Google and other search engines are constantly altering the way their search results appear to the end user. Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, when Google and Yahoo were just starting, the results consisted of a listing of 10 blue links with a slight description of the website located just below it. Now, Google, Bing and the other major search engines are equipped with advertisements, sitelinks, images, rich snippets authorship tags and much more to enhance their search results and make them more user-friendly.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Google Enhanced Search Results

As you can see, search results have come a long way since the early part of this century.

Most of the individuals I’ve spoken to about these enhanced search results find them extremely useful and most have said they are more likely to click a result which has one of these features. That thought brings me to the point of my post, how the authorship tag, which can be easily added to your website or blog, can drastically help increase your organic click-through rate (CTR).
I recently did some work with Douglas Marketing Group for a local criminal lawyer named Frank Retar. After having his website designed late last year, he was finding that it wasn’t appearing in the search results for any of his preferred keyword phrases. He asked us to take a look at his site and evaluate what the problem may be. After running one of our free SEO assessments, we found that his META information and keyword selection needed to be improved.

Shortly thereafter, he hired us to search engine optimize his website and the next day we began our strategy. Of course all the basic strategy key points came into play: keyword optimization, META information update, backlinking and more.

After a few months of implementing our SEO strategy, we found that while Mr. Retar’s website was appearing more frequently in search results, the CTR was below average to average. That’s when we decided we wanted to try the Google Authorship tag to enhance his search results.

Implementing the Google Authorship tag is fairly easy. I plan on writing a “how to” post on it soon, but for the time being you can check out Google’s instructions on how to do it here.

The authorship tag we put in place took about two weeks to appear in results. Here’s what it looks like:

Retar Google Authorship

Pretty snazzy right? Not only did it enhance the look of the result, but it dramatically increased the amount of clicks through to the website. Since we added the Google Authorship tag about 4 weeks ago, we’ve seen an increase of between 10-20% percent on several keywords.

So why the increase in clicks? None of the research I’ve done really shows a definitive answer, however many of my colleagues in the SEO business believe it could just be the simple fact that it looks different than most other search results. Some have also said that putting a face to a link/name may also be a factor.

Whatever the reason, the key takeaway is that people are clicking these types of results more than others, which means whenever you have an opportunity to add an Authorship tag to your clients’ search results, you absolutely should.

I recently came across a website redesign that I thought was really well done. The company who did the redesign is Douglas Marketing Group. I’ve worked with them in the past and I have to say, their work is really really creative. The amount of design effort they put into each page goes unmatched.

For those of you who don’t know, Lucas Works is one of the top job recruitment agencies in all of SouthWestern Ontario. They’ve recently expanded to add offices in both London and Kitchener Ontario to go with their existing and main headquarters in Windsor.

Lucas Works Website

Their old website, which was designed back in the mid 2000′s was fairly out-dated and somewhat difficult to navigate. The width of the site was no larger than 800px (most websites are now designed at 1024px) and the colors were dark, dreary and really unpleasant to the eye.

The refresh of the website looks amazing. They kept their branding and logo basically the same, however they went ahead and added a few different shades of green to their website as well as a very attractive looking orange color which instantly draws your eyes in. They’ve also added several fresh pages to the website which tell both clients and customers why they should choose LucasWorks with stats, numbers and charts.

I still haven’t even mentioned they also added a very simple but effective blog which offers tips, tricks and helpful information on searching for a job, interviewing, resume writing and much more!

All in all the redesign of the LucasWorks site has to be seen as a huge success and improvement when compared to their earlier version. Congrats on a great new design guys!

Wow, it’s been far too long since I updated this blog with a fresh post. Sorry about that! Work has been extremely busy lately. Hopefully most of you have been following my latest updates on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

I figured today I’d write an accomplishment that I’m quite proud to have achieved. That accomplishment is getting my main portfolio site Sebastian Agosta in the top 10 search results for the term “Windsor web design” on both Google and Bing!

