I need better search engine results

Search engine technology is forever combating fraudulent indexing.  Since the acceptance of online advertising, and its revenue, impression and click thru payments, less than respectable website owners have pulled every trick on the book in an effort to make you click on a link that would load a page with 50 ads on it.  Over time, those impressions add up.

As search technology matured, the deceptive practices had to find new ways to generate click interest.  CLICK BAIT Advertising began.  These types of ad sites often place small, inexpensive ads on Facebook with lead in lines like “You won’t believe what they found when they opened….” or “Horrific discovery found in this popular fast food chains…..”    Interest is piqued, users click and then you are hand fed a sentence at a time, and are required to hit the NEXT button across 10-50 pages.  When you step back and look at each page, its loaded with 5-10-20-50 ads per page… Its all designed to generate revenue with a little help from people who can’t resist temptation.

Search technologies are challenging, dynamic and is an ever changing environment in which to manage.

Long gone are the days where you could submit your business to search engines and enter Keywords in  meta tags and reasonably expect decent search results.  You could once search for the White House and end up at a porn site.  It’s been a cat and mouse chase since.

Today, its a fairly complex verification process at the indexing/SEO level and quality search ranking has as much to do about cash as it does a properly optimized website.

There are some remnants of the old submission service in a few places. Google will verify your business and you can submit a business listing to yahoo but neither free service ranks your site for little more than a business name, city match nor does it rank you above the whole plethora of “paid for” ad word word type submissions that the big guys with serious cash get priority over.

Website SEO (search engine optimization),  is now a very complex rating system based on pages, external links, internal links, word counts, etc..  They look at keywords a matching process with page content words.  If  the words “Handcrafted” and “candles” are also repeated frequently across many pages of your site, your site will be indexed with those words.

Common keywords like “handcrafted candles” are also ad words company can purchase.  When they do, their websites are ranked before your, their paid “AD” appears at the top even when city/state are added to the search.  IE:  “handcrafted candles in Altoona PA”

As with any business model that is maturing, internet search systems are all about maximizing revenues by adding specialty services to the mix like purchasing ad keywords, guaranteeing those companies a higher ranking than ones who don’t pay.  You either pay to play buying ad words or you may need to create lots of content at your site, using the keywords you want indexed by, frequently on every page of the site.  Updates and visitor interest are also newer items being tracked.

There are search submission services like Yelp who will charge companies $500 a yr to submit validated details about your business across several search technologies. The service assists in ranking your business higher in the search results in “local business” searches. the keyword here is local searches… (Near me).

It is an inexpensive advertising model for certain types of local businesses, but it may be money well spent advertising in other places, like social media.

You can can read more about brand advertising on social media here.

I want to promote my brand on social media and sell stuff online


Social media platforms are plentiful.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy, and Linked In are among the leaders.   There are several more to consider however, depending in what you’re marketing.

Many start with having an account and posting regularly.  If you’re using Facebook, you can create a Business Page specific for your business, while other platforms, like Instagram, Pinterest and Etsy are all great ways to sell products.  Its takes persistence and dedication along with a good guerrilla marketing plan to turn posts into $$.

Using great descriptive keywords in your posts are a great way to be included in search results.  Snapping of pic of your newest inventory item that is visually obvious to identity but has a bad or no caption, ie:  “These are brand new to our store” doesn’t offer much for the search feature to work with.

So, be descriptive.  “New Inventory! 40 hr handcrafted wax candles in 6 great scents, Vanilla, mocha, rainy forest, mango, earthy morning, and Breezy Afternoon”  That gives search index process several words to index for searches.

Unless you have a firm understanding of the various social platforms, stick with those you do know.  Start out small, target media platforms that lend itself the types of clients you want to attract.  Explore the less familiar platforms.  Reach out people posting their products and services, see if they can offer you sage advice on the platform.

Sometimes branding can be secondary to selling the product itself.  A modest site with some eCommerce can be bit costly where as an eBay post or store, yahoo storefront even amazon can offer you almost immediate presence and you pay a service fee for items sold.

In the absence of hiring a pro, sit down with some colleagues and friends and have brainstorming session with them.  Ask them questions about their online shopping habits.  Where do the ideas or impulses to buy come from?  Do they see items on FaceBook or Instagram and purchase from those?  Do they shop on eBay or amazon?  Do they have a WATCHED list on eBay, or a “wish list” on Amazon?

Service providers, where do you seek or gain new clients?  Word of mouth is likely the most common, secondly, platforms like Facebook can drop you your ad into a 10 mile radius of your business address.

Its important not to overlook traditional media either, Print, Radio and TV.  Most all of them are offering a combo ad schedule with the primary product and secondary online ad presence on their site, etc..

Social media can be an inexpensive way to begin to test market waters.   For some, it will be the only place they will need to advertise.  For many others, it will be a mix of traditional and digital marketing environments.

You can can read more about online advertising options here.

 

 

What in the Online world am I doing?


These are all common requests made by business owners and managers—the devil is always in the details. For me, the most important part of offering these types of services is client education.

