Tag Archives: google

The Case Of The Citation Screwup

The Case of The Citation Screwup

My name is Art Williams. I'm a Citations Detective. It was a quiet Sunday night. I was sitting at home contemplating next week when I'm supposed to have a root canal. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? It's times like this when I need some cyber-screwups to distract me and lighten my mind up a little bit.

And then the phone rang. It was 'Bob'. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent). Bob sounded very frustrated. He explained to me that he has owned a hardware store in the city for several years but that he had recently moved and since that move his business had slowed down considerably.

Bob wanted to know if I could help. He said his business is very competitive and he was worried that somebody was trying to sabotage his business.

I said, "Well Bob…let's start with the facts. Nothing but the facts."

Bob said, "OK, but my wife doesn't have to know about this, does she?"

I said, "No Bob, it'll just be between us men. How's that?"

Bob said, "Oh that's wonderful. Let's roll!"

In my preliminary interview with Bob, I asked him if he got much business from the net. He told me, "Yeah, I do Facebook, a little Instagram, an occasional YouTube video, and I think I'm on a few directories like Google+, Yelp, Bing Places, Mapquest, Citisearch…..I don't know. It's hard to keep up with that kind of stuff, you know?"

That was my clue!

Bob didn't know it but maybe he already had the answer to his problem.

So I asked…. I said, "Bob, I wanna ask you something…and tell me the truth, OK, because this could be very important."

Bob said, "Sure Art, I wanna cooperate. I'll tell you whatever you wanna know but I don't think I know anything. That's why I called you, right?"

I said, "Ok Bob..OK, Ok….I know how you feel. Just relax. You work hard, you try to do what's right. But sometimes things just don't work out and now you're in trouble and you need an expert, right?"

Bob said, "Well, yeah…I guess you sorta hit the nail on the head."

I said, "Yeah Bob…that's why I've got this badge. I know we're on the phone but, trust me, I've got one. It says, 'Citations Detective'. It's very impressive but I try not to flaunt it."

So Bob said, "You've got a badge??!! Oh…Saints Be Praised!. Sure…sure…so, what's the question?! I'll tell you whatever you wanna know!! Just help me, please!"

Yeah, I could tell Bob was in a very emotional state of mind. After all… work all those years to build a business and then see it slip away like this for no apparent reason (that he knew of). Yeah, sometimes I have to walk a very thin emotional line in this business.

I said, "OK Bob. Here's the question. Listen very carefully: Did you or did you not change you name, address, and phone number on each and every one of those citation sites you told me you were listed on?"

The phone went silent.

I was just about to suspect something really serious was wrong but finally I heard Bob's quiet voice say, "Weeellll, no. I didn't. Why?"

Then I said, "Bob, I think I've solved your problem already. I think you've got a case of Citation Inconsistency. Do you realize how serious that could be?"

Bob said, "No….how serious is it?"

I went on to explain to Bob that Citation Inconsistency is potentially very serious if left untreated.

I explained to Bob that when there was inconsistent information on citation sites, review sites, social media sites, etc., that it confused not only old and potential new customers but it also even confused Google itself.

Bob said, "What do you mean. I'm innocent! I told you…I didn't do anything wrong!!"

I told Bob, "OK Bob. Just calm down buddy. I'm not saying you did anything intentionally wrong.. but let me explain something to you that every online business owner should know."

I went on to explain to Bob that if Google sees inconsistent information, pertaining to any business, on citation sites it is less likely to highly rank that business. The reason for that is because they (Google) doesn't want to publish information that could be wrong or incomplete. Information is, after all, their product, right?. 

Bob listened in silence. In fact…he was so silent I had to ask him, "Bob. Does that make sense to you? You know what I'm saying, right?"

Bob said, "Yeah Art. It's all so clear now. Man….if I could do it again, I'd make sure that all those citation sites… of course there weren't really a huge number, but…wow…that little omission sure made a big difference didn't it. It cost me a lot of money! Even my wife noticed I'd been preoccupied lately."

I said, "Well Bob….at least you're willing to change. Everybody makes mistakes. But you are willing to do something about it, aren't you?"

Bob said, "Oh yeah…absolutely! I'll do anything I can to make it right again. What should I do?"

I then proceeded to tell Bob that part of my crusade as a Citations Detective was to not only find bad citations for business owners but also to help them correct the problem. I told him I had a highly trained staff who could find all of his incorrect citations and update them with the correct information that would put him back in the good graces of Google.

And I also mentioned that additionally, I could find out not only the exact number of citations his closest competitors had but also what citation sites they were using, thus enabling him to get those exact same sites his business. And I explained that if he just added about 10% more citations, he would outrank his competitors (at least as far as citations go). 

So… I asked Bob if he was ready to take action and put a stop to how his SEO was hemorrhaging money. He said he was ready so I told him my secretary would send him some forms to fill out first thing on Monday morning so that me and my team could get to working on his problem.

