Search Owls Blog

The Importance of NAP Consistency

If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably heard the term NAP by now. Maybe it was from an SEO company trying to pitch you services, or perhaps you were trying to research some SEO principles on your own. In any case, we’ve boiled it down to it’s simplest terms to help local business owners.

What is NAP?

NAP refers to the Name, Address, and Phone Number of your business.

Why is NAP important?

Google likes to see that your business is listed consistently across the internet. When all of your information matches, Google trusts that you are providing accurate information, and ranks you higher as a result.

How Can I Check if My NAP is Consistent?

Search Owls provides a free tool that allows you to enter your business details and instantly receive a report that will assess how your business is listed in 50 top level internet directories.

What if my NAP is Inconsistent?

We can help you! We have the ability to simultaneously update dozens of top level business directories.

We can fix your location data errors in just minutes!

SEO for Attorneys

Lady justice statue in front of court houseAs the years go by and technology continues to advance, it’s more important now than ever for law offices to have a strong online presence.

At our SEO company in Costa Mesa, we work with a lot of attorneys that know the law inside and out, but sometimes struggle with the finer points of internet marketing. Fortunately, there are several basic tips we can share with you to enhance your web presence.

Search Engine Optimization–SEO–is an essential factor in the number of people who land and remain on your firm’s website when they are seeking the help of an attorney. Below are some simple tips to improve your ranking with major search engines:

Improve Your Page Load Time

Page load speed is a significant ranking factor, as your website’s load time has a distinct impact on both your search engine rankings and each visitor’s experience. Even a one-second delay in the loading of your page could reduce client acquisition by seven percent, increase the dissatisfaction of your visitors by 16 percent, and reduce page views by 11 percent.

For these and other reasons, your website’s speed can have a substantial effect on your business. Prospective clients in need of an attorney sometimes jump back to Google to find a website that will load quicker, rather than wait for yours to appear.

For several years now, we have provided web design services for attorneys in Costa Mesa, and our web developers are well versed in getting your site up to speed — both figuratively, and literally.

Using Keywords Properly Versus Keyword Stuffing

Knowing which words are being entered into the web’s various search engines should be a crucial part of your legal firm’s SEO strategy. Keywords–the phrases and words used in searches of this kind–should be strategically woven throughout your website and blog to boost the site’s rankings and help you draw clients.

Your website should contain specific keywords to allow the search engines to know what type of site you have and to direct the appropriate individuals to your page. However, using keywords to excess, also called “keyword stuffing,” is a big mistake. Doing so can lead to penalties, which can dramatically damage your ranking and eventually cause your site become buried in the search engines. As a general rule, keep your keyword density at approximately one to two percent to avoid penalties or poor ranking.

Enhance Visitor Experience

Google rewards the websites with the best user experience. A sleek design with content that is valuable to your visitors will certainly help your site to rank better. For this reason, your site should be easily viewable from a desktop, iPad, Smartphone or iPhone.

All pages should have text that is broken down into short paragraphs, as well as several images to make it easy for visitors to scan the information. Having a website with a good design helps you avoid losing potential clients to a competitor who is ahead of you in the digital race.

Add Your Site to Google My Business

Google My Business is vital to your site’s search rankings because it affects SEO at the local level. Once you sign up, a postcard will be sent through standard mail for business verification. As soon as you receive it, make sure your website is verified so that you will appear on maps and in localized searches.

The Importance of a Strong Call to Action

Among all SEO tips to help improve your site’s search rankings, setting up a strong call to action–CTA–is one of the most important. A call to action is a noticeable and unique statement that tells prospective clients to reach out to you when they land on your page. Contacting your attorneys should be simple to accomplish and the way to do this should “jump out” to the client as the obvious conclusion to visiting your site.

If you need help growing your practice on the internet, give us a call today to learn how we can help you. (714) 754-1564

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What is “Google Panda”?

illustration of panda

What is Google Panda?

As an SEO company in Costa Mesa, we hear a lot of questions from our clients regarding the SEO industy. One of the most frequent questions we get is about the term “Google Panda”.

The answer isn’t as complicated as you might think. When Google releases an update to their search ranking algorithm, they usually assign that update with the name of an animal.

