5 Questions To Ask When Hiring SEO Services

SEO Agency Los Angeles

The SEO industry has evolved almost as much as the Google algorithm itself in recent years, but at times it can still appear shady and pay-to-play. This is unfortunate because there are so many good analysts that truly understand the complexity of SEO and offer valuable services.  These folks pale in comparison to the countless crooked agencies and unqualified consultants selling SEO services to honest business owners. If you’re thinking about working with an SEO Agency it’s important that you do some research to ensure you are working with good people. We really do exist!

Here are some common questions to ask an SEO Provider which should flush out the pretenders from the contenders.


Any reputable SEO, (Social Media or Web Development) company will have their address listed on their website.  If there is no address listed on the website, keep shopping for a new SEO Agency. That is the first sign something may not be on the up and up.   In addition they should have a photo and bio of themselves as well as some client testimonials. You don't want to be the guinea pig.  This is often the case when a programmer takes a one day SEO class at a community college then dons the title - SEO King.  Beware.


A trustworthy SEO provider will be open and straightforward about their experience and how long they have been studying the Google Algorithm and whether they were inhouse or worked with clients.  They should be able to provide multiple references. An experienced SEO provider doesn’t need to specialize in your industry. It's often better to get a fresh perspective.  Make sure the SEO provider doesn’t say anything about having a relationship with Google. Nobody has a relationship with Google.  Also, make sure they are not in India, the work done in India is shoddy at best.  You get what you pay for.


Effective SEO providers should be able to talk about this with some level of certainty.  There is no right answer but it should foster a conversation about their thoughts on how SEO has changed.  For instance if they mention Keyword Meta Tags, then move on to the next provider because Keyword Tags were written out of the Google algorithm about a decade ago.  

There have been many big changes with SEO in the last several years and they should be able to discuss some of their challenges and strategies to adapt.


Inbound links are a ranking signal to the search engines. An inbound link is when another site has content with a link to your website. Inbound links are weighed heavily by Google when determining the order of search results.  While SEOs used to look for any link opportunity, today they should only build links on high quality sites that are related to the industry and top directory sites like CitySearch & YP.com. The SEO provider should mention that the best types of links are those that occur organically in articles on trusted websites like Huffington Post.


The industry saying is 'Content Is King', and its true.  Without content there is nothing to optimize.  The goal is to get people to share your content on social media with the idea that it drives traffic back to your site.  SEO providers should have a content strategy or ideas about their approach to generating content for your site.  Ask to see some samples or check out their own social media pages to get an idea.  We personally think its best to work with an SEO agency with a good sense of written humor. 

These are some simple questions to ask an SEO agency or consultant before you work with them. Keeping up to date with the daily Google algorithm changes requires complete attention and tenacity.  It's not something you can read in a book because by the time you are done with the book, the game has changed.  

Feel free to give us a call if you have any additional questions or are looking for SEO Services - we know a good team :)   

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Questions to Ask Before You Start Your First Paid Advertising Campaign


You have decided it's time to start advertising on the internet for your services or products, but where do you begin?  Here are some of the most important questions you need to answer:

  • Where Should I Advertise?
  • What Will Be My Monthly Budget?
  • Is My Website Ready?

1) Where Should I Advertise?

When it comes to Paid Advertising, there is no larger or more effective platform than Google. Google's advertising platform has evolved significantly over the last decade allowing you to advertise several different ways with robust reporting to optimize your results, but is it right for you?  Is your market highly competitive? Google your services and look at the other ads that come up in search results to get a feel for them.  
If you are a dentist, lawyer or boutique hotel you might choose to advertise on Facebook so that you can stretch your budget and target a more niche audience. Facebook allows you to target by location, sex, age & interest where Google really can not.  The flip side is that Facebook is not a great platform for conversions, that is completing a sale or generating a phone call. It is however a good way to increase your brand awareness and cheaper than Google. 
Bing is trying real hard to mirror the Google Adwords platform but still struggles. Their consumer reach is still a fraction of Google, so if you only want to advertise in a particular city for instance, you will be challenged to get clicks or even eyes on your ads.   

Advertising on Twitter is like fishing for a certain type of fish by casting a large net into the ocean.  This is not recommended for local service providers, like plumbers, doctors, lawyers, etc., it's more for national brands.  LinkedIn would be used more for B2B advertising, like software companies, conferences, consulting & universities.

2. What Will Be My Monthly Budget?

Once you determine where you want to advertise, now you need to determine how much you are willing to spend.  We always recommend to our clients to come up with a budget for three months.  Any new paid advertising campaign will take three months to become fully optimized to where you can determine whether to continue or try other options.  There are some factors to help you determine your budget:

  • Expensive Keywords:  Will you be bidding on expensive keywords like "Law Firm New York City" or "Plastic Surgeon Los Angeles" or "Best BBQ in Austin".
  • Saturated Market: Are there many providers or products similar to you?  Your competition may be dominating the top four ad positions in Google and you may have to raise your bid to get your ad in there during business hours.
  • Location: Some areas are more expensive than others. An A/C Repair company in San Diego will need to spend more than the same company located in San Francisco.

3) Is My Website Ready?

Perhaps the most overlooked and important aspect of digital advertising is your website.  People forget that they are "paying for traffic" to come to their site.  Your website is where it all happens.  It's where you convert the visitor into a purchase, a phone call or an email, which is called a conversion.  You must get your website in tip top shape to convert lookers into bookers on both mobile and desktop platforms.

Final Thoughts

Getting started in Paid Advertising doesn’t have to be an expensive learning lesson, but will take at least 8-10 weeks to find your sweet spot and determine a proper ROI.  It is important to do your research and work with a experienced digital marketing agency that understands your business and goals and can devise and execute an effective strategy. Your digital advertising strategy should be unique to your business.  Oh, and we "know a guy" if you need assistance :)

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Digital Marketing For Medical, Dental or Cosmetic Practices

If you are a doctor, dentist, chiropractor or any other medical or cosmetic provider then you understand the impact digital marketing can have on your practice.  It's critical to your success.  Digital Marketing for medical practices can also be confusing.  Medical providers and practice managers are extremely busy running their practice and struggle to manage their website, social media, email marketing and monthly specials.  

As always, eMaximize gives you the straight dope on digital marketing so you don't wast your time with ineffective strategies.  We will outline the critical aspects of digital marketing for medical practices that will gain you the most return on your time and money.

