Posts about search engine optimization

5 Ways Networking Can Improve Your Content Marketing

Content marketing isn’t something that happens in a vacuum. Inspiration and tips for your content marketing can come from unexpected places, including networking events. The next time you’re debating whether it’s worth going to that after-work professional get-together, consider these five ways networking can jumpstart your content marketing efforts.

Find New Ideas for Content

Sometimes when I’m trying to come up with new ideas for content, I’ll go to Quora, see what digital marketing-related questions are popular, and write a blog post addressing one of those questions. You can generate content the same way at networking events, with your fellow attendees in the place of Quora commenters.

Pay attention to the questions other attendees ask about your company or industry and the conversations that start as a result. Keep in mind that these are probably some of the same topics that interest your potential online customers. After the networking event, jot down some notes about questions that came up multiple times or particularly engaging conversations you had, and use these to fuel new content for your company.

Connect with Interview Subjects

You’ve probably met someone in your industry who has unplumbed depths of knowledge on a particular professional subject or a fascinating story about their journey down their career path. Why not follow up with them to see if you can interview them for a blog post, short video, or podcast episode? Interviewing leaders in your field is a great way to produce authoritative content and get new insights on industry topics. It’s also a good way to strengthen a professional connection—your interview subject is much more likely to remember you after you produce a piece of content around them than they would be if you only spoke briefly at a networking event.

Connect with People Who May Want to Share Your Content

If you’re dedicating time and energy to producing great content for your company, you should also be promoting that content to make sure the right audience discovers it. And content promotion is a lot easier if you have other industry bloggers and media connections in your corner. Get to know people who write for publications that frequently share the type of content you create, and they may share some of your highest-quality work with their audience—or even let you contribute an article to a high-traffic site.

As with all aspects of networking, remember that this should be a two-way street. Don’t ask for a social share or guest post just because it will help your company—show your peer how this kind of exchange can be mutually beneficial.

Leverage Live Events for Content

If you’re hosting or even just attending a large networking event, you’re sitting on a goldmine of potential marketing content. You can, at the very least, write a blog post or press release summarizing the most important takeaways from the event. If you’ve invited a speaker, or if someone from your company is leading a presentation or workshop, you can film or record their presentation and use it as a video or podcast. Need an example of how to create content around a live event? Check out Content Marketing Institute—they do a great job of crafting articles and press releases about their online Content Marketing World conference.

Learn Content Marketing Lessons While Networking

Content marketing and networking have a lot in common (check out this Small Business Trends article if you don’t believe me). One lesson from networking that I’ve found particularly useful in content marketing is that you should give to others, rather than just thinking, “What’s in it for me?” You won’t make too many meaningful professional connections if you open every conversation by asking for a favor. Similarly, if you try to use a “hard sell” approach in content targeted at people who are just beginning the research phase, you risk turning potential customers off.

Build a connection by offering your assistance first: for example, you could share a relevant blog post from someone you met at a networking event or write your own how-to guide to walk potential customers through a task that’s giving them trouble.  When you take the time to build trust with your network connections, they’re more likely to offer their help, and when you build trust with potential customers, they’re more likely to move past the research phase and make a purchase.

Want more tips on digital marketing strategies? Subscribe to our newsletter or contact us directly.

10 Best WordPress Plugins for SEO

You’re certainly not alone if you’re using WordPress to power your website: as of 2014, 74.6 million sites were using this CMS platform. WordPress is a popular choice in part because it’s relatively intuitive for non-developers. Unfortunately, just having a WordPress site doesn’t mean that your pages are automatically optimized for search engines. The good news is that there are many WordPress plugins that will help you improve your on-page SEO and organic search engine rankings. These plugins can make your life easier by letting you make changes to your website without having to manually change a large amount of code, but if you’re not already fairly familiar with WordPress, it can be overwhelming to wade through the 29,000+ available plugins to find the ones that are going to be best for your site.

