Search Engine Optimization

Top SEO Mistakes to Avoid

March 17th, 2017

SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Are These Common SEO Mistakes and Epic SEO Errors Impacting Your Online Business?

For every business with an online presence, the new year offers the opportunity to closely examine how their goals and objectives are progressing and how to ramp them up. As the current economy has not yet returned to pre-recession levels, every dollar spent on digital marketing, particularly Search Engine Optimization (SEO), becomes especially important. We’ve compiled a list of the major errors we’ve run across in the field. We invite you to review this list of common SEO mistakes that may be costing your business leads and revenue. Be sure to consult with AWG for a customized SEO campaign strategy that will remediate any outstanding issues. This way your business will reap the maximum benefits possible throughout 2017.

EPIC FAIL #1: Thinking that expanding an existing employee’s scope of work to include SEO will suffice.
WHY: A successful SEO Campaign is the culmination of the work of several SEO Specialists, including an SEO Strategist, an Analytics Expert, and a Content Developer/Copywriter. Often supportive initiatives, such as Pay-Per-Click, Social Media, Email Marketing and Affiliate programs, as well as Web Development and even Programming, may be included concurrent to an SEO campaign to achieve a client’s stated goals and objectives over a given timeline.

EPIC FAIL #2: Believing that SEO optimization is a one-time event and will reap positive results indefinitely.
WHY: To be effective, any SEO campaign must be continuous. The internet changes daily, more competitors enter the marketplace, and strategies must be routinely adapted to ensure that any business website can compete for its market share.

EPIC FAIL #3: Blackhat SEO
WHY: “Blackhat SEO” are practices that Google has banned, such as keyword stuffing, using low-quality link directories, content “borrowed” from another website…the list is extensive. Once, these infractions could cause a site to be penalized. Today, the site pages that contain these infractions will not be indexed, making an online enterprise invisible to potential customers.

EPIC FAIL #4: Agencies Who Promise Big Then Deliver Little or Nothing
WHY: A number of our clients had previously been preyed upon by other SEO companies who promised high rewards for very little cash outlay and in a very short period of time. A reputable agency will always demonstrate what they have been able to do for other clients as well as institute a campaign that is both measurable and accountable. In our experience, it is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive SEO campaigns that yield the best results. And by results we mean metrics that support the client’s business goals and objectives, such as increased site visitors, conversions and revenue.

SEO Mistake #1: Using the Wrong Keywords
WHY: There is no point in using keywords that prospects are not using to find your business. For highly competitive industries, there is little opportunity to rank for short keywords when a long tail will garner more quality site traffic, higher rankings, and more business. Any keyword that is not attracting site users, should be examined, and possibly discarded in favor of a more effective keyword.

SEO Mistake #2: Not Using Headers
WHY: There is an ongoing controversy among SEO Strategists as to the value of header tags and their associated keywords. However both sides agree that headers that effectively engage site users may reduce the bounce rate. The bounce rate is widely considered the most important engagement metric as measured by Google’s algorithm, so do not just slap on a header, make it meaningful!

SEO Mistake #3: Broken Links
WHY: This is a common occurrence when site content is moved. 301 redirects will remedy this and prevent a site from losing valuable page authority by incorrectly or not redirecting pages. It is also important not to decommission a URL’s content by instituting a 404 redirect when it is no longer needed. The site will have acquired links that will still be valuable if redirected properly.

SEO Mistake #4: Not Using Analytics to Track Site Metrics
WHY: Some marketers had been focused solely on keyword rankings, wanting to rank for very competitive keywords, even for keywords that were not driving traffic to their websites! This ignorance was expensive and was not increasing their site revenue. By setting up their sites to track key performance indicators, AWG has demonstrated where their customers are coming from as well as how best to influence their buying decisions by facilitating the sales funnel.

Local SEO – Why Keywords Matter

June 27th, 2016

Local SEO

For businesses, such as restaurants, that draw their clientele from their immediate area, selecting and implementing the right local keywords will drive relevant traffic to those client websites. For ecommerce businesses who draw their customers from anywhere, implementing the correct national keywords will attract the most prospects to their sites. Remember, when it comes to ranking on the SERPs, businesses are not ranking for keywords, they are competing for industry relevance. The right keywords and skillful and continuous SEO campaigns and initiatives will ensure that your clients receive their rightful market share.

