SEO that you can’t find here? We’re here to help you 24/7! Contact us for any questions you may have.

Understanding The Value of a Top Ranking in Google

When applying for a job, the most important thing is to get your name out there. You want your brand to be visible to the companies you are interested in working for. You don’t want to be another name buried in a large pile of resumes. Your best bet at landing a job is if your name is right up on top of everyone else’s, right?

A top ranking in Google works the same way.

Being on the front page of customer Google searches is obviously a good way to generate organic traffic to your website. But the benefits of being a top ranking website in search engines go beyond visibility.

Here are four reasons why being number one in Google is valuable to your business.

Getting The Most Clicks

It’s no secret that being the number one ranking in Google will get your website more clicks. But how much more does it actually get you?

Let’s break it down:

The top five google rankings receive 67.6% of all clicks. The number one slot alone takes home more than two-thirds of these clicks, coming in around 42.25%. The number two and three slots lay claim to 11.94% and 8.47%, respectively.

What if you aren’t even on the front page? All of the second page accounts for less than 4% of all clicks.

Getting more clicks will also feed back into your number one ranking status. If your site is ranked number one and consistently results in conversions, it will remain the number one rank. So as long as your products, services, and content stays the best match for the keywords being searched on Google, your place at the top of the list will continually be reinforced.

In short, being the number one ranking will get you a lot more clicks than any other position combined and ensure that your website maintains a high level of traffic.

Save Money on Pay Per Click Advertising

There is two type of clicks: organic and paid.

While organic clicks are generated by producing quality content that matches a keyword search in Google, Bing, or Yahoo, paid, or PPC, clicks are just that – paid.

A paid ad will get you on the front page. But it’s going to cost you. Moreover, it’ll show up on the front page in a special segment for PPC ads only, distinguishing it from its organic counterparts. Think the small yellow section at the top and right sidebars of Google searches.

PPC campaigns can cost a company anywhere between $10 a month to upwards of $500,000 a month. This can clearly add up fast. Organic clicks, on the other hand, are absolutely free.

This means that two businesses can generate the same amount of revenue using two different types of clicks. However, utilizing a PPC strategy will incur a significant amount more cost than a purely organic campaign.

Create Referral Traffic

We’ve established that when customers see your site in the top ranking in Google, they are more likely to click your website. But what about after that initial click?

Holding the top spot is an excellent opportunity to bolster internal backlinks. This is beneficial in two ways.

First, incorporating backlinks in your website’s content will keep your target audience there longer. Providing a quick and easy way to get additional information in regards to their original search will improve your audience’s perspective on your company and increase the likelihood that they will return or recommend you to a friend.

Second, Google looks as link building as part of its criteria for page rankings. Google uses bots to index a website and determine if your website is well structured and a good resource for prospective target audiences. If so, this is factored into your overall position.

Boost Business Image and Authenticity

When searching for products and services online, people want to see the best options first.

Being the top ranking in Google tells onlookers that you are, in fact, the best of the best. You are number one. And being number one is going to make your business look good.

Most people hold the belief that the top few slots in a Google search will be the most relevant to their query. So the higher you are on this list, the more authentic your company will be viewed by the people searching for your industry offerings.

Buffering business image is another added benefit of ranking well in Google. If your website holds numerous top spots in a given industry or field, then your business will begin to establish a reputation for being a leader in that vertical.

A positive rapport such as this will eventually generate more traffic simply on the basis that your company is a tried-and-true purveyor of quality information, products, and services. Consider it in the same category as building your brand and advertising your product and service offerings.

The Value Of A Top Ranking In Google

Achieving the top spot in Google isn’t easy. Nor is maintaining a spot. But the benefits for efforts directed towards attaining these lucrative slots are well worth it.

Producing high-quality content, choosing excellent keywords, and ensuring that your site alone can meet all the needs of your target customers are the first step towards winning that number one ranking. Once you’ve acquired the slot, the position will practically do the rest of the traffic-generation work for you.

Need help on where to begin? Learn more about how to make your content stand out and bolster your ratings by reaching out here. A stronger standing in Google is only a click away.

 

 

design a logo

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Hire Someone To Design A Logo For You

Need someone to design a logo for you, but don’t know how you’ll pay for it?

Hiring a graphic designer can cost anywhere from 50 to 300 dollars an hour.

A lot of people don’t have that kind of money.

But did you know you can just design a logo yourself? You can create your own design for whatever you need your logo for.

If you’re starting a small business you definitely need a logo. With a great design, your business will be more recognizable to everyone.

Research shows that even 3-year-olds can recognize businesses by their logo!

Maybe you don’t have a small business but are starting a non-profit. Perhaps you just want a unique letterhead.

Lots of people need a personal or professional logo these days.

You might think that you aren’t creative enough to design a logo. Maybe you are, but you don’t have any of the computer software.

If you buy all the equipment, it ends up costing the same as hiring a designer.

It turns out, you don’t need talent or software to create an eye-catching logo.

You can make your own logo and forget about hiring a designer. A free logo maker will do all the work for you.

Now you can take that money you saved and spend it on something else.

Need more convincing?

Lots of people immediately think to hire someone when they need a logo. However, here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t hire someone to design a logo for you.

1. There’s not much freedom to change things when you hire someone to design a logo for you

Huge businesses change their logos all the time.

