What makes a company website successful? Many will say it’s search-engine optimization, some will say it’s design, and a few will say it’s user experience. The answer is: all three. When designing a website for business, it is important to keep this in mind and not prioritize one of these aspects at the expense of the others. Individuals are often surprised to learn that both design and user experience play a substantial role in how a website ranks on search engines.

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Why Design and User Experience Matters

Nowadays, many competitive businesses know to incorporate search-engine optimization in the design of their website. This focus does not need to overwrite the design and user experience (UX), however. With the development of coding languages and the upswing in Internet use, there are now many options for inclusion of both beautiful design and fluid UX.

How Google Measures Design and User Experience

To ensure visibility online, your website needs to rank highly in search engine results. Websites designed with HTML and CSS are able to tackle the problem of website ranking, or search-engine optimization (SEO). SEO allows a search engine bot, a software application that runs automated tasks, to read and understand your content,and rank it accordingly. This is how you are able to find relevant information on the web through a simple search. Optimization increases the chances of your site ranking highly in search engines, so your business is organically seen by more people.

One issue many companies encounter is the sacrifice of user experience (UX) in favor of SEO – a compromise of design in the name of site ranking. But this doesn’t need to be the case; web designers can incorporate user-friendly and beautiful designs with code that speaks to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

What Can Be Done to Improve Design and User Experience

Though search engines need text, there are ways to preserve a visual-based site (such as an online clothing retailer). Once such method is adding an expandable division tag (div) to the images. The div might give the user a compelling product description, information about the store, or general contact information, for example. Including text in this way allows the different pages of a website to be ‘read’ by processors that rank it.

Calls to action and other page elements which are often presented as images would also benefit from background code. When these are created with webfonts and coding languages such as CSS and HTML, bots are able to crawl (browse and index) these elements, giving your firm a better reach online.

The Importance of a Strong Web Presence

While 96% of Americans have purchased items online, 51% prefer online sales to brick-and-mortar stores, and 85% of consumers use search engines to find local businesses, creating and maintaining a strong web presence is crucial to business survival.

If a website is not designed with SEO in mind, it is difficult to rank highly in search results and is therefore difficult to achieve the desired result of an increased consumer base. The experts at The Public Relations and Marketing Group are knowledgeable and experienced in search engine optimization and digital presence, including advertising and social media. For sample site designs, please visit http://for-your-impact-online.com.  For more information, call us at 631-207-1057, or email us at info@theprmg.com.


Mobile-First Marketing

Last month’s Google Performance Summit in San Francisco, CA, revealed a number of changes to Google’s AdWords and Analytics tools. Some of the highlights of Google’s summit included the development of “Promoted Pins” in Google Maps, changes in ad bidding and a new appearance for ads in search results. All of these developments reveal that Google is moving forward into the mobile-first era while continuing to handle trillions of searches every year.

Google announced that its Maps service will soon include a new generation of localized ads, as well as “promoted pins” featuring local businesses. They note, “Nearly one-third of all mobile searches are related to location,” revealing that “people’s online and offline worlds are colliding.” Since locally-based mobile searches are growing, this is a tremendous opportunity for organizations to integrate their advertisements into the stream of their followers’ lives and to show them that they are located nearby.

Changes to AdWords bidding will now allow customization based on the platform of choice – desktop, tablet, or mobile. Again this change is driven by Google’s commitment to pursue a “mobile-first” approach to advertising. The increased customization capabilities for AdWords bidding will allow businesses to optimize their marketing for whichever platform drives the greatest response and, ultimately, to reach customers more effectively.

Finally, the “mobile-first” approach to advertising has led Google to reformat the way search results appear to favor mobile platforms. This follows Google’s decision earlier this spring to remove right-hand ads from desktop search results. Expanded-text ads and new responsiveness features in mobile displays further contribute to the versatility and appeal of Google’s world-leading ads program.

Google has published some very helpful information about how mobile searches connect customers to physical businesses. Of course, Google’s search and advertising capabilities have revolutionized the face of marketing in the digital age, and their shift toward a “mobile-first” approach means they are continuing to have influence in this area. The call for professionals in this ever-changing media environment is clear: as Google notes, “accounting for mobile and designing for mobile-first are two very different things.” Mobile advertising and search capabilities offer a promising way to bridge the gap between cyberspace and physical space, as the content users see online pushes them to visit physical locations.

