I had to laugh when I received this image in an email from Network Solutions. As an Internet Marketing company we get inundated by offers to help “Get More Customers” and every other web marketing strategy under the sun. If you haven’t already found the “mistake” in this graphic, the correct term is “Guerrilla Marketing” not “Gorilla Marketing”. To be fair, I think they may have done this on purpose. Either way it’s pretty funny and you can also spell it with one less “r.”
For $76.95 per month they will submit your business information to 100s of online directories and search engines. Of course they have an automated system for doing this. They will also claim your Google+ Local Listing and then resubmit this info every month. So what do you get for this? Probably some improvement in your directory listing visibility. But directory listings are only a small part of the visibility puzzle. What you really want people to find when they are searching is your website. Here’s why, with one caveat first.
I’m assuming you have taken the time to make your website a welcoming place. It’s attractive and easy to navigate. Users can easily find the information they are looking for. There are clear calls to action on every page that help drive new leads and customers to your business. If this is not the case, you shouldn’t be doing any internet marketing. That’s right. Any money spent on internet marketing is a waste if you don’t have a great web presence. Period, no excuses.
Now, back to the visibility puzzle. We recommend a multi-level approach to visibility improvement. Here are some of the most effective options:
- Buy your way to the top with Google AdWords
- Improve your website structure and content with:
- Keyword rich content
- Proper title tags and page headings
- Use of ALT tags on images
- Weekly blog articles with keyword rich content
- Get links back to your site from other highly ranked websites
- Claim and fill in your Google+ Local listing
- Make the most of social media opportunities on Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites
After all this is done, you can submit your business info to the top directories. These will provide your business with important citations. One of the best sources of citations is directory listings. Do you need or even want to be in hundreds of directories? No. We recommend you check out this LINK to the best citation sources by city.
If you are serious about geting your website visible and productive, why not give us a call at 865-357-3600. Our approach looks at the whole picture, not just “Gorillas in the Mist”.
Many companies discontinued their Chamber of Commerce memberships as part of their austerity programs during the height of the recession. Now that the economy is slowly but surely on the mend, it’s a good time to take a fresh look at what joining your local chamber, in our case that’s The Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, can do to promote your business online. If you haven’t considered a Chamber of Commerce membership to help you find more clients or if you haven’t optimized your current Chamber of Commerce business listing, here are some helpful things you may want to consider.
Is a Chamber of Commerce Membership Right for You?
As an advertising agency that specializes in online advertising, our first focus is on the ability to generate affordable web traffic through any directory listing, link or membership. Many chambers offer annual memberships from $250.00 to $950.00 per year. That’s $12.00 to $79.00 per month for a simple to enhanced company listing in their business directory PLUS all the benefits of the various Chamber Events and networking. In the case of our Knoxville Chamber Membership, we can offer coupons on their site at iKnowKnoxville.com as well as take advantage of online advertising. At these price points, the Chamber of Commerce Membership is quite attractive, and we look forward to having it contribute to lead generation. Take a look at what each plan tier offers, and weigh the cost vs. potential benefit.
Optimizing Your Business Listing – Getting Started
In the case of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, their business directory is housed at iKnowKnoxville.com and is powered by http://www.360directories.com/. Many other chambers use this or similar software to provide their members control of their information and marketing through the chamber. Depending on your membership level, the platform provides various modules to create additional online content that can help with your business’s SEO (search engine optimization) and rankings.
Step 1: Define And Organize Your Message
One of the first things we did was optimize our business listing. While there is a WYSIWYG editor provided to manage content, if you know some HTML you can tweak your content exactly as you like it. The first step we took was to discuss the key content and how it would be divided up on the page. People that visit your business listing don’t want to read through big blocks of text. It’s important to break things up into attractive, edible bites. Start by creating a short introduction followed by some concise key points about what you do or what services you offer.
Step 2: Make It Easy To Find Out More About The Most Important Stuff – Add Links
Most chamber business listings don’t make it easy to get more info. Identify opportunities to link content in your listing to key pages on your website. If your website is in disrepair use this as a motivator to get it cleaned up. For example, if you provide catering services, make sure you embed links to your service list, your menu and pricing. If you are a manufacturer of specialty equipment link to your product page, your about us page, and any other relevant links you can think of.