Google Panda is a change to Google’s algorithm for search rankings that was first released in February of 2011. Since its inception, Panda has had a huge influence on how Google users view their daily search results, but most people don’t know exactly how or even what the algorithm is.

What exactly is an algorithm?

Algorithms are computer programs that look for clues to give you back the best answers to your online query. Instead of bringing back all of the thousands, if not millions, of webpages that may have helpful information, Google’s algorithms simplify the results and rank them in order of relevance to your search terms. These computer programs rely on more than 200 unique signals to find exactly what you are looking for.

How did Panda change the algorithm?

A typical change to an algorithm starts out as an idea about how to improve the search process. The changes that came with Google Panda focused specifically on website content, aka the text, images, videos, etc. that appear on a webpage. Google Panda continues to reward sites with high quality content by demoting “thin pages”, or those with spam-filled, duplicate, or low quality content.

Google Panda was implemented news websites and social networking sites enjoyed a huge spike in their rankings, while sites containing large amounts of advertising saw a significant drop. Google’s spokespeople explained that the value of a webpage to the visitor should be higher than the value to the site owner, and reiterated that a key aspect of Panda is that ads and affiliate links support a page’s content, not overwhelm it.

The Google Panda algorithm creates a ratio with a site’s reference queries and inbound links. That ratio is used to create a site wide and page specific modification factor based upon a search query. If a webpage fails to meet a certain threshold, the modification factor is applied and the page is ranked lower on the search engine results page for those search terms.

Google Panda also affects the ranking of an entire site or a specific section, rather than just the individual pages on a site. It only takes a few pages of poor quality content to negatively affect an otherwise solid site, so Google recommends that such pages be removed, rewritten, or blocked from being indexed by the search engine.

Google continues to roll out updates to the Panda algorithm, although they are never clear on exactly when these changes occur or what the updates will be. When updates do happen, Panda may catch sites that escaped scrutiny before and reward sites that have since made effective changes. Either way, Panda is now here to stay as an official part of Google’s core ranking algorithm.

If you have further questions about search rankings, call Search Owls at (714) 754-1564 or email us at info@searchowls.com

 

Beware of Robocalls

What are robocalls, and why should I care?

A robocall is a phone call that uses a computerized autodialer to deliver a pre-recorded message, usually to sell or market services of some kind. Robocalls are usually associated with charities, telemarketing or political phone campaigns, but can also be used for emergency or public service announcements. These informational calls can be helpful to both companies and consumers, but unfortunately many other robocalls are both useless and illegal in the United States.

As the FTC explains, “if the recording is a sales message and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, the call is illegal.”

In recent years, the government has seen a significant increase in the number of illegal robocall complaints because our beloved modern technology has made it cheap and simple for scammers to make thousands of calls every day, from anywhere in the world. These companies and individuals usually display fake caller ID information that not only hides their identity from those receiving the call, but from law enforcement as well. This is known as caller ID spoofing — and internet powered phone systems make it very easy to do. In some cases, the fraudulent telemarketer disguises themselves in a way that fools you into thinking the call is from some entity you’ve done business with before. The telephone number may also simply show up as “unknown” or “123456789”.

How Google is fighting back

Since the beginning of 2015, Google administrators have received hundreds of complaints about robocalls they’ve received from businesses claiming to be associated with Google.

As a leading SEO company in Costa Mesa, we have heard complaints from multiple clients who have panicked after receiving these misleading calls. The recording will say something to the effect of “There is something wrong with your Google Map listing. Urgent action is required – press 1 to speak with a representative immediately“. Small business owners have been targeted by robocallers for many years with misleading promotional offers for improving search engine optimization, and more specifically to improve their Google My Business profile.

If you receive a call from a company who is representing themselves as Google, you can report the incident directly to Google here.

Unfortunately, robocallers impersonate various other companies as well, and have even impersonated local police, the IRS, and the FTC itself. The FTC gets approximately 150,000 complaints about illegal calls each month, and to date has brought more than 100 lawsuits against more than 600 companies and individuals responsible for billions of illegal robocalls and other Do Not Call violations.

What can I do to prevent robocalls?

