Troubles with Google Rankings?

Google RankingsA change is happening! The only problem is that with Google, a change is always happening. Google has recently made some updates that have many sites finding themselves missing their coveted top page rankings. As we all know, it is nearly impossible to keep up with Google’s exact algorithms or to guarantee the #1 ranking without paying for it. Many SEO experts have come as close as possible to mastering the art of remaining one of the top sites for their keywords; however, Google has recently sent yet another shock through the SEO world.

Because of this most recent update, some sites have seen some dramatic boosts to their rankings while many others suffered drastically. Either way, these new rankings have not been holding steady. Apparently Google made a change that caused these crazy and unexpected results and, once realized, has begun to implement additional changes to help things get back to the steady result stream we are more accustomed to seeing.

Trouble with Google RankingsThe buzz around the SEO communities is that these results will eventually smooth out; however, some sites may land in a different position than they started from or than they expect to be found. If you are finding yourself lost amongst the new crowd of your competitors, contact us and we will be happy to review your website’s performance and discuss ways to improve your rankings.

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5 Deadly Google Places Mistakes

With more and more people searching the Internet for local information it has become crucially important for small businesses to maintain a Google Places profile. If you want to be on the first place of Google Places though, you need to follow the rules. Breaking any of Google’s rules could result in your listing being demoted in the rankings or worse yet, de-listed from Google Places completely. Making sure to avoid these 5 deadly Google Places mistakes will give you a better chance of a page one listing.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is when someone puts extraneous keywords into fields that aren’t supposed to have keywords. For example, lets say your business name is officially Smith Piping, but rather than putting Vance Piping as your business name, you put Smith Piping Houston Plumbers Fixing Leaky Faucets and Broken Hot Water Heaters Since 1952 as your name on your Google Places profile. All those other words beyond “Piping” would be considered keyword stuffing. Unfortunately, many businesses end up unintentionally keyword spamming their profile. Whether you intend to keyword stuff or not, the result is the same. You will eventually get your profile deleted. Google is particularly persnickety about keyword stuffing in your name and your category. When filling out the category field always describe what your business is rather than what it does. Returning to the Smith Piping example, the category should be “plumber”, not “fixes hot water heaters”, etc.

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Dealing With Negative Google Places Reviews

At some point or another, most business owners face the difficult task of dealing with negative reviews and criticism. The truth is that even the best businesses sometimes have an off day and even if overall you run a five-star business, you won’t always get five-star reviews. Since less than favorable reviews are inevitable, you should have an action plan for dealing with them. Google Places now offers business owners the opportunity to respond to negative reviews. When possible, you should always take advantage of this feature. Responding to negative reviews shows you care about your customers and it’s even possible that a well thought out response to a negative review may garner you more customers than a spate of perfect reviews.

First and foremost, it is always important to give yourself time to deal with a negative reviews. Many business owners are furious when they first read a negative review and rather than stopping and thinking about how they can calmly react, they immediately start writing a hostile retort. More often than not, this type of response results in far more negative publicity than the initial bad review. Take the time to breathe and process what the negative review is really saying. Rather than viewing the review as an attack, you should view it as the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. It’s true that sometimes customers complain needlessly, but often there is legitimate criticism embedded within the review. Use that criticism as a learning opportunity.

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Understanding How Search Engines Work

When most people want to find something on the Internet, whether on Google or Facebook or Bing or YouTube, they use keywords to search for it. Search engines are the number one way people retrieve information on the Internet, so building a site that is easily accessible to search engines is, perhaps, the most important component of a strong internet marketing campaign. Unfortunately, most people do not understand how search engines work and therefore have difficulty making their web pages “rank” or appear on the search engine results page for valuable keywords. A basic understanding of how search engines work can greatly enhance your chances of getting quality leads through your website.

In order to find relevant web pages for every possible keyword that is entered by a user, search engines employ software, known as bots or spiders, to catalog as many pages on the Internet as possible. Once a bot comes to your website it will look for information that identifies what your site is about. The bot uses the words you put in your title, in your text, and in your URL to catalog the site as being associated with a particular keyword. The bot may also try to determine whether other sites on the Internet think your website is related to a particular keyword. It does this by examining the context in which other sites link to your site. For example, if 100 websites linked to another website with the phrase “blue widgets” a search engine would determine it is likely that website has something to do with blue widgets.