Step 3: Spice Things Up With Compelling Images And Video
Text can really be a snooze fest. Pictures can spice your page up and are often fun and eye-catching. Avoid clip art or things that cheapen your page. Proudly display your logo, a picture of your team, or an image that helps explain a core concept. If possible, post informative videos that you have shared on your YouTube channel. HINT: Most every business can benefit from their own branded Youtube channel.
Step 4: Use All The Tools Available To You
If your membership allows you to offer coupons, make sure and use them. Explore any possible advertising opportunities and take advantage of offline meetings, seminars and events. Offer to speak at an event or hold a seminar. It’s important to maximize both offline and online tactics.
Step 5: Look At Your Metrics Every Month
When we login to our dashboard, we are presented with a summary of traffic. Generating traffic from your membership should be managed like any other viable traffic source. You have to routinely inspect what you expect and optimize, optimize, optimize. If you do, you will get more referrals from your listing over time.
A Chamber Membership has many benefits both offline and online. These few quick tips will help you get the best return from your online business listing and relationship with your local chamber. If you’d
like to check out how we optimized our chamber business listing you can view it HERE.
Being a Google AdWords Certified Partner, we often get asked to clean up accounts. Here are the top 10 pay per click (PPC) mistakes we see:
1. One Campaign – One Ad Group
One of the biggest mistakes we see is companies setting up one campaign with one ad group and throwing all keywords in the pot. You can have as many campaigns and ad groups as needed and should take advantage of this. Sell multiple products? Create an ad group for each. Sell to multiple cities? Create a campaign for each city.
2. Setting All Keywords to Broad Match
There are four types of keyword types in AdWords: broad, modified broad, phrase, and exact. Setting all keywords to broad and leaving them will cast your net too wide and not get you the targeted visitors you need. Modified broad match and phrase keyword types will tend to work best at getting you the targeted visitors you need. Exact match may be too limiting, but for some keywords it is necessary.
3. Too Many Keywords in an Ad Group
Ad groups should consist of 20-30 tightly related keywords. Selling animal toys? Put “dog toys” and “cat toys” in separate ad groups. Each ad group should have a theme. Examples could be: dog chew toys, cat climbing towers, etc. If you have 100 keywords in an ad group, see how these could be divided into 4 ad groups.
4. Targeting Mobile Devices Without a Mobile Website
The world is going mobile and so should your AdWords campaign. However, directing visitors to a website that is not optimized for mobile is a great way to have them immediately leave your site. Completing forms or purchases from a desktop website on a mobile phone is next to impossible. Make it easy for your customers to complete the action you need. No mobile site? Create click-to-call campaigns so they can call your office directly from their mobile phone.
5. Making Knee Jerk Changes
Account not performing how you expect? I know it is tough, but if it has been running less than two weeks, let it be. AdWords campaigns need time to run without changes being made. Two weeks would be the minimum when starting out. After two weeks, inspect and change. Small changes at a time.
6. Combining Search Network and Content Network in the Same Campaign
Quality score of keywords is a HUGE factor in how much you pay for a keyword and ranking. The main basis of quality score is click through rate. Since search network and content network create widely differing click through rates, make sure to separate these into separate campaigns. Also, with content network you can create display (graphic) ads. Take advantage of this opportunity.
7. Too Many Ads/Ad Refinement and Testing Candidates
The magic number is two. Run two ads per ad group. Once statistical significant data has been obtained, see which ad is performing best. Keep it. Delete the other ad. Create one new ad. Repeat.
8. Sending All Visitors to Your Homepage Instead of an Unique Landing Page.
Tightly relate your keyword to your ad and landing page. This is especially important if you are selling products. Sending visitors directly to your home page requires them to have to do the work – finding what they were looking for. Were they looking for “dog chew toys?” Take them to a search page that lists all the dog chew toys for sale.
9. Not Using Negative Keywords.
Advertising a community college? You probably don’t want people looking for community theater or college sports scores. Proper negative keywords are just as important as keywords. Creating negative keywords initially is great idea, but certainly after the account has been running. See which search terms are generating clicks. If those clicks aren’t what you expected, should one of the words (or the entire phrase) be a negative keyword? Add it.
