InterCoastal Net Designs

InterCoastal Net Designs Blog


10 SEO Mistakes Managers Make When Redesigning a Website

10-SEO-Mistakes

Is your website looking a little dated lately and in need of a fresh, up-to-date look? Before embarking on a website redesign project, here are 10 mistakes to avoid that will have an impact on the SEO of your site:

1. Not Thinking About SEO From the Start

When setting out on redesigning your vacation rental website, it is far too easy to get caught up only focusing on the visual aspects of the site. By being adamant about SEO from the beginning stages of your redesign, you will save a lot of time and headaches launching a complete, fully optimized website.

2. Not Setting Up 301 Redirects

Many times when launching a new website, new pages are created and some pages are removed altogether. Your new site may not feature the same URL structure as your old website which could cause problems with links on other websites that point to your site. These precious backlinks are very important to your rankings in Google and it is in your best interests to make sure that the links to these old pages are redirected to the new pages.

3. Not Implementing a Responsive Design

It is near the end of 2014 and there really is no excuse anymore to not make your redesign responsive. There are several benefits to making your new site mobile friendly with a responsive design including faster load times on mobile devices, a better user experience and improved optimization for search engines.

4. Failing to Provide a Good User Experience

Don’t make the mistake of optimizing your new website only for search engines. Search engines are not your customers, people are, so you should invest time into developing the best user experience possible for your customers. Your pages should have clear call to actions, helpful content and an attractive design.

5. Failing to Analyze Analytics for Existing Site

Google Analytics is an extremely helpful tool when analyzing your sites best performing pages and which pages may be lacking. Addressing opportunities you’ve identified and applying them to your new site will greatly improve the performance of your website. Alternatively, you do not want to make the mistake of not including your best performing pages in your new design because you did not consult your analytics.

6. Not Optimizing Content on New Site

The content of your new website should be clear and easy to read. Pages should target specific topics surrounding your top keywords and provide useful information to your visitors. If you are copying content over from your old site, it is worth the time to go through and make sure your content is up to date and relevant to the newly created pages. If creating content from scratch, keep SEO in mind from the beginning by including appropriate heading tags, keywords and other on-page elements that are relevant to the page before the site goes live.

7. Using Poor URL Structure

A properly structured website is not only well organized, but also easier for search engines to crawl and identify the most important pages. If your old site is full of lengthy URLs that don’t clearly indicate what the page is about, it is in your best interests to reorganize how your vacation rental website is laid out. An example of a correct URL structure would be something like domain/category/page.

8. Forgetting to Generate a New Sitemap File.

You always want to help search engines reindex the new pages of your site and to remove the older pages from their indexes. Once you create a new site full of new pages, your old sitemap file is most likely going to be out of date. By recrawling the new site and generating a new sitemap file that includes all the new pages, you can then upload the file to the live site and submit it to the search engines.

9. Forgetting to Unblock Search Engines

Depending on how your development site is set up, an easily overlooked task when launching your new redesigned site is forgetting to unblock search engines from crawling and indexing the new site. Often done within the robots.txt file, forgetting to edit this one line once the new site is live can cause a lot of frustration and confusion as you try to figure out why you’re no longer showing up in the search engine results pages.

10. Forgetting to Add Analytics Code to New Site

Another task often overlooked by some developers is transferring the Google Analytics tracking codes from the old site over to the new site. Once the new site is live without Google Analytics you won’t be able to track visitor activity which will cause data discrepancies when comparing month over month. Before launching your new redesigned site, make sure you implement the tracking code for your analytics account to every page you want to track.

Posted in Search Engine Optimization | Leave a comment

Gaining Real Estate With Your AdWords

Gaining real estate in your AdWords

 

Looking to boost your Google AdWords presence? It doesn’t always have to come down to boosting your ad spend. Ad extensions are a great tool that can help draw in the attention of a potential customer by taking up more ad space than your competitors.

These extensions can entice your customers by showing multiple links to your website – plus you can add reviews, contact information, and unique selling points to help draw your customers in and boost your click-through-rate.

Let’s take a look at a few different ad extensions within AdWords and why, when and how to use each.

 

Sitelinks Extensions

Sitelink extensions can be a valuable asset to your AdWords campaign for various reasons. These extensions allow you to add additional links to your ad (beyond the one you are using as a destination URL). As you can see below, these extensions will also take up more real estate among the ad space.

AdWords Sitelink Extension

These additional links can be used to target exactly what a searcher is looking for, pointing them to deeper pages within your website. In the example above, a search was performed for “basketball sneakers”. The sitelink extensions help direct the searcher to the specific type (or brand) they may be looking for.

