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By OppGenetix

What to Look for in Affordable Small Business SEO Services

Many marketing agencies offer affordable small business SEO services, but not all of the offerings these agencies have are equal.

The best affordable small business SEO services tend to have the following qualities and features.

 

Flexibility

Most affordable small business SEO services are not flexible — many require small businesses to sign a contract for an extended period of time. 

At OppGenetix, we understand that running a business can be difficult and that investing your small business’s resources in SEO feels like a big risk, particularly since the return on investment is not immediate.

That’s why we don’t lock you in with a contract. Our SEO packages are charged on a monthly basis, and you can back out without paying any fees. If you decide to go somewhere else for affordable small business SEO services and aren’t pleased with the results, you can come right back to us. In situations where your small business is taking a hit and you need to cut back digital marketing costs, let us know. We’ll always work with your small business, not against it.

 

Value

Suppose you’re in a contract and have agreed to pay $200 a month for a small business SEO package that includes technical and local SEO strategies, but you’re on your own when it comes to creating content and link building.

How much time do you have to take out of your typical work week to write a blog post? Or are you hiring freelancers from Fiverr without actually looking at what they’ve written? Is it worth being stuck with this company for $200 a month when you haven’t seen any results within 6 months?

Even though $200 is affordable, it doesn’t put in the value your small business needs to succeed. Affordable doesn’t (and probably shouldn’t) mean you should go with the least expensive package; it also doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, either.

There needs to be a happy medium, where the value of the services and their effectiveness pay off for your small business. You need to find the best affordable small business SEO that works for your budget and gets the most bang out of your buck.

 

Full SEO package

SEO packages vary from agency to agency. Some may focus on optimizing websites for speed and device usage. Others may focus on link building.

Our affordable small business SEO package goes above and beyond because it covers the four main components of a successful SEO strategy. We don’t just optimize websites for speed or focus on link building alone. We continuously monitor your small business’s website ranking, research relevant keywords and phrases, and create content with those keywords and phrases in mind.

The OppGenetix small business SEO package covers the four main aspects of SEO.

 

1. Technical SEO

Technical SEO focuses on your small business website’s speed and design. If your website isn’t designed to perform well and quickly on mobile devices, it simply won’t rank where you want it to be.

If this means building you a new site from scratch, we’ll do that — and even give you ownership of the site. When you’re locked into a contract with other SEO companies, your small business doesn’t retain ownership of the website. Once the contract is up and you want to go elsewhere, chances are that the website belongs to that SEO company now. This can make recreating a website and getting the domain name you want a mess.

 

2. Local SEO

Most small businesses are local businesses, first and foremost. If your small business doesn’t rank high in local search results, you’re in trouble.

Luckily, local SEO is our specialty. We’ll help you build a listing in relevant directories and set up a Google My Business listing that’ll put your small business on the map — Google Maps, that is. And that’s only the start of what we can do for your small business on a local scale.

 

3. On-page SEO and content creation

If there’s no content on your website, it doesn’t matter how much you do to optimize your website’s speed on multiple kinds of devices. You need to write good original content that contains useful and relevant information for prospects. But not everyone’s a writer, and you need a writer if you’re going to have the kind of content that can get your small business’s website to rank high on the Google search results pages.

Our on-page SEO efforts are truly what set us apart from the competition. Rather than requiring you to outsource a freelance writer with questionable writing and research skills or having to take the time out of your business’s typical operations to write something yourself, we have in-house content writers. These writers have been vetted in their writing and researching abilities and have been trained in on-page SEO strategies.

 

4. Off-page SEO

The more excellent content your website has, the more likely people will begin to see it and share it. This process is referred to as “link building.” 

When many people share your content on social media or when authoritative resources in your industry link back to your site, search engines take notice of this as a sign that your content is useful and helpful and will start ranking your website higher up on the search results page.

SEO is a process that doesn’t really end or stop anywhere. There’s always an opportunity for improvement and to put out the best content you can.

