Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/customer/www/iomhouston.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/reload/includes/framework/inc/class.redux_filesystem.php on line 29

Warning: session_start(): Cannot start session when headers already sent in /home/customer/www/iomhouston.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/trash-duplicate-and-301-redirect/trash-duplicates.php on line 215
Web Design Archives » IOM Partners - Houston Web Design

Drop us a line...

Send Message

Web Design

Hiring a professional Houston SEO Company: What Questions to Ask

You’ve decided to hire a professional Houston SEO company to increase your search engine rankings, but how do you know who you’re working with? There are a lot of companies out there who are more than willing to swindle you out of your money, claiming to be proficient in SEO but do only the bare minimum so they can collect a paycheck. There are a number of certain questions you need to ask your Houston SEO professionals before choosing a company to go with:

Can You Get Me To The Number One Spot On Google?

This question is a true test of the Houston SEO company you want to hire. If the company says yes, avoid doing business with that company at all costs. There is absolutely no way to ensure that you will reach the top spot on Google and no Houston SEO company can guarantee those results. If they are promising you specific search engine rankings, they are being dishonest and you should not do business with those companies.

Do you have experience with local SEO?

Local SEO and global SEO, while following the same general guidelines, require a different set of methods and tactics. If you are looking to improve your SEO in Houston, hiring a company that has expertise in local SEO is imperative.

May I have a list of current and past clients?

If the company you want to hire is reputable, they will be glad to give you a list of current and past clients, if their contracts allow. Even if they can’t give you specific names of clients, they should be able to tell you the types of businesses they work with and the kinds of results they have gotten.

Do you follow search engine’s webmaster guidelines?

There are “good” and “bad” kinds of SEO out there, and different tactics for each one. If an SEO company does not follow search engine webmaster guidelines, they could be using what is known as “black hat” techniques. Using “black hat” SEO will likely result in your page rank plummeting or worse, getting blacklisted by Google or other search engines.

How Often Will I See Reports?

Different SEO companies operate in different ways in terms of reporting. Some companies may give you a report every month, some may do it every quarter, and so on. Before you enter into a contract with a Houston SEO company, be sure to ask them what their reporting terms are, so that you are not waiting too long or asking too often for reports. Remember, achieving results in SEO takes time. You will not see any magic jump to the first page of Google overnight, especially if the SEO firm is engaging in White Hat SEO practices.

Hiring a company to do your Houston SEO is exciting, as you will soon see your business grow and your page ranks increase, leading more potential customers to your business. However, keep in mind that the success of your SEO is reliant on the quality and expertise of who you choose to do your SEO. IOM Partners is proud to be a Houston SEO company, serving businesses in our community and across the globe. Call us today to see how we can help you.

SEO: Common Misconceptions That Could Be Hurting Your Page Rank

There is a lot of articles out there on search engine optimization, and if you are new to the concept, the information can be a bit mind-boggling. While it seems intricate (and most of the time, it is) the basis of SEO is how relevant your website is to people searching for related content. Getting your website to rank can be a tedious process, and there is a lot of misconception surrounding SEO practices. Here are three misconceptions about SEO best practices, as debunked by Houston SEO firm, IOM Partners.

Misconception: SEO is all about keywords

While one of the building blocks of SEO is to hone in on the perfect keywords and get in-bound links, this is not the beginning and end of SEO. As social media becomes more and more relevant to everyday life and internet culture, the virality of your content becomes increasingly more important. While you may have numerous inbound links to your site, if no one is interested in them or clicking them, your page rank may stagnant. Creating interactive and shareable content is high on the list of priorities when it comes to an SEO strategy.

Misconception: Creating Inbound Links By Spamming Comments and Blogs

Inbound links are important to SEO, but what’s more important is the quality of your inbound links. Anyone can go to a blog or a Facebook post and leave a comment with a link back to their website, but Google and other search engines know this. Inbound link should have a strategy behind them, and should be earned, as a link back to your website is a digital word-of-mouth, and as every business owner knows, word-of-mouth is highly regarded. Inbound links that come from sites that have authority in your industry, for example, are worth more than any links you could spam on a random blog post or forum.

Misconception: Only Focus On Google

While Google is arguably (and probably) the largest search engine in the world today, ignoring other search engines could really be preventing you from attracting interested customers. Considering how many consumers use Yahoo mail (meaning they are on the Yahoo site at any given time, sometimes multiple times per day) and how many operating systems automatically send you to Bing to perform searches, ignoring these search engines could be losing your website a lot of traffic.

