Choosing Your Keywords

Let’s say you’re in the market for a new pair of hearing aids.  You’re online and you Google “Hearing Aids”, 5,460,000,000 results pop up.  Clearly you can’t look at that many options, so you begin to refine the results.  “hearing aids Hoboken NJ” or “audiologist san francisco CA”.  These words and phrases are known as keywords.

Why are keywords so important?  The search engines will deliver a list of web pages (as a side note your website is nothing more than web pages linked together) containing the keywords.

When you build a website, you want to make sure that when customers search for keywords related to your business, your website appears as early as possible in the list of results.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the science, some would say art of making sure that happens.

So what keywords should you choose?

Begin the process by thinking like your customer.  Terminology specific to your industry is probably not the way a customer will find you.  It’s also a good idea to keep your target demographic in mind.  A 40 year old male will not use the same keywords as a 20 year old female even if they are searching for the same product.

Product names are often used as keywords.  That’s great when your plan is to capture a customer searching specifically for a particular product.  But you also want to make sure you don’t miss out on customers searching for a product within that category.

For example if your keyword strategy is to focus on Jimmy Choo shoes because that’s all you sell then that’s a great plan.  However if you sell 10 other expensive brands, you don’t want to miss out on customers searching for “expensive shoes” or “designer shoes”.

Keyword selection can be tricky especially once you become an expert in your own particular niche because you tend to forgot how to behave like your customer.

Remember these 5 tips for choosing keywords:

  1. Research Your Market
  2. Analyze Your Market
  3. Make Your Keywords Specific
  4. Target Your Local Area
  5. Don’t Try to Optimize for Highly Competitive Words

Will choosing the best possible keywords for your website automatically bump it to page 1?  It’s not the only factor.  But choosing the wrong keywords can be a recipe for disaster.

6 Easy Ways to Get Online Reviews

The past few weeks we’ve been discussing why online reviews are a critical part of your online marketing and SEO. What we haven’t talked about is how to get them. Enter this week’s blog! When you’re focusing on your online reviews, it’s easy to get caught up in one or two bad reviews you may have. But the easiest way to combat negative feed back is by loading up on positive reviews. Below are 6 easy ways to get online reviews from happy customers, as outlined by Nellie Akalp in Forbes.

1. Set Up Profiles on Multiple Review Sites

Consider all the sites that are relevant to your business: Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Local, Yahoo Local, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, and CitySearch. Even if you don’t think you are in a review-driven industry like restaurants and hospitality, general review sites like TrustLink and Trustpilot are great (Trustpilot has the added benefit of showing up on Google).

2. Ask Your Customers

Want to know the best way to increase the number of reviews for your business? Just ask. Your customers understand how important reviews are to your business, and as long as you provide an excellent product or service, they won’t be annoyed if you ask for a review. Don’t wait too long: customers are more likely to give you feedback right away.

The next time a customer compliments you via email, phone, or in person, mention that you’d appreciate if they left the same feedback in an online review on Trustpilot, Yelp, or the review site of their choice.

3. Make It Easy to Leave Reviews

Unless someone has a negative experience to share, the average customer is not going to look for ways to leave your company a review. That’s why you need to ask them to post a review and make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Put direct links to your review profiles in multiple places; for example, a follow-up email, newsletter, and your website. Yelp offers downloadable “Find us on Yelp” banners that you can use on your website or print out for your store.

4. Incent (but Don’t Buy) Reviews

Sometimes even your most satisfied customers need some extra incentive to take time out of their busy schedule to write a review. Offering a small incentive is a good way to show your appreciation. You just need to make sure your offer is for writing a review, and not for writing a good review. Monthly giveaways, where you choose one reviewer at random, are effective ways to encourage reviews, and there’s no semblance of a transaction where you are paying for a review.

5. Thank Your Reviewers

If the review site allows it, thank each person who reviews your product or service. In addition, you can even surprise a top reviewer by sending them a discount code or freebie after they’ve posted a review. This simple act will turn a satisfied customer into an incredibly loyal evangelist.

6. Make Reviews a Part of Your Work Processes

Make sure that all customer service and sales employees understand the importance of soliciting reviews from the customers they work with. At our company we saw the number of reviews rise after implementing an incentive program where employees receive a cash bonus for any reviews (for example, 3 reviews=$100; 15 reviews=$750).

