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SEO 101: How Google “Sees” Your Website

Posted Wed, December 3, 2014 by Julie Short

Every business owner or marketing manager knows it’s important to rank well on Google. By processing more than 2 billion search queries every day, it’s the one Internet marketing portal that can literally make or break your business overnight.

Google’s importance is well understood, however, the way it “sees” and ranks different websites isn’t. We regularly meet with new clients who either have mistaken ideas about what it takes to improve their search engine optimization campaigns or literally have no idea how Google and its competitors process searches at all.

That’s understandable, if you’ve been outsourcing your SEO activity for a long time. Still, by understanding what Google actually looks for, and how the different pieces work together, you can go a long way toward building a website that attracts more traffic and turns those visitors into customers.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to produce a short series of articles we’re calling SEO 101. In this post, and the three that follow, we’re going to give you a quick bit of insight into the world of search marketing and offer some easy-to-follow tips you can use to make your web content stand out.

How Google Views and Analyzes Websites

Before you can give Google what it wants to find, you have to know what that is in the first place. That starts with the understanding that the engineers at Google don’t usually consider individual websites at all; instead, they generate pieces of code – called search spiders – that crawl all over the Internet constantly, cataloguing and evaluating everything they find.

As you might imagine, search engine spiders look at websites a bit differently than an actual human viewer would. Here are a few of the most important differences:

  • Search engine spiders generally follow links, both within websites and throughout them. So if a part of your website doesn’t have any links pointing at it from your other pages, it may be “invisible” to Google.
  • Search spiders understand text but not images. So, unless you have given your pictures or video files a written title and description, they aren’t going to count for anything as far as SEO goes.
  • Once a search engine spider has viewed, or “crawled,” through your website, it will catalog what it has found in terms of content and then return later. If it finds more fresh and unique content along the same topics or themes, that’s a good sign your website is relevant and up to date.


The net of all of this, of course, is that Google can know what your website is “about” in the form of search terms (keywords) it finds on your pages. Later, when human searchers enter those keywords into Google, it can match that request against what’s found on your website.

There’s a little more to it than that, of course, especially when it comes to deciding which websites should be shown first in Google’s search listings. For now, though, you know how Google actually sees your website, and why the text on your pages is more important to search engines than anything else.

Check out the next article in our SEO 101 series, or contact WebRevelation today to see how we can help with business web design and Internet marketing.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , websites , marketing , google


How to Claim Your Google Maps Location (and Why You Definitely Need to)

Posted Wed, November 26, 2014 by Julie Short

If you’re over the age of 20, you can undoubtedly remember a time when looking for a business in your area meant turning to your local Yellow Pages directory or seeking the advice of a neighbor.

In the past few years, Google Maps (along with the spread of web-ready smartphones and tablets) has changed all of that drastically. Most of us wouldn’t dream of turning to an out-of-date print directory anymore: We simply go to the world’s largest – and smartest – search engine to find what we’re looking for, whether it’s down the street or across the globe.

That’s incredibly convenient for users and shoppers, but it also underscores just how important Google maps is for businesses. After all, if you aren’t visible on the most popular referral network of all time, then you’re probably missing out on a big chunk of business that’s there to be won.

So, having told you exactly why it’s so important to be represented on Google Maps, let’s take a look at what you have to do to claim your location:

The first thing you have to do is create a Google account for your business. This can literally be done in seconds by going here, but we encourage you to pair your listing with a Google+ profile complete with a logo, photos, a link to your website, and anything else you can add. That way, interested customers can see additional information, such as photos and star ratings, that can go a long way toward convincing them to try you out.

In many cases, you’ll find Google already has a listing for your business because it’s gotten your address, phone number, and other information from elsewhere on the web. Either way, it’s critically important that you enter in an accurate street address.

Add any details that are missing. Your Google business account works, in many ways, like those old Yellow Page ads did. That means you can add a company description, link to your website, videos, hours of operation, and other details. These will all become part of your listing and will be displayed when searchers click on your location to find more information.

Photos of your location are especially helpful, particularly if you have other buildings and businesses around you, since they can assist people who are trying to find you from the street.

Submit your listing for review. In most cases, your Google business listing should go live within a couple of days at most. However, you may have to clarify details or add more information if you have multiple locations, another nearby business with similar name, or other issues that might cause confusion.

Because it’s so easy to add your Google business listing and claim your location on Google Maps – and because the marketing impact can be so powerful – it’s something you should do right now if you haven’t already. There aren’t many better, faster, or more cost-effective ways to win new customers in your area.