Digital Marketing - Medical, Dental, Cosmetic

  • Quality Website - By quality we mean it is mobile compatible with a content management system (CMS) that allows you to easily add pages, specials, procedures and images, like WordPress.  You also need a blog so you can create your own content.  Your website is going to change more frequently than other businesses and it needs to be built with industry standard programming tools. WIX and Squarespace are not going cut it.  Even industry platform sites offered by DentalCMO, ChiroMatrix and others will have limitations. 
  • Search Engine Optimization - You are a local service provider with a lot of competition, therefore it's critical that your website is found on Google when people search for doctor, dentist, botox, chiropractor, etc. Now that you have a sturdy & flexible website, make sure you get quality SEO completed on your home page and most important service pages, at a minimum.  You also need to have your Google Plus account setup properly because it drives your Google Maps listing which has a significant impact on Google's search results.
  • Doctor & Staff Photos - New patients want to meet the doctor, it's exciting to them.  They don't want to see stock photos of people with perfect teeth and skin.  It's the same reason people need to see photos on Match.com, except this is more personal.  You must include photos of the doctor(s), staff, waiting and treatment rooms. This gives potential patients an idea of what their experience will be like. 
  • Patient Reviews - This must be assigned to your operations team and be part of their followup procedures.  Reviews are most important for medical providers, even more so than restaurants, and with good reason. Your team needs to be informed immediately when there is a bad review posted and respond appropriately.  There are so many review sites now, choose the boards that are most important to your practice and ask your team to generate positive reviews each month. There are a number of ways to do this without looking like a solicitor. It's just part of the deal, there is no getting around it.
  • Digital Advertising - If you are looking to attract new patients via the internet and social media, then you must advertise.  Unless your practice sits in the middle of a college campus, or your chiropractic office is in a big box gym, you need to attract new patients each month. The best way to attract new patients is via Google and Social Media advertising.  People forget that most online advertising is pay-per-click. It's not like a billboard on the freeway, it's much better. Your ad is shown to thousands of people searching for your specialty, in your location and you ONLY pay if they click on your ad. Your ads will be seen by an enormous amount of people for free.  Implementing a good PPC campaign is the best way to attract new patients.
  • Responsive Digital Partner - You were waiting for this right?  Lastly you need a quality digital marketing partner, a consultant or an agency that can respond quickly to your digital needs.  A digital partner will help you:
    • Change information on your website
    • Create graphics for monthly specials
    • Create new service pages or posts
    • Analyze why you dropped in Google Search Results
    • Inform you of bad reviews and respond.  
    • Assist your team with posting to Social Media
    • Run Advertising campaigns on Google & Facebook.

As a medical provider you are in tough competition for shrinking real estate on the first page of Google.  You are constantly playing defense against social media comments and reviews which can impact your practice quickly. Waiting weeks for SEO or content changes is not acceptable.  Potential patients are looking at your many online profiles every day. You need someone on your team doing the same.  

We would love to be that person, your medical digital marketing partner!  

Lets Get Started !

Digital marketing Consultant vs. Agency

Often times our new clients just left a national or regional digital marketing agency. The reasons for change are often the same - lack of performance, cost, local focus & personalized services.  

There are certainly many very good agencies and there are definitely many bad digital marketing consultants. Unfortunately it's like that show "Catch A Contractor" with many scheisters in this industry looking to take advantage of good businesses that simply want to trust their online marketing to someone who is qualified.  It seems every kid that took a graphic design or HTML class at the local community college has crowned himself SEO King and this is dangerous for many local businesses.

Since we already explained How To Hire A Digital Marketing Partner in a previous post, this time we will explain the difference between hiring a (qualified) agency vs. digital marketing consultant. 

  • What Is The Difference Between Digital Marketing Agency and a Digital Marketing Consultant?  If you are working with an agency then you are assigned an account manager for all your needs. That is the major difference.  You will never speak to a programmer, Adwords, SEO or Social Media specialist.  Many agencies automate these tasks so the specialist often doesn't even exist.  When working with a consultant you speak directly with the person making changes to all facets of your digital marketing footprint.  This person typically has 10+ years experience as a senior digital marketer, very different from an account manager.
  • Consultants Customize Services to Meet Client's Needs.  A good consultant always has the customer's best interest and profitability in mind.  Consultants are not trying to grow the account, take over services or replace team members.  We are not going to force you into using our proprietary software so that you MUST rely on us because changing would be a major project.  A consultant keeps their eyes on the horizon and the engagement flexible so they can adapt to your needs, industry changes and emerging trends.  At eMaximize we never leverage our technology experience to trap our clients into long term engagements. Clients own their websites, campaigns, analytics and have keys to their domain.
  •  Consultants Work Well With Client Teams & Partners.  Because eMaximize operates in complete transparency with the single focus of making your business more profitable we become a valuable extension of your team.  Our success will always be based on our ability to work with client teams and their partners to increase revenue & profitability.  We are not trying to worm our way into other areas of your business, we stay in our lane and work diligently and efficiently so your team can focus on operations.

  • Consultants Are Extremely Loyal.  Consultants know how hard it is to find good clients and fight to keep them. At eMaximize, our entire business model is based on client relationships because we do not have a sales effort. This is why we place much more value on our clients than any account manager could. We would never work with any of your competitors.  If we already represent a plastic surgeon in Santa Monica (for instance) how could we effectively market another in the same location?  Do you think an agency would maintain this level of business etiquette & conflict of interest?

  • Consultants Bring A Local Focus Agencies Often Miss.  Working with a digital marketing agency often means your account manager is in another time zone.  This has some obvious drawbacks, one of which is not understanding your local community. Knowing the geographical area, local events & community is extremely critical when planning and executing SEO, PPC and Social Media strategies. Here at eMaximize Digital Marketing we meet all our clients in person.  We understand their local market and competitive landscape because we typically live close by.  We are always available for meetings to discuss new procedures, products or strategies or to have lunch and review quarterly results.  It makes sense to use a local expert if you are trying to drive local traffic to your business.
  • Digital Marketing Consultants Are Cost Effective.  Contracting with an agency means you will pay a premium for services and typically cannot deviate from "their plan".  You will be charged a fee for SEO , another fee to manage your Adwords and another for Facebook & Twitter updates.  Don't even think about asking them to make a change to your website, that's $100/hour with a one hour minimum. They have their plans which have hard costs and distinct boundaries. Working with eMaximize you will enjoy an all inclusive buffet with beverages.  All of our services are covered in one fee and we even throw in some programming and graphic design if needed.  We customize all services and fees to meet every client, because all clients have different challenges, goals and timelines.