The Public Relations and Marketing Group, LLC (PRMG) is a full-service public relations, marketing and digital advertising agency. A Certified Google Partner, PRMG is dedicated to helping organizations and professionals drive client outreach through strategies like mobile-first marketing. If you are interested in any of the services we offer, please contact us at info@thePRMG.com or 631-207-1057 for a free consultation.


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These days, it’s not enough to have a beautiful, user-friendly website. It’s also important to consider the site’s existence on, and interaction with, search engines. Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to initiate and funnel traffic to your website, and a well-performing website utilizes the right combination of on-page, on-site and off-site optimization strategies.

 

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization ensures the optimal mix and frequency of well-researched keyword phrases. This typically consists of measuring relevancy across items such as: page title tags, meta descriptions, header (h1, h2) tags, image alt tags, link title attributes and paragraph text on a single web page. On-page optimization also focuses on including keyword phrases in the right locations of a web page. Search engines will prioritize the importance of a keyword phrase that’s physically higher up on the page and tagged correctly, and give that particular phrase more weight when categorizing and ranking your website in organic search results.

On-Site Optimization

On-site optimization focuses on the importance of relevancy across many pages of a website, or the entire site. An example of this would be a website for an accountant where all topics, including practice areas, blog pages, articles etc., focus on accounting-related issues, like taxation, filing, bookkeeping, or anything relevant to the business. Typical on-site optimization strategies include a rich link structure that connects keywords or phrases to other related pages that may more clearly define the specified keyword phrase. Ensuring that the anchor text used in a hyperlink is rich with keywords that clearly define what the subject of the destination page is about gives a search engine a better idea as to what the overall site’s theme and category are. A good example of this would be avoiding a phrase like “click here” as a means to link to another page.

Other on-site strategies would include having a current XML sitemap to help search engines crawl and identify the location of all of your website pages without missing any, using schema markup to better translate information about your organization to search engines (location, hours, type of business), identifying and removing duplicate content to avoid penalties, and using DRY (don’t repeat yourself), lean, compressed (minified) code so that your site loads quickly, giving visitors an optimal experience.

Off-Site Optimization

Off-site optimization techniques primarily focus on aspects that can increase the visibility of a website in organic search results by way of factors that are external to the website itself. This would include social media strategies set to drive traffic and inbound links, obtaining backlinks by use of credible online directories, and ensuring that URLs, address listings, and phone numbers are precise and accurate across all locations on the web. Also, writing compelling, original, quality content — like press releases or blogs that authoritative sites like news sites and thought-leading blogs may want to link to — can help increase your organic search rankings.

A healthy combination of on-page, on-site and off-site optimization is the best approach to increasing visibility for your website. The Public Relations and Marketing Group is both knowledgeable and experienced in creating successful optimization and marketing strategies for websites. Call now for a consultation: 631-207-1057 or email us at: info@theprmg.com.


Bloggers from the public relations and marketing groupBy now, most bloggers are familiar with the phrase “content is king,” and while there really is no substitute for good content, many bloggers are simply not getting the audience their content merits.  A lack of knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques is the main reason for low readership on well-written and frequently updated blogs. But even those who are not tech-savvy can optimize their blogs by improving the quality, images, tags and links (assuming you are using a user friendly website such as WordPress, Drupal or CMS). Continue reading


websites-multiple-devicesWhen running a business, one of the most important branding and marketing strategies is to create an informative, effective website. How can you decide if your business is better off with a template or a custom-built website? First, think about the goals, budget, and scope of your campaign. For example, if the main objective is a quick, low-cost redesign or creating your first website, a template-based website could be beneficial for your business. However, while many business owners create their own websites using templates through sites like Weebly or GoDaddy, these templates may hinder your overall marketing strategy if your company is looking for a more comprehensive set of services. Continue reading


Website collage with multiple devices

The internet is now the main way for businesses to gain exposure. It’s an easy and fast way to get found, communicate with clients and bring in new business. This is your first impression- make it count!

When developing or maintaining a website, there are quite a few factors to consider since websites can easily help or harm a brand. What should the site include? How can I maximize the return on my investment? These are all questions that can be answered by considering a few important factors that you must consider to gain traffic and build your reputation.

Domain Name

The domain name is the primary way to brand your site (apart from your logo/design). This is what will be typed in the search bar to locate your site. Using a .com domain is be best because of its popularity — many individuals believe that .net sites are less reputable. Use .org for organizations and nonprofits only.