Many of our clients at Leverage Marketing have WordPress-supported sites, so I talked to our SEO team to get their recommendations for some of the best WordPress plugins. Here are ten that they’ve found particularly useful.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

Cost: The basic version is free, and Yoast SEO Premium starts at $69 for one site. Premium comes with several extra features, including tutorial videos, a 301 redirect manager, and Google Webmaster Tools integration.

With over one million active installs, Yoast SEO is easily one of the most popular plugins for WordPress. It’s an SEO management tool that’s pretty easy to figure out even if you don’t have a background in online marketing. With Yoast, you’re able to add title tags, meta descriptions, and sitemap.xml (which helps search engines like Google crawl your site) to all your web pages and blog posts. Yoast will even let you know how well you’re doing: after you enter meta information, they’ll tell you whether your SEO value is good, okay, poor, or bad, and they’ll offer tips to improve your on-page SEO if it’s not looking so great. You can also see a search snippet preview so that you know what your page will look like in the Google search results.

Optimizely

Optimizely

Cost: The Starter Plan is free. You’ll need to request a quote for the Enterprise Plan.

A/B testing your headlines is a valuable SEO strategy; by pitting headlines against each other and seeing which gets more clicks, you can choose the more successful headline and drive more traffic to your site. If you run these tests manually, you’ll need some coding know-how, but Optimizely has a plugin that helps you do A/B tests on any WordPress-powered site, no developer experience necessary.  There are several different plans at different price points, but all plans let you run unlimited experiments. Some of the more expensive plans include extra features such as visitor segmentation, geo-targeting, cross-browser testing, and multivariate testing.

Simple 301 Redirects

Cost: Free

If you’ve recently migrated your website to WordPress and changed your URLs, you’ll need to make sure that people who have previously visited or bookmarked your original site are redirected to the new one. You’ll also need search engines to figure out that your old URL has changed so that the new URL can be properly indexed, preserving the SEO value of your old site. The Simple 301 Redirects plugin lets you do this seamlessly just by entering your old and new URLs. The basic version of this plugin is effective for most smaller sites that don’t require a lot of redirects, but larger sites should use the Bulk Uploader add-on.

Redirection

Cost: Free

Like Simple 301 Redirects, Redirection is a WordPress plugin designed to set up (you guessed it) 301 redirects. However, it also does a good job of tracking how many people who try to visit your site are getting 404 errors (those ominous messages that say a webpage was not found). This can help you find problem areas on your site and redirect users who are getting 404 errors.

Akismet

Akismet 2

Cost: The basic plan is free, and the Enterprise plan is $50 a month. The Enterprise version can be used on unlimited sites and comes with 100,000 monthly checks.

Allowing comments on your blog posts is a great way to encourage reader engagement, but your credibility will take a hit if most of your comments are spam. Because manually deleting a large quantity of spam comments can be labor-intensive, many WordPress users let the Akismet plugin do the work for them. Akismet automatically checks comments and filters out ones that look like spam, helping you maintain your credibility, save disk space, and keep your site running fast. You can also review the comments that were caught or cleared and see the number of approved comments for each user. Newer versions of WordPress already have Akismet built into them, so you may not even need to download the plugin.

ShareThis

ShareThis

Cost: Free

Social sharing is a small but significant SEO ranking factor, and a high amount of social engagement can drive more traffic to your site. To get more people to promote your content, you need to make it as easy for them to share as possible. ShareThis lets you create small and large social sharing buttons for 120 social media channels. That’s probably way more buttons than you’ll ever need, but it’s nice to know you can easily add buttons for all the most popular networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, plus some niche networks that might appeal to your target audience, such as Tumblr and Reddit. Additionally, you can get analytics reports from ShareThis and use a feature called CopyNShare to track when a visitor copies your page URL.

BackupBuddy

Cost: The basic Blogger package is $80 per year. It backs up two sites and includes 1GB storage space.

If you’ve ever experienced the pain of losing something you put a lot of time into because your website got hacked or your server crashed, you’ll want to add the BackupBuddy plugin. Even if you haven’t experienced this pain, you should still add BackupBuddy so that you never have to worry about losing anything on your site. BackupBuddy is quick to set up, and you can schedule backups to an offsite storage destination as often as you want so you don’t have to remember to do it manually.

