It would be great if you could easily get lots of links to your site from influential sites like Wikipedia or the New York Times. And have the links be a range such as annapolisrailings-stairs.com, www.annapolisrailings-stairs.com, Annapolis Railings Stairs, metal fabrication, etc. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy, or everyone would do it. Then with everyone having great links, it would mean they weren’t that valuable. So be glad it isn’t easy. Continue reading “Finding Links for Your Site”
Different niches can be very different to rank in the same location depending on competition. For instance, real estate is going to be tough almost anywhere you want to rank for it. Used appliance stores selling used washers and dryers and other appliances don’t have that much competition and don’t seem to be that internet savvy, making it much easier to rank quickly. Continue reading “Evaluating Niches for Ease of Ranking”
Most companies know their business backwards and forwards. Many have a handle on marketing. But a great many don’t yet understand digital marketing. Here are a number of mistakes that companies make.
These problems could be solved if they would hire someone, either an outside consultant or a full time employee or a part timer to handle some or all of what is covered below. Internet marketing is so key in today’s world that it is amazing that so many companies do it so poorly. Continue reading “Online Mistakes Businesses Make”
You may be great at SEO, or social media, or citations or any of the other aspects that go into internet marketing and ranking and lead generation. But you need to do it for yourself as well as for other people or you won’t have any customers to do it for.
One way is to have a presence on social media, particularly on Facebook and Twitter. You can use programs like Hootsuite to post on a regular basis. You can create many posts and schedule the out into the future when you want them to post. That will help. You also want to take advantage of Edge Rank in Facebook. It looks at how many likes and comments a post is getting and if it is popular then it will put it out to a wider audience still. So if you can get a group of friends to like and comment on a post about your business, you can get a broader viewership than you normally would. It helps if there is something compelling in the post.
You can also choose a target sector and send out emails and just play the percentages. If the email is well written and eye catching, you will get some responses. It is a numbers game and you just need to have large enough numbers.
Another way you can get the word out to people is to create videos. Screencastomatic has a good service for creating videos. You can look for people with websites that need help and do a free evaluation, explaining that their site is not mobile friendly or they don’t have enough citations or back links, or their content isn’t robust enough or their phone number isn’t prominent enough or they make it too hard to find a form to fill out. Any or all of these. Create the video and send it to them in an email. Some will call back and others you will have to follow up with a phone call.
Ultimately you want most of your business to come from referrals because those are warm leads and much easier to close. But before you get to that point, will probably need to get on the phone and do some cold calling. Or drive to businesses and speak with owners one on one.
Another possibility is to hire a sales person on a straight commission basis. You don’t want just any salesperson, you want a superstar. Don’t put in an average salary target, put the top end in the ad. Putting an average income in an ad will attract an average salesperson. Putting a high income will attract a superstar. To find out a lot more about this, get the book The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. He goes into detail about how to attract the person you need.
Have your own site to attract business and do all the things that you would do for anyone else to get your website ranking and business coming in.
Whatever you choose, whether it is videos, emails, cold calling, the key is to be consistent and do it at a high enough level to get results. Also, the more you do it, the better you will get at it and your closing ratio will improve. Don’t be afraid to be pushy (in a nice way).
If you use Facebook, you may or may not have heard about Edge Rank. If you haven’t and you aren’t just using FB for fun but trying to promote a business, you may be interested to know more about edge rank.
Most people know that Google has algorithms that determine how a website ranks when someone does a search.There are many criteria that go into it. Well, Facebook has an algorithm that determines how widely a post is seen. You probably realize that not everyone you are friends with sees every post that you do. If Facebook put everything on your News feed that all your friends posted, you would be overwhelmed. So Facebook tries to figure out what you might be most interested in and puts that on the news feed.
When your friends do something on Facebook, it generates a potential News feed story. In Facebook jargon each one is called an Edge.
So, how does the algorithm work to determine which stories or Edges you see? There are 3 main factors:
- Affinity score
- Edge Weight
- Time decay factor
This is how connected you are to someone else. If you are friends with them, interact with them on a regular basis, have a lot of mutual friends, write regularly on their wall, you will have a high affinity score with that person and what you post is more likely to show up on their news feed. Different actions have different weights. The higher the effort involved and the more interest inherently shown, the more it will boost the score. So just viewing a post does nothing. Clicking on a post gives some score, liking it gives more, commenting on it still more and sharing is at the top.
Each Edge has a weight. If you just like something, your friends aren’t too likely to see that. If you comment on something, they are much more likely to see that. Facebook ranks different actions depending on what they think you will find most interesting. For instance, Facebook ranks videos and pictures in a post higher than a link. When Facebook adds a new feature they put the weight high for that so you see a lot of the new feature. Then they decrease it over time to a more normal level.
Time Decay Factor
Facebook is not going to be putting up things from a year ago. In other words, there is not a single edge rank score. It constantly changes and decays with time since Facebook is constantly looking for what is new to catch your interest.
