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Episode 14 | Dominate the First Page of Google

By | Advanced SEO Techniques, Google+, Link Building, Local Search, Local SEO, Organic Search, Penguin, Podcast, Rankbrain, Search, SEO | No Comments

Episode 14 | Dominate the First Page of GoogleSEO Tear Down

This week I talked about dominating the first page of Google.  Have you ever googled something and discovered a number of listings back to the same site?  That’s Google dominance but how does a website owner dominate Google?

There are 3 areas of opportunity when it comes to the first page of Google.  At the very top is Google AdWords.  There are 4 spots there.  Capture one of those spots through advertising and you are on your way.  You have to create relevant, high quality ads to make this happen.

Second is Google Maps.  Set up your business on Google.com/mybusiness (I talked about this in a previous episode) and get reviews.  Show up in the 3 pack and you have accomplished step 2 of Google Dominance.

Finally you have the organic results.  The difference for organic results is you have an opportunity to rank more than once in the top 10.  I used my own results to make a case.  My website is first followed by LinkedIn, Facebook, Reciproty, Business 2 Community, Slideshare and other sites.  That means not only does my website rank on the first page but my social profiles do as well.  You can also have multiple pages on your site show up on the first page.

That’s Google Dominance!

We also analyzed a website for it’s SEO. This was our first episode using Twitter Live along with Huzza and Facebook Live.  Someone on Twitter asked that we analyze a chiropractic site live and of course I obliged.  Have a listen to see what opportunities exist for the site.

Episode 12 | Optimize Your Business for the Google 3 Pack

By | Advanced SEO Techniques, Google+, Local Search, Local SEO, Organic Search, Podcast, SEO, SEO Hack | No Comments

SEO Tear DownEpisode 12 | Optimize Your Business for the Google 3 Pack

How do you get your business in the Google 3 Pack, also known as Google Maps?  When you do manage to get your business listed how do you dominate the Google 3 Pack section of the Google Search Engine Results Page?

This week I talked about that very topic.  Adding real estate to the Google SERP by dominating the Google 3 Pack helps you dominate Google.  Here’s what you need to know to succeed on the Google 3 Pack.

First, the Google 3 Pack is managed by going to google.com/mybusiness.

Once you’ve created an account here are the items to ensure your success on Google Maps:

  • Thorough & Detailed Description including relevant long tail keywords
  • Profile Image, Logo and Cover Photo
  • Website URL
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • Address
  • Hours of Operation
  • Have Clients Review Your Business
  • Connect to YouTube and Upload Videos

Episode 7 | The Future of SEO in 2017

By | Advanced SEO Techniques, Google+, Local SEO, Organic Search, Podcast, Search, SEO | No Comments

the SEO Tear Down with Scott GombarEpisode 7 | The Future of SEO in 2017

2017 is rapidly approaching so it only seemed logical that it was time to discuss the near future of SEO and what business owners need to look out for.  SEO evolves all the time.  The days of keyword stuffing and adding your website URL to every website possible no matter the relevancy or quality are gone.  Shockingly some website owners…and SEOs, are still using these methods.

Here are the 7 areas that we discussed during this episode of the SEO Tear Down:

  1. The ImportanIce of Social Content (Sharing)
  2. Videos Rule the Roost
  3. Mobile Optimization Becomes Critical
  4. Voice Search Functionality
  5. Content Aggregation Becomes Bigger & Badder
  6. Mobile Apps Continue to Grow
  7. Local SEO Dominates Your World

 

I found this infographic to use as a discussion point.  Thank You, Caliber Marketing

7 SEO Trends for 2017

 

the SEO Tear Down with Scott Gombar

Episode 6 | 4 SEO Strategies to Beat Your Competition

By | Advanced SEO Techniques, Google+, Podcast, SEO | No Comments

the SEO Tear Down with Scott GombarThis week we discussed a blog post I found about the 5 Best Ways to Beat Your Competition Using SEO.  After reviewing the article I discovered they only listed 4 methods but I analyzed them and provided additional information.  Here is a short synopsis:

 

  1. Know Your Competition:  When it comes to SEO you should know what your competition is doing and stay ahead of the game.  If you fall asleep at the wheel it’s easy for a competitor to leapfrog you.  If you’re doing everything right and staying ahead of the game and staying informed then you really won’t have to worry about it but if you (or your SEO person) slips you may find yourself looking up.
  2. Content is King:  I’ve probably written about Content Being King at least a half dozen times in the last 2 years so it’s no secret.  What some SEO people don’t tell you is that content comes in several shapes and forms and you should do your best to use all of them.
  3. Monitor Backlinks:  If you listened to me over the last few weeks or read this blog post then you know this is not AS IMPORTANT as it used to be but you should still do your due diligence.  Penguin 4.0 addressed link and now you are much less likely to be penalized.
  4. Keyword Planning:  Yes keywords are still relevant but not in the way they were 5 years ago, or even 5 months ago.  Research different variations of your keywords and use several.  Don’t use the one keyword, one content method of keyword planning.

I also talked briefly about a new Google AdWord type of campaign that will be rolling out.  Soon you will be able to create Click to Text Ads.  I will create a video on that as soon as I am able to.

Watch & Learn.  Remember, if you want your website to be featured on the SEO Tear Down then sign up here.

Penguin 4.0 & What It Means To Your SEO Plan & Website Traffic

By | Advanced SEO Techniques, Google+, Search, SEO | One Comment

penguin 4-0 update and what it means to your SEOPenguin 4.0 Update to Google’s Search Algorithm

In case you haven’t heard yet Google is rolling out Penguin 4.0.  To you, that might not mean anything but to your website it might mean a heckuva lot.  I took to Facebook Live and Periscope to talk about it this week but I wanted to also share what the update to Google’s algorithm means to your SEO plan.

What is Penguin?

Penguin is an algorithm that focuses on back links.  Backlinks are links that point back to your website.  Penguin’s purpose was to ensure that backlinks were relevant, high quality and natural.  In December 2014 a lot of websites were severely penalized for having what Google deemed as spam back links.  Google told site owners that they would be able to recover if they made the necessary changes.  In other words, they would have to disavow low quality or spammy backlinks.

The problem is it took nearly two years for the next update.  Fast forward to September 2016 and Penguin 4.0 is being rolled out and site owners can finally recover from the penalties.  In reality, most site owners probably just built a new site.

How Does Penguin 4.0 Affect My SEO Plan?

There are several major changes to the Penguin Algorithm.  Here is a list of the changes and how your SEO may be impacted by the changes.

    1. Penguin is now part of Google’s Core Algorithm. What that means is updates will no longer take years.  In fact, updates to Penguin will be more frequent.  Updates will address gray hat back linking, aggressive backlinking and PBNs.  If Google detects some spammy way of circumventing a natural building of your back linking it will update its algorithm.  This means that penalties and recoveries will be much quicker.
    2. Low-quality backlinks will no longer penalize an entire site. This part of the update is a little confusing.  In true Google fashion, the statement is not very clear.   I stated on both Periscope and Facebook Live that you would still get penalized but will be able to recover much quicker.  After further reviewing the changes it appears that you will not get penalized for low-quality backlinks.  The links themselves will be devalued which means they will have little effect on your website ranking or traffic.
    3. You may still be penalized. If you are participating in obvious attempts to farm back links then you will likely still be penalized.  Aggressive, Grey Hat/Black Hat methods may still experience penalties from Google.

This is right from the Google Blog

Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site. 

How Does This Apply to My SEO Plan?