Bob asked how long it would take before he started seeing any improvement in his business and I informed him that it took citation sites anywhere from a week to several weeks to update their databases and that he probably could start to see results in a couple of weeks. But I reminded him that the situation would continue to improve over the next 2 to 4 month as more of his newly updated citations went ´live'. 

He sound excited about that.

And just to make sure I 'managed expectations' properly, I asked him, "How does that sound to you?"

He said, "Oh that sounds great, Art. I'm soooo glad I called you! How can I ever repay you?"

I reminded him that my secretary would send an invoice too but that the money we charged him would be a pittance in comparison to the advantage his website would enjoy with the proper citation strategy which we would be putting into place for him.

So Bob and I said, 'Goodnight', I sent my secretary an email and voice-mail to tell her what to do about setting Bob up as a new client first thing Monday when she came into the office. Me…I'm not a morning person so I don't usually get into the office til after lunch. And besides, I'll be up late thinking about that root canal. I think I'm gonna get drunk. God…I hate root canals.

 

Art Williams
Case Study Writer, Google My Business Consultant, Markethive Developer

Google Trends Is Still With Us

Google Trends Is Still With Us

I picked this title, "Google Trends Is Still With Us", because I remember reading somewhere that Google shut down their trends tool recently… then reactivated it. I think it's good that they brought it back because I remember that when I first heard about Google Trends a few years ago. I thought it was cool then and I still do.

I don't use it very much… but it's one of those things like an old friend that you meet after an interim and then remember how neat they were. I should get back to using it for article writing.

The point of this article is that aside from the market research potential of Google Trends, it's also a great tool to use to find something to write about for almost any website…. especially if you're good at seeing different content 'angles´ to spin around the topic/trend.  

Carrying that line of thought a bit further, there are lots of affiliate marketers who use Google Trends or similar tools (just Google ´trends research tools' and you'll find several) to find a hot product's trending on Google Trends to sell. It's a repetitive procedure for them.

They find a hot, trending topic then go to one of the major affiliate product sites (i.e. JVZoo, Warrior Plus, or Clickbank) to find a product that relates to that trend. Then they market that product by either setting up a mini site for it, integrating some of the product's sales collateral into one of their existing online properties, or they'll just do a mailing to their list.

In my humble opinion, people do like to buy stuff. And even if they don't have the budget to make a purchase, they (a) often will buy anyway or they will still enjoy reading about something cool that they like.

I blog a lot and I should take advantage of that opportunity more. I'm surprised more people don't do so.

If you've never looked at Google Trends, here's the URL: https://www.google.com/trends/

And here's an article that appeared in Forbes about it.

Consider the Following Recommendations When Designing a Mobile-Friendly Website

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

Before we get into what defines a mobile-friendly website, let’s first discuss why this is even relevant.  About a year ago, Google released its algorithm known as Mobileggedon.  In essence, this algorithm penalizes websites that are not “mobile-friendly” by decreasing that website’s ranking in mobile search results.

So what may have been the catalyst to releasing Mobileggedon?   Since 2014, mobile devices have been the primary devices utilized to access the internet.   Desktop is still important, but it is no longer considered first-line.  Therefore, Google’s Mobileggedon algorithm is like a “tough love” approach in encouraging businesses to always design their websites with mobile devices in mind.

When developing a mobile-friendly website/webpage, consider the following recommendations:

1) Do NOT design a separate mobile website from your desktop version because it is redundant!

Think about it.Why would you create two different websites (mobile & desktop versions) that contain the same content?Google already penalizes websites for duplicate content.So why would you allow your website to be penalized for duplicate websites?

2) Use Responsive Web Design (RWD)

According to Wikipedia, RWD is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

From a technical standpoint, RWD employs use of flexible layouts, flexible images, and cascading style sheet media queries. This allows a web page to be able to detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation; and change the layout accordingly (think auto-adjusting to fit your mobile device’s screen).

3) Always include a viewport meta tag

The viewport is a virtual area used by the browser-rendering engine to determine how content is scaled and sized.   The viewport meta tag tells your browser that the web page needs to fit the screen.

Typically, when loading full-sized web pages, mobile browsers display the entire page at reduced magnification.When a website does not make use of a viewport meta tag, users may have to double-tap or pinch the screen to adjust the web display.The below illustration shows a typical web page layout displayed on a mobile screen:

In the above example, users typically must rotate their mobile screens, pinch to magnify, etc so that the content can be seen.

Applying a viewport is critical in creating web pages that are mobile-friendly.

The following shows a sample screen layout without a viewport. The initially loaded page is zoomed out much too far to be legible, while zooming in makes content extending off the right edge of the screen difficult to access:

This reflects the browser's default assumption that content should extend 980 pixels wide. Mobile browsers must make that assumption in order to render pages that are not optimized for display on mobile screens.

Finally, here’s the above screen layout after applying the viewport:

There are many different configurations that you can specify your viewport to control.  To explain the technical details any further would be beyond the scope of this article.The idea here is to understand the concept (and importance) of applying viewport meta tags to your webpage.

4) Font sizes and button size matter

Ideal font size is 14px.When creating labels or forms, consider reducing the font to at least 12px.  Same concept applies for buttons.   For optimal viewing, consider creating button size dimensions of at least 44px by 44px.

5)Use high-resolution images

According to Wikipedia, image resolution is the detail an image holds and can be applied to describe digital images, film images, and other types of images. Essentially, a higher resolution means more image detail.

Having extremely high-resolution images will prevent pixilated or even blurry images when viewed on a retina-quality screen.

6) Remove the default zoom

Using auto-zoom may interfere with a web page’s layout elements, especially for images and navigation content. They may appear small or too large in your layout.

The solution here is to make use of viewport meta tags.Again, to describe the technical details of this process in any more detail would be beyond the scope of this article.

7) Use YouTube videos on your site

Because YouTube already utilizes responsive web design (RWD) coding, any risk of difficulties in viewing videos on a mobile device are theoretically eliminated.

8) Don’t constrain your user’s mobile experience

Always include a “go to full website” or “view desktop version” option at the bottom of your site. This will give your website visitors the ability to choose how they want to view your website’s content.

9) Never stop testing

Even after your responsive website is complete, the testing never ends.Be sure to test your webpage on various mobile devices: Apple, Android, Windows, etc.Leave no stone unturned including buttons, layout, font, displays, etc.

Even more important is to allow someone who fits your target [demographic] user.Consider including someone who does not have an extensive technical background especially if this person comprises your primary demographic of potential users/visitors of your website.

Did I miss anything?  Your comments are always welcomed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Work Inbound Marketing?

Why Work Inbound Marketing?

Different teams are going to have different solutions for who does what when it comes to inbound marketing. At a smaller company, inbound marketing strategy may fall entirely to one person to create and execute. A larger team may have more specialized positions in content, social, brand, etc. or really any combination of the above tasks among any number of people, depending on the company’s needs an the team’s strengths.

So where does SEO fit in to all of this? Is search engine optimization as we know it being absorbed into other marketers’ jobs?

Rather than being threatened by other disciplines’ encroaching on our territory, or overwhelmed by the volume of tasks that go into a robust inbound marketing strategy, modern SEOs should be embracing the rise of inbound as a holistic approach since it allows us to do better marketing. The days of being handed a blog post and told to add keywords to it are coming to an end, and that’s a good thing!

What happens when a company has a lot of employees with SEO knowledge, but no SEO? I learned what that looked like when I started at SEOmoz. Obviously, lots of folks at SEOmoz understand SEO strategy and why it’s important, but it had been several months since an official SEO had worked at the company.

The result? A lot of elements that were important to SEO had fallen through the cracks or been back-burnered. Content producers knew that keywords were important, but didn’t know which ones to be using and where. New features had been added to the website in ways that were great for users, but created unnecessary headaches for search engines. Even though a lot of people on the marketing team understood the basic tenets of SEO, it was nobody’s job to make sure SEO was taken into account; they all had their own jobs to do. It’s one thing to know that SEO is important – it’s another to know what to pay attention to and look for, especially if your core competency is in another field.

The SEO as Inbound Marketer

Even at a company whose internal education around SEO is top-notch, it’s still vital to have someone to be a steward of the site’s online presence and search performance. SEOs need to take a “the buck stops here” attitude toward ensuring
that our designers, content creators, social media managers, PR representatives and the like are working together on a search-engine-friendly strategy that encompasses all of their efforts.

 

An SEO should be continually helping a larger inbound marketing team do better marketing in the following ways:

  • Analyzing keyword data and trends, and tracking traffic and links per content piece, to help the content manager create compelling, keyword-rich, linkworthy content.
  • Working with the dev team to keep the site fast, crawlable, error-free and trackable.
  • Building relationships with influencers in the space, and leveraging those relationships for links and shares.
  • Syncing with the Director of Marketing and PR contacts to enact a solid, consistent brand strategy, then making sure it’s seeded to the right places for maximum authority and impact.
  • Diving into analytics to support conversion rates; sharing analytics data with business development and account management teams to aid retention of search-driven customers.
  • Collaborating with the UX and design teams to make sure a site that’s a lovely experience for users is also a useful experience for search engines.
  • Consistently evangelizing SEO internally through ongoing education, and being a staunch advocate for SEO best practices in every meeting – the buck stops with you.

By starting to view SEO as a series of collaborations with more specialized colleagues, we can build inbound marketing programs as a team effort.

