FAQ's contains a list of frequently asked questions about Make it Active and the marketing services that we offer. In addition, there are general answers to questions pertaining to marketing, seo/search engine optimization, website design, and graphic design services.
From the list below choose one of our FAQ's topics, then select a frequently asked question to view. If you have a question which is not in this section, please contact us.
We often hear something like this: "My store is old... my office is small... we have nothing that customers would care to see online!"
We have spoken with thousands of businesses throughout NH, ME, VT, and MA, and have discovered that most small businesses don't think they need a virtual tour, and when they in fact want one, they worry it will make their business somehow look worse. Most businesses get excited by the thought of giving customers the chance to see their business online, and sign up once they realize what we are talking about. However, many believe their business is too small...old... or just worry if it won't look good for their particular business. However, one thing we always try to get across to potential clients, is that even if nobody ever views your tour (which is simply not the case, tours are often viewed much more than business photos), you would still benefit from having a virtual tour done because it helps your business appearance on Google, and since our tour rank is high, you bennefit even more by having Make it Active, LLC do a Google Virtual Tour for your business!
Think of it as a full page ad in the phone book (if you are old enough to remember phone books). Full page ads always showed your customers what you wanted to show them, rather than simply a business name and phone number. That is how Google Street View tours should be thought of.
Unfortunately, there are so many individual causes of you to lose rank or drop in place on search engines, there is no one single cause. Sometimes you simply have more competition under certain search terms. You could have been penalized by circumventing systems. You may have outdated content, while other websites offer more refreshing updated content. Your website might not be search engine friendly... There are so many reasons, the most important thing is that you have an online marketing agency like Make it Active, LLC, helping ensure you get on top (or as close to the top as possible), and stay there.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a marketing term which involves optimizing your website for search engines to increase your place online. This helps users find your website when doing searches online, is cost effective, and offers the opportunity to turn leads leads into customers by utilizing commonly used terms or specific terms or nomenclature that can guide potential clients to your website.
SEO does "level off" at some point, occasionally, but it is never ineffective. I have worked with companies to bring them up to number one on key terms. In one example, a company I worked with became number 1 on all main product categories after I had worked with them for over a year. So I started noticing their traffic leveling off slightly, remaining almost the same, though still showing a slight increase that I would usually attribute to being an insignificant increase (a few percent). It was at that point, I spent my time keeping them in place, and learned very quickly that it wasn't the time to become complacent. Just reducing my efforts for 2 weeks, saw a decrease to third place for several keywords.
Complacency is never an option with SEO, and while promoting the concept of a permanent budget for SEO may seem like an attempt at simply trying to keep the Online Marketing industry alive, it is in fact a legitimate point, because there will always be someone ready to unseat you, whether you are a 5th place, or 1st place.
Sometimes (just sometimes), decreases are good. Also, sometimes (just sometimes), decreases are not bad. For example, if your website is currently linked on a bunch of bad backlink websites and directories (an SEO scam from yesteryear that some SEO companies still use), it may show increases, but these increases almost always make for poor leads, and random traffic. So, if you hire a professional, that is focused on improving the quality of your website traffic, which is far more important than quantity, you may in fact see a decrease in traffic, but an increase in sales. Also, long term growth is what you're looking for, not just short term bursts in traffic. As long as the long term results are consistent, it might mean you found "one of the good ones."
SEO is long term, so sometimes you will find around a 5% variance in traffic up or down, it's never a reason to get concerned unless it continues month after month. Think of it this way, if your website analytics show 500 new visitors, and you see an increase in sales, but the following month, there is a decrease by 25 visitors; you are still seeing an increase by 475 visitors over the previous months before the increase. The point is, variance is normal, and expected. If that carries on for a few month, now it's something to be concerned about. Sometimes professional SEO's get lazy, and may do things the right way, but eventually focus less on specific "safe" clients, whose rank has been consistent. The problem with this is, it gives a competitor an "in" to bump you out of place. Remember, for every dollar you are spending on SEO or Online Marketing, one of your competitors is also spending that same money (or more).
We never get complacent here at Make it Active, LLC. Instead, we have specific hours dedicated to specific clients every week. No client get's left behind with Make it Active!
So if everything is being done the "white hat" way, how can you tell if the analytics results you are getting are accurately reflecting website growth? Simple: watch the numbers. Are your numbers increasing, consistently, overtime? Do your sales show a pattern similar to the increases in website traffic? For example, if you are a small retail store, and have seen a 50% increase in website traffic, and also notice a 27% increase in store sales, it's a pretty strong correlation, especially if the increases in traffic were prior to the increase in sales.Though temporary increases show a great deal, they don't always tell the whole story.