What Are Local and National Keywords and Why Do They Matter?

Keywords are an integral part of any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign. Before we delve further into keywords, let’s agree that without an SEO campaign, an online business is essentially not in business. Without continuous application of SEO initiatives, including keywords, those searching online for your goods and services will not be able to find you. So whether you’re using them within website content or for PPC, keywords are used to reach your target audience. Did you also know that a keyword is not always just a keyword? Keywords can be used effectively as part of a marketing strategy to target a specific demographic in a given location. Not understanding that keywords can be localized or nationalized means that you may unintentionally be targeting the wrong website users.

(Very) Short History Lesson

Search engine results pages (SERPs) are the pages that are shown after a user types a term or words to locate something on a search engine, then clicks the search button. This is called a query. The search engine runs a process to pull all the entries that are related to the query and then presents them to the user as a results page. Over time, the bots have become more intuitive in the way that they can find the results for these pages you were actually looking for. The websites that the bot pulls as matches are found across multiple dimensions. The main dimensions are:

Words – are the words you searched for on the website

Location – is the phrase that you searched for geographically based

Intent – is the phrase as it is implied or is there a secondary or third influence to the query

When search engines were first created, the most they could do was match words from your search query to the words on a website. Once websites became more mainstream, people wanted to be able to find local businesses easier, so the search engines evolved to be able to return geographically based results. To find these listings, users had to enter their queries in the following manner:

[search term] [city] [state]
italian restaurant hauppauge ny

This only worked so well, though, as website owners listed as many cities and states that they could think of servicing on their site. As Google is wont to do, they started learning. They implemented a tool off of their search box which allowed for users to pick the location they wanted to search from. While this tool was implemented, Google learned which queries were actually location based and which ones were less so. Today, the search engine has removed this search feature and automatically serves SERP content based off of whether the query was found to be a national or locally-based. For those trying to find items or services in locations other than their own, Google will continue to honor the old location syntax in use before the location tool was implemented.

Okay, My Head is Spinning—Just What Does this Mean for My Business?

It means that keywords should be reviewed for reach (local or national),as well as for relation to the website they’re being associated with. Just because keywords have a city and state appended to them does not mean that they will automatically work for localized SEO. This is due to the search volume.

By adding the city and state to a keyword, you’re actually creating a new keyword. (This is why a keyword is not always just a keyword.)

Let’s use italian restaurant as an example. The keyword italian restaurant currently has 165,000 average searches per month. However, this keyword is one that returns a localized SERP, which means that users will find local restaurants. If we choose to initiate a local search originally using italian restaurant hauppauge ny the average monthly search volume is 30. Therefore, by pursuing the keyword italian restaurant hauppauge ny you are cutting your chances to receive users by 99%.

A local keyword is a keyword that returns results from the surrounding geographical area. An example of a local keyword is “italian restaurant”. This query will return local business listings that are close to where you initiated the search from, and allows you to find a great bowl of pasta quickly.

A national keyword is a keyword that returns results from the rest of the country. An example of a national keyword is “white board marker”. This query will return listings to help you learn about what you searched for, without regard for location.

What You Need To Know About the AdWords Update

June 16th, 2016

Google Adwords Update

Google has announced some major updates for AdWords that they expect to take effect later this year. Designed towards mobile, early testing from Google has suggested up to a 20% increase in clickthrough rates for some advertisers in the near future. This will have a significant impact on how brands decide to customize digital ad spend.

What has changed?

The update was designed to better suit what Google calls a “mobile-first world”. Tailoring its new rules to better conform to digital advertising on mobile devices, AdWords has changed and brands have to adapt accordingly. As a result, AdWords will optimize screen sizes to fit the most popular smart phones and have new expanded text ads, which will allow brands to add more product information to their ads.

Additional freedoms have also been made for bidding as brands will be able to set individual bid adjustments for each device type (desktop, mobile, and tablet).

Advertisements from AdWords will now be responsive, meaning new ads will be able to adapt with diverse content all throughout the sites and apps on the Google Display Network.

The three most significant adjustments are as follows:

1. Ads will allow for more prominent headlines

As it stands, one 25-character headline is permitted. The new update will allow for two 30-character headlines

2. More leeway will be added for description lines

Currently two 35-character description lines are given; the new update will consolidate them to one 80-character description line.

3. Relevant Display URLs will be implemented

Right now, the display URL has to be entered manually. While this isn’t entirely pressing, any mismatch between the final display URL and the URL(s) of the landing page(s) will be disapproved altogether. With the new AdWords update, user domains will be automatically extracted from the final URL, removing any chance of human error and promoting more accuracy. The option to customize the URL path will also be made available with the new update.

What does this mean?

With the new update heavily favoring mobile marketers, there will be drastic changes to the way that brands advertise through AdWords – starting with the freedom of customizing ad placement (mobile, tablet, or desktop). With new guidelines surrounding ad copy and display URLs added, brands will adapt and never see and use AdWords the same again.

Active Web Group is a full-service digital marketing agency with experts in Pay Per Click Management, Digital Branding, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and many other practices to help businesses grow every day.

ROI vs. KPIs

June 10th, 2016

ROI vs. KPIs

To gauge the performance of any online business, a sound Search Engine Optimization campaign will gauge the impact of determined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on that business’ Return on Investment (ROI). Both are benchmark metrics to gauge the health of any enterprise. To begin, every business should have a business plan, which includes clearly stated business objectives and the KPIs that will indicate that their business is on track toward achieving an acceptable, if not exceptional, ROI. When creating an effective SEO campaign, only the KPIs that influence business outcomes should be monitored. To be effective, KPIs must be:


Only metrics which are relevant to achieving business goals and objectives should be considered as KPIs. If the business sells a product and also maintains it, the number of products sold is a relevant KPI. The number of units it maintains, is not. A quick relevance check is to gauge if a proposed KPI metrics performance has any impact on the firm’s ROI. When those KPIs that do vary off their projected course, it is understood that corrective action be taken immediately. Or, happily, if the variance is an unexpected uptick in sales, for example, to continue on the existing path without intervening.


KPI performance will reflect a number that indicates at a glance how performance is behaving. That number, such as units sold, will also indicate if the business is on track to achieve stated business objectives.


Indicators provide information about a specific area of a business. When determining a KPI the question should be, what performance is expected of this marker and what action will need to be taken if the KPI fluctuates up or down?


Effective KPIs reflect the objectives the company is carrying out. If the company sells a product, how many units of that product must be sold to break even, or to show a profit? If a KPI is units sold, and it has been determined that a certain number of units must be sold by a given date, then steps must be taken to remediate if the number of units sold falls short by that predetermined date


KPIs need to provide real-time feedback so business owners and planners can readily see any issues as these develop and intervene quickly. If the bulk of one’s revenue is tied to holiday retail sales and pre-holiday sales are lagging, intervention in the form of a promotional sale may be implemented to ensure that revenues are not further impacted.

Achieving a Healthy ROI

Successful businesses do not blindly create business goals and objectives, and then hope that sales figures make their goals a reality. Business needs determine business goals and KPIs indicate if the journey to that destination is going well or needs to be rerouted. It could be stated that if a healthy ROI is the goal of any business, then the KPIs are the means to the end. An example of ROI would be if sales for a given product eclipse the costs incurred to manufacture, warehouse, distribute and sell it. In other words, not just the cost per unit to produce the item, but also the costs incurred throughout the supply chain as well

Who needs an SEO campaign to manage this? Every online business. A professional SEO campaign is effective, accountable and actionable, just like KPIs. Their performance is tracked, gauged, compiled, reported and analyzed. These results are delivered to business clients at regular, timely intervals and explained in detail, as required. Fluctuations are noted immediately and downward metrics are tracked and remediated as necessary. For a confidential consultation regarding a professional SEO campaign that utilizes the right KPIs for your business to achieve a solid ROI, please contact us.

Reaching Your Customers in a Content Saturated World

May 26th, 2016

Reaching Your Customers in a Content Saturated World

Websites – The Internet is Full of Them

In an online world that offers numerous solutions to any given problem, businesses must use every advantage available to make a connection with potential customers. The goal is to establish a relationship of sincerity and trust over their competitors. Websites are the ideal medium. Through different advertising efforts, a website allows businesses to infiltrate user’s lives in unobtrusive, and often unrealized, ways to better the user’s lives with their products or services. In order to create this spark, a website must be carefully crafted with a number of skillsets, yet once the site is produced there is often an area that is overlooked – what the site actually says.

There are an overwhelming number of business websites that are practically void of content

Copy and other content projects are left as the last item on the checklist of things to complete pre-launch. It is also often delayed to post because copywriting is comparably easy to execute and is a continually evolving portion of the website. Once the site is launched, business owners typically step back from the website to concentrate on their core business objectives. Content then becomes a project that they will get to “when they have time”. Sometimes writers will be hired from freelance sites such as fiverr to draft some basic pieces to fill empty pages. Then the thrifty web business owners spin or duplicate this same content across the remaining pages of the site. The result leaves users with a website that may be beautifully functional but unable to deliver the unique information they were looking for. Search engines do not approve of this approach either.

Unlike a TV or Radio Commercial, Internet Users are Looking for a Way to Interact with an Entity
Internet users become prospects when they visit a website. Once they arrive they are looking for products or information. This intel can range from getting a sneak peek behind the scenes of how a service works, or how a product is produced, or maybe even an entity’s mission statement. If the website serves up information that has been copied from other websites, or can be found generically elsewhere, then they have no reason to remain on your website when Wikipedia will suffice.

These types of issues have become so rampant that even Google has stepped into the fray. They have implemented the Panda algorithm as part of their core algorithm. This means that now Google will be reviewing and rating websites based on what the site actually says, how effectively they convey it, and how well it matches a user’s intent. The results of Google’s change are that many websites have lost their once steady rankings in certain verticals to make way for websites that offer clearer answers to users’ queries.

Users Make Snap Judgements About Websites

Websites have a total of 5 seconds to grab a user’s attention and answer their need. If the site’s content fails to convey the answers users are looking for in that timeframe, the opportunity to connect is lost. In the worst scenario, poorly focused copy leads to a website being delisted from search engines. In a better version, the site is ranked for terms in the wrong verticals. This leads to a reduced number of leads because the wrong demographic is utilizing the site.

Place Content at Front of Mind

How do we avoid these scenarios? Or even fix them? By placing copy and its relevancy at front of mind. Ensure that the content and copy presented is relevant to the type of user you’re trying to attract. Simply put, know your demographic and write content that speaks to them. Present information clearly and concisely, make it easy to read and easier to understand.

If you’re unsure of how your website’s copy stands up against the competition, contact us here at Active Web Group. My team and I will be happy to perform a complimentary content audit on one of your website’s pages. You can call us at 1-800-978-3417, by filling out our contact form on the right, or by sending an email here.

AWG’s 2015 Webinars – All in One Place!

December 2nd, 2015

Active Web Group developed a series of webinars to provide business owners with a general understanding of digital marketing, including an introduction to SEO and what pitfalls to avoid, how better understand your SEO KPIs, and an overview of what should be included in your digital marketing campaign.

Incorporating Digital Strategy into Traditional Marketing

November 6th, 2015

It’s hard for us in the digital marketing industry to comprehend, yet there are still many businesses who rely mainly on traditional marketing initiatives – print, radio, TV, and even word of mouth – to attract new business. So what can you do to incorporate some digital marketing into your traditional marketing to remain competitive?

5 SEO Tools You Should Be Using For Your Website ​

October 20th, 2015

Before you launch your new website, make sure that these 5 SEO tools are connected to your site. They will help provide you with invaluable information that can help you to improve site content, increase traffic to your site, and improve your goal conversion rates.

There Are Different Types of SEO?

June 11th, 2015

To the uninitiated, there is only one kind of SEO (search engine optimization). The reality is that there are several different kinds and in different categories. Understanding the differences can offer you better insight into what your website needs and how to go about it.

Breaking News: More searches performed on mobile devices vs. desktop computers

May 8th, 2015

We SEO’s have been waiting for this moment for about a year and a half. Google has officially confirmed that more searches occur on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, which include the US and Japan. Google also groups tablets like the iPad in with computers, so smartphone-generated searches are truly outclassing tablets, laptop computers, and desktop computers combined.

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