SEO

Mobile Friendly – Is Your Website Ready for April 21st?

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Got Clicks Mobile Friendly WebsitesI’ve been playing for awhile with making a website mobile-friendly in Serif WebPlus.  It works great if you have a simple website like InsuranSites, however, when you have LOTS of pages, it can get a little sticky.  I have 2 urls for Got Clicks and after a bit of reworking, it is now mobile-search friendly.

Why Do I Need to Make My Website Mobile-Friendly?

While yes, it’s a pain, Google does make a valid point:  If I’m searching on my mobile device for your business and I have to scroll clear across Canada to see your Contact Us info on my iPhone, I’m going to dump your website and go to one that’s a heck of a lot easier to read than yours. The Cardinal Rule: Make it easy for customers to buy from you.

How do I Know if My Website’s Mobile Friendly for Google?

Easy!  Just go to this simple link, type in your url into to test and see if you’re good to go on April 21st.

Helpful Links:

Depending upon how far the rabbit hole you wanna go, here are some articles that may be helpful to you and your web designer:
Google’s developer guide to smartphone sites – this is the most important document and the best place to start:
For sites with separate mobile and desktop URLs, this section is especially important:
These are common mistakes Google has seen in mobile sites:
Changing in rankings of smartphone search results:
25 key principles of mobile site design:

Got Clients? No? Then Stop Putting Cats in Dresses

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Two_cats,_dressed_as_humans,_holding_rope,_which_doll_appears_to_be_skippingBack in January, I had the assignment from hell.  Every day, I had to cold-call 50 people I didn’t know, asking if they wanted digital marketing for their business. There were several things wrong with this scenario:

1) Most people I spoke with didn’t know what digital marketing was or why they needed it.

2) I had a quota to fulfill, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to research their companies.

3) I undervalued what Got Clicks brought to the table thinking that a big-named company could deliver the goods better than my little company. I was wrong.

4)  The power is NOT in the list, (I had literally thousands at my fingertips…) the power is in what you have to offer.

What did I do? Well, I didn’t hit quota, I can tell you that. (Nor did many of the other salespeople I had trained with for that big conglomerate.) But I came away with something far more important. We were missing something in our technique – the ability to listen.

Stop Putting Cats in Dresses

I made the simple (yet fatal…) mistake of talking about my solution before understanding their company, their products, or even understanding what their pain points were. As entrepreneurs, we create a product or solution first and THEN look for customers to sell our product to. It needs to be the other way around. Find the Pain, Find the Money THEN Follow Your Heart. Otherwise, you’re putting cats in dresses – forcing your solution to people who really don’t want (or need…) what you have to offer.
I spent endless amounts of time yapping about how I used Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a kickin’ lead capture page to generate leads (and results.) What’s wrong with that? Nothing –  if it’s the right fit for that customer.

But what if it isn’t?

I’ve had more than one client have HUGE success independent of social media. Why? Because they spent the time learning what their clients REALLY were hungry for. They created what I like to call “Raging Cookie Fans.”  Raging cookie fans will go to great lengths to find you if you have what they’re hungry for.  Social media and web pages only make it easier for them to find you.  But you MUST have the product, solution or service your fan base is hungry for, otherwise, no Facebook, Twitter or cool website will EVER work if you fail to understand the pain points your customers face and how you can solve them.

The Click Retreat Begins This September

IF…

S-E-L-L is a four-letter word
Marketing means misery
Your client base has fallen off and you don’t know why…

Then maybe it’s time for The Click.

I began teaching this workshop last April and it was a HUGE success. I’m teaching it again in September and it’s perfect for those of you who are:

  • Stuck in your business and need a serious reboot.
  • Considering starting a business, but you find social media and website stuff overwhelming.
  • You want some hand-holding and help honing your message and finding RAGING cookie fans for your product or service.
  • You’d like someone to unveil your communication style and how you can successfully approach your clients without it being a hollow, sales-y pitch.
  • You want to meet other entrepreneurs who are interested in joint venture opportunities.
  • You want a weekend away where your main focus is on the messaging of your company.
  • You don’t want a “rah-rah” weekend and then it’s over. You want continuity, a well-defined start-to-finish program that you can implement with your style and your clients in mind.