Using sitelink extensions will help your potential customer when searching, but your campaign can also benefit from an improved click-through-rate, which also helps the Quality Score of your keywords.

Setting up sitelink extension can be done at the campaign or ad group level. You can also dictate whether the extension is for mobile or not. Google recommends using at least 4 sitelink extensions per campaign, but testing more can give you a better idea of which bring in a better CTR.

 

Location Extensions

A good percentage of searches on Google involve people looking for local information. Couple that with the amount of people using their mobile devices for local info and you can see why adding location extensions to your ads can be very valuable.

Using location extensions provide your address to local searchers and a clickable phone number for mobile devices.

AdWords Location Extension

For local businesses, taking up more ad real estate than your competitor can be a very valuable asset, but providing a potential customer with an easier way to connect to your business can be even more important.

These are easily set up by linking to your My Business Google account, or by creating a new listing. Location extensions are worth adding to your campaigns if you feel your ads have the chance to show in local search queries.

 

Call Extensions

Another valuable extension to use within your AdWords account is call extensions. Besides being another way to add more real estate to your ad, this type of ad extension makes it simple for your potential customer to call your business directly from your ad.

AdWords Call Extension

These extensions are not only a great way to improve your CTR, but they are also a great way to quickly connect with a potential customer. They are valuable for most types of campaigns, but especially for those who have a local campaign where impressions on a mobile phone are likely. Your phone number will appear on a smart phone as a clickable button the searcher can use to reach your company.

Google offers the option to use their forwarding number as a tracking mechanism. It will assign a custom phone number to your ads that will reroute to your company phone number as a way to track conversions.

 

Callout Extensions

In the past, you were limited to using part of the 70 characters in the ad’s description to highlight your company’s unique offers, specials, and services. Now with callout extensions, you can separate our unique selling points – take up even more ad space and help you standout from the competition.

Callout Extension

As you can see, they are very similar to the sitelink extensions, but callout extensions are not actual links. Also like sitelink extensions, they can be set up at the campaign or ad group level, different extensions can be set up for mobile ads and they can be scheduled by time of day.

 

Review Extensions

Informing your potential customer about what others have thought about your service and why you are the right company for them, can help turn that lead into a sale. AdWords’ review extension allows you to do just that; showcasing accolades, awards or testimonials from reputable websites within your ads.

Adwords Review Extension

Again, this helps add even more space to your ad, making your ad even more visible to potential customers. The tricky part about these extensions is finding that reputable review from a 3rd-party website. In the extension itself, there will be a link to the website who gave the review (but you don’t pay for a click-through to that website).

Outbidding your competitors is not always the best tactic when looking to improve click-through-rate and sales/leads. Ad extensions allow you to be smarter with your ad copy and help catch the eye of your potential customers. As with many things inside AdWords, testing will show you what options are best for your company’s conversion rate.

Posted in Pay Per Click | Leave a comment

Website Not Mobile Friendly? Watch Out For Devastating Results.

Over the past few years, sales of smartphones have exploded. Everywhere I look, I see people glued to the screen of their iPhone, Galaxy, or Nexus device. We have passed the point where only teenagers and tech hipsters own iPhones, now there is a good chance your parents and grandparents own one as well. In a study published earlier this year by Nielson, 7 out of 10 Americans now own a smart phone. Nielson Study

People are in love with their phones and the freedom to access the internet anytime, anyplace.  Even Google is predicting that mobile users will surpass desktop users sometime next year. The mobile era is here and everyone is happy. Well, almost everyone. For those of us who earn a living from our websites, things have been a little more challenging lately. Cell phone screens are small and reading text from a website can be difficult and frustrating — often resulting in the user leaving the site and moving on to the next one.

Of course we are not the only ones that have noticed this kind of behavior. Google has been studying how mobile users react to websites for years, and it seems they are finally ready to weigh in on the subject. Enter the “mobile friendly tag.” That’s right Google is now tagging websites that they deem a good experience for mobile users. Google has tested these kinds of tags before,  but for the first time we are now seeing a Global implementation of the tag. This of course is a signal that Google is ready to
commit to a separate set of ranking factors for mobile friendly websites. Google has already admitted that they demote sites that are not mobile friendly, will this new tag be part of a mobile rankings boost?

IMG_1004a

How do you know if your website is mobile friendly?

On November 18, 2014 Google released the mobile friendly test, for Google Developers. Anyone can visit this page, enter their website URL and see the results. The test looks at website elements such as coding, site speed, the size of your text and how close together your menu links are.
As you can see www.icoastalnet.com passed with flying colors.
Mobile-Friendly Test (2)

This is what it looks like if your site fails.

