Track Your Online Business

Set objectives with Google Analytics Goal Tracking

If you didn’t already know, Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to measure the performance of your website. One of its more powerful abilities is Goal Tracking, which allows you to create and measure specific user actions on your website, such as shopping cart purchases, blog article reads, or recommendations on social media. With this information you can measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns, test which of two layouts is best, and determine the success of your business’s social media page.

Our Social Climb team uses Goal Tracking as a part of the website optimization process for our clients, as well as during launch promotion planning. For those of you who are interested in managing these tools yourself, or learning about some of the components we can help you use, here are three of Analytics’ most useful features:

URL Tracking
google analytics toolsThere are a variety of ways that people arrive at your site and finding out which are working hardest for you is a crucial part of maintaining a steady stream of visitors. URL tracking allots you the ability to create custom URL addresses for gathering data from specific sources. You can check your search marketing campaigns, track repeating customers and how they purchase the items in their shopping cart, all by assigning these addresses to Analytics to oversee.

Funnels are a useful asset to URL tracking in which you specify a route through the various pages of your website. User data is then collected on the progress and frequency of that route. You use your custom addresses you’ve created and track the path taken to arrive at a secondary address. For instance, you set up a funnel between a particular item to the last step in your shopping cart to track how many people are purchasing that product. This allows you to see whether visitors are completing the funnel in the way you expect, or whether there are problems (such as visitors leaving before checking out), highlighting where improvements can be made in order for the desired transaction to occur.

Duration & Page Visits
Analytics keeps track of how long a visitor has been on your site based on recorded arrival and departure time stamps. The only drawback of the time stamp system is that the duration cannot be measured until a visitor has left one page for another, even if they have been there for hours. Duration is useful for monitoring how involved visitors are with your content and detecting the speed with which people are navigating. Specifying duration goals, such as setting a limit of three minutes, would alert you of how many people had stayed on a particular page for three minutes or more.

You can also monitor page visits; who is visiting, how often and how quickly they proceed. Statistics gathered from this section will determine the level of user-friendliness your site exudes.

Events
Events with Goal Tracking are just goal items you wish to track that don’t already fall into one of the above categories. A few items that can be considered Events, are:
Social media links that lead back to your site to monitor the effectiveness of your social media campaign.

Downloads on your site; are your resources being used?
Videos or photo galleries; are they useful or just filling up space?
Other external sources of traffic to your website, such as in email blasts or newsletters.
If you can name it, you can most likely track it in Events, down to a single mouse click.

Knowing is half the battle
Google Analytics provides an extensive set of tools and yields a great deal of information about the success and usability of your website, empowering you to measure the results of your efforts. Without empirical data about how your site is used and which strategies are effective, any effort to improve the way you do business online is tantamount to guesswork.

Social Climb’s marketing specialists are experienced in crafting digital strategies to suit your unique business needs. Whether you hire us to assist you or plan to do it yourself, Goal Tracking should be an integral part of your marketing efforts. To find out how your company can benefit from the use of Goal Tracking to improve website performance, feel free to contact us.

contractor leads

Who Is Looking For You On The Internet?

Everyone!

Even if they don’t know exactly what they need, chances are most people are looking for a skilled contractor who can fix whatever is broken, damaged, or in need of maintenance around their homes. From fence installations to bathroom remodeling and from landscaping to home automation, every homeowner and tenant with access to the internet, will look for home improvement services online, from their computers and even most likely, their phones.

The people looking for DIY tutorials one day are the same people looking for repairs, maintenance, and other related services the next day.

Other people, who don’t have time for DIY projects, are constantly looking for contractors who can take over whatever home improvement project they have in mind. So every day, hundreds of people go online to look for specialized contractors in their specific locations, to assign them home improvement tasks of all sorts.

So we know the internet is one of the biggest sources for contractors to find more customers and make more sales but are people buying?

According to a study by The Farnsworth Group contractors are optimistic about 2017. Their study turned up an increase of 5-10% in 2017.

home improvement leads

 

So the next big question for home improvement contractors is….

 

What’s A Cost Effective Way To Capture This Business Growth?

There are basically 3 ways to take advantage of online leads.