SEO can be a complicated and delicate process. With so many easy mistakes to make, all the hours you spend researching Houston SEO to give your local business the edge over the competition can all be for naught if done incorrectly. Employing the right strategies and researching SEO techniques can save you hours of time in the long run, and turn your website visitors into customers, effectively growing both your web presence and business as a whole.

SEO: Common Mistakes

When building your digital marketing strategy, you know that the foundation of your success lies with your website. However, no matter how eye-catching, or fancy your website is, if you are making common SEO mistakes, chances are nobody will ever even see it. In Houston, SEO is a key part of business strategy, and the competition is fierce. Keep your head above the competition by avoiding these five common SEO mistakes:

Keyword Stuffing

You know that your SEO is based in keywords, words that tell Google and other search engines what your site is about, so you may think that putting your keywords on your page multiple times will just alert search engines to your content quicker. However, the opposite is true. Keyword stuffing, or, overloading your content with your keywords over and over again with no real meaning or quality content, only diminishes your search engine ranking. Google doesn’t recognize this as relevant or important content and only sees this as trying to game the system, and this negatively impacts your website’s page rank. Your keywords should be at a lower saturation, flow nicely within your content, and actually apply to the content itself.

Poor Web Design & Structure

Google scans your website’s content and analyzes it for readability, from titles to content to URLs. If your website is poorly designed, not mobile optimized, and generally difficult to read, you will have a lot of trouble increasing your SEO. Website quality has an enormous impact on your page rank, and by frequently auditing your website and all other assets associated with your business and making necessary changes will help keep you ahead of the curve. In Texas, and especially Houston, web design is imperative to a successful business.

Duplicate Content

So you’ve been told that you need to keep fresh content on your site and keep your blog updated regularly. You’ve crafted a well-written, informative, blog post – great! But, before you go posting the content all over your website and social media channels, know that Google frowns upon duplicate content and will not index it. If you want to share your blog post with your Facebook audience, share the link to the blog post itself instead of copying and pasting the entire article. This way, you create a link back to your site and you are avoiding posting duplicate content.

Using the Wrong Keywords

Your keywords should be chosen for quality and relevance to your website, as well as chosen for their level of difficulty. A good way to figure out what keywords you should be targeting is to do your homework on the number of monthly searches on keywords that have to do with your business. Keep in mind that more popular keywords are more difficult to rank in as the level of the competition is high, and there are only so many spots on the front page of Google. If you are green to SEO, calling a professional Houston SEO company may be your best option.

There are an unlimited number of mistakes you could be making with your SEO, and the “rules” of SEO change frequently. Keeping current with what’s going on with Google and other search engines, making sure you are not implementing any ‘black hat’ techniques (which will, in no uncertain terms open you to the possibility of getting blacklisted by Google) and enlisting the help of professionals when needed will help your business grow in page rank and in turn, convert into sales.

Houston SEO: Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy

If you’ve been in business for a long time, chances are you relied on newspaper ads, mailers, and the phone book to drive sales. However, due to the staggering growth of internet users, things like the Yellow Pages and print ads are becoming obsolete. This means not having a digital marketing strategy can make or break your business.

According to Google search statistics, Google now processes 40,000 search queries every second. That means 3.5 billion searches every day. Less and less people are relying on traditional advertising and are now finding that the internet is generating most of their leads.

What Do I Need To Get Started?

In order to create a complete digital marketing strategy, think about the type of advertising you have done in the past and translate that into a digital medium. For example, GoogleBiz and other online business directories are the new “phone book,” social media is the new word-of-mouth, and e-mail lists are the new mailers. Just these three simple transitions can help start your online presence off on the right foot. However, one of the most important parts of your digital marketing strategy will be your SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO is short for “Search Engine Optimization” which is a process of making it so your website ranks high on search engines like Google or Bing, making it so that people are more likely to click on your website than any other website. Search Engine Optimization is a multifaced strategy which relies on everything from the design of your website to inbound links to presence on social media to be effective. While SEO can be complicated, it can be summed up by saying that search engines want to know what people want to see. By having a complete digital marketing strategy and strong online web presence, Google will see your business as “relevant” and this increases the likelihood of your website ranking higher.

How Can I Get Help?

If you are struggling to create a digital marketing strategy, there are many resources to help you get started. Offline, there are business networking groups and workshops at community centers and libraries that are geared towards getting your business online. However, one of the best ways for you to dive right in is to go to Google and start searching. Not only will you have thousands upon thousands of sources to refer to, you will see first hand how Google works and how you, as a consumer, uses search terms.

Getting your website on search engines and beginning to build an online presence that reflects in sales can be a tedious process but it is not impossible. If you are not a tech-savvy person, hiring a Houston SEO professional may be your best bet. At IOM Partners, we are committed to helping small business achieve their online goals, from Houston web design to SEO services. Contact us today to find out how our business can help your business!