Sucuri

Cost: The Basic plan is $199.99 a year, and the Pro plan is $299.99 a year. The Pro plan is PCI and SSL compliant, which is especially important to online businesses that store credit card information.

Sucuri is a website security plugin that includes features such as remote malware scanning, security blacklist monitoring, and website integrity monitoring (essentially making sure there’s not any weird behavior that might be an attempted hack). If the plugin detects something suspicious, they’ll notify you immediately via your preferred communication channel. They also provide fast customer support if you do have any security issues that need resolving.

WP Smush

WP Smush Pro

Cost: The basic version is free, but photo file sizes are limited to 1MB. Smush Pro starts at $19 per month and can compress images up to 32MB.

What happened the last time you tried to go to a webpage that was loading at an excruciatingly slow rate because of a large image file? If you’re as impatient as me (and the average internet user), you probably bounced from the page. And chances are, that’s what’s happening on your own website if images are slowing down your page load time. In addition to losing traffic, you may also be hurting your SEO value, since site speed is a factor in rankings. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice your visual content to reduce your load time—you can just add the WP Smush plugin. This image optimization tool lets you condense images as you upload them or ‘bulk smush’ images that are already slowing down your site. As mentioned in the cost section, the free version of the plugin should be sufficient if most of your photo files are under 1MB. If you have a lot of large photo files, you may find it worthwhile to pay $19 a month for Smush Pro’s 60% average compression rate on image files as large as 32MB.

Jetpack

Jetpack

Cost: Free

Jetpack was created by Automaticc, the same company that created WordPress, and it’s not so much an individual plugin as it is a bundle of useful plugins. With its dozens of features, there are probably some tools that you won’t really need (not everyone needs to be able to post mathematical expressions on their blog, for example). However, there are some features that will appeal to a wide range of website owners, such as the Aksimet-backed contact forms, concise analytics with no additional load on the server, the option to create email subscriptions for blog posts and blog comments, and alerts as soon as downtime is detected. If you’re looking for a lot of features that you can control from one space, Jetpack is a good choice.

Have any questions about the plugins described above, or need help improving your site’s SEO? Contact us!

How We Track Marketing Attribution & Revenue

The Real Deal with Bob Kehoe

When it comes to seeing the positive results of your efforts, I think I’m no different than most worker bees.

Like the chef who churns out an evening’s worth of top-of-the-line food for his or her hungry patrons, the sales team who lands that big, sought after client, or the carpenter whose long hours and sweat resulted in that nice new building addition, I am elated when the fruits of Leverage’s labor turns out to be noteworthy growth for our clients.

Recently, my team gave me yet another noteworthy reason to sing their praises.

A short time ago, we assumed the online reins of a specialty computer manufacturer and sales company.  What they’re selling is way above and beyond the high-end laptops being sold at Best Buy (I know all too well about those as of late, having just forked over no small amount of change for one for my college-bound daughter, but that’s another story). This company’s clientele includes major film and television networks, visual effects companies, and big-name engineering and architectural firms. On the low end, their computers start in the $4K ballpark.

The manufacturer’s previous experience with a digital marketing firm was an exercise in futility: after a year with our competitor, they saw little, if any, return on their investment, most notably when it came to tracking any revenue generated from or attributed to their website.

Enter Leverage Marketing. And Bizible.

Recently, Leverage has entered into a partnership with Bizible, who offers, among other things, top-notch programs that allow marketers and their clients to use cross-channel marketing attribution data. Basically, Bizible helps marketers figure out how to assign credit to different touchpoints on the customer journey, such as SEO, PPC ads and landing pages, in order to streamline marketing efforts, as you can see in the image below. Like Leverage, Bizible casts a wide net with the industries their products can serve: real estate, health care, and manufacturers such as our computer client are just the tip of the iceberg.

Bizible-marketing-attribution

After only a couple weeks, our computer client started seeing notable results, thanks to both Leverage’s innovative and meticulously constructed game plan and Bizible’s dynamic software. Or, as one of the client company’s head honchos put it, “we went from working in the dark to having stadium lighting.”