These distinctions encapsulate what makes eMaximize the best digital marketing consultancy in Los Angeles.  They also explain why eMaximize has never needed to hire a business development or sales person.  All our business comes from referrals or repeat business from our happy clients.  We are effective, collaborative, and efficient.  We work well with clients and their business partners.  We focus on our area of expertise and recognize the expertise of your team.  These are the traits we deem essential for success and define eMaximize as digital marketing consultants!

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One of the Biggest Myths of Local Marketing

If you are a local service provider such as a doctor, dentist, lawyer or plumber then your ability to reach customers within a 15 mile radius is critical to your success. It's estimated that 1/3 of all Google searches have local intent (Q1 2015).  So when marketing your medical group or law practice, being Google search friendly is very important.

One of the biggest myths business owners think is necessary is having your primary keyword(s) in your domain name, e.g., DallasImmigrationLawyer.com, or PlasticSurgeonLA.com.

For those businesses just starting out with a vague understanding of SEO, it may seem like this is necessary, but its not. For local search even more than regular keyword search, having the keyword embedded in your domain name likely isn’t going to lend advantage all that much above all the other SEO activities you really need to be doing in order to achieve rankings.

Additionally, it should be pointed out that for established businesses, somewhere around half of your organic search traffic is likely from your business name; so over time, the best approach is to focus your domain on your company name.

I've often said the early adopters of SEO were the hotel industry.  They started in the early 2000's because it was extremely beneficial to their bottom line, but how many times have you spent the night at MalibuBoutiqueHotel.com? Hoteliers don't worry about keywords in their domain name and neither should you.

Focus your efforts on the basics of SEO for local businesses and don't worry about the domain name.

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Tweets Now Appearing In Google Results

Google has always claimed how hard it is to clean up the web, with all the outdated websites and spam news sources.  Now they plan to give away valuable real estate on page one to Twitter.  It was announced back in February that a new deal was struck between Twitter and Google which would see the indexing of tweets in Google’s search results.

Now, six months later, Google has implemented this feature.  Tweets are now included in all English desktop searches. Soon we will hear about tweets being included in mobile desktop searches.  

When you search for well known people or brands you get a stream of their latest tweets embedded in the search results pages.  See here.

Instead of getting some news about Richard Branson's latest projects, we are going to see what he had for breakfast.  This news is somewhat strange as Google has always wanted to keep their search results relevant, like an encyclopedia and/or newspaper.  Bringing social media into the SERPS puts them on a slippery slope.  

Only time will tell, and somewhere Mark Zuckerberg is stewing.


SEO For Local Service Providers

If you are a local service provider - Hotel, Doctor, Lawyer, Dentist, Plumber or (whatever), then appearing on page one of Google for Local search results is critical to your business or practice.  Local Search Marketing is constantly changing with each Google algorithm update, to which there are over 200 per year.  Here is a short appetizer to get you current on important SEO For Local Service Providers.

Google of Yesteryear

Like the early days of Google's organic search, the introduction of local results & Google Maps  was a simple system with little qualifications for placement. It was easy to game the system with keyword-stuffing, fake addresses and storefronts, Before Google had the mechanisms in place to filter the good from the bad, it was the Wild West for placement in local results.

Several iterations later, the local results are much more screened and harder to obtain a spot for your business. There are many factors now determining rank in Local Results.

Some of Those Include:

  1. Proximity. Is the physical business location close to the location defined?
  2. Relevancy. Is the business relevant to the search query or what it is asking?
  3. Prominence. Does this business stand out above other relevant businesses?
  4. Device.  What device is delivering the query?  Mobile or Desktop?

Historically, the location was defined by the query, (e.g., Pizza in Santa Monica), but since the Pigeon update, the searchers themselves became the location point. This is a major difference, and something we need to think deeply about in our targeting both organically and on PPC.

Not only do you have to consider your location in your SEO and PPC efforts but you also have to consider generic phrases with the location implied, like "Order Pizza".  These are different things from an SEO standpoint but either way, you need to take it into account, as well as what device a person will likely use to perform the query.

Google is also making assumptions about mobile queries and changing the search results accordingly.  It's critical in local, or any other online marketing, to consider the device: what it can tell you about your visitor and what information or experience you should be presenting to them.

Because of all these factors, SEO Ranking Reports have become almost impossible to create and local businesses should not stress day to day over rankings.  The results are going to change depending on location, device, time of day, etc., BUT someone should clearly be monitoring your position on a monthly basis.

Ranking High On Local Search

The first place to start is Google My Business. This is what controls how your business appears on Google Maps and often mobile devices.  Claiming your business location is critical.  It's a little confusing as they force you to open a Google Plus User Account, to manage your business listing.  They will most likely send a good ole fashioned postcard via snail mail to make sure your business address is legit.   Once you get in, its like a Facebook business page where you enter business information and upload a cover image.

What About Reviews

Reviews for your business are great.  Obtaining them is a constant battle and something all businesses must do. Even one review every other month is a good start.  Get them wherever you can - Google Plus, Yelp, Facebook, HealthGrades, etc.  HOWEVER, Google Plus reviews don't have as large an impact on local search as many people think.  They're crucial for brand and reputation management, and play an SEO role - but they aren't the catalyst to top rankings that they used to be. It's definitely in the algorithm, but not weighted as high as some might like.  You can see this easily with many sites with low reviews outranking sites with dozen of good ones.

We expect this to change as Google gets better at filtering out spam sites, fake addresses & false reviews.

Stick To The Basics

Google's core SEO principles have not changed so stick to the core SEO strategies of providing relevant and fresh content. Include your targeted keywords in all your copy and keep your Google Business (Maps) listing active and you will soon bubble to the top of Local Search Results, ahead of your competitors.  It takes a little know-how, some time and effort.  

It is critical for local service providers to invest in some sort of digital marketing each month.  Someone needs to be keeping an eye on your online reputation, footprint and ever changing Google algorithm because your competitors certainly are.  You're in luck ... It just so happens we know a guy!

