Search Engine Optimization & Marketing

SEO offers a visible and effective search presence leading to a considerable increase of sales, profitability, and cost efficiency for our clients.

Our search engine optimization core services include: Organic Search, On-Page SEO, Link Building, Keyword Research / Strategy and Activity Report.

Organic Search

Development and targeted promotion of remarkable content that fulfills your needs by achieving, improving and maintaining the visibility of your web presence.

On-Page SEO

Make your content easily accessible to search engines. Our team is ready to implement solutions to boost your rankings and improve your performance.

Link Building

An essential part of any successful SEO strategy, let’s build your internal link profile to add significance to your page keywords listed within search engines.

Search Engine Optimization 101 from Online Advantages

Everything about modern life starts and ends with the Internet.

Communications, information, recreation, entertainment, shopping, dating. There is virtually no avenue or outlet, no medium or method of contacting another human being, which has not been impacted by the advent and evolution of the Internet. We could even reasonably argue the Internet has had a larger role on the trajectory of humanity than the inventions of the movable-type printing press and gunpowder!

As the Internet has evolved from its root of simple bulletin board chat systems to realtime video and text chat, the planet has gotten smaller and humanity more connected in a way unprecedented in human history. International communication has been condensed and contracted to the point where talking between Jakarta, India, and Jacksonville, Florida, is a trivial matter. Virtually nothing known to humankind is unfindable on the Internet if you know where to look. If you picture an iceberg representing the Internet, 90% of it is below the surface—and of the remaining 10%, most users spend the entirety of their online lives without seeing more than 10% of THAT! This doesn’t even consider 404 redirects; that’s only the actual active sites and pages you can get to. 

According to a recent estimate, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook (the Big Four) alone store roughly 1,200 petabytes of information. One petabyte is one billion megabytes or one thousand terabytes! Thousands of software vendors such as Moz, information outlets like Wikipedia, and tools like Webmaster Central have won and mostly cornered the market on content, making the United States the primary epicenter of the World Wide Web and the trade and commerce which stems from it.

In the face of this unprecedented deluge of information and access to the collective knowledge of humankind, the problem faced by companies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs becomes how to position their products, services, and offerings in front of the people who can best benefit from them in web searches. The top players, the ones you see at the top of your Google and other major search engines’ results such as Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex, are the ones who have effectively addressed and utilized search engine optimization (SEO, pronounced “ess eee oh”) to increase their visibility, brand recognition, and customer base. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand how SEO works or why it’s important. This leaves money on the table for their competitors and compromises their ongoing relevance.

But how do you harness the power of SEO for your business?

That’s where Online Advantages comes in. Our seasoned staff of experienced marketing strategists, content creators, writers, and web designers has the skill, knowledge, experience, and passion to help you effectively advertise and grow your company’s online footprint without forcing you to learn the basics of an entire brand-new skill set, elements of which may be obsolete before you’re even finished with the course! This is especially true of the category of broad whitepapers, seminars, and webinars selling SEO training, which claim to transform rank amateurs and beginners into brand new search engine optimization “ninjas,” “Jedi” and “gurus.” Because search engine algorithms change so rapidly, information which is valid on Monday could be out of date by Friday!

To understand why SEO from Online Advantages can help your company grow, we need to take a deep dive into what SEO is and is not, what it contains, and how many ways there are to deploy a digital marketing campaign right—and wrong, as SEO changes and evolves. This is why we created this brief FAQ and beginner’s guide to SEO basics and management, to help users, clients, and the general public understand just how vital the complex of skills which makes up SEO is to your business and to how people can find you online!

Search Engine Optimization Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is search engine optimization, and why do I care about it? –Karen, Shreveport, LA

Answer: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the entirety of the methods and practices which drive your online presence and make your business show up in organic search results. There are two basic kinds of SEO, both of which work together to attract attention to your website and the products and services you’ll offer. These are:

Front End

Your front-end or “on-page” SEO includes everything a potential customer sees as an outcome of Google searches and other search engines, such as domain names, the created content on your website, social media marketing including AB testing for ads, guest articles, and blog posts. These individual points are often, and not entirely accurately, piled up under the umbrella of content marketing. Creating great front-end SEO combines and balances useful keywords, compelling, informative, and relevant content, guest posts, white hat internal and external link building, and multimedia such as images and video to attract human eyes, interest, and ultimately business.