  1. Continue to use ethical methods of link building as part of your SEO Management. Some ways to create quality back links include:
        Sharing content on Social Media
        Guest blogging on relevant, high-quality sites
        Asking! Ask to add your link to a relevant site
        Quality directories for your industry and local
  2. Monitor traffic and keyword ranking
        If traffic takes a dip or your keyword rankings drop check your back links on the Google Search Console and use the Google Disavow tool to remove any low-quality links
        Check your back links every few months to ensure there are not a lot of low-quality links and disavow anything that looks spammy
  3. If a deal looks too good it probably is. Anyone claiming they can get you to page 1 for a 1 or 2-word keyword phrase in a few days is selling you a bill of goods.  To that point, anyone who claims they can get 100s of backlinks for $5 in a few days is not going to do a good job of ensuring they are high-quality backlinks that are relevant to what you do.

penguin 4.0 Google Algorithm UpdateGoogle has taken steps to make the challenge of building backlinks a little less daunting.  The fear of one or 2 low-quality backlinks can be put to rest now.  Continue to practice ethical SEO and your website traffic and your business revenue will continue to grow.

 

accelerated mobile pages Google AMP

Google AMP & It’s Impact on Your Website

By | Google+, Search, SEO | One Comment

Google Makes More Changes to Speed Up the Web

What Is Google AMP, and What is the Impact to Your Business Website?

My last blog post was about Google AdWords eliminating ads on the right side of your search page. Well Google has made another change to Google Search that will impact site owners. It’s called Google AMP.  AMP is short for accelerated mobile pages.  AMP is an open-source initiative that allows Google to show optimize pages that will load instantly from the Google search engine. Here’s what site owners need to know.

Google launched AMP in the last week or so. The idea is when you search for something on using the Google Search Engine, Google will show the accelerated mobile pages before they show any other pages on the Internet. This is good and bad news for most of us.  The good news is if you are prepared for and have taken the necessary steps to make sure that your web pages are amplified (get it AMPlified) and you verify that this is working then you will not move up the Google Search Results for some of the queries related to your website.  Conversely if you have not taken care of ensuring that your website is taking advantage of AMP then you reap the rewards.  

Standard Web Page vs AMP on Scott Gombar

Left side is this blog post without AMP. The right side is the same post with AMP.

From what I have gathered there is no plan to penalize websites that are not using Google AMP but if other sites do and yours does not then you may see your competitors leap frog over your site in the Google Search Results.

With that being said there’s a few things you should understand.  I’m going to try to keep this in in terms that are not very technical so that everybody can understand. If your web page comes up on a Google search as an accelerated mobile page and the user that performed the search clicks on the link it will not take them to your website.  It will actually take them to a version of your website that is now stored on Google servers. In the past if you searched for something on Google, you would click on it and be taken to an external website not on a Google server. With amp these pages are going to be stored on a Google server so that’s important to know. I’m still researching on how they plan to provide analytics for these pages so there will be more on that. I’m actually running amp now to see how things look and work as a result of using AMP.  There will be a follow up post to this one.

If your site is using WordPress (as my site is) then there’s good news. There is a plugin called AMP that you can install in Wordpress.  It will automatically add an extension for your blog posts however it will not add it to your web pages.  This means your  pages will not have the amp extension but your blog post will be able to be found on Google’s new search results with AMP.

So what is Google’s intention with Accelerated Mobile Pages?  It is simple really.  Google wants to speed up the internet for mobile devices.  If you have ever tried to load a large website on your mobile device you’ve probably noticed that some of them will take a while to load.  Even those sites that are optimized for mobile may take a little while to load.  AMP basically strips down your webpages removing code that will slow down your web pages and provides an optimized link to the content without all the extra stuff.  As an example when I post blog entry  there will be an AMP version of this post on my website and if you type / amp end of the URL you will see that version of the web page.  I mentioned in blog post a while back that Google’s next step after their algorithm update that essentially made it a priority to make your website mobile friendly that they’re next algorithm update would involve the speed of your website.  If you have unnecessary things, for example you’re using several different analytics providers that means you have JavaScript code for all the different analytics providers. You’re going to want to try to eliminate some of that because Google is trying to speed up the web. Some steps you can take include:

  • create optimized images
  • remove JavaScript that you don’t need
  • make sure your code is compliant

accelerated mobile pages Google AMPTo get a complete list of the necessary steps to speed up your specific website you can log into Google Search Console.  There you can get pointers on how to speed up your website and take the necessary steps to do so.  If you feel the actions needed to speed up your site are above your knowledge of web development I would strongly encourage you to hire someone to take care of the items needed.  I did say almost a year ago that Google’s next algorithm major algorithm update would have to do with the speed at which a website loads and now you’re  starting to see signs of that with the accelerated mobile project and I anticipate more coming down in the future.  It’s probably best to get started on removing unused or irrelevant items from your website now.  After all, it will provided a better user experience and ultimately that is what Google is trying to accomplish.

That’s all I have for you on this blog post on AMP.  There has been some information floating around the internet over the last week or so.  I shared some other blog posts on AMP, just check out my Twitter (@scottgombar). I think it’s critical that you understand the plan is to speed up the internet, speedup how websites load on mobile devices and that’s really the important thing to understand.  I know it can be a hassle whenever a major Google update is released.  Now you have to go through and make sure your website is compliant.  Just remember it is about the user experience.  In this case Google is looking for ways to have content load “instantly” on mobile devices.  If you made the change over to a mobile friendly site last year (or if you have been mobile friendly all along) then this update will be an easy one.   If you have any questions/comments 203-806-0736 or info@scottgombar.com.

Google Search Results Explained

By | Google Plus, Google+, Organic Search | No Comments

I speak with a lot of people who have a hard time understanding the results of a Google search.  The Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) can be confusing to someone who is not familiar with Google’s logic.  One client in particular insisted he was showing up as number 7 on the search results when in reality he was showing up as number 2.  I explained to him that the first few results are actually ads.

I decided to create this post to help everyone gain a better comprehension of how to rank higher on the different sections of a Google search.  It’s not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.  The keys are diligence, testing, monitoring and understanding..or just hire me!

Google Places for Business

The first image below the listings for Google Business.  If you have not claimed your Google Business listing I strongly encourage you to do so to prevent inaccuracies in contact and description information.  These results typically show up below the second or third entry of the organic search results.  So if you’re showing up 4th on the organic results it may appear that you are further down because of Google Business.    This is another reason to ensure that your Google Business information is accurate.

Google is going through some changes with these listings.  The plan is to incorporate Google+ with Google Places and as of this writing it seems as though they are pretty close to accomplishing that.  Some indicators are there if you set up a Google+ Page today.

Google Plus Listings

Google Search Results

The next screen shot I have has 3 distinct areas.

The Blue section is Google Adwords.  These are listings that the business is paying to have placed on Google Search Results, and possibly partner sites.    Typically there are 2 or 3 ads at the top of the page and 5 to 7 on the right side of the page but it depends on the search query.

Adwords are a great way to generate traffic, especially for new websites.  Imagine having your business listed in the ads, and in the organic results.  That would increase your credibility and potential clicks by 100% among users of Google.

Adwords uses a bidding system to determine how much your ads will cost.  Using appropriate keywords and good ad copy will decrease your cost per bid.  Careful research is critical to a successful campaign.

The Red section are Google Organic search results.  The people using Google to search for things almost never go past the first page.  In fact 98% of Google users do not go past the first page.  While it’s impossible to rank for every keyword for most businesses you can rank for your most popular keywords.

You will want to research what keywords your business should be found with.  When I created this blog I used CT Plumber as an example.  I didn’t just use Plumber.   Google does narrow your search down based on your IP address but searching just plumber turns up sites like Wikepedia, BBB and List Directories dedicated to plumbers.   Broad keywords usually mean more competition which makes it tougher to rank at the top.  This is also true for Adwords although Adwords factors in ad copy.

The Green section is a map which places a peg with a letter in it.  The peg references a Google Business listing from a list similar to the one above.  Having an accurate listing is very important to your clients.  Potential clients do not like to be inconvenienced and will likely go elsewhere if you’re not where Google thinks you are.