Houston SEO and Web Design: How Web Design Affects Your SEO Rankings

Having a properly designed and correctly laid out website is one of the basics of improving your Houston SEO rankings. Google and other search engines scan pages for a multitude of things including readability and ease of use to rank websites in accordance with what people want to see.

Here are three very important things to consider when designing your website to increase your Houston SEO Rankings:

The Structure of Your Site:

In order for it to be possible for Google to scan and index your website, each page must be properly structured, meaning that each of your pages has consistent headings and subheadings, as well as consistent titles on each page. Your webpage should also have page-specific navigation, including pathways in and out of all pages within your website. If you want to know if you are doing it right, keep in mind that Google is scanning to see how readable it is to the reader. If a human would be able to to easily navigate your website, you are on the right track.

Readable URLs

When naming your website URLs, making them something readable with words related to your Houston SEO keywords. When Google scans your website, it interprets the data in a way that is readable to humans. Google and other search engines prefer URLs containing readable words rather than numbers or symbols. By using your Houston SEO keywords within the URL (known as ‘slugs’) of your website, you will increase the likelihood of your Houston SEO rankings improving.

An example of a readable URL is pagename.com/page-keywords rather than pagename.com/82723%483

This is also an ample opportunity to implement your keywords that are not easily integrated anywhere else, like into a sentence or caption on a photo.

Mobile Optimization

With the majority of Americans using a smart phone to access the internet, it is imperative that your website is mobile responsive. This directly affects your Houston SEO Google ranking. If you have an older website or use a template that hasn’t been updated to a mobile-optimized version, you will need to ensure that this is done immediately. If you aren’t sure whether or not your website is mobile optimized, ask a Houston web design professional for guidance. If your page is not mobile optimized, you will lose ranking to those websites that are.

Note: Google introduced mobile-friendly page ranking in April 2015. If your website has not been updated since that time, chances are your website is not mobile optimized.

For your business in Houston, web design is the foundation of your SEO strategy. Ensuring that your website is designed correctly will significantly impact your Houston SEO. Many people choose to hire professional Houston web design companies to make sure that they are starting strong when building an online presence. IOM Partners of Houston is glad to provide a quote for your Houston web design and Houston SEO services to make sure you are on your way to success.

Web Design & Presence for Houston-area Lawyers

Practicing law in Houston can be a rewarding and lucrative career, but with so many Houston lawyers, how can you ensure that your practice will be chosen above others? With the staggering number of people relying on Google and other search engines to find local businesses, including lawyers in Houston, having a unique and powerful web presence can be the key to growing your practice.

What Kind of Web Design Is Best For Lawyers?

Having a clean, informative, and yet uncluttered website for your law firm is of utmost importance. A website that not only showcases your brand but is built with a Houston SEO strategy in mind will highlight not only highlight your practice on the web, but relay the message to clients that your practice is the choice cut above the rest. A website with a professional, all-business attitude will convey a sense of security to your prospective clients.

What Are The Key Points for Web Design For Lawyers

Think of the situations in which a prospective client calls you. On the side of the road after a car accident, after the arrest of a loved one, or after a divorce? Depending on the kind of law your practice specializes in, you will want different features on your website. If your prospective clients are calling you in an emergency, having a strong and very obvious call-to-action on your website will be one of the most important factors in your Houston web design. If you work with longer term cases like custody or child support, having a client-login where you can take regular payments will be something to consider. Depending on what your overall objective is, your Houston web design experts can create a website built to your specific needs.

SEO for Law Firms: Why It’s Important

When someone needs a lawyer, chances are, they want one fast. By doing a quick search on a Google for Houston lawyers, you can see how stiff the competition is. If your website does not adequately show up search results, your practice becomes virtually invisible, and potential clients will instead go with what is most readily available to them. Making your practice’s website visible in search engine results is vital in growing your practice. With the internet being how virtually everyone obtains their information and print ads, phone books, and even traditional business cards becoming more obsolete by the day, search engine optimization will be a key part in growing and maintaining your law firm.

If your law practice is looking to build a powerful and effective online presence, call us at IOM Partners. Our team of highly-skilled and dedicated web design and SEO professionals will consult with your firm to see how we can best assist you in achieving your online goals.

