Blog >> seo

Darcy Grabenstein Jan 26

A marketing must: Make a good first impression

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When we think about first impressions, it’s usually in the context of a job interview or a first date. As the saying goes, “First impressions are lasting impressions.”

Make a good first impression

This holds true for marketing as well. Here, we’ll look at the importance of first impressions in digital marketing.

Unless the prospect knows your organization’s URL or enters your organization’s name directly into a search engine, chances are the first online impression will be a banner ad or search ad. It’s not only the ad itself that will impact that first impression, but how that ad is served up and who sees it.

Who sees your ads depends on how you target your audience. For example, you can target your audience via different demographics. Want to attract a diverse audience? Serve up ads, with appropriate imagery and messaging, to women and minorities. Want to drive traffic to a brick-and-mortar location? Target your audience geographically. Looking to hire someone with X years of experience? Target your audience by age.

Why bother targeting, you ask? Why not try to reach the largest possible audience? When you target, you will attract quality leads. You also will be delivering relevant content to viewers.

Digital marketing is both an art and a science. If you’re doing it right, when prospects click on a banner or search ad, they won’t go to the home page of your website. Instead, they’ll be taken to a carefully crafted landing page. You should have a separate landing page for each ad campaign. That way, there won’t be a disconnect between the ad and your site. Again, think relevant content. Make that your marketing mantra.

Keep in mind that the landing page cannot — and should not — include every single aspect of your product or service. It should include just enough information to pique the prospect’s interest. A key component of your landing page is the form capturing prospect data. To minimize distraction and encourage form completion, your landing page should have no other outbound links besides the form itself. You need enough form fields to capture data but not so many that the prospect is overwhelmed. A lengthy form can create an unfavorable first impression among prospects. And a strong call to action (CTA) will boost form completions.

For those who do go directly to your website by entering the URL or searching for you by name, your home page will make the all-important first impression. You want an attractive home page, but you shouldn’t sacrifice content for aesthetics. Make your site “sticky”; that is, include content and links that will keep visitors on your site longer.

Your entire website should include keywords that you (and your competitors) are bidding on in search marketing campaigns. If you’re not sure what keywords to use, free online tools such as Wordtracker can help you get started.

Timing is everything. Your sales cycle may or may not coincide with the buying pattern of prospects. There certainly will be overlap, such as at Christmastime for a gift retailer, but this will vary among your prospects. That’s why you should schedule ads throughout the calendar year. And that’s why you should constantly refresh your creative. If you have outdated ads, that first impression won’t be a positive one.

The first impression is just the first step in terms of marketing. While first impressions are important, it’s the continuing dialogue with your prospects and customers that will build your brand — and your business.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.


Diana Altobelli Mar 17

Google Deadline This April – Benefits Mobile Friendly

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Starting April 21, the friendly search giant Google decided to add another important factor to its algorithm. Surprise, surprise. Well, I can’t say I hate this update, considering most people use their mobile devices to search nowadays. So, Google will be using mobile-friendly sites as a factor when it comes to search results, along with ranking mobile apps.

Google always tries to make things better for us, right? Sometimes, I believe Google makes the lives of agencies more difficult to keep us all in business. Maybe it’s a part of the big master plan… hmmm. Anyway, Google will now be labeling your site whether it is mobile-friendly or not. So what does this mean? Well, this algorithm update has the potential to increase your organic rankings based on its mobile-friendly ability. This will also allow end users to see, prior to clicking through, whether they will be able to navigate through the site easily on their mobile devices.

It is said that this update will have a significant impact on mobile search. Not only will we be able to find relevant search results on the go, but they will be fit to screen. No more pinching and zooming. That is still a thing?

I am sure we have all seen the signs throughout the past years and months that mobile was going to gain some significance and it has already started.

 mobile friendly search results


Can you tell I’m getting married? Search results examples clearly gave it away.

So you are probably wondering why hasn’t this change already taken place? It seems as if Google has been testing the algorithm factor for quite some time, and now it is here and ready. But it looks as if Google is giving a chance for those to catch up if they don’t already have a mobile-friendly site.

Give this mobile-friendly testing tool a shot to see if you’re A-OK.

