Facebook Fan Page Marketing Strategy Changes Are Coming

December 9th, 2014 by jkardell No comments »

Facebook Strategy Changes

Small businesses need to gear up for the new Facebook changes coming next month.  The network will be increasing its efforts to filter out free promotional status update posts from user news feeds.  This effort has been going on for quite a while.  The reach of posts has been dwindling.  If you currently don’t pay to promote your post, you are only reaching a very small fraction of your fans.  Facebook has now formally announced that businesses which promote free marketing pitches in their status updates will see a “significant decrease in distribution.”  The push toward paid advertising is on.  One can only imagine what the percentage of fans who see those posts will drop to with the new year changes.

What does this mean for your business?  You need to rethink your Facebook fan page marketing strategy.

Facebook still needs to be an integral part of your marketing efforts.  It is an important tool for acquiring and maintaining customers and building brand awareness.  You need to think of Facebook as another pay to play marketing channel. With Facebook, there are two pay options:

Boosting. You can pay a nominal fee to boost your posts so that more people see them.  You can choose to boost it to people who already like your page and their friends, or, you can choose to have it shown to people who don’t yet know about or like your page.  If you choose the later, you can select the audience that you want to see your post.  You select the budget and how many days you want your post to run.

Ads. Your other option is Facebook advertising.  Create a graphic ad and choose an audience.  You can target your audience by location, demographics, interests, behavior and connections.  You can also create your own audience by bringing in a custom list.  As for ad pricing, you can choose from a daily budget, a lifetime budget, cost per thousand impressions, or cost per click bid.

New year, new changes.  Make sure your adjust your marketing budget accordingly so you don’t get lost in the minds of your Facebook fans, their friends, and new prospects.

Bad SEO Companies – How To Spot And Avoid Them

February 8th, 2013 by jkardell No comments »
Bad SEO Companies Do Things The Wrong Way - Do Not Enter

Bad SEO Companies Do Things The Wrong Way - Do Not Enter

“We do SEO.  Our services consist of creating a title tag and an alt image tag for each page.”  That is just what an SEO company recently told a web developer partner of mine.  Really, that’s it?  I shudder to think how many unknowing people they have ripped off.  So much more goes into SEO: description tags, heading tags, geo location tags, interlinking, keyword rich links, creation of backlinks, local SEO services.  The list goes on and on.  There is a wrong way and and right way to do SEO. Make sure you don’t enter into something you will regret.

I admit it.  I like to watch The Good Wife (must be the former attorney in me).  But both this season and last, they have bashed SEO.  It gets me frustrated. SEO is not bad and most SEO professionals are not the devil.  If you have a website, you need us to help you get found online.  That can be done ethically.  There does not have to be anything spammy about it.  But unfortunately, some so called SEO professionals (the bad SEO companies) are giving the rest of us an unjust rap – not only in the business community but also on television shows!

SEO is a comprehensive process.  It is not just a title tag and a keyword reference on a page.  It is so much more.  It is not just knowing what the right keywords are and where to place them, but also where not to place them and how not to be spammy.  Effective SEO professionals live and breathe SEO. They keep abreast of the latest algorithm changes, search engine platforms and more. They are involved in networks that share what is and is not working, what stumbling blocks are popping up and how you can get around them.  In a sum, these professionals are professionals.  So then why are these horrible SEO companies getting the work? Simple – price point and lack of consumer knowledge.

Bad SEO Companies Are Usually Cheap

And there is a reason they are so cheap.  SEO It is a time consuming, strategizing, constantly evolving process.  You probably get spam email from these companies all of the time promising great rankings and tons of backlinks for a crazy, affordable fee.  As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.  One of my clients had another SEO company before coming to me.  They were cheap, they did the work. They even got the rankings. BUT those rankings tanked when their black hat SEO practices were caught.  That bad SEO company created irrelevant, spammy, horribly backlinks.  Google found them and the client went from the first page to the abyss.  I had warned them this would happen, they didn’t listen and coasted along.  In the end, they retained me to remove the backlinks and the rankings shot back up.

How to Avoid Bad SEO Companies? Be Knowledgeable.

Get the SEO company to spell out exactly what their services will entail – line by line.  Make sure it includes, at a minimum: keyword research and analysis, copy and navigation strategy, title and meta tags, keyword rich links and interlinking.  Ask about their backlink process.  Find out if they do local SEO, including local business listings.  Ask for references.  Call the references. Do your research.  And if it seems too good of a deal, it is!

