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How to Use Keywords in Your Website Copy (and the importance) 

The goal of any successful website or blog should be to create awareness of a brand or company. No one will be able to find or experience what you have your business. While you may have other forms of advertising, showing up in web searches is important to your overall brand awareness, so optimizing your website copy is a good place to start. In order to do this, you must focus on keywords. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started in your keyword research.

Choose the right keywords

Start your research by determining your topic themes. What will be the main theme of your blog? Find out what your target audience actually wants to read about and what they’re likely to be searching for in search engines. For example, a popular topic that a marketing company could write about is, “How to use keywords to rank higher on Google”.

After you get a good idea of what your blog will focus on you’ll also want to find your top 20 keywords that can be included in the article. Start this phase by compiling a list of topics or phrases that your target audience might be searching for. You can use free tools like Google Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, or WordStream to see if your chosen topics or phrases qualify as good keywords, usually by determining if they have a high search volume and low SEO difficulty. It’s a good idea to find what your best keyword variations are and save them in an easily accessible space for tracking blog topics. 

Focus on keyword placement

Just as the keyword itself is important, it’s useful to consider where the keyword is being placed. You can see on any search engine results page that certain keywords will show up in the metadata of a website, but you’ll also want to keep keywords in your website’s titles and headings, body paragraphs, URLs, and image file names in order to have as much exposure as possible.

Know How to Use Keywords

Did you know that search engines will penalize you for stuffing your website content with keywords where they don’t belong? They’re smart enough to know when you’re using them just to use them in hopes of ranking, rather than actually using them to provide quality content. Remember to be genuine in everything you write. If it doesn’t make sense to have your keyword in a certain place, even if it’s in a recommended location, err on the side of caution and don’t add it. It’s also helpful to use variations of your keywords, so instead of using your exact keyword phrase at every opportunity, you can mix up the wording slightly. This way you hit more variations of potential searches and you’re less likely to get penalized for keyword stuffy. 

Ultimately your aim is to have the best listings in search engines in order to attract and engage your target audience. Keyword research is a great way to start including keywords and phrases that are relevant to your product or service. Doing this research may seem time consuming but it will help you find out what your target audience is actually searching for and what they want to read about, in turn driving organic traffic to your website. 

 

Does all of this sound just a little too technical and not aligned with your skillset? CAST Design Team offers full SEO services including keyword research, blog writing, and other marketing services to aid in your efforts. Let’s chat!

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The Best Networking Events in Las Vegas

The Best Networking Events in Las Vegas

As any business owner knows, entrepreneur or otherwise, it is essential to build a strong network with those around you. Doing so can create opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t present themselves, can contribute to personal and career growth, and can help you develop long-lasting relationships with others in your field. There are a number of networking groups that you can easily get involved with, but this article highlights a few of our favorite networking events in the Las Vegas area.

PowHer

PowHer is a global community that connects women in business to the resources they need, providing opportunities, education, and connections to fast-track them in achieving their goals. They also empower women by fostering a nurturing environment for communication, professional development, and mentoring opportunities, creating a wholesome space to collaborate.

Some of the resources of PowHer include:

  • Monthly breakfast meetings that are educational and full of information
  • Events focused on personal and professional excellence
  • Exclusive networking events

Find out more about PowHer here.

LeTip

With over 40 years in the game, LeTip International is the largest professional networking organized focused on lead generation through personal referrals. The group has helped over 120,000 business professionals across the U.S. and Canada. LeTip is made up of passionate professionals looking to improve and share their businesses in a structured and serious manner. Groups meet on a weekly basis to build better connections with other professionals in the community, discuss potential leads, and to practice their presentation and speech giving skills

Read more about LeTip’s Las Vegas chapters here.

BNI – Business Network International

BNI is the leading business networking organization. With thousands of chapters across the world, members meet weekly to build and nurture lasting relationships and share qualified business leads. When you become a member of BNI, you receive access to professional training, peer presentations, and networking opportunities with like-minded people.

