Gulf Coast Local Blog


Stay On Top: SEO in 2019

Hello, 2019! It’s a New Year, which means it’s time to get ahead of the competition and on top of your search engine optimization (SEO). In the next few minutes, we’ll cover these five topics to get you thinking about improving your SEO strategy: Mobile-first indexing, page speed, thought-provoking content, featured snippets, and RankBrain.

1. Mobile-first indexing

As of March 2018, Google started rolling out what they call “mobile-first indexing”. In 2019, this concept will become even more relevant as mobile users rise and Google adapts mobile-first indexing to more and more websites.

Searches on desktops are declining, driving the pressing need for appropriate indexing based on the mobile versions of websites. Due to this, mobile-first indexing was created with the intention of helping mobile users easily find what they’re looking for. So, what does this mean for you? Should you completely disregard the desktop version of your website and solely focus on the mobile? The simple answer is no. Both your desktop and mobile versions will come into play in the New Year. This is why Google’s new strategy is called mobile-first indexing, not mobile-only indexing.

In order to avoid negatively impacting your rankings, ensure your mobile and desktop versions are developed with quick loading times and optimized images and content. It’s important not to sacrifice your desktop version for your mobile version, or vise versa.  

2. Page speed

In the new mobile-first index, page speed has become a huge ranking factor, primarily impacting pages that deliver the slowest experience to users on mobile versions. Slow loading speeds cause users to bounce from 32-90% as page load times increase from 1-5 seconds. Research has shown, consumers don’t like to wait for content, especially while on their mobile devices.

How can you increase your page speed? There are three easy steps you can take to increase your speed. First, you can conduct a page speed test using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Next, take into account the size of your pages; many sites are loaded down with too much information, making it difficult to process. Cutting down on the bulk will help your speed improve. Third, contact your web/SEO expert, like us! We can help determine what steps you should take to improve your page speed (and overall SEO). 

3. Thought-provoking content

It’s time to stop creating content for the sake of creating content. Focus on creating content that solves a problem by offering advice, motivation, and engagement for your customer. Creating exceptional content shouldn’t be forgotten and will likely always be an important key to improving your SEO. Exceptional content keeps people wanting more, bringing them back to your site.

4. Featured Snippets

A featured snippet is a short summary to a user’s search displayed on top of Google search results. The image below is a snippet, and trust us, it’s where you want your website to appear when consumers search for a service or product.

By using snippets effectively, you can maximize your authority, prove that Google chooses your page over competitors, and increase your traffic. You can earn a featured snippet by analyzing keyword opportunities and implementing them into your site, creating strategic content, having a Q&A section on your website, clearly outlining your subheadings, lists, tables, etc., and polishing up any existing snippets.

5. RankBrain

RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm that works alongside Google’s current algorithm, Hummingbird, to improve Google’s search engine by learning and identifying patterns and interpreting unknown search strings. Machine learning is what happens when a computer learns by experience, and that’s exactly what RankBrain does. It intelligently gathers users habits and needs to direct them to the most useful content for their search. It works by taking segments of the entire search and relating them to the most popular searches with those related terms, and as people click on their desired result, RankBrain grows in its search knowledge. RankBrain affects how Google ranks search results. It learns which results are relevant and pushes them to the top.

According to Google, RankBrain is the third most important factor in SEO, after content and links. The key to overcoming RankBrain is to provide users with a positive experience through easy-to-navigate, detailed, and quality content to optimize your site.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the slough of information and ever-changing world of SEO, don’t stress! We’re here to keep you abreast of the changes, and help you implement them into your website structure.



Mobile-Responsive Web Design and Why Your Business Needs it


Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527

How Is Voice Search Affecting SEO?

Have you talked to Siri, Alexa or Cortana lately? You probably have, and you wouldn’t be alone.  According to Google, more than half of teens and 41% of adults are using voice search daily.  For users, voice search is basically the best thing since sliced bread and now marketers are racing to optimize their content for it.

Why is voice search hailed as the next big opportunity? Let’s break down what voice search is, how it’s impacting search, and some quick tips on how to optimize for these new types of queries.

What is Voice Search?

People tend to use voice search when they are multi-tasking, like asking for directions, dictating texts, and getting quick information.  And because voice search is a drastic new medium to perform searches, the types of queries and ways in which people are searching are changing immensely.

What’s Its Impact?

Voice search is making long tail, colloquial keywords more relevant.  People are now having conversations with their devices, whether it’s a smartphone or voice assistant, so preparing for longer, more descriptive terms is imperative.  Also, searchers are using more interrogative words within their searches.  Imagine you’re driving around town, jamming to your favorite song and realize that your gas light just turned on – chances are you might quickly ask Siri, “Where’s the closest gas station?”, and voila! In a couple of minutes your tank is full, you’re back on the road downing a Dr. Pepper and pretending to be Britney Spears.