What specific factors will determine these changes we are unsure yet; however, webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes did share a few details in the latest Q & A. The most notable are:

Responsive design does not have a ranking benefit.

Googlebot must be allowed to crawl CSS & Javascript to pass the “mobile-friendly” test.

Mobile friendliness is determined at the page level, not sitewide.

Tablets will not be affected by this update.

Google is currently working on a dedicated mobile index.

Now that we have time, we can prepare for the Mobilegeddon. Update your site if needed to be sure you have the opportunity to rank in Google organic search!

Diana Altobelli is a search marketing coordinator at Annodyne. 

Darcy Grabenstein Nov 24

Why Keyword Stuffing Can Work Against You in Terms of Search Results

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According to Google, keyword stuffing is defined as the practice of loading a web page with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate the site’s ranking in search results. This is considered a black-hat SEO tactic and a definite no-no.

If you’re guilty of keyword stuffing, now’s the time to go cold turkey. This practice can actually have the reverse of the desired effect, as Google and other search engines are likely to penalize your site, pushing it further down in the rankings.

From a copy standpoint, keyword stuffing makes for stilted copy. Here’s an example of a paragraph plagued by keyword stuffing:

This article is about best practices related to keyword stuffing. If you’re not sure what keyword stuffing is, read on. Keyword stuffing is content that is stuffed with keywords and keyword phrases, and usually the keywords are out of context. In keyword stuffing, sometimes the keywords or keyword phrases appear in a list or a grouping.

You get the idea.

That doesn’t mean you should steer clear of keywords altogether. As part of your SEO strategy, you need to conduct keyword research, then include those words and phrases into your content. However (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again), you need to write for people, not for the search engines.

So what is the optimal percentage of keywords to overall content? I’m referring to keyword density, an SEO metric that has pretty much gone by the wayside. To determine keyword density, you’d divide the number of a certain keyword by the total number of words on the page. Instead of focusing on your math skills, focus on your writing skills and figure out how you can insert keywords in a manner that makes sense to the reader.

One way to avoid overstuffing is to use synonyms. That is, find other words with similar meaning to substitute for your precious keywords. For example, you might replace “keyword stuffing” in the offending (and offensive) paragraph above with “this practice.” By replacing some of the keywords in your copy, you’ll avoid awkward repetition (and the wrath of the search engine gods).

Another way to insert keywords without overdoing it is to use long-tail keywords. For example, instead of just saying “farm produce,” you could say “organically grown farm produce” or “farm produce from the Lehigh Valley.” When it comes to SEO, more specific keywords produce more specific search results.

Don’t be a turkey. Avoid keyword stuffing, and you’ll keep from ruffling the feathers of the search engine powers that be.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.

Photo credit: Turkey image by ericksonkee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Diana Altobelli Aug 21

5 Reasons Why Local Businesses Should Invest in PPC

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Ask a small business or local mom-and-pop shop about its advertising — better yet, maybe you should start with whether it has a website. One might believe simple word of mouth or a flier in a magazine will do the trick, but in today’s world, businesses are far more competitive. that means having a solid web presence is important to your businesses success. Even with a small budget it can still be beneficial.


You might want to argue the fact that organic search results are free, so why not just show up there? Easier said than done. In order to have high rankings for keywords relevant to your business it takes time, strategic planning, PR efforts, an old URL, creative content, uniqueness, a social strategy and authority status in your industry. Although search engine optimization is a marketing strategy not to be ignored, there are other ways to promote your business that can bring much faster results to the table. With strategies and algorithms constantly changing, it’s tough for a small or local business to compete, especially with the changes in Google Maps listings.

Also, small businesses need to remember that in highly populated metro areas, it is likely there are more than one option. And with limited exposure to begin with in the organic search results, search engine marketing is the next best thing. Here’s why:


1.  You have a greater chance of showing up on the first page results in the search engines.

2.  It is a great way to increase leads and revenue while a search engine optimization strategy is in place. SEO changes don’t happen overnight, and with the help of pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine marketing it’s the best alternative to bring in website traffic.

3.  Organic is not all that and a bag of chips. It is a great to use both PPC and SEO simultaneously to create synergy. The probability of gaining more leads doubles because you are taking up more real estate on the search engines.