  • Report callers to the FTC or the FCC. If the calls continue, file a formal complaint.
  • Hang up the phone. Do not press any key that the voice recording may prompt you to. Pressing 1 to talk when prompted will add your number to a “hot list”, transferring you to a telemarketer or internet marketing company waiting to give you a pitch. Even if you hang up before the call is completed, you are more likely to receive more future calls just because of your initial response.
  • Contact your phone company to see if they can block calls from any numbers. Make sure to ask if your provider charges for that service. Telemarketers change Caller ID information easily and often, so it may not be worth paying an additional fee to block one specific number that will most likely change if the scammers call back again.
  • Register your personal number with the National Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222.

SearchOwls is a well-respected SEO Company in Costa Mesa, and we never have and never will make unsolicited calls to our clients and customers!

What is AMP and why is it important for SEO?

If you are in the web development and online marketing scene, you may have already caught a glimpse of the AMP acronym and wondered exactly what it means and why it is suddenly relevant to you.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are stripped down web pages specifically designed for blazing fast speeds on mobile devices. With the initiation of the open-source AMP Project, the days of waiting for those slothful ten second pages are coming to a close.

One of the best examples of AMP implementation is the Facebook newsfeed that loads content instantly as the user scrolls. Relative to regular web pages AMP loading speeds are worlds apart, even on a poor data connection.

As a Google initiative, AMP’s are going to be crucial to search engine optimization. How crucial, you ask? Beginning this week, AMP optimized news stories will appear on mobile Google search results in the first and foremost position. Combine that with the fact that there are over 1 billion smartphone users in the world, all hungry for fast loading content. The world has gone mobile, and Google rewards those who optimize for it.

However, there is a small catch to all the SEO benefits of AMP. If readers share a link to your AMP page found on Google search, it will point to Google’s cache servers instead of your site. That being said, your visitor numbers will not suffer loss unless you rely primarily on social shares to obtain traffic. Additionally, the upside to the Google cache link is the addition of more backlinks to your site, thus affording more opportunities for your site to show up on a search engine results page (SERP).

AMP’s true benefit to SEO is the visibility bump in mobile search, which now outranks desktop searches in the United States and 9 other countries. Updating a site with quality content gets your site warmed up to Google. AMP gets your site the extra benefits.

In conclusion, AMP pages are becoming increasingly critical components of SEO as mobile search queries continue to dominate across the globe. Now is the time to implement AMP on your company publications, and catch the wave to Google’s next algorithm update.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a day where consumers are encouraged to support the small businesses in their community the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In an effort to keep up with “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” which are dominated by large retailers, American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010. But don’t take our word for it. The fine folks at American Express were able to get a high priced spokeswoman to help them spread the word:

As an internet marketing agency in Orange County and a member of the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce, we are passionate about supporting local businesses and we hope that you’ll join us by choosing a Mom-And-Pop-Shop to give your support to. Don’t forget to share your purchases with others by using the hashtag #ShopSmall.

If you’re having trouble finding a local business in your area, please search here in the NOCC business directory to find an independently owned business near you.

How to Setup the Gmail “Undo Send” Feature

Have you ever sent out an email and then immediately regretted it? On more than one occasion I’ve noticed a typo just milliseconds after hitting the send button. Even worse, I have accidentally hit “Reply to All” when I only intended to reply to one person. For those of you who share my chagrin, Gmail has just introduced a new feature that will allow you to “Undo” a sent email for up to 30 seconds after it has been sent. Follow these quick steps to setup the Gmail Undo Send feature in your inbox.

1. In the upper right hand corner of your screen, click on the icon shaped like a gear.

2. A drop down menu will appear. Click on “Settings”.

3. Scroll down the settings page and check the box labeled “Enable Undo Send”. 

4. Set your cancellation period. This is the amount of seconds Gmail will hold your email before they send it.

5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Save Changes”.  (Click Image to Enlarge)

6. From now on when you send an E-mail, there will be a yellow notification at the top of your inbox with an option to “Undo”.

 

 

New nest for the owls!

Search Owls is proud to announce their new and improved office location in Costa Mesa. Check us out at the Nest 2.0.

Search Owls

3100 Airway Avenue, Suite 131

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

(714) 754-1564