No Time to Blog? We have the solution! And it’s pretty cool.
Number one complaint/issue I hear from business owners and managers is they want to write blogs and add content to their site, but just can’t find the time, or don’t feel they have the creative resources.
I get that. It’s hard. Many a time I have seen a business owner spend half a day on a blog, and then post it, hoping for amazing results. Or, I have seen them write one or two and then stop.
Blogging is about consistently adding quality information to your site, and giving your visitors what they came for. It’s not about search engine rankings, and it won’t be anything but a waste of time if you don’t focus on those two elements, quality and consistency.
So here is a pretty cool solution for you. Instead of spending all that time on writing, just list the top three or four questions you get about your business, and answer them by using a Live Google Hangout video which will be recorded and hosted on YouTube free. Now send the URL to a transcription service, who will charge you $1 a minute to send you a transcription of your video. And …. there you have the blog. You may need to spend 20 minutes cleaning up the transcript making it more readable. Once you get the hang of this, you can do one when ever you get the itch, and have a good question to answer
I’ll add the pro’s and con’s to this blog a little later in the week. And I’ll also give more detail on how to set these up, or make a much bigger production using this as the foundation of your web visibility programs by adding professional production, a professional host of the show, A YouTube channel, P.R..a and SEO all to the system.
For years there has been an ongoing discussion about the effect of having duplicate content on your web site. The more extreme view has been it was a clear ranking killer, and that you would be “penalized” by the search engines if it was found on your site.
Yesterday The SEM Post cited Gary Illyes , a Google employee, as saying at a major conference that he stressed that duplicate content is not a penalty and that it is just a myth – it is actually a filter. Read the article here http://www.thesempost.com/duplicate-content-penalty/
Bottom line is you can use duplicate content where it makes sense without being concerned that it will hurt your rankings. You should also be aware it won’t help your rankings either.
I see a pretty big surge in posting good content from other sources coming up. Many businesses are always striving to add content, but don’t have the time or resources.
I see nothing wrong with the practice as long as the original author and site gets the credit, and it has real value to your visitors, who may not have been exposed to it in the past.
So how can you use this to add content? Well, many business have old blogs on other sites, or testimonials on other sites. You can copy and “re-purpose” those old blogs that you posted on e zines or a bunch of other sites we all may have used in the past. You should update them of course to reflect what every changes have happened in the world.
You can also post a recent blog or article that caught your eye, that your audience may not have seen, adding your own take, and comments as well.
There seems to be a general consensus that a business must use search engine optimization to generate inbound leads and new revenue from the Internet. Some suggest that a business must be very active on Social Media as well.
Much of this discussion is based on the buzz and constant promotion you find online from those companies that sell SEO or Social Media services.
The truth is, a business may be better served using an old fashion approach to generating leads and new customers online: Advertising.
Prior to the Internet a business would have three primary ways to generate new customers.
Word of Mouth
So you would list your business in the major Yellow Pages, and directories for a price established by the size of ad and placement, and you might pay for advertising on T.V, Radio or Print. In any case, you paid for the exposure. Honestly, it was a far simpler way than it is today.
You can still use the same system, and skip all the complexities and expense of using SEO or spending hours a day on Social Media.
Almost every major portal online has an advertising program. You can buy advertising on:
Almost any search engine
Online yellow pages
Content distribution companies
And then there are probably just as many opportunities to advertise online in your market niche or geographic area. For the construction Industry and residential contractors, sites like:
Dave Logan (Denver area)
If you are selling to home builders Hanley Wood offers many great advertising opportunities.
The list for every business type to advertise on is extensive. So , you can see how you can in fact reach your target markets without being ranked on the first page of Google.
Think about it…. for every business that has a top 3 spot on the search engine results there are thousands that don’t, yet still can generate new business online.
One of the big advantages to utilizing advertising online is this simple fact. If and when Google changes the algorithm you won’t lose all of your traffic. Something that can happen when you rely primarily on search rankings for traffic.
Advertising has to be well thought out of course. And it does help having someone who knows the “landscape” managing the program, so it can be tracked and analyzed to maximize the investment. But even the smallest of businesses can advertise on Facebook for $50 a month, or use co-op lead generation sites like Thumbtack to buy new leads.
With all that said, a great SEO and Social Media program can bring in a better return on investment over time, but you don’t have to wait, you can start advertising as soon as you like, while the other programs build.