GoogleSearchResults

 

Hopefully that clears up any confusion for those of you using Google.  If you have any questions, or want to move your business up on Google feel free to contact me or call 203-806-0736.

Have any feedback?  I’d love to hear it.

7 Steps to Grow Your Following Responsibly on Social Media

By | Facebook, Facebook Pages, Google Plus, Google+, Inbound Marketing, Internet Marketing, Social Business, Social Listening, Social Media, Twitter | No Comments

Social Media is not a Popularity Contest

Popularity Contest-Not for Social MediaIf you want 2500 followers on Twitter or Instagram tomorrow I can help you for just $39.  Guess what, it won’t help your business at all!  If you think having a large number of followers is the end game on any social media platform you are sorely mistaken.  Even worse, if you have a “Social Media Expert” telling you to do this you had better run far away.

You might be wondering why I bring this up now.  I have spoken with business owners who were approached by the so called experts who tell them I will get you this many followers within this much time.  I have spoken with business owners who have taken these so called experts up on their offer.  At the end of the day the business owner walks away with a sour taste in their mouth.  Because of this the business owners often swear off social media all together.

Then when I have a conversation with them regarding a social media marketing plan the business owner is not open to the discussion at all.  I spent over a month and multiple conversations with a small business owner before they would even listen to a plan of action and why their first so called expert did not work out.   After about 5 weeks and at least 4 conversations I finally convinced them to let me show them the power of a properly run social media marketing plan.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem EARNING a clients business.  In fact I encourage all small businesses to use this model.  Taking the time to explain how social media can benefit someone who understands what social media is should not be part of earning the business.  Look at any blog and you will see the power.

What You Should Not Do on Social Media

Let’s start with very basic rules about what you should avoid like the plague.

1.  Buy Followers:  I already stated one that really gets my blood boiling.  Alright, maybe not that serious but you get the idea.   Simply paying money to gain thousands of followers will only improve someone else’s bank account.

There are networks of people/accounts that serve this single purpose.  You may have a bloated number of followers now but they will not engage with your conversation and will not purchase from you.  They are just a number to your profile page, and nothing more.

But hey, that’s cool…you’re popular now, right?

2.  Sell, Sell, Sell:  We’ve all been the victim of the pushy salesmen at the used car lot or the electronics super store.  After you’re done you need a shower because you feel so filthy.  Don’t be that person on social media.  Follow the 80:20 rule or better.  I almost never sell on social media and usually recommend that businesses do the same.  You will not build a rapport with your followers (if you used social media correctly your followers are all potential clients) using this tactic.

3.  Ignore Your Social Media:  Today people are very savvy when it comes to looking for a product or service.  Speaking from personal experience if I am looking for something I will research it first.  If I look for your business on the internet and there is little to no current information and your Facebook page is a wasteland with tumbleweeds floating around I will probably move on to the next business.

4.  Let your nephew’s best friend’s girlfriend run your social media campaign:  Do I really need to explain this?  You need experts, and you get what you paid for.  What would you tell someone who has their nephew’s best friend’s girlfriend changing their brakes?

5.  Bury Posts in Hash-tags:  #ItJustLooksChildishToMostSoIWontSayAnyThingFurtherAboutIt

What You Should Do on Social Media

1.  Target Followers by Demographics:  It’s not hard, really.  Target followers who are interested in what you are offering and are relevant to your business.  For example, I look for small to medium business owners in CT.  On some social media platforms you can even target by income level or net worth.  Why just blanket the entire population if it’s not going to help you grow your brand or business?

2.  Use Ads (Wisely):  It’s OK to use ads on social media.  In fact I encourage it.  Again, make sure that your ads are highly targeted.  Think about who your ideal customer is.  Not everyone wants what you are offering.  Ads will cost you a lot less if you focus on those that would be interested in your product and have the purchasing power to turn interest into a conversion.