1. SEO – search engine optimization is the science or art of ranking your business website on the first page of the search engines so prospects can find you. To accomplish this you’ll need some skills and knowledge in modern SEO techniques. Alternatively you can hire an SEO company that specializes in the home improvement industry. Bear in mind that this is a process and will take time to achieve the rankings your desire

2.Paid Ads – Paid ads, PPC or pay per click ads is simply buying ads on the first page of the search results. The search engines will tell you that anyone can create an ad and achieve page 1, this is true but without some working knowledge of the system ad cost can put this out of reach for many. Hiring a company to manage the ads is a great way to go for many companies. But for most small contractor businesses the cost is just too high and out of reach.

3. Leads – Pay per lead programs have become increasingly popular. The popularity is due to the fact that this is a much more palatable option for most home improvement contractors. The cost is much lower and results are more immediate than SEO.

So if you own or manage a home improvement company and are ready to grow your business in 2017, you’ve come to the right place. Social Climb specializes in leads for home improvement businesses across the US. We work with all types of companies, from home elevator companies to roofers to window washing. Schedule a free no obligation consult with one of our experts today!

Lead Generation For Contractors

Copywriting for SEO

Quality Copywriting Earns More Customers

You can spend a lot of money building a website with all the bells and whistles, but if it doesn’t have engaging content, no one is going to use it. Whether you own a large eCommerce platform, a small business or blog from the comfort of your home, maintaining the interest of those visiting your website is absolutely crucial. At Social Climb, we’ve discovered an effective balance between poignant copy and strong SEO in order to get people to the websites we build as well as retaining their attention and making their visit memorable enough to return again and again.

SEO — A Balancing Act

Search Engine Optimization is the application of keywords and phrases in conjunction with marketing research processes to highlight the meaning of your webpages, helping to boost your site to the top of the organic search results in which it is highly relevant. Although marketing is key in keeping your website afloat, SEO by itself won’t build or maintain the audience you need to ensure your business’s success. Even if you’re performing well in search results and receive a lot of traffic, your visitors will leave and forget about your site all together if they aren’t engaged or impressed by your content. This is why a healthy balance between SEO and writing copy for human indulgence is vital to the strength of an online company.

blogging for seoWhen visiting a site for the first time, readers quickly determine what your content is about and whether or not it’s applicable to what they need. Long-winded SEO paragraphs or sentences stuffed chock-full of keywords written for GoogleBot are not going to provide a positive outcome for your visitors. Copy written for humans should be specific, easily understood and — due to the rapidity at which people browse — scannable.

At Social Climb, we focus on writing copy and applying SEO as a single, blended procedure. While our talented marketing team are experts at researching the best SEO application for your site’s success, we find a way to apply search-targeted terminology organically into your copy to keep your visitors reading through to the end. People don’t read advertisements; they read what’s interesting to them, which is why it is important to not only think about what’s in it for your organization, but also, what’s in it for your customer?

Tell Your Story

If your business has a story, chances are, you’ll want to tell it. Humans are natural storytellers; we seek tradition and relationships in our everyday interactions. When a co-worker tells an anecdote about their weekend, our brain automatically goes: “That reminds me of the time when I…” Relating our own experiences to stories told by others is how we establish our footing.

So, if you have a story, tell it. Too often are “About Us” pages left scant. This is where people go to learn about you and look for a reason as to why they should choose your company over another. In fact, you want to incorporate philosophy, ideally one that you use to sell your product, and weave it strongly throughout every page of your website. The goal is to comfort as well as earn the trust of your site visitors — a tone that shines through clearly and aids the campaign.

An example of a company with a strong backstory, is the well-known shoe and apparel store TOMS. Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, was inspired by a trip to Argentina to help those in third-world countries. Although his story has grown beyond shoes, their iconic style remains popular and his website contributes much of its space to display what the non-profit is, how it all started and their current efforts to continue that story.

Content Outside The Obvious

more sales with seoHaving good web content doesn’t stop at informational storytelling and SEO. In fact, the way you phrase your error messages, form instructions and page headers can drastically shape your users’ experience through your site as well as build a relationship with customers outside the site using email blasts, newsletters and social media.

