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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.

WP-Types for Houston Web Design and Houston SEO with WordPress
Create POWERFUL WordPress websites using WP-Types (Custom Post Types) without having to know any (much) programming!

WP-Types, a GREAT plugin for designing powerful WordPress websites without having to be a programmer!

Are you a web designer or maybe even a great programmer and need to create something more than just the standard WordPress website but don’t have the experience or maybe just the time (hell, maybe you just don’t feel like it) to do a bunch of custom code)? I am HAPPY to blog about this GREAT plugin for WordPress that allows you to build web applications, portals, social networks, and pretty much anything else you can imagine using WordPress and some intelligent form builders straight from WordPress. Did I mention that you need nothing more than WordPress and, obviously, the Web browser in which you are administering your site.

WP-TYPES is now my most favorite of new tools, aside from possibly Gravity Forms, Yoast SEO, and Visual Composer.

Basically, you first create a “Custom Post Type” using “Types”. Today, I worked on a project that a friend, my cousin and business partner, and myself are working on together. It’s a portal for the Houston hip-hop scene that will allow artists to network and market their music. I’ll wait until it’s done to share the website with you. It’s pretty great and is getting built VERY quickly!

SO, you would create a Post Type for “Albums” which would be where users submit their music in a couple of SEO-optimized ways.  Include the data you’re collecting on the album and artist as well as the actual MP3 files and videos related to that artist and album and this is the database core of the operation.  This is done with “Custom Fields” within the “Types”.

Next, you know that you will need a form to get the information in from both your users that are submitting their work and other information as well as the WordPress admin that moderates and likely does some back-end work through the WordPress website admin area.  You do this through the “CRED” form creator.  This is VERY easy to do and uses some smart-tags as well as even a relatively intuitive and intelligent “Form Creator Wizard”.  I ended up not using it for this particular website because I’m an experienced Software Engineer and I wanted to have more control over how I presented the data on the front-end of the website.  This is accomplished using some simple HTML as well as your newly created Custom Fields and WordPress short-codes.

Next, I tested what I had built by adding some dummy web data that a standard user would submit and created some very simple “Views”.  The wizard was helpful here to establish the loops I was going to have to do through some of the information pieces and it did generate a pretty nice tabular layout for the way I had already intended on presenting my information.

Finally, I did some things with the WP-Types “Content Templates” to create the single-posts that are the results of the framework I’d put together so far and set some access restrictions on certain pieces of the site to entice users to sign up more in order to get access to the digital downloads we’re doing.  The documentation is AMAZING.  Wow.  They give GREAT documentation on the usage but also go into GREAT detail as far as even code samples and things to get you started.  I didn’t really do any reading and their step-by-step guide was really enough to walk-through using my own requirements to learn what the website was telling me to do.

I still have yet to use the entire suite and I am far from done with the web design as I see some really cool ways that I intend on using the API for to do some more detailed things with lower-level PHP custom code but I’m really very close to being able to do what I’ve wanted to do without really touching any code at all!  At under $200.00, this has been WELL worth the investment!

IOM Partners of Houston, TX specializes in Houston Web Design & Houston SEO but has clients nationwide that count on us to stay on the cutting-edge of things like this and it’s nice to be able to cut down on development costs when necessary.

I’m excited to see what happens when I get deeper into this with BuddyPress, as well!

Visit us online at https://iomhouston.com/ and learn more about our Houston Web Design and Houston SEO services for any projects you might, yourself, have in mind!

Colin Valencia
1121 Delano Street
Houston, TX 77003

(713) 858-7365