A good SEO agency will give you the good news, bad news, and everything up front. They will explain what it is they are doing (not necessarily proprietary information), and will always do things the "white hat" way. What that means is, they follow the rules, and do things that help, and avoid doing "tricks of the trade," which help temporarily, but in the long term can get you booted. I have worked with a company that had been booted due to the efforts of their previous Marketing company, and let me tell you, it's not an easy task to come back from. You could see your website traffic drop over 95%, as well as your sales, overnight. So while your SEO agency might think these tricks are great because they make their clients happy, in the long run, you, the business owner loses, and you'll have an uphill battle that could take years to restore your previous rank.
Yes, and in our experience, though often complicated for many viewers, Google Analytics provides some of the best analysis of website rank and SEO results. We have used many over the years, and once Google came along, it was clear the attempt was to give more relevant details. That being said, the most important thing to understand is, there is more to understand than just traffic increases.
If a business has a website that wasn't optimized, it's likely that when a little minor optimization takes place, there will be some increases. That doesn't mean that the SEO company is doing great (they could be), it simply means that things were so bad before, you are now starting to get traffic because you are actually doing some SEO. This is why, like it or not, SEO should be a regular part of any company marketing budget. The main differences between simply optimizing a website, and a good SEO agency has more to do with consistent results, and long term growth.
Google has made recent changes that encourages all users to start sending their website through a secure channel, using SSL (Secure Socket Layers). Currently most websites (including my own), are (or were) unsecured websites. The delay for most of us usually involves the fear that securing our website will reduce page rank, and effectively lower our visibility after years of of optimizing a website for search engines. Since SEO is such a concern, many of us delayed the transition for as long as possible, even if that meant keeping a unsecured website. That doesn't mean the website isn'g secure on the back end, it means, for our visitors, they will get a message that they are not secure for them to submit information. So securing your website is basically helping to protect the general public from hacking attempts.
Since SSL provides a level of security to protect customers from hackers, it obviously should have been a standard years ago, but it wasn't. Google is trying to change all that. It used to be a requirement only for websites with shopping carts, but that has been changing the past year, especially due to the increases in attempts to hack websites. See this video from CNN about this change on Google.
The "http" stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, and Google has been encouraging websites to switch to "https" which adds "Secure" to the end, which means the website tells browsers and users that you have a "secure" website that is safe to send information on. Up until this year, it has only been a suggestion, but Google has been making a push for it lover the past few years, and this year in particular, is the time when sites should be compliant. It's not required, but I recomend doing it.
As of today (March 8th, 2017), our website has been secured by an SSL certificate and includes the "https." In fact, you can't get to our site any other way, as it automatically forces you to go to our secured server.
The pro's for securing your website are better search engine optimization over the long term, and a secure website. Also, as things are changing online, websites that are unsecured will start showing errors, signalling that the customer is not on a secured website, which in term, reduces your rank on Google. Since SEO and page rank is such a big concern for all businesses on the internet at this point, it's obviously something we want to take serious; including the negatives of securing your website.
The con's are temporary, but are not very pleasant. This includes a short term reduction in rank, and requires more extensive SEO just to get where you were prior to the change. Over the long run, your rank will actually improve, but because your website will switch from http://www.yourwebsite.com to https://www.yourwebsite.com, it's actually similar to a change of address on the web. Most people don't know that even the "www" and "non-www" links to your website are considered different addresses also.
In my experience, it does indeed hurt rank, and as of today, having had SSL enabled for the past few days, it has hurt my rank fairly significantly. That being said, knowing what I know, and taking the risk for our website, should demonstrate the importance of taking the leap. If you want to read more about SSL, here is someone at Google explaining more about it.
Make it Active, LLC offers virtual tours throughout the country. Our general focus area is New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. For areas outside of this region, we work with a network of Google-certified trained Photographers. This is helpful if you have a headquarters in the Northern New England region, but have multiple locations nationwide. We are able to offer the same level of service, without charging you travel fees, etc. and can ensure all of your stores get a professional tour to help showcase each of your locations.
A virtual tour is created by using specialized cameras and lenses, to create 360 degree photo spheres. Once these spheres are created, they are connected to other local spheres; thus, creating the virtual tour. Individual spheres can be redone at any time, for a reduced rate. For businesses that change fairly frequently, we can setup plans, which ensure you are locked in at the same rate, but the spheres, and tour, is regularly updated.
We do want to also point out that you don't actually need to update the tour. You would also have photos on a Google listing, and can simply update individual store photos. The concept of a tour is to demonstrate your business, as it looks. If you regularly sell different items, it really won't matter to customers, as they will be viewing the tour to see how your business looks in general, and would not be necessarily looking for specific items.