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”
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!
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”
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.
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.
What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization? It is the idea of doing things that will help get your website ranked and found when someone does a search for a product or service that your provide. Who cares? You should because it can mean a huge difference the number of leads and closes you have.
Like they say with the lottery, you have to play to win. Well, the first most basic thing you need is a website which many small businesses don’t have. If you don’t have a website, no one will find you on the internet. (There actually are a couple of ways but if you don’t have a website it makes the chance of your being found very unlikely.)
So you may say, great, I made it over that first hurdle, I have a website. But, how good is your website? But wait, before we get into that, let’s step back and take a look at the search engines for a second.
The biggest of the bunch of course is Google. Then you have Bing, Yahoo and others. They want people to come to them to search for what they want. If you do a search and you don’t find what you want, you might try some other search engine and not come back. So they have an incentive to give you the best results possible. How do they do that? They look for certain indicators.
The first and one of the most important is the website. How much content does it have and how pertinent is it. If your competitor has 20 pages and you have 2, the search engines will see your competitor as the better site. So you need lots of content, at least the same or more than your competitors. Then you need to use keywords and keyword phrases. These are words and phrases that people are likely to search for when they look for your product or service. You need to have these throughout the website. But not just randomly. They need to be used naturally in normal sentences and not just lists of keywords. The search engines downgrade you for that.
Pictures help your customers but not the search engines. They can read and evaluate text, but not pictures. Naming the pictures and captions helps some, but you need the text.
The next thing is citations. That is mentions of your website and its name, address and phone number. It is important that these are consistent across the citations. Citations are the equivalent of the phonebook for the internet. Just like TV has gotten lots of channels, the same with the phone book/citations. There is yellowpages.com, yelp.com and many more, some specialized for your industry. Some companies / websites have several hundred citations, but most have many fewer. Your goal is to have the same or more than your competitors.
Then the are the social media platforms. With Google my business, bing, yahoo, and others there is a way for businesses to get listed and verified. This greatly increases the chances of your business showing up on the map when a search is done. It also helps the website ranking.
Another key factor is links or backlinks. They are called backlinks because rather than your site linking out to someplace else, other websites link to your website. The more of these links the better as long as the links are from legitimate websites and not spam websites. Sometimes you pay for SEO services and they will point a lot of links at your site, but they will be from places selling mail order drugs, or viagra, or porn. These are not links the search engines will appreciate. It is also good to have powerful sites link to your site. One link from Wikipedia or NBC can outweigh 100 links from small websites that don’t rank well.
So in a way, the search engines are judging as if it was a popularity contest and also how hard you are trying. If you have spent the time or money or both to have a lot of content, then the site is likely of more interest to their searchers than a tiny website. If there are a lot of citations, a lot of people listing your company and website, it indicates that other people think you have something of value. Same with the backlinks. If people go to the trouble to link to your site, it is essentially a vote of confidence.
All of these factors matter in SEO and will make a difference in leads and sales which is really what is important.