4.  Search engine marketing can sometimes cost less than search engine optimization and will get you quicker results. By being able to control your bids and budgets on particular keywords, you will never go over your marketing spend.

5.  You have the ability to geo target your market unlike search engine optimization, unless you are using local modifiers on keywords. This way, you are bringing in leads that are of high quality and in close vicinity to your business.


For all these reasons and more, PPC advertising is something to highly consider when it comes to online marketing for small businesses — even for those who have a small budget! So jump on in with a small campaign, because there is always the option to hire a professional for the most efficient results when the time comes.

Diana Altobelli is a search marketing coordinator at Annodyne

Diana Altobelli Jul 14

How the World Spends Time Online – Now Vs. Then

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If you’re interested in seeing how the world’s online activity has changed in just four short years, check out this infographic courtesy of Microsoft Advertising via Rick Ramos. It shows “Where the World Spends Its Time Online.” Not that it would surprise you, but social media is where a majority of users spend their time online. However, does that mean search engine optimization is no longer important when it comes to brand awareness in the media realm? Well, if you keep up with any SEO news, you will find that Social Media Optimization is a major role player in optimization strategies.


In having said that, is the increase of social media due to the fact that mobile device use continues to rise? Or quite possibly the placement of social media applications on the home screens of our Androids and iPhones makes access to the networks just that much easier. Access to this information will allow marketers to target their audiences more specifically. For example, if you want to target the largest number of users, what is more important than finding out where all of them are hanging out? Being that a majority of users get their news and updates through social networks, this makes for a great avenue to market on. In the below infographic from 2010, you will find that only 22 percent of time spent online was on social networks.


As a result, social media optimization can no longer be ignored. One, being that it seems to be taking over the search industry; and in my eyes if you’re website is not coming up in the search results organically you better hope your social media pages are populating. The statistics are there, according to eMarketer in May 2013: “US consumers’ enthusiasm for social media and digital video is showing no signs of fatigue.” Who knows where social media marketing will take us in the future? However, right now it is vital in any online marketing strategy. Whether it’s be search engine optimization or brand awareness, it’s good to show face in this digital age.

Diana Altobelli is a search marketing coordinator at Annodyne.

Diana Altobelli Jun 6

Social Research Really Does Pay Off

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When I first began my endeavors to tackle social media, it was a tough start. Everyone is a guru, expert, etc., so they say. I had a hunch being in the search engine optimization industry that social research could potentially take off as a strategy down the road, so why not start now? Because, let’s face it, having great content on your site just isn’t enough these days. Now that you know where I’m coming from, I’m going to reveal to you the importance of social marketing research and how it affects SEO.


To start, I’ve stalked my competition to see how well (or not) they are doing and come up with a game plan. Scratch that, more like goals. You are never going to create a successful social media campaign unless goals are established. After all, you use goals to strive in many aspects of life. Athletes make goals, whether they want to win the Stanley Cup or achieve a personal best record on the track.

Yes, we may fall short. However, that’s why it is so important to be realistic. Saying you want to gain 2,000 fans or followers in one month may be a stretch — unless you are ridiculously awesome and publish more fresh content than I can even imagine. Therefore, come up with goals you want to hit as an organization. I want to hit x amount of followers on such-and-such platform. This allows you to adjust how aggressive you need your strategy to be.

A prime example of goal setting is Search Engine Journal. Their strategists kept their goals limited to three months out and managed to grow their social media traffic by 170 percent!

That leaves us with creating some extraordinary content. Content is King, don’t you know this by now? Cater to your audience members and figure out what are they looking to read, what will make them laugh, and what will keep your brand top of mind. Start with a consistent posting schedule. Also, use graphics; the most engaging content has an 87 percent interaction rate from fans. You will be able to adjust your strategy over time and how you want the public to perceive you.

You want to succeed in the online realm? Be number one on the SERPs? Well, hate to break it to you, but so does everyone else. So here are some tips to double up on a social marketing strategy and enhance your SEO performance. They are your peanut butter to your jelly, gravy to your pasta, bread to your butter.