Bizible allows us to track all of our marketing efforts and allows us to properly attribute success to the appropriate channels.

Bizible-revenue-tracking

Despite my penchant for giving props to Leverage and other colleagues whenever possible, there is a part of me that also has a glass-half-empty mindset: basically, if it’s too good, I wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. But with Bizible, that shoe never dropped. The equation is simple: in this case, Leverage’s innovation plus Bizible’s program equals success.

Excuse me now while I rest my arm. It’s admittedly a little sore from all the back-patting I’ve done here. If you’re missing tracking of your marketing efforts, you’re not alone. According to the 2015 State of Digital Marketing Report, one-third of marketers say they don’t know what digital marketing channel makes the biggest impact on revenue.

Give us a call to discuss how we can set up attribution tracking for your business. You should know what marketing channels contribute most to your bottom line. Otherwise, you might as well be playing blackjack with your marketing budget.

7 Ways To Conquer Summer Hospitality Marketing Online

School’s out, leisure travel’s up. If you work in the hospitality industry, summer is probably your busiest season. But are you getting as many visitors as you could from your online marketing efforts? If your online marketing went into hibernation this winter and failed to get a fresh start this spring, it’s especially important to make some changes now.

Here are 7 actionable tips to help travelers find your site when they’re booking their summer trip.

Update your website content to reflect the season.

As a hospitality business, failing to keep your website updated is kind of like leaving your Christmas lights up year round… only worse. Not only does an infrequently updated website look bad, it’s also likely to rank lower in the search engine results pages (SERPs) than sites that regularly add new, original content—and that means visitors are less likely to discover you organically.

Of course, SEO value isn’t the only good reason to add fresh summer content to your site. Chances are, visitors who land on your site are already contemplating a summer getaway, and having visual and written content that aligns with their wants will help convince them to book. Try adding bright outdoor photos taken on or around your property, and consider writing summer guides letting visitors know what there is to do in your area this time of year.

Make sure your site is optimized for mobile.

According to a recent update from Google, mobile searches have outpaced desktop searches in the US and 9 other countries. On top of that, sites that are mobile-friendly (i.e. are easy to read and navigate no matter what size screen they’re on) rank higher in the SERPs than those that are not optimized for mobile.

Even if they convert on a desktop computer, many of your prospective guests will begin their summer travel research on a phone or tablet, so you need to make sure your site utilizes responsive design and looks good on all screen sizes.

Pay attention to the window between booking and traveling.

Many hotels and vacation rental companies are discovering that the window between when a guest books a room and when they arrive has narrowed considerably in the last several years. To figure out when your PPC ads for summer travel will be most effective, you need to figure out the average window for your business. For example, if the 4th of July week is typically your busiest time of year, and you determine that your guests book 30 days out on average, you should start running PPC ads for this holiday weekend in early June.

So how do you find your business’s booking window? Look at historical data from recent summers, as well as emerging trends in your booking system. You should also pay attention to when competitors are increasing their PPC spend.

Spruce up your local SEO.

Location matters, online and off. When most vacation-goers start planning a trip, they search for some combination of a place name and a venue, such as “Las Vegas hotels” or “best restaurants Atlanta”, so you need to make sure your business is ranking for relevant local searches. Here are a few things you should be doing for local SEO to increase the return on your summer hospitality marketing campaigns:

  • Claim your business listing on as many relevant places as you can, including Google, Bing, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and UrbanSpoon (for restaurants)
  • Make sure your Google+ business page is completely filled in
  • Make sure your name, address, and phone number are structured as data on your site so that search engines can easily categorize them
  • Research keywords that have a relatively high volume of traffic but low competition from other area businesses (e.g. “Austin hotels” is a very broad search, while “Austin hotels near South Congress” is a more specific search that will likely have less competition)
  • Try to get your business listed in well-ranked niche and local directories

Target staycationers.

Don’t forget about local web users who aren’t traveling far but still want to take a mini-vacation. According to a 2015 Skift survey, 62% of Americans don’t plan to take a big summer vacation this year because they are too busy or can’t afford it, but 33% of Americans say they will still take short trips on the weekend.