Houston SEO and Facebook

How Utilizing the World’s Most Popular Social Media Site Can Help Increase Search Engine Rankings

With most of the population using Google to find local businesses, your website acts as the front door of your business. In Houston, SEO is an imperative part of your digital marketing strategy, and utilizing the tools available to you can bring customers directly to your website. Take note of these tips to effectively boost your Houston SEO using social media:

Optimizing Your Posts

It’s no secret that search engine optimization and social media work in conjunction with one another, so using your social media posts with proper Houston SEO keywords can help you grow your overall Google ranking. Facebook is one of the largest websites in the world, so it only makes sense that the powers-that-be at Google would rely heavily on Facebook to find relevant and useful content. Coming up high in Facebook search will lead you to the next step in optimizing your social media for Houston SEO – the quality of your followers.

High-Quality Followers

While buying thousands of Facebook followers can make your page appear popular, having fake followers will do nothing to your Houston SEO rankings. Google can detect the quality of your followers, so if your accounts have thousands of in-active accounts liking and following your page, you will not see a positive result. Google looks for relevance when ranking sites according to what people want to see, so the best way to grow your social media following is organically, through customer interaction, coming up high in social media search results by optimizing your posts (above) and a good overall strategy. While this can take a good amount of time, having an effective social media strategy will benefit your company overall, beyond increasing your Houston SEO rankings.

Encourage Sharing

Having your likers and followers share your content shows that your content is interesting, relevant, and that people want to see it. This gives Google the signal “this is important!” and helps to improve your search engine rankings. Getting people to share your content is as easy as building an interested audience and posting content that appeals to them, encouraging them to share. This roots back to the above two tips of building your social media following and optimizing your posts so that your interested fans can find you. Don’t forget: Sharing a link to your website when you can encourages people to not only share, but to click on your content, bringing interested customers to your door.

Locally Optimize Your Posts

Facebook gives you the option of location-tagging your posts. Showing that your company is indeed local by tagging your location in your business Facebook posts can help boost your Houston SEO rankings as well as work within Facebook’s algorithims to show people what is local to them when they search for local businesses.

Co-Market With Popular Facebook Pages

Facebook is a digital word-of-mouth, which as everyone knows, is the best kind of advertising. Finding a Facebook page related to your content with a lot of followers and giving them a reason to share your content and link to both your social media pages and your website can help grow your social media following and Houston SEO rankings alike. By offering a deal or a giveaway hosted by a popular page, no only will your content be viewed by a larger audience than your own, but will encourage people to share your content.

In today’s market, maintaining a powerful and tactical online presence is the key to your SEO. By creating an effective digital marketing strategy that includes optimizing social media websites like Facebook to increase your Houston SEO rankings, you will be well on your way to success!

Black Hat SEO – What It Is and Why You Should Avoid It

Everyone knows that search engines are the #1 way to get business referrals online, and everyone wants that coveted number-one spot on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. To obtain that spot, some people employ what is known as “black hat” techniques. These techniques, which although may go undetected for a short amount of time by search engines, are sure to get you blacklisted by search engines, removing your website from the top referral tool on the internet.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO, simply put, are SEO techniques that go against search engine policy due to the way that they are used to manipulate the system. If a search engine knows that you are employing black hat techniques, your website has a high change of getting ‘kicked off’ search engines entirely and permanently.

Examples of Black Hat SEO Techniques that may seem harmless, but should be avoided:

  1. Keyword Stuffing
    • Keyword stuffing is repeating multiple keywords into your content to increase the number of keywords on your page but don’t lend any usefulness at all to the content itself. For example, taking a keyword and inserting it 40 times in a row is ‘keyword stuffing.’
  2. Hiding Keywords
    • If your website has a white background, and you type in all – white letters the keywords you want to rank, this hidden text will eventually be found by search engines and your page rank will suffer dramatically.
  3. Reporting Competitors
    • Reporting competitors to get their pages blacklisted by search engines so that yours can move up in the ranks is not only unethical but fervently disapproved by Google and other search engine sites. If you are caught doing this, you will undoubtedly be blacklisted. This is akin to reporting a website for health code violations just so you can eliminate your competition.
  4. Buying Inbound Links
    • A link back to your site is a virtual word-of-mouth and should only come from a high-quality site. Search engines can tell when your inbound links are of low quality or purchased.
  5. Article Spinning
    • If you write an article for content purposes and then take the article and edit it only enough to differ in terms of wording, this is known as article spinning. Search engines scan the internet for articles that are useful to people in terms of relevance, and duplicating your content (even if it’s changed) can result in a hefty penalty from search engines.

While this list of Black Hat SEO tactics is not exhaustive, these are practices that should not be used any means. If you are new to SEO or are caught up in the complicated nature or doing your own SEO, employing a company to do your SEO is beneficial, but only if the SEO company employs only white hat techniques.

At IOM Partners, we pride ourselves in ethical white hat SEO that we know to be effective. Don’t take a chance on getting your website blacklisted by Google and be sure that you are only using a strategy that is compliant with search engine terms of service.