Removing Bad Backlinks – New Year Resolution #1

January 7th, 2013 by jkardell No comments »
Backlinks2

Removing Bad Backlinks - Do It!

One of the most important website ranking factors is the number of backlinks you have.  A backlink is simply a link on another website to your website. In the past it seemed that he who had the most backlinks had the best rankings.  So, many questionable search engine optimization tactics included getting the most links you could – even if those links were basically spam.  This tactic seemed to work well for quite a while.  Then along came Google’s Penguin Update, which seeks to find spam and penalize those websites that rely upon it.  If you have questionable backlinks and have seemed to somehow skate by this update, consider yourself lucky – but beware.

A Case Study On Just What Might Happen If You Don’t Consider Removing Bad Backlinks

I had a client who was ranking very nicely for a well-searched keyword as a result of the services of their previous SEO company. They came to me because they also wanted to be found locally.  After reviewing their website, I was surprised that they were ranking so high as their site was not well optimized.  So I dug further and looked at their backlinks.  There lied the answer.  They had a tremendous number of backlinks, but 98% of them were spam.  Bad SEO practices were working.  I advised them that their backlinks were questionable at best and could pose problems in the future.  They decided, against my advice, to ride it out, not wanting to take the risk of a drop in rankings if the number of their backlinks dropped. So, I simply went ahead and optimized their site for the local markets, for which they also ended up having high rankings.

Those wonderful rankings lasted for 3 months!  In June, the Penguin Update caught up with them.  The client’s rankings tanked.  Nothing on their website changed.  No real new backlinks had been created.  No new competitor sites were launched.  I suggested that the decrease in rankings was Penguin related.  So, they retained me to get those backlinks removed.

How To Remove Backlinks

Unfortunately, there is no real quick fix. It is actually a very time consuming process, but one is this definitely necessary.  I started with a thorough backlink audit, identifying the good and bad links using a backlink check tool such as SEOMoz Open Site Explorer and good old hand done research.  I then went to each bad backlink website and manually requested that each of those bad backlinks be removed – either through contact boxes or direct email.  Unfortunately this is not as easy as you may think.  Some sites did not have contact information, so I had to do domain ownership searches.  I used a site called Domaintools.com.  To try and save time and money, I had the client reach out to their original SEO company for all of the contact information; however, the company insisted that they did nothing wrong and would not provide anything.  So I continued on.  When I finished I compiled an Excel spreadsheet highlighting the website address and date of my removal request.  I then used this information to file a reconsideration request with Google outlining all of my removal requests and any problems I had encountered.

The Benefit of Spending Time Removing Bad Backlinks

Wouldn’t you know it, within a single month the client’s rankings rose again – actually they were even better than they were before.  If you haven’t been hit by Penguin, lucky you.  If you are experiencing a drop in rankings, you may want to look into those backlinks.

Simple Thanks

November 21st, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

TurkeyAs I contemplate Thanksgiving this year, as always, I have so much to be thankful for:

  1. Weathering Sandy and her path of destruction – my heart and thoughts go out to all those it has so tragically affected.
  2. The wonderful clients who have sought out and selected Write On Point to meet their marketing needs.
  3. Amazing and supportive family, friends and colleagues.
  4. The list goes on and on . . .

What are you thankful for?

Wishing you a very happy, fun-filled Thanksgiving Day!

Average AdWords Click Through Rate

November 13th, 2012 by jkardell No comments »
Average AdWords CTR Graphic

AdWords Click Through Rates

Managing an AdWords campaign not only involves researching relevant keywords, writing ads and adjusting bids; it also includes monitoring click through rates to determine the effectiveness of those ads, keywords and campaigns.  When we provide our detailed monthly reports to our clients, those click through rates are one of the top items we highlight.  So it is no surprise that clients ask:

Just What Is The Average AdWords Click Through Rate?

Different people will tell you different things, and each industry is different.  Unfortunately, there is no real official answer from Google.  However, a Google representative did say in a Google AdWords Help thread that a good average AdWords click through rate to aim for would be 2%.

Again, this is an average.  What might be good for a general search term with a lot of impressions might not be a good average click through rate for a more targeted, less searched term with fewer impressions. The important take away is to continually monitor your AdWords click through rate because it identifies which keywords and ads are not performing well and need to be addressed through new ad copy, split testing, more targeted ad groups or higher bids for better ad placement.