Small, seemingly insignificant bits of content need to fit the context of your site and your user’s progress in their journey through it. Notifications such as error messages, 404 page text (when the server cannot find the requested URL) or company guidelines should all be crafted sensitively, with the user’s anticipated mood and expectations carefully taken into consideration for each individual situation. Consider whether your copy should follow a brand persona by making the 404 page consistent with the branding, which has the potential of making a frustrating moment more lighthearted and personable.

A way to continually engage with your customers and potential customers is by keeping in touch through blogs, email, newsletters and social media. At Social Climb, we publish a variety of announcements, business and technical blogs throughout the month to keep our customers engaged and educated. These are great outlets through which to build relationships, not only by continuing to communicate using your business persona but also by earning repeat visitors and links to your website.

Social media in particular is a great medium for you to provide compelling, consistent content that makes your customers feel more comfortable and conversational with a business; above all, news feeds on sites such as Twitter or Facebook are a place for casual conversation. You can then use this engagement on a more personal level to post not only conversational statuses or tweets, but also news articles, blogs or eCommerce promotions, linking customers back to your website.

In a society where we are constantly posting, uploading, tweeting and blogging, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the quantity and inconsistent quality of content these days. We don’t need more copy, we need better copy. Not only can your businesses benefit from eliminating those little grammar and spelling errors that may exist on their site, but you can also improve the user experience by having professional, personable, resonating copy that your visitors can easily locate, relate to and retain.

Social Climb can offer assistance improving existing copy or creating fresh copy for your website. Contact us to learn more about how our services can help you and your customers and we would be happy to help.

contractor lead generation

Generate More Leads For Your Home Improvement Business

Generating contractor leads and keeping your business far in the green doesn’t need to be drudgery. In fact, it does not need to be work that you do at all. For a lot of types of service providers, from remodeling, roof, cooling, plumbing, to a mix of each one of them, with a little focus, the right devices, and an investment in learning ways to utilize them, you can quickly develop leads that will bring you business that you’re looking for.

But what about the competition? The competitor is always going to exist. There will constantly be others doing exactly what you do. The way to get control in a local market is to make your voice heard over the crowd. This can be accomplished with the power of a really good web site that is optimized for online search. Let your rivals have their old methods of generating contractor leads like bulk mail, radio advertisements, and leaflets. These techniques are old and quickly becoming outdated.

leads generation for contractorsEnvision having a web site that attracts people to find your contracting business trustworthy and credible. Imagine how your business could change because they are picking up the phone and calling about your home improvement services. A website is a necessary tool for producing more leads, customers and referrals for your contracting business.

If somebody is looking to have their lawn landscaped and type into the search engine the words “landscaping service” will they discover you? Hopefully your local listing will turn up on the first page, even better the first few position and even much better, take up the whole front page. Can you afford to not to have a system like this in place?

Having your home improvement website SEO optimized for the best keywords that concern your business is a no brainer. The life time value of consumers that are trying to find you before you try to find them can’t be ignored. The internet as a constant lead source will enable you to concentrate on carrying out great and not fret about the competitors in your local market. Performing great gets consumers to come back again and again.

A little expertise or professional assistance from an SEO agency specifically for your business is the most cost effective means to generate contracting leads bar none. That’s money in the bank.

Business Success Starts With A Specialist In Online Marketing

In the world of online marketing, it has become a competitive landscape where businesses each day fight it out to get recognized. In order to succeed, you must employ an online marketing specialist to help boost your brand.

With so much competition coming from all over the world, it is imperative that you have an expert who is in tune with all the latest trends. Many people in marketing today specialize in social media, since that is what is trending at the moment. Each company looks for different ways to reach the consumer through multiple marketing platforms, but it all begins online.

When you use the internet to advertise and promote your business, you have the ability to not only reach the consumer at home, but also on their smartphones which they carry around all day. Since smartphone use is way up and getting bigger each day, it’s important to reach that audience, too.

If you are someone who is up on all the latest marketing trends, you could be a candidate to become a specialist in this area. Businesses pay big money for information about consumer habits, which is why you see many online surveys. This is just another form of marketing where you can get the consumer involved. There are many companies that specialize in running surveys to get the opinions of consumers which in turn fuels marketing efforts.

internet marketingYou need to know what the latest trends are in order to stay relevant in today’s business world. An expert in internet marketing should be aware of all the latest keywords that consumers use in the search engines.