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Website Makeover Analysis and SEO Audit

Website Makeover Analysis Does Your Website Need a Little Help? – Answer These 7 Questions to Find Out

  1. Was your website built by a friend, relative or family member years ago and currently in need of some updating?
  2. Has the traffic to your website continued to decline over the last few months or years?
  3. Do you need to quickly attract more QUALIFIED prospects to your website?
  4. Are you looking for new and inexpensive ways to convert more visitors into paying customers?
  5. Would you like to have more of your website visitors sign up to get your online or offline company newsletter?
  6. Are you looking for more ways to get your website to show up on the first page of Google for your keywords?
  7. Would you like to know some of the specific strategies your competition is using to drive traffic to their website?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then this makeover analysis can definitely help you and your business.

We conduct a thorough analysis of your current website which includes both the front end (what your website visitors see) and the “backend” (the html coding – what the search engines see). We then provide specific strategies that you can either do yourself or give to your webmaster to implement.

The typical plan ranges between 40 – 60 pages long and takes about one week to complete. Once we complete the plan, we e-mail you a PDF copy and schedule a personalized 90-minute one-on-one online meeting to review the entire website makeover analysis. We do this using “” This let’s you sign on to your computers and view whatever is on our computer screen. We will walk you through the analysis, page by page and answer any questions you may have.

Here are Just a Few Things That You Get With Your Website Makeover Analysis and SEO Audit:

  • An overall website critique with specific suggestions for improvement in the areas of visual appeal, layout, text readability, download time, etc.
  • Navigation review and ease of use suggestions
  • Onsite optimization analysis including meta tags, titles, keywords, images and descriptions
  • Traffic analysis – where your traffic is coming from and how visitors found you
  • Inbound link review
  • How you compare to your top 3 competitors in terms of traffic, links and keywords
  • Strategies to obtain more inbound links using social media websites, blogs and video
  • How to incorporate audio and video on your site
  • What pages need to be improved or added
  • Call to action strategies
  • Unique and FREE ways to improve your visitor experience, get them to stay longer and get them to return more often

The Specific Strategies and Recommendations That We Will Give You Can be Used to Grow Your Business by Helping You:

  • Capture more leads
  • Improve and provide easier navigation for visitors
  • Achieve better on-page/site search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Improve search engine marketing
  • Enhance your company image
  • Appeal more to your target market
  • Enhance and automate follow-up marketing
  • Increase your referrals
  • Better integrate social media marketing
  • Make your site become more viral
  • Incorporate your company’s unique selling proposition (USP)
  • Make your site get searched by search engine “spiders” more often

The Cost of the Website Analysis and SEO Audit is Only $295.

Call us today to order.

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Website Rescue Squad

We literally made a Big Splash at the Clear Lake Chamber Business Expo 2012 held at Gloria Dei Lutheran church last month with our Website Rescue Squad campaign!


The campaign was initially created for the full page ad we are running in the Bay Area Houston Magazine (we just redesigned their website, go check it out).

Our Full Page ad in the June 2012 issue of Bay Area Houston Magazine

One of our biggest mottos is “branding first”, so to keep with the theme of the ad, and to have something fun for our visitors to do, we brought in Big Splash 1!

Big Splash 1 became the mascot of our booth; visitors got to drive our trusty aquatic vessel and gave us an opportunity to start a conversation with them.

We were also involved with the “QR Code Scavenger Hunt“- expo visitors with QR code scanners on their mobile devices were able to participate by hunting for 7 booths that displayed the QR codes associated with the hunt. When they scanned the code it sent them to a mobile website. We created a mobile website specifically for the campaign, which can be viewed HERE 

We also created a before/after video that showcased a few of our redesigned websites that was playing in our booth. View the video here:


So the question remains…


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Big Splash took a trip to Dallas for a VIP treatment in the Game Stop Suite at NASCAR, courtesy of  one of our most valued clients, Power Energy. We would like to thank Doug Mathes for extending the invitation.

Some of the highlights of the trip:

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Extreme Makeover Website Edition Winner: Bay Area Habitat for Humanity

Bay Area (Houston) Habitat for Humanity ( was the winner of the Extreme Makeover Website Edition contest sponsored by Big Splash Web Design and Bay Area Houston Magazine.

Bay Area Habitat for Humanity has been building affordable homes for families in need throughout the Galveston County, Texas area for more than 20 years. During that time, they have experienced tremendous growth, which has given them the ability to extend their reach to more communities and families. However, like many service organizations, Bay Area Habitat strives to keep administrative costs to a minimum, but the group’s website was no longer meeting the needs of a growing Habitat chapter. The new Bay Area – Houston Habitat for Humanity website, designed by Big Splash Web Design, was unveiled this week. Natalie Ainsworth, Executive Director of Bay Area – Houston Habitat said:

“Thank you to Bay Area Houston Magazine and Big Splash Web Design & Marketing for the opportunity to showcase what we do in the community through our new website! It has been a wonderful process working with the team at Big Splash Web Design; through their guidance and coaching we have re-invented our social media and online marketing strategies. We invite you to visit our new interactive website and see what’s new at Bay Area-Houston Habitat for Humanity!”