Back End

Back-end or “off-page” SEO is the somewhat more complicated part. This is where website design, architecture and user experience, day and dark mode settings, XML site map layout, Bing webmaster tools, tools for Google webmasters and developers such as the Google search console, PPC marketing initiatives, and so on are executed. These descriptive and ancillary signals work in the background, but are just as important to your online marketing and pointing search engines and customers to your business as your front-end signals.

Part of what makes getting started with SEO factors so complicated is the sheer number of moving parts involved. This article is an example of content that has been carefully designed and developed to conform with multiple SEO signals and the latest Google algorithm updates while still delivering relevant information to you, the reader. Another concern is making sure to stay with “white hat” practices which comply heavily with major search engines’ best practices, webmaster guidelines, and quality standards, so as to obtain organic traffic and boost conversion rates as a relevant result for human eyes while avoiding getting flagged for questionable or disavowed practices which “black hat” operators use to get quick results. Black hats versus white hat tactics may be faster, but they also run the risk of getting your website suppressed or even banned from search engines entirely! When you improve SEO optimization and your site’s content, you also improve your Google ranks and the search quality for everyone--especially your potential customers!

Question: I know SEO stands for search engine optimization, but what do I need to optimize in my online presence? –Oliver, London, UK

Answer: Every search engine uses an algorithm, or several algorithms working in concert, to determine what the user is looking for, also known as “search intent,” and return the most relevant results for the given PC or mobile search through crawling, indexing and evaluating the potential returns based on the available signals. You can experiment with this yourself by typing “[Your city] [type of restaurant]” on a desktop or laptop, then run identical searches on mobile devices. When you hit the enter key on each device, you get ranked results based on the search parameters you put in, also commonly known as keywords. But that keyword string will only get you one set of results. Typing in “[type of restaurant][your city]” may give you different results. “[Type of restaurant][your city]open now” will give you still another complex of results, and mobile pages are an entirely different beast again!

Good SEO needs to optimize your site and maximize your company’s profile across search strings using a number of tactics and tools so your content, and your website, will be the first thing people see. This means management of not only the public-facing keywords, location signals such as local search and other points of interest, but also the back-end signals and indicators which tell search engines your website and company are legitimate and offer the perfect solution for the searcher’s needs. Duplicated content, outdated or irrelevant pieces of content, and expired pages on your site can all damage your search rankings and reputation, as each one is a negative ranking factor!

Question: How do I know if I need to hire an expert in search engine optimization? –Chris, St. George, UT

Answer: As long as you’re sure that you’re as aggressive as possible in promoting your brand, not leaving money on the table or lagging behind your direct competition when you appear in search engine rankings and social media channels, you’re probably okay. If your online presence at least goes head to head with other sites in your markets, industry, niche, or lane, and you’re seeing progressive organic search traffic, which increases consistently month over month, you’re probably okay. If you’re not a beginner at setting up on-page and off-page SEO, and the management of your ranking factors across search engines remains consistent over time with verifiable driven traffic from search across the channels you control and authoritative alternative sites, you’re probably okay. If you advertise your goods and services and each ad shows consistent results, you’re probably okay. 

But what if you might not be okay? 

Beginners often damage their traffic because, to put it bluntly, they don’t know what they’re doing. Some common examples of this include:

  • Attempting to manipulate search engine ranking factors without understanding the basics of how the math, algorithm cluster, and crawlers specific to individual search engines work (i.e. Bing, Yahoo, Google) to evaluate the relative value of your information versus the searcher’s intent
  • Attempting to be entirely too descriptive in your metadata and ignoring other signals which your site’s presence may benefit more from, or disregarding metadata altogether to emphasize ranking factors which are less relevant
  • Failing to mark up your website’s schema and sitemaps, such as specific nofollow signals, XML files, and title tags, to attract a given search engine’s programmed robots to crawl your site for the most accurate, up to date information and explicit external signals, generating more organic traffic
  • Trying common, often old “hacks” for targeting and getting more traffic and a higher shared rank, which look great on paper. They give overly fast results and may even encourage faster subscribe growth. They also have a proven history of running afoul of algorithm rules and, in practice, could possibly get your site blacklisted, marked as spam, or even banned.