In today’s internet, a business needs to understand and utilize search engine optimization. You must build your website that is fully optimized to take advantage of all the latest social media trends. You need to know what your potential customers search for online then sprinkle those keywords throughout your website. Your website needs to be relevant today consumers can find you on the search engines. The higher your search engine rank, the more traffic you will receive and that equates to more business.

Specializing in marketing online requires you to have a vast knowledge of all the different social media platforms. This is where it gets very tricky because what is in today might be out tomorrow. Your online marketing specialist has to be the one who can foresee what is trending now and into the future. Businesses who are in on all the latest online marketing trends will be in the best position to succeed moving forward.

Being an expert in the online world definitely has many advantages if you like to be on the internet all day long. In addition to that, you must have a love of social media, smartphones and new technology. The best part about being a specialist is that you get to see all the latest happenings in the world of technology before it becomes mainstream.

When hiring for marketing purposes, you need someone who is familiar with all the new media. This is not a position to be taken lightly and, in fact, the bottom line for each business is how well they do in online marketing.

online marketing strategies

Top Marketing Strategies To Grow A New Business

Starting a business can be the most exciting, frustrating, challenging and rewarding undertaking we ever do. Like so many we dive the business full of ideas, dreams and ambition. But sometimes all the planning doesn’t give is the dose of reality that hits us once we get started.

Some entrepreneurs hire a business coach but many go it alone… and as someone who didn’t hire a business coach, I discovered very quickly that I at least needed to get involved with like minded groups and online coaches that offered training, coaching and more importantly accountability. It’s easy to focus on the wrong things and “not see the forest for the trees”. So having gone through many challenges and at times still going through the growing pains I thought it might be of some value to share what I’ve learned.

 

  1. Identify your weaknesses early – Entrepreneurs wear many hats (especially when we are getting started), we can be everything from the janitor to the CFO when our businesses are young. This is the time to identify the things we may not be very good at, the things we really don’t like to do and the things we love about our business.
  2. Hire a coach or join a group – Get help with the things that you may not be very good at. This could be marketing, managing finances, managing employees or some other aspect of the business. There are a great number of groups that can be a voice of reason when we need it, offer guidance and information to help overcome the challenges.
  3. Find an accountability partner – There are some tasks in our business that we don’t enjoy doing and these tend to get pushed to the bottom of our to do list. An accountability partner is someone you meet with bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on your needs. You help by holding them accountable for tasks and goals in their business and they will do the same for you. There is no greater motivation than realizing you have an accountability meeting next week and you haven’t completed the task you were committed to doing before the next meeting.

 

small-business-marketing-strategiesThese 3 items are really foundational components of your business. Develop processes, structure and time frames for all the tasks needed to keep your business running and over time these will become daily, weekly and monthly habits.

 

  1. Spend 70% of your time growing your business – 70% sounds like a lot of time but sales are the life blood of every business. Without a steady stream of sales your business will become stagnant and the slightest shift in your market could be devastating.
  2. Track all your marketing – If you spend time or dollars on a marketing strategy you need to be able to analyze it 30 days out. Keep the marketing strategies that deliver the highest ROI. Dump the ones with a low ROI or negative ROI and keep trying new things.
  3. Develop inbound and outbound marketing strategies – Inbound is most beneficial for service based businesses. Outbound tends to work better for eCommerce, insurance and the health care niche but there is no hard fast rule; every market and niche is a little different.
  4. 80/20 rule – Invest 80% of your efforts on the marketing tactics that are bringing you the greatest return. Spend 20% of your time trying new marketing tactics, testing and learning. Technologies are changing so fast that it is nearly impossible to keep up with the newest big thing… this is where you will be really glad you joined a group of entrepreneurs, marketers and like minded individuals.
  5. Stay focused – For me this was the hardest thing to do. I’m like a sponge that gathers all types of information from the internet, conversations and my groups. I love to test new marketing concepts. And this can quickly send me down a rabbit hole and way outside of my wheelhouse. My accountability partner has played a major role in keeping me on task. This doesn’t mean that I can’t test new concepts – I just ask myself these two questions; “is this project going to benefit the current business goals?” and “will this enhance the business financially?”. If I can answer yes to these two questions, I can spend less than 20% of my time testing (or “playing” as I call it).