Peanut butter woos jelly

Publishing your own fresh, unique content on your social networks is a key tactic to generate referral traffic back to your website. Become the authority and industry expert, and this will result in Google continuing to push quality content over quantity any day.

But I digress. Be sure to adjust and analyze your efforts over time. If you are not getting the traffic and engagement in your posts, you may want to adjust the type of content you are publishing. If you’re not doing so already, share your content on multiple platforms and test out how different social networks respond. The insights on Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook alone provide great analytic data on your posts and viewers.

I’ll go into more depth in future posts. In the meantime, be a rock star and head on over to our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and throw us a quick follow. You won’t be disappointed!

Diana Altobelli is a search marketing coordinator at Annodyne.

Ashlee Hall Nov 7

Keeping Your Site Afloat — Navigating Google Algorithms

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Google’s ever-changing algorithms ebb and flow with both SEO challenges and benefits. With Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and an estimated 500-600 lesser-known changes each year, it’s difficult to tread water and stay on top of each update. If you’re not a webmaster, it’s not essential for you to stay informed of each modification (that’s why we’re here), but you want to be aware of the larger-scale changes.

When it comes to taking the helm of your online marketing strategy, your tactical direction should be heavily impacted by these larger-scale Google algorithm changes. In 2013, Google’s search engine market share continues to hover close to 70 percent, even with Microsoft Bing users increasing. Maintaining and improving your site’s SEO position is crucial to succeeding in today’s primary online marketplace. To quickly get up to speed on the current status of the leading search engine, let’s sail through the major algorithm changes that occurred since 2011.

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Justin Frame Oct 24

Universal Google Analytics

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Classic Google Analytics has been the keystone to understanding how users engage with your website for the memorable past. The ga.js version, which can be identified by taking a quick look at the onsite code snippet, and seeing the _gaq object and the .push function, will soon be replaced by Universal Google Analytics tracking. The Universal Google Analytics tracking code, or analytics.js, can be identified by viewing your onsite analytics snippet and seeing the ga(‘create’, ‘UA-xxxx-y’); configuration.

The new Universal Google Analytics will introduce a set of features that change the way user data is collected from your website. This adjustment in data collection will allow you to better understand how visitors interact with your website — what pages they are viewing, how long they are staying on individual pages, what sources they are coming from, how they are contributing to your revenue, etc.

Universal Google Analytics was in beta, available to only a select few online marketing bigwigs, but is now going to be the new operating standard. All advertisers that use Google Analytics to track their websites and advertising will be required to switch over to Universal Analytics, by way of the DIY tool, or an automatic switch performed by Google. The DIY upgrade tool will be rolling out to accounts over the coming weeks and will allow users to transfer their profiles to the new-and-improved Google Analytics. When the upgrade hits your account, you will notice a blue transfer button under the Property heading in the admin panel of your Analytics account.

Universal Google Analytics
Clicking the transfer button will initiate a 24-to-48-hour process that, when completed, will require a manual upgrade of the code snippet on your site (swapping your ga.js to analytics.js). Once you have initiated the sequence and swapped your code snippet, you will have full access to all of the new features that Universal Google Analytics offers. For more information:

Staying abreast of these recent Google changes is becoming difficult for SEM/PPC practitioners, but stay tuned to the AnnoBlog for updates and opinions from top industry professionals!

Justin Frame Sep 26

Life After Google Encrypts All Organic Search Keywords

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Google is finally implementing 100 percent safe search SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption for all searches on So, regardless of whether users are logged into their Google accounts, the search terms they use to find your brand will no longer be visible to your web marketing team through web analytics platforms. This will affect your online marketing and the positioning of your brand on the web in an adverse way, unless you understand the ramifications of this new hurdle and are able to develop new solutions to overcome yet another Sandy Koufax-like, Google curveball.

After negative feedback in 2011, Google added SSL encryption for signed-in search users. With this addition, terms these signed-in users search for were made invisible to marketers. After this initial implementation, approximately 10 percent of all search traffic was registered as (not-provided), or invisible to brands. This trend of (not-provided) organic search keywords continued to rise when Google added this feature to searches performed from the Chrome omnibox in early 2013. Once Google added SSL-encrypted search to omnibox users, the amount of (not-provided) traffic shot up to more than 50 percent for some brands.

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