Depicting Digital Marketing in Maryland
Business, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Marketing, maryland digital marketing agency, Maryland SEO, Search engine optimization, SEO, Social Media

Why Digital Marketing is a Must in 2019

Why you need to consider Digital Marketing in 2019

Many small businesses find themselves struggling to compete against more prominent corporations. What can a startup do when an established company seems to attract all prospective customers? With much deeper pockets, big companies manage to reach a wide audience thanks to their ability to advertise on different marketing channels such as television, billboards, and print ads. But small businesses can achieve the same by using digital platforms. As 2019 nears, it’s high time for startups and small and medium enterprises to leverage the power of digital marketing to build brand awareness, drive targeted customers, and boost sales.

Digital Marketing has been implemented over the past couple years.

Click below to watch clips from Gray Vaynerchuk  on why he believes Digital Marketing is important back in 2017.

Here’s why it is still just as important today!

Getting Started with Search Engine Optimization

Gone are the days when consumers had to flip through the pages of the phone book to contact the businesses they want to transact with. In the digital era, all it takes is a few clicks to find information on the web. According to Google, which enjoys nearly all of the search engine market, one-third of their organic searches are related to location. This means that their users are eager to use their search engine to find businesses, products, or service providers near their area. Capitalizing on this trend can be just what small businesses need to generate more foot traffic to their brick and mortar stores.
Setting up a website marks only the first step in search engine optimization. On-page and off-page SEO techniques must be employed to bring out the true ranking potential of a website. By creating a solid site structure, optimizing for the right keywords, and increasing the speed and functionality of a website, a small business can create a lasting image in the minds of their target customers. SEO proves to be the fuel that SMEs need to sit on top of Google’s first page, allowing them to reach a vast online audience.If you are looking for more information on the basics of Search Engine Optimization, be sure to check out www.metalinkd.com for more details on how digital marketing and SEO can be implemented into your marketing strategy. You can trust your faith into MetaLinkd SEO & Digital Marketing, the top Digital Marketing Agency in Rockville, MD and a up and coming Maryland SEO Company

Building an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Driving traffic to a website is one thing, but grabbing the attention of visitors is a different story. A website that ranks number one on Google may prove useless if visitors leave the site soon after landing on it. This issue can be avoided by creating a content marketing strategy. In the online world, it’s all about delivering the information customers need. Many business owners make the mistake of simply selling their products or services. Being overly promotional without adding any value makes the perfect recipe to turn off customers.
Through content marketing, businesses can show their target audience why they’re worthy of their attention. With countless other companies competing for the same set of eyes, it’s imperative to stand out in the busy online landscape. Figuring out where the potential customers spend their time online allows small businesses to reach out to them and deliver the right kind of content depending on the platform. Other than traditional blogs, small businesses can upload enticing videos on YouTube, high-quality infographics on Pinterest, and professional photos on Instagram.
All this should work in cohesion with the search engine optimization campaign of the small business. Paid advertising methods can also be used to further improve online reach. Facebook and YouTube ads, for instance, are popular ways to increase online exposure. Including these widely used digital platforms and being consistent with SEO and content marketing effort gives small businesses a fighting chance against the biggest names in their industry.
Contact MetaLinkd SEO & Digital Marketing a Top Maryland SEO Company and schedule a free consultation to determine whether your website is helping or hurting you. Co-Founders Matt Ventura and Isaac Jeong will personally analyze your website and your SEO strategy. Fill out the discovery page to get the information you need to drive more traffic to your website.
metalinkd maryland seo
Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Marketing, Maryland SEO, Search engine optimization, SEO, Social Media

How Does Google Factor in SEO?