Conclusion:
In summary, there are many rewards to having your own business. Developing a strong foundation, hiring great employees and having a good marketing strategy will set you on the right path to success. I want to leave you with one important thing if you take nothing else from this article; Seriously, spend 70% of your time on sales. All of the other work will get done… it really will. You’ll have the finances to hire more employees and if you really don’t enjoy sales, hire a sales rep or a marketing company to deliver exclusive leads… just focus on growing!

local marketing stats for small business

Local Marketing Statistics That Impact Your Business

Developing an online marketing strategy for your local business means keeping up with the latest trends and understanding your customers. You’ll find a plethora of marketing statistics online from search engine optimization to local marketing. Understanding how this information is applicable to your local business can be challenging.

Back in July we wrote about Launch of Google’s New Ads in Local Pack and how it could impact local businesses. I was recently talking to one of our National clients who read our article and called me to find out how they could take advantage of these changes. She saw an opportunity to start marketing locally in her biggest markets and possibly reducing her national Adwords campaign cost.

There is a value in keeping up with local marketing trends. So how do you figure out what your local business should be doing?

Solution: Local Marketing Stats
Make use of local marketing statistics to focus your current marketing strategy

 

local business marketing trendsEighty percent of Internet Users Own a Smartphone

In 2015 desktop searches was surpassed by mobile searches. Google changed their algorithm to boost mobile friendly websites. This change rocked the SEO industry and was dubbed “Mobilegeddon” because it was believed to have a significant impact on local rankings. Some business were impacted more than others (both positively and negatively).

It’s inevitable that technology will continue to develop and mobile will increasingly become more important to your business. The best way to know how many of your visitors are mobile is to take a look at your Google Analytics. You can see a break down of the traffic coming from mobile devices vs. desktop.

 

Twenty percent of consumers look for answers to complex questions on social media

Just as mobile search has changed online marketing, so to has social media. Today consumers spend more time on a variety of social media platforms. Yes, they do spend time venting about their day and uploading pictures of their lunch, but they also spend a great deal of time looking for answers and asking questions. This is especially true with the Millennials.

The questions posed in social media are on a wide range of topics from “how do I fix my leaky faucet” to “I’m upgrading my old junky car, what kind of car should I buy?”. Your business can be there to answer these questions. Knowing the most common questions your potential customers have will allow you to post answers via an FAQ on your website, YouTube videos and blog posts that answer these questions. If you have the resources, setting up Google Alerts will help your staff find and respond to these questions directly. You can search places like Quora, Twitter, Yahoo Answers to name a few.

 

Word-Of-Mouth is the #1 influencer among Millennials

When it comes to making purchasing decisions, Millennials look more closely at online reviews and referrals. As of 2015, the number of Millennials are greater than Baby Boomers, making up 25% of the US population. This group will undoubtedly become an increasingly more important makeup of your customer base. Creating a strong online reputation will be invaluable for your business going forward. Sites like Google, Yelp and Facebook are some of the places Millennials turn to currently (This will most likely changes as more review sites become more popular).

 

Content Searches have a great close ratio

Content marketing is the new trend that so many local businesses are reluctant to adapt. Leads from a content search are eight times as likely to result in a sale. Consumers are searching for answers, helpful information that is useful. Developing content for your blog will allow you to share your knowledge and attract consumers who are looking for this type of information. These articles can then be shared across many social platforms, email campaigns and advertising.

 

Keeping up with trends can help your local business put more emphasis on marketing that will have a greater impact on your business. Share your experience with these and other trends that are impacting local business today.

How Schema Markup Can Help Your Local Business Rankings

Schema isn’t new in the SEO world but it is new for many small businesses looking to improve their rankings on the search engines. Schema.org developed a revolutionary collaboration between the top search engines that created a way to make it easier to identify and categorize information on a website. Unfortunately, local businesses are far behind in practicing this on their own websites.

using schema for local businessesBefore we dive any further into Schema, let’s get a clear understanding of what it is…

Schema markup is code that is added to your website, which enables the search engines to better understand what your site is about and therefore return better search results for the user. If you’re familiar with rich snippets, you’ll probably know what schema markup is all about.