 

For more information 

To find out more about our affordable small business SEO services and packages, contact us today. We’ll be more than happy to discuss pricing and plan options to figure out which of our SEO packages is the best one for your small business.

By OppGenetix

Benefits of Keeping Google My Business Up to Date

As the COVID–19 shelter-in-place orders begin to lift, more and more businesses are going to start opening up their doors to the public. But not every business will right away, and the types of businesses that are allowed to open up vary from state to state.

This has resulted in confusion for both business owners and consumers, but it doesn’t have to. One of the best things you can do for your business and customers right now is ensure the information on your Google My Business listing is up to date. COVID–19 or no COVID–19, it’s important to keep Google My Business information updated. Here’s why.

 

An updated Google My Business listing keeps consumers informed

Informed consumers are typically good consumers, and hopefully, they’ll become the best customers you can find. But if your Google My Business listing fails to keep consumers up to date on what’s happening, you’re missing out on those customers. 

Some common pieces of Google My Business information that can affect the number of customers coming through your doors include:

 

Business hours

There are few things more frustrating than going to an establishment that says they are open during certain hours, only to find out that they are closed when you arrive. It’s a waste of your time and it doesn’t exactly make you feel fond about that business.

Not every business runs on a 9 to 5 schedule, and your Google My Business listing should have the hours your business is up and running for each day of the week. This is especially beneficial for businesses that operate during odd hours or run on unusual weekly schedules and for consumers on a tight schedule. This gives consumers an idea of what to expect and when they can make the time to make an appointment or reservation or shop at your business.

Don’t forget to update seasonal hours if your business extends how long it’s open during certain times of the year. This doesn’t just have to apply to holiday seasons, either. For example, some locally owned ice cream parlors or shaved ice stands are open in the summer and are closed during the colder months.

 

Locations

You’ve probably heard the adage “Location is everything” at some point or another. It’s a little cliché, but it’s also true. In fact, it’s more true than ever, since people can find a business’s location based on their physical location, thanks to their smartphones.

And that’s why it’s so important to ensure your Google My Business listing’s address is correct, regardless of whether or not your business has moved locations or has opened up another location or two.

 

Contact information

Management can change, location can change, and phone numbers can change. Make sure that customers are able to easily reach your business via phone, email, or social media accounts.

In the case of a location change, be sure to update your business’s main landline number. If there are different people managing different locations, make sure the email contact information is addressed to the right person at the right location. Having a centralized email address for all of your business’s locations can be an easy solution, but just because it’s the easy solution doesn’t necessarily make it the best solution.

 

Posts

You can update more than just your business’s hours, locations, and contact information on Google My Business — you can post status updates as well. This could be information about an upcoming sale, an event, new products or services, and so on. A Google My Business post can include images, video, text, offers, and a button. Posting shows consumers that you’re an active business, and that activity can help bump you up higher in local search results.

 

Customer review responses

While responding to customer reviews does not necessarily relate to updating your business’s Google My Business information, it does show that you care about your customers and are actively trying to improve their experiences.

When responding to reviews, don’t have a copied and pasted message with blank spaces for customer names ready to go. Your responses to customer reviews should never be exactly the same. A cut-and-paste apology isn’t a good apology, so why would a cut-and-paste response to an upset customer be a good response? Simply put: it’s not.

You don’t have to respond to negative reviews alone; in fact, responding to most, if not all, reviews is ideal. It shows consumers that you care about your customers and their experiences, which makes them more likely to convert from a consumer to one of your customers.

 

Updated information increases visibility in local search results

One of the best things about having a Google My Business listing is that it makes your business easy for consumers in the area to find. If you have a Google My Business listing, you’re going to show up on Google Maps searches when consumers are searching for products and services your business offers.

Keep in mind that Google searches take consumers’ physical locations into account, so when they search for certain products or services, you want to make sure your business shows up on the map for those local search results. If you have the wrong location or haven’t added your newest location, consumers will think your business no longer exists or they won’t know that it exists in more than one place. 