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization typically, referred to by its acronym SEO is a process of improving the ranking of a web page on search engine results pages (SERPs), thereby improving the quality and quantity of traffic to that particular web page organically. This statement has three aspects that you need to have in mind. If you are looking for more information on the basics of Search Engine Optimization, be sure to check out www.metalinkd.com for more details on how digital marketing and SEO can be implemented into your marketing strategy. You can trust your faith into MetaLinkd SEO & Digital Marketing, the top Digital Marketing Agency in Rockville, MD and a up and coming Maryland SEO Company

The Underlying Goals Of SEO

The first underlying goal of SEO revolves around improving the quality of traffic, whereby you attract search engine users who are interested in your content, and, therefore, are interested in the products and services that you have on offer. To attract quality traffic, website owners need to write content that is highly specific for their niche, using the right set of keywords.
The second goal to SEO is attracting more people to your website. Researchers in the SEO industry have posited websites on the first page of Google attract a combined net traffic of around 95%. This is to say that the top 10 links that are displayed on SERPs will garner the vast majority of search engine users. Therefore, a goal of SEO is to rank among the top ten so as to increase the amount of traffic visiting the website in question.
The third goals, but by all means, the least important is optimizing a website for organic traffic. Typically, SERPs will display organic results along with ads to increase the number of people. The goal of SEO is to optimize a webpage to appear high among the organic results and no the paid ads links.

Implementing SEO

Optimizing your website to achieve the above goals involves tinkering with your website to meet Google’s search engine ranking factors. Ranking factors are the various aspects of a website, webpage, content, and hyperlink profile that allows Google to determine the rank of a webpage, with the ultimate goal of serving the best content to search engine users.
Although it hard to determine the precise number of, SEO researcher and experts postulate that there are over 200 ranking factors, with each factor having its own unique cluster weight. One of the most significant ranking factors that Google uses is the link profile (including domain-level links and page level links) a website has.
After all, Google’s PageRank algorithm is a hyperlink ranking algorithm, it makes for backlinks to play a big role in influencing one’s rank. Other ranking factors include keyword use and optimization, social metrics, quality of content (in terms of comprehensiveness, uniqueness, and readability), page load speed, security of the website (use of SSL Certificate), etc.
For SEO purposes, ranking factors are classified under on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is the variety of optimization activities that you can carry out on the website. This typically involves optimizing a website to make it accessible, useful, and relevant to users. It includes keyword research and optimization, ironing out technical issues in the website, improving user experience, and much more.
Off-page SEO, on the hand, is the variety of activities that you can do beyond outside the website to improve your website’s visibility, traffic, and reputation. This includes searching for high-quality backlinks and promoting your content.

Still looking for more information on Search Engine Optimization?

Check out this great beginner video on SEO by Ahrefs

Contact MetaLinkd SEO & Digital Marketing a Top Maryland SEO Company and schedule a free consultation to determine whether your website is helping or hurting you. Co-Founders Matt Ventura and Isaac Jeong will personally analyze your website and your SEO strategy. Fill out the discovery page to get the information you need to drive more traffic to your website.

If you would like to learn more useful SEO techniques check out our Google+ (Top Maryland SEO).

google my business optimization
Business, Marketing, maryland digital marketing agency, Maryland SEO, Search engine optimization, SEO

5 Points to Audit On Your Website for Successful SEO

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Was SEO Done Correctly For Your Website?

Search Engine Optimization can go a long way for local businesses if done correctly. After all, about 70% of users on Google don’t go past the first three results. While the service can be valuable for many businesses, not all agencies deliver on the promise of ranking your business website on the top results.

In this post, I’m sharing 5 things that you could personally check to audit the agency’s work, especially if you have been with them for over 6 months without seeing any real result. A major caveat is that time required to rank terms is largely dependent on the competition of those keywords. If the agency is working to rank your business nationwide, it’s reasonable for it to take a year.

There is one tool that may be helpful called Ahrefs that many SEO agencies use that will let you see things under the hood. There is a free trial available. Although there is a limit on how much data you can get, it should be enough to get a gist of things.

We’ll start with the simple things and build into the more technical aspects as we go along.

 

  1. Keywords appear in the title and text of the home page

This is a very obvious point, but it is one of the powerful aspects that you can control. Google scans websites by reading the titles, text, and pictures and tries to generate an idea of what the website is about.