Most of our long term clients, even after the search engine optimization has been successful, will continue to advertise to “fill in the gaps”. The advertising budget certainly is much smaller, but still serves a purpose.
If we can help you with your Web Visibilty please call us at 720-254-1234 for a free 30 minute (ish) discussion.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of making sure your website ranks well in the search engine results. Today, that’s only a piece of driving quality traffic to your site.
Here is a partial list of what areas a good web visibility program will take into consideration when developing a plan to increase your website visitors and the conversion of those visitors to customers. When we provide SEO services we are really providing much more to insure you get results.
Pay Per Click advertising. (we include this in the majority of our SEO – web visibility programs)
Social Media .
Should you be on every social network, posting and engaging every day? Probably not, but you should have a profile on all the major social platforms, just from a visibility standpoint
Content development and distribution.
You Tube channel with educational content.
Public Relations. Yes, both digital and traditional P.R. can be a huge asset to your brand and visibilty.
Social Media advertising.
Other web sites. Lets face it, if a prospect searches for your type service and the first result is “yelp” you should be on yelp.
Newsletters and Building an Email list
Site promotion on signs, and promotion materials.
Online testimonials for other businesses.
Web visibility should be the start of any Internet marketing program. Local search engine optimization is certainly important, but a great program will bring your site quality visitors even with out high individual rankings. The fact is moving a site up in rankings can take time, so to maximize your investment getting traffic to your site adding and focusing on all of the above will bring in revenue faster.
If you would like a free 30 minute consultation on how visible your business is online, please call us today at
When it’s all said and done, the ultimate score card in a SEO program (or web visibility program) is quality visits on your site. Those being visits that result in some predetermined action on the visitors part.
Actions might include a request for an appointment, request for more information, to be added to your newsletter, downloading a free piece in exchange for their email address, and many other possible desired results from the visitor to your site.
This is where bounce rate can be a very interesting factor.
It’s clear that the higher the bounce rate on a site, the less valuable the overall visitor traffic is (with some exceptions). But you need to know how valuable your quality visitors are to understand how your site is performing.
That’s why we use a visitor value formula to determine the quality of traffic to a website, as well as the standard formula which is just actions as a percentage of total visitors.
The reason we look at it this way, is your site may be attracting a large number of visitors from searches or referral sites that are unintended traffic. You can’t control what odd terms Google may rank your site for if you didn’t pay very close attention from day one of the loading of your site online. So after a few years, you may be seeing a group of traffic that has low value, and is very difficult to manage.
An example of this is we have a client that ranked on the first page of Google for the term glass bar, and a third of the sites traffic came from searches for, you guessed it, “glass bar”. They don’t sell glass bars. They just happen to have a picture of one on the site that had that term in the alt. tag. So it’s not really fair to calculate those visits into a value visit. And because the vast majority of those visits end up as bounces, you will get a better picture of how a site is converting visitors (who find the site through the intended search terms or categories) by weeding the visitors who bounce out.
It’s pretty simple, and can change your perception of how your site is performing.
Calculate Value Visitors
Take your gross number of visitors in a given period (week, month, year). Reduce it by your bounce rate percentage, then use that number to calculate the conversion percentage for your site. That being the number of value visits that end up taking an action. This is the number that you want to see as high as possible, and will vary depending on the action you are calculating, and the industry you are in. For many of our clients we would like to see a 7% to 10% value conversion of the “value visitors” and for this purpose won’t pay much attention to the gross number of visitors or the conversion percentage associated with that group.
Lets use a simple and real example of two sites looking for the same result (A request for information) with the numbers adjusted to make the math easier but still reflective of the real numbers.
Visitors per month. 300
Bounce rate is 15%. Value visits = 255
Requests for Info is 20 which is 8% of value visits.
This site is hitting it’s goal of converting value visits into actions. And also has a very good over all bounce rate, indication that the content and web visibility program is doing it’s job. To be honest, we’d like to see a higher bounce rate with more traffic. Maybe the SEO is to focused and not casting a wide enough net.
Visitors per month 1000
Bounce rate is 60%. Value Visits = 400 or 40%
Requests for information is 16 which is 4% of value visits.
This site has good traffic numbers, but isn’t converting as well even for the “value visitors”. In this case you need to ask: why aren’t we getting visitors who stay on the site and view several pages, to take an action? There can be many causes, page design, no call to actions, content geared towards education and not conversions and many more.