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Digital Media Trends For Hoteliers

Digital Trends Hotels - Los Angeles

The Social Media landscape is changing for hotels.  Gone are the days where you paid an intern to post a couple photos per week on your Facebook page to keep it "relevant".  Also gone are the days where Facebook shared your posts to all your followers.  They now want you to pay a "boost" fee to reach some of your followers and guests.  This latest Facebook blunder has contributed to the rise of other social media platforms and digital marketing strategies.  Hoteliers better understand these new trends because their competitors most likely do.   

Here are some recent digital media trends in the hospitality and how hoteliers can take advantage of them.

1. Understand Mobile - This does not just pertain to your website any more. It pertains to the whole booking process. People are researching and booking hotels, often at the last minute while in a cab leaving the airport.  Test your booking process on multiple devices. Make sure room photos, specials and upgrades are quickly displayed and the booking process is slick.

2. Get Down With Apps - The average smartphone user has over 20 apps installed and chances are that your hotel app is not one of them.  Partnering with popular booking apps like Hotel Tonight which only sells rooms for the current day is a great way to sell your unused rooms and increase revenue.

3.  Instagram Moments - It used to be a Kodak moment, now its Instagram.  Smart hoteliers are allowing their guests to do marketing for them by arranging cool visuals on their property so guests can create their own Instagram moment and share with their friends.  Be aware of this and use it to your advantage.

4.  Transparency Reigns Supreme - Today's Millennials are most likely more tech savvy than your revenue manager so don't try to fool them or be misleading, they will catch you and it will hurt.  Smart hoteliers are looking to see how their property looks on all travel sites - Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Maps.  Make sure the information is accurate especially the photos.  Upload photos that accurately portrays your hotel's rooms, lobby, restaurant & location.  Misleading Millennials with anything less than complete transparency is not a winning strategy.

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The Hackers Are Coming. Are you Prepared?

Hacking is not just for big retailers and the U.S. government anymore.  Cybercrime and malicious digital attacks are ever increasing and can happen to your business, regardless of how small you may be. In fact, it’s cost the global economy more than $400 billion, and it’s increasingly hurting smaller operations.

The problem goes far beyond the leaking of sensitive emails and sexy selfies. Targeted attacks against small businesses nearly doubled in 2014. One in five small businesses will experience a cyber attack each year and of those attacked, 60% will close their doors within six months as a result.

The grim truth is there is no way to completely protect yourself against hackers and security threats towards your website or blog. A determined hacker will find his or her way into your system whether you like it or not. It is up to you to make their job as difficult as possible so hopefully they move on. Unless there is a large financial payoff, there is a good chance the hacker will give up and try an easier website. 

Once they get in, they typically change your home page to something like this. 

 A Top Hacking Organization

Some Things You Can Do To Prevent:

1. Be password-savvy. If your password is still “Password123” or "Admin", it’s time to wake up. Create unique usernames and passwords for each of your accounts, and make sure they’re at least 8 characters long with special characters.

2. Delete Unused Plugins.  If you have a WordPress site that uses plugins you may have some security holes. A plugin after all is a way to bypass "proper" coding, and they were created by regular people.  Unused plugins are a threat to your WordPress security and should be removed. A hacker often targets plugins that people purchased in mass because they were popular. If he can breach a certain plugin, then he has access to all sites that use it.

3. Keep Things Up To Date. This goes for all your technology, software, and accounts. Keep up to date with WordPress updates, and if your security plugins come with free updates you should update as soon as they are released. Do not stick with old versions of WordPress because the longer a WordPress version exists, then the higher the chances are that hackers have found a way to break into it. 

3. Back Up Your Website. Your best defense is to backup your website, then if you are hacked you can wipe the slate clean, restart your security, change all your access passwords, improve your passwords, and re-upload your website within an hour. Most hosting companies offer these services and you can roll back to yesterday's status with the click of a mouse.  

Surviving Google's Latest Update: Mobilegeddon


Google's massive algorithm update last week, often referred to as Mobilegeddon by many SEO experts often looking to validate their services, has come and gone and guess what?  Your business still has its doors open and you still have clients, patients & customers.  The impact of the mobile-friendliness change to Google's search algorithm will still be felt by many businesses however.  In this new mobile search world websites with large & easy readability and buttons, fast load times, and optimized screen resolution will get a seat at the adult table.

Marketers and business owners should be mindful of how to format and align their content for maximum mobile impact and search ranking. In doing so, you may consider these tips:

1. Focus on Clear and Concise Headlines
Compelling headlines are top of mind for any content marketer, but they’re even more critical in the mobile format. Limited real estate on mobile means you need to aim for brevity and make every word count. 

2. Clean & Meaningful URL Structure
In line with this mobile-friendly update, Google also announced plans to update how it displays mobile URLs for a cleaner, more intuitive breadcrumb URL structure and meaningful website names that align with the Schema structure. Structuring your site data with the rich Schema tags can help improve relevancy, provide clear navigation, and generate more engagement.

3. Keep Your Paragraphs Short
Large blocks of text can seem daunting on a small screen and may discourage someone from reading all the way through. Keep your paragraphs to only a few sentences to help break up the content or consider using lists or bullets to direct the reader’s eye.

4. Prominently Feature Your Call to Action
In addition to making buttons more clickable, make your call to action known early. More importantly, ensure that the desired conversion can be easily made by your mobile audience. 

5. Optimize Your Content
Writing mobile-conscious content is your first step, but it doesn't end there. Monitor and optimize this content to create high-impact outcomes. Create and test meta descriptions to see how they appear on mobile searches.  Format your headings in an SEO mobile friendly manner.

Your website’s mobile-friendliness is just one of the many attributes that factor into ranking. Per Google, "non-mobile-friendly sites won’t disappear from mobile search results — they may still rank high if they hold great content the user wants." Content is still king in the post- Mobilegeddon world, but context should be given some attention.  

Creating content in a mobile-first era must be a balance of staying on top of the trends while also staying true to your brand and knowing your consumers. Don’t just chase the engine updates but work to understand them in the context of your business and your audience. 

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Google Clarifies Their Algorithm Change For Mobile

Google is speaking up about its big algorithm change that is launching on April 21st designed to give mobile websites preference over those that are not mobile. The change will be rolled out on a page-by-page and real-time basis but how do you know if your page will benefit from their search ranking change?