Houston SEO, Houston Web Design, Venture Capital, VC Funding by IOM Partners of Houston, TX
Venture Capital? Why not just leverage yourself and your resources effectively?! Make “Leverage” your favorite word. A rant from someone that knows.

There are benefits to Venture Capital (VC) funding.  There are great benefits in being acquainted with Venture Capitalists.  I, personally, just try to be good with people in general but try to make sure that I hang out with people that have ideas as well as investment capital and drive.  The issue with VC funding is that you put yourself in the mindset that you need Venture Capital as well as the allure of the feeling of being a mover and a shaker.

Do you love what you do?  Do you believe in yourself?

Here’s the key to everything else, business-wise:

  • If you cared, you’d do it.
  • If you were going to do it, you’d already have been doing it.
  • Nobody cares about your reasons for not performing.
  • Nobody wants to invest in things that won’t make them money.
  • People live on their own schedule.  Their schedule and life is not your schedule and life and you quickly figure out that you might not have been as big of a priority to the VC as you thought you were.  That’s not an evil or negative thing.  It just means that person got where they were, generally, required being connected, talented, and having a legitimate talent or skill, themselves, that they proved they were uniquely the best at and are likely busy doing other things that made them a potential VC for you in the first place!  Their persona, innovation, market-share, and leverages of various types made the forces of the universe respond positively and allow them the fruits of this.  It’s not that hard and is deathly necessary in order for you to succeed.  Learn to tell the world about yourself but keep evolving, creating, proving, and defining for the sake of doing it and the money will come.
  • Feel like you need success like you feel like you have to breathe.

Maybe not all of us were born into wealth but that’s not an excuse.  The key is to use what you have as effectively as possible.

Here’s my point:  Do you want to dance and pretend and wait or do you want to count on yourself, the thing you can absolutely best measure on this planet?

In my experience, a little research, a real talent, a solid product, a good reputation, and a little press go a LONG WAY.


Make a list of excuses as to why you’re not succeeding.  I say this because if you’re not doing it, you’ve made some sort of allowance or excuse.  You prevented yourself.  Once you come to this realization, a little bit of “keeping it real” goes a long way.  You might say, “I’m not a technology person.  I have no idea how to market myself online or I don’t have the time.”  That’s understandable but I will tell you that a little bit of discipline and research goes a long way in the online world, especially if you’re NOT in the online marketing/SEO service-provider space, as we are.

Once we realized that we were beating out talented people in Houston with our SEO, generating on average 2-3 leads a day for projects ranging from $1k-$5k each on average, we moved into other markets to see how much easier it would be, then, to move into other spaces.  We found that, though we were young and/or nonexistent in their space and decided to take on the Finance/Loans industry with a lot less money than them, we were able to move very agile and with some good writing, some good Social Signals, some localization, and some credible design, that we were able to very easily establish market positioning and start making money from a HUGE industry that we really had no participation or brick-and-mortar operation but people were hugely engaging people.  So much so that we had our first buyout offer within 4 months (which we turned down).

You can go the VC route but unless you’re us, competing against other talented SEO and online marketing people, you’re competing against a lot of people whose online presence is basically a “brochure” that is doing no work for them unless they physically meet someone with a card or brochure to the person and then the person manually goes and looks at that website.  Seems like it might be much easier and more realistic, now, right?

Take advantage of that.  You have a good business and are a talented person.  As Donald Trump once said, “If you don’t took your own horn, yourself, nobody is going to toot it for you”.  It takes very little to not have to go and find VC, waste time doing it, get into the BS world of it, and then find that your business hurt because you weren’t conducting the most important act of all when it comes to your business – DOING BUSINESS!

Of course, this is what I do for a living but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a plug.  IOM Partners of Houston, TX specializes in Houston Web Design and Houston SEO that is effective in impact, cost, and the fact that our work really actually works and works in a timely manner and it works ESPECIALLY well for companies that are likely not yours and do not specialize in this sort of thing.  Here’s the beautiful thing:  Venture Capitalists invest in companies that make money.  Of course they do!  But that means that they also TAKE money from companies that make money.  Do you believe in yourself?  If you were making money on your own, would you just give your company away?

Don’t give your company away.  Make money with it.  That’s the reason you went into business, right?  Or are you getting some types of trophies and awards that I’m missing out on?  It doesn’t take much.  It’s free to talk to us.  Give us a shout and we’ll give you some ideas!

REAL Organic SEO & SEO Web Design Guide by IOM Partners of Houston, TX
What can I do to rank my own website on a budget? Practical SEO Guide to great SEO Web Design for Do-It-Yourselfers! By IOM Partners of Houston, TX

What can I do to rank my own website on a budget?