Choose whatever kind of bonus and program makes sense for your business. It’s just an added incentive to help employees remember to ask for a review. Given the importance of reviews in the customer decision process, this is one of the most effective ways to spend your marketing dollars.

Do Online Reviews Affect SEO?

Customer reviews and ratings are essential items in the SEO’s tool belt, especially for optimizing local businesses. A Moz survey predicts that reviews make up almost 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank you. And it makes sense.

Like I said in last week’s blog, search engines love reviews because consumers love reviews.

Search engines are in the business of providing users with the most accurate information to help them predict and make decisions around their future purchases. The faster they can do that, the more consumers will turn to them time and time again.

But what do they take into consideration regarding reviews? Review signals. What’s a review signal? you’re asking. Good question. Entrepreneur describes review signals as different aspects of a company’s review profile online and include:

1. Review Quantity

The more reviews you have, the better. According to BrightLocal’s survey, you need seven to 10 reviews before most people trust you.

2. Review Velocity

How quickly reviews are posted for your business. Too fast, and you’ll get dinged.

3. Review Diversity

How many sites have reviews for your business

4. Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews

How many reviews your business has on sites not owned by Google

5. Authority of Third-Party Sites Where Reviews are Present

Some customer review sites have greater authority with Google than others.

6. Overall Velocity of Reviews (Native and Third Party)

How quickly your business is accruing reviews, both on Google properties (a.k.a. “native”) and other review sites.

7. Volume of Testimonials in Review

This refers to the reviews used in microdata, also called “rich snippets.” Here’s where to see that:

8. Quantity of Native Google Maps Reviews with Text

Google’s reviews started out on Google Maps.

9. Diversity of Third-Party Sites that have Reviews

How many different customer review sites have reviews for your business?

10. Product or Service Keywords in Reviews.

It helps to have keywords in reviews, but don’t overdo them.

11. Quantity of Authority Reviewers

Some sites, like Yelp, give certain reviewers more influence than others. New reviewers on Yelp don’t even get their reviews published until they’ve submitted five reviews. Getting a review on any site from an “authority reviewer” could help your search rankings.

Ratings and reviews are a huge conversion factor, more influential for getting users to click through and make a purchase than business citations or most other elements of local SEO. If your search result has 4.5 stars and 14 reviews (compared to fewer for your competitors), that’s strong social proof that your product or service is trustworthy. But besides increasing users’ trust, recent search innovations have created new reasons that SEO-minded local businesses need reviews and ratings.

These three benefits: improved SEO, improved conversion, and increased brand trust, working together, clearly illustrate the value of attracting good reviews online. If, between two otherwise equal competitors, one business pursues better reviews while the other ignores them, the business that pursues better reviews will undoubtedly win out in terms of traffic and eventual purchases.

The One Factor That Will Improve Your SEO, Conversions, & Your Bottom Line

What is the one factor that will improve your SEO, conversion rate, AND your bottom line?

Online Reviews.

Think of how many times you’ve made a purchasing decision lately without consulting online reviews. Have you made a reservation to a new restaurant recently without turning to Yelp or OpenTable? How about making vacation plans without even glancing at TripAdvisor? Whether you realized it or not, online reviews have become a cornerstone of modern purchasing decisions.

Consumers love online reviews.

And Google and other search engines love online reviews for one primary reason, consumers love online reviews.

Online reviews have major implications. They affect:

  • Your local SEO rankings
  • Your click through rates on search results
  • Consumers purchasing decisions

In the coming blogs, we will discuss the many facets of your business that online reviews affect. Let’s first look at how important your online reviews are to consumers.

How Important Are Reviews to Consumers?

Just how many people are actually going online to read reviews?

In a study done by ZenDesk, 66% of all consumers reported reading online reviews. This may not seem like an overwhelming amount until you realize that 2 out of every 3 people that call or come into your business have probably consulted your online reviews before making that decision. And this study was done in 2013.

Looking at Yelp alone, in 2013 they had roughly 40 million reviews since their launch in 2004. By the end of 2015 they had over 90 million. The popularity of online reviews has exponentially grown in only the past few years.