When it comes to the root of SEO, you need reproducible results from techniques that have been specifically shown and seen to work properly over time across iterations of search engines. These methods are structured to work on the user’s location and the searcher’s query intent to redirect them to your site and social media instead of your competition, regardless of changes in algorithms and remarketing strategies. 

A beginner may know “just enough to be dangerous,” falling into the trap of feeling sure that this hack will absolutely give them the results they want rather than playing a straight game by focusing on organic, repeatable, scalable results over time. When it comes to your online presence, stop gambling your reputation on dangerous amateurs. Online Advantages has the resources to test your site and social media presence, identify the weaknesses, and shore them up to improve your overall outcomes. It’s better to pay a little more to know you’re in the best possible hands, protected from negative consequences, and getting real results rather than taking unnecessary risks. 

Question: How is front-end content optimized for search engines? –Amy, San Jose, CA

Answer: Front-end content optimization relies on a mixture of signals or indicators which tell a search engine your content has an important relevant role in answering the search in question. Some of these include:

  • Keywords and search strings, which are the active search queries. Every time you type a search into Google, Bing, and so on, you are using keywords and search strings that affect your results’ appearance in Google. Different arrangements of keywords into a search string yield different results because of how the algorithms assign value and weight to various words.
  • Latent semantic indicators (LSIs), which are keywords tangentially related to the primary keywords, similar to synonyms for algorithmic purposes. For example, if we were creating content for “auto mechanic San Jose,” some LSIs we might use include “auto repair,” “body shop,” “auto glass,” “warranty,” and “synthetic motor oil.” While these words don’t directly equate to the original search query, they are of sufficient relevance to warrant inclusion in the content.
  • Anchor text: Proper anchor texts, or the words used to “anchor” a link, are the basis upon which to build links that work with the content and the user’s needs and help build relevance. However, a bad link building scheme can be worse than no links at all. A single broken link or link with poor anchor text probably won’t impact you much because websites go dormant without warning, cease to exist, change their addresses and don’t put up proper redirects, and so on, and Google webmasters and engineers understand this. But multiple broken links can hurt your site because if a search engine lands on bad, incorrect, or unusable pages enough times, it will take these repeated failures as an indicator that you’re not keeping tabs on the information you’re delivering to your visitors.
  • Authority links: A good SEO strategy incorporates both outbound links to authoritative websites such as government agencies, well-known nonprofits, and customer advocacy groups; inbound links which point other search engines to your content; and internal link schemes which route visitors to other information on your site. Ideally, your content will end up becoming an authoritative voice in its own right, which other people refer to for information, in much the same way Amazon has become an authority link for just about anything relevant to the world of online commerce.
  • Relevant images, video, and similar content help break up long-form content, add visual flair, and reinforce or enhance the information in the content. They also give you another avenue to show up in search results through image search options, which is a very strong signal!
  • Proper title tag markup to describe accurately and concisely why this content should be seen by and delivered to each searcher.

These are just a few examples, and the thought processes and actual mechanics of making them work as part of a cohesive search engine marketing scheme are beyond the scope of this SEO guide. However, it gives you the general idea of how these items function and why they matter.

Question: The search term I want to rank for returns hundreds of thousands of results. How does a search engine decide the best order to display them to the searcher, and how can I affect this order? –RaeKwon, Dallas, TX

Answer: The algorithms search engine use to return their results, known as “search engine results pages” or SERPs for short, are complicated and depend on a mixture of content-based signals, search terms, and user history, as well as other signals and indicators known only to the search engines’ internal teams themselves. By using strong organic SEO, useful long-form content, and appropriate back-end metadata and webmaster keys, you can help position your content to perform better across a range of keywords, giving you broader reach and enhanced performance versus your competition.