Practical Organic SEO Guide for Do-It-Yourselfers!  IOM Partners of Houston, TX

If you’re like me, you get tired of waiting on people to do things that they promise, once you get through the already deep enough of finding someone that actually possesses the capabilities you’re looking for, whether that is building a mobile app, designing your website, or getting you top-ranked in Search Engines like Google.  Notice that I am currently leaving Bing and Yahoo out of the equation.  At it is, now, the traffic-flow from these websites is next to dead so benchmark off of the hard stuff.  If I were a scumbag, I’d show up at your place and show you by Bing and Yahoo results.  I’m not into wasting my time or stealing your money so I’m writing this guide to tell you exactly what’s involved in quality SEO meaning local SEO and Organic SEO.  As I hate PPC and would not sell that to you, even if you asked me to, I’ll include my “Guide to PPC (Pay Per Click SEO” in the following sentence.  Pay attention carefully as it’s going to be fast…  Here it comes…




Still here?  Ok, you deserve it.  I’ll give you the goods.

Google Local SEO

If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll see a couple of things:

  1. You don’t have to scroll down in any way to find us.
  2. Google Local listings tell us that people like us by our organic ratings 🙂
  3. It tells the consumer that you’re local.  In my industry, finding someone in your area that you can really connect with, collaborate, and create cool things is important.  Organic SEO is hugely important.  This is one form of Organic SEO and you don’t pay for it.
  4. You’ll notice that we’re in the top 3.  At the time of writing this, we’re #3 but give me a couple of weeks and we’ll beat the hell out of the people above us.  Back to the guide.

So how did we get here?

So I get slightly concerned about writing things like this because it might also tell some of our competitors how we do things but that’s fine.  If they were going to, they would have already.

  1. First of all, you have to convince Google that you’re local and a real business.  This starts with registering in Google for Business and then finishing off with your Google+ profile for your business.  To be indexed in Google requires both manual submission as well as at LEAST 1 link from an external website on the Web.  You’ll need to verify your physical location.  Google will help you to do this by sending you a card in the mail with a verification code.  Once you get it, come back to your Google business listing and enter the code and you’ll now at least start being on the map.  Here’s the golden-tee to the Web:  if you are a real person and a real business and you are in a specific place, people talk about you, you’re located somewhere, and localized signals such as city names, addresses that are geotagged to the map to your business in Google local, and you have something to say about yourself so, with everything you do online, own that space and know that people will find you and it doesn’t hurt to let them get to know you concisely but with a personal touch that’s localized to their soul.  Google Businesses and Google+ are pretty simple to use so just jump into it and you won’t have any issues.  Fill everything out and don’t necessarily OVER-optimize your things but feel free to definitely write using words that people legitimately look for you using.
  2. This next part is extremely important.  Your website needs pages that are localized to that specific address using microdata from Google in the form of VCards and HCards.  HTML5, especially, has blessed us with tags, categories, contextual searches, and microdata that allows you to classify and localize your information such as audio, local business addresses, video, events, and much more.
  3. Next, find some of your best real customers that you’ve done a good job for and just ask them nicely to go and give you a review.  Hell, make it easy for them and write it for them and ask them to go and post it for you!  Here’s the trick here that most people miss – OH NO, YOU REALLY HAVE TO HAVE A REAL BUSINESS THAT DOES THINGS PEOPLE LOOK FOR AND THAT WILL ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT A REAL SERVICE YOU PROVIDED THEM!  IMAGINE THAT!!!!  We’ve obviously done more good work for more than 5 people but we also have all good reviews, so far.  You’ll notice the stars and the strangely not 5.0 rating when we have all 5 stars (weird) but we have a 4.9 so we’ll take it, I guess.
  4. Spamming local directories is not the way to go but real businesses DO sign up for the right types of online business directories and they have a brand and it’s ok to tell the world about your business.  It’s what the web is for.  As I said, however, don’t copy and paste your business information because then the Web will think you’re just being an asshole and will punish you.  Have patience and when you quality opportunities that are worth your time, spend your time.  If it’s too easy or it’s too cluttered, chances are that it’s just a trash place to be and you’re telling Google that you’re just trash by putting yourself there.  For the sake of this article and not giving all of our secrets away, you’ll need to find these places yourself or pay us to do it.  Just the way it works.  The places we’ve researched have taken long and hard work and we’re not giving specific places away here.  Back to biz…
  5. Link-building is important and I’m going to get into it but, believe it or not, your first level of SEO is everything up to here and including a big point I want to make and something I want to reiterate:  you’re a business which includes a brand and people talking about your brand.  Consumers and Social Network people talk about you as you’re getting started more than highly sophisticated places do so, logically, you start with this.
  6. One last quick note, don’t believe everything SEO people tell you.  There are people that can talk about it and SELL it well and there are people that know what they’re doing.  Talk to a few people and do some research on your own.  Google Local SEO is about places, about brand, about localizing your site, and being cited and reviewed by people in relevant places.
  7. Be legit.  Google WILL catch you if you cheat and it SUCKS getting banned from Google for a while.  WOW.