Looking for a web design and Internet marketing team that wants to help your business grow and not just pad their own bottom line? Call WebRevelation in San Antonio, Dallas and Oklahoma City today.

Posted in : Business Strategy , Online Profile Management , Website Content | 
Tags : googlemaps , business listings


What Is an Online Merchant Account for?

Posted Wed, November 19, 2014 by Julie Short

If you have an online store – or are considering adding e-commerce functionality to your business website – there’s a good chance you’ve been hearing about online merchant accounts. But, if you haven’t used them in the past, you might be wondering what they actually are, and what they’re good for.

In this quick post we’re going to answer that for you, along with providing you with a few quick tips for choosing the right one for your business.

First things first: A merchant account is simply a different type of bank account that allows you to receive and deposit lots of different kinds of payments, such as credit cards and ACH bank transfers. Any retailer or business that accepts plastic, online or off, has a merchant account.

Another related term you might hear often is a payment processor (or payment gateway). While this is often packaged along with an online merchant account, they’re technically separate things. The payment processor is just a piece of software that works with your merchant account and allows you to accept credit cards and other payments over the web.

You can think of a payment gateway as the virtual version of that credit card machine that retailers swipe your card with at an actual store. Instead of being a physical piece of hardware, it’s just located online.

So, now that you know a merchant account is what you need to accept credit cards, let’s get to a few quick points about choosing the right one for your business. Although there are lots and lots of different vendors and choices to consider, your selection should probably come down to a handful of critical details:

Processing fees and transfer policies. Although the percentage rates for credit card processing are fairly uniform, fees for certain services (like foreign transactions, for example) can vary quite a bit. Also, you want to choose a vendor that will give you access to your money quickly.

Versatility. It’s always annoying for customers when you don’t accept their favorite credit card or payment type, so choose a merchant account that’s flexible.

Convenience. Some combination merchant accounts and payment processors have very extensive technical and programming requirements you should be aware of, since the extra work could mean more billable hours from your web development team.

Safety and security. Good security should be a top concern since it protects your business and your customers. Plus, having bank-level encryption for your transactions makes it easier for new buyers to trust you.

Good reporting. As with anything to do with e-commerce, good reporting is essential to maximizing conversions and profits, so make sure your credit card processor has tools to help you take a detailed look at sales and trends.

Choosing the right merchant account can be very important to your e-commerce success, especially if you’re launching an Internet store for the first time. Why not let the experienced team at WebRevelation help you choose the right options and get your business up and running quickly?

Posted in : Websites , e-commerce | 
Tags : merchant account , ecommerce


What Is a Network Gateway?

Posted Wed, November 12, 2014 by Julie Short

This month, we are taking a slight turn away from our normal run of web design and Internet marketing topics to tell you a little bit about what happens behind the scenes as you connect to the Internet… or get Internet users to connect with your company.

Today, we’re going to take a look at network gateways and where they fit into this process.

Unlike a lot of other more technical terms, a network gateway is essentially what it sounds like: a node that allows you to gain entrance to a network or vice versa. In some cases, a computer serving as a node may also work as a firewall, preventing unauthorized access and automatic submissions.

In a practical sense, a gateway is often associated with a networking device (usually a router), although it can be made up entirely of software. Since the point of the gateway is to interchange two different systems using separate protocols – you can think of a gateway as being the last point on one end of an incoming or outgoing network – it usually makes sense to embed security features within it, regardless of how it’s constructed.

Here are a few things that you, as an Internet user or online marketer, might want to know about network gateways:

The function of gateways has changed slightly over time. Before default modes of transmission were established, one big role of a network gateway was to essentially “translate” from one platform or protocol to another. Now, gateways are tasked with making connections, and rarely have to change formatting within the transmission of data.

They are technically separate from firewalls. While the network gateway is tasked with interchanging different networks, the firewall (even if it’s integrated) is really designed to let some packets of information in while keeping others out. So, the gateway is about connecting, while the firewall deals with issues of security.

Gateways are normally integrated with devices. Because your router is the designated router to take information from other networks and direct it to the right places, it’s a natural fit to go along with the network gateway. That’s why the two devices, with an integrated firewall, are normally built and packaged together.

