Category Archives: SEO

417 Marketing President Nick Altrup Featured in Springfield Business Journal

If Google doesn’t know you exist, how can you hope to compete with more tech-savvy companies? How can you expect potential customers to find your business at all? Do you expect them to wade through pages of search results before stumbling upon your listing? The key to catching Google’s attention is search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re new to the world of SEO, you’re not alone. But to ensure that you’re not left behind, you need to act now. On Monday, February 6, 2017, the Springfield Business Journal (SPJ) explored this issue in an article entitled How Can My Business Increase Its SEO?” Nick Altrup, the President of 417 Marketing, was featured as a local SEO expert in the piece.

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Optimizing for “Near Me” Searches

Everywhere you go, there are people staring at screens. Some do it with ease and dexterity – navigating crowds, walking a dog, or shopping for groceries all the while. Others are a little less successful – dropping their devices, bumping into trash cans, stumbling over curbs. As more and more people choose to use their mobile devices on the go, we’re seeing a rise in “near me” searches, i.e., search queries that contain a location qualifier. For example, have you ever searched for “restaurants near me” or “coffee nearby”? If so, you’ve conducted a “near me” search.
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How to Boost Your SEO in Five Simple Steps

Do you feel like your website is getting lost in the crowd? Are you worried that you’re missing out on important opportunities for exposure because Google doesn’t like your site? Do you want to improve your search engine rankings and increase your site’s traffic? Many people avoid learning about search engine optimization (SEO), because they’re intimidated by complex tactics, like advanced backlink-building strategies and technical code optimization. Today we’re keeping it simple and practical. If you want to learn how to boost your SEO, put the following five tips into action.
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The Passive Voice and SEO

The passive voice is frowned upon by grammarians. Grammarians prefer the active voice. In a sentence composed with the active voice, the subject completes an action: The girl read a book. In a sentence composed with the passive voice, the subject is acted upon: The book was read by the girl. When prepared in this way, sentences become more difficult to read and understand due to their length and lack of clarity. Although you don’t need to abandon the passive voice entirely, you should avoid it when possible. Not only will this improve your writing, but it may also boost your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).

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Google Search Switching to Mobile-First Index

If you’re like most people, you keep your smartphone nearby at all times and use it for numerous tasks throughout the course of each day. It wakes you up, it helps you communicate with friends and family, it guides you to new places, it updates you on current events, and it always satisfies your curiosity. Since phones and other mobile devices dominate so many aspects of our lives, it may not surprise you to learn that Google Search will soon switch to a mobile-first index. Gary Illyes, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, announced this titanic change last month at Pubcon, startling SEOs everywhere. Like it or not, mobile devices have finally trumped desktop computers.

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Google Possum Update

In the past month or so, did anything odd happen to your Google My Business listings? Did you believe your listings had disappeared only to find that they had been filtered? Did you notice a giant spike in your rankings? What was going on? Although Google didn’t announce any algorithm updates, SEOs in the know detected the change. Since so many people found their listings “playing dead,” the local search community decided to christen the update Possum. The Google Possum Update altered local search results in several ways, giving some businesses a boost while letting others slump down. To learn more about this shake-up, please scroll down.

P.S. Before we get started, do yourself a favor and check out this baby possum playing dead. Did you know that playing dead is an involuntary behavior for possums? They mimic the appearance of a dead animal when threatened or harmed, losing consciousness for between 40 minutes and 4 hours! 
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Penguin 4.0: It’s Finally Here, Folks!

In October of 2015, we cheerfully announced that Santa might be bringing us a new Penguin algorithm for Christmas. As you all know, the Man with the Bag didn’t pull through. However now, one year later, Google has finally released Penguin 4.0. Recently made a part of Google’s core algorithm, Penguin penalizes websites that use “black hat” SEO techniques to sabotage competitors’ websites or improve their own rankings. To learn more about this newfangled bird, scroll down to discover the ins and outs of Penguin 4.0.
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Google to Punish Sites with Interstitial Ads

You know those obnoxious ads that block the main content of a website? They pop up immediately after you navigate to a page and unless you dismiss them, you can’t even access the site’s other content. Intrusive and irritating, these interstitial ads disrupt the user’s online experience and prevent them from promptly reaching the site. In blocking users’ exploration of the World Wide Web, interstitials are highly likely to elicit groans, sighs, and curses of frustration from users. Luckily, Google is groaning right along with us.

Just last week, on August 23, 2016, the company announced on the Webmaster Central Blog that they will soon begin punishing sites with interstitial ads. By targeting the obstructive and inappropriate use of interstitials, Google hopes to help users reach their online destinations with ease. Take that, annoying interstitial that I can’t figure out how to dismiss!
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A Study of Google Local Ranking Factors

When is the last time you opened a phone book? Small businesses (and their curious customers) no longer rely on those old-fashioned tomes. Instead, they use the Internet and search engines like Google to quickly and easily communicate with each other. To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your online marketing efforts, check out the 2016 Quantitative Local Search Ranking Factors Study created by Mark Kabana (of Places Scout), Andrew Shotland (of Local SEO Guide), and Dan Lebison (of Local SEO Guide) in collaboration with Megan Smith and Marija Pejcinovska, statisticians from the University of California, Irvine. This rigorous, eye-opening study of Google Local ranking factors may make you see Local SEO in a whole new light.
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Google Boosting Mobile-Friendly Algorithm in May

We’ve heard it straight from the horse’s mouth: Google will be boosting its mobile-friendly algorithm in May. The search engine began using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal on mobile searches last year, but they’ve decide that it is time to fully embrace the formula by increasing its effects. If all goes well, the update should improve the user experience by bringing forward webpages that are mobile friendly and relevant to the query. Although this is a relatively small change expected to have an insignificant impact on search results, it never hurts to keep on top of Google’s comings and goings. So let’s explore this latest algorithm update . . .
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