10. Not Tracking Conversions.
If you don’t track conversions, how do you really know how your account is performing? A conversion can be a signup for a newsletter, a contact form completed, or a sale. Decide what a conversion to your business looks like and set up tracking. This will ultimately help in determine which keywords are worth more $$ and which keywords should be paused or deleted.
In conclusion, don’t plan to create your AdWords campaigns and forget about it. Weekly review and optimization is key to creating an AdWords account that brings the traffic your business is looking for. Finally, don’t expect too much too soon and don’t give up. This will take time and this will take effort, but ultimately the payoff will be worth it.
Ready to have experts look at your AdWords Campaigns? Give us a call at 865-357-3600.
When setting up an AdWords campaign, keywords are very important. You want to capture as many relevant clicks as possible while weeding out all irrelevant clicks. This is done through careful use of keyword match types and negative keywords.
Keyword Match Types
The match type you set is very important. There are four match types:
- Broad match
- Modified broad match
Let’s review how this would work. Let’s say I sell the pink pig shown on the right.
- Pink pig as a broad match would get every search term with pink or pig.
- +Pink +pig as a modified broad match would get every search term that had the words “pink” AND “pig” somewhere in the search.
- “Pink pig” as a phrase would get search terms where “pig” immediately follows “pink” and anything could be before or after it the two word phrase.
- [Pink pig] as an exact match would only show up when the user types “pink pig” exactly and nothing else.
We see so many clients who set all keywords to broad and leave it. This method could get you many clicks, but how many of them are actually searching for your product.
My two favorite match types are modified broad match and phrase match. Broad is way too broad and exact could be too strict. If a user typed “buy pink pig” and [pink pig] was an exact match, you could miss out on a potential customer.
Just as important as keywords and match types are negative keywords. We see so many people skip this step.
Since I sell PINK pigs, I would want all other colors listed as negatives: purple, green, etc. I don’t sell pink pig food, so I would list food as a negative. See where I am going with this?
Unless you are a recruiter hiring for jobs, you might want to list job, jobs, salary, salaries, career, and careers as negatives, because these words seem to always find a way of attaching themselves to all sorts of searches.
The goal with negative keywords is to prevent useless (and costly) clicks.
Luckily, Google AdWords shows you all the search phrases that yielded clicks. This is a great place to find negative keywords and why AdWords campaigns should be monitored weekly or monthly.
Do you currently utilize AdWords? Do you need some help with your existing campaign? Let us help. We are a Google AdWords Certified Partner and would love to discuss how we can help. Call me at 865-357-3600 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week we explained the accessibility section of our Free website analysis. Today, I am going to explain the next section of the website analysis: Content.
If you have read or studied anything at all on SEO, you have undoubtedly heard the adage “Content is King.” I don’t wholeheartedly agree that content is King (I see SEO as more of a democracy than a monarchy), but I will agree that it is definitely in the royal family.
In short, if you want a website that brings you more clients, you better have good content. Our content report takes into account how both search engines and visitors interact with your content by analyzing 5 factors:
- Keywords (are you using your keywords in the copy on your website — don’t overdo it)
- Spelling (both search engines and visitors will look unfavorably on a website that has misspellings)
- Amount of content (search engines and visitors like websites to be rich with information)
- Search engine results (when your pages appear in search results, can people understand what that page is about before they clickthrough to your website)
- Readability (is your copy written in a style that your average visitor will understand)
All of these items are extremely important to ranking higher in search engines and to converting your website visitors into new clients.
Do you want a report like this for your website? Request one on our FREE Report form. Just give us a bit of information and we will email you your comprehensive report. We also offer a one-hour phone consultation to help you understand the results and develop specific recommendations for improving your website.
Last week on the blog we discussed the FREE website analysis that we are offering business owners. For the next four weeks we will be touching on the 4 main areas that this website analysis covers: Accessibility, Content, Marketing, and Technology. Today we are discussing the area of Accessibility.
