Choosing the Right SEO Firm, It’s Substance Over Size

May 12, 2016
by Robin Moss
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SEO - Substance Over SizeYou are looking for an SEO (search engine optimization) company. Do you go big or go home? Does a larger SEO agency mean better SEO results? Does the term work smarter not harder apply? Can a smaller company be just as successful as a larger one? Inquiring minds want to know!

I found an interesting post: An Expert’s Guide To How To Get SEO Right. Prati Dholakiya wrote the article and he works for a very large company, E2M. The post had some interesting points, so I copied the link and  posted it on my Twitter feed. My friends at Ninja Outpost retweeted it. I respond to everyone who retweets me, so I mentioned to them that I didn’t think that you had to be the largest agency to provide your client with great SEO. They asked me to elaborate, and this blog post was born.

So how could a small agency provide great SEO, just as good or better than a larger firm? It’s possible because SEO is not simply the investment of the amount of time spent on the account, but knowledge. For instance, what if Amit Singhal, Andy Beal and Matt Cutts (I said what if) started a company? Just the three of them. We’d have a really small agency run by really amazing people! Call it “The ABC’s of SEO.”

Matt is well known for the advice he has given about SEO, and prior to his sabbatical from Google last year he was prolific with his posts about SEO and providing insights. I know I wasn’t the only one who waited anxiously for his next post to glean what Google’s latest algorithmic change would be.

What can I say about Amit? Until February of this year, he was the head of Google’s core ranking team. If anyone understands search it is Amit. His 15 years at Google have not only given him a unique perspective on search and how it works, but also on a variety of topics such as speech retrieval, question answering, and automatic text summarization as well as document ranking, document routing/filtering, and IR. And did I mention the man has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell?

Now Andy, okay, he already has his own company, but we are building our dream company so we need to round it out with reputation management, and Andy has that covered in spades. You might be asking yourself why does his name sound so familiar? Well, you’ve seen him on ABC News, CNBC and NPR. He’s everywhere as the expert on internet marketing and SEM.

So, is it the size of the company or the quality of their work? Neil Patel, who is kind of a big deal in SEO, says there are nine components for an effective SEO team. Nine. I’m going to summarize Neil’s blog here in case you don’t click on the link. You have to have someone to manage your SEO; you need someone to create great content; you need a great designer (he does specify a great designer so you might want to forget the neighbor kid unless they are really, really good!). Plus you need PR and link building; you need technical experts (see above), developers, an account manager (I guess the SEO manager is out getting coffee – a lot), email and social media marketers, and conversion rate optimizers.

I am not discounting that someone needs to be in charge. If you are going to do SEO for your company, you want someone to take ownership. Unless you have a really big company, you won’t need multiple managers. Small businesses will find that one person will wear multiple hats.

In reading the post I found that there was a lot of overlap in the nine key areas. For instance, a good web site developer will handle a lot of what is needed automatically. It’s just good practice. A good content writer will also work with their clients to determine what their keywords are and keep those in mind when writing content.

So you have to decide. You have a firm that is larger so they might have more bandwidth, and they’ll tell you they have “more” credentials just because they are larger. Or you have a firm that is smaller, and they might work smarter. They might just focus on those things they think are most important for your company.

Is the focus on the few rather than the many? A good manager doesn’t need a backup manager. PR, email and social – I’m glad they were included, but as someone with a marketing background, I can assure you I don’t want these run by my SEO company. I want them run by a marketing, advertising, and PR guru. The SEO company can give input, but not the other way around. That would be like asking the SEO company to tile my bathroom, an area where they have no expertise.

You can pick a large company, but then they want to do things beyond SEO. They want to control everything you do. Or you can pick a small company with expertise in SEO that will focus on your SEO.

With a large firm, you don’t get more credentials than the ABC’s of the world, or more ability to show results. If I have to pick large or small, I’ll pick my dream firm, “The ABC’s of SEO” of Amit, Beal, and Cutts. (Okay, it was a stretch.) The ABC’s may be small, but I bet they know their SEO, and I’ll do just fine.

Grow Your Business With Digital Marketing

October 16, 2014
by Robin Moss
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I was lucky enough to be asked to speak to the Rotary eClub 5810 in Dallas, Texas. My topic was Grow Your Business with Digital Marketing: Web Sites to Social Media.

I know, I know, it covers a lot of ground in 25 minutes. I talk about everything from the fact that people don’t think you are a real business if you don’t have a web site, to why have a social media presence, which social media platforms are best for you, how often you should blog and post, and why content matters.

No need to read about it, you can watch it!


4 Examples of Calls to Action and Why You Should Have One

June 27, 2014
by Robin Moss
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First things first, let me define what a Call to Action (CTA) is: asking someone to do something or to take an action. This is pretty simple. You can ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, download your eBook, call for a quote, subscribe to your blog, etc. Some CTAs actually ask for the sale! Through your Call to Action you get to connect with people who visit your web site and continue the conversation. The hope of course is to convert visitors to your site into customers.

What are some specific examples of CTAs:
The PerfectFit Web Site Design by ribit1. Not every sale is made on the first visit to your site, but getting people to subscribe to your blog or your newsletter you get the opportunity to connect with them over and over again. On The PerfectFit site you can subscribe to their blog on every page of the web site.