 

Here’s an example of a query for an event:

schema event markup example

The schema markup told the search engines to display a schedule of upcoming events for the Denver area. If someone is looking for this information it would be very helpful. Basically, schema tells the search engines what the information on your website means, not just what it says.

So, How does this help my local business?

There are many different types of markup that can be added to your website but we will only look at the ones most relevant for a local business.

Geographic Markup

First, you’ll want to make sure the address and phone number match your Google maps listing and that it is correct – You’ll be using this in your markup. Next you’ll need to choose the best category for your business – Schema.org’s local business section has a list of business types. You can include your address, phone, business hours and the types of payments your business accepts

A realtor’s site code would look like this:

 

schema markup geo example

In the example above the only information that is displayed on the website is the the markup info between the “itemprop” and the “span” tags. But for the bots crawling your site, they know that this is a real estate agency, where they are located, and their contact information.

Social Properties

Social media is playing a greater role in ranking our websites than ever before. But not in the way that you may think. Think of social media as a way for people to vote for your business – you can read more about social media in your SEO strategy.

Telling the search engines which social properties are related to your site will help them connect the dots and discover other properties related to your business. The markup for this looks like this:

schema markup example 3

It is especially important to include properties owned by Google like Blogger, YouTube, G+ Page and G+ Profile. Another good source to include are Google’s social Data Hub Partners.

Why is Schema Markup Important for Local Businesses?

In a nutshell…. Schema just flat out helps your website rank better! There are hundreds of markup types from nail salons to medical dosage schedules. When you can help the search engines understand what your site is about, where your business is located and authority sits your business is associated with, you will improve your rankings.

Does my site have schema markup?

If you’ve had someone else make your website and don’t know if schema was incorporated in your websites structure, you can use Google’s schema testing tool. Just login to Google, put your web address in the box and run the test.

Need help adding schema to your website?

Adding schema to your website isn’t as difficult as it may seem. All of that code can seem a little intimidating if you’re not familiar with it. By adding schema to your website, you will improve your rankings and improve the way the search engines use your site information. For help adding schema to your website contact Social Climb – we are always happy to help a small business!

White Hat vs Grey Hat? The SEO Trends

Practically speaking, less than 10% sites on the net are doing 100% pure white hat SEO, that is excluding the sites which are not doing any SEO at all. By saying this I do NOT mean that 90% sites are doing black hat SEO. Well, don’t be confused, here is my explanation.

What is Pure White Hat SEO?

Have you ever thought what is natural SEO? And how Google sees it? Well, in an ideal situation, if a site has unique quality content with great value for a user (either scientific value, information quality, or something exceptionally novel), which is not widely spread on the net, it’s very likely that a reader would like to spread word about this content. Spreading word could be using social media networks, tweeting/re-tweeting it, liking it on Facebook or linking to the writer’s professional using social media for seonetwork on LinkdIn. The other ways of showing appreciation to this unique content or the website is that a user puts a link back to this content/URL on his network of websites. When all this is done, this particular site is getting some good recommendation from users based on their liking and linking to this site, which in turn improves its “authority” in the eyes of search engines, particularly Google. If this is exactly what has happened and the site ranked in top results in its SERP, then this is exactly 100% pure white hat SEO.

This is all the opposite of black Hat SEO. I am sure everyone who knows SEO, knows black hat SEO techniques. Black hat SEO, simply speaking, is any trick you do on your site to mislead either users or the search engines. This could be, for example, using hidden texts on a site by putting white font color on a white background, or doing lot of backlinking by using a “character” as the anchor text to deceive Google and not letting a user feel there are lots of irrelevant linking on that page. It could also be unethical URL redirecting, redirection loop etc. There are many other forms of black hat SEO techniques that you can Google and read in more detail as this topic is not meant to cover black hat techniques and much has already been written on the subject anyway.