The accessibility summary measures how accessible the website is to search engines, people with disabilities, and users on mobile phones and other devices. Moreover, it is a reflection of how easy your content is to understand — do your headings help quickly guide people and search engines to the information they are looking for, is the content easily understood by your average visitor, etc.? The summary first offers a list of key points (both good and bad). Some questions to ask yourself about your website:
- Is your site fully W3C compliant? (is the code clean and supported by all major browsers)
- Do you use good link styles? (styling links in a way that allows people to both easily recognize links they have and haven’t clicked on makes your website easier to navigate)
- Are you using CSS for the layout? (keeping style out of your main code makes it easier for search engines to see your content)
- Is alt text used throughout the site? (this tells visually-impaired visitors and search engines the content of images)
- Is the writing easy is to understand? (the average reading level in the U.S. is 8th grade)
- Are headings defined? (headings help people and search engines know what a piece of content is about without having to read through it all)
In order to provide a summary score and key points, the report factors in 15 items which includes:
- Broken links
- Site Structure
- URL format
- And more…
You may be asking yourself why accessibility is important.
- Accessible websites can be used by more people. Do you really want to turn away potential business?
- The principles behind accessibility are similar to the principles required for having good SEO. This tends to ensure greater compatibility with all current (and future) web browsers.
- Accessible websites are easier for everyone to use, regardless of their device and disability.
- It’s the right thing to do. Simple as that.
Would you like this report for your website? Head over to our FREE REPORT form and give us a bit of information. We will then email you your comprehensive report. We also offer a one hour phone consultation to help you understand the results and develop specific recommendations for improving your website.
Firstview Online is proud to offer an absolutely free service designed to help business marketers and owners understand the strengths and weaknesses of their website. This powerful online reporting tool will analyze up to 100 web pages and help businesses better understand key factors affecting their website performance.
This detailed report provides a summary analysis of the five key areas noted below, along with up to 28 other factors that affect website performance.
- Overall – The overall score for this website.
- Accessibility – How accessible your website is to mobile and disabled users.
- Content – The quality and volume of content on your website.
- Marketing – How well this website is marketed online.
- Technology – How well designed and built the site is.
I truly believe that most businesses don’t have a clear understanding of how well or poorly their website is performing. This can make a huge difference in the success or failure of any marketing plan. Our free website analysis and report will provide the detailed information necessary to fully understand what’s working and what’s not.
Each free website analysis and report also includes up to a one hour telephone consultation designed to develop specific recommendations that can help increase website traffic.
We are pleased to say there are no strings attached to this offer. You can request your free website analysis HERE. This online report will be emailed to you after completion in an online interactive report format. Both summary and individual data is provided and users will have the opportunity to drill down on specific data points like search rankings, competitors, broken links, etc.
In today’s economy, anything that can save your business money AND get you more leads is a good thing. Or is it? Many companies are turning to Google’s AdWords Express online advertising. Sure, the setup of AdWords Express is a breeze. The client selects a business category, writes an ad, and determines their budget. AdWords Express manages where and when the ads will appear. The client selects no keywords and does no ongoing maintenance. Set it and forget it.
While this is super easy and cheaper than having an agency manage your AdWords campaigns, Express is not all it is cracked up to be. Google breaks many of their own best practices and there is nothing the client can do about it. Here are a few examples.
- Google recommends tightly formed ad groups with 20-30 keywords. A potential client’s AdWord Express ad group contained 176 keywords. With Google AdWords, we can manage the number of keywords in each ad group and create as many ad groups as needed.
- Best practice calls for 2 ads to be run against each other. See which one performs better, then change the other one. In an example we reviewed, AdWords Express had 1 ad per ad group. With Google Adwords, we can create two ads, run them against each other, and modify as needed.
- Desktop vs Mobile. Desktop search results shows 3 ads in the top position. Mobile only has room for 2. Best practice is to split desktop vs mobile targeting. AdWords Express targeted every device with an average position of 3. This means most of the mobile customers would not have been viewing the ad.
- Keyword match type. All keywords in AdWords Express are broad match. With regular AdWords, you can also use modified broad, phrase, and exact. Much more control over the keywords and bids.
- Negative keywords. A staple of Google AdWords is negative keywords – words you do NOT want to appear for. I add at least one negative keyword to our clients’ accounts each time I review them. Negative keywords cannot be set in AdWords Express. This means you could be showing up for search terms that are unrelated to your business.
While there is a cost to have a company manage your AdWords, you will get more control over how your money is spent and therefore get more targeted, qualified leads.