While I must admit, some reviews are downright comical, most consumers do not look up online business reviews just for entertainment. You must understand that by the time someone has started looking at reviews, they are now in the process of selecting a business to fulfill a need or want they have already identified, and they have usually narrowed the down (whether by preference, location, or some other deciding factor) the businesses they will consider to fulfill that need or want.

The critical thing to note is that the mental gap between reading a review and making a decision to purchase from a business is ridiculously small, and typically results in a yes/no decision almost immediately. So as a small business, your online reputation can directly influence your bottom line.

So how do online reviews affect consumers?

According to the same ZenDesk study, a whopping 90% of consumers reported being influenced by positive online reviews and 86% reported being influenced by negative online reviews.

The majority of consumers read, on average, only 6 reviews before forming an opinion of a business, and over 70% of consumers report that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Consumers are placing as much weight on reviews as they would personal referrals. And they trust them just as much as if it was a recommendation from their friends or family members.

Hopefully this puts into perspective just how important online reviews are in helping steer consumer purchasing decisions for the better or worse.

In the coming blogs, we will be discussing why reviews are a major aspect of your local SEO and how they affect it, how to gather more reviews in a business- and SEO-friendly way, and how to manage your online reputation.

SEO vs. PPC: Choosing a Strategy that Fits Your Marketing Goals

Last week we discussed what SEO and PPC were, and a bit about their differences. Even if you understand the basics, it may be hard to determine which is right for your marketing needs. So how do you pick between the two, or must you even choose? AJ Kumar, in an Entrepreuner article, suggests to consider these three questions when deciding whether SEO or PPC are right for your business:

  1. How large is your website advertising budget?
  2. How high are the CPCs in your industry?
  3. How competitive are the SERPs in your niche?

Let’s break these three questions down and explain why they matter.

1. How large is your website advertising budget?

As we discussed last week, SEO is your “free” option when it comes to generating traffic, whereas PPC is the “paid” option. So in choosing between SEO and PPC, you first need to decide what size advertising budget your business can support. With PPC campaigns, we suggest at minimum a $5.00 per day budget.

If you have a very minimal budget to commit to advertising, you’ll need to stick with free SEO methods. But if you have even a little capital to invest in PPC advertising, consider giving it a try because it offers a number of benefits, as AJ Kumar explains, including:

  • “Faster testing. Websites should focus on achieving conversion, whether it’s selling products, signing up email newsletter subscribers or some other action. That means actively testing website variables to improve conversion rates. These tests, however, require traffic to generate data, so you might want to purchase traffic through PPC advertising to get faster results.”
  • “Protection from SEO algorithm updates. One major weakness of SEO is that algorithms change from time to time. When that happens, sites that have been optimized in one way can lose rankings — and profits — practically overnight. But when you pay for traffic, you’re assured a steady stream of visitors, no matter what changes Google and the other search engines make.”

2. How high are the average CPCs in your industry?

While setting your budget, also take a look at what others in your industry are spending on CPC, if possible.

PPC platforms typically allow users to bid what they’re willing to pay for a single keyword click — a fee that’s referred to as “cost-per-click” (CPC). In Google Adwords, for example, broader keywords and keyword phrases, such as “hearing aids,” require a much higher bid than more narrow-focused keywords or keyword phrases, such as “audiologist Bala Cynwyd PA”

If you wish to run PPC campaigns for very broad keywords and phrases you will need a higher budget to have a successful campaign.

3. How competitive are the SERPs in your niche?

Your strategy will also depend on how competitive your search engine results pages (SERPs) are in your industry. For example, if you would like to rank #1 for “hearing aids” you’d be competing with Starkey, Mayo Clinic, NIDCD, and ASHA. But the more specific the niche (specialties and areas) the less competition for top SERP rankings.

In the most competitive industries, you may find that results pages for your target keywords are dominated by authority websites. They can be nearly impossible to displace without a significant investment of time and money. In such cases, it may ultimately make more sense to pay for traffic via PPC promotions.

But it’s almost never necessary to make an “either-or” choice between SEO and PPC. When combined, PPC and SEO are powerful tools. By asking yourself these three questions above, you can begin to determine the optimal mix of PPC and SEO for your website.

SEO vs. PPC: What Are They?

You have two options when it comes to boosting traffic to your site: SEO (or “Search Engine Optimization”) and PPC (or “Pay per Click”). But what do these actually mean? All jokes aside, you really should know what these acronyms mean for your digital marketing campaigns. Let’s dive into each.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Wikipedia defines SEO as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as ‘natural,’ ‘organic,’ or ‘earned’ results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.”

In plain English, SEO is the “free” or “organic” way to earn traffic to your website. SEO means employing different strategies to affect search engines’ algorithms in order to get a good ranking in their searches. The lower your ranking (ie. being #1 in search results) gets your website more visibility, which in turn means more visitors coming to your site. In order for SEO to work, you need to be in the top results of a search, because, let’s face it, when’s the last time you looked at the 10th result in Google, let alone the second page? In order to be in the top results for searches related to your business or website, your website must be optimized for SEO.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Wikipedia defines PPC (also known as cost per click or CPC) as “an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner or a host of website) when the ad is clicked. It is defined simply as “the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked.”

To break it down, essentially PPC is the “paid” option (notice “PAY” per click) to earn traffic to your website. Ads are set up to be shown on different publishers’ sites and displayed when a relevant keyword is searched or when the page has relevant content to the ad set. These campaigns are what you see as “sponsored ads” on sites like Google or Facebook. You pay each time a visitor clicks the ad to your site. If your ad is never clicked, you are never charged.

There is a big different between these two traffic strategies. Your marketing needs and budget determine which strategy or mix of these strategies is best suited to meet your marketing goals. We will discuss the difference between the two and pros and cons of each in the coming weeks.

How to Set Better Content Goals and Achieve Them

When I’m writing blogs every week, I learn new things all the time. While looking for an idea to write about this week, I stumbled upon a great article by Copyblogger about wide versus deep content. I’ve read a lot about creating content, but this article made me think about content in a whole new way. When you’re writing content, there should be many goals attached to it. Usually, you want to inform the reader about the topic you’re writing on, but what else are you trying to achieve? Gain your readers’ trust? Attract new readers? There are many things you can achieve when you create content. So how can wide or deep content help, and when should you use them? The following is a bit of Copyblogger’s article discussing these questions.

“Creating effective content is hard. I don’t want to deter you from crafting content for your business, but you need to set goals for everything you create.
Whether you produce content that is timely or evergreen, audio or text, knowing your goals will ensure you maximize the return on your time and resources invested in content marketing.
Each piece of content needs to be placed into one of two categories: wide or deep.
And each category has one specific goal:
• Wide content attracts new audience members.
• Deep content strengthens relationships with your existing audience members.
An effective content marketing strategy uses both wide and deep content, but an individual piece of content shouldn’t try to meet both goals.
Let’s explore each type of content goal.

Going Wide with your Content

When you create a piece of wide content, you attempt to reach the most readers, listeners, and customers as possible. In short, going wide is how to use content to find customers.
Wide content is not about immediate results. Instead, it positions your net to continually find new people who fill the top of your funnel.
You will notice a pattern with wide content: it’s perfect for repurposing. With a little planning and forethought, you will be able to repurpose wide content into different formats to reach a broader audience.

SEO Helps you Go Wide

The foundation of all wide content is built upon SEO, and Google is a top source of new traffic and visitors to websites.
Because of this, we need to consistently create useful and relevant content for our website visitors. It’s an excellent first step for all wide content pieces.
Our net spreads even further when people link to and share remarkable wide content.

Wide Content and Podcasting

With the recent rise in popularity of podcasting, content creators should utilize the reach of audio. Think of iTunes the same way you think of Google: it’s a massive search engine that helps your audience find you.
Starting a podcast does not have to be a daunting task. You just need the right platform.
In fact, podcasting is an excellent way to repurpose popular content from your website. If an article has been popular as a written piece, with minor alterations to the text, you may be sitting on a great podcast episode or two.
Cast your proven content far and wide, and craft audio content as you would any other content you publish on your website:
• Write engaging headlines for titles.
• Provide keyword-rich show notes.
• Keep a consistent publishing schedule.