Consider crafting PPC ads that are specifically targeted to people within your city or state. Use your site and social media to promote a special discount rate or package deal for locals. Add content to your blog that gives readers tips on how to be a tourist in their own city. There are great hospitality marketing opportunities for businesses even when travelers are sticking closer to home.

Use retargeting ads with compelling incentives.

Taking a summer vacation is a big decision, and most people don’t commit after just one short perusal of a hotel or vacation rental company’s website. Keep in mind that people who visit your site are likely in the research phase, and be ready to remind them about your accommodations as they move closer to the decision-making phase.

You can stay top of mind by retargeting ads to people who have visited your site without converting—just make sure the ads give them a good reason to choose you. For example, for people who looked at your ‘Rooms’ page, you might create an ad offering a one-week only discount on a standard room.

Invite summer visitors back again.

The end of this vacation season doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship with your summer guests. Encourage guests to follow you on social media or subscribe to your email newsletter (try offering an incentive, like a special discount for subscribers), and keep sharing engaging content about your facilities and region that will make them want to come back again next year.

It’s impossible to fit a complete guide to online seasonal hospitality marketing into one blog post. Want to learn more? Share your question or comment below, or contact us to start a conversation.

Take the Leverage Digital Marketing Quiz!

Find out if you’re a marketing grandmaster, a novice, or somewhere in between. Take our digital marketing quiz now and see how much you kick ass! (or not…)

 

Get the bragging rights you deserve and challenge your coworkers to beat your score!

Powered by Typeform

5 Digital Marketing Tools to Stay Ahead of the Game

There are a multitude of digital marketing tools out there to choose from. It can be time-consuming and daunting to evaluate all the options, but great tools are necessary to get the job done. The Leverage Marketing team has picked out some of our favorite tools in an effort to help you make the best choice and waste less valuable time when it comes to finding new tools for your company or marketing department. These tools are some of our favorites because they aren’t just passing fads. They’ve stood the test of time and will be around for a good while to help you be more competitive online. Read more

Top Tips for SEO in 2015 Video | Leverage Marketing

With each passing year, the online marketplace becomes more important to a business’ survival. According to comScore, in the first quarter of 2014, 198 million U.S. consumers purchased something online – that’s 78% of Americans aged 15 or older. Are you sure your 2015 SEO strategy will help you reach that massive audience? Each year the rules of search change and technology advances, providing new opportunities to get in front of your customers before your competition. Ensure you are ready for 2015 by following our SEO tips today.

Check out our top tips for succeeding with SEO in 2015

Check out our top tips for succeeding with SEO in 2015

Mobile: Speed-Up or Fall Behind in 2015

The growth of mobile in the past few years has been astonishing. The customer no longer waits to get home to research & purchase on their desktop – 60% of internet users now access the Internet mostly or exclusively via their mobile phones (Marketing Land). Mobile users and search engines alike are increasingly unwilling to settle for a sub-par mobile experience. In 2015 Google is now flagging sites in their results as “Mobile Friendly” and setting out mobile SEO best practices. If you don’t know what those guidelines are, it’s time to find out – Google now has 83% of the mobile search engine market locked down in the US (Search Engine Land).

Panda: Content is King, Long Live the King

In early 2011, Google made a change to its algorithm, called “Panda,” in order to improve its ability to evaluate the quality of content on websites. Since early 2011, Google has made 27 updates to Panda. That’s a whole lot of attention to one particular facet of Google’s secret sauce…makes you think it must be pretty important, doesn’t it? Google wants content on the websites it serves to be unique and valuable. If you can’t remember the last time you REALLY looked at your content, it’s time to revisit it and make sure it’s relevant and better than ever to meet Google’s rising standards.