Do you currently utilize AdWords or AdWords Express? Are you considering using them? Let us help get you started. We are a Google AdWords Certified Partner and would love to discuss how we can help. Call me at 865-357-3600 or email me at email@example.com.
Here we are. Only 17 days left in 2012. The New Year will bring many resolutions, and if SEO is one of yours (and it should be if you’re serious about generating leads online), we have 3 easy SEO tips that you can use to get started on the road to search engine success. Make a commitment to SEO in 2013 with these simple, easy to implement tips.
Optimize Your Page Titles
Page titles are the most important onsite ranking factor. There is no excuse for not optimizing your page titles, because they are completely in your control and easy to fix. The way I optimize page titles is I pick the two most important keywords for the content of each core page (homepage, services pages, product pages, etc.) on a site and write the title like so: Keyword 1 | Keyword 2 | Brand/Business Name. For example, the title for our SEO page is Knoxville SEO Agency | Tennessee SEO | Firstview Online. I also stay under 70 characters on the title, so if your keyword phrases are particularly long, you may have to leave off the brand name and/or keyword 2.
Ensure Your Site Has a Canonical Redirect
I can’t stress enough how important this is, and it is probably one of the top issues we see. A canonical redirect is a redirect between the www version of your site and the non-www version. You need to pick one for your site and redirect the other. For instance, www.yoursite.com should redirect to yoursite.com or vice versa.
Check to see if you already have a canonical redirect by looking in the address bar of your browser while on your website. If the URL has www. in front delete it and press enter. If the URL doesn’t have www. in front of it, add it and press enter. Did the URL go back to how it was before you amended it? If not, you need to set up a canonical redirect. Otherwise, you have two versions of your homepage, which means you aren’t getting the full benefit of all your links and you have duplicate content.
I could tell you how to set up a canonical 301 redirect, but it has been discussed ad nauseum all over the Web, so rather than rehash it, I am including some useful links to help you do this. I will note, however, that I prefer setting up canonical redirects via the .htaccess file (you’ll understand when you read the links below).
Make a Commitment to Creating Consistent (and useful) Content
If there’s any mantra in the SEO world that has been used almost obsessively, it is “Content is King.” Many SEOs tire of hearing this oft-repeated phrase (me included), but it has lots of truth. You need to consistently create great content on your website (blogs, help sections, product reviews, etc.) for many reasons: content attracts links, search engines like to see fresh content, search engines like content-rich websites, visitors like content-rich websites that give them what they’re looking for, and it builds trust with potential clients visiting your website.
Make a resolution to create one content item per day, one per week, or whatever you think you can stick to. If you’re stuck on what kind of content to create, ask yourself how you can help your customers — what advice could you give them, what questions could you answer, what could you do to make their life easier?
If you will implement these 3 simple SEO tips in 2013, your search engine visibility will be on its way up. If we can help you get more leads and more clients online, contact us. We would be glad to help.
2013 is rapidly approaching. Many of you are probably thinking about a new fitness routine to change your body during the coming year. But how many of you are thinking about a new fitness routine for your website?
Most experts agree that a typical website’s life span is 2-3 years. When was the last time your website received an update/upgrade/refresh? 3 years ago? 5? More? If so, it is time for a change.
5 Reasons to Update Your Website
1. A fresh look for your business. Your business has probably evolved in the past few years. Why not your website? Time for a facelift, fresh graphics, and fresh content.
2. Technology is ever changing. New content management systems (CMS) are entering the arena as well as updated CMS. Did you know Joomla’s current version is 3? Many users are still on Joomla 1.5. New versions mean new features and often updated security.
3. Your competition is out performing you. Why not take the time and see what “the other guys” are doing and go above and beyond that? Does your competition list pricing on their site? Consider listing yours. Is your competition blogging? Consider adding one to your website.
4. Your website is not displaying correctly in all browsers. Internet Explorer is not the only browser around these days. Chrome, FireFox, and Safari are all popular browsers. Developing to one browser will hurt your visibility.
5. Do you have a mobile site? With the world going mobile (as predicted by The Who), your website should as well. Your website should function whether the user is visiting from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone.
The best looking website in the world is not going to buy you anything unless you pay attention to your search engine rankings. Check back next week when Derek discusses SEO for the New Year.