9 Ways To Annoy Website Visitors

Annoying ScreamSmall business SEO is not easy. It takes hard work to get traffic to your site and its pages. When visitors come to your site, they’re after something and they’re looking for an easy way to find it. It’s a shame that so many sites annoy their visitors rather than give them what they want.

9 Ways to Annoy Your Website Visitors

Greet them with a long flash introduction – instead of providing the content they want, start loading flash content. They will usually do one of two things:

  • Hit the back button
  • Frantically search for the skip link

Underline words and phrases that aren’t links – click, click, click and nothing happens. If you underline a word or phrase, people are conditioned to think it’s a link. Don’t annoy them by underlining non-links.

Start a video or audio message automatically – Okay, let’s announce to everyone in the office that I’m surfing the web. I hate it when I’m in the office, at Starbucks or anywhere else. Plus, if that’s your only message and they have the volume off, their gone.

Broken Links – Hate it, Hate it, Hate it. Fix broken links.

Meaningless Images, Charts and Graphs – an SEO expert said I needed images on my pages and posts. Yes, relevant meaningful images, not any old image.

Walls of Words – People don’t read when they come to a web page, they skim and evaluate. Give them nothing but a wall of words with no headers, bullets or other highlighting tools and they’ll back click. Look at this post as a wall of words.

Make sure the page has nothing to do with the search page – Let’s go beyond annoying and insult visitors by spamming them in the search engines. No, I’m not going to click on your ads when you trick me.

Make things hard to find – Don’t use meaningful navigation. Don’t link to other pages on your site or other sites. Don’t let visitors find what they want.

Don’t provide a search feature – I search sites too, not just search engines. If there’s no search feature, I can’t search and I go back to the search engine.

These are thing that annoy me and user I spoken with. I’ve also done research on web usage and conventions and all those annoyance above can be remedied by following common conventions. It’s a real shame to spend time and resources on small business SEO only to have them back click.

What annoys you about websites?

Local SEO and Slow SEO

Slow SEO Turtle

We rush, we rush and then we rush some more. We look for magic bullets, low hanging fruit and quick hits. Not all things can be done quickly though. We know it, even if we don’t like it. Local SEO results can take much longer than we like, but that’s not so bad. Let’s look at a new idea I had today when writing some new content. Let’s talk about Slow SEO.

Slow SEO Turtle

What is Slow SEO?

Slow SEO is what happens when you don’t have the deep pockets to spend lots of money on search engine optimization and internet marketing. Well, that includes most of us. But this is not all bad. Slow SEO is mostly what happens anyway for small businesses.

Slow SEO is building your small business SEO program over time and affordably. The content that I was writing when this idea came to me is our new page on affordable small business SEO – SEO on $100 a week. Yes, a solid SEO program is possible on $100 a week, but the trade-off is in time and patience, and patience is what slow SEO is all about.

Why You Should Consider Slow SEO

If your a small business, going slow with your search program is probably the best strategy from a return on investment point of view. If you go slow and methodically, you can adjust to what’s working and spend more time and money on that. You can stop what’s not working and you can do it before you spend a ton of money.

Going full-out and spending $20,000, only to see some small results is $20,000 gone. Spending that money over 20 months is a different story. You expect to see results as you’re spending the money and you will. There’s a fast way to driving search traffic to your site and it’s called PPC – pay per click advertising. It skips all the time and hassles of building organic (free) search traffic. Of course the big problem is that it costs you a bundle and you keep paying.

Affordable is Relevant

If your breaking into the running shoe business you will be competing with Nike and Reebok and other big players. Affordable in this market is still a lot of money. $100 a week won’t make a dent. However, if you’re a local dentist or doctor, a local shoe store, a local restaurant and such, you are likely to see big results for your $100 a week investment.

Google is Slow

Google is slow to rank and slow to keep ranking. The reason is a good one – trust. Google wants to return the best results for their searchers who are their customers for paid advertisements. They want to know that if they rank you, you’ll be around for a while and won’t hurt them.

My experience with our real estate website and local SEO is that I saw some good results in about three months, but it took two years to get the full benefits. There’s a lot of competition for our terms, so we had to prove our worth to Google first. Yahoo and Bing are a little different, but the same principles hold.