Considering the fact that the site is still less than a year old, I consider this type of ranking quite an accomplishment. As you’ll see in the images below, my website will show up in about the 5th or 6th spot for “Windsor web design” on Google and the 2nd or 3rd spot on Bing. Of course this varies depending on your location as well as which browser you’re using, but generally this is where I’ve placed! I’ve also placed for similar terms such as “Windsor web designer” and “Windsor online marketing”.

I achieved these results with a lot of hard work over the last 9 months which included; link trading, proper URL structure and plenty of useful and unique content that other blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts were happy to link to!

Here are a couple of the results I found when searching on Google and Bing earlier today.

“Windsor web design” – Result #5 – Google
seo sucess sebastian agosta

“Windsor web design” – Result #2 – Bing
seo success sebastian

Neither of these results are guaranteed to be there forever, however I feel that the work I put it will help them both stay up in the top 10 for months to come. Of course my work here isn’t done either. My plan is to be in the #1 spot in both search engines within the next year!

*If you test these results yourself, you may see slightly different results. I was using Google Chrome and searching Google.ca and Bing.com without being logged in to either.

Wordpress Icon When it comes to creating a blog online, there is no better content management system than WordPress. Not only is it easy to use, operate and install, but it offers some of the best plugins for web designers and online marketers. Whenever I setup a WordPress blog, there are a few plugins that I always install just after I install WordPress. Some of these plugins just make the site look more professional, some of them help with social media and SEO and some of them are just fun to have on the site!

1) All in One SEO Pack – This one is pretty self explanatory, but a definite must have for anyone hoping to rank better in the search engines. This plugin allows you to create post specific titles and descriptions as well as create search engine friendly URL’s.

2) Configurable Tag Cloud – CTC takes all the tags you’ve used in your posts and allows you to make fancy tag clouds out of them. An example of this can be seen to your left. I’ve used the tag cloud to customize which tags I want bigger and which I want smaller.

3) WP-PostViews – WP-PostViews counts how many clicks each of your posts and pages have. You can then use this information to create widgets which you can add to your sidebar. This is great if you want to create a “Most Popular Posts” widget that allows people to see the most popular posts and how many views they have.

4) WP-Socializer – If you look at the bottom of each of my posts, you’ll find a bunch of icons that can be used by you to help promote or “like” my info. That’s exactly what this plugin does. They have over 100 icons from various social media sites around the web that you can use.

5) WP-reCAPTCHA – Tired of blog comment spam? Add this plugin to your WordPress and it will easily help cut out 90% of blog comment spam. As you can see from my comment section below, you have to put in a “human verification” code. This prevents “bots” from spamming your blog without actually visiting it.

As a search engine optimization consultant, I always like to re-visit a project 6-8 months after it’s been completed to see how it’s doing in the search engine rankings. Tony Rauti Luxury Homes was a web design I completed back in January. They also wanted some search engine optimization done because the old version of their website wasn’t achieving the results they desired in the search engine rankings.

Initially they wanted to go after general terms such as; “home builders” and “luxury homes”, but since they target traffic in the Windsor and Essex County area, I explained that they would be better off being a bit more specific. We eventually decided that going for keywords such as; “custom home builders Windsor”, “luxury homes Windsor” and “home builders Windsor” would be much more beneficial.

I focused most of my time doing on-site SEO, making sure my web design was optimized for the search engines. I used my META tags properly and created content that focused on the particular keywords we discussed. I then did a little off-site SEO by changing the text on any link that was pointing to Tony Rauti Luxury Homes to ensure it had our main keywords in it.

After roughly 7 months, I’m happy to report that Tony Rauti Luxury Homes is doing very well in the search engines, in particular on Google.

“custom home builders Windsor” – Result #5
first seo success

“luxury homes Windsor” – Result #2
first seo success Google

Even though these particular keywords don’t have that much competition, I still consider this a great SEO success! The domain/site is less than a year old and it’s already gaining a lot of Google’s respect. Most importantly, in the last 6 months Tony Rauti Luxury Homes has received 159.9% more search engine traffic than it did in the previous 6 months!

*If you test these results yourself, you may see slightly different results. I was using Google Chrome and searching Google.ca without being logged in.

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