Grey Hat SEO

Now, as you have better idea what are real white hat SEO techniques and what is black hat SEO, lets analyze what are latest trends in SEO, and how people are using grey hat SEO. As I said in one of my earlier post, whether it likes or not, Google has no choice except giving proper weight to the number and quality of backlinks to a site as the competition is so tough among thousands of similar websites that its practically impossible for Google to get best top ten results using its other algorithm components, or the content and on-page SEO alone. Google can spot non-ethical link building, bad neighborhood, spammy links sites, irrelevant link building, non-contextual link building, link building using automated software and several other types of link-building techniques that are not pure 100% white hate, but still it’s not possible for a search engine to tell whether the liking of a site and a relevant ethical link was originated by a user who in reality liked that site and buzz the word OR its work of a paid SEO expert who did this link building. Such ethical link building done by an SEO company or an SEO specialist is what I call “grey hat SEO”. I hope you get now where I am coming from.

Seeing the SEO Trends and Google algorithm changes in the past few months, I have a strong small business marketingfeeling that sooner or later Google has to find a way to know which link building is done using SEO expertise and what is 100% natural linkbuilding. One bit of proof to this theory is the recent Caffeine update from Google that makes a correlation sort of thing between your linkbuilding and your popularity on social media networks. Now the question is what should I do as an SEO company or a webmaster to avoid any issues in future Google changes? So here is my answer!

Some Useful tips on 100% pure white hat SEO techniques:

Put the maximum effort on your on-page SEO, and content, written by experienced writers in excellent language, and present scientific stuff.

Develop an authority website keeping in mind as there was no such thing called “back links” so try to think how you can compete with all other websites given zero backlinking competition.

Try posting regular unique content and spread word among your friends and social circle about the effort you are doing with the content so they come and give you a natural SEO boost.

VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t start link building effort right after you finish your website development process. Rather, put the unique content, make your on-page SEO perfect, develop sitemap, create Google webmaster account, submit your site and let search engines crawl it at normal speed and just leave it as is. If you have time, I would recommend no link building effort during the first 3-6 months based on how Google is crawling the site. It’s a bit tricky to know how much Google is giving authority to your site if you are not in first 100 results, but through Google webmaster, and organic traffic to low-competent keywords, you can have an idea of how well your site is doing in Google.

Always start gradually and with Google safe linkbuilding, like social bookmarking and web 2.0 properties and not using the blog networks to avoid any footprints.

Develop a blog on your site and write 400+ words content regularly.

Do some smart internal linking, I would suggest doing it manually than using tag plugins as it gets confusing some times and sometimes it gives a very unnatural internal linking.

Create social media network pages, spread the word and try to put some unique content in them regularly linking back to your site.

Be natural, don’t write for Google, write for your audience.

Lastly, if you need help with your SEO campaign turn to an experienced SEO agency like Social Climb. Make sure the company you choose to work with has many years experience doing SEO. Search engine optimization has changed dramatically over the last 5 years and the agencies that know what they are doing are still in business and thriving. SEO companies come and go, unfortunately the inexperienced are a waste of your money but can also put your website in penalty and fixing it can be an expensive endeavor.

SEO and SEM Marketing

eMarketing Sabotage – Top 10 Things To Kill Your SEM Practices

We at Social Climb find ourselves amazed at the amount of effort people spend trying to fool or manipulate their positioning in search engines. People seem to focus on the shortcuts to success and NOT on their Web site or the true value their content provides to their prospects.

In the spirit of educating online marketers and DIY small business marketers about best practices, we present this list of ten things you can do to sabotage your search engine marketing project in a “New York” second.

1. Invisible (Ghost) Text

You have kept a good secret! Your visitors might not have noticed, but all search engine crawlers have been trained to be on the lookout for this obvious technique, last fashionable circa 1997. The search engines may very well purge all your pages from their index due to deceptive practices.

And, if you are feeling really frisky, you can make this technique even more effective if the invisible text has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the page it sits within.

2. Frames Usage

Search engines are not “frame-friendly”. Once they encounter a pesky frame, they either stop flat in their tracks because the frame doesn’t give them anywhere else to go, or they locate the pages beyond the frames and point people to that locale – which won’t have the frames included with it.

There’s truly no need to use frames and make attempt to justify it by believing it will improve the prospect’s experience.

If your prospects can’t uncover your site or they find slices and slivers of you, how much then have you actually assisted them?