Going the slow SEO route makes sense for many small businesses. Build your SEO content slowly and steadily and over time you’ll see solid results.

SEOMOZ Video on Google Panda Update

Google Panda Update

Rand Fishkin at SEOMox posted this video yesterday on the Google Panda update.

After viewing the video, I have a few things that I’m not sure about. First, I think the idea that Google is going to find the content that best matches what their human reviewers like, I don’t think that the results have reached the SERPs (search engine result pages) for many terms. In performing SEO competitive analysis on sites, I’m still seeing that links matter more than content.

It may be that Google is addressing top markets first, but for local SEO, it’s still links that matter most.

Now, I’m a content evangelist and I want nothing more than content quality and relevance to be the top factors in ranking a website and its pages. I just don’t see that at this point. However, I believe that all else being equal, content quality as determined by the Panda update will push the better quality content to the higher ranking. So if two or more sites are equally search engine optimized, the quality of the content will determine the higher ranking page.

Wistia

I’m leaning toward this being a negative factor rather than a positive boost at this point. If your pages are scraped or copied, you are likely to loose points in the algorithmic scoring.  If your content consists of short blog posts, you will suffer. At this point, having better content is unlikely to beat solid link profiles. I know that Google wants the best quality for their searchers and will continue to work at it until they get to that point.

I will continue to build high quality relevant visitor and SEO content for my sites and my clients. But, I will continue building links to that content. This is the best approach in the present and is future-proofing your site. I don’t believe in scraped or copied content on my sites and have never suffered from a change in the Google Algorithm. I’ve benefited when competitor sites were impacted. I will keep building the best content with the time and money available.

Understanding Small Business SEO Video

If you are a small business owner or small business manager, then this video is for you. It explains small business SEO and what’s needed to get your site and its pages to rank in the search engines in the long term.

Take 10 minutes now to watch the small business SEO video.

Small Business SEO Video

 

 

The video covers:

You’re not going to learn SEO from a 10 minute video, but you will know a lot more than you do now, especially if you’re just getting into search engine optimization.

We know that many small business owners are gaining competitive advantages from using local SEO and small business SEO. It’s important to understand that unlike print advertising, the results are not immediate. It takes time to rank and keep the rankings in competitive markets. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but the results can be impressive.

Even better, you are making an investment. Unlike the continuing expense of print and broadcast media, the money you spend on SEO builds an asset. You don’t need to keep feeding the machine dollars once you’ve reach your ranking goals. There’s ongoing maintenance costs, but those are a fraction of the initial costs. Do you know of any other advertising media that cost you less as it becomes more effective?

There’s a lot of information in the video. If you have questions about small business SEO or local SEO, give Mike at call at 386-295-2049. You can also go to our contact page.

Small Business SEO – How to Fail Fast

Want to know the sure-fire way to fail at Small Business SEO? It’s really simple and many small businesses do it without trying. Here we go – make your site and its pages boring and irrelevant.

SEO Gets You Traffic Not Results

You are a searcher as well as a business owner. Think about how you feel when you search for a keyword term and the result is not relevant to what you’re looking for. If you’re like me, you’re not happy and hit the back button pretty quickly.

Then, think about how many times you get to a website and are not engaged by the website content and hit the back button.

Now, ask yourself – is my site and its pages relevant for searchers? Is it interesting? If not, you may have done a good job of SEO, but are not going to get the results you expect. To get results, you need to entice people to stay or stick.

Small Business SEO – What’s Your Purpose?

For every page on your site, you must explicitly state the purpose of that page. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Who is the target for this page?
  • What does a visitor to this page and site want?
  • Does this page give the visitor what they want?
  • Is the page unique and interesting?
  • What do I want the visitor to do? What is my “Call to Action.”
  • Is this the best content available on the web?

A website page for small business or local SEO should be crafted with purpose to meet the requirements of the questions listed above. Craft it so that after you’ve done the hard work to attract the visitor to your page, you get the payoff.

Great Content and SEO = Results

Great content by itself equals poor results. Great SEO, without great content, equals poor results. Put them together and you can achieve great results.

Every day more pages are created and indexed. Let’s be honest. Lots of these new pages are crap. They are little more than spam. Don’t join them. The difference that makes a difference in the future is going to be outstanding content.