Since we know this algorithm will be significantly larger in impact compared to the Panda and Penguin algorithms from the last year, digital marketers are hungry for more information..

Yesterday, Google answered a series of questions in a Google+ hangout on the topic of this new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. There were three items to take away from the Q&A.

(1) The algorithm change will start rolling out on April 21st and will take a week to complete globally.

(2) Your site is either mobile-friendly or not, there are no degrees of mobile-friendliness in this algorithm.

(3) The fastest way to see if your web pages are mobile-friendly is to see if you have the mobile-friendly label in the live mobile search results now.If not, check the mobile-friendly testing tool, which will tell you if you're site is mobile friendly and stands to benefit or be penalized on their algorithm change on April 21st.

Here is a video from a couple of teenagers that work at Google explaining the change :) 

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding your site or how it may impact you. 

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The Bare Minimum SEO All Local Businesses Must Do

SEO For Local Business Manhattan Beach

Running your own local business is rewarding, exciting & motivating.  It can also be a huge time sucker in the sense that you often engage in too much DIY activity. One of those activities is marketing.  It either falls to the way side or like many local businesses, you delegate to your web programmer who is not interested or lacks the skills to be effective.

Whether you are managing a restaurant, medical practice, automotive shop or law firm, digital marketing for a local business is critical to its branding, revenue and ultimately success.  Well you are in luck because we are going to provide you with three digital marketing activities that every small business should do in 2016.

Go big, Go mobile or go bankrupt

Many local businesses websites were built 3-5 years ago.  They may have had a mobile "retrofit" recently but that may not be enough to be mobile device compatible.  In the last few years a technology called “responsive design" has emerged.  This is a programming technique that builds your website so that it checks the size of the device before it loads images and content.  This way you only build one website and its works for desktop, tablet & mobile. The antiquated strategy was to build two separate sites, one for desktop (abc-hotel.com) and one for mobile (m.abc-hotel.com).  This is no longer necessary or effective. 

In 2015 Google announced they altered their search ranking algorithm to give preference to all sites that were built with responsive design.   Go mobile or your site will slip in the rankings, it’s that simple.  In addition 30% of all Google searches come from mobile devices.

Claim your real estate

All local business owners should be checking to see how their business looks on the in search results, this includes Google (& Bing) map results.  If you have a brick and mortar business with a physical location then Google has already created a map listing.  The problem is that this map listing looks like this.

You need to create a login for Google My Business and claim and verify your listing.  Google will send a postcard with a PIN to verify that you have a physical address. Once verified you must update your listing with the correct contact information, location, description and photos.  This is no different than your Facebook business page in fact its Google's competitor to Facebook except this is what shows on Google Maps and mobile devices when people are searching for your services. If you take away nothing else, understand that if you want to rank higher in Google, then it makes sense to use their products.

Hit Me One Time SEO Master

The third SEO digital marketing task you should perform for your business is On-Page SEO.  Do this at least one time.  Contact a reputable digital marketing agency and have them modify your website to make it search engine friendly.  This should cost you about $800-1000 and will pay dividends in terms of organic visibility.  They will talk with you about your core services and make sure you can be found online when people search on Google.  SEO is a tireless beast and if you want to stay at the forefront of search results it should be done monthly. However, if you are not willing to pay for monthly services then at very least get some on-page SEO done once.

Thank You For Reading! 

Google's New Call-Only Ads And Why They Should Be Part Of Your Strategy

Mobile devices in use is expected to hit 2.1 billion this year. Google statistics show:

  • 80 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to shop.

  • 70 percent of people searching on mobile will call a business directly from the search results.

Recently, Google's Adwords announced a new ad format for phones with call-only campaigns. It’s specifically targeted for businesses whose focus is phone calls. But even if part of your business relies partially on phone calls as opposed to clicks, it’s a strategy that you should seriously consider putting into your marketing mix.

Four Reasons Why These Ads Are Good For Your Business

1.  Phone number is at the top of the ad.  The phone number is the first thing you see in the ad – and with the word "Call" incorporated. This ad format on a mobile device is more likely to get the user to take an action.

2.  A click is a phone call, meaning you are only paying for phone calls.

3. More Control In Lead Gen. This is important because people are not relying on your website – they are relying on the person in your call center

4. Ability to Create More Targeted Ads.  Because the call to action is going to be the call itself, you are not focused on ad copy that is promoting a call. This is very different from your general ad copy, and requires a different focus. Use messaging such as "call for free estimate," or "talk with a specialist."

Call-only ads are a great way to promote your business by targeting your mobile customers.  Everyone is going mobile and so should your ad campaigns.

Thanks For Reading!





3 Design Issues That May Be Killing Your Website

A common theme in website development is that too many designers and developers do not keep up with the latest changes with the Google Algorithm, which changes daily.  They implement design strategies that look cool but paralyze their website from search traffic.  What good is your website if people cannot find your products and services through Search?

We present three of the most misunderstood website design and layout techniques that could be killing your website, or at least your business in terms of traffic.

Infinite (Endless Scroll)

While no technique is inherently bad, this design method is one of the most overused and misunderstood design techniques on the Web today. Many sites use it with the idea it helps site engagement because visitors don’t have to click, they just keep paging down to see your content. Infinite scroll fetches content from a database and inserts onto the page as the user scrolls. This results in a seemingly endless page.

Major SEO Issues: Google is leery of fully crawling infinite scroll and it will trigger some type of limitation on the data that you are feeding it to index your site. How can you expect Google to index several pages on your site, say for products or services if its all on one page?

Memory Issues: If you put too much scroll into the page, you are consuming browser memory with each flick of a finger and you can cause browser performance issues. This can be a big deal for the fast growing mobile user population.

You're Not Mobile-Friendly

If your site is NOT mobile-friendly, you should stop what you are doing right now and make a plan to get it there.  Do you think smartphones are going away?  If you rely at all on organic search traffic (or Social Media) your site must be mobile friendly or you will lose traffic. Loss of traffic means lost revenue, clients, patients, customers and most importantly - vacations!

Over the past two years, Google has been very explicit that sites need to start taking mobile into account. On January 24, they even released a mobile algorithm that started penalizing sites from mobile search for not being mobile-friendly and started moving them down in search results. 