You want your web address to be simple, but including a keyword can help SEO (ex. www.longislanddivorcelawyer.com). Something long and difficult to remember may result in loss of visitors to your site.  We recommend using your company’s name or a keyword-based description. Continue reading


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What were the problems with the Healthcare.gov launches?

By now, everyone is familiar with the problem-ridden launch of the various Obamacare/healthcare.gov websites.  So what happened?  And why was the launch so problematic?  The Obamacare website launch problems boil down to the following:

Data center shutdown-  The online insurance marketplaces lost connection to its datacenter and officials are unsure how long it will take to fix the problem.  Data centers are vital to the functionality of  a site.  Without a reliable connection and secure hosting, many applications could fall through the cracks.

Frequent crashes– Crashes have been the most visible sign of the websites’ failures. When individuals visit healthcare.gov, or a related site, they are redirected to a page not found screen, a request to wait, or requests time out.  These errors both discourage users and can harm your relationship with your users. Continue reading


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A strong web presence is absolutely essential to maintain and grow a business, and the availability of in-office web designers has not yet caught up with demand. This disparity has created the need for an easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) that allows businesses to manage their own websites without the aid of an on-staff web designer.

Most notably, the CMS Drupal allows web designers to combine the visual appeal of a complex, programmed site with the ease and functionality of managing an email account.  Drupal allows users to publish written and visual content without any knowledge of coding— it works on the premise that if you can use a web browser and Microsoft Word, you can edit your own website! Continue reading


5 Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Business’ Keyword Strategy

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), keywords are extremely important. Keywords are the words or short phrases that Internet users type into a search engine when looking for a website, business, service or product. In regards to SEO, search engines use keywords when analyzing and prioritizing websites. By including strong keywords in the content of your website, the meta tags, ALT tags, your domain name and each individual page name, your search engine rankings will dramatically improve. Apart from SEO purposes, keywords should also be used in blog entries and your Web advertising campaigns. This article will explain how to choose keywords that will boost your business’ online visibility and bring you higher conversion rates.

  1. Know Your Target Audience — Before determining which keywords to use, you must know exactly what your target audience is most interested in. Your keywords should consist of words or phrases that potential customers are most likely to use when searching for your business, service or website. Ask yourself: what would my potential customers most likely enter into a search engine? Once you are familiar with your audience’s needs and mindset, you can begin compiling a list of potential keywords.
  2. Brainstorm — Come up with a list of potential words and phrases that your target audience might use to find your business online. The goal is to show up as high as possible in search engine results when people search using these keywords. Generate a list of words or short phrases that relate to what your website is trying to promote, sell or offer to your target audience. Try to stay away from very popular keywords because the more competition there is for a keyword, the harder it is to rank high for it. You can narrow your keyword phrases by adding a location or town. Also, rather than repeating the same keyword over and over again in your Web copy, it’s best to use the keyword’s synonyms. This way, your content will be more interesting for readers and Google won’t mark you as a keyword abuser.
  3. Use Keyword Tools — There are plenty of tools on the Web that will help you determine the monthly activity or popularity of potential keywords. For example, try using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. This useful tool can help you get keyword ideas for your overall list and, more specifically, for your Web advertising campaigns. Through this keyword tool, you can find keywords based on your website’s content and also identify negative keywords. Here are several other keyword tools available on the Web:
  4. Keep an Eye on Your Competition — By taking a look at your competitors’ meta tags, you can see which keywords they are using and get an idea of which words and phrases are most common in your industry. By using programs such as Web CEO, you can measure how well you, and your competitors, come up in search engines and, essentially, how easily potential customers are able to find your website. You can also try entering one of your desired keywords into a popular search engine to see which websites show up the highest for this word. While you are aiming for keywords that your target audience is most likely to use, you also want keywords that don’t have as much competition. If you can find a balance of strong keywords and less competition, you will have a better conversion rate.
  5. Adapt When Necessary — Over time, keep track of words and search phrases to determine which keywords you should keep and which you should remove. If you find that some of these words are no longer relevant, opt for different ones and monitor what works and what doesn’t.

For more information on keywords, please read our article, “On-Page Optimization and Keywords.” You can also contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.


