Mobile Subdomain vs Responsive Web Design and SEO

Updated May 1st, 2015: Is your site mobile ready? Google’s latest algorithm update rolled out on April 21st targeting business whose websites we’re not mobile friendly. If you haven’t updated your site, you could be losing tons of traffic from mobile search. You can read more about Google’s update here. If you’re not sure if your site is mobile-friendly you can use Google’s handy Mobile-Friendly Test. If you need help getting your site updated and mobile ready let us know, we can help!

One of my many pet peeves as a developer, has to do with the separation of look and feel after viewing a website on both desktop and mobile. After a few dozen visits to a site on a desktop, I have clear idea about what to expect in regards to a site’s look and functionality. Then one day I’m waiting at the dentist, so I decide to check out the website on my phone. The browser loads and to my surprise the site looks completely different than I expected. On the phone I expected it to look relatively similar to the desktop version, so why is it so different?

Why Does the Mobile Site Look So Different?

This is because there’s a 99.9% chance that it really IS a different site. The site is usually located “m.domain.com (though it can be anything, such as “mobile.domain.com” or “www.domain.com/mobile/”) instead of “www.domain.com” and you can see it’s address in the omnibox.mobile-websiteNote that though websites employing Responsive Web Design can in theory have a completely different aesthetic than the desktop site, and it’s not a requirement that the “m” site look completely different than “www.” However, RWD (responsive web design) sites typically don’t show a large change of aesthetic between screen sizes. It’s just more common with “m” subdomains because they are truly different websites.

What’s So Good About Responsive Web Design?

So when would a company want to use a “m” subdomain? First let’s talk about why you want a RWD website. RWD simply means that you develop websites to display nicely on all devices regardless of screen size. This allows for a continuity between devices, while maintaining consistency between link navigation and style. For us here at ISM, SEO is the most important criteria we consider in making decisions, and responsive web design and SEO seem to go hand in hand. Google also prefers RWD over a “m” web design because it generally provides a more coherent user experience and helps avoid duplicate content issues because of search engines having to crawl 2 different codebases. Google prefers that a site share a single domain and html, and even recommends it to be a web standard. Consistency of look has indirect benefits as well, such as keeping users on your site longer and making it more likely for them to take action, and makes generally makes it easier to share content because of one dedicated link.

Why Would I Want a “m” Subdomain?

So why is this not the case 100% of the time? Why go through the trouble of building a brand new website just for mobile users? Well, the arguments for a “m” site seem to revolve around speed.  It’s true that a website with tailor fit Javascript, CSS, and images, can result in a website that’s fast and streamlined because nothing but what’s essential has been introduced. Another argument is that if you run an old website, especially if it has a large legacy codebase, it can be difficult and expensive to rebuild the code just so it works on mobile devices.

So What Should I Do?

I believe the problem however, can be solved in a trade-off for most websites. Though the argument of legacy code is a tough problem to tackle, requiring more than just development decisions, there are good solutions to help increase mobile speed. Unless you have to develop specifically for older browsers,the push toward a more coherent user experience and a consolidation of resources is obviously a better solution. And again, SEO is an argument that sometimes gets left out among us developer types, but it all goes back to the idea that if no one can find your website, what does it matter?

Do You Even Lift? Executing A Content Marketing Strategy That Gets Results

Content Marketing StrategyWhat do getting swole and content marketing have in common?

More that you might think.  By applying some of the same principles that work in the gym to your content development and marketing you can get the results you are looking for.

So do you even lift?

Content Marketing Strategy | Start TodayThe first step to getting results is to take action. Do something.  Start somewhere.  You have a boring niche? So… you still have build content. Your industry is too technical? Doesn’t matter… you still have to do it. You don’t like social media… you still have to do it.

If you want the results, you have to put in the work, and the work isn’t easy. Sometimes it feels like a grind to continuously promote content in various verticals, but to be a thought leader or subject matter expert, you have to put in the effort. KISSmetrics has awesome content about maximizing engagement by leveraging available data about the timing of distribution. This post is a great example.

So, how can you get results from your content marketing?

Have a plan before you show up

Wandering around the gym doing a little of this and a little of that isn’t going to work – you need a plan.

Have goals for your content marketing. Knowing why you are developing a particular piece of content keeps the creation process controlled. Content serves various functions – is it sales copy? Educational copy? Industry specific? Linkbait? All these content types require different approaches to get maximum results.  Will Reynolds from SEER has some incredible data on putting a content plan together here.

Don’t skip leg day

Leg day sucks, but it’s important.  You can’t skip the tough parts and expect to meet your goals.