Going Deep with your Content

When creating wide content, your goal is to reach as many potential readers, listeners, and customers as possible — but you shouldn’t try to reach everyone.
Always keep your focus on your perfect customer.
Going deep with your content nourishes and strengthens your relationships with those people you attracted with your wide content.
Deep content moves people from cold audience members to warm audience members, and then to customers. It’s like the second date and beyond with your audience.

How to Use Email to Go Deep

For years, people have been touting the death of email. Yet, to this day, email is the most powerful tool we have in our arsenal as content marketers.
There is no better way to deepen our relationships with our audience members than through access to their inboxes.
Email content, when done right, is powerful value exchange. You’re able to provide multiple points of value to your audience in exchange for their attention.
You could:
• Write a newsletter.
• Curate content your audience will love.
• Craft a useful email autoresponder series.
All deep content marketing strategies need to include email marketing.

Is your email marketing lacking? Here’s the easiest way to optimize your email marketing campaigns.

Can Social Media be Deep?

Social media is often viewed as a wide content vehicle, but when you think about it this way, you overlook its deepest value.
For example, think about why you follow someone on Twitter. Are you there to see an endless stream of promotion, or are you looking for a behind-the-scenes view?
Of course, social media can and should be used to promote your content, but without interesting personal insights mixed into it, your social media presence will flounder rather than flourish.

Clarify your Content Goals by Going Wide or Deep

As with everything in your business, crafting content without specific goals will diminish both the short-term and long-term benefits of the work you are putting in today.
As a bonus, there is often an overlap between content created to go wide and content created to go deep.
For example, your goal may be to go deep, but the same content may also help you find new audience members. Remember that this is a side benefit and shouldn’t be confused with your original goal.
Always focus on one type of goal for each piece of content you create.
Your goal is to either find new audience members or form deeper connections with existing audience members.”

How To Make Your Blog More Interesting

Something a lot of writers are worried about is boring their readers. With a blog about your line of work, this is an especially big concern. While researching this week’s topic, I found a fabulous article on Entrepreneur titled21 Ways to Make Your Boring Trade Blog Interesting. Now, I’m not trying to say that blogs about your business are boring, but when you are writing a blog for your potential or current customers, you may get excited about things they don’t or post about things they just don’t understand. Since Neil Patel talks about B2B blogging in this Entrepreneur article, I’ve gathered his ten most relevant points to help you make your blog more interesting for your customers.

Don’t understand why you need a blog for your business? Read our blog post Why You Should Start a Business Blog.

1. Be informed.

At the risk of sounding generic, I’m going to say it:  You’ve got to know what’s going on in your industry. What’s more, you’ve got to actually have experience in the industry in order to write authoritatively.

B2B blog readers are familiar with jargon, buzzwords, and industry best practices. In order to deliver something of quality, you must possess industry knowledge.

Whether you’re blogging in-house or outsourcing a professional writer, B2B bloggers should know both the industry and the audienceHere are the five most important things to be informed about.

  • What your audience does on a day-to-day basis and how they do it. What tasks will they perform when they walk into the office each day? What kind of projects will they work on? How are their minds working?
  • The greatest needs of your audience. What does your audience want? More to the point, how can you give it to them? Can you help them solve their problems by delivering helpful content?
  • The biggest challenges in the industry. Are there current obstacles in the industry? Threats to success? Painful conundrums?
  • Largest players in the industry and what they’re up to.Who are the existing thought leaders, big businesses, or authoritative writers?
  • Latest trends in the industry. Are there current events that have an impact on the industry? Government regulations? Lawsuits? Algorithm updates?

2. Write from the first person.

Writing from the first person means that you use the words “I” and “me.”

It’s totally fine to do so. You’re not breaking any grammatical rules or unwritten codes of blogging. First-person content is interesting content.

I’ve observed two related mistakes in B2B blogs:

  • The first mistake is nosism — using the word “we” instead of “I.” It’s clumsy for a business to write a blog. Individuals do the writing, not a corporation. Refer to yourself as yourself, not as a corporate entity.
  • The second mistake is third-person detachment. This is when a B2B blog refers to their business in the third person. For example, “Leaders at Awesome Biz have decided to write a blog. Awesome Biz has been in the widget industry for 14 years. The goal of Awesome Biz has been to…” You see what’s going on there? Third-person writing gets old, not to mention boring.