So what is responsive design?

Responsive design uses one code set and techniques to make the site render properly in all types of devices by pre-determining how it will appear on that screen size.  If you have a WordPress site developed recently its probably responsive.  If  yours is not, find a theme that is and switch to that. This can be a lot easier than trying to convert a non-responsive WP site to be mobile friendly. If you have a site that is built outside Wordpress, find someone who is an expert in coding responsive sites and get it going. There is no workaround for this.

Hamburger Menus

It has become common practice in mobile web design to remove all menus and load in a "hamburger menu".  While mobile users have become more familiar with this menu type on desktops you are hiding what the user can find on your site and adding a click. Neither of these is necessary and in the end can cause user confusion.

Hamburger Menus

Usability studies  show us that if you want to get maximum clarity for those using your mobile site, add the word MENU to your hamburger icon. It helps users find and understand it much easier.

Don’t use the hamburger icon on your desktop site (except maybe a tools menu), make it clear that it is a menu by adding the word "menu" to your icon in mobile and make sure it is large enough to be easily clicked by tablet and smartphone users.

Often designers and developers get bored with their work and want to do something new and fun (don’t we all) or CMOs look at a new cool thing on another site and want to add it to their own. While these can sometimes work well for users, they are often hinder the intended purpose of the site and especially organic search traffic.   When in doubt always err on the side of functionality, not fun.

Thanks For Reading! 


* portions of this article taken from Kristine Schachinger


The Best Digital Marketing Advice For Local Businesses in 2015

As a digital marketing agency, we talk to many small and medium sized businesses looking to increase their revenue.  Many of these local businesses have the same problems when the approach us.  We thought we would share some of the low hanging fruit so that you can at least have a shot a competing in your local market. Then when you approach us to blow by your competitors we can move that much faster.

Secure All Your Passwords

This is perhaps the biggest digital marketing aspect that no smarty-pants SEO consultant talks about.  It's so simple, but yet very few clients we engage with have all their passwords.  We then embark on a mission to chase them down, typically wrestling them from a scorned programmer who doesn't want to admit that WIX and Squarespace just decided his fate to that of Blockbuster and Tower Records, (may they rest in peace).  Here are the most important passwords all local businesses must secure.

  • Your Registrar - This is the company where you bought BadAssLawFirm.com and you pay $20-30 annually to keep ownership of that domain. This needs to be registered in your name, with your email address and not your programmers name or email address. You must keep this password safe.
  • Your Host - This is where your website is located.  This is not a WordPress or Joomla password, those are for backend access to your site to make edits. All websites live on a server somewhere, that is your host.  Many times your host and your registrar are the same, like GoDaddy.  That keeps things simple and we recommend that.  We also recommend Go Daddy, while pricey, its worth it, as they have the best support, which is helpful if you don't understand The Internet.
  • Your Google Maps Listing - About two years ago Google started forcing everyone to use Google Plus in order to manage their business listing on Google Maps. It sucks, they should just admit they missed the boat on social media and stop trying to catch Facebook.  Nobody understands Google Plus or cares about it. The executives at Google don't even have accounts.  None the less, in order to keep your Google Maps listing accurate you must create a Google Plus account and then go through a verification process to let Google know you have a real brick-and-mortar business.  They try to make sure all businesses on their map have a real physical address, which makes sense.  Typically they send a postcard via U.S. Mail with a PIN to verify this.

Many businesses went through this PIN verification but do not know who did it for them.  It could have been a departed employee, a web programmer, an old email address no longer in use. You cannot change anything on your Google Maps Listing without gaining access to the Google Plus account that verified it.  In addition, trying to get Google to delete your listing or give you access is a painful process which can take several weeks and months. 

  • Google Analytics - This is another password that is typically set up by your programmer. Often what happens is that your programmer creates it under their own email address so that all YOUR website visitor data is under THEIR account.  They do this so they can sign into one account and see all their clients. It's bad technique. Problems happen when websites are neglected for years and nobody remembers who set up the account.  Then often you have to create a new Google Analytics account, thus wiping out the last 2 years of historical data of who visited your site, where your traffic came from, what pages were most popular, etc.  This is valuable data and like your registrar, it should be set up in your name with your email address.

That should give you a good start. If you are thinking about enlisting the help of a (good) digital marketing agency or consultant it would behoove you to get your passwords in order, otherwise you are paying your agency to find them, instead of driving traffic. 

In a nutshell you cant do anything without your passwords.  You wouldn't treat your banking passwords this carelessly so why would you do it to your business?

Thanks For Reading !

The Good & Bad About WIX Sites


Creating a website has never been easier these days.  You no longer need to find a specialized programmer and pay thousands of dollars for a basic website.  There are several template driven website development tools that allow you to drag and drop content to publish your website.  Perhaps the most popular platform is WIX.com.

The success of WIX as a company is not necessarily a direct parallel to their effectiveness in producing a website that can compete with the likes of WordPress or Joomla, which are back-end content management systems (CMS).  WIX has many impressive templates that are ideal for local businesses, restaurants, dental practices, auto shops and artists such as musicians and photographers. They are automatically created with responsive design allowing them to be compatible for all mobile devices.  You can also add social media and many other widgets from the WIX App Market to give your site some dynamic content and rich flavor.

One of the best features of using WIX is that you can start building your site for free, you barely need to create an account.  They only charge you when you want to connect your site to yourdomain.com.  To run your site with a WIX ad on the header and footer it's roughly $6 per month and to remove these ads it's roughly $10 per month, both with annual payments.

WIX is clearly a valuable digital marketing development tool and provides local businesses and startups an easy way to get a good looking site up quickly.  You can easily add image slideshows, video, contact forms, Twitter and Facebook Feeds and Google Analytics to show you who is visiting your site.  Where it falls a bit short is with SEO, Blogging and Support.

Many businesses do not need robust SEO and Blogging features.  If your business needs to compete for Page One of Google for relevant keywords then WIX might not be the best strategy.

