About Our SEO Services
At GainTap, we only work with a handful of businesses at a time and only with those we know we can rank. We are great at ranking businesses locally on search engines and maps whether it’s a single location, multi-location or international business. If you’re a local business looking to get found on Google or an e-commerce site that wants to sell more products online, we can help.
A lot of experts think they know everything and they don’t read up on the latest trends in online marketing. Well, the things that ranked websites 10 years ago don’t work anymore. Those techniques may actually hurt your rankings. Do you want to hire someone like that? Someone who could be doing more harm than good?
SEO Consulting Services
“I only work directly with a handful of clients at a time and only with those I know I can help rank on Google and other search engines.”
Graham Onak, SEO / Owner of GainTap
I’m Graham Onak, a Chicago based SEO. I learned a long time ago that it takes more than backlinks and keywords to rank a website. Google and other search engines are moving to a more, pardon the pun, “organic” way of looking at website relevancy when matching search queries. That’s why I started GainTap, a small digital shop focusing on hand tailored SEO, content and web solutions.
Here’s my SEO philosophy on how to successfully rank websites
I believe Google is working towards a world where search engine optimization is no longer a profession or a skill. Now we’re likely 10 years out from this reality, but it’s become pretty clear that the businesses that rank online have several things in common.
Here’s what high ranking business websites have in common
- They have great reviews from customers
- They have a natural presence on the Internet from press stories to charity sponsorships
- They have websites with useful content that get updated frequently
- They focus on long term growth and success
These qualities of a successful business will naturally give these websites backlinks, mentions around the Internet and visits. Some SEOs focus on old-school tactics to try to trick search engines. But these efforts never bring the consistent, quality visits that lead to new customers. When you hire me as your SEO consultant, I’ll use a holistic strategy that’s tailored for driving new customers to your company who have the intention of purchasing from you. Isn’t that what you want out of a marketing program – more customers?
When I say I’m a Chicago SEO, I mean I actually live here.
If being local to Chicago is important to you, don’t worry. I live right up here at the border of Lakeview, Ravenswood and Northcenter. I’m so close to Wrigley Field I could hear Billy Joel sound check when he played a sold out show over the summer.
Unlike some of my competitors who live out of state but rent PO boxes in Michigan avenue skyscrapers, there’s a good chance I could bump into you if you’re local too. I’m a Northcenter Chicago Chamber of Commerce member.
Types of website optimization issues I can assist with
Link profile consultation
The quality of the links pointing to your website are extremely important to your overall rankings. I help you understand your current link profile and what you need to do to improve it. This requires a thorough website SEO audit. If you don’t have the resources internally, we can perform the backlink building services, too.
This is one of the biggest things you have control over and includes some of the top ranking factors. Let us optimize your site for search engines.
Local Search Engine Optimization services
If you’re looking to get Chicagoland customers, you need a local search engine optimization program focused at reaching people who are in the area. The advantage I have is I’m local to Chicago. I grew up in the Chicagoland area and have been here for 33 years.
Manual SEO penalty recovery services
This is everyone’s worst nightmare. You fell off the face of Google. Years ago, you had solid website visits and business was booming. But the phone has stopped ringing. Trust me, I’ve seen this. The good news is there are things you can do. But you need to act fast. Google penalties are usually a result of poor link building practices which invoke Google’s wrath. There are specific steps to recovery that need to be performed by an expert.
Competitive Analysis & Online Research
Our online search engine market research is great for solving the following problems:
- Not knowing why your competitors are beating you online
- Lack of knowledge into the best course of action for entering into a new market or niche
- Lack of understanding for why your customers shop with you or do not shop with you online
Online SEO Competition Analysis / Market Entry Analysis
Our online competition analysis looks at the websites of your competitors to get a better understanding of why you are not competing as well as you should be. We also perform this when a startup or a new businesses is looking to enter a market and wants to know how they can compete effectively online.
For example some clients come to us to get more search traffic to their website organically. But after performing an analysis of the competition, it is clear that their budget would best be spent on advertising for immediate gains.
Others seek to launch digital products into new markets and don’t know how to price their products, whether to offer one-time fees or monthly pricing or even if they have the budget to compete in the space at all.
This is not keyword research, though that may be a part of the analysis. This report goes beyond basic keyword research for search engines. It’s a full look at the digital ecosystem you’re looking to do business in.
Online SEO Competition Analysis Deliverables
- Better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses compared to the competition
- Direction on steps to take to better compete
- A report delivered as a PDF
- 1 hour phone call to discuss the report
A brief note about business competition
Yes, you do have competition
A lot of businesses think that they have absolutely no competition. This is just wrong in most cases. If you truly have no competition, chances are you’re offering something that’s hasn’t been proven in the market with a successful revenue model. Having competitors is a natural part of doing business. If you have competition, it means other people are willing to invest in businesses to serve the market which means that there are likely customers in that market. Competition is not bad. Failing to compete is. If you are continually being beaten by your competitors online then a competition analysis will take a look at why this is happening.
Technical SEO Website Audits
We find and correct issues with your website so it can generate traffic, leads and sales.
Website audits are useful when you aren’t seeing the results you would expect to get out of your website and you need to understand why you’re not getting them. There are plenty of reasons for why a website may not be performing as well as you’d hope.
The first thing is conveying to us what you expect to get out of your website and how it’s under delivering. For this reason we need to have an understanding of the goals you are looking to accomplish with your site.
Questions that a website audit will answer
- Why aren’t we getting visits to our site?
- Why are we getting less visits to our site?
- Did our website redesign hurt our site?
- Why aren’t we getting leads?
- Why are we getting bad leads?
Website audits we perform
Search engine optimization audit
These are very common and we do a good deal of these on a regular basis. If you’ve been in business for at least a year, you’ve likely been bombarded with SEO companies asking to do an SEO audit for you. Search engine optimization audits take a look at your website to see how it’s optimized for search engines. We identify problems that may be reducing your ranking potential and decreasing traffic that comes from search engines like Google. This type of analysis can uncover issues with on page optimization, formatting issues, usability issues and links pointing to your site.
We do these entirely by hand: they are not automated. The results from our audit are not something a free tool online can spit out.
Website Usability audit
A usability audit gives you greater understanding of how visitors are interacting with your site. Through heat maps and video recordings of web pages, we show you what’s working and what isn’t. These audits are extremely beneficial to understanding problems you may have with high bounce rate pages, low lead to visit ratio websites and eCommerce sites with cart and checkout conversion funnel issues. Using video recording we get to see actual recordings of how a user is browsing a web page and we see what they click. We see what they miss, how far they scroll down the page and we get an idea of how to test web pages and improve results.
A content audit looks at the text and images that you have on your website related to the types of customers that you are trying to acquire. Some websites do not have a solid content strategy in place and they may be targeting the wrong types of customers with the content they have on their site. Content audits will uncover issues with your actual web page text and images and suggest changes to make in order to improve the types of customers you get, decrease bounce rates and improve conversions.
Sample Website Audits
Onsite Optimization Services
We improve the relevance of your web pages for search engines and your audience. This starts with an audit of your website to get an understanding of how your content is performing currently and what needs to be changed. After performing an audit, we’ll have a better idea of what areas of your web pages need to be optimized.
We focus on three areas while optimizing websites.
Slow websites create terrible user experiences. Fixing your page load time issues can allow your pages to rank higher and keep visitors on your website longer. We migrate websites to faster servers, implement content delivery networks (CDNs) and reduce scripts, image sizes and external calls.
Getting your keywords and relevance right is critical to better rankings on Google and other search engines.There’s been a lot of change over the years with how Google ranks websites, but content optimization is still one of the most important parts to a high ranking website. You need to provide the right answer to a specific search query. It’s about making sure your content is useful and shows up when people need it.
Interlinking your web content
A lot of websites fail to rank because they don’t interlink the content on their website. As search engines crawl your site, they will bounce from page to page via links. They use these links and their text to gain an understanding of how your website is structured. They can then better categorize your website and serve it to the right searcher.
Local SEO Services
- The importance of Local SEO
- Local vs. Hyperlocal
- Our Local SEO Ranking Process
- Multi-location SEO
- International / Global SEO
The importance of local SEO for local businesses
Local SEO focuses on taking advantage of your key strength – your location. You may be competing with national or global brands, but your biggest strength on search engines is your address and phone number. With the rise of mobile phones, search engines have been able to pinpoint a searchers location, without their input, and show them what they think are the best search results for them.
When you’re looking for Chinese food, you probably type into your phone “Chinese food” or “Chinese food near me” you likely don’t search “Chicago Chinese food restaurants” anymore. That’s because search engines are so good about knowing where you are by pinging your GPS or WiFi connection location, you no longer need to add the city pre-qualifier.