You not only want a better click through rate for the additional traffic it drives, but to help increase your AdWords quality score, which helps you increase ad position with lower bids. So stay on top of those rates!

How Does My Website Look on an iPhone, Droid or Other Smart Phone?

November 6th, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

iphone home screen

If you don’t know how your website looks on an iPhone or any other smart phone, you REALLY need to find out.  Research shows that there are now 1 billion smart phones.  Imagine the number of potential mobile searches.  Well, you don’t have to imagine.  Approximately 4 million web searches are performed every day, and according to Google, approximately 20% of its searches are mobile.  We have found with our clients that 20 to 25% of their visitors are a result of mobile search. What does this all mean?  That you need a website that not only looks great on an iPhone and other smart phones, but that is also easy to navigate so you keep people on your site and place the information they are looking for at their fingertips making them customers.  There are a few ways you can achieve this.

Mobile Versions of Your Website

Mobile Website Theme

Mobile Website Theme

If your website was built in WordPress, Joomla or the e-commerce platform Shopify, you can create a mobile version without having to touch a single piece of coding.  You simply add a WordPress plug-in, a Joomla extension or a Shopify mobile theme and your visitors will see a simple, easy to navigate mobile version when they visit your website from a smart phone.  Your desktop version remains the same.

Mobile Website

Mobile Website

Mobile Sites

more complex websites, it may be wiser to create an entirely separate mobile website.  Larger companies such as Target and Walmart utilize this concept.

Clean Website Design

Clean Website Design

Clean Looking Website

your website is not built in open source platforms such as WordPress or Joomla and it does not make sense to create a separate mobile website, make sure that you have a clean, easy to navigate website. This will help keep visitors from hitting the back button.

Mobile search is on the move, make sure that your website keeps pace.

The Creativity of SEO

July 17th, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

Obviously in an open market of ideas, the Web, which requires a search engine like Google or others to organize it, some will game the system. Some will try to finagle their pages’ code to make it seem like something it isn’t to Google. But for those publishing to the Web on the side of authenticity, SEO can be thought of as the acid test for quality.

 

A recent movement in SEO has responded to Google’s hawkishness towards overly-SEO-laden pages. The search giant has developed algorithms that not only detect those pages (they may be legitimate or they may be posers), but also recognise when verified keywords are being used naturally in the text.

Google has gone far beyond merely indexing the Web. It is a judge of style now, with the advanced analytics and SEO screening to do it.

It is not going to turn back into a SEO-less world, but, the imperative to publish quality content (because that is what Google is able to see) is highest now. This is actually a great thing, not only because worldwide content will improve, but because SEO can now provide guidance to content producers that makes sense in terms of quality.

 

When You’ve Got Lemons

SEO should not be thought of as a dreadful bore, something so tricky it’s irksome. It can be looked at as a kind of online style guide — which will benefit your creative process. Really! Let’s take a look a key example.

 

Formatting

You know, one of the easiest SEO tactics, and one that could never be misinterpreted by Google as spammy, is simply to employ sensible formatting of text. When we say formatting, we’re thinking not only of typography (how the font looks), but also headings, the font size of sub-heads, complexity of text (simpler sentences are best) and the inclusion of images and links.

These are the natural ingredients of proper, legitimate webpage content that is search-engine optimised. Guess what! Those are also the ingredients of good text. Good text is clear and well thought out, with plenty of breathing space written into it.

 

Ever Important Text

It is difficult or impossible, in other words, to take bad text (poorly considered text) and to cram it into good SEO form. In order to have SEO results, you have to start with text that makes sense and that is well written.

We repeat: The traits of that sort of content are exactly what Google’s bots have apparently learned to recognize.

An example of an industry that employs SEO is the current phenomenon of online casino entertainment, particularly guide sites that help players match up with the right casinos. Certain sites that cover no deposit casinos where you can play for free have ceased to pack in keywords, allowing their writers to take a more natural conversational approach with visitors. Google ranks this kind of content higher than pages with more than enough keyword repetitions.

SEO as a Powerful Tool of Today

April 23rd, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to the craft, art, and science of attracting web traffic to certain websites. To make things clearer and simpler, it acts like the drink, food, and oxygen of any website, especially the ones working on a business goal.

There are websites that depend on general and broad traffic. Most often, these are the websites of businesses and companies visited by hundreds and even thousands of people every day. These hits are needed in order for the website, and for the business, as a whole, to thrive and prosper. Several other businesses look for high quality strategy that can hit target in traffic. This is likened to an already qualified sales prospect, in which a potential customer has already engaged interest, and can purchase product.