3.  Create Social Conversations:  I always hear “I tried Facebook, posted a feel promotions and no one bought anything“.  Well why would they?  As I said earlier social media is about building a relationship, earning your audiences trust.  That’s how you’re going to get them to purchase from you.  You have to participate in conversations and create your own conversations.  Figure out how to get your audiences attention and then hold it.  Do they want to know more about what you do?  Do they understand how your product or service will benefit them?  You can even have conversations about stuff not even related to your business offering.

I sprinkle in personal stuff like pictures of my kids or rooting for local sports teams that I am a fan of, even the weather.  Let me tell you it’s a scorcher today in Connecticut..thank God for Central AC.   It’s OK to partake in conversations that have nothing to do with why you are on social media to begin with.

4.  Share your blog:  Ultimately you want people to visit your website.  Your website is your virtual brick and mortar store, your yellow pages ad and so much more.  It’s where your business starts and ends.  If you are using your Facebook page as your website, shame on you.

Your website will move up on the major search engines if you have relevant and fresh content.  The best way to ensure this is with a blog.  You should blog about different aspects of your business and your products or services.  You can post how to’s, videos and much, much more to generate unique and timely content that will help you move up in search rankings.

Don’t believe me?  Google “CT Twitter Expert” and look who is number 2 after I posted the Ask the Expert Call to Your YouTube and my site.

5.  Help Others with Questions:  You can LISTEN on social networks.  When someone needs help or has a question you can help them.  I know some people are thinking why would I give something that I normally charge for for free?  You have to think big picture.  That little piece of advice you give today just might generate bigger rewards tomorrow.  Even if it doesn’t, there are others watching.

I had to run to the grocery store to get chicken nuggets for my son while I was attempting to write this blog post.  While I was in the store a man approached me and asked for $2.  I don’t know what he wanted that $2 for and I will never know.  I normally don’t have cash on me but today I did, I had $7.  I could have given him the $2 but instead I gave him all $7.  Did it really cost me anything besides the $7?  I don’t believe so.  Will I be rewarded for this?  I don’t know but it certainly can’t hurt.  The point is if you’re not willing to give then you will never receive.  It’s OK to give some help with no expectations of return.

6.  Use Hash-tags in the Conversation:  I wrote earlier that hash-tag overload is a big no no.  Hash-tags are OK though.  A typical post on any social media platform from me might look like this:

5 Ways to Jump Start Your #ContentMarketing Program Today.  Learn more now!  

A few things to point out.

  • The hash-tag is part of the conversation and is legible
  • The CTA (Call To Action) is direct without making the reader believe they will have to Read More
  • By titling it 5 Ways, I also grab the audiences attention.  Readers love numbers and always think-oh, 5 steps to get going right now..I’m in.
  • I would also include an image..see next point

7.  Use Images and Videos:  A picture is worth a thousand words.  You know it, you heard it before and you heard it again.  Use pictures, audio and videos whenever possible.   I include a picture on almost every single post on Facebook and Google+, and probably about 50% of the time on Twitter.   Just don’t use copyright protected images or videos.

Stop The Madness

business woman shouting to a phone

Alright Connecticut business owners, there you have it.  Stop trying to buy and/or cheat your way to the top, it will not work.  At one time these not so ethical methods might have worked but today it’s more than obvious to anyone with some knowledge of social media what you are doing.

Some of the don’t dos above will quickly turn off your audience.  While other methods will gain nothing for your hard earned money.  So wow bother with any of them?  Stop buying your audience and start learning how to earn an audience, or call/email me.

 

 

What is Inbound Marketing?

By | Facebook, Google Plus, Google+, Inbound Marketing, Internet Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

I often see people offer a definition of Inbound Marketing that is not very accurate.  I have even seen blog posts that state Inbound Marketing is dead, and that what I do is actually Outbound Marketing.  I would have to disagree.

CT Inbound Marketing

The reason why some believe it is Outbound Marketing is because of the methods used to generate leads.  You see, typically I use a combination of methods that include posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and other social media outlets, blog posts, search engine optimization and online advertising.   All of these activities would be considered outbound marketing.