With site number 2, the cause is actually pretty interesting. This site’s center piece is a fairly advanced cost calculator, that is intended to “weed out” prospects who don’t have the budget, or are looking for a low cost company. So in this case, even some of those “value visitors” are not the ones we want to take an action, and therefore a 4% conversion is doing it’s job.
Okay… I m started to feel like Vizzini in the Princess bride, so I will end this for the moment.
If you would like more information on how to determine how your website is performing give us a call, or feel out the contact form below. We offer free 30 minute consultations.
Search Engine Optimization is a Google Popularity Contest. (Updated 02-20-15)
Last week I was asked by a new client “Is search engine optimization really that hard?”… Well… no.
Either is building a house, or running a restaurant, or installing I.T. networks or fixing your car. But in each of those cases most people call a “professional “. The last time I put a new battery in my car I scraped my hands, and lost a nut in the motor, as well as a piece of the wrench I had borrowed to do the job. (That’s a true story). Yes, I am not a mechanic.
To understand what S.E.O. is about you need to think of your web site as a high school kid who wants to be popular. Because that’s really what SEO is… making your site popular in search results.
Make your site attractive
SEO is really a popularity contest. Your site needs to get Google’s (and Bing’s) attention. So, just like in high school the popular kids (as I recall) are attractive, unique, and stand for something. That’s what Google wants in your site. It should be built attractively with out a bunch of nonsense and clutter. Well organized and very clear about what the contents are about. In S.E.O. we call this part – on site optimization. And without it, nothing else is going to help your site win a popularity contest.
Get other Sites Attracted to your site (Play match maker)
Google needs to see that not only are you all of that, but other sites are attracted to you. The more sites that Google thinks are attracted to you the better. Then of course, Google does have some standards of who they deem popular, so they want to know that the sites that you are attracting (based on what your site is about) are also popular and trusted sites. These sites are need to be relevant to your site.
So the more friends (other sites) you have (linking or mentioning you) the more popular your site will be in search results. And those “friends” need to be popular and trusted, as well.
Host the party! Get invited to the events!
If you get all that going for you, they also want to see that you are social. I mean, you can not be popular if you are not social right? So hanging out on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and other social networks is good. And the rules about Google liking your site then apply to how impressed they are by your social activity. Who comes to your party, and do they like your party.
Be the Quarterback!Attract a crowd!
So is your site the high school Quarterback or Cheer leader? Or is it the chess club member? Or is it like I was in high school? I hung out with just about every group, got invited to a few social events, and spent most my time playing guitar in a garage with 3 or 4 other almost invisible kids. In the world of Google and search you want your site to be the Quarterback, or Class president. Every one knows what it stands for, it’s attractive has many
Friends, and is invited and does host lot’s of social events.
Now once your site is attracting the right friends, Google wants to see if they stick around at your “party” or just check it out and leave. If your site visitors like your site, they’ll stay for awhile, and you won’t see them jumping over to other sites like yours because you have given them what they want to see.
See… it’s easy! Professionals just know more about how to make a site more appealing to the robots and public, and they know how and where to get the attention of all the other sites that you want to like you.
So as you contemplate all of this, remember, it starts with your site. Good content that addresses the questions and the curiosity of your visitors. If you are talking to a SEO firm that isn’t focused on all of the above, and your sites content, your talking to the wrong folks in 2015.
If I can help you with your sites popularity please call me for a free consultation. 303 500 3053 ext 1
It’s math. Really, think about the numbers for a minute.
Lets say you are an accountant that offers bookkeeping and tax preparation. You want to get into one of the top 3 ranking spots on Google for “bookkeeping (in your city)”.
Why one of the top 3 spots ? Because those are the positions that will actually deliver traffic. The rest will at best bring in a dribble of visitors.
Okay, so how many businesses in your city offer bookkeeping (or whatever you do). ? Maybe 500 have web sites that google has indexed. So your odds start at 1 in 167 that you will be in one of the top spots. Based on that it’s not a bet you want to take. And these numbers don’t even start weighing in the advantages many websites have over yours before you even get to the starting line, such as, the fact they have had a site indexed and well-respected by Google for maybe 10 years. Huge advantage to the competitor here.
Now, how many of those other businesses have used an SEO or worked on their site to improve its ranking or traffic? I don’t have the answer to that, so lets just assume that all the other 499 business owners receive just as many emails and phone calls about Google rankings as you do every month, and that they, like you, eventually will give in to the constant buzz and give it a go.