From Keywords to Sessions

One thing I’ve heard Duane Forrester from Bing speak on several times recently is the search session: the idea that people aren’t using search engines to make one-and-done searches, but rather to make a series of searches over a period of time that could be anywhere from several minutes to several days, before arriving at a decision that might result in a conversion. An example might be a user who starts with “honeymoon destinations” and searches for “beach honeymoon,” “romantic beaches Hawaii” and “Maui vacation packages” before finally searching on “cheap flights to Maui.” That keyword might be the one that gets the conversion, but each search is an opportunity to build brand relationships and influence the final purchase.

Even when consumers aren’t actively searching for things, they’re still building opinions about and relationships with brands via social media – not only through the conversations they’re having, but also through the content they consume. People spend a ton of time on the internet, and most of it isn’t on Google.

A robust, marketing-team-wide inbound marketing strategy is perfectly positioned to market to this new breed of searchers. In order to really start some next-level, better-than-ever organic search marketing, SEOs need to be cognizant of the fact that organic search is just part of a larger experience. To ignore inbound marketing in favor of tunnel-vision focus on SEO means fewer opportunities to engage with customers (not to mention fewer opportunities for links, shares, and other awesome SEO benefits).

We’re all in this together. Let’s get out there and make inbound marketing better.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH on MarketHive: Welcome to My Page!

Physician, small business owner, budding real estate/land investor, & educator on MarketHive, a social marketing platform for entrepreneurs that has the combined power of Facebook and LinkedIn.  

I think of myself as just a regular guy who is passionate about those issues I believe affect us all. Those matters include (but are certainly not limited to): LGBT equality,  healthcare reform (which would include health information technology reform), education reform, prison/criminal justice reform, politics, government, business/investing, and more. 

MarketHive is a multi-million dollar platform which evolved from Veretekk and offers the following features:

auto-responders, virtual conference rooms, blog casting, blog sharing, campaigns/press releases, capture pages, email plugins, daily live workshops, and lead generation exclusively for entrepreneurs.

In essence,  MarketHive is all about empowering entrepreneurs through social engagement and marketing.

To learn more or to join for free, go to 

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH on MarketHive

I hope to see you there!

Best Regards,

Glenn

How Being Genuine Can Strengthen You, Your Business, and Your Company

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

Recently, I came across an article written by Mamta Chhikara (http://hive.pe/eC), which goes on to list and describe specific qualities that a genuine person possesses:

*They don’t seek attention = Modest

*They’re not concerned with being liked = Confident and Authentic

*They can tell when others are full of it = Intuitive (a good judge of character)

*They are comfortable in their own skin = Self-assured and confident

*They do what they say and say what they mean = Integrity

*They don’t need a lot of stuff = Simplicity

*They’re not thin-skinned = Easy-going

*They’re not overly modest or boastful = Humble

*They’re consistent = Dependable

*They practice what they preach = Genuine, Honest

Always keep these traits in mind not only as business but also as an individual.   As entrepreneurs seeking to gain trust, authority, and a growing customer base, we should always be cognizant of the foundation of inbound marketing, which involves:

*Performing due diligence for you and your company

*Performing due diligence for your targeted audience/clients/potential customers

*Engaging with your targeted audience/clients/potential customers

During the process of engagement, we should always be aware of the above traits of genuineness.  Your future colleagues and customers will be looking for these traits and will likely have the following thoughts/concerns:

*They want to know if you are confident in your company and/or product.

*They will likely be more concerned about the content/effectiveness of your product and/or character more than shiny “bells and whistles.”

*You should be able to eliminate illegitimate leads or potential colleagues within minutes of engaging

*Your customers and your colleagues want to see that not only do you use the product in question, but also that you use the product well and are able to demonstrate the product’s effectiveness to your colleagues and potential customers

*Most of us can eventually “smell” an inferior product or individual within a short period of time.  A usual warning sign is too many “bells and whistles.”  Simplicity is the name of the game.  If it’s too complicated or if it feels like the product (or individual) is too flashy, then it may be perceived as ineffective or disingenuous.

*Your customers and colleagues want to know that they can reach you during tough times or emergent situations.  Are you easily accessible via multiple modalities of communication (i.e., phone, text, email, Skype, etc)?

Now, I am not one who typically needs validation in anything that pertains to who I am as a person but I felt markedly refreshed after reading this article.  Am I a genuine person?  Hell yes!  

Depending upon where you are or whom you are conversing with, we may describe a genuine person as either "the real deal" or "being real."  If you are a fan of Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central, then you are already familiar with his catch phrase "Keep It 100."  It's the same concept and I believe being genuine is parallel with having integrity as well as the other above traits.  

Not only does a genuine & authentic person display his authentic self at all times (obviously with some adjustment for discretionary purposes), but he also "says what he does and does what he says."  He is honest about who he is and his actions reflect his character regardless of the setting.