It is impossible to determine an edge rank score and you would go crazy trying to since it is different for everyone you interact with. In fact, the edge rank between you and a friend is different than the rank between them and you. That is because you might look at their posts more than they do yours or a number of other reasons. However, you can get a feel for the effects of edge rank by seeing how many people you reach with a post. The posts with more comments and likes will be seen by more people since Facebook thinks that this must be an interesting conversation if a number of people are commenting on it.
A guy named Charles F… has come out with an ebook on internet marketing warfare. He is only something like 18 years old but according to him he has accomplished quite a bit in his life. He says that the ebook will show how to make war and win the war in internet marketing. But he admits that not all of it may be ethical. This gives us pause since that may be a winning strategy short term, but may not be the best strategy long term.
One thing he seems to be saying is that in certain down and dirty niches, people will do link attacks where they link spammy sites to competing sites. We agree with his statement that it doesn’t seem very ethical. Yet, at the same time, he has said he has been the subject of such attacks once he has made it into the top 20 for some keywords.
He says that many attacks don’t work because they look like attacks. Too much, too fast and Google discounts it. He said it needs to be done over more time and mixed in with other things so it looks like a normal SEO campaign that is incompetent or being stretched a bit. Use SEMRush to see what pages are ranking and what keywords they rank for. Then use ahrefs to see what link building has been done.
He also talks about doing links from guest blog posts. He gets content using Fiverr and Textbroker. Then getting some Viagra or pay day loan sites for links. And, if you have a penalized site, redirect it to a competitor. This guy is way too creative in thinking about how to mess with other people. He should be figuring out how to make his stuff better, not other people’s worse.
Then he talks about scraping content from competitor’s sites and creating other sites so it looks like there is duplicate content. He says that it should be that the original content is good and copies are penalized. But, he says that often Google will treat sites with better links as the original. So if you create a site and get links to it, then you could confuse the search engines about which was original.
Man, we are such goody two shoes that we didn’t even know this sort of stuff was going on. This is just the beginning of what he wrote. Our guess is that he also discusses doing bad reviews of other people among many other things. If he is doing this and said he has been the victim of it as well, it is probably more widespread than we would have ever guessed. C’est dommage.
Mobile Friendly – Yes or No?
Why should you care about whether your website is mobile friendly or not? Well, if you are spending any money on your website and on things to get leads from the internet then you should care. If you depend on your website for leads then you should definitely care. Why? There are two main reasons.
What is Mobile Friendly?
But first, what is mobile friendly? Before smart phones and tablets became so popular web designers didn’t have to worry about display formats. Everything was fairly standardized. When mobile phones came along, this changed. When you tried to look at a website on a mobile phone, you could only see a little bit of the page and had to scroll left and right to read it. Not much fun. So then developers learned to sense what type of screen the site was being viewed on and format it to fit so that it was easily readable.
Missing Half Your Audience
The first is that you are missing half your potential audience if you aren’t mobile friendly. Said another way, you could be getting twice as many leads if you were mobile friendly. Possibly even a lot more depending on what type of business you have. Why? First, over half of all internet searches are done on smart phones and tablets. So if you aren’t mobile friendly, people will just close your site and find one that is mobile friendly. Second, what is most of the searches are done on smart phones? You are missing most of your possible leads. Think about tow trucks. How many searches for tow trucks do you think are done on desk top computers? Probably not a large percentage.
Upsetting the Search Engines – Not Good!
The second reason to be mobile friendly is the search engines. Search engines like Google want their users to have a good experience and to like the websites that are found in the search. Websites that aren’t mobile friendly do not fit this criteria. So about a year ago, they decided to give a boost in ranking to websites that were mobile friendly and to push down in searches websites that were not mobile friendly. Considering that 75% of people never leave the first page of a search, this is a big problem for companies who do not have mobile friendly sites.
So, if your website isn’t mobile friendly, shame on you. Go get something done about it!
For many companies, spending money on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes a lot of sense. That is because almost no one uses a phone book anymore. The first place they go to look for something is the internet. If you don’t show up in their search, you don’t get the business.
A Website Is Not Enough
Creating a website is not enough. If you don’t do things to cause people to find your website, no one will ever see it. And a business that doesn’t do any marketing usually isn’t going to survive. Search Engine Optimization helps raise your website in the rankings so that people will find it when they search and you aren’t buried on page 22 when they do a search.
What if People Don’t Know They Need Your Product?
But, what if people aren’t searching for what you offer? You can have your website at the top of page one for your keywords, but if people aren’t searching for those keywords, you have wasted money on the search engine optimization.
For instance, you have a company that sells a range of goods from mugs to travel accessories to shower amenities such as items to hold shampoo and other items. You aren’t set up to sell to individuals. You sell to stores nationwide and you sell chain stores and also through buyers. They may find you by an internet search, but you will probably need to be more proactive in going to them instead of hoping that they might do an online search that finds you.
Another example would be a company that does cyber security for small to mid-size companies. If the companies don’t think they have a problem in that area, they won’t be searching for your services and therefore will not find you. Here again, you need other strategies besides just search engine optimization.