If you’re a dental clinic but don’t have the word dentist and your city anywhere on the home page, consider implementing this right away. Let’s say you’re a dentist in Bethesda. Your home page should include “dentist in Bethesda” in the title and at least once within the text.

One caveat is to not repeat the keywords multiple times on the home page. This was an archaic method of SEO in the earlier days, but it has no effect and could appear “spammy” to Google.

 

  1. Name, Address Phone numbers match on the website with the information available on Google

Another simple point, but it’s critical that these information match on Google. Let’s say it doesn’t match on Yelp. You can simply log in to Yelp and edit the information as necessary. Checking through every major business listings of your business can be tedious, but it is important that this is done correctly.

There are services available to take care of the edits for you. Bright Local is one that can do the job at an affordable price.

 

  1. Sitemap is available throughout the website.

Search for “sitemap” on your website by using the Ctrl+F function. Typically, this is found in the footer.

This is important for Google to see to understand how your website is structured. It helps Google read through the different pages of your website to create a better context.

If you don’t have this in place, instructions on how to do this vary depending on how your website was built. For WordPress users, you can follow this simple guide.

 

  1. Backlinks are relevant to your business and industry.

Now, we are getting into the technical aspects of SEO and our tool from Ahrefs will come in handy.

Backlinks, in short, can be described as the websites pointing to your business website. Google reads the context of each backlink, including the title, the text, images, and any other links associated to that source. This helps Google understand the context of your website and deliver to the appropriate search engine users.

Once you log in to Ahrefs, type in your website in the search bar.

On the left side, click “Backlinks” and it will show you all the ones that were detected by this tool.

Some questions you need to ask when auditing these backlinks include:

Are they relevant to my industry?

Are they relevant to my area or region of service?

Are they from reliable resources?

So if you’re a dental clinic, you should see several instances of “dentist” or “dental” throughout your list of backlink sources.

If you find that there are large numbers of websites that have no relevance to your business, that is a sign that proper SEO techniques are not being applied. Take a look at the dates to see if they happened during the time your agency started to service you.

While these may not necessarily be harmful and keep your site from ranking at the top, they definitely do not serve any good purpose.

Here is a great example of a dental clinic ranking well for their city, and we see that its backlinks are very much related to dentistry. This allows Google to understand that this is a dental related website located in Bethesda, MD.

 

  1. Anchor texts are relevant to your business and industry.

Using the same tool, click on Anchor Text on the left side of the website. Anchor texts are the words that are hyperlinked to point to your website. Similar to backlinks, they should be relevant to your business and the services you provide.

Here is a case of great anchor texts that are highly focused on a specific industry and location. Having a focused set of anchor texts allows Google to better understand the context of your website as well.

Another point to look out for is if there are any repeats that have no relation to your business. For example, “Nike Flynit Sale Sneaker” is seen repeatedly when your business serves auto repair services. These also don’t serve any good purpose for ranking your site to the top on Google.

One reason as to why this may have happened is that an archaic method of SEO is being implemented. The internet is growing every day, and Google changes its algorithm for the search engine to ensure it provides a quality experience for its users.

 

Final Notes

There are plenty of other aspects that need to be audited for a website to rank to the top, but these are the core pieces that I look for to help me built the best strategy going forward. Making your backlinks specific to your terms related to target keywords will do wonders in helping your site rank. If you are interested in receiving an SEO audit for your business website, sign up below![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”Free SEO Audit” google_fonts=”font_family:Hind%3A300%2Cregular%2C500%2C600%2C700|font_style:500%20bold%20regular%3A500%3Anormal”][gravityform id=”5″ title=”false” description=”false” ajax=”false”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Are Facebook Ads worth Digital Marketing
Facebook Ads, Marketing, maryland digital marketing agency, Social Media

Facebook Ad Pricing: Is it worth it?

Are Facebook Ads Worth It?

Local businesses depend on local advertising to get the word out about their business. This could include local radio shows, local newspaper, and billboards. These methods of advertising have been around for decades, and it had definitely been the prominent method of advertising before digital marketing became available.