What we do is help those local businesses show up when a user searches something as simple as “Chinese food.” If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you have the ability to outrank your bigger competitors simply from optimizing your local search presence. For some businesses, this is more important than others.
Local SEO vs. hyperlocal SEO
I like to differentiate local businesses from hyperlocal businesses when discussing the relevance of local search optimization. A local business is one that does business in a wider radius than one that is hyperlocal. The hyperlocal business is absolutely dependent on doing business with customers in a small radius, often less than 10 miles, whereas the local business has a wider radius often 25+ miles. This will largely vary based on how unique your offering is and the size of the city / metropolitan area you’re located in.
For example, our company GainTap is a local business. We have a good number of local, Chicago based clients. We want to rank high in Chicago because a lot of people prefer to work with local consultants and firms. They can meet them in person, take calls in the same time zone, do lunch meetings, etc. We’ve met clients an hour or so away from Chicago, driven to the suburbs and signed contracts. Our local radius is around 50 miles or so of the city. But we also have national and international clients as well. We’re a digital marketing firm – we can work with anyone, anywhere. It’s preferred that we rank locally, but it’s not required for our success. This is a huge point of difference when it comes to local optimization.
Now let’s look at a hyperlocal storefront business. Think about a dentist. Unless they have some kind of monetization going on with their website where they’re kicking out affiliate links to toothbrushes on Amazon (yes, this does happen!), they are doing 100% of their business within a few miles of their location. If they’re in a crowded city, they will have a ton of competition around them. Their customers won’t have to travel more than a few blocks before they see another dentist. To these hyperlocal businesses, they absolutely need to improve their ranking signals within a small distance of their location. Here’s how we do that.
How we rank hyperlocal and local businesses
First off – an analysis of the existing site and local competition must be done. This is what gives us an understanding of what’s lacking and how we can best get our client’s business on the map. For example, if they have zero reviews on Google and their competition has 50 positive reviews, that’s a major obstacle. However, if there is literally one competitor, then we should still be able to get our client listed in the top 3 pack on search regardless of lack of reviews.
Using the previous example, getting reviews is important. Some businesses are naturally less inclined to get reviews. For example, most people won’t go online and give their therapist a rating because it is a deeply personal service. This is likely going to be an industry wide problem so competitors won’t be at an advantage here. However, think about a pizza place. People love pizza and they especially love good pizza. They also hate bad pizza. If you run a pizza place, it is much easier getting reviews than a therapist, which can be both positive and negative.
Local on-site optimization
Getting the site tweaked to rank locally is extremely important. It’s one of the major SEO factors that a business owner has direct control over. This can be as easy as adding the business’s location information, local business schema markup and local phone number to the site. Or it can be as complex as building out neighborhood or city pages for areas the business would like to rank in.
Local link building
Getting backlinks to your site is still one of the top 3 ranking factors out of hundreds. When it comes to links, quality beats quantity. However, local businesses will benefit even more by having local quality links. A few examples of quality local links would be:
- Local chamber of commerce website
- Community centers
- Local business organizations
- Meetup groups and events in the area
- Other local businesses
This is an overlooked part of search optimization. Many business owners are specifically looking to avoid paying for advertising by optimizing their site. There is a false belief that search engine traffic is “free.” But when you hire a company like us to optimize your site, you’re paying for it. If you have particularly intense competition, paid search can often give you better, faster results than organic search optimization. We like to use Facebook advertising to hit a targeted, local group of potential customers. This can boost traffic, increase awareness of the local business and send great local search signals to search engines.
There are tons of directories that allow businesses to list their information. The importance of these has been greatly overstated in the SEO community. We’ve seen little improvement going from 35 of the top listings to 80. But if you have a lot of listings out there with old, incorrect info then fixing up these local citations can have an impact on your local rankings. If your business has moved locations, changed websites or updated your phone number, you should check these listings. Or if you’ve never set any up, you should at least tackle the core services.
The process above can be repeated for multiple locations. We see this with some clients who are specifically looking for a multi-location SEO firm. In truth – it’s the same process, scaled out across multiple storefront locations.
International / global optimization
Again, international SEO processes are very similar to the above mentioned local search optimization. There are some important additional steps required to rank pages internationally.
This is key. You need to make sure your site is broken out by country. There are different ways of doing this, but we prefer using the subfolder route:
From there, we can register each subfolder of the site with Google Webmaster Tools and assign it a specific country level targeting. We’d also add language and schema targeting in the code for each set of subfolder pages which gives search engines even greater understanding of the proper country level targeting.