Traditional Marketing Efforts

Let me see if I can explain using a different method.  A large corporation that sells products or services typically has 2 sales teams.  They have an inbound sales team and an outbound sales team.

The inbound sales team has it relatively easy.  They field calls from potential clients who are already looking to purchase the product or service that the company is offering.  All the inbound sales rep has to do is take the order and possibly up-sell.  The outbound sales rep (sometimes door to door sales) is essentially cold calling.  They are trying to produce something out of nothing in reality.

What both groups have in common is a marketing team who is trying to develop brand and offering awareness.  The marketing team’s job is to make you and I aware that the company and what they are selling exists.  Traditionally they would use advertising through television, radio and magazines/newspapers.  The marketers really help the inbound sales team more so than the outbound sales team.  Well fast forward a few years and we have a new form of marketing.

Connecticut Inbound Marketing Expert

What I do is use the formula I mentioned early, although that formula is a bit simplified.  Using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and a blog I can target people who are already interested in the product or service that a company has to offer.  In fact the targeting is so specific that most people are ready to buy when I get them to your online presence (which should be a website).

I also optimize your site (repeatedly) to get the most traffic possible, and the most interaction possible.  Getting a website to the top of Google, Bing and Yahoo is only part of the battle.  Your site also has to be ready to convert the visitor once they do come to your site.   It’s not enough to have a static page that does not engage the customer.

Finally, we may include online advertising on either social media, Google, Bing and Yahoo or a combination of social media and search engine advertising.  This method is used sparingly by me, usually more so in the early stages of a campaign.

If you want to play with the big boys you have to be prepared to put in some work.  Having an active presence on Social Media, maintaining a blog and constantly re-evaluating your website for opportunities are very time consuming but in today’s economy people are more likely to get information using the internet than any other resource.

This is a very scaled down overview of Inbound Marketing.

So Why Call It Inbound Marketing

It’s simple..all of those outbound activities serve one purpose.  The primary goal is to generate inbound traffic, and conversions.  It is the economy of the internet now.  People do not trust one sided TV or Radio commercials anymore.  And even if they showed any interest chances are they will take to the internet to find out more.  What happens if they can’t find you?  Even worse, what happens if they find your competitor first?   Can you afford that, especially after you paid all that money for the Radio or TV ad?

Inbound Marketing Funnel

This image gives more detail, some things I did not really touch on in this post including calls to action and landing pages.  Something you can see I obviously do on this site and even on my Facebook page and Twitter Account.   I can’t give away all my secrets now can I?

If you are looking to find out more about what I do just fill out the form at the bottom of the website.  If you want to see how your website performs against your competition then you might be interested in my Free Inbound Marketing Audit.

Facebook and Google Stomping Out SPAM

By | Facebook, Google+ | One Comment

Facebook Declares War on Spam

Facebook recently announced on their News Blog that they were going to take steps to clean up the news feed.   Of course Google has waged war on spam for the last couple of years.  So what does that mean to you and marketing efforts?  Well, let’s take a look.

Facebook

Connecticut Facebook Expert

On April 10th Facebook announced that they would make a series of changes to eliminate what their users considered to be spammy.   Here’s what Facebook is planning to do to implement those changes.