 

Keeping your Google My Business listing updated can put you on top of your competition

Google is not going to penalize your business for updating its Google My Business listing’s information. In fact, it’s more accurate to say that there are technically self-inflicted penalties for failing to keep your listing up to date. Incorrect or outdated information on a listing hurts your business far more than it helps.

It’s easy to forget to update your listing, and there’s a good chance that other businesses forget to do so as well. Get ahead of these other businesses by posting updates on a regular basis. This can generate more traffic to your business’s website and physical location. Include photos and videos in your posts when you can. Be authentic to your business and customers. Communicate with reviewers, both the positive and the negative. Take their suggestions and complaints seriously.

 

For more information

If you want some ideas or feedback for your current Google My Business listing, fill out our free digital audit. We’ll review your listing and your overall digital presence and discuss areas that need improvement and how you can improve them.

By OppGenetix

Why Duplicate Content is Bad for SEO

Duplicate content is content that appears on more than one web page. Duplicate content can be exact word-for-word copies or content that is similar or slightly rewritten. One example of duplicate content would be creating a page that has the exact same content as the original page, except the location(s) mentioned in the new page are different.

In most cases, duplicate content is not a malicious or intentional practice — nearly a third of the web is estimated to be duplicate content. In fact, most duplicate content is accidental and/or non-intentional. Still, it’s not something you want to have because it is bad for SEO.

 

How duplicate content affects SEO

Duplicate content confuses search engines

Search engines take several factors into account when ranking web pages for search results: the number and quality of backlinks, domain authority of inbound links, quality of content, page load times, and more.

Duplicate content makes it difficult for search engines to judge which page is going to be more useful or more relevant to users.

Ideally, search engines try to find the original content and have it rank, but that isn’t always going to work.

 

Duplicate content dilutes search results and hurts rankings

Search engines rarely show duplicate content results to provide the best experience for users. Instead, they show either the original content or the version that appears to be the best result.

This means most of the duplicate content will not be shown or ranked, which dilutes the visibility of each duplicate.

 

Duplicate content hurts organic traffic

If one of your web pages has duplicate content, it may not be shown on the first or second page of the search engine results pages (SERP) or even be shown on the SERP at all.

When this happens, you can be certain your website will experience a drop in organic traffic.

 

How to avoid duplicate content

On-page fixes

In the world of SEO, on-page refers to the content on a web page: text, images, videos, and so on. These “fixes” should help you avoid creating duplicate content.

Create original content

The simplest way to avoid duplicate content is to create original content. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s an issue we’ve seen with some of our clients. Before working with us, some have used boilerplate content offered to them. The problem with using pre-made or boilerplate content is that your website is not the only one using it, so you’ll be competing for visibility with other websites for the same keyword searches, effectively hurting your SERP position.

Writing your own content is a must if you want your site to rank on the first or second page of Google. If you’re not much of a writer, hire a content writer to do the writing for you.

Paraphrase

You don’t want your website repeating the same sections word for word too many times on different pages. When dealing with pages that host similar or related content, it may be best to paraphrase or rearrange sentences.

An easy way to do this is copy the text into a separate document (Google Docs is a great online word processor if you don’t have Microsoft Word or Pages; if you don’t have a Google account and don’t want to create one, Open Office is another free alternative) and start a new paragraph below each existing paragraph. Use that new paragraph to reword what the old paragraph says using different words or phrases.

Don’t worry if you use the same sentence here or there. The key here is not to have it be entirely the same or by changing things up by swapping out a word or two.

Don’t use a thesaurus for every word. It’s fine to use one every so often, particularly if there’s a word you want to use but can’t quite remember what that word is.

Google’s bots have the capability of reading websites similarly to how people do, so write like a human is reading your page. Using a thesaurus tool to change too many words can make your sentences awkward and unnatural and will likely lead to a drop in your SERP position.