Picture this as your content…

Ferrari for SEO

Not this…

Junk Car

Make Ferrari content, not junk content. Keep these images in mind every time you begin to develop content. It will be better if you turn our half  or even a third of the content and make it twice as good. Take the time to add photos and other images. Add video if you can. YouTube makes it easy to post there and then show it on your web page.

Combine great content and traffic generating SEO to produce the results you need for your business.

Read more about Small Business SEO and Local SEO.

SEO Content – No, No, No

Newpaper Ad Image

Newpaper Ad Image

Writing your SEO Content just for the search engines is the biggest mistake you can make in your small business SEO. Yes, your content needs to exactly what the search engines are looking for, but that’s not nearly enough.

Let’s ask the real hard question. If you held an event for your business to attract visitors and one thousand people attended, but no one bought a thing, would you consider it a success? You would have spent your time, money and resources to attract those people, but it would have been a waste of time.

Let’s take it a step further. What if 90% of those people looked at your place of business and turned away before even entering? That would really be a disaster.

Keywords Are…

Keywords are phrases that you expect people to use when they think about your business. When they come to your site based on a keyword, they expect to find relevant content. Dry cleaners in South Beach is an example we’ll use. Now, many dry cleaners know how to create a print ad. They’ll include their name, hours, telephone number and services like one-hour dry cleaning, dry cleaning large pieces, 10% off Wednesday and so on. Why include those items in their ad? Because they know people are looking for them. Keywords are advertisements! They won’t run their ad in Jupiter for their South Beach cleaner; they’ll run it close to home.

I go to many small business websites where I find less information on the page that an SEO expert sent me to, than in the ad described for the dry cleaner. If it’s there, I can’t find it easily. I’m not willing to search through a website to find the hours of operations, or if they offer one day service. Are you?

Let’s say I’m staying in South Beach and I need my suit pressed. I do a quick search with the term, “same day dry cleaning in South Beach”. I type in the term with the quotation marks to see if anyone is specifically targeting that term. They’re not. Not a single dry cleaner in the whole Miami area is targeting same day dry cleaning in South Beach. Why? Because they are more concerned about being ranked for “dry cleaning in South Beach” (1,238 results) or “dry cleaning in Miami” (68,500 results).

If I’m looking for a simple thing like a dry cleaner for something I want done specifically, why can’t I find it? Because, SEO experts will write SEO content for the search engines, not for paying customers. Remember the quip that a search engine has never bought a thing. Customers buy.

What’s Most Important to Your Customer?

When you hire expert content writers, you’re taking a big chance that they’ll miss the little things that you know about your business. They will be doing keyword searches and find that there are no searches listed in Google for same day dry cleaning in South Beach. There are no searches listed for dry cleaning in South Beach. So, what do they do? They look for a big search terms like dry cleaners Miami that show about 2.400 search per month.

So when you and I go searching for a dry cleaner in South Beach, no one figured out that that’s how we search and targeted it in their website content. Google would love that if you serve South Beach, you optimize your website pages for the terms that people are searching for every day. In this case, they are forced to come up with an answer. Really, they are approximating the best they can. Why not help them? On top of that, Google says that half the search terms entered are unique. It’s because people search exactly for what they want.

The common sense that was present when the print ad was created, disappeared when the SEO content was written. The website visitor or customer was forgotten.

Please, Please, Please Write for the Customer

If you remember nothing else about writing content for your website, remember to write for your customer. Whatever page you’re writing, write it for the customer first and then go back and add your targeted keywords if necessary. By writing for the customer, you will be optimizing for local SEO without trying. You’ll be writing about what they’re looking for.

Here’s a big SEO tip. Find a copy of the Yellow Pages. Go to the listings for your type of business. Write down everything that they are advertising and the information they’re displaying in their ads. These are the things that they are using to attract customers. Shouldn’t you being using them too?

For local content writing for small business, start as though you had a 2 x 2 inch display ad. What would you say? What if you had a half page, then a full page? What if you wrote a brochure about your business? This will give you the content for your site and what you customers are looking for.

Small Business SEO Investment

Small Business SEO Investment

Are you making a big mistake with your marketing and advertising dollars? Many business owners are now making a different marketing choice by making the small business SEO investment.