The point being, a bunch of your competitors have already made the original journey down the SEO path, and in maybe 200 of 203 cases are NOT in the top three. Also add in the reasonable assumption that the businesses currently on the first page, and especially in the top positions, have a good SEO firm they have been working with for years.
One of those 200 is most likely the one I will here from to get help. Why? Because I rarely work with a business who hasn’t tried SEO, and realized all the unfulfilled promises. They’ve spent $350 to $500 or more for a year with the constant hope that traffic and sales will start coming, and yet, very little has. Why? Because of the numbers I just mentioned (the odds), the inherent disadvantages their site had to start and needed to overcome, and possible a SEO firm that was overly optimistic based on 1 or 2 success stories they are part of in an unrelated Industry to yours a few years ago.
Hey… if you track rankings like we do, you will notice something incredible important. Rankings don’t change much, or quickly for the top ranked sites under competitive keywords (and this seems to hold even more true for “local” sites).
So, now you have a sense for why most SEO programs fail to delivery the anticipated results. My intent here believe it or not, isn’t
to dissuade you from engaging in a SEO program, it is to simply educate you on the odds of success. There truly are real opportunities to leverage your web site as a lead generating and prospect conversion tool using SEO and other marketing programs, you just need to understand the odds, and be prepared to face those odds with an experience partner, who has proven results as well as utilizing other forms of traffic generation for your site, of which there are many, and some that you may find a far better investment in the beginning as you build a long-term SEO program.
Ready Aim Fire. If you do ready right, the rest will fall into place.
I’ve worked with 100’s of businesses on marketing and sales campaigns, and I have time and time again found that mid market and small business owners have a tendency to approach new sales and marketing campaigns based on what marketing companies, or other business owners suggest or steer them to. This of course can be a disaster. Here’s why.
Lets say Jim owns a Auto supply company, and is in the same networking group as Mark, who owns a semi truck mobile repair business. They get along well, and one day Jim mentions that his local SEO campaign has brought in a ton of business, and Mark likes what he hears.
So, Mark calls Jims local SEO company to find out more. The sales representative does a fine job of using all the current Internet vernacular and quotes the normal research on how “people” use the Internet to buy stuff, and that Jim is not taking advantage of this gold mine. Well, heck, it worked for Jim, maybe it is a good idea.
You see all the issues already I am sure, but I am telling you almost half of the business owners I speak with found me through this type path, and would be an easy sell, if I ddidn’treally have their best interest at heart, or was just so inexperienced that I thought one tactic fits all.
The truth is you have to have a prospect that is online and searching for your service for any SEO to make sense. So in Mark’s case, I would ask this question first, and if he didn’t have the answer I would say – let’s figure that out before we waste a lot of time and money.
The question is, where do your prospects find services like yours? Now, having worked with a mobile semi truck repair business, I have pretty good insight into this, and it’s NOT through internet searches. I won’t go on how that buyer finds those services, because every industry and business is different. It’s the question and answer for your business that counts.
So, Mark was using the AIM FIRE approach. The problem is he would be aiming in the wrong direction, because he wasn’t ready. Ready means doing enough research and analysis to understand where you need to be to be found by a prospect.
Abe Lincoln was quoted as saying if he had 8 hours to cut down a tree, he would spend 7 hours sharpening the blade.
If you do ready right, the rest will fall into place.
So you may asked, why don’t marketers and salespeople suggest more “ready” solutions, like research, before they make a suggestion. I assume its one of several things. They don’t have a ready solution to sell, or they make their money selling what they sell so a ready solution would kill the sale because they are afraid that the research of thought process will end up pointing a different direction than what they offer. Or..
young sales professionals often just don’t have the experience to understand this. Their trained to sell a product, not assess its value.
Take your budget for the next month or two, and spend it on research and analysis just like the really large companies do. They do it for a reason, it just makes sense.
I’ll go into more detail on how and what research and thought process you can use to get ready, and have a successful campaign in the next few blogs. Until then, don’t FIRE until you are ready.
Google disrupts customer service industry
Did Google just disrupt the disruptors? The
tech giant recently announced that it is
offering the technology for a button that will launch a Google hangout directly from a
Hangouts is Google's name for its
videoconferencing service that allow several
people to join the same video chat from multiple devices, including smartphones.
A related service, Hangouts on Air, allows a video conference to be recorded directly to
Youtube. Originally a part of its Google+
social network, it has since spun off into a standalone service.