  1. Eliminate Like Baiting-You know those pictures that circulate news feeds that ask people to like the picture if you agree with it, comment if you disagree?  Well Facebook’s users have spoken up and have stated they do not like (no pun intended) these types of posts.  What’s really sad is that I have personally seen marketers using this tactic, marketers who should have learned their lesson from Google.Like Baiting from the Facebook News FeedFacebook’s definition on their news feed is “Like-baiting” is when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive.  If your marketer (or if you are a marketer) is doing this or has done this in the past you will want to discourage it going forward.  Facebook is taking steps to make these types of posts less prominent than stories/posts that are more relevant to the users.  Let’s just step back for a minute though.  If a marketer has actually used this tactic it just looks cheap.  It’s almost like putting extremely large and bright neon flashing lights on a store front just to get passerby’s attention.
  2. Spammy Links-I am pretty sure the word spammy will get added to the dictionary soon (if it hasn’t already).  A spammy link is one that uses misleading content to get Facebook users to click through to a website that contains mostly ads.   Often a poster will claim that the link will go to a photo album but in reality it links to a website dominated by ads.  You have probably seen the posts that have a very attractive woman wearing barely any clothes and suggests you will see more by clicking on the link?  Well sometimes those are malicious in nature but other times they may lead to advertising on an external website.  Facebook has already tested this, and a positive result is that they see a 5% increase in users clicking through to legitimate content.  That means that marketers who do things the right way can take solace in the fact that their content has a better chance of being interacted with now.
  3.  Frequently Circulated Content-Content that is repeatedly posted or uploaded (Photos and Videos) falls under this category.  Facebook users have let it be known that they do not appreciate this type of behavior.   Facebook users have said this content is less relevant and as a result Facebook is taking steps to de-emphasize content that is uploaded in this manner.  Now I want to be clear with this.  That does not mean a photo or video that was uploaded once, but circulated often by other Facebook users will be impacted.

Facebook Bottom Line

Most page owners will not be impacted by the changes that Facebook is implementing, so long as they are not using these spam like methods to get their content to the Facebook public.   If you are unsure of whether or not your page will be impacted give me a shout, I will take a look at it and let you know.

Google

Google has taken steps to reduce spam like behavior over the last few years.  Several updates to Google’s search algorithm have led some website owners and marketers (so called SEO experts) scrambling to find out why their search results have decreased dramatically.  So what did Google change?

Connecticut Google Expert

 

  1. Link Farms-Matt Cutts,  Google’s chief spam fighter has declared war on link farms.  What is a link farm?  It’s someone who offers to submit your website to a bunch of directories and websites for a fee (not to be confused with local directory submission).   Most of the sites that your website is submitted to by these link farms are considered spammy by Google.  As a result your website will suffer when it comes to Google Search Results.Google has created the disavow tool to help you remove spam links pointing to your website.   If you want to ensure that your site is not being affected by this you should absolutely use the disavow tool to check and correct.  Be careful to follow directions with this tool.  It should be used with caution, if used improperly it could hurt your search results even further.
  2. Duplicate Content-Google also recognizes duplicate content on your site as spam.  You should take every precaution possible to ensure that your site does not have duplicate pages.  I have personally tested this to see what would happen.  On another site I created 2 pages with almost identical content, only changing a few words.  Neither page ever showed up on Google Search Results for keywords that are not very competitive.
  3. Keyword Stuffing-Keyword stuffing is the act of inflating the usage of keywords on your web pages to impact the search results on Google.  Google’s algorithm recognizes this and will penalize your site for this behavior.  The content of your site should flow naturally and be readable to humans.  If it is not appealing to a person then Google will likely consider the over usage of keywords as spam.  One example of this is adding a list of all the towns in your area to your website.  I have seen marketers and businesses use this tactic to skew search results for towns they don’t necessarily service.  In fact I have seen sites that make the town list invisible to the human eye as a tactic.  Be warned, Google will penalize this.
  4. Copied (Stolen) Content-If you are copying content from someone else’s site and claiming it as yours you will be severely penalized by Google.  In fact Google has even instituted a tool to help make you the content owner (authority) of any materials on your site, called Google Authorship.    Setting up Google Authorship tells Google you own the content that is created on your site, and if anyone uses it without crediting you that site may be negatively impacted in the search results.  If you are going to use someone else’s content make sure you get permission and make sure you credit them for it.

Don’t Do It

It’s actually really simple, if it looks like spam it probably is.  If you are doing something on Facebook, Google or anywhere else on the internet that would annoy you then don’t do it.  It’s just common sense.  Forget about the fact that spamming people can cause your content to drift away into a cyberspace wasteland.  You’re really just being an annoying jerk who will just end up turning off even the most loyal of your clients.  You’re like the extremely pushy and overly aggressive used car salesmen.  Just don’t do it.

Don't Do It

 

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