Consolidate content

If you have a few web pages or blog posts that are very similar or highly relevant to one another, you can consolidate these pages or posts into a new page or post that combines the content all together.

This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s not as difficult as you think. Consolidating relevant content into a new page or post is worth putting in the extra time because it’s creating something bigger and more in-depth than the original content would have done on its own. It’s also likely to give you a boost in the SERP rankings, as these pages aren’t competing with one another anymore.

Submit a DMCA takedown request

In the event that someone has plagiarized or stolen your content and placed it on their website, you can submit a DMCA complaint. DMCA is an acronym for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a U.S. law created in 1998 that criminalizes the theft of copyrighted works online.

The moment you create an original work (in this case, content), you own the copyright to that work. If someone takes your original content and places it on their website, they are violating copyright law and the DMCA.

You can send the offending party’s internet service provider (ISP) and/or website host a DMCA takedown request, which asks the ISP or site host to remove or disable your content from the offending party’s website. If your DMCA takedown request is validated by the ISP or site host, your content will be removed or disabled.

For example, you can send a DMCA takedown request to Google that would remove the offending web page from its SERP.

In some cases, the offending party may file a counter request to reinstate your content. If this occurs, you have 10 days to submit evidence to the ISP or site host to show that you have filed a court action against the offending party asking to restrain their use of your content.

Additionally, you have the option to sue for copyright infringement, which can result in up to $150,000 in statutory damages per work infringed and possibly criminal penalties.

When dealing with potential copyright infringement, we recommend consulting with a lawyer to review your legal options.

 

Technical fixes

Even if you’re already creating original content and following the on-page fixes, it is still possible to accidentally create duplicate versions on your website.

For example, if you happen to have a HTTP site that you switched to HTTPS, you might be creating duplicate versions for both HTTP and HTTPS sites. If you also have a print-only version of your website, that may also explain why there’s more than one copy on your website.

301 redirects

If you’ve consolidated content, you will need to set up 301 redirects from old “duplicate” pages to the new “original” page. 301 redirects tell search engines to ignore these old duplicates to go to the new page with updated, consolidated information. They guide users to the updated page as well, which makes a website easier to navigate and find the best information — two things that search engines look for when it comes to ranking pages high on the results pages.

301 redirects also can be used for seamlessly changing website domains or for sites with multiple URLs (HTTP vs. HTTPS or www. or non-www. sites).

Yoast is a fantastic SEO plug-in for WordPress sites that creates 301 redirects for you whenever you remove or rename a page.

Canonical URLs

Search engines want to find the original, or canonical, source of content. If your original content has been published on guest blogs or other online publications, the search engine is not always able to tell which website hosts the original content.

Adding a canonical attribute in the <head> section of a web page informs search engines which page is the original page. Essentially, it’s telling search engines which page is the one it should be indexing on the search results pages.

The following HTML code should be placed on every duplicate page’s <head> section. The URL needs to be the page you want to be indexed. You should also implement this code on the head of the original page (known as a self-referential canonical). Note that the canonical attribute code only works for HTTPS pages.

 

<head>…[code]…

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com/home/” />

…[code]…

</head>

 

Alternatively, adding the Yoast plug-in to your WordPress site makes it simple to add the canonical attribute without having to go through your WordPress site’s theme or source code.

Block search indexing

You can also use a <head> section code known as “meta robots” to prevent search engines from indexing duplicate pages. Like the canonical tag, this only works on HTTPS sites.

 

<head>…[code]…

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow”>

…[code]…

</head>

 

You can also make this specific to Google:

 

<head>…[code]…

<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex,follow”>

…[code]…

</head>

 

And to Bing:

 

<head>…[code]…

<meta name=”bingbot” content=”noindex,follow”>

…[code]…

</head>

 

Or:

 

<head>…[code]…

<meta name=”msnbot” content=”noindex,follow”>

…[code]…

</head>

 

Note that this will not work if the page is blocked by a robots.txt file. If it is, crawlers will not be able to see the noindex tag, and the page will still be included in the search results.

The “follow” part of the tag indicates that even though crawlers won’t index the page for search results, they can still follow your site’s links, which can help determine where other indexed pages should be ranked.

Google Search Console

If you’re dealing with different domains (HTTP vs. HTTPS; www. or non-www sites), you can use Google Search Console to set the preferred domain you’d like Google to crawl.

As a general rule, Google prefers HTTPS over HTTP, so we recommend setting the HTTPS domain as the preferred domain. Plus, HTTPS offers site users extra security that HTTP lacks, making it the optimal choice.

 

For more information

If you’re not sure if duplicate content is an issue for your site, fill out our free digital audit form. We’ll let you know the areas where your website is strong and where it needs improvement — and if duplicate content appears to be one of those areas, you can start to create a plan to tackle those issues head-on.

By OppGenetix

Google My Business Listings Can Now Make COVID-19–Related Posts

Though Google placed a temporary hold on certain Google My Business features (specifically publishing reviews, review replies, and Q&As) toward the end of March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the search engine shifted its priorities to reviewing updated information for businesses affected by COVID-19. This information includes:

  • Any changes to hours of operation
  • Service delays
  • Extra services a business is offering the community
  • Marking a business as temporarily closed

Google has not placed any holds on the Google My Business posting feature, and now any Google My Business listing can create a new type of post that’s specifically designed for sharing announcements related to COVID-19. 

 

How to add a COVID-19–related announcement post to your Google My Business listing

Like any Google My Business post, your COVID-19 announcement should be a high-quality post without misspellings, distracting content, links that lead to viruses or phishing, and obscene language or visuals. It’s Google My Business, so keep it professional.

 

1. Sign in to Google My Business

On your computer, sign in to your Google My Business account. If your business has multiple locations, select the location you want to create the post for.

 

2. Create your post

Once you’ve signed in, go to the top menu and click “Posts.” From there, select the “COVID-19 update” tab. Google My Business may prompt you to update the following information:

  • Updated operating hours
  • Temporary closures
  • Extra health and safety precaution a business is taking
  • Changes to service (i.e., changing from dining in to delivery- or takeout-only options)
  • Updates to a business’s inventory for high-demand items

You can include images or videos in the post. Media must be at least 10 KB and 400×300 pixels in dimension and less than 25 MB and 10,000×10,000 pixels.

 

3. Preview and publish your post

Before publishing your post, click “Preview.” If you want to go back and clean up your post, click “back” in the top left corner to edit it. If you’re pleased with what you have, click “Publish” in the top right hand corner. 

By OppGenetix

SEO: Everything You’re Doing Wrong

One of our more recent blog posts shared our top 10 local SEO audit insights. One of those insights was that the majority of our SEO audits received an F. That post covered a lot of the more technical aspects of SEO, but where can businesses (or anyone, for that matter) improve in terms of content?

Well, there’s clearly a lot that people are doing wrong in that category, and that’s what this blog post aims to achieve: what you’re doing wrong with SEO, why it’s wrong, and what you can do to fix it.

 

Keeping duplicate content

Duplicate content is content that shows up in more than one URL on the internet. In many cases, this is not intentional; RavenTools.com found that a little under a third of the internet is duplicate content.

Click tracking and analytics can cause duplicate content problems. Having different site versions is another issue (http versus https or www versus non-www sites).

You can fix these issues with a 301 redirect from the duplicated page to the original page or by using the rel=canonical attribute. Both of these options help search engine crawlers know where to find the original content and rank those pages instead of the duplicate(s).

A third option is to set your preferred domain in Google Search Console, which works well if you’re dealing with having different versions of your website.

To see if your website (or any others) has duplicate content, you can use this tool.

 

Copying and pasting content from other sites

Technically this could fall under duplicate content (it is a type of duplicate content), but this particular item is separate for a particular reason: it is plagiarism.

In an ideal world, people should know better than to plagiarize, not just for the sake of their website’s search engine page ranking, but simply because it’s unethical. If ethics aren’t enough to convince someone to avoid plagiarism, then this might:

You can be sued for plagiarism under copyright law, and if you’re the one copying, the law is not going to be on your side.

Do yourself a favor and do not plagiarize content. Either write content yourself or hire someone to create it for you.

 

Misleading headlines

Admit it. You’ve been disappointed after clicking on an article with a really interesting title because the content didn’t live up to the hype. So why would you do that to your audience?

Consider Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines’ E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). E-A-T is indicative of a website’s quality. If your website has an attention-grabbing headline but unrelated content, you’re not making the case that your site is trustworthy.

To quote those guidelines: “Websites and pages should be created to help users. Websites and pages that are created with the intent to harm users, deceive users, or make money with no attempt to help users, should receive the Lowest P[age] Q[uality] rating.” (Emphasis is Google’s.)

Don’t disappoint, mislead, or deceive your audience — Google will make sure you and your site pay the price if you do.

 

Keyword stuffing

Long gone are the days where keyword stuffing was an acceptable practice. Google’s bots and AI are smart enough now that they can “read” pages close to how we do. If you’re clearly writing for a bot, people will notice — and so will Google.

Write for a human audience, not for a digital one.

 

Link stuffing

Ease up on including those internal links. You don’t need to link back to the same page with each word. Include internal links on the first or second mention of a sentence or keyword that is relevant to those links. There’s no need to link to your SEO page every single time the word “SEO” pops up in the text.

As for outgoing links, don’t overdo them, either. If your website has a lot of outgoing links lacking the nofollow tag, Google might view your site as a link farm and kick your website down a few in the search rankings. If you are going to have outgoing links, be sure that you are linking to reputable sources (E-A-T strikes again!).

 

Buying links

Building backlinks is important, but you must do it organically. It’s not something that can be done overnight… and if you do it overnight, well, you definitely didn’t do it in a way Google approves of.

Buying links is obviously not organic growth. Circling back to Google’s Search Quality Guidelines and E-A-T, in what way does buying links help your audience? Are these websites relevant to what your site offers? Are they quality sites?

If websites with the intent to harm users are the ones you’re buying links from, you’re hurting business and yourself by associating your website with them. Once again, Google will notice and will dropkick your website lower in the rankings.

It’s more important to focus on the quality of backlinks than the quantity of backlinks. SEO is a long game. You’re not going to leap to Page 1 of search results overnight. It can take months to hit the second page, let alone the first.

 

Spamming links

Don’t go around spamming your own website’s links in blog comments and social media posts. It’s perfectly fine to share your latest blog post on your social media sites, but don’t leave the same comment and link on the posts of the 25+ big names in the industry. That’s not a quality backlink; that’s a lazy, spammy backlink that won’t do you any good.

If you are trying to share what you’ve written, do it in a way that shows that you’re not just selling something. Imagine you’re attending an in-person networking event. There is someone who’s walking from person to person in an attempt to sell their product without so much as saying hello. What do you think of that person? Probably that they’re annoying, are selling a bad product, and/or ended up at the wrong event.

You’re not going to buy from them, let alone interact with them. Nobody is. So why are you acting like that person online?

Don’t write a cookie-cutter comment that you can copy and paste on people’s posts. Customize it for each person you’d like to read it. Read what they have to say. Start a conversation about that first, and then share your blog post or product — if it’s relevant.

 

Remember: E-A-T

At the end of the day when it comes to SEO and content, remember E-A-T: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.  Those three qualities will help users, and as a result, bump up your SERP position.

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What to Look for in Affordable Small Business SEO Services
Benefits of Keeping Google My Business Up to Date
Why Duplicate Content is Bad for SEO
Google My Business Listings Can Now Make COVID-19–Related Posts
SEO: Everything You’re Doing Wrong