Although a normal computer user wouldn’t have much of a reason to worry about their gateway unless they’re facing a connection problem (be it incoming or outgoing), having a little basic knowledge can make it easier for you to understand how your networks function and explain problems and error messages to IT professionals.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : gateways , firewalls


All You Need to Know About IPs

Posted Wed, November 5, 2014 by Julie Short

While we normally use the blog to address web design and Internet marketing topics, we’re going to take a different track in the coming weeks and fill you in on a few IT subjects and “behind-the-scenes” ideas that relate to the web. The idea is to not just give you a better sense of how things like websites and email work, but also to clear up a bit of confusion and share a clearer understanding of the kinds of issues we and our clients deal with on a regular basis.

That being said, a common question we hear is: “What is an IP?”

The abbreviation itself stands for Internet protocol, which is basically a formula for how information can be sent back and forth over the Internet. An IP address, which you’ve probably also heard of, simply refers to the numerical “name” and location of any device connected to a network (or the Internet itself).

In other words, the IP address of your machine (which could consist of 32 digits or more) is akin to the mailing address of your home or office – it tells other machines where to look for the specific device and destination.

With those quick definitions out of the way, here are a few things you should know about IPs:

There are billions and billions of possible IP combinations. With homes and businesses running more and more devices than ever, you might be worried we’ll run out soon. But with the recent expansion of digits, there are several billion possible combinations, meaning that we still have plenty of room to grow.

They can be permanent or temporary. IPs can be static or dynamic, with dynamic being more common. That means the IP address for a specific device or machine is often issued temporarily. If it expires, or another machine attempts to use the same IP, your router or network will normally assign a new one without you ever knowing.

Some IPs are reserved and serve special functions. In the same way that phone numbers like “0” and “911” are reserved for special uses, so are certain IP addresses. As an example, 255.255.255.255 is set aside for network broadcast messages, and 127.0.0.1 is usually used by a computer to identify itself.

Most IPs are actually on a subnet. In most cases, the IP you receive is assigned to you by your Internet service provider. From there, the router in your home or office puts each device on a subnet, assigning it another number that falls under the address assigned for the location.

There’s a lot more you could know about IPs, but advanced technical knowledge is usually only relevant to IT professionals and network administrators. Besides, you now know more about Internet protocol and IP addresses than most of your non-IT coworkers!

Do you need a web design and online marketing partner who can help you make the most of opportunities on the web? Now is a great time to talk with WebRevelation and see how we can help your company grow.






Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : what is an IP address


4 Ways You Profit From Stronger CRM Capability

Posted Wed, October 29, 2014 by Julie Short

Too many businesses look to sales and marketing when searching for revenue growth. Or, they look to sales and marketing without going further (or shall we say deeper) to find new profit opportunities. That's a shame, because retaining current customers and expanding those accounts is often a much better, more-efficient strategy.

Let's be clear: there is nothing wrong with trying to break into new markets, and reach new people. Still, studies have shown time and time again that the biggest and most frequent orders (or the most profitable accounts, if you sell services) tend to come from repeat buyers.

Of course, the best way to encourage customers to stay with you is through robust CRM. The better job you're doing of getting to know your customers, keeping in touch with them, and maintaining things like account details and points of contact, the easier it's going to be to grow those accounts. 

In fact, here are four ways you profit from stronger CRM:

1. Fewer accounts that slip away or are lost to competitors. Marketing experts will tell you that most sales are made, and most accounts are won, on a "top of mind" basis. In other words, the more intentional you are about contacting important customers regularly, the more you just happen to be "at the right place at the right time."

2. Better follow-up on sales opportunities. A good CRM package doesn't just keep account details, but can help you track new opportunities. That's important, because without these kinds of tools, it's easy to lose track of possible sales, especially when they don't finalize immediately. Few businesses can afford to let potential customers slip through the cracks, and CRM functionality can make all the difference.

3. More targeted marketing opportunities. In a perfect world, you could match a personalized sales message to each single client or opportunity. Since that's not normally possible, however, your best option is to use strong CRM systems that differentiate your customers and prospects into groups, allowing you to send timely, targeted offers to different buyers in each major category.

4. Less time wasted for your sales and customer service teams. One of the "soft costs" associated with poor CRM is the waste of time shared by business owners, managers, and employees. Your team has better things to do, so why not let your CRM system take care of routine tracking and account maintenance activities?

For most businesses, there is more revenue growth to be found within current accounts then there is in new ones, at least in the short term. Are you making the most of CRM and sales opportunities within your roster of existing buyers? If not, let the WebRevelation team show you how easy it is to enhance those relationships with streamlined CRM solutions.

Posted in : CRM | 
Tags : CRM


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