SEO-Pre-Production

Search engine optimization (SEO) is absolutely critical to modern marketing. With millions of new Web pages flooding the Internet every day, search engines are forced to sift through the clutter and develop a ranking system to prioritize websites. In the most basic sense, SEO is everything that helps your business get ranked higher and receive optimal exposure from these search engines. This is so important because your position on organic search engine results correlates with the number of leads generated by your website. For those who are new to SEO, this article will explain the most important factors that affect these rankings.

  1. Content — Compelling content is perhaps the most important and influential factor of search engine optimization. Every Web page you create should contain unique content that is fresh and relevant to your industry and keywords. Strong content is quickly picked up by the major search engines and pushed to the top of the search results. When writing your Web copy, see if you’ve answered the needs of your customers or clients. What kind of content are they looking for? Depending on your industry, you may offer guidebooks, downloads, a FAQ section, multimedia and other pages that are of value to your audience. It’s also important to ask yourself (even if your content meets the needs of your audience): What makes your website stand out from those of similar organizations? The more valuable and unique your website, the more traffic it will receive. For more information on the importance of content and how you can create better content, please see our article, “Why Quality Content Reigns Supreme.”
  1. Your Web Page Must be Crawlable — In order to build traffic, your website must allow search engines to easily “crawl,” or access and index, the information on your site. If your content cannot be crawled, it won’t be ranked or indexed by search engines. To ensure that your website is crawlable, use search engine-friendly CSS code, include a simple and clean navigation, use text links and incorporate a keyword-rich URL structure. Once your website has been fully optimized, crawled and indexed, it will be much easier to attract organic traffic from Google and other major search engines.
  1. On-page SEO — On-page SEO refers to all of the production requirements on the specific individual pages you are trying to rank. When developing your Web presence, make sure that every page is fully optimized since it’s possible that individual pages of your website will rank higher than your homepage. Start out with a strong, well-thought-out design, incorporate a frequent updating strategy and pick a domain name with potential keywords in it. It’s also important to name your individual Web pages using keywords. For example: www.yourcompany.com/keyword1-keyword2.html. Use proper programming and avoid “black hat” methods to prevent blacklisting by Google and other search engines. These black hat methods include repeating the keyword in your content too often, having duplicate websites and registering many domains and interlinking them all. For more in-depth information on on-page optimization tips and techniques, please see our article, “On-Page Optimization and Keywords.”
  1. Relevance — Your website and individual Web pages must be a close match to the term that is being searched. To boost your site’s relevance in the eyes of popular search engines, make sure that every title, header, link, graphic name and page on your website is somehow relevant and connected to your subject and desired keywords.
  1. Off-page SEO — Off-page SEO refers to the external aspects which attribute to rankings, or everything that happens off your website that builds traffic and leads to higher search engine ranking. The most important factors to consider are the external pages linking to your website and the level of authority these pages have. For example, submitting your website to popular Web directories and social bookmarking websites that have high authority will benefit your overall SEO. For more detailed information about off-page optimization and long-term strategies to improve your SEO, please read our article, “No, We Can’t Get You Those Results Overnight.” An important factor of off-page optimization is the level of authority given to your Web page. The more authority your Web page has, the more likely it will rank high for certain keywords. To maximize your authority, secure as many backlinks as possible from as many high-authority sites as possible. Since authority is an aspect of link-building, you can build authority on the Web by utilizing off-page optimization methods such as submitting your site to Web directories, using social bookmarking websites, blogging regularly and other techniques to engage users with your content and drive traffic and legitimate backlinks to your website.
  2. Link Building — Link building is critical to enhancing your SEO and attracting people to your website. Backlinks are so important to SEO because some major search engines, such as Google, will give more credit to websites that have a high number of quality backlinks. This doesn’t mean buying links or using link farms — backlinks should only be coming from credible sources. For example, backlinks from websites such as Google, YouTube and free submission websites are given more authority and link value. The four major factors that affect link value are:
    • Whether It Is a No-Follow or Do-Follow Link — Focus on obtaining do-follow links, which contain a special HTML Markup that notifies the major search engines to follow the destination inside the link. Always avoid link farms since these can actually hurt your search engine ranking.
    • The Authority of the Page Your Link Appears On — The higher the authority of the page your link appears on, the more SEO credit your backlink will hold.
    • The Number of Other Links on the Page Linking to You — The more links on one page, the less SEO credit each link possesses.
    • The Anchor Text of a Link — Links that have desired keywords in the anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink) are the most valuable to you, in terms of ranking for those keywords.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.