Hummingbird Good, Penguin Bad

Over the past few years, Google has gone to great lengths to improve the content visitors find through its engine with its updates to Panda. At the end of 2013, it went even further by introducing Hummingbird. Hummingbird changed the way Google interprets user intent – it was like upgrading Google’s search engine from a V4 to a V8. It’s meant to interpret the spoken and more natural sounding queries that users make of its search engine, and provide content that corresponds to those needs. A semi-maintained company blog doesn’t cut it anymore for quality content – best SEO tips 2015 practically requires that your site needs to be answering questions and hosting interesting conversations to get Google’s attention. And if people are talking about and linking to your site online, it should be for that reason. Otherwise, Google’s Penguin update is coming to get you. Do you have spammy links from directories, or articles still posted across the web on 50 different generic directories? In 2015 your best SEO strategy is getting those cleaned up – or Google’s link-targeted Penguin update is going to clean you up, and off, their engine.

Great information on a technically sound website that can be accessed with the snap of a finger everywhere and anywhere – that’s what Google is looking for in 2015 for SEO.

Do you think your site can pass the test? If you’re not sure, Contact Us today and we will audit your site and let you know the specific steps you need to take to improve your search engine optimization in 2015.

Why You Should Give Soccer & SEO a Chance

With the World Cup just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about my conversion to becoming a fan of the game. I like soccer and I’m not afraid to admit it! But, it wasn’t always that way. Growing up on the northwest side of Chicago during the late 70’s and early 80’s, soccer was not a popular sport in my neighborhood. Not that we disliked the game, we just weren’t exposed to it. Our sports were pretty much limited to football, basketball, baseball and hockey. My youngest daughter is the reason I’ve been exposed to the sport. She has been playing soccer since she was 6 years old, but in the beginning, I was not even close to appreciating the game. Read more

Why Inbound Marketing Conquers All

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-salesman-vintage-image29689455Are you a fan of the door-to-door salesman? What do you do if some stranger comes knocking while you’re in the middle of a meal or your favorite TV show …Ignore them? Most people do. What about annoying telemarketers that intrude on your dinner conversation? That’s what traditional outbound marketing is all about. Outbound marketing, also aptly named interruption marketing, attempts to approach people with no demonstrated interest in a product or service and reel them in. This type of marketing abruptly bursts into people’s lives uninvited and includes radio commercials, TV commercials, direct mail, telemarketing, door-to-door, spam or e-mail blasts, and even networking. It is also often ignored, just like the salesman.

 

Times Have Changed

Best-selling New York Times business author Daniel Pink who recently wrote To Sell is Human points out that this predatory approach to selling is quickly becoming outdated. He believes that sales has changed more in the past 10 years than it did in the last century, and most of this is due to the internet. Many adept marketers and business professionals have taken note of the same, and realize that the predatory approach is slowly being phased out of our culture. Most of us these days have a radar for aggressive sales tactics and don’t appreciate being hunted down like dogs. So, what is taking the place of these outdated, bothersome sales tactics? That would be inbound marketing, or inbound demand generation.

Rather than wasting time with trying to convince uninterested parties to take a second glance at your product or service, inbound marketing draws people who are already somewhat interested in your business, and they have the choice as to whether they want to listen to what you have to say or not. Creating inbound demand generation involves blogging, social media, SEO, and targeted emails. Does this really work? Companies that practice inbound marketing and marketing research institutes emphatically say that yes, it works even better than the old approach, and it’s less expensive to top it off.

Average cost per lead and cost per customer are lower with inbound marketing than with outbound –about 61% less according to the Search Engine Journal. Inbound marketing also generates more qualified leads through blogging and SEO:

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound 1

What Do Professional Marketers Think?

The majority of CEOs and marketing executives are devoting more of their marketing budgets each year to inbound marketing.  2013 budgets for inbound were around 50% higher than that of the previous year.  Almost every marketer realizes that SEO is a valuable aspect of inbound, with about 54% of clicks going to the first search result of search queries.  Apart from SEO, 60% of marketers dedicate at least 6 hours per week to social media. Interaction on social media platforms produces 2X more leads on average than trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, and even PPC. Companies report that social takes more time than blogging and email marketing, but most of them are putting aside the resources to do it for obvious reasons. Marketers also enjoy the fact that inbound marketing efforts are far easier to measure than traditional outbound efforts.