  • SEO - While WIX provides a very easy method for entering meta data and alt tags that are important to SEO, it provides this data to Google in an unusual manner called AJAX.   Basically this means that all the data that Google needs to index your site are served as a snapshot via javascript.  This makes the process difficult for Google web crawlers, not impossible but difficult.  WIX maintains that your pages are indexed, which they are, but not as easily as sites coded by WordPress or Joomla or even HTML.  There are countless tech blogs that discuss this, perhaps the best is this one.
  • Blogging - WIX Blogging is probably the biggest drawback of all their features, having several deficiencies including ease of use.  It's not SEO friendly and just weird showing an obvious lack of development.  WIX is aware of this however and has been improving their blogging feature.  While Content Marketing has risen to the top of every effective digital marketing strategy, WIX users can't get this feature tightened up quick enough.
  • WIX Support.  I have had several encounters and tickets opened with them.  It always amazes me when a company that claims to value its customers then forces them to an FAQ page or to technicians oversees simply repeating your question and the script in front of them.  They claim their call center is in San Francisco, which may be true but the technical folks answering your questions are far from the skill level of Go Daddy.  In addition this global company closes support at 5pm Pacific Time. (??)

I have every reason to believe WIX will get it together with respect to Google Indexing and Blogging and hopefully improve support. They are just too successful not to.  If you are a local business and need a site quickly this is a great solution.  If you plan to have a dynamic site with no limitations then WordPress is a much better strategy as long as you can afford to hire a quality digital marketing agency to support it.

Give us a call at (310) 706-4051 or drop us a line with any questions about your digital marketing needs.  We don't transfer our calls overseas :) 

How To Hire A Digital Marketing Partner

When To Hire A Digital Marketing Agency

They say in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. Often this is the case when it comes to choosing your digital marketing partner. There are alot of one eyed agencies that know a just enough to hurt your wallet and your business.  They are tarnishing the industry and taking advantage of small business owners.

Here are six signs that you may need to look for a new digital agency.

1. They Don’t Explain Their Process

A digital agency that doesn't explain its process is suspect. Any business partner that does not explain their process is suspect. They could be engaging in black hat techniques, trying to fool Google and or generating fake clicks to your site.

Remember what Einstein said - If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Googly tech-speak is often the default tool for the misinformed. Get your agency to tell you exactly and simply what they’re doing. If they can’t do it, be skeptical. Our goal at eMaximize is to be as clear and upfront as we can so that our partnership will be successful.

2.  They Are Concerned About Their Own Metrics

If your SEO agency is constantly showing you linking and ranking reports and this funny Facebook metric called “Reach”, that is a sign they do not understand why you hired them.  You may not even understand why you hired them.  Your digital agency is supposed to increase revenues with your marketing budget. 

A good digital agency will have a firm understanding of your website traffic, how much is coming from mobile, how many visitors are new vs. returning BUT also ask you about call volume, sales & revenue.  This is why you hired them.  If they constantly bury you in reports of where your website ranks then you should probably start looking elsewhere.

Here is an example.  Say you own a hotel and your agency shows you that you rank in the first position for “Hotel El Segundo”.  Wow that’s great you are thinking.  What they are not sharing with you is that you rank 54th for “Hotel Near LAX” , which is searched 4000 times per month more than the previous keyword.

3. They Don’t Understand Algorithm Changes

The best digital marketers completely understand Google Algorithm changes. If your agency doesn’t know who Matt Cutts is or how many times the Google Algorithm is updated per year, then you should be suspicious.

The reason why so many SEO companies have disappeared is because they failed to adapt to algorithm changes.  If your agency is still stuffing keywords into meta tags, please tell them all search engines eliminated the keyword metatag from their algorithms about five years ago, then give us a call.  Don't get caught up in ranking, get caught up in lead generation & sales.

4. They Provide No Strategic Consultation

A good digital agency will meet with you at least every 2 months to discuss any changes to your business. They will want to understand call volume, new customers, new products, procedures or events.

Digital marketing or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) now involves content marketing, social media marketing and branding. Your agency needs to understand your voice, your customers and your customer acquisition process.  They should be concerned with the ROI on your PPC spend and conversions. They should also be leveraging experiences from their other clients on ad campaigns, geo targeting or anything.  There is

5. They’re A One-Trick Pony

Your agency should be able to provide more for you than just SEO or PPC or Social Media.  A good digital marketing agency should be able to do all three, plus graphic design, email marketing & website development.  They are all critical in supporting any digital marketing efforts.  The more you have to find these resources on your own the less valuable your agency is.  You should be calling your agency with an idea, within a day they should have a graphic back to you for approval with suggested marketing channels to implement. In an age where digital marketing is critical to almost all businesses, you need an agency that has a wide set of skills and knowledge, because your competitors do.

6.  They Are Concerned About Their Own Metrics

If your SEO agency is constantly showing you linking and ranking reports and this funny Facebook metric called “Reach”, that is a sign they do not understand why you hired them.  You may not even understand why you hired them.  You hired them to take your marketing budget and invest it, which means you should have a favorable ROI.

A good digital agency will have a firm understanding of your website traffic, how much is coming from mobile, how many visitors are new vs. returning BUT also ask you about call volume, sales & revenue.  This is why you hired them.  If they constantly bury you in reports of where your website ranks then you should probably start looking elsewhere.

Here is an example:  Say you own a hotel.  Your agency shows you are report that you rank in the first position for “Hotel El Segundo”.  Wow that’s great you are thinking.  What they are not sharing with you is that you rank 54th for “Hotel Near LAX”, which is searched on 4000 times per month more.


Digital Marketing is not rocket science. It takes a strong understanding of The Internet and the tools to create and promote websites. It is a lot of work, which is why you hire an agency, not so much because of their esoteric skills.  When you do find a good agency, stick with them. Treat them like a business partner. They can free up a lot of time for you, increase revenues and expand your business.


Digital Marketing Trends That Will Impact Small Business in 2015


With less than a month left in the 2014, it’s time for small business owners to develop a plan to maximize their marketing efforts in the New Year. What will 2015 bring for small business owners? Here are the trends to keep an eye on as you develop your marketing plan.

1. Advertising on Facebook  will become an essential part of your marketing mix. As a small business owner, you may not be advertising on Facebook yet. But in 2015, you may want to reconsider. Facebook continues to aggressively limit the number of posts your fans can see on your page. So the demand for promoted posts and ads will continue to grow. As with anything, increased demand will necessitate increased pricing. Facebook ad pricing already has gone up 10 percent since 2013. In 2015, expect this trend to continue. 