The service was announced on the official
enterprise blog for Google posted by Stephen
Cho, Head of Google Apps and Hangouts Technology Partnerships "With this new Hangouts
button, apps everywhere will let colleagues,
partners, and customers meet face-to-face
anytime, anywhere, and work more effectively together with just one click" Cho explained, "A number of our early partners have already
enriched their applications with Hangouts". He specifically mentioned several of their
partners in the sales and customer service space, "Sales reps working in Salesforce.com can automatically kick off a Hangout with their
account team through Esna; in myERP, a sales
rep can start a video meeting with any
customer prospect. Zendesk helps support
agents start a Hangout to consult with other agents and internal staff, while Freshdesk lets a customer service agent Hangout with a customer to quickly resolve support issues".
The hangout start button can be configured by any moderately skilled developer and let you
specify if it starts up a text chat, a video
call, a video conference or a recorded on Hangout on Air. Since the customer has control
of their own camera settings, this
essentially allows for deployment of an Amazon Mayday- like customer service button on any
website or app allowing customers to see and
communicate with the representative, whether they are using their video camera or not.
It seems that Google has once again put a
disruptive game-changer on the market.
As described by the CITEworld blog
http://goo.gl/KlurVp "Pretty much everybody
has access to Google Hangouts, and Google is
letting anybody embed the button. Obviously, you lose some of the really deep functionality for customer service agents to go hands-on
with customers that Salesforce offers, but
it's definitely more lightweight and almost
certainly easier to deploy in an application.
There's a move towards using collaboration
and chat technology for better customer
service. It's going to be really interesting
to see if Google Hangouts gets further built
out as an enterprise offering with that kind of service as the focus".
What will this free application do to the
large number of startups and small software
companies have developed similar fee-based
applications? No one really knows, but the
news can't be good. They will likely either have to either adjust and offer more value
added services, or incorporate the technology into their own offering. Clearly this is a development in the customer service technology industry that cannot be ignored.
Companies like www.teledini.com, a client of
ours seem to like the news. It will bring
further viability to WebRTC and Video applications.
From time to time we are asked what we do monthly to check on a web sites SEO status. So, instead of boring you with a narrative I thought we would just post some of the instructions I give to our SEO people. It’s in no way completely inclusive, but if you want to D.I.Y this is a good guide.
On Site:Home Page and Main keyword page.
- Meta Tags: The Title and Description
Does it contain the keyword(s))
Does one of the two contain a local intent keyword if a local company.
Find the meta tags by right clicking on a blank part of the page. Click on “page source” A new page will open.
- Does the home page have a G+ icon that goes to the business G+ profile?
Mention that when the Business profile is complete, they should add the G+ badge to their home page. Instructions are in the G+ business page information.
- Does the home page have at least one out bound (external Link) to a high authority site? Example: Check our B.B.B. ratings and a link to their B.B.B. page
- Does the site have good quality content?
Internal pages should be added from time to time, and a page from the main navigation should have at least 700 + words. The information should be useful and well written.
- Does the site have a Blog? If yes, is there new valuable content on the blog? Are blog titles used that will be easy for the search engines to identify what the blog post is about. Are they using a SEO plug in for a word press blog.
- No blog? Add one. They can pay content writers to produce blogs. (average cost $70 to $129.00) or write their own.
Site Structure: Is the navigation clear and using a silo system for main search topics ?
Site Load Time:Does the site load in an acceptable time. Check GWT for speed test.
NAP (Name, Address, Phone)
Does the site clearly display the local businesses Name address and phone number on the homepage and contact form. Suggest they use http://schema.org mark up for their address. Their web master can do this very quickly.
If its a local company are they using a local number? Add one if they are using a n 800 number.
Google Web Master: Is there a current site map on G.A.?
Search for business name on Google.
Check all first page results for any positive or negative reviews.
Here’s what you find under My One Call LLC
What ever review sites show up (Google, Yelp, Youtube) you should encourage the web owner to ask for more positive reviews on those sites and make them aware of any non positive mentions or reviews.
MOZ Rankings: Go to MOZ.com and log in.
Run an open explorer report on the main URL. Note and communicate the Page Authority, and Number of links. Down load a monthly back link report.
Competitive assessment: Search for their main keyword and city (if Local) Note the top ranked sites. Make a note of the top three. (do not include directories)
Go to moz.com open Site Explorer. Add top three competitors to “compare link Metrics ”Copy report to client.
Run Open Site Explorer for the top three sites. Look for linking opportunities.
Provide a brief summary of work completed this month or period.
Continued Web site presence on My One Call LLC sites