Try this style of writing:

  • “I want to tell you about an experience I had this week.”
  • “My co-workers and I recently faced a challenge.”
  • “I’m going to do something a little different in this article.”
  • “It took me four hours to write this article, but I think it’s worth it.”

Those types of opening lines are much more interesting, more engaging, and ultimately, more successful.

3. Don’t be afraid of being personable, as long as you’re professional.

Part of the power of the first person voice is that it’s personal. You need to use your personality to communicate.

Often, people mistakenly believe that B2B is interaction between businesses. But the real interaction is between people within those businesses. When you write your B2B blog, you’re writing for an audience of other people, not businesses.

Yes, you can be professional, but don’t be stiff, formal, or rigid. Be a person. Your best communication moments will come as you drop awkward formality and express yourself as a person.

4. Don’t always promote your stuff.

Another turnoff is the promotion blog. A blog is not an open channel to coerce people to buy your stuff. You can try that, but no one is going to really read and engage with it.

When you are constantly pushing your products, new versions, updates, improvements, the awesomeness of a cool new feature, or five reasons to get the platinum plan, you are boring.

It’s important to realize that the very presence of an interesting blog is a form of promotion — a much more appealing one. Sure, incorporate a call to action in each post, but don’t be shoving your products constantly before your audience.

5. Tell a story.

Storytelling is not just for kids or summer evening campfires. Storytelling is a tool that can make your blog move from boring to brilliant.

The “once upon a time” opener probably isn’t necessary. Little stories — a failed product launch, a midnight system reboot, a two-year slump — can be fascinating.

6. Be extremely clear.

If you are skilled at being clear, you are automatically interesting. I’m not talking about the kind of clarity required when you’re writing an operational guide or technical manual. I’m talking about the ability to make a clear and unmissable point.
Take the point above — No. 10 — as an example. It’s three words, but the point is obvious. Then, in just a few sentences below, I’m driving it home. Clarity is taking a point, communicating that point, and making it incredibly apparent what you’re trying to say.

When it comes to jargon, every industry has its acronyms, terms, and insider expressions. You can use them in your writing, just be sure to explain yourself if there’s a risk that your readers might not understand an acronym.

7. Share real-life examples.

In a point above, I suggested that you tell stories. An entire blog post can be a great story opportunity.

But every blog post can have real-life examples within it. These are mini stories. Already in this post, I’ve shared a few examples with you to prove my point.

Hopefully, these illustrations have made this article more interesting. When you write “let me illustrate this,” or “here’s an example,” you’re creating points of interest that your readers will love.

 

8. Journey into forbidden waters.

Want to be really, really interesting? Even viral? Talk about the stuff that no one else will talk about.

There are few things more magnetic than a controversy. Most public fights have spectators. Most public arguments have listeners. Most controversial blogs have readers and commenters.

If you want to be interesting, open the worm cans and discuss the uncomfortable topic. Tasteful restraint is always recommended, but you can still broach the subject.

9. Show emotion.

You are free to express any level of emotion in your blog. Remember that bit about humans interacting with humans that I mentioned?

When you say “It was hilarious” or “that was a frustrating experience,” you are

10. Show empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to someone else’s experiences or feelings. Empathy sounds a bit soft or emotional, and surely not part of a B2B blog, right?

Wrong. Empathy is an important ingredient of any successful blog. If you truly want to connect with your audience on a level of interest and engagement, you must be able to relate to them.

For example, you can sprinkle an empathetic line or two just about anywhere:

  • “I know what it’s like to stare at spreadsheets for eight hours on end.”
  • “Like almost everyone else in the industry, we had a devastating third quarter.”
  • “Remember when ABC Corp. unleashed that new product? I was amazed, and I think everyone else was, too.”

Statements like that — expressions of empathy — will really improve your relatability and amp up your interest level.

These ten tips will definitely help you attract and keep an audience of your customers and potential customers. Here are all 21 of Entrepreneur’s 21 Ways to Make You Boring Trade Blog Interesting, if you’re interested in all of Neil Patel’s tips. Good luck blogging!