Learn more about BNI and the Las Vegas chapter here.

Nevada Women’s Chamber of Commerce

The Nevada Women’s Chamber of Commerce is a powerful community organization that provides contacts, services, and professional services to the women of Las Vegas. It strives to make positive changes in the community, promote growth and economic development, and tackle local, state, and national issues affecting women. The group brings leadership programs to the community and members alike to help lead businesses and careers in the right direction. They also provide higher education programs to female high school and college-level students, along with mentorship opportunities.

To learn more about what they have to offer, visit their website here. 

Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce

The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce is part of a larger unified community that is focused on helping Nevada businesses succeed. They help bring light to the needs, challenges, and opportunities that businesses and entrepreneurs in the community face. The Las Vegas Metro Chamber provides professional resources, educational opportunities, and business expertise to help members make decisions easier and with more clarity. They also help make local connections and boost your companies visibility in the community.

To find out more or to get information on their next event, visit their website here.

Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce

The aim of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce is to aid in the success of organization members and Hispanic-owned businesses within the Las Vegas community. They do this through the promotion of positive relationships – business, cultural, and educational.

More can be found on their website.

Have you ever been to any of these networking events? Let us know what you think about them. If you haven’t been to any of these, which networking groups are you apart of? We’d love to see you out at an event soon!

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Search Engine Optimization Goals for 2020

Search Engine Optimization Goals for 2020

Happy 2020! A new year means new marketing goals for any business that wants to stay afloat, and just as the internet is always changing, internet marketing tactics are always changing as well. The last decade brought major changes to the way marketers used the power of the internet and SEO to rank higher in search engines, from new search software to the use of AI and speech commands.

How can digital marketers make 2020 their best SEO year yet? After reviewing the trends of the past year and the best internet marketing tactics, we’ve compiled a list of the most important SEO goals you should commit to as part of your 2020 marketing resolutions.

High Quality Content

This should go without saying, but your number one priority should be putting high-quality content into your web copy, articles, and marketing materials. What does high quality mean? Users want to read material that’s helpful, relevant, informative, and easy to understand. Far too many websites either burden their web copy with specialized jargon in the hopes of ranking higher in niche searches, or they write copy with grammatical errors and poor readability.

You can’t expect your readers to stay on your site for long or listen to your marketing material if your site pushes them away. Worse, poor-quality writing will hurt your SEO ranking, as it will reduce the amount of time people spend on your site. Finally, the vast majority of web users hate web material that “sounds like a sales pitch” – so, your first goal is to always write with quality in mind, and you’ve already won half the optimization battle.

Longer Form Content

It turns out, people actually like reading. Articles with over 2000 words tend to rank higher in searches and attract more viewers than shorter form articles. Why? Nobody wants to read through several different websites to find all the information they need; if one article answers all of their questions in a clear and concise voice, they’re much more likely to read through that article and keep revisiting that website.

Additionally, longer articles can keep readers on your website for longer which, as previously mentioned, can slightly improve your search ranking. Take the time to consider all of your readers’ questions and concerns – it will likely foster stronger readership, give you some SEO bonuses, and make your company a much more trustworthy brand.

Dwell time and Click Through Rates (CTR)

Are people clicking the links to your website? How long do they stay on your site? How about a certain page? Search engines want to know if your site is satisfying the needs of its readers. With a virtually unlimited amount of information at everyone’s fingertips, it’s likely that the websites that best satisfy their readers’ questions will rank higher in web searches. The best way to measure this is based on the amount of people who follow links to your site (CTR) and how long they stay (Dwell time) – that’s why it’s so important to provide both short form and long form quality content that your readers can visit and rely on, as this will likely factor into your overall SEO.

Featured Snippets

When you type a question into Google, sometimes the top link will include a box that briefly answers the question. For example, if you type “How does SEO work?” into Google, the first link explains SEO in brief, pulled from an article written in LYFE Marketing.

