• FAQs

          Search engine optimization (SEO) helps businesses drive visits to their website through organic search traffic. Given that the top organic search results receive a third of the clicks, a decline in ranking could be detrimental for your business. Implementing SEO best practices on your website will help to ensure that your web content is seen by as many potential customers as possible. The more visitors you have, the better your chances are of converting those visits into sales!

          Local search engine optimization (SEO) helps local businesses gain visibility by optimizing their local business listings for local search. A business that leverages local SEO will include its address, phone number, local opening times, and exact location in the form of a local citation. The goal is to rank for local searches which are usually performed by people in a specific geographical region looking for a business near them.

          We typically see results within the first 30 to 60 days, but when it comes to SEO, there are many factors at play. It's important to remember that SEO is a long-term strategy and results may not come as fast at you wish.

        • FAQs

          Digital advertising uses the internet to send advertisements to customers who are online through different websites and social media platforms like Google, Bing, LinkedIn and Facebook.

          The price for Google Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

          The price for Social Media Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

        • FAQs

          This depends on the complexity and size of a redesign and if eCommerce is needed. On average, it takes around 14-18 weeks from the web design intensive stage to launch.

          If your website experiences the following issues: it’s not responsive on all devices, has a slow loading speed, the design appears old and tired, users don’t spend long on the site, sales are stagnant, or your business is going through a rebranding - your website needs a redesign to boost your brand awareness and sales.

          Sometimes there’s no need to rebuild a website. Minor edits, refreshing page content and images, or restructuring page layout for SEO best practices can boost traffic and sales.

        • FAQs

          Semantic search launched in 2013 with the release of Google's Hummingbird update. Since then, Google's search engine has become more complex. The integration of machine learning, with RankBrain, and NLP, with BERT, has enabled the search engine to better understand the context of a query and deliver more personalized and targeted results. Semantic SEO is the process of creating machine-readable content using structured data and linked open data to help search engines better understand your content.

          On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page SEO refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals. From meta tags to page content, website structure, and HTML, on-page optimization services are focused on making your website more visible to search engines.

          Structured data refers to any organized data that conforms to a certain format, such as information in a relational database. When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways. Structured data involves using a piece of code that is laid out in a specific format easily understood by search engines. The search engines read the code and use it to display search results in a more dynamic way.

        • FAQs

          An SEO agency has experts in different areas of search engine optimization that may be out of the realm of your marketing team's abilities. SEO can be very complex and time-consuming. Furthermore, as search engine algorithms change it can be difficult to stay current on the latest ranking factors and strategies for improving online visibility. You will likely see a greater return on investment and better results from using a professional SEO agency than you would from tackling this on your own.

          As a digital marketing agency, SMA Marketing provides products and services in four areas: SEO, Local SEO, Digital Advertising, and Web Design

          We focus on building authentic, long-lasting relationships with our clients. We’re goal oriented and results driven and believe in doing good and making a difference in the world.

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Subdomain vs Subdirectory: Which is Better for Search?

There are hundreds of factors that go into determining which site should rank for a specific query. While Andrew Lipattsev famously shared the top three with the world in 2015 (Links, Content, and RankBrain), how important are the other couple of hundred factors?

In the past, I would have argued that while the other factors played a significant role, tediously optimizing around them would yield little return. A few months ago I decided to test my assumptions.

When I began using HubSpot as my marketing automation software, I did what many HubSpot users do and moved my blog over to a subdomain. Since I was rebranding and relaunching my agency, I figured I could just make sure I created great content, generate links, and make sure my posts were optimized.

And that’s exactly what I did. Over the next few years, I published new content regularly, built links, and took the time to ensure my posts were optimized. As you would expect, my site traffic grew and so did my organic visibility. But I am not one to just settle.

I began to notice that my organic growth, while still growing, was growing at a slower pace. So I began to dive a little deeper into the data to see if I could see why. Our backlink profile was clean and growing, so no issues there. We were consistently creating great, contextually relevant content, so again no issues there. So why did we hit this wall?

I began to research more to see if there was something I was missing. I remembered a session at PubCon South FL, where Bill Hunt shared the power of SEO fundamentals. In his presentation, he stressed that if SEOs would simply focus on the basics of fundamental SEO, they would see a huge return.

This leads me to another one of my go-to resources, “The Art of SEO” by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, and Jessica C. Stricchiola.

This book is full of knowledge and insight on everything search. In the section about “creating an SEO-friendly website,” they break down all of the essential aspects of having an SEO-friendly site. One section, on subdomain vs. subdirectory, caught my attention.

“If a sub-folder will work, it is the best choice 99.9% of the time. Keeping content on a single root domain gives the maximum SEO benefits, as engines will maintain all of the positive metrics the site earns around links, authority, and trust, and will apply these to every page on the site.” (Page 251: The Art of SEO)

After reading this section I knew what I wanted to test. It was time to move my blog, the main content drive of my site, of its domain and into a subdirectory. Since I had a ton of content attached to my subdomain, this was going to be a much larger job than changing a few settings on my site.