Social Signals

If you’re still reading this, and at this point, you’ve laid down a nice Tier-1 / Web 2.0 platform for your SEO, the next evolution of this locality and you running a business that sells a product or service is Social Signals.

  1. Join, socially, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pintrest, YouTube, Blogger, and places like that.  Give some updates and don’t, even now, start trying TOO hard to push links to your site.  I’m not saying DON’T link to your site but I AM saying that the high-quality profile you created for yourself on these sites is enough to cover a HUGE amount of linkage.  The rest is talking about real and relevant things.  These real and relvant things get “Likes”, “Favorites”, “Mentions”, “Followed”, “Added to Circles”, and much more.  Keep in mind that you need both your main business presence but you should also take advantage of your personal profile by liking and sharing your professional information on your OWN wall to start with.  Again, some links are better than NO links but I will remind you the core of all of this – if you’re the best and are a true RESOURCE, you educate others on it in a unique manner.  This is what the Internet was always meant to be about.
  2. At this point, definitely focus on keywords but don’t ALWAYS say things like “houston SEO“, “SEO Houston“, “Houston Web Design“, “Web Design Houston“, “Search Engine Optimization Houston” and “Houston Search Engine Optimization“.  Do you see that, even though they’re slight variations, they’re still variations with individual, separate, and individual Search volume.
  3. Find your favorite keyword research tool (I could and maybe will write an entire piece to just this subject), plug in your main keywords and services, and you’ll see that you’ll get back a list of variations in your search term you THOUGHT was your main once but will also give you contextual relevant terms in the form, many times, of long-tail keywords that people are also specifically searching for but that also lead to support your main target keywords with the honey-pot of Search volume.  For us, “Houston Web Design” and “Web Design Houston” are our main target keywords but we include “Houston Website Design”, “Best Website Designers in Houston” and other such variations that are all CONTEXTUALLY relevant and thus feed to the top of the pyramid.
  4. Go onto all of your pages of your website and hit “Like” and “Share” on each page and post them to both your personal and company pages.  If you are in 5-10 Social Networks, post to all of them and you now have that many more links coming in to you while developing your Social platform.
  5. Guess what???  At this point, you’ve told the world that you’re a real business in a respectful way and the world is sharing your information if it’s worth a share and figuring out of you’re full of nonsense if what you write is worthless.
  6. If you were monitoring specific keywords or are keeping up in Google Webmaster tools & Google Analytics, you’ll start seeing your traffic build.
  7. You’ve not also started to build what’s called your Google PageRank or Google PR.  It doesn’t happen immediately but you know what people that ARE full of nonsense do?  They neglect their business and brand and talk about NOTHING unique or important because THEY DIDN’T EVER CREATE IT AND KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT!  Run a legitimate GOOD business, tell the world about the sciences and benefits of what you’re doing, and get the world EXCITED to have you on the web.  YAY!!

Organic SEO

You’re local.  You’re a business.  You have people talking about you.  You’re getting traffic.  THIS IS WHAT SEO IS ABOUT.  Granted, to have a LOT MORE people doing all of the above is HUGELY propelled when they are ALSO in the organic listings (the ones underneath the Local listings).  Local listings aren’t EASY to get but they are a LOT easier than the REAL Organic SEO listings.  So now let’s get some of those!

When you started, you were nameless.  Your website sucked but it was ok but you’re not SELLING websites so it was ok.  Now it’s time to get serious if you’re really going to do this.

You need to have 10-20 pages of content that are intelligently but but not stuffingly written for conversion about your subject manner.  Talking about just how good you are and how cool you are and having cute little photos does nothing for you.