The new site is designed to be interactive and user-friendly, so that volunteers, contributors, and homeowners can quickly access information on how to get involved, make a donation, or apply for a home. The new design also showcases the variety of programs and events sponsored by the group, such as the Women’s Build, Aerospace Build, Youth United, and Building on Faith, and highlights the geographical area served by Bay Area – Houston Habitat.  The site also incorporates space for the group to show off their vast collection of photographs. Visitors can also view profiles and learn more about the families served by Bay Area – Houston Habitat. In addition to an updated design, more efficient navigation, and greater functionality, the new site will allow the Habitat team to manage the content on the site themselves.

Bay Area Habitat for Humanity before and after website redesign

The Issues
1.      Main navigation was overwhelming and not well organized, with too many pages listed, and their side bar was not user friendly.
2.      The volunteer information and registration form were listed on multiple tabs, confusing the user.
3.      The donation pages were cluttered, and the links to the donation payment were not prominently displayed.
4.       The navigation was cluttered with individual pages for each program they offered (such as Women Build, Aerospace Build, Youth United, and Building on Faith).
5.      Sponsors are a very important part of the Habitat’s funding, and they needed the recognition they deserve on the Habitat’s home page.
6.      The locations they serve were not displayed.
7.      The calendar needed to show events as well as build days.
8.      They needed more stories/statistics about the effect on the families and the community.
9.   The final design needed to show what BAHFH was all about, and establish it as the main Habitat for Humanity in the Houston area.

Website Solution

Big Splash Web Design built a custom website, drawing inspiration from Dallas Habitat for Humanity’s website, but with entirely unique colors and graphics. The design was built using WordPress capabilities, for BAHFH to allow the user the ability to update content without having to rely on further involvement of Big Splash.

After presenting them with multiple mockup options, they chose a home page that showcases a rotating slider as the main graphic. The slider was designed to be updatable by BAHFH, which will now allow them to showcase current events, as well as a map showing the areas they are building in, main sponsors, family stories, and more.

The header was kept image free, highlighting the logo in a clean format, along with easy to find social media “connect” icons and a large “Donate” button to be found on any page of the site.

The events are showcased on the homepage next to the rotating slider, with the most recent and upcoming events being automatically displayed. The logos of the “Partnering Cities”  transition smoothly to give them equal screen time, and the stories about the lives of the families that they have changed are promoted.

Bay Area Houston Habitat for HumanityBay Area Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian organization founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. Habitat for Humanity serves people in need regardless of race or religion. Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses alongside partner families who live below 60% the Area Median Income. Habitat partner families put in over 300 hours of ‘sweat equity’ into building their home enroll in financial literacy classes and repay a zero-interest loan over 20 years. Carrying out the mission of Habitat for Humanity is only made possible through the partnership of corporations, churches, and dedicated volunteers. Bay Area Habitat for Humanity is currently looking for new corporate, church and organizational partnerships to further their service to the community!

Big Splash Web Design & Marketing is a full service website marketing agency specializing in web design, ecommerce web design (shopping carts), website hosting, graphic Big Splash Web Design & Marketingdesign, PPC Management (Pay Per Click) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for small and medium-sized businesses and organizations. Our clients range from credit unions and attorneys to doctors, local businesses and online stores looking to expand and improve their online presence. The majority of our clients are from Houston, Texas, but we work with clients from all over the United States. View our website for more information

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Houston Small Business Guide to Google Places

In the past when someone wanted to find a business they reached for the phone book.  Today that is no longer the case.  In fact, a recent survey done by the website indicated that 89% of people polled used the phone book only once a month or not at all.  So where are people going to find businesses instead?  For most people, the answer is Google.

Google is the world’s largest search engine with billions of search queries processed each day.  According to Google, over 25% of those search terms are local in nature, meaning that every day Google processes 3 billion searches each month for local businesses and other topics of regional interest.

It should be noted that as internet-enabled mobile phones become more popular, local search is increasing.  People are using their phone to find out information about a particular spot while on site.  For example, it’s not uncommon these days for a couple to be walking down a street and decide they want to eat out at a restaurant.  All they need to do to find a restaurant is pull out their phone and perform a search for the term, “restaurant”.  Google will present them with several restaurant options nearby.  Local mobile search is a trend that is here to stay.  By the year 2014, it is expected that more people around the world will access the Internet by phone than by computer.  With that change, you should expect an increasing dependency on local search.

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