Small Business SEO Investment

This is the second 3x5xSEO index card article. Looking at the card, the left line shows cost and the bottom line shows time. I love the simplicity of this 3×5 card and what it shows. Traditional media buys include television, newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, billboards and signs, park benches, bus advertising and more. A new media buy platform has emerged in the past 10 years – internet advertising on other people’s platforms.

The biggest new media platform is Google and its Adwords program. This is PPC or pay per click advertising. Google puts your ad on its search results page and on other sites in their content network. You bid for a keyword term and the cost will be pretty high in competitive markets. PPC can be very effective, but you pay by the click. You are spending every time someone clicks on your ad. Other internet advertising opportunities are available too. You can put text ads or display ads on many sites. You may pay by the click or by the month, but you must continue to pay for your ad to display.

The Biggest Opportunity for Small Business Marketing

Never before in the history of business, has a small business owner had the opportunity to create their own platform to market their products and services. Only a few years ago, if a small business created a newsletter or catalog, they would still need to buy names or distribution for their creations. The internet has changed everything.

The New Marketing Model vs. Old Models

The internet gives you, the small business marketer, the opportunity to directly present your story, your unique vision, your character and your products and services to people who are actually looking for what you have to offer. Contrast this model or method to the old model. Let’s use newspapers as an example.

In the newspapers model, you pay for your ad placement. Unless you pay for multiple placements, your ad is in one place in the whole newspaper. If a reader happens to read the page your ad is on, happens to see your ad, and, is interested at that time, then they might call you or visit your business. That’s a lot of ifs. To get a regular stream of customers, you must pay over and over again. It’s call advertising expense – not investment.

Using small business SEO flips the old model upside down. First, SEO is targeted. You are presenting your business to people who are looking for you and your products. Second, there are still a few ifs, but they’re ifs you can control. If your content grabs their attention, and if your content keeps their attention, and if it provides what they’re looking for, they will take the next step to becoming a buying customer. Wow, what a difference. A precise targeted model vs. placing an ad and crossing your fingers.

Investment vs. Expense

Now for the harsh reality. If you are in a competitive market, you will need to invest your own time and resources in building your SEO presence, or you will need to engage an SEO consultancy. There will be initial costs in setting up your website, creating a good design, building the best possible content and then external link building to get your site ranked. The cost will be based on online competition in the market. In many markets the competition is light, in others its tough. But that’s good. If you see two or three other businesses competing hard, it means there’s business to be had.

Think And – Not Either / Or

You may be thinking, wait a minute. My advertising is working. I’m not going to give it up. You’re right, you shouldn’t give up somethings that working, but can you afford not to be in the space that the whole world is moving into? Internet marketing is exploding because internet usage is exploding. More and more people are using search engines and social media to find business products and services. If you are not in the internet space and you’re not already at a competitive disadvantage, it’s likely that you will be soon.

At a minimum, isn’t it time you assessed your small business SEO investment? Contact me at 386-295-2049 if you’d like to know more.

Small Business SEO – Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities

Long-tail keywords get over half the keyword searches in Google and the other search engines. Here’s a classic example where no one seems to be paying attention to that fact.

What if you arrived at your vacation home on a Sunday morning only to find it infested with fleas? Who would you call? Well, in our real estate business, we often get calls from people asking for recommendations. We tried a few numbers for pest control companies we normally work with, but no one was answering. I then sat down in front of my computer and did a Google search on “emergency pest control daytona beach” (searched without the quotes).

Local Small Business SEO – Asleep At The Wheel

The results for the emergency pest control search show that long-tail keyword terms such as “emergency pest control daytona beach” are being ignored by small business marketers and most SEO companies. Looking at the results, I see that no one, not even the pages that are ranking, are targeting this keyword. Take a look at the results:

Emergency Pest Control SEO SERP

The first five SERP (Search Engine Result Page) results are shown from Google. Notice that of the five pages, only one page has an external link to it, the third listing. None of the top five sites have the search term in the title or in the URL. These sites are ranking because no one has optimized for the term “emergency pest control daytona beach.”

A quick way to find out if anyone is targeting a phrase is to check the title using the ALLINTITLE: command in Google. When I type in allintitle:emergency pest control daytona beach, we see zero results. A further check using the ALLINURL:emergency pest control daytona beach, shows zero results.

Is Long-Tail Keyword SEO Worth It?

If you attempt to find monthly keyword counts for our example keyword, you won’t find any. According to Google counts, there is zero traffic. On the other hand, half of all search queries show no traffic. I am amazed at the traffic I see on my websites for search queries that show no Google counts. Of 2,742 keywords that brought traffic to one of our real estate sites in May, 2,701 came from keywords with a count of less than 10. Over 1/2 of the traffic on this site is from long-tail keywords.

Back to our example. If you offer a service such as an emergency service, why keep it a secret? This is why blogs are so important. To rank for this keyword, here’s what you should do:

  1. Create a page or blog post with “Emergency Pest Control Your City” (or whatever your service is)
  2. Write about 300-400 words in the post. Mention “emergency pest control your city” 2-3 times. Talk about how solving your customers problem is important and describe the process. Tell them to call you now! They wouldn’t be looking if they weren’t in need.
  3. Make the page URL – emergency-pest-control-your-city.
  4. Make sure the page or post title, description and keyword meta data is targeted to your service. If your WordPress Theme doesn’t show a place for this meta data, install the All-In-One-SEO plugin and activate it.
  5. Publish the page or post
  6. Link from 5-10 of your internal pages/posts to this page
  7. Send 5-10 external links to the new page/post

For phrases like emergency pest control, where no competitor has optimized for SEO, you or your Daytona Beach SEO specialist should be able to get a first page ranking fast and a top ranking in a few months. If you don’t see that, add more external links.

Do this with 100 pages and your phone will be ringing. This is what small business SEO is about. Your traffic will come from hundreds of keywords, not one or two.

If these steps seem confusing to you, keep coming back to learn more. If you need help, call Michael at 386-295-2049.

SEO Ranking Formula – 3x5xSEO

SEO Ranking Formula Index Card

SEO Ranking Formula on a 3×5 Index Card

Is a picture worth a thousand words? Maybe. Is a picture worth higher search engine ranking? Yes!

This is the first index card published, but there will be many more. At least one a week. I’ve been using index cards and sticky notes for years to make things clearer for myself and clients. If an idea can be boiled down into a 3×5 card, it is much easier to understand.

SERP Rankings

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are the pages that display in Yahoo!, Bing and Google when you type in a search page. The Google SERP for San Diego Emergency Pest Control is shown below.

Google SERPs Page

The paid ads or PPC (pay per click)  ads are displayed as the top three results in the center column and along the right side. These are ads you must bid for to have them displayed for your page. It can be very expensive. What we are after are the natural or organic listings. These are the listings you don’t pay for and are the result of solid SEO strategies.

Pages x Links = Search Engine Rankings

Let’ expand the formula a bit.

Good quality relevant pages x good quality relevant links = search engine rankings

Google grants “authority” to good content pages and good quality relevant links (or votes) is how these pages gain authority. When a site has many, sometimes thousands of authority pages, it becomes an authority site – think CNN or ESPN.  You want your pages to become authority pages. To do that you make sure your content is high quality and links into that page are from the highest authority pages possible.

Look at the left side of the formula above. Good quality relevant pages could be from your site or from another web property that you don’t own. From your own site, think about where you might sell blue widgets, red widgets and green widgets. You have multiple pages on your site about these widgets. Each of those pages should link to each other and to any new widgets page you create. That is the first source of links – your own internal links from your relevant pages.

After you make sure you are linking from your relevant internal pages, find the highest authority external pages to get links. It’s probably not going to be CNN, but it could be a link from another widget site, a widget industry directory and so on. These should be your first choice. You can also create Hub Pages, Squidoo Pages and other content sites. These sites are consider authority sites by search engines. We’ll talk more about content sites later. Create these sites and then link to the relevant pages on your site.

Writing articles targeted to the same content as your specific pages will be enough to rank on the first page, or even number one for low competition keyword phrases.

Ranking Formula Strategy

If you have a blog, you can create more pages on your site easily and quickly. That should be a big part of your strategy. Each of those blog posts is a page and a link from that page will help other pages. Don’t say the same thing over and over. Vary the content so that it is unique within your site. Building more pages is critical because it’s self-reinforcing. As your pages and site gain authority, it raises your site’s power to rank for existing and new search terms.

Build links to all your site pages. Articles, Authority Sites, Guest Blog Posts, Blog Commenting and many other techniques are available. Video sites such as YouTube and Viddler can also be useful in building links. Links will also come to you if you create great content that others remark on. We’ll cover more on link building later, but understand for now that links are critical to your site’s rankings.

I see linking, both internally and externally, as the biggest weakness of most small business sites that are not ranking well for their targeted keywords.

Summary

There you have it. Create lots of unique targeted relevant pages. Link to those pages from other pages on your site and build external links from other sites. Do this and you’ll see great results.

If Do It Yourself SEO is not in your plans, or you need some basic consulting or training, just give Michael a call at 386-295-2049 or go to the contact page to send a message by email.

What the H is Internet Marketing?

Really, Are You Marketing The Internet?

Do you do magazine marketing when you advertise in magazines? Do you do newspaper marketing when you advertise in Newspapers? No, you market your business. If you sell homes, you market homes and your real estate business. You market and advertise homes and real estate marketing because you sell homes and real estate.

Distinctions Are Important

Okay, so what’s the big deal? First, I’m going to raise some eyebrows, but if you focus on internet marketing, you are going to waste time and money. If you focus on marketing your business and your products and services using the internet, you are going to make better choices. This distinction is very important.

Think of a small business owner who knows he must improve her online marketing results. She is in the retail flowers business and is not getting the results she needs from her marketing on the internet. She is at a critical point. When she sits down at her computer to begin her search to improve her marketing, what will she type into the Google search box?

If she types “flower shop internet marketing” rather than internet marketing, she is on her way to a better result. Note: make sure to use quotation marks in your searches. There are 11,800 results for “flower shop internet marketing” and 5,070,000 results without the quotation marks. You will get better and more specific results using the quotation marks.

Get Targeted

Get targeted early in your marketing campaigns using the internet. If you want to learn internet marketing, that’s one thing. If you want to market your products and services using the internet, here are the things you need to target:

  • What are you selling in terms of products and services?
  • What are the benefits of your products and services?
  • How do you want people to feel about your company and your products?
  • Who are your ideal customers? Create multiple customer personas if you have more than one customer type.
  • How do you build your web presence to reflect your business purpose, style and unique qualities?
  • How will marketing on the internet affect your current marketing?
  • How will current marketing affect your marketing on the internet?

You get the idea. Notice none of these questions are really about “internet marketing.” They’re about your business. If you don’t answer these questions and others that are important to your business, you are ripe for the hype and hucksters. You should not begin building your website or begin SEO (search engine optimization) before answering these questions.

Internet Hype and Hucksters

I Made $123, 817 from My Kitchen Table Last Month – for $29.95, I’ll show you how. Well, if they make that kind of money, it was probably $29.95 at a time. Claims like this are out there when you start investigating internet marketing. This may be a bit exaggerated, but only a bit. It may come in different forms, but you can bet the hypsters and hucksters have targeted you in some way.

Here’s my claim: I switched my real estate marketing from print media and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to natural or organic search (“free results”) on Google, Yahoo! and Bing. I increased my company sales by 400% over 2-1/2 years. I dropped my advertising budget from $50,000 per year to $5,000 a year. It took six months to get good results, a year to recover the cost up to that point and two years to realize great results.

How did I do it? A lot of research, testing and hard work. I spent a lot time and money learning marketing on the internet and SEO. Much of what I tested did not work. Enough of what I tested worked to make the effort successful. So, I built a model. Then, I tested the model on other sites to make sure it worked. It does and that’s why I’ve started this site and the business that goes with it.

What My Journey Can Mean For You

You’re focused on your business and its success. That’s where I started when necessity caused me to jump into marketing my real estate business on the internet. You can leverage my investment in developing that working model. First, come back here often. Sign up for email updates in the box at the top of the right column, or, subscribe to my RSS feed if you use an RSS Reader. Over time, you’ll learn what you need to do it yourself or hire someone to help you market your business using the internet.

If you are ready to get started, call me at 386-295-2049 or use the contact page and we can discuss the options.