Green Peridot Salon2. Green Peridot wanted visitors to their site to be able to book an appointment directly from the site, ergo the Request Appointment Call to Action which allows people to connect with them without having to go to the next step of picking up the phone.

Polychem Coatings3. eCommerce sites are usually big users of Calls to Actions – notice on the Polychem Coatings site the Buy Now and Email Us buttons, both ways of connecting to their customers or potential customers and driving sales.


Addison Arbor Web Site Design

Addison Arbor Web Site Design

4. As every non-profit will tell you, the most important thing is to have people support them. Addison Arbor has a Donate Call to Action on every page.

Why Should You Have a Call to Action on Your Site:

That is simple. CTAs help you generate sales and generate leads. Obviously a button that says “Buy Now” helps increase sales. A button that says request a quote might push someone to get a quote, that quote could lead to your next sale! People who go to your site want to have an easy way to take the next step – an easy way to book their appointment, to continue to receive information.

A Call to Action can “push” someone to donate immediately to your great cause, or to buy your product. A CTA won’t guarantee more sales, but it definitely won’t hurt them!

Geotagging – Off is Cooler Than On!

August 30, 2013
by Robin Moss
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Geotagging – once again a hot topic in the mobile arena. Geotags add GPS coordinates to your photos along with a myriad of other information. This means that all of your photos have a tag that can tell everyone (with the click of a mouse) where that photo was taken within 15 feet. Which is why everyone is concerned about geotagging. Again. Everyone should be concerned about geotagging. I turned location services off on my camera over a year ago, it is really simple to do on most smartphones.

The reason you want to turn off geotagging is that while all that information is really cool when you go back years later to view your vacation pictures, when an unsavory type is tracking your child on the Internet you don’t want them to easily find where you take every picture of your child (right down to the school, or the bedroom of your house).

While some experts suggest turning off your phones GPS I think that is extreme. Once your GPS is off your maps don’t work, and I find that the maps come in very, very handy when I’m lost. Also, without the GPS turned on Find My Phone becomes inoperable. I think it is better to turn off the geotagging on your camera and on any other apps that you don’t want to use geotagging.

Main ScreenSettingsPrivacyLocation Services

So how do you turn off geotagging? Well this depends on your phone. If you have an iPhone go to Settings – Privacy – Locations Services and then Turn your Camera to Off. If you have an app like Camera! you might want to turn it off as well.

If you have a an Android or Blackberry you can check out this awesome video by CNet! If you have a Windows 8 phone check out these directions. For other phone models, just check Google – Google can help you find anything!

Should You Mobilize Your Web Site

November 16, 2012
by Robin Moss
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We get a lot of people asking if they should mobilize their web sites these days and I have to say that our answer is a resounding YES! Having your site mobilized is imperative. You need your site to work everywhere your clients are.

More and more of your clients are on smartphones and tablets. In March of 2012 Comscore reported that 106 million people in the U.S. were using smartphones and in June of 2012 eMarketer predicted that the U.S. tablet market would double to nearly 70 million users. This is not a market you can ignore!

When it comes to mobilizing your site you have choices – you can decide to create a .mobi site. This is a stand-alone site that is created just for smartphone users. You can create an app (once again a separate entity). Or you can create your site using responsive design.

ribit creates their sites using responsive design for several reasons. First and foremost you only have one site to maintain. If you decide to develop a .mobi site or an app, when you make changes to your main web site you will also need to make changes to the .mobil site / app for consistency. We find it is much simpler to have one database to deal with, and the ability to keep the integrity of the design. Yes it can be technically challenging, but that is what makes life fun!

But can you make the site have a responsive design, have cool features and be visually appealing? Of course you can. I have three very different examples. First Addison Arbor Foundation. They came to us needing a site with a calendar, eCommerce and a blog that would highlight their mission to promote and enhance a sustainable, natural environment in Addison. The site need to look equally as good on desktops, smartphones and tablets. We designed a responsive site using WordPress.

Addison Arbor Foundation Web Site Designed by ribit

Web Site

Addison Arbor Foundation Mobile


Addison Arbor Foundation Tablet


As you can see the site looks the same (yet different). While the interface changes to accommodate the mobile environment, the design is not lost and all their features (calendar, etc.) still function perfectly.

My second example is The PerfectFit. They wanted a visually clean site, easy to navigate and they wanted to highlight their blog – hence the blog slider on the home page. Now you might think it would be difficult to make that feature translate to mobile, with a little finesse we were able to implement the blog slider on all platforms!

The Perfect Fit Designed by ribit

Web Site

The PerfectFit Smartphone


The PerfectFit Tablet


There are more differences between the visual “look” of The PerfectFit layouts on desktop vs. smartphone vs. tablet than on some of our other designs. ribit decided to make the navigation completely accessible on the tablet version while still highlighting the blog slider on the tablet version rather than use a drop down. This functionality is easy for the user (touch vs. drop down) while still visually appealing.

The final example is The Green Chemical Store who came to us wanting to have a site that highlights their products in a catalog, allows you to easily contact them with questions about their industry and of course, have a blog. The final result works on both the desktop and on mobile devices.

The Green Chemical Store designed by ribit

Web Site

The Green Chemical Store Smartphone


The Green Chemical Store Tablet