3. Why Be Fresh And Original?

online marketing to grow your businessWhy try to be unique, it’s just too hard anyway? It sounds foolish, but it occurs quite often. If you find something of real interest on another site, just burning a copy and slapping your links on the top does not make you a unique force on the Net. And how many actual shopping sites selling the exact same discounted products are enough for the average Web? In my book, the more sites you mirror, the least effective you will become.

4. Chubby Web Pages (Obesity Kills)

Sites with lots of graphics, animation, Flash and music do pose many disruptive elements with the search engines. Not only can it confuse your prospects, who are looking for obvious information and links, the search engines may not feel you are very relevant because they cannot be sure what to make of your Web site.

If you have a site made up of nothing but heavy graphics and multimedia, not only will you give the search engines zero to index, you may also aggravate any prospect running with a slower connection speed. If nothing else, at the least, use ALT-tags to explain images for text browsers, the hearing impaired and search engines.

5. Redirects, Redirects, And More Redirects

You may be using “redirects” within your Web pages to track clicks for advertising and also to pull together information about your site visitors. Your Web pages may be indexed, but you may not rank well at all. The search engines may not be able to see the correlation that exist between your Web pages because the redirect code often blocks their path, unlike direct text linkage.

6. Lengthy URL’s

Dynamic (ever-changing) e-commerce and shopping Web sites that use parameters and their session ID’s often manifest these difficult URL’s nicely.

If your Web site has lengthy URL’s sprinkled with question marks, percentage signs, Session ID’s, and at least three parameters, you’re degrading your hopes for search engine superiority.

Lengthy URL’s do not look very attractive to individuals searching and the site URL’s contain calls to various databases.

Leading the way for the search crawler directly into your database may quite possibly be a sure-fire way to send them spidering elsewhere.

7. Forgotten about your No Index Tag and Robots.txt?

Have you created a plan to keep all those nasty search bots out? Do you have a robots.txt file living on the root of your site? Does this file contain the following:

User-agent: *disallow /

Or does your Web property have a Meta-tag:

Be extra nice to your Webmaster. He or she may depart from your company in the future and leave this little monster behind for you to find at the end of a needlessly expensive investigation into why the search engines will not make nice with your Web site.

If you are using the special robots protocol, you will not want to forget to remove them altogether if you are going live from a beta testing process.

8. Doorway Pages

Doorway pages (also known as jump pages and bridge pages) and anything that is created specifically for a search engine and does not contain any valuable content or products for your prospect, is not an effective search marketing tool.

If you’re not providing true content, the search engines will discover this and may penalize your entire online site. If you’ve jammed yourself into this hole, you’ll may need to return back to the beginning with a new domain name.

9. Identical Meta-Tags And Titles

You worried over every single unique page of the Web site while developing it, but you didn’t spend a lot of concern that each page should be tagged (or classified) that way.

meta tagsImagine walking into your public library where every single book had the exact same title. What better way to tell a search bot to “take a hike” than showing them that all of your content is exactly the same. You will most likely see fewer of your Web pages indexed and much less traffic than you might otherwise.

Here’s a quick checklist to consider for your Meta-Tags and Titles:

  • Do they deliver a “call to action”?
  • Do they use relevant keywords and phrases?
  • Is your “Title” less than 80 characters?
  • Do they accurately describe what the page is about?
  • Are these consistent with the page?

10. Linking Networks

Did you find a service that’s offering to link thousands of other Web sites to you today? Taking part in these programs may effectively indicate to the search engines that you really do not want their valuable traffic. The quality of these link pages as well as their overall content “value” to a human visitor is very low.

Most search engines do come together in agreement and can severely penalize accordingly. Sites that get marked as link spammers, may be briskly informed that they should find a new domain name and begin all over again.

I advise you to take these lessons in “eMarketing Sabotage” for what they are, guidelines to help you operate your good e-business practice free and clear of the many pitfalls and mistakes of other marketers and improve on your own level of success in conjunction with search engines strategies.

Soon, with a sound plan, a bit of smart work and a solid attention-to-detail approach, your Web pages may rank highest among today’s top search engine results.

Audit your Website and compare it to your competition here: http://socialclimb.org/website-audit-tool/

And don’t forget to bookmark the tool so you can come back to after you’ve made appropriate changes to your website.

Happy Marketing!

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