Obviously, LYFE Marketing will get a lot of new readers from this search feature, including readers who will revisit their site and buy their products. To increase the likelihood that your website will earn a featured snippet for a relevant question, write articles or FAQs that respond to questions your potential readership will ask. The more your content helps your readers, the more likely that you’ll feature at the top of specific Google searches.

Optimizing for 2020

Have you ever asked Siri, Google, or Alexa to look something up for you? If so, you’ve utilized the power of two things: voice searches and artificial intelligence. These two trends are changing the way websites rank in SEO. Chances are, people ask questions verbally in a different way than typing into a search box, so search terms are becoming more colloquial and conversational. While this doesn’t mean you should change the way you write your web copy, it does mean that the high ranking SEO terms might shift as voice commands become a larger part of search engines.

Additionally, with AI pulling content for search queries, only the most relevant and helpful articles will be pulled up by the likes of Siri and Alexa. This goes back to the idea of quality content – if you want Google Home to like you, make sure your content is relevant and well-written.

Mobile User Experience (UX)

Another huge trend of the past decade includes the rise of mobile technology. As a result, websites that aren’t optimized for mobile phone searches simply won’t make the cut, as almost 90% of consumers in the U.S. use their phones to find information. Optimizing your site with a mobile-friendly option and high readability will ensure that your site is competitive in the SEO domain.

Web Security

A crucial aspect of web UX, having a secure website makes a huge difference in your site’s SEO potential. Google has cracked down on insecure websites over the past few years, so pages that don’t have enabled HTTPS protocol are often labeled as “Not Secure” when you try to access it on any Google browser. Additionally, users want to know that their information is protected and encrypted when using your site or sharing any personal information, so while these aspects of web design might not correlate directly to SEO, protected sites will likely rank higher in web searches, have lower bounce rates, and yield a much more dedicated readership.

Loading Speed

Another aspect of UX, nobody wants to wait for your site to load, and if it’s taking more than a couple of seconds, then it’s probably faster to just go with the next link down. Take the time to ensure that your web pages load fast across all platforms, with easy navigation and accessibility, otherwise you’ll have a high bounce rate, low dwell time, and generally poor SEO ranking.

Image Optimization

All your images have what’s called “Alt Text,” which is text that briefly describes what’s happening in the photo, especially for users with poor reception or who have accessibility requirements. Not only does this make your site more friendly to all readers, but it also enhances your SEO capabilities. You never want to overload your photos with alt text, but including a few relevant search terms that accurately explain your photos can certainly push you up a few rankings.

Influencer Marketing

The term “social media influencer” became a big deal last year. Despite the controversy, studies prove that influencers work – people are more likely to trust a business if it’s recommended by a trustworthy, popular source. That being said, influencer marketing can also boost your SEO. If you come to an agreement with an influencer to include certain backlinks to your business on their website and social channels, you can drive major traffic to your site and also build relevant backlinks that will push you higher in search results.

There you have it! Those are our top SEO Resolutions for 2020. Which ones do you think you’ll implement? If you have any questions about SEO, need an expert in digital marketing, or want to revitalize your web presence, look no further – we’re experts in web media at CAST Design. Learn more about our process, or reach out today, and let’s create your best SEO year yet.

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Web Design Best Practices for 2020

Web Design Best Practices for 2020

2020 is officially in full swing, and with a new year comes new resolutions. On top of hitting the gym and eating healthier, there’s one resolution I want us all to agree on – no more bad websites.

Seriously – low-quality web pages plague the internet these days. While slow load speeds and mobile-hostile websites might have been permissible in the 2010s, it’s the start of a whole new decade, and businesses need to understand that a web presence alone isn’t enough to attract new clients. To survive in the digital marketplace, companies need a site that’s optimized and user-friendly, on top of aesthetically pleasing.

So, as we speed into the new year, join CAST Design Team in implementing these 10 web development best practices for 2020.