Getting Started

Before I made the move, I needed first to know the URLs of every blog I had on my current sub-domain. So I used my trusty old friend Screaming Frog SEO Spider to crawl my site and give me all of the URLs I needed. In total, there were 397 pieces of content that needed to be mapped and redirected once I changed my URL structure.

Creating the Map

To ensure that we didn’t create a ton of new 404 errors, we then used this Excel spreadsheet to map out the old URLs and the new URLs. While this was a very tedious process, it was extremely important to ensure that our site was working correctly and that we didn’t lose rank for any of the terms for which our blog articles were currently ranking.

Once we finished with the mapping, it was time to create the sub-directory on our site and flip the switch. Since our blog posts were live and we wanted to minimize downtown as much as possible, we waited to upload the 301 redirects until after the domain switch was made. This gave us about 10 minutes between the switch and propagation of the new URL to ensure that everything was redirected. The time we spent mapping the URLs out ahead of time allowed us to do this very quickly.

Making the Switch

Every CMS and register is different, so this next section won’t apply 100% to all cases, but it will give insight into how it works. Our website is hosted on HubSpot, but we manage our domains using WHM CPanel. Since HubSpot connects to domains using CNAME records, and we no longer were going to use our subdomain, we just needed to make sure that our main URL was connected.

The next step was to change the default domain for our blog inside of HubSpot. To make this change, we went to Content > Content Settings > Domain Manager. We removed the “blog” sub-main as the default blog URL and made our main URL the default for blog content.

Next, we changed the blog URL in the blog content settings. To access this section in HubSpot go to Content > Content Settings > Blog. Make sure that your main URL is now in the drop-down box and add your desired subdirectory location.

Once you’re finished, hit save!

At this point, my blog was now on my root domain and in a subdirectory. But my work was not finished yet. While all of my content was moved, I also just created nearly 400 new 404 errors. Since my subdomain and all of its content were indexed, as far as Google was concerned, I just shut my blog down. In order to ensure that I retained rank, I needed to alert Google that I had moved my content permanently to a new location.


Creating the master redirect list ahead of time allowed me to make sure that I accounted for all the domains. HubSpot has a simple redirection tool. To access this tool go to Content > COS URL Mapping.

The bulk redirect option is very easy to use. Since I had my URLs in an Excel file, I just exported them to CSV and was able to copy and paste the data into the URL mapping tool.

I checked the box, and clicked “Add URL mappings.” I then checked the old domains to make sure that they were redirecting properly.

Finishing Touches

Since I just added nearly 400 new pages to my site, I wanted to make sure that Google recrawled my site as soon as possible. Search Console is one of the best tools for webmasters and SEOs to not only view site statistics but also connect to Google.

Using the sitemap link under “crawl” I added my sitemap to be crawled again. While this doesn’t force Google to recrawl your, it can help to get your site crawled sooner. After any major URL, content, or site structure update, I recommend that you resubmit your site to Google.

The Results

After I made the switch, now it was time to sit back and collect the data. While I was hoping that this would result in more visibility, I was also praying that I covered all my bases to ensure that I didn’t destroy all of the hard work I had put into driving traffic over the last few years.

I wanted to be sure that I gave the search engines some time before I made any conclusions. While I expected it to take longer, I started to see a big change just a week after the switch was made. The graph below will show that on November 19, 2017, I had 35 indexed pages on my root domain. By December 3, 2017, 689.

Great news! This means Google was picking up my blogs and attaching them to my root domain. But how was this impacting site visibility?

Two weeks prior to moving to a subdirectory, From November 9 to the 23rd, my site had 79 total clicks, 41,547 total impressions, and an avg. CTR of 0.19%.

Two weeks right after the switch this is what we saw: 562 total clicks, 93,527 total impressions, and an avg. CTR of 0.6%.

To be honest, this blew my mind. I knew moving traffic from a subdomain by default would increase these numbers because all of the blog content was now on the root domain. But the pages that had the largest increase in traffic were my home page and SEO services page.

While our blogs are a clear traffic driver, moving them to a subdirectory clearly added value to our site as a whole.

Since making the move, we have seen a moderate increase in organic traffic (4.22%) and continue to see other indicators that Google approves of our move. While these numbers aren’t as astronomical as the search console date, they clearly show that we are headed in the right direction.

What About Rank?

One area I was concerned with during this whole process was losing rank for a number of keywords we worked so hard to gain authority around. Moving to a subdirectory greatly increased the visibility of our content. We are now ranking for the first position for a number of our focused terms and have better positioned our site to drive more qualified traffic.



As stated in the quote from The Art of SEO, “If you can have your blog in a subdirectory, by all means do it.” The benefits to your domain as a whole will be huge. Now, just because you make the switch or start with your blog connected to the root, doesn’t mean you’ll get results. You still need to create great content, have sound on-page optimization and build links. By having your content connected to your root domain, all the hard work associated with your blog will increase the visibility of your site as a whole.

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