Why shouldn’t they? What is hip and in style always changes.

Companies themselves are always growing and changing.

Hopefully, yours will too!

The difference between their big corporation and your small business? They have an unlimited budget.

If you don’t have a lot of cash you will only have one shot to get the perfect logo.

That’s a big gamble!

What if you can’t make up your mind on what colors best represent your brand? The color is one of the most important parts of a logo. It has to be perfect.

There are so many fonts to choose from, too. What if you regret the one you chose six months from now?

Without the money to go back to a logo designer, then your logo is like a tattoo.

You’re stuck with it.

Not if you design a logo yourself. Then everything is in your hands. You can make all the logos you want, whenever the inspiration hits.

Say you have an online store with company merchandise. You can create all different designs for hats, t-shirts, and mugs.

You can tailor the logo for sweatshirts for adults, and bibs for babies.

If you’re presenting at an industry trade show, you can have a few different logos for all your different signage and pamphlets.

It’s all up to you and your imagination. You don’t have to limit yourself based on your budget.

2. When you don’t like the final product, you still have to pay the graphic designer

You might think a logo designer will keep working until you are happy.

Unfortunately, that is only true if you have a huge budget.

Graphic designers will jump through hoops if the price is right.

If you don’t have the money to spare, they will only work so much.

The cost to design a logo includes how many times they’ll fix what you don’t like.

Once you’ve hit the limit, that’s it. You’re stuck with it.

No matter how unhappy you are, you still have to pay the agreed upon price.

There are no negotiations after the work has been done.

At the end of the process, you could be out hundreds of dollars. Maybe even thousands.

With nothing to show for it.

It’s just one more risk you take whenever you hire a logo designer.

When you blow your logo design budget, you’ll have no choice but to do it yourself.

You might as well save the money in the first place and use a free logo maker.

That way you can keep working on it until it’s perfect.

3. If you don’t want to compromise on the design of your logo, you might bump heads with the designer

When you hire a designer, you aren’t hiring a mind reader.

You can explain what you want in detail. It still won’t look exactly as it does in your head.

There’s more to keep in mind if you’re very particular:

When you hire a designer, you are also hiring an artist.

Artists have lots of opinions on what they think their work should look like.

They won’t be shy about telling you their thoughts. Which is fine, if you have no vision for your logo.

However, if you know exactly what you want, you might bump heads.

It causes problems if your logo designer doesn’t agree with your ideas.

They may be a great graphic designer, but they didn’t go to marketing school.

They sometimes think they know what is best for your logo because they are the “expert.”

But you are the expert when it comes to what is best for your company.

If they think you’re wrong, it will be hard to get them to do exactly what you want.

That means you will constantly have to send the design back for edits.

Even if you eventually get the perfect logo, the process will be a headache.

And, again, if at the end you aren’t happy with the product, you still have to pay.

It’s just one more reason why you shouldn’t hire someone to design your logo.

4. When you find a logo you like, a designer won’t recreate that for you

When you hire someone to design a logo for you, it’s not like seeing a hairdresser.

You can’t bring them a picture of a logo you like and say, “I want that style.”

You’d think whatever the client wants the client gets. That’s not the case.

Like we said before, the designer considers themselves an artist.

It’s not like you’re asking them to completely copy it or anything. You just want them to do something similar.

That probably won’t matter.

They will want to “wow” you with something completely original. Recreating another design isn’t any fun for them.

Maybe you will love their completely one-of-a-kind work.

Another possibility is that you will hate it. How annoying is that?

You knew what you wanted the whole time, and they wouldn’t give it to you.

You might as well just design a logo yourself since you’re already inspired.

A vision is half the battle of creating a design.

All you have to do from there is use a free logo generator to make your vision real.

5. You should save money where you can

Small businesses and organizations take a lot of money to get up and running.

Research shows that the average cost can be upwards of $30,000.

There are all the bills that you can’t compromise on.

A florist shop has to have electricity. An in-home daycare center needs to have snacks and toys.

Then there are all the unexpected costs that come up.

When an oven in your bakery breaks down, you either fix it or close up shop.

You should find ways to cut corners.

Then you’ll be able to save money for the surprise disasters and monthly bills.

Of course, a logo is something you need to have.

It is also something you don’t need to pay for.

It’s possible that you have the money to hire a logo designer right now.

Then after writing the check to your graphic designer, your catering van breaks down.

You’ll wish you had that extra few hundred dollars lying around.

Maybe you don’t even have a small business.

You just need a logo for your personal website or blog.

In that case, you’re not even using your logo for profit. It’s silly to sink cash into hiring someone to design a logo if you’re never going to make that money back.

It wasn’t always an option to design a logo for yourself. Now with some great technology, it’s really easy.

You might as well just save your money where you can!

Are you considering making your own logo?

As you’ve read, there are a lot of great reasons to design a logo yourself.

Luckily, because of free logo generators, there is no risk to trying it out.

Check out our Online Logo Maker and see what we’re about.

Still not feeling confident that you can figure out how to make your own logo?

We have a tutorial to show you all the tips and tricks. It’s easier than you think!

You might really like what you come up with!

Have you ever tried to design a logo for yourself?

What was your experience like?

Please let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear how you liked it!