How to Appeal to More than 3%
Chet Holmes in The Ultimate Sales Machine points out that at any one time there are only 3% of the people who are actively looking for what your provide. Another 6 to 7% are open to what you provide, 30% are not thinking about it, 30% don’t think they need it and 30% know they have no interest in it.
So, how do you appeal to more than the 3%? By pitching information instead of your product or service. You could do this by advertising online to places where your target audience will be looking but not necessarily for your product. For instance you could offer a report on the 5 ways companies are vulnerable to cyber attacks that they aren’t aware of, or something of this nature. Make it educational, give suggestions on how to remedy and then put in some information about what you do.
You could also organize a meeting or even a conference around that same concept. It can’t be a sales pitch for your product. You need to provide information that is of value to them that leads them naturally to what you do or make. Similar information should be on the website to complement your other marketing efforts.
Multi-level Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing is very popular. It is used to sell vitamins, beauty products and many others as well. It generally requires face to face selling but some people use the internet to gain a down line.
Many people are attracted to the possibilities of large dollars to be made. Unfortunately, that is the exception and not the rule. Most people are not good at sales and aren’t aggressive enough and stick with it long enough to build a self sustaining downline. In fact a self sustaining downline is almost a myth because there is so much attrition. Other than a few companies that have been around for decades, most of the companies don’t last that long.
In fact one article claims that only around 50 MLM companies have lasted 10 years or longer. What happens is that when they have found as many suckers (I mean customers) as possible and have saturated the market, a new company gets started. Everyone likes to get in on the ground floor because that is where the money is made. The movers and shaker with big downlines get brought in and they bring as many of their prior downlines as possible and clean up. The people below them make a bit more for a while and them max out. So, on to the next company.
The problem is the math. It is not exactly a Ponzi scheme, but close enough. When you look at the compensation plan and figure out what it would take to make $100,000 per year and then look at the number of people you would need in your down line and how much they would need to buy, it is daunting. But, if you have any integrity, you want the people in your downline to succeed as well. This is where the problem with the math comes in. You discover that to have a number of your downline succeed as well, you start needing the entire population of the United States to sign up. It just isn’t sustainable.
One positive though is the comradery and the positive reinforcement that can help some people get out of a rut and succeed in life even if it isn’t at MLM. On the other hand, there are a lot of garages and basements full of unused product.
In terms of internet marketing, many companies require that you use the websites that they provide for you. You aren’t allowed to set up your own independent site. That makes it very difficult to use the internet effectively.
Sell the Knowledge, Not the Product
One person came up with a different solution which is typical of good internet marketing. Give information away for free to get people hooked and then upsell them. She now sells something called the Renegade Network Marketing System. She started out by putting up a blog with nutritional info. People liked it enough that they told friends and she started signing people up to her nutritional MLM company. But then she found out that people liked the product but couldn’t duplicate her on the business side.
So she decided to teach her system and sell that. She developed a free ebook to get people interested and then sold her system. So now she can sell to people in all the MLM companies. Pretty smart. Kind of like in the California gold rush. Do you know who really became wealthy during that time? It was some of the people with stores that sold jeans and shovels and things like that. They became some of the major corporations in California and a number still exist to this day.
It is ranking that isn’t paid for. There, that was an easy post. Done.
If you would like a more in depth explanation, keep reading. First, what is ranking? That means the position you are listed in when you do a search online. So if your website shows up at the top of the list on the first page, then you are ranking number one.
We will talk about a Google search since the majority of searches are done on Google. The top listing on the page does not have the number one ranking. If you notice, in a small yellow box, it says Ad. So that company has paid the highest amount of the advertisers on that page. There are 3 ads above the organic listings and another set of ads in a column on the right side of the page. The ads in the right column are less expensive to buy.
Not always, but generally there will also be the map listings. The map and the map listings move around somewhat. Sometimes it is between the top ads and the first organic listing and other times it is further down. The map used to have 7 marks on it and 7 listings below it. Now the map usually has more dots on it but only 3 listings below it. However, you can click on More at the bottom of the 3 to see others.
Finally we come to the organic listings. There are typically 10 per page. It is important to be on the first page because most people never look on the second page. In fact, most never look past the first 3 listings on the first page. Getting to be on the first page is the point of search engine optimization. It requires doing a number of different things which are full discussions in and of themselves. You need great, authoritative content and lots of it. You need other people to like your website and show it by linking to your website. It also helps if you are listed in the search engines, directories and any other citation sites you can possibly get listed on. You also need to have the website easily readable on mobile devices.
Search Engines use these criteria because they want the user experience to be as good as possible so people will keep coming back and doing searches. They don’t want to have a one page site that is poorly put together with lots of misspellings and lousy content to be the first thing someone sees. They have software that looks at a number of factors about each website. The better the website and the more relevant to the search, the higher it will move up in the rankings.
One last point. Ranking depends on a lot of things. You might do one search and a website will be number one. But with a different search it might be on page 2 or not be found at all. So ranking is very keyword specific.