Brand-Consistent Web Design

Your web design, layout, and content all contribute to your brand and how your customers perceive your business. If you don’t get it right from the start, you could create some serious misconceptions that drive clients to your competitors.

For example, let’s say you’re shooting for a brand that’s chic and minimalistic. If your marketing materials and products say “trendy and simple,” but your web design is filled with content like Amazon.com or Microsoft.com, that dissonance could push potential buyers away.

That’s not to dig Amazon or Microsoft – their web design works great for what they’re trying to push! But if your web design doesn’t match your message, don’t expect visitors to stay on your site for long.

Web Tracking

Speaking of visitor times, you need to know what’s working on your site and what isn’t. How long your customers stay on your site, where they click, and whether or not they’re engaging with your business are key indicators of what’s working in your brand. Your site should be able to track conversions, traffic, and other key indicators that confirm what’s working – and what isn’t.

Conversion Optimized

Of course, those analytics don’t mean anything if your website isn’t optimized to turn website clicks into dedicated customers. Throughout your site, you want to be sure that customers can easily access more material from your company. Whether that’s to schedule an appointment, sell a product, request a follow-up email, or even just push them to the next web page, your site should keep customers interested and engaged.

Enabled CMS

How do you keep customers engaged? Content, content, content! The better your web content is, the more likely your customers are to consider your branding, your message, and your business. Your site needs to enable some sort of Content Management System, allowing regular posting and editing so your customers stay engaged with your site.

Search Engine Optimization

We’ve talked a lot about keeping customers on your site, but how do we get them there in the first place? Advertisements and social media campaigns are great ways to attract customers, but they are also expensive. Before anything else, you want your website to be Search Engine Optimized (SEO).

A lot of what we’re discussing here are ways to build upon your site’s SEO, but the key to an SEO-based site is SEO-based content. By writing content that matches what customers are searching for in Google or Yahoo or Bing, your site is likely to rank higher in search pages. This, combined with a functional website and high traffic, is bound to create new interest and new converts to your brand.

Loading Speed

A lesser known aspect of an SEO site is a fast loading speed. If your site takes forever to load, chances are, even your most loyal clients won’t want to wait for much longer. Slow page loading means less web traffic and a less optimized platform, making your web design and content creation a waste of money and effort. Using a service like Pagespeed Insights or Pingdom, you can ascertain the loading speed of your site and how to improve it across all channels and devices.

Mobile Readiness

It’s 2020, which means virtually all of your clientele are connected to the internet via a mobile device. Optimizing your website includes making it mobile-friendly, so developing a mobile version of your site is essential to keeping your customers engaged. Nobody encounters a slow website on their phone and thinks “I’ll have to try on my laptop” – they’ll just go to a different site. Optimize your website for all mobile channels, so you’ll always be one click away.

Strong Web Security

All web-building platforms allow you to choose and develop your site security. Don’t skimp out on this – although it might not directly influence your site’s accessibility, protecting your clients’ information (and yours!) now will save you loads of stress in the future.

Social Media Integration

Does your website link to your social media pages? Can your web visitors see your twitter feed on the home page? Social media is essential to any digital campaign, so if you aren’t encouraging your customers to follow you on all channels and see the content you’re putting out, you’re not pushing your brand and messaging to its full potential.

Interactive Web Design

Finishing off this list, an interactive website will always do more than a website with basic features. Every website has the same two features: scrolling and clicking. Make your website stand apart by making these features interactive – include unique designs for all your links, give side-scrolling options, place social media widgets where they’ll fit, and make your site entertaining to visit. Of course, you never want to compromise your branding as you develop your site’s interactivity, but including a few elements of fun into your overall web design could generate loads of conversions.

In an effort to make the internet a better, more interesting place, these are our top resolutions. We hope you’ll consider some of these too! If you have any questions about optimizing your site, or if you’re looking for an expert team to help revamp your web presence, you’re already in the right place – the members of CAST Design have decades of digital experience under their belt. Learn more about our process, or reach out today.