Question: Do I need different SEO strategies for different search engines? –Maria, San Luis Obispo, CA

Answer: The answer to this one is a little more nuanced, but boils down to “Yes—and no.” Generally speaking, most webmasters in the US and Western Europe tend to focus more or less exclusively on Google. As the 800-pound gorilla and undisputed heavyweight champion of the search engine world, if you can successfully manage Google’s algorithms, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex will more or less take care of themselves. However, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish and exactly which demographics you are targeting, you may find some strategies are more applicable to certain search engines than others. In some cases, you may need a complete website redesign optimized for both conventional PC and mobile search to achieve the highest possible search ranking. Rather than trial and error, you will likely find it far easier and less stressful to tell your Internet marketing agency what you want to achieve and let them do the heavy lifting, ensuring you get a better ROI for your marketing budget.

Question: What works best for driving SEO traffic from search engines? –Traci, New Braunfels, TX

Answer: The best methods for getting search engines to direct searchers to your website rather than your competition are white-hat SEO tactics that rely on organic growth and consistently delivering useful relevant content. While it’s true there are quicker ways which will give you a rapid boost across search engines, such as link purchasing and other gray hat and black hat methods, these can quickly compromise your site’s integrity and get it blacklisted by the very search engines you’re courting. Online Advantages uses only legitimate white-hat techniques with proven track records and consistent results to develop your SEO strategy to ensure you get the results you need and keep your website visible while your competitors wonder how you did it—or try the black hat tactics which leave you at the top of the list honestly and legitimately!

Question: What is SERP analysis, and how does it boost your keyword research? –Jonathon, Miramar, CA

Answer: “If you’re coming for the queen, you’d better not miss.” More to the point, it’s much more difficult to make a concerted run for the top of the SERPs if you don’t know who’s already gotten there and how they compete with you. SERP analysis tells you who’s ranking for what and which keywords they are using, which allows you to design a keyword research scheme which not only gives you a better chance of meeting them where they already are but surpassing them using keywords they ignored or dismissed as not worth their time.

Question: When doing keyword research, what should we pay attention to besides the search volume and difficulty of the keyword? How do you know which keywords to target? –Serj, San Antonio, TX

Answer: It’s natural to want to aim for the biggest traffic pullers with the highest search volume when evaluating keywords. The problem is, the “good” keywords are more competitive and thus harder to rank for. A good SEO scheme considers both high-traffic, high-demand keywords and less competitive ones, as well as LSIs. Every signal you can link to your site is one you take away from your competitors, which place you ahead of the competition and help boost your presence and reputation over time. Generally speaking, targeting one high-value keyword and a couple of lesser-value keywords, or vice versa is a valid method of selecting the right keywords for your specific application. It is important to note that these are general observations and the specific scheme and methods applied for your website may differ from what we’ve outlined here when we evaluate your goals, objectives, and current standing in a holistic manner. However, you can rest assured when we take on your online presence, and we use only methods that have proven results and avoid the sort of signals which risk your site being pinged as search engine spam.

Question: Keyword research sounds complicated. Do we need to invest in a paid keyword tool? –Contessa, San Francisco, CA

Answer: When you’ve done it a few times, keyword research and, for that matter, most elements of SEO become fairly simple, almost rote. Google’s keyword explorer tool is a good free starting point, but it has some inherent limitations to prevent black hat SEO marketers from engaging in search engine spamming or trying to game the algorithms to unfairly influence Google search results. Paid keyword research tools can help make your SEO planning easier and more deliberate, but they are not essential, especially if you have a dedicated Internet marketing agency on your payroll. Nowadays, most reputable agencies and search marketers will have their own suite of technical SEO tools they prefer and will be able to quickly and clearly articulate why they prefer and use these tools over others on the market. If you want to “follow along at home,” so to speak, these programs could be a small tax write-off, but for practical purposes, you’re better off letting your agency do the heavy lifting.