If it’s time for you to Find The Click, LEARN MORE HERE

Rebranding: It’s More Than a Pretty Logo

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Sarah Spencer Got Clicks 2013When I went from brunette to blonde about a year ago, I was scared to death.  I was excited about the new color, yet, I wasn’t sure if it would suit my personality, my style.  Would I fall victim to “dumb blonde” syndrome?  While I had fun being blonde, I did go back to my “roots” and I’m chillin’ with the brunette thing again and loving it.  When you start thinking about branding your company, it’s a much bigger commitment than changing the color of your hair, but it can sure stir up some strong emotions:

  • Fear, (will they like my new style?)
  • Excitement, (I can’t wait to ditch this old, tired persona, )
  • Confusion, (is this good for business?)

I’m starting work with a very smart client who recognizes that her shop has out-scaled her branding.  She’s known for one product,( in fact, she’s won numerous awards for it,) yet that niche has turned to a nightmare because she’s limited to one small window of opportunity for her business.  Niche marketing is great, but you need to look down the road at other products and services.  It’s healthy for businesses to reinvent themselves, just make certain you do it in a way that doesn’t confuse your existing following.

1)  Brand with Sense:  I know there’s been a lot of talk about the value (or devaluing) of keywords lately, but if you use common sense, you’ll know that if your domain name contains the keywords your customers will be typing into a search, it’s a pretty good idea to start with a solid domain name that tells what your product is in milliseconds.

2)  Brand Across Platforms:  If you’re going to change your image, go all the way.  Don’t leave your blog with the old imagery and your website branded with the new logo.   Check your content, too.  Find and replace your old tag lines with new ones that will resonate with your customers.

3)  Brand Your Social Media: Make sure your social media keeps up with the new branding.  Yes, you can change the name of your business in both Facebook and Twitter.  Here’s a GREAT youtube video on changing your name in Facebook and a very concise article on changing your name in Twitter

4)  Respond:  If you’re a brick-and-mortar entity, you know some are going to balk at change – it’s human nature.  The most important thing you can do is get clear on how you feel about your branding and then spread that vibe through every media channel you can think of – Facebook, Twitter, Yelp.  Make sure you respond promptly to your customer fan base with the reasons you made the change.  It doesn’t need to be a diatribe, something like, “Yes, we loved the success we had with ABC brand, but now that we offer so much more, we feel the new name, DEF expresses more of our products and services.  Thanks for the feedback, come back and see us and let us know in person how we can serve you in the future.”

Yes, it’s scary to rebrand, but sometimes it’s smart and necessary.  If you need help with this very big step, I’m all ears…

R.I.P. Google Keyword Tool

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One certainty in Internet Marketing – change is inevitable.  I had done a webinar a few months ago called, “Niche not Noise” and turned it into a free e-book and video to show people how to brainstorm new business ideas and hone in on keywords to trigger a search for customers to find you.  Recently, I learned the Google Keyword Tool was no longer available, except if you setup Google Adwords.  I’ve created a video tutorial on using the new Keyword Planner which you can watch in this little 5-min ditty below:

A tool I mention in this post is Market Samurai. I find it gives me A LOT more information than the Google Keyword tool ever did. I loved it so much, I signed up as an affiliate to share it with others who struggle with finding the right keywords. There’s a free trial you can sign up for HERE. I highly recommend this tool.

Please let me know of any tools you use out there so that I can pass it along to others.

Fell Off Page 1 on Google? Here’s Some Help with Penguin

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Were you on the first page of Google last year and suddenly fell off in January?  Your website may be one of the casualties of the Google Penguin algorithm. The rumor mill’s rumbling that another Penguin update may be on the horizon.  Others feel it’s a constant likened to the Panda updates that happen monthly.  One of the best explanations of the Google Penguin penalties was done by Noble Samurai in their Beat the Penguin checklist.  They do a beautiful job explaining the Penguin update, what it is and what it’s trying to achieve.

What Do Links Have to Do with Penguin?

A link is a url directing readers/customers back to your desired website.  Before Penguin, many internet businesses used back-links (links going back to your website) to help with ranking in the search engines.  It used to be the more relevant links you had going back to your website, the higher Google would rank you.  Soon, link farms were developed selling links to different websites.  People went crazy with it and started linking to irrelevant sites – a big no-no for internet marketing.

Link building
As Noble Samurai points out, there were several ways businesses built link strategies:  Guest blogging, commenting on other people’s blogs, press releases and building squidoo lenses and hub pages.