  • What statistics do you have on your industry?
  • What is it you do differently?
  • How do people better their lives with the service or product you’re trying to contribute and promote on the web?  Using my penis-pill example, you don’t just write about Viagra.  You don’t just write about the dosage.  You don’t just put the warning and ingredients.  That’s everywhere and whoever was on the Web with that information first is already there and has been there longer so you’ll never do anything or improve against them in any meaningful capacity.  Instead of just saying, “buy my penis-pills”, talk about how the medication helps people live a more fulfilled marriage life, how better sex leads to better marriage, and maybe discuss the culture and psychology behind sexual enhancement.  Now you’re valuable.  Now you have a personality.  Now your brand shines!  It’s cool AND NECESSARY to have the lead-gen centralized brochure page but create content that makes the product a BRAND that SOLVES A PROBLEM and YOU are the AUTHORITY on the subject of doing this.
  • Minimize, at the same time, randomness and saturation of meaningless content, products, and services that are NOT your core that you’re going to neglect and NEVER copy other people’s content.  At THIS point in the blog-post, I’m at almost 2200 words written on my subject.  I have THICK content that is actually educational and useful.  Of course, I’d love you to pay us to do this WELL for you because I’ve learned from MANY years of mistakes but, at the same time, you will walk away from this article knowing SOMETHING new.
  • When was the last time you updated your website?  Is it up to current code standards?  IS IT MOBILE-OPTIMIZED???  Do whatever you need to do if you’re going to be a player on the web and bring your site and brand up to date, especially if you’re going to be a player.  Getting customers and readers on your site can bring YOU business or it could REMIND THEM that they NEED the service but maybe your NOT great website has convinced them they DO need it but they DO NOT need it for you.  Convert them to be a client to you IMMEDIATELY.  Get them EXCITED on your brand.  They’ll NATURALLY buy from or engage you and tell OTHERS about it.  “Remember how we were talking about having our websites done?  I found this company IOM Partners of Houston, TX and they looked REALLY cool!  I called their LOCAL number and see they have an office in East Downtown Houston, close to us, and you should check them out!”.  This conversation really actually does happen.  Happened to us TODAY, as a matter of fact, which was a huge inspiration for me writing this.  Be mobile and convert for all devices.  Busy business people need QUALITY local information, look for the top results, and then buy and go on with life.  That’s good business to have coming in!  Google gives MUCH higher importance to people with mobile business accessibility, ESPECIALLY in results from searches on mobile devices.
  • So how you have a website that’s starting to look and act like a business.  Wouldn’t it be crazy if people were taking the next logical step, now, and linking back to you from the web?  WELCOME TO LINK-BUILDING!  Link-building can be done by guest-blogging (meaning writing unique expert content and putting on other people’s sites and, in turn, getting links back from them to your site), it can come in the form of Press Releases, Article Submissions to article directories, and many other forms.  There are definitely link-building services that do this for you but you have to make sure that they’re doing this in a respectable manner that’s a unique and effective marketing strategy.  Buying 100,000 links from worthless sites isn’t working anything and will get you punished.  Writing an article and getting it published on whitehouse.gov with a link back to your site isn’t easy but guess what happens if you DO get something high-up like this:  Google says, WOW, THIS MUST BE REALLY IMPORTANT!” and gives you the advantage.  It’s better to generate 5-10 GOOD links per week that 100 really crappy ones.  This takes time but once you get it right and make it part of your daily process, you’ll get links but guess what…  YOU’RE GETTING TRAFFIC!  Traffic is the GOAL and the reward is conversions.  Getting an article published on whitehouse.gov with your information on it is JUST AS GOOD if not BETTER, even, than having your website ranked and you STILL get the back-link.  Double the fun!
  • If you get a chance to make a choice for your link-back text, link to your brand, keyword variations, your URL, etc.  Don’t JUST link to your money keywords!!!
  • If you’re not a write, HIRE ONE!  Or just don’t do SEO at all…  It just needs to happen…  Content needs to be created…  Nobody knows YOUR subject and model better than YOU so do it correctly!
  • Doing things the right way (or pay someone that will).

Media is Vital!  Share documents, video, etc.!

  • Take articles, press releases, and other media that you create and make into video and share it with links back to your site from YouTube, MetaCafe, Vimeo, etc., DocStoc, Scribd, and others!  Of course there’s a right and wrong way to do this and I’m not giving away ALL of the sauce but you see where I’m going, here.
  • Not only do you get a new place with a lot of visitors seeing your content but guess what…  THESE places allow you to place a link back to your site as well as longer descriptions, meaning you can squeeze in extra brand and locale information vs, for example, Twitter that only allows you 140 characters per post.

Fruits of the labor…. MEASURED!!!

  • I’m pretty sure you want to start seeing the fruits of your labor.  It’s free to do this!  With the same login and password you used to register your business and sign up for Google+ and sign-up for both Google Anlytics and Google Webmaster Tools.  I’ll likely have to circle-back on the proper use of these two tools but get started with them, yourself, for now.  It’s pretty straight-forward.  They’ll tell you who’s looking at your site, what they’re searching for, who links to you, and even how much Social activity people are engaging in with you.
  • From here you can see which pages are performing better, etc.