Mobile-Friendly Test (1)

To keep your website at the top of the search results and in front of your audience, we suggest a responsively designed website. Responsive design is currently best way to ensure a good user experience across multiple devices, including smart phones, tablets, desktops, and is also recommended by all major search engines.

 

 

Posted in Web Design | Leave a comment

Caitlin Wins SC State Tennis Championship 2nd Year in a Row!

We love to feature our employees as they achieve some major accomplishments. You may recall us blogging back in June about Caitlin winning the State Championship Tennis match and going on to Regionals. Well, this past weekend, our very own Caitlin Negethon competed in the South Carolina Singles State Tennis Championships and for the second year in a row, she took home first place with her team in the 4.0 18+ division!

More than 300 players participated in the championships this year. Divisions are grouped by age and competition level. Caitlin captained both years for the team as they went on to win the State Championship. Pictured below are (from left to right) Lindsay Wallace, Kristin O’Neil, Capt. Caitlin Negethon, and Co. Capt. Amanda Gallup.

caitlin sc state tennis championship

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ICND Launches A New Website For The Wilmington Airport

ICND is excited to announce the launch of our latest website for the Wilmington Airport. We have been growing more and more in the Wilmington area, and are proud of our latest design!

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Beware The Poor Landing Page – Tips & Tricks On More Conversions With Paid Advertising

better-landing-pages

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it.

A client is not interested in pay per click ads as a potential advertising channel. They’ll say:

But I’ve tried it before — the return was awful.

Of course, most of the time, the ad account did a poor job with:

  • Match types
  • Keyword grouping
  • Negative keywords
  • Poor quality score and ad placement

Along with a host of other problems.

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Posted in Pay Per Click | Leave a comment

Ocean Isle Inn Launches New Website!

ICND is proud to present a newly designed, responsive website, for our long time client the Ocean Isle Inn. We have been working with the team from the Ocean Isle Inn for many years, and this is the third redesign they have gone through with ICND. The newest site showcases large photos of the hotel grounds and has been built to be mobile friendly responsive.

 The new website includes;

  • Custom Designed Specials Pages
  • Custom Designed Weddings Pages
  • Forms integrated with a third party email system
  • Photo Gallery
  • Social Friendly
  • And More!

 Ocean Isle Inn is also a long time marketing client of ICND’s, participating in SEO, PPC, Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing.

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ICND Partners with Duplin Winery for Comprehensive Marketing Plan

Duplin2

InterCoastal Net Designs (ICND) is proud to announce our partnership with Duplin Winery. Duplin Winery, located in Rose Hill, North Carolina, is an award wining winery proudly producing sweet Muscadine wines served nation wide. The Duplin Winery marketing team attended a session at the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce where our marketing team presented on 2015 marketing strategy. Duplin Winery liked what they heard and set up a time to speak with ICND on how we could develop a creative marketing plan suited to them.

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VRMA 2014 Recap Blog

VRMA Annual was held in San Diego this year from October 26th-29th. The ICND team was there in full force, with SEO Director Conrad O’Connell, Social Media Director David Hutnik and ICND President Brandon Sauls taking the 6,000 plus mile round trip journey to VRMA.

During the conference, we were demoing our newest, latest greatest booking engine integration featured in our most recent vacation rental website launch. We heard from tons of attendees that the features built into were “downright amazing”, “truly innovative”, and even “F*!^ing AWESOME!”.  More brainstorming sessions and early morning programming went on to continue developing this so if you haven’t had the chance to check it out, let us know and we’d be glad to show you.

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Posted in Team News, Vacation Rental Marketing, VRMA Community | Leave a comment

ICND Proudly Features New Booking Integration Engine

InterCoastal Net Designs has partnered with ACME house co., a vacation home company located in Palm Springs, CA, to fully redesign their website and to enact a major new feature– a brand new booking integration engine.

Set against the San Jacinto Mountains, this resort town fully immerses travelers with the luxury and modernism that surrounds Palm Springs. An array of vacation homes of all sizes, ACME house co. entertains a variety of styles for every occasion. With mega concert events yearly as well as some of the best art and architecture socials, Palm Springs remains a huge draw for vacationers.

After several months of collaboration with ACME house co. and ICND’s design team, this complete overhaul was successfully launched. In addition, ICND took this opportunity to feature their new booking integration software. These features include, a modern, mobile friendly design, a stronger focus on lead conversions, advanced tracking and reporting as well as a completely enhanced search interface. This will help users adjust search parameters without the constant refresh flickers.

Vacation rental managers and owners are sure to take notice of many of these enhanced features. The entire vacation rental industry is in good hands moving forward.

Posted in Myrtle Beach web design | Leave a comment