Drawing Traffic to a Website

These days, SEO has been enhanced to provide more effectiveness to its approach. With this said, you will be able to use effectively tools such as PageRank, as well as Google itself. Among the things that need to be understood is how Google works, how to make sure that placement is boosted in the search results of Google, how to ensure that Google is not offended, as well as the methods to better use the paid programs of Google.

When talking about SEO, it is important to take a little time in understanding the various characteristics of the traffic needed in order to drive business. All you need to do is thoroughly understand how SEO works, and later on use the techniques you have learned in order to grab traffic, and finally bringing life to your business website.

 

Understanding SEO

If you have the capability of understanding SEO, you have an edge. Therefore, it is wise and best to invest in understanding this powerful tool. Whether you are coding your entire website yourself, working together with website developers, or perhaps outsourcing the web design, it is best if you are armed with the right knowledge of how it really works.

Reality is, not all websites need SEO to run. For instance, the internet serves as home to many different websites serving their own purpose. There are websites meant to provide fun, such as http://slots-casinos.org/slots-bonuses, an online entertainment offering games like casinos.

Still, most of the websites being run these days work on the business side. Thus, if you are aiming to produce a website that can generate good traffic, it is best to consciously develop a strategic plan, incorporating SEO into your web pages, and websites, and rest assured that your web properties will be empowered to outdo and outrank others that do not use this strategy. The most important thing that you need to do well is to sit down, and plan all your moves. This is true since in this period that we are living in, many other companies have also decided to use SEO techniques in order to run their businesses better and more productive.

Bad SEO Practices Include Too Much SEO

March 29th, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

Does your website have too much SEO?  If you don’t know, you better find out.

The head of Google’s Webspam Team, Matt Cutts, recently announced that Google is updating its algorithm to target sites that have too much SEO.  Supposedly this is Google’s attempt to level the playing field among the people who have been overly doing SEO and the people who have been making great content and trying to create a fantastic site.

So what are the bad SEO practices that are now considered too much SEO?

According to Cutts, Google is targeting abuse – too many keywords on the page, exchanging way too many links, going beyond what a normal person would expect.  Just how much SEO is too much is yet to be seen, but there are some telltale signs when it has been overly done.  Are you flooding your page with repetitive keywords that do not flow naturally with your content? What type of backlinks are you developing? Are they relevant? Are they from credible sites? Have you jammed your meta tags unnecessarily with keywords?    If you don’t know the answers to these questions, ask your  SEO professional.  Make sure you receive comprehensive, rather than just yes or no, answers so that you can effectively resolve any possible issues.

When will this new  algorithm change roll out?

Cutts revealed that Google currently has several engineers working on this.  They hope to release this change in the coming weeks, so you best review your site as soon as possible.

You can listen to the live interview, which is full of other great SEO information, at:

http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP11742

Not Provided in Google Analytics Will Likely Increase

March 23rd, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

Have you been noticing “Not Provided” when reviewing keywords in your Google Analytics?  This is a change Google started about five months ago.  “Not Provided” represents any keywords used by searchers who found your website in response to a search query while logged into their Google account.  This is referred to as Google SSL Search.  In a blog post announcing this new change, Google stated:

As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users.

So what does this mean for your analytics research? Well, while you won’t be able to find detailed information about what search terms Google signed in users used to find you in your Google Analytics, you can still find out what search terms people used – in general, without IP addresses – in Google Webmaster Tools.  You can see the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to your site over the last 30 days.  Note the 30 days.  Where Google Analytics kept your information for an indeterminate time, you now need to really keep current with your keyword checking.  And unfortunately, you won’t be able to see where those searchers came from or follow their visit on your site.

Not Provided in Google Analytics Will Likely Increase Even More Thanks to Firefox

According to a post by Search Engine Roundtable, Firefox is testing built in SSL for its Google searches and will most likely roll it out to all Firefox users.  That is ALL Google searches, not just searches of those signed into Google accounts.  The “Not Provided” percentage for our own website over the last month was 32%.  We reviewed the analytics of some clients and found a range of 16% to 28% last month.  One can only guestimate what those percentages will increase to once Firefox completely rolls out this new feature.

How Does “Not Provided” Affect Your Analytics Research?

Now, more than ever, it is important to not only regularly check your Google Analytics, but also your Webmaster Tools for the top search queries.  Be vigilant.  You never know what further changes are in store . . .