10 Things That Are Important to Google

Here in no particular order, with the exception of #1… which is and shall always remain #1 are 10 things that are important to Google.

  1. The User.  The user is their reason for being…everything else is a distant second.  Don’t forget this rule, it’s what got Google where they are and they’re an intelligent group of people.  They understand what got them there and they will do everything in their power to make sure their success continues.
  2. Avoid Black Hat SEO.  Google wants to deliver what the user wants to find.  Google is constantly on the search for unethical websites practicing black hat SEO. The people who run Google are smarter than I am and probably smarter than you are too when it comes to the web and search (sorry, but you know it’s true).  Don’t waste your time trying to outsmart them and never hire someone who thinks they can either.
  3. Relevant Content.  Google likes lots of content.  But not just any content, the content has to be important to the user, it has to provide the user with information related to the reason for the visit to your site in the first place.
  4. Fresh Content.  Google believes that there is always more information out there.  Spiders (robots on the web) are very busy as they regularly crawl websites looking for information to keep Google’s database full of fresh information.  Because of the vast amount of data available, spiders have become very strategic in their crawling, visiting more frequently those sites with fresher information. If you feed the spiders more frequently, they’ll visit more often.
  5. Load Speed.  Make sure it doesn’t take forever for your site to load (lots of videos, graphics, etc.) will slow it down, causing the user to get frustrated and leave the site…remember Google likes the user, not you.
  6. Order. Google is a machine and machines like order.  Create a logical site structure…main page, categories; every page should be linked to within the structure of the site.
  7. Keyword Strategy.  Your keyword strategy, in fact the strategy should be key phrase strategy, not keyword.  One word is too general; your strategy should mimic the way the user (yes there’s that word again) is looking.
  8. Multiple Platforms. Make sure your site can be viewed correctly on multiple platforms (tablet, PC and mobile phone).  If someone tries to view your site from a device other than a PC and can’t see it, they’ll hit the back button.  Google hates when users hit the back button too quickly.  They know if the user does hit the back button too quickly, it’s because they didn’t find what they wanted to find…bad for the user and bad for Google.
  9. Active Social Presence.   Is your social presence active an integral part (linked) to all the other pieces of you online presence?  Adding fresh information to social channels not only attracts visitors and potential customers, it also reinforces to the search engines that your business cares about engaging with users and offering something of value.  Google is not interested in sending searchers to neglected, outdated, or empty social profiles.
  10. Well Designed Websites.  Once the user gets to your site, can they use it with having to think too much?  Here are just a few examples.
    • Is the navigation system clear, easy to find and use buttons with a minimal amount of pull down menus.
    • Is there depth to the site…can they find answers to multiple questions if they choose to dig deeper?
    • Can they find your key information (address and phone number) immediately?
    • Is it easy to figure out how to contact you?

These 10 items will make Google happy. Remember Google wants you to be found by the people who are genuinely searching for what you’re offering.  If you keep your focus on providing an honest site loaded with fresh, relevant content, avoid the latest SEO gimmicks promoted by individuals and companies who profess to able to outsmart Google (think about the odds of that happening) and ignore the sales pitch from every directory representative who comes through your door you’ll be just fine.

What Not to Do When Advertising Your Company

This is going to be a relatively short blog in the hopes that you read it.

This information is important. If you don’t follow this advice when promoting your company I can guarantee that it will cost you a loss of time, a loss of revenue and the loss of your sanity until your online identity is reclaimed.

  1. Never use a call source number that you don’t own, anywhere at anytime on anything you own.
  2. Never use a domain name that you don’t own. Don’t allow it to be used on your behalf in any promotional piece either printed or online…EVER.

Phone numbers and domain names have value…especially when they’re published online where they will stay forever.

These names and numbers can be and will be sold to your competitors and any optimization value attached to either the name or the number will transfer to the “new owner”.

For example, if a video on page one that you can longer access lists your company name with a domain name that isn’t yours, it’s possible to create a scenario where a click on the domain name redirects the potential patient to a competitors website.

Just remember it this way…

“If you promote it own it.”