Why SEO is important

Customers Prefer Inbound Marketing over Traditional Advertising

On the side of the customer, 82% say that they enjoy reading relevant content from a brand. Over 70% would rather learn about a company or product by reading an article rather than seeing an ad. Wouldn’t you? Through inbound marketing, potential clients and current clients are able to learn about a company on their own time instead of having it shoved in their face, and they can explore products that revolve around their interests.

Switching over to a mostly inbound marketing system can be difficult and time consuming, but it’s definitely worth the effort. If you don’t rank on the first page of search results, or you’re not blogging or bothering with other inbound tactics, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic, leads, and revenue. Most companies can’t do it all on their own and get outside help from professionals. Drop us a line or give us a call to learn more about getting leads to come to you, not the other way around.

leads closed by source

*Data from the chart above compiled from Hubspot, The Houston Chronicle, & Smart Insights.

*Data throughout compiled by Hubspot unless otherwise indicated.

The Best Place to Hide a Dead Body

Goodfellas has gone down as one of the greatest mobster movies that doesn’t contain the word “Godfather” in the title. Watching it the other day, I drew some parallels to a unique incident that happens in our industry. Let me take you through it. In Goodfellas, Joe Pesci, playing the role of Tommy DeVito, shot someone (Spider for those who remember it) and then had this exchange with Jimmy Conway played by Robert Deniro. (Graphic language blocked out for the young ones.)

Jimmy Conway: You stupid b*****d, I can’t f****n’ believe you. Now, you’re gonna dig the f****n’ thing now. You’re gonna dig the hole. You’re gonna do it. I got no f****n’ lime. You’re gonna do it.

Tommy DeVito: Who the f**k cares? I’ll dig the f****n’ hole. I don’t give a f**k. What is it, the first hole I dug? Not the first time I dug a hole. I’ll f****n’ dig a hole. Where are the shovels?

What a great scene in a mobster movie! BUT what does that have to do with digital marketing? I’ll tell you what it has to do with digital marketing. Jimmy and Tommy spent a lot of time digging a hole to make a body disappear to never be seen again. But the best hiding place for a dead body is really on the 2nd page of Google or beyond. Studies have shown that about 91.5% of search engine click throughs occur on the first page of search results. The rest of results pages only make up a slender 8.5% of clicks.

Google_search

Even worse, recently, we have been approached by more and more companies that have been serviced by non-forward thinking SEO firms. These SEO firms pursue outdated and frankly lazy SEO tactics that put their clients’ sites in jeopardy. These tactics might have worked some time in the past but now, they do way more harm than good. Companies using these SEO providers have seen sharp declines in their organic traffic due to Google penalizing their site for spammy SEO tactics. In these cases, your site’s rankings go the way of Spider – buried on the second page of search results or far, far beyond that. We’ve even seen companies ranking on the 10th page of search results for their own brand names!

web-traffic-decline

More and more companies are facing sharp declines like this because their SEO agency took the easy way out. The road back to Google’s good graces is not a fun one and can leave your business struggling while the traffic is not coming in. Overall, when confronted with a penalty there are really only 3 approaches.

  1. Fix it – Go through the arduous process of fixing it and pleading with Google trying to convince them that you’ve sworn off anything spammy.
  2. Hybrid – Look for a place to move your site or fold it into an existing partner site. This will allow you to distance your site from the past practices but still build off the SEO value of an already existing site. An example of this approach is folding a penalized satellite site into a subdirectory of your main company site.
  3. Start over – The cleanest approach to get back your rankings over time is closing shop at your penalized domain and reopening on a different server with a different domain name. This is also perhaps the clearest path to success since the ball is in your court and not left to the whim of Google and the responsiveness of their web spam team.

Each of these approaches has pros and cons, but you have to determine the best approach for your business based on what the data is telling you to do. We are strong believers of the mindset that the data has all the answers and that the answers are just waiting to be uncovered. So the next time Goodfellas comes on, enjoy the movie, but you also might want to think about how close your site is to being buried in a deep, deep hole never to be seen again.

 

Suspect your site has been buried by a penalty?  REQUEST A FREE PENALTY AUDIT

 

Page 7 of 11«...56789...»