How Do I Optimize For It?

An easy way to begin optimizing your site’s pages is making sure you’re tracking voice terms, which include long tail keywords and searches with question terms attached – like who, what, where, when and so on. Once you have a benchmark, you’ll be able to track your improvements.

Next, create or update an existing FAZ page predicting relevant voice searches.  This page can include questions like, “How much is shipping?” or “How does it work?” so when people are searching questions that might relate to your business, you have a page ready for them to land on.

And lastly, make sure your site passes the mobile-friendliness test.  People using voice search want quick answers to their pressing questions, so if your landing page doesn’t load fast enough, your user might bounce right off your site and get answers from elsewhere. 


Author: Stephanie May 



Marketing Trends for 2018 


Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of    what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,   Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527

Tips for Marketing to Tourists Digitally

Ah, life on the beach. It’s many people’s dream retirement destination. Luckily for us, and everyone else that calls the Gulf Coast their home, someone else’s dream is our life. But as great as it is living by the water, for businesses in our area, it can be extremely profitable. Living in an area where tourism is a main profit-generator, businesses can be either very successful marketing their brand, or sometimes miss the mark.

As tourism fuels our economy here, local businesses look forward to times of the year when tourists are most abundant. Summer, as you can imagine, is the peak-season to travel to the beach for vacations. Spring break and winter getaways are also very popular. But the times of the year people visit the beach play into their demographics too. Fall and winter yield a higher number of elderly visitors, seeking refuge from the harsh winters in the northern parts of the United States, while spring is when many college students vacation for their Spring Breaks.

Local businesses prepare for tourists year-round and adjust their marketing programs based off of the season and the common demographics of visitors for each season. At least most business do. Now that digital marketing is here to stay, and is an important player in the marketing sphere, make sure your tourism marketing includes digital.

Facebook Advertising

Targeted social media advertising lets you select exactly who you want your ad set to reach. Whether its adults aged 55 + whose interests are traveling and shopping, or adults aged 18 – 25 whose interests are water sports and the beach, you can determine your exact audience with Facebook advertising. This lets you get your message out to the people that are most interested in your product.

Social Media

Facebook represents one of the largest online communities in the world. You can connect with friends, groups, and business pages. Set up a business page to engage with fans and followers, inform them of yours services and products, specials and discounts and create a two-way conversation with them instead of just spitting out promotions. Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are just a few others that have excelled for businesses. Travelers will look up businesses on social media channels to see if they are still in business, check out user reviews and what the business is posting about. Check out BIS Designs' social media services. 


Provide travelers with the information on destinations they are looking for at every stage of their planning process. When deciding upon a destination location, internet users go to search engines, with Google dominating the market at 67%. Google is the key search engine that you should focus on because of all the applications Google owns, such as Google Maps and YouTube, which aids in SEO. The higher your business ranks for your specific keywords, the easier it will be more tourists to find your shop, restaurant or whatever your business may be. Google Maps is now becoming a fast and easy way to search for businesses in the user’s location. There is a lot of SEO works that goes into making your business searchable. Page titles, great content, meta tags, backlinks, and HTML code are just some ways to use SEO to increase your ranking. If you feel overwhelmed with the task of SEO, that is what BIS Designs is here for.


PPC marketing uses search engines in a different way to help market your business. PPC is paid advertising that shows up at the top of the search results. Say someone searched “water activities in Gulf Shores.” You can use PPC to have your water recreation business show up at the top of the search results for a limited time. This does not take the place of organic SEO, but helps to showcase your business quickly.


Make your website responsive on mobile devices. This is a MUST. The majority of travelers, and online users in general, use their mobile devices to search locations and business. In 2014, one half of all local searches were performed on mobile devices. This number is higher in tourists because they are on the go and don’t have a desktop readily available when they are traveling. Use landing pages attached to your website that redirect searchers to coupons or discounts on your products.

Travel Blogs and Review Websites

Reach out to travel bloggers. These bloggers are followed by thousands of people and are opinion leaders online. Pitch your business to a well-known travel blogger and if they agree, these bloggers will come visit your business and write about their experience. User reviews on businesses hold more sway than traditional advertising. You can manage your online reputation through blogs and business review sites, such as TripAdvisor. Review website are a key component to reaching travelers and helping make their decision whether to visit your business, or not.


These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital marketing designed for tourists. There are many different outlets and methods to help communicate your message to your target audiences. At BIS Designs, we have a highly-educated staff that understands digital and how to effectively market your business. Give us a call today! 251-923-4252




The Importance of Backlinks in SEO for a Website

SEO? What does that stand for?

If you are not sure what the term “SEO” stands for in today’s digital marketing landscape, you have some homework to do. SEO, standing for search engine optimization, is a pivotal function that helps get traffic to your articles, blogs, posts, websites and practically anything you want to get noticed on the internet.
When users search for a specific topic in a search engine, a list of related articles and links are displayed. But how do you get a user to see your article above the thousands of others in a search result?
Well, search results are based on a ranking system that is created using Google’s search algorithm.
That’s where the backlink comes in.

The Backlink

If you have a basic understanding of SEO, you’ve probably heard of the backlink. But although it is a common term in the SEO world, they can be difficult to understand.

When you read an article online that has links to other webpages embedded in the article, like this, you are seeing a backlink. When another page or article online is linking to your webpage, it’s helping your article increase its SEO ranking. In turn making it easier to be found. Get it?

Any article with links to other webpages create a higher SEO ranking, i.e. search engines will pick up webpages with backlinks more than webpages without.

But just understanding the definition of a backlink is just skimming the surface. Backlink terminology is wide and varied.
Here are a few:

Link juice: When another page links to your website, or vise versa, this creates "link juice." Link juice aids in producing a higher ranking for your webpage, domain and article. But take note:Link juice is connected to the quality of the website's link "power," so to speak. An example: If a well-known website such as Huffington Post were to backlink to your webpage, the link juice would be more powerful than if a lesser-known website backlinked to your page. Having a quality website backlink to your webpage is valuable because it increases the power of that backlink in relation to SEO.
No-follow links: If an article creates a link, but doesn’t want to pass the link juice around, they can create a no-follow link. These types of links don’t improve the article’s ranking, but they prevent link juice from being passed to webpages that are not reliable sources.
Do-Follow Links: By default the links you put in your article are do-follow links and pass on "link juice."
Anchor text: the text you click on that re-directs you to a link. It is important the text a user clicks on pertains to what the link is actually about.

Recently, Google Search switched up its search algorithm to prevent webpages with unreliable or questionable links to be pulled up in the search engine. Your article needs to have links to RELEVANT and credible sites backlinking to it, not spam-y bogus sites.
Don’t forget to incorporate specific and relevant keyword out-bound links in your articles.

Quality over quantity

Having credible websites and articles linking back to your webpage is key. You don’t need to have hundreds of links directing users to your webpage to obtain a higher SEO ranking though. Many times if you pay for questionable or non-relevant pages to create links to your website, Google’s search algorithm will penalize you. Quality webpages linking back to your page is what is important- not a million different websites you pay to link, but have nothing in common with what your article or webpage is about.


OK, so we talked about some technical terms, some do’s and don’ts of backlinking, and quality vs. quantity, but let’s summarize:

Backlinks refer to the webpages that are creating links to your webpage. Having substantial, quality sites link to your page is better than having thousands of miscellaneous, irrelevant websites linking to your page (plus you may get penalized by Google).
Create anchor text that is relevant to the hyperlink—this will help raise your SEO ranking instead of creating a link that says CLICK HERE to read more.

Backlink knowledge is a lot more complex than just these few suggestions, but with an overall understanding of what they do and why they are useful you are already ahead of the competition.

Why is a Mobile Website a Must?

The Mobile Necessity

In today's world of smartphones, internet browser usage is now dominated by mobile devices and not the desktop. With more and more individuals surfing the web on their smartphone, the requirement of having a mobile friendly website has reached the point to where Google is now strongly influencing website rankings based on whether or not a site is mobile friendly. Here are few more key points on why a mobile friendly website is so crucial:

Always Accessible

Consumers carry their smartphones everywhere, and are able to make instant decisions and follow up those decisions with purchases. Thus making it crucial for you to make your business, services and products accessible to consumers anytime and anywhere.

What They Want to Know

Consumers often access your mobile website for quick information access. They want a contact number, email for to fill out a form for further information. Your mobile website gives them quick and easy access to all the information they want to know about your business.

Consumer Friendly Content

If your website is not a mobile version, your customers and visitors will quickly become annoyed with having to zoom in and out and scroll around the page to find the information and products they are looking for. You mobile website is already built for their smartphone browser, and makes navigating your content and your website a breeze.

Keeping Up with Competition

If your competitors have a mobile presence, you can't afford to fall behind. If a potential customer is stuck between a mobile website and non-mobile site, it could quickly become the deciding factor on whether or not you gain a customer or lose one.