Over time, the links would increase and often your page would rank higher.  NOW… you need to be very careful about the links you build and how they impact your ranking.   The nature of your link network can actually damage your rankings.

Link patterns that can harm you:

There are 3 kinds of links that the Penguin update focuses on:
1) Brand Links – These are links that mention your website url, product name or company name in link anchor text.

2) Target Links – these links are specific keyword phrases you’re trying to target in search engines. (Using the example in Noble Samurai’s awesome video, a press release using your keyword phrase “learn to play chess.”)

3) Generic Links – These don’t specify a website, it’s just a generic term such as: “Click here to read some tips on playing chess.”

Too many target links can cause your site to be kicked out completely.  The ratio that’s being kicked around the marketplace is  if it’s over 50%  target links, put a fork in you – you’re done; you ‘ll be hit by penguin.

Target links less than 30% – you’re okay.

Yes, change stinks – I agree.  Quite frankly, I won’t go so far as to say ALL links are BAD – however, I believe the ratios are what you need to pay attention to.  Just like the battle that rages about keywords – some camps are saying they’re not relevant anymore.  My opinion is if they weren’t relevant, why would Google Adwords’ bid price be based upon the keywords, quality score and page relevance?  How would customers find “Annie Sloan Chalk Paint” in your shopping cart without typing in the right keywords?  Oh, yeah… that’s another blog post I feel coming on…

The WORST thing you could do is start deleting your blogs or walking away from your online business altogether.  The BEST thing you can do is take a deep breath, review your strategies and look at what you need to change.  You can’t do the dishes if you can’t see the dirt.  If you need help walking through all of this, I’m happy to step you through it with the Got Clicks Tweak.    I’m a good dish washer.

Backlinks – They’re What’s for Breakfast

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Ann Zuccardy, my social media buddy came over the other day to indulge in my famous “Vermonter” sandwich – apple, sharp cheddar, ham toasted to perfection on my table-top fryer.  We were talking about her new website and ways for her to get noticed.  Some of the best ways to get started in getting noticed are Facebook, Press Releases and Directories which I’ve been talking about for the past 5 years (you can learn more about them by taking the free tutorials on my site.) It’s getting tougher for new websites to get noticed – especially with the new algorithms Google introduced a couple of months ago.  One of the things Ann is great at, is using Facebook and Twitter to get fans back to her page.  She runs different contests giving away her delectable Vermont Shortbread for the 100th “like” and stuff like that.  The other thing that really helps are backlinks.

So what is this backlink stuff? 

Backlinks are links to your website from a relevant, non-spammy site.  One of the ways I do backlinking off my Got Clicks site is to show new websites I’ve created.  You can see links off my home page on the left side and also on my gallery page which offers a portfolio and a link to the client’s website.  I’ve discovered that this linking opportunity helps my clients in the search.  I also make sure to mention new websites on my Facebook page so that it helps them in the search and lets people know about the work I’m doing.  You’ve even experience backlinking from this blog back to Ann’s website and facebook page.  All of these are examples of backlinking – content based, quality relevant back-linking.

So what are some other ways you can do it?

1)  Directories – Things like Yelp, TripAdvisor (if you’re a restaurant or hotel) Service Magic if you’re in the repair business, even Yellow Pages are great places for your business to be.  These are relevant links back to your site and word of mouth from your customers is gold.

2)  Press Releases – The power of the press is amazing.  I just won the Vermont SBA Women in Business Champion award and Ann Zuccardy was responsible for getting the word out about it.  The linking from the press releases, stories and shows that Ann got me on were priceless and really helped bring in new business.  If you’re not good at tooting your own home (I’m a Vermonter, self-tooting is frowned upon), I highly recommend you set yourself up with a pro.

3)  Complimentary Sites – If you’re a kitchen cabinet dealer, link up with an appliance salesman.  If you sell massages, partner with a hair stylist and offer a 2 for one deal.  Bundling your services with another vendor gets you noticed.  Make sure you ask for a link off their website to enjoy that backlinking love.

4)  Buy a link?  If you’re buying a linking service, best bet is to avoid them.  If you’re buying an advertisement with a link off a site, depending upon the traffic that website gets, it may be a good move.  You can always check your Google Analytics to see if that strategy is paying off for you in giving you good clicks to your website.

You can never miss when you have links back to your website from relevant resources.  Remember, make it easy for people to find you, buy from you and service them after the sale and you can’t go wrong.