Getting results from your content marketing requires that you have a plan for your content and that you stick to the plan. Know what, when, and where you are going to promote your content before you build it. Put a timeline or schedule in place to maximize your engagement across social media networks. Preparing a distribution schedule, drafting tweets, and selecting pictures and hashtags in advance makes executing easier, and it gives your content marketing efforts a more coherent feel.

No curls in the squat rack

The squat rack is for squats – knowing where to post your content makes you more efficient, and less likely to get the stink eye.

Stop Publishing Low Value ContentKnow where your content belongs and put it there. Cluttering up Facebook with every idea that pops into your head isn’t a content marketing strategy. Evaluate your content and understand what outlets are most applicable for your particular content goals. Does it belong on LinkedIn or Pinterest? Putting your content in front of the most likely audience, respects your audience’s time – and people love that.

You can’t out train a bad diet

You can do crunches until you pass out but if you eat cake for breakfast you won’t realize your goals

Stop with the crappy, low value, content. It’s poison. It’s annoying. It’s not going to help you.

Having a disciplined approach to content creation ensures that you only turn out targeted content. Come up with a lot of ideas, cull the bad ones, flesh out the good ones to see if they will work, and develop only the ones that are new, useful, and feasible.

You gotta track your gains

Knowing your numbers is key to tracking results – if you aren’t keeping track, how do know where to adjust?

Once your content has been developed, refined, scheduled and finally released into the wild, you have to track it.  Your strategy has many assumptions, and paying attention to the life cycle of a piece of content gets you actionable insights for modifying and informing your next piece of content.

So that’s it:

  • Get started
  • Make a complete plan
  • Stick to the plan
  • Be smart with your efforts
  • Track your efficacy

Now that you have your content marketing tips if you want to “learn” more about the gym please check out one of my favorite YouTube channels to see the inspiration for this post.

 

What are Social Signals, and Why do I Need a Good One?

Social signals are becoming a more important factor in search.  [Good] Back links have always been, and still are, of great value in SEO.  However, popular search engines such as Google and Bing don’t believe that a site can have a thousand or more backlinks, with no social signals.

So, how do I enhance my social signal?

It’s simple.  Basically you need to start with really good web content, this includes:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Press Releases
  • Articles

This content needs to be relatable, and informative.  However, it’s more than that.  You also want you’re your content to be engaging enough to be shared by relevant sites (by creating back links to your content), therefor sharing your content with more readers, and by being shared on one or more of the popular social media sites such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • Youtube
  • Pintrest

Social Signal | Atlanta Social Media Marketing

As of late Google has really been pushing SEO in the direction of better content, instead of keyword density and placement.  This advice needs to be followed everywhere, but especially when it comes to enhancing your social signal.  You want your readers and visitors to find the content that you provide to be useful and knowledgeable.  However, it needs to capture your audience enough to be shared with their friends and readers as well.  This is what creates the social signals that all search engines are looking for.

Google, Bing, and Yahoo have all agreed that the social signal that your site generates is of great importance.  “It’s the new SEO”.  Google has confirmed that they use Facebook’s and Twitter’s links in web search rankings, and the effect that these  links have on rankings has increased since the 2011 Panda and 2012 penguin updates.

So, what is the message here?

You need to create great content that is sharable, relevant, and engaging.  Having multiple back links won’t cut it in the new age of SEO.  Create content that readers will want to share, or recommend to their friends and audience.  Social networking and media is becoming very important in the world of SEO, you want to start generating your social signal strength now, if you haven’t already.

What to Expect from the New Google+ Local Listings

Atlanta SEO Company, Interactive Search Marketing, knows that when Google starts playing around behind the scenes, business owners get nervous and with good reason. If you are in business right now you have spent time improving your online reputation, and becoming as prominent as possible in the search engines. It is just the cost of doing business these days and no one wants to hear about a change that might damage all their hard work.

Google+ Local | Atlanta SEO Company | Google PlacesThe good news is that there is nothing to fear just yet. Essentially Google has gotten rid of their local search pages called Google Places and replaced it with Google+ Local. They are working on taking all of the existing Places pages and converting them into Google+ Local pages so the business owner does not have to request the conversion, it is automatic.

For the moment, Google says that the change will not have an effect on local search but that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. In fact, it is a pretty sure bet that the new pages will become a major factor in local searches. One of the biggest changes that they have made to the process is the introduction of Zagat reviews. On the previous Google Places pages everyone utilized a five star rating for a company. The new pages will use a zero to thirty Zagat rating that has been integrated directly with Google+ Local.

Business owners have a lot of questions about the recent changes and we will address a few of the most common ones below to help clarify some issues.

  1. How do you verify your Google+ Local profile? If you have already claimed your business through Google Places then you will not need to do so again under the new system. If you have not claimed your profile then you will do it the same way as you did with Places. At the moment there is no way to see if a business has been claimed or not but Google is supposed to implement a fix for that soon.
  2. What will happen if my company already has a Google+ page? Google is working to merge the Google Places pages with the existing Google+ pages so the integration is happening internally.
  3. How do we manage our Google+ Local profile? You will work through your regular Google Places interface like you always have.

Bing Makes Some Big changes, Here’s What to Expect

Atlanta SEO Company, Interactive Search Marketing, talks about the newest changes to Bing.  With all the changes that Google has been implementing it should come as no surprise that Bing is also trying to shake things up. For awhile now Microsoft has been trying to gain some ground on the search engine leader (Google) and they are now leveraging their investment in Facebook to offer something that Google cannot.

Bing will soon be rolling out a brand new interface that incorporates your social media contacts into your search results via a sidebar. In essence, it will operate just like the search engine always has but it will also show information from your social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

BingFor example, if you were to run a search for information about Georgia, the search engine will gather information from:

  • The Internet ( Just like it always has)
  • Your Facebook profile ( To find any mention of the search term Georgia)
  • Your friends Facebook profiles (To find out who may live in Georgia, vacation in Georgia or have some kind of expertise in it)
  • What you and your friends have liked on Facebook
  • Facebook Photos

Once it has gathered the information, it will give you the standard search results plus a list of social media contacts in a sidebar that may have additional information about your search term. So, if you have a friend on Facebook that said they live in Georgia or posted a picture tagged with the word Georgia,  they might appear in your search sidebar.

While many people see this as a great way to integrate social networking into search results, others are not so sure. Quite a few Facebook users feel that the social media site is already too intrusive, and they do not want to give it even more control over standard online tasks.

This may be Bing’s chance to take a few users away from Google. In essence, Google is pairing a relatively unpopular social media site with the most popular search engine to date but Bing is pairing a relatively unpopular search engine with the two most popular social media sites to date. The new Bing interface is set to launch in a few weeks and anyone interested in social media or search engine optimization will be watching very closely to see what effect it may have.

What Will a Website do for My Business?

As a Dawsonville web development company we often get asked, “Why do I need a website for my business? What will it do for me?”  The answer is actually simple, and having a great website is crucial in the expanding world of technology that we live in today.

Your Business Needs a WebsiteSo, what will a website do for your business?

  • When is the last time you looked for a phone number in a printed phone book?  Odds are it’s been a while.  Search engines like Google and Yahoo are now the main vessels of information.  Having a great Dawsonville web development team strategically build and optimize a website for your company will put you at the top of the list when consumers are looking for the products or services that you offer.
  • Once you have a website, it opens a whole new market.  It will allow customers, and potential customers or investors, to learn more about your business via web search.  That said, you can’t just throw together a website and hope for the best.  There is more to it than that.  The site needs to look professional and be optimized for search engines so that your company develops a great web presence.
  • Potential customers are looking for your services or products.  If you don’t have a website, it’s guaranteed that they will find your competitor’s site instead.  Meaning that one of your customers is now lost.
  • Having a great website will allow you to keep customers engaged in your business by allowing you to post new things about your company.  You can let customers know about sales and specials, or that you’re moving or opening a new location.

It is important to remember, however, that having no website at all is better than a poor one.  Make sure you hire a great professional Dawsonville web development team to design and maintain a great web presence for your growing business.  Don’t miss out on another customer.

Top 6 Google Updates that Positively Affect SEO

Google has a way of making SEO companies squirm with new updates and changes to their search algorithms.  This year’s updates have really made an impact on the world of SEO.  However, it’s not what you think.  Any good SEO team that creates great content that is relevant to readers will still have great rankings in Google’s search results.

Google PandaHere are six of the 50 changes that Google made in March that are the most important to SEO and marketing:

  • Update Codename: Blackboard will process autocomplete queries that include math symbols. (+, -, %, $, @, etc.)
  • Update Codename: Prof-2 allows for betting indexing of profile pages from more than 200 social network sites.
  • Update Codename: ShieldsUp allows for better handling of local intent and navigational queries, where it looks as if the user is trying to navigate to a specific site, or within a specific site that is near their current location.
  • Update Codename: Curlup is the big one that has some “black hat SEO companies” shaking.  This allows Google to crawl a webpage and rank a website based on quality, and what it brings to the user, instead of ranking for SEO alone.  This is what I mentioned before, using keywords is still best practice.  However, don’t just shove them into sentences and content that don’t fit.
  • Update Codename: Fibyen improves the algorithm that determines dates for blogs, ensuring that the newest and most relevant results are brought to users.
  • Update Codename: Lice updates the signals that Google uses related to the landing page that quality images are located on.  This means that users will find higher quality images, even if the images are on lower quality pages.

Google’s updates always seem to scare everyone on the web. Though Google isn’t setting us up for a SEOpocolypse, and as long as you have great tactics there’s nothing to worry about.  If you own a business that has a website just make sure that you have a great Atlanta SEO and web development team taking care of your web presence.  This will ensure the best rankings in Google and greater traffic overall.

8 Good Pieces of Advice for Creating Domain Names!

Choosing the right domain name is the most important step when building a website. It doesn’t matter if it’s a company website or a blog, your point is to get traffic. You want customers and readers to see you, and to take your product seriously.

9 Good Pieces of Advice for domain names!

  1. Always go with .com! It’s the most widely accepted extension for domain names.Domains
  2. Choose a name with only one possible spelling. This makes it easier for visitors to find your site as opposed to your competitor.
  3. The shorter, the better. The shorter your domain name is the easier it is to remember.
  4. Would it look good in a commercial? Think of what your domain name that would look like in commercials or on a billboard.
  5. Absolutely-No-Hyphens. Avoid hyphens all together. It’s likely that your visitors aren’t going to remember them, let alone where they go.
  6. Buy up those other extensions! As well as your .com, buy .biz and .info. These are commercial extensions that you can redirect to your .com domain to ensure that all traffic comes to you!
  7. Pay the Price! Free servers usually are going to be ignored by search engines. Pay for your server.
  8. Keywords baby! Choose a domain name that includes keywords that are related to your site. If you sell “stone” use stone in your domain name.
  9. Avoid numbers for letters! To does not equal 2. For does not equal 4. “deliver2u4cheap.com” Looks as bad as it is hard to remember.

These certainly will help in making sure that you get visitors turned customers. You want to avoid all things silly, ridiculous, and clever. Stick to something simple and relevant to make sure that your taken seriously and traffic keeps coming in!

 

Spiders on the Web: Web Crawlers and Search Engines

What are Web Crawlers? Ever wonder how your search engine comes back with endless information when you hit the search button for just about any topic? Web Crawlers, also known as Web Spiders, Bots, and Web Roots is the answer to that one. So, what is a Web Crawler? It’s a program, or script, that methodically browses the web and gathers information from web pages and indexes all of the information on the page and drops it in a main dispensary.

Web Spiders Can…

  • Provide up-to-date data (If you were to change a phone number etc.)Spider
  • Checking Links
  • Validating HTML Code
  • Help Market Researchers find the most up-to-date words and terms used today

Web Crawlers, and using them correctly, are a crucial method for collecting data on the ever expanding web. With so many webpages being added daily, and all of the information that is constantly changing, search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing would be all but useless without them. Search engines wouldn’t work at all in fact.

The Dark Side, Web Crawlers can be used for evil as well.

Some choose to use Web Crawlers maliciously…

  • Hacking Servers
  • Gathering Info for Spamming

So, how exactly do they work? When a Web Crawler visits a page it “reads” visible text, hyperlinks, tags, and keyword rich Meta tags. Using the info that it just “read” the Web Crawler will determine what the web page is about and index it.

This is just the simple synopsis of what Web Crawlers do, why, and how. Of course there are many details involved with making sure the Web Spiders read your web page correctly. Don’t have a 500 page website, make sure your webpage and domain name are relevant to your company or business, and hire a good SEO team. Find the right SEO team, and you’ll be set for excellent presence on the World Wide Web.

Google Plus One

Google’s new Plus One (+1) for websites is the next big advancement by the search engine behemoth. They have had several attempts at social media fall flat on their face recently, but this one may just hang around.

Plus One allows users to effectively (to use Facebook terminology) “like” a search result. This allows others from within your Google network to see that you have already liked or “plus oned” something, therefore increasing the odds that they click on the link as well.

How does this affect SEO?

The effects of this could weigh heavily on SEO. Organic traffic is one of the most important factors in determining SE placement, so naturally if your see your friend likes one restaurant over another, more than likely you will click on that restaurant as well, therefore increasing that site’s organic traffic. Also, this is even further continuing Google’s attempt to lower the rankings of content farms. Poor guys never seen it coming.

Is this going to beat Facebook’s “Like” button?

Actually Facebook and Google’s philosophy’s aren’t much different than we think. Both companies consider themselves services and both are trying to give users content that is relevant to what they are interested in. So, with that being said, the short answer is probably no. The longer answer is that it may become a huge competitor because the button would be more generic and therefore used in more situations than a Facebook like. Also, looking back on the old Google vs. Facebook battle, we can assume that +1ing is naturally going to increase SE placement more than liking a page.

Google vs. Facebook

To sum up…

Google’s +1 will not more than likely immediately pose a huge threat to the like button. However, seeing that +1ing will have a “social feel” as well as working in the search engine, it will be more widespread and more relevant overall to the user experience.