Question: What is search engine spam? –Alexis, Charlotte, NC

Answer: Search engine spam in its most common form is a type of keyword stuffing, wherein the content is so bogged down with keywords that it becomes nearly unreadable to human eyes. As search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, they have evolved to look beyond the public-facing content on the page to the metadata and description meta tags for the various pages and posts. Some things a search engine watch for include too many keywords for the content, poor readability, incorrect or bloated alt attribute text, or too many keywords that do not demonstrate sufficient relevance to the primary topic. Many of these signals were originally developed by Google’s Webspam team, headed by legendary former Google engineer Matt Cutts, who is now Administrator of the US Digital Service under the Executive Branch of the American government.

All of these negative ranking factors can quickly get your site penalized with a drop in SERP ranking or even temporary or permanent blacklisting. Developing a keyword protocol that sends appropriate signals and tells Google this is the droid the search traffic for a given term is looking for, without delving into spam territory, is both a science and an art form that requires meticulous and ongoing familiarity with the changing algorithms. What was considered stuffing or spamming behavior in 2016 may have been A-OK in 2018 but is now verboten again, or vice versa. A reputable SEO and Internet marketing agency will be aware of these dangers and have steps and protocols in place to prevent problems at every step, now and in the future.

Question: What are the merits of description meta tags? –Markus, Box Elder, SD

Answer: Description meta tags are another method search engines use to determine relevance and content value to a searcher. Having good, accurate meta tags that correctly describe the content and don’t go overboard with stuffing is important to get search engine crawler bots to look closer at your content. In some cases, the description meta tags might be used as part of the excerpt for the content, which shows up in the SERPS, so it’s fairly important these be done well, much like XML sitemaps and other site metadata.

Question: What is an XML sitemap? –Wayne, Las Vegas, NV

Answer: XML sitemaps make it easier for search engine indexing bots to understand the layout of your site architecture and what’s included under the various tabs. Five years ago, a sitemap wasn’t considered as crucial as it is now, which is another example of how algorithm changes over time reflect new ways of looking at signals. Today, an XML sitemap is considered a best practice and can actually damage your ranking if you don’t have one! In addition, the sitemap makes it easier for visually impaired visitors to find and access different portions of your website, which makes their presence a win-win for everyone concerned.

Question: How can we develop an SEO strategy to dominate our competition on Google and other search engines? –Howie, Mooresville, NC

Answer: Every website and company is a little different, so the strategy for your website may not look anything like that your most direct competitor can benefit from even if you’re both doing more or less the exact same thing. At Online Advantages, we start with a comprehensive online presence audit to evaluate where you are within your niche and among your competitors. Then we evaluate what elements are missing or need improvement to strengthen your position in the SERPs. Finally, we create a bespoke content marketing and social media management campaign that accounts for both public-facing and backend SEO to give you the most comprehensive plan possible. With our familiarity with and ongoing close scrutiny of search engine algorithm changes and the metrics they look for, we are a complete digital marketing solution that can help you get ahead of your competition and stay there.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our beginner’s guide to SEO. While this is far from a complete guide, hopefully, it gives you a better idea of how these signals impact the user experience and whether and where your website shows up on result pages. SEO training is not something one can simply learn in 30 minutes; it is a years-long process complicated by algorithm updates and changing values on what is crucial and what doesn’t matter in the realm of SEO. To learn more about how Online Advantages can get your business the visibility and online presence you deserve, we invite you to click here! - Online Advantages

Search Engine Optimization is fundamental to success. Our SEO strategies will earn your site a higher ranking in search results. We’ll provide a full SEO keyword rankings report, a link building profile report and indexed page information. Our customer focused team will improve your traffic flow and increase sales for your web-based operations.

SEO is the lifeline of online marketing. We offer our valued clients a high quality and affordable package. Leave the rest up to us as our experts are trained on the latest guidelines from all major search engines such as Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo.

83%

Organic Traffic - Increase

42%

Bounce Rate - Decrease

38%

Average Visit Duration - Increase

21%

Pages Per Session - Increase

Keyword Research / Strategy

One of the most Important SEO elements is the target keywords. Let our team determine the best strategy for all your link building activities to increase your search engine ranking and organic traffic.

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