2. Content marketing will remain an important tool to spread the word about your business. Content Marketing is a blend of blogging, social media and email marketing and is a great way to reach your customers without aggressively selling to them. But it requires work. In 2015, take the time to explore it to determine how might benefit your business. Adding content development to the list of services your marketing agency provides is a good idea. 

3. Marketing to millennials will be essential. If you aren’t specially tailoring your marketing messages to millennials, you’re missing out. According to Leaders West Digital Marketing Journal, there are 76 million millennials in the United States, and they make up 27 percent of the population. They’re well-educated, with 63 percent having at least a bachelors’ degree. They are also major influencers, with 46 percent reporting that they count on social media when making purchases online.

4. Social media will continue to drive customer service in 2015. Many major brands have been taken to task by irate customers on social media. What this means is that your customers have latitude to say what they want about your products and services. They can influence whether your product sells successfully. This is where social listening comes in. You need to track what’s being said about your brand on social media and respond to customer questions and issues in a timely manner.

5. Minorities’ purchasing power will increase. For small businesses, failing to recognize the growing buying power of minorities will have a negative impact on their bottom lines. According to an analysis of data conducted by USA Today, over 50 percent of U.S. cities now have majority non-white populations. And according to the U.S. Census, Hispanics make up 17 percent of the U.S. population have purchasing power that exceeds $1 trillion. That figure is expected to grow by 2017.

Please contact us to learn how to prepare your business for 2015

310-706-4051  info@eMaximize.com 

Thank You !


Why Your Business Needs A Social Media Manager

Social media management (SMM) isn't a new term in business. It's a term that is searched in Google over 20,000 times per month. A social media manager can be extremely valuable to the success of your business.  Chances are you may have spent some time trying to determine if you want or need to hire one.

What is a Social Media Manager?

A social media manager is the person who is responsible for developing and executing a strategy to promote your business on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter & Istagram. When properly executed, an SMM will not only increase your followers and enhance your branding, a good SMM will also increase your revenue.

There are a number of ways to get a positive ROI on your social media investment but first you have to understand your goals. An effective SMM will meet with you to decide on your primary and secondary goals.  Are we looking to build our brand and establish a voice?  Are we primarily looking to sell more widgets?  What demographic are we looking to connect to?   Are we going to focus on a holiday special or event?

Complementing your SMM with a blog and graphic artist is often necessary so your SMM can create eye catching images and use them on your social media channels to drive traffic to your website and ultimately, customers, clients or patients to your door.

Social media can be time consuming without a real end in sight.  A Social Media Manager will work efficiently on your strategy and goals and most importantly allow you to do what you do best - run your business.

eMaximize has very effective and cost efficient social media services.  Please give us a call if you think you may need someone to give your business some oomph to get a leg up on your competition.  

Thanks For Reading!

Proper Web Development and SEO

Website Development & Proper SEO

By  Maxwell

Gone are the days where a programmer developed your website, Google found you, indexed you and you were ready for business.  The World Wide Web is so saturated with information and meaningless data that Google can’t even keep up.  Google is constantly changing their sorting algorithm in an effort to return quality information for each query.  They now look at so many factors to determine what results to return and in what order.  The structure of your website is one of the first things that Google’s spider – (Google Bot) will look at to gather information.

The following are five things you may not know about SEO and Website Development.

1. Proper Tagging – Metatags used to be very important for indexing your website.  These were pieces of code embedded in your site to help Google figure out what your site was all about.  The only one that matters now is the title tag, <title>.  The other two (description & keyword) were removed from the Google Algorithm many years ago.  The description tag may be used as a snippet in SERPS, but that is not guaranteed either.  They keyword tag is completely obsolete.  There is no need to put these into your web pages any more.  You should however, carefully create a Title tag for each page of your website.  This tag can be seen by resting your mouse on the top of the br

The first thing Google Bot is going to look at is your URL or web address, then it’s going to look at your Title tag and compare to the URL to see if there are any commonalities.  Each page of your website should have a different Title tag and should be around 60 characters with important words up front.

2. Responsive Design – Responsive design is a technique of web design (now) inherit in most CMS platforms like WordPress or Joomla that allows your website to scale according to the screen resolution of the device that is accessing it.  This is why you don’t see “mobile” website design services any more.  It was a flash industry.  Now you can develop a website with responsive design and it’s a one size fits all.

With the incredible explosion of mobile web surfing the last few years, Google not only recommends responsive web design but will give those sites a boost in the rankings.  Since Google has approximately a 68% market share of search engines (Aug 2014), then we might as well do things the way Google prefers and assume Microsoft is following suit.  Responsive design not only presents your site better to mobile users, it helps your search engine optimization.

3.  Choose Your Words Carefully – The Google Bot is not a human.  It cannot look at that beautiful image of a mountain and know that you run an outdoor apparel business.   You have to name your images properly (e.g., mountain-outdoor-apparel.jpg), and have room on your site to provide introductory copy.  Perhaps the most important of this is your Header.  Google will weigh a header more than general copy.  The spider tries to mimic a human, so when it sees text that is larger and bold it indexes it as more important in describing the content that follows.  In other words, Google Bot is logical. 

  • ·        Create headers on your pages that are descriptive and meaningful
  • ·        Rename your images with dashes between words to describe the image.
  • ·        Use keywords in your copy and bold it and link it back to other sections of your site.

4. Include a Sitemap – This is something that is often swept under the rug when designing new websites.  A sitemap gives Google Bot a map to crawl all the links on your site.  As recent as last month Google posted this on their WebMaster Blog, “For optimal crawling, we recommend using both XML sitemaps and RSS/Atom feeds. XML sitemaps will give Google information about all of the pages on your site. “.   There are a host of free online sitemap generators.  It’s good to refresh this file often if you are constantly creating new pages for your site. 

5.  Blog & News – Google wants to know that your content is fresh.  Naturally they are going to give sites with newer content the nod when all else is equal.  If your competitors do not have a blog or a news area on their site, this is a chance for you to gain a competitive advantage.  Even if you are doing a couple articles per month, it will be considered premium content and will boost your overall ranking. 

There are over 20 more SEO techniques and factors that Google looks at to determine page ranking.  These are only a few, but they are important.  eMaximize can provide a proper SEO analysis for your website and help you maintain those attributes going forward. Don’t make it any harder for your customers to find you.  Maintaining an ongoing SEO strategy is critical for your business to compete in today's business world..