While these methods could still work for your business, the main concern that I have as a digital marketer is there is no method of tracking the performance of these ads. Yes, the business will see if it worked by one metric: the final sale. Because there is a limitation on the metrics that are tracked, there is a huge limitation on understanding what works best for the local demographic and the brand of the business.

Before we get too deep into the discussion, we can briefly go over the pricing of different forms of ads.

 

Traditional Advertising Method Pricing

Rates for advertising can vary depending on the population of your local area and the advertising agencies that are offering them. We will take Gaithersburg, MD as an example, which has a population of about 67,000 people.

*These numbers could vary as rates may have changed since it was last reported*

According to gaebler.com, local newspaper ads in the Kensington Gazette can cost about $28 per column inch with an estimated audience of 7,000 readers. So, a 4-inch by 10-inch column ad may cost $1120. This isn’t considering the cost for the time period you want and the cost of potentially hiring a copywriter and designer.

As for billboard advertising, this can vary depending on the size and the exact location of the billboard. While there aren’t any pricing available to view online in this particular area, it can likely cost over $1000 for a 4-week period.

Radio advertising is estimated to cost $396 for a 30-second spot on the WASH-FM radio that covers the DMV area. Pricing could vary depending on the time slot and length of time it runs on the radio channel.

 

How Far Can Facebook Ads Go?

Pricing on Facebook ads can vary depending on the chosen settings for the ad campaigns. Running an ad campaign under the objective of “Reach” can be significantly cheaper than “Conversions” if you are simply looking to reach as many people as possible. If you don’t know what I’m referring to here, just know that different settings on Facebook Ads have different costs.

Within the DMV area, $10 could reach close to 5000 people, so with a $1000, you could potentially reach the entire population of Gaithersburg many times over. BUT, this wouldn’t necessarily mean that there were any significant conversions for your campaign goals.

The return in conversions you get from these Facebook Ads depends on various factors including the targeting, the copy of the ad, and the picture or video that was used.

The biggest advantage to Facebook Ad marketing compared to the traditional methods is that you have complete control over how that $1000 is spent throughout the way. You can stop ads that aren’t working at any time, and readjust as needed to improve the performance. You have direct control over the voice of the content that’s being pushed. You can even retarget the people that have shown some interest in your ad. Plus, you can interact with the people that engaged with your ads.

In the traditional methods mentioned above, you pay a single time upfront and the rest is a mystery. You have no way to adjust your ads, no metrics to tell you how it can be improved, and no qualitative and quantitative feedback to tell you if it worked at all in the end.

 

Will it work better than traditional methods?

The answer to this question largely depends on the quality of the content, the targeting, and various other factors that may be out of your control.

If you have tried Facebook Ads but failed to see any significant result, this should not be a sign to claim that it will not work for you. Part of the process is testing and iterating different aspects of your ad campaign to continuously refine the ads.

There are plenty of businesses that were entirely built through social media marketing, which shows the potential for many forms of businesses to leverage this opportunity.

 

Final Notes

The core of any form of marketing is understanding how people communicate in the modern age and where they spend most of their time. In the past when most eyes were glued to TV screens or ears to radio speakers, it made sense to place ads on those platforms because it attracted a lot of attention. A lot has shifted since then, so shifting our methods of communicating with the masses makes perfect sense.

The pricing on Facebook Ad marketing is not here to stay as it is. As more and more companies will begin to understand the value of this tool, the market will compete to have their ads in front of their target audience. If you are looking for a Digital Marketing Expert be sure to check out www.metalinkd.com to learn more about how digital marketing can take your business to the next level. 

 

Contact MetaLinkd SEO & Digital Marketing a Top Maryland SEO Company and schedule a free consultation to determine whether your website is helping or hurting you. Co-Founders Matt Ventura and Isaac Jeong will personally analyze your website and your SEO strategy. Fill out the discovery page to get the information you need to drive more traffic to your website.

If you would like to learn more useful SEO techniques check out our Google+ (Top Maryland SEO).

Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Marketing, Social Media

Should I run my ads on Facebook or Instagram? Both?

As a business that may not have large funds allocated for digital marketing or just getting your feet wet with newer forms of marketing, you want to make sure you’re stretching your dollar as much as possible.

Before discussing the 3 points that will help you make a more informed decision on Facebook vs. Instagram, we’ll go through a bit of background information.

Demographics on Facebook

  • There are over 2 billion users on Facebook worldwide. This can give you an idea of how popular this platform is in America.
  • About 80% of adults between the ages of 18-49 own a Facebook Account.
  • On average, people check in on Facebook about 8 times a day.
  • More than half the users of Facebook in America use a language besides English.

For more stats, you can visit here.

Demographics on Instagram

  • Instagram has over 1 billion users worldwide. While that’s only half of the users on Facebook, there are plenty of active users on this platform.
  • Similar to Facebook, about 80% of owners of an Instagram account fall within the ages of 18 to 45. About 12% make up the age group above 45.
  • United State is the global leader of Instagram users with the number at 120 million people.

Generally, the number of users are expected to continue to increase for all age groups. For more info on the demographics, you can find it here.

 

There are 3 criteria that I address before deciding to go one direction over another.

  1. Who is my target audience and where do they spend most of their time on social media?

This can vary depending on the brand, products, and services of my client. Generally speaking, I would push harder on Instagram for a clothing brand that’s targeting males in the 18-24 age group. For a local business that’s targeting the area nearby, the decision is decided upon the results I get from the initial run of my ads.

The rule of thumb for me is to do both in the beginning and let Facebook Ad Manager help me decide. This can not only save you time and some headache, but it can also help you become more aware of the shifts in user demographics over time, especially since things are shifting rather quickly. If you have used Facebook Ad Manager before, you probably noticed there are different placement options (e.g. Audience Network, In-stream Video, etc). To see if there’s an opportunity in other forms of placement, it could be worth a try. In that case, you want to leave the placements as “Automatic Placements (Recommended)”.

 

  1.  What type of content is being pushed out as an ad and where is it most appropriate?

This is an important point to keep in mind as consumers tend to react differently on different platforms. Part of the explanation for the difference is based on the expectations that users have on platforms.

Let’s think about how we use Facebook vs. Instagram ourselves. Personally, I use Instagram to keep up to date with the shifts in street fashion and what my favorite influencers are promoting in terms of lifestyle hacks. On Facebook, I read articles published by the media network I follow and watch long-form videos relevant to my interests. The key difference is how I interact with the content and my expectations of the content that I want to see. This decides what type of ads that I would react to on the respective platforms.

Simply put, the context is different, and we need to make sure we are pushing ads that are in line with the context of the platforms. A good example is the type of content that’s more appropriate on Linkedin may not suit well on Instagram (or vice versa). That’s not to say an ad with the same goal cannot exist on different platforms. We just need to make sure the adjustments are made to fit the platforms more appropriately.

 

  1. What is the overarching goal of the ad campaign?

Depending on the goals of your ad campaigns (lead generation, brand awareness, or direct sales), we should be more thoughtful about where we place our ads. This point ties in with the two previous points.

Would someone be more likely to fill out a form on Facebook or Instagram? Is it more likely that my target audience will see the content on Facebook or Instagram?

While these questions may lead to a general conclusion, you may have some idea of cost per action (click, fill out a form, make a purchase, etc.) prior to the ads running depending on who you’re targeting. For a younger audience, it will cost more to get the same number of actions on Facebook than on Instagram because of the points made before.

However, this can largely depend on the quality of the content and the type of content as well. Because there are loads of variables to consider, I generally run on both platforms and try to gauge the reaction from a small budget and make my adjustments going forward.

 

Final Points

Hopefully, this helped you make sense of your decision making when it comes to running ads on two of the biggest platforms available today. Facebook has a neat system in place that takes care of the decision making for the most part when deciding which platform to push harder, but sometimes when we are on a tighter budget, optimizing our ads to spend more on the platform that’s getting better engagement can help.