Unless I’m specifically told I don’t care, just do it, I prefer to educate clients along the way.  I’m happy if they want a better understanding, whether in just a general sense, or a more detailed understanding.  The conversation that follows is educational for both of us.

Few things in technology are as they were 5 yrs ago.  The online realm changes rapidly.  It’s only part of the process to develop a good marketing strategy.  When a client doesn’t understand the current technology, perceptions can turn bad.

After the service request is made, I like to start by defining what results are expected.   Its important to work backwards from the result because it ensures the proper path forward.  Its through this process we learn whether clients, have a current understanding of marketing, or develop interest and want to learn more.   In the end, a good approach is developed and solution provided.  The client and I are both pleased with the outcome.

Recently, when discussing tech needs with a client—after a few sentences, he would shut down. “Ok, overload, that’s enough, you can go, see you later.”  I’d laugh, I’m not offended.  Its a typical response, I’m verbose.  Very similar to “well, it hasn’t worked all morning, but since you’re here, it seems fine!

Sharing my knowledge and comprehension while producing results also serves to educate the clients a bit, it provides them a basic foundation of knowledge and they can do a bit more research if they like or at least have a bit of background on the technologies around the services they request.

In a few weeks, we are talking about those next steps.  For this particular client, while providing desktop and server maintenance and site updates—we’re also discussing how to verify data between the online store and their internal system.  We recently sent out their first email campaign and will be moving towards social media marketing.  We’re doing some quick holiday promotions and we’re also kicking around the best way to develop a meaningful, targeted mailing list that is a captive, interested  audience.

I’m happy to walk clients through these technologies and processes at their own pace and time.

Recently another  new client, had just previously spent some cash on a nice, new website, complete with SEO optimizations and possibly some local directory listings.   This type of site, I often refer to as online pamphlet sites.  It primarily exists to convey general details about a business;  store hours, location, phone and types of merchandise sold, and some photos of the store.  It’s not an e-commerce site.  Just a clean online presence for people on the internet who may be searching for more information about the store.

The store offers nationally available products. The merchandise is also a very common item in retail. Wal-Bob and the like, and thousands of stores online carry the same products.  So, the focus is to sell these items locally, letting people know about the brick and mortal storefront and that it’s conveniently located and offers great prices.

Post investment in the website, he hasn’t seen any increase in sales related activities.  No increase in phone calls or foot traffic at his local store. Worthless was the term used. Without knowing what services the company actually solicited, I could offer him that I felt they did provide a nice, clean website and that the business name, website and his FB business page all have a solid web presence in search result rankings.

All he knows today is that it’s holiday season and the advertising budget is gone without any increase in sales that he can attribute to the investment.

This is great example as to why some level of client education is important to me.  Perception is everything in life.   Expectation levels can be checked when there is some level of understanding of the the process or technology behind the service being provided.   The service provider missed the mark, not because they didn’t perhaps deliver what they sold my client, but rather because he’s not happy with end result.  Miscommunication likely resulted in a missed future opportunity.

My commitment to my clients is to be thoroughly detailed and verbose (some may say annoyingly so) and in return, you will have a level of understanding of the service and technology that will make you feel both comfortable and confident about proceeding in a certain direction with a reasonable expectations of the results.

I’ve written in a bit more detail—about 5 topics I touched upon above.

  1. I need a website.
  2. I want to do some online advertising.
  3. I need better search engine results.
  4. I want to do some email marketing.
  5. I want to promote my brand and sell stuff online.

 

I need a website

Most businesses can and do benefit from a website of some sort.  In the end, it comes down to cost vs usefulness. Is it just an online pamphlet that provides basic information like location, hours and contact details?   Perhaps it’s a list of services provided or some informational content you create and update(blog)?

Are you staging into transaction type site, selling products with a cart and checkout?

How do you expect people to find your site? /Will it be from inside your storefront, your marketing materials or ads you place elsewhere?  Will people be likely to search for your company specifically by name or via some product, category or service type search?

Having a good web presence doesn’t necessarily translate into revenue. Its important to gauge to value of the site page against revenue potential. One can spend a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars on a site that doesn’t generate interest or page views.

“SEO” is the buzz word of late and its oversold as a wonderful site traffic generator, but for many, it could be money better spent elsewhere.

A website, optimized, so it can be efficiently cataloged and indexed by search engines is a good thing.  Its more important to understand how your potential customers will seek you out on the web.

If the majority of clients will find your site by entering your company name and, City/State.  Optimizing the site isn’t as important as considering spending the money to have a local search engine submission service list your business in the various search engines.   Its usually a yearly fee, but your site is submitted to 40-70 search engine databases.

If customers will be searching for you via common product search terms like, “wool sweaters” or “hand crafted candles” or “realtor”.  Its becomes much more challenging to get high ranks.

Long gone are the days when your meta tag keyword list embedded in each page was trusted and used to index your site.  SEO techniques including verbose descriptions containing key words do help rank your site higher in results.

The effort however takes a back seat to companies who purchase key words from search companies like google and others, when users search these terms.   Their sites appear at the very top with an “ad” label around it so searches know this is a paid search result.

You can can read more about search engine technology here.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram