But the Internet has grown up. We want a tailored, enjoyable community. We've placed expectations on online services, and have bastardized the monetization model for web-based media outlets. It's like everyone has the opinion that they aren't printing and delivering the news to us, so it should be free. When the Internet began gaining in popularity, being subjected to advertising was something we had all experienced through other mediums, and just accepted. The processes going on behind the scenes that benefit the advertiser at the expense of privacy for the end user has brought us to a point where we are no longer satisfied with this arrangement.
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
- How do you select what keywords to code in ?
- We aren't going to "code in" keywords - we want text on the website that people will be searching for. Have to think as if you are a prospective customer searching for a business like yours - what would they type into the Google search box? Obvious phrases are stuff like "your product or service" words like "your location" etc. The more times "search phrases" appear on your website (naturally, can't "keyword stuff") the better chance they will be picked up in searches
- Again - we aren't "hiding text" in the code (with the exception of describing pictures - we need to provide a hidden "title" and "ALT" text that describes what is in the picture)
- there are basically 2 pieces to SEO -
- On page website fixes so that the search engines like Google can find and properly index your website
- and ongoing promotion and new content. Generally people don't "find" your website first - they go there to get more information about your company once they already know about it (so a website is really a "brochure" about your company) They are going to "find" you through other channels, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog, etc. The more content you keep adding to the internet, the more places Google has to index your information, and the more that regular people can "share" as well (Like, link to, etc.)
- If you are going to host your website yourself, I will need the login information for that, so i can upload the files.
- Yes I can, and yes it does. Don't think of Google+ like it is Facebook, it's not. Think of it as a central place that Google has access to all your info - your address, (Google Maps) links to all your social channels, links to basically anything you put on the web. Google+ is very important for SEO and search results.
- No problem! I recommend them as well.
- Easily done - we can either have them download a pdf, or have them fill out a form on the website, or both.
- Tricky question -first of all, nobody can guarantee first page results, and if they do, RUN! (Insert scam warning here...) But it depends - first page for what search phrase? Your company name? You should always be on the first page for that. But which search terms would you like to rank for? Need to build content on your website that contains those phrases, AND keep building content in your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. for those search phrases as well. That's how you get better rankings.
- Traffic does help - however, Google is tracking "unique visits" more than just the same person returning over and over... AND time on site is important - if you keep returning, and just "bounce" quickly off the website, you are actually not helping...
- A lot of reasons (mostly covered above) Which search term? You said your Google+ page is incomplete, etc. But one thing I haven't mentioned, search results are different for everybody, and which device you use. Desktop results are different from mobile results. And Google stores "cookies" in your browser and uses your past searches to influence future ones... Geography also matters, where are you searching from? Google will always try to pull up the closest results first.
- Quality inbound links matter - a review from a respected website, a link from your chamber of commerce, etc. Think of them as "votes" for your website.
- Proper link structure on your website is also important - can Google crawl it easily?
- Google takes a very dim view of "spam" and "hidden" links - this was a trick that "black hat" SEO's were doing a few years ago, and Google now punishes websites that create bad links, or allow low quality inbound links. Stay far away!
- It does to a degree. But it really comes down to making your website easy for a human to read - nice bold headlines, bullet points, etc. We will code headlines on your pages as to which are the most important, so Google knows which ones you want to highlight on each page (geekery here, we will be using "h" tags, I will explain some other time)
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
And do yourself a little favor - if you get unsolicted "SEO reviews" of your website, take them with a huge grain of salt... there are a ton of SEO scams out there!
Monday, March 23, 2015
- Whether it is a Wordpress website somebody else built that was hacked (IF you are going to use Wordpress, pay attention to plugin updates, and stay away from "free" plugins...), and I rebuilt - www.artbyera.com
- Or one that was built by Hibu (What a SEO mess they made!) and now properly built (Look! No weird URL's or links to Hibu! No ongoing payments for what amounts to nothing!) - www.actonfamilychiropractic.com
- Or an ecommerce website for a college friend in Canada starting a new business - www.strongbarsnutrition.com
- Or fixing a Squarespace mess for an architect (not on Squarespace anymore!) - www.jeffreyklum.com
- Or just helping the local Rotary out a little bit - www.rotarywestmichigan.org
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
- Have the Content people are looking for - and make it quality content. Basically comes down to, how are people searching for the products/services you offer?
- Does your website (and all your other web content like social accounts) have the key phrases and words people actually use in their searches?
- How often do the important keywords appear? Are they in your headings, in bullet points, in page titles, etc. Google actually "indexes" HOW the words appear, and gives them a "priority" or "ranking" depending on how important they appear to be on your website.
- Do you have "quality pages" (ie enough words - 250 is the target minimum) - Google can't really "see" pictures, they need words to index
- Also is it truly "Quality Content" - is it interesting? Does it contain the info people are looking for?
- Most websites I run into really suffer because the content has not been optimized for quality or for keywords
- this is where all the meta, and schema , and behind the scenes coding junk comes in, but it is important
- Can Google crawl your site easily?
- Are your Meta titles and descriptions done properly?
- What are your "tagged" headings on each page? (h1, h2, h3, etc.) Do they contain the important keywords and phrases you are trying to capture?
- Have you used schema markup, so the search engines can easily identify your company info and product info?
- this can include:
- "blogs" and "news" feeds
- photo galleries
- "downloadables" like white papers, case studies, catalogs, manuals, infographics, etc.
- If people find the content worthwhile, they will return to the website. They will also "share" this content with others (this is where the share buttons like a "Facebook Like" button comes in)
- BUT people won't return for (or "share") low quality, uninteresting content
- and if you are never adding new or interesting content, why would anybody return to our website?
- some of this you do yourself - local citations, posting to social media, promoting the content you create, etc.
- but what we really want is other websites and people linking to us - so what are we producing that gets others to like and link to us?
- The only qualification is we only want "good links" (authoritative links) not low quality "spam links" that can actually hurt the websites ranking (hence the need for things like the "disavow tool")
Sunday, February 22, 2015
It's funny how people can actually say this to a client with a straight face, and then you look at the websites they built, and none of the on-page SEO has been done correctly. Yet these "website design firms" (I use that very loosely in these cases) charged top dollar for this "On-Site SEO work".
Website #1 was built by a large recently renamed "directory" that churns out nice enough looking websites, and promises all kinds of neat results. Too bad looking at the website, the only company benefitting seems to be the directory itself.
The SEO is a mess, and on site issues include:
- meta titles and descriptions that have nothing to do with the content and are duplicated site wide
- improper use of heading tags
- every photo on the website is a "large file" unoptimized for load speed
- no ALT tags or titles in the pictures
- no use of schema markup
- and the biggest issue - a bunch of links on each page that go back to the directory itself, helping benefit the directory's "search rankings"
Website #2 was built by a small "local" website design firm - promising that they would give better "hands-on" work then a large firm. Sorry, another fail, all the same issues as above (minus the crazy backlinks)
This is where business owners need to do a little homework. When you hire a company and they promise to "optimize" your website - get it in writing what they are actually going to do. And download this - Google's Official "Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide" If you want to dig deeper then go here as well - Webmaster Guidelines - Best practices to help Google find, crawl, and index your site
On-page SEO is not that difficult - there are simple rules and guidelines to follow. It just amazes me how many website design firms don't follow them, yet claim that they do...
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Friday, February 6, 2015
And another retail chain bites the dust. Radio Shack is just another example of not changing with the times - everything about the place was just wrong:
- overpriced crap
- uneducated staff - pushing "service plans" & "add-ons" you just didn't need or want
- known as a "parts" store, yet never seemed to have what you needed in stock
- no focus as to what the store was supposed to be
Look at your business, website, your marketing plan, are you making any of these mistakes?
Friday, January 30, 2015
Quick tip of the day - make sure to store or backup your photos online.
Back story: I have a couple of friends who unfortunately had house fires. No harm done to any people or pets, but their homes were a total write-off. Luckily they were fully insured, so they were able to get back up and running. BUT the one thing they could not get back were their pictures...
One of them actually had a backup hard-drive, thinking that would be the "safe" way to backup their precious memories. Problem is the backup hard-drive was also destroyed in the fire...
So do yourself a favor, if you backup nothing else, backup your pictures somewhere "off-site" or in the cloud. There are several services available, and quite a few "free" choices.
I personally use Flickr:
- it is free
- gives you up to 1TB (1000 GB's) of free storage
- integrates with iPhoto
- integrates with iOS, and can be set to automatically upload photos from your iPhone
- you can set "privacy" settings so nobody sees your photos, unless you specifically share them
- a nice app and web portal that let's me have access to every photo from any device
- allows video storage as well (up to 3 minutes in length each)
Thursday, January 29, 2015
But first - how it used to work. In my family we have 3 iPhones, and before "Family Sharing" I just tied everything into my Apple ID, which meant every app AND every song in my iTunes collection was shared. However, there were some issues with my sons iTunes gift cards and one shared account, so we moved him to a "Family Sharing" account. Solved the issue of gift card balances, and we can still share most apps, BUT we can no longer share our iTunes collections (why? I don't know... probably licensing issues...)
- I created a "family" Gmail account, and connected it to Google Play Music.
- Next, I downloaded the Google Play "Music Manager" to my Mac, and uploaded my music library to Google Play. Google allows you to store up to 20,000 songs in their "Play Cloud"
- Next my son downloaded the "Google Play" app for his iPhone, connected it using our "family Gmail" address, and voila, he has access to my iTunes library again
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Email options for businesses pretty much suck right now - here's hoping Amazon's entry into the corporate email world brings better service from everybody (and maybe even better pricing!)
Thursday, January 15, 2015
This week it is 1Password by AgileBits this is truly one of my must-have apps, and is installed on every device I own (including my old EVO Android)
In this day and age, when it seems daily we hear of more "hacked accounts" in the news, it isn't a question of if you need better password security, it is a must! Yet this seems to be the one thing that people hedge their bets on and just don't do...
If you are one of those who haven't stepped into the world of more-secure passwords, check out 1Password.
- It works on almost every major device (originally made for Macs and iOS, but available now for PC and Android as well)
- Easy to use from your browser
- It creates and stores super-secure passwords (think 5-50 characters of gobledy-gook)
- Can store other info securely as well (credit card info, secure notes, etc.)
- Syncs your passwords easily between devices (I use the Dropbox sync option)
- You just have to remember one password to unlock your passwords (hence the name.)
Saturday, January 3, 2015
2014 was the year of hacks, here are some of the highlights:
- The Bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox filed for bankruptcy after $460 million was apparently stolen by hackers due to "weaknesses in their system"
- Retail stores were hacked including:
- Home Depot
- Jimmy John's
- Banks were hacked
- JPMorgan Chase, info stolen for 83 million accounts
- Healthcare was hacked
- Community Health Systems which operates 206 hospitals in 29 states had 4.5 million people's personal data stolen
- Apple "photos" was hacked, 500 private celebrity pictures stolen and later posted on the internet
- It was the year of "Heartbleed" and "Shellshock" and an Internet Explorer bug, that left every version since Internet Explorer 6 open to hack
- and of course the Sony hack
So for 2015 I am going all in on encouraging "Internet Security Best Practices"What you can do to stay (somewhat) secure
- Start with secure passwords, don't use the same password anywhere twice on the internet
- I can't recommend highly enough a program like 1Password. Yes it will cost you a few bucks up front, but the ability to have secure, easy to access passwords on all your devices is more than worth it. This is one of the first apps I install on every new device.
- Use "2-factor verification" on all your email accounts. Gmail has it, Apple has it, use it. Makes it very difficult for a hacker to ever access your emails.
- And remember that nothing is really private on the internet!
- That text you sent, is saved on a server somewhere, and can be recalled at any time
- that email you thought was private, can be used against you in a court case one day
- Your Facebook/Pinterest/LinkedIn posts, even with privacy settings, they can be seen by others
- even your phone calls are easily intercepted and recorded these days...
And on that negative note, I actually look forward to 2015! I think that great things are going to happen this year! Business is booming, I'm busier than ever (and no longer a one person operation!) and I look forward to talking at you very soon!