One of my favorite movies growing up was 'The Princess Bride.' Strange as it may be, my favorite scene was with Carol Kane and Billy Crystal where they found Wesley was only mostly dead. I get a good chuckle when Valerie runs around the cottage screaming, "Humperdink!," at her husband.
I find myself recalling the movie more and more because I hear myself repeating that scene with new clients when they come to me with search engine listings that are mostly dead - only I am saying, "hyperlinks, hyperlinks, hyperlinks!" When I do analysis, one of the things I find over and over is that hyperlinks are not being used to their full potential.
So here it is! Your guide to hyperlinks...
1. Put Hyperlinks In Profiles
Make sure any descriptions on high profile sites such as business listings, guest blogs, and YouTube have a working hyperlink to your website. You can't assume that just typing www.mywebsite.com is enough. Check, and if you aren't taken anywhere when you click on your website address, go back and add an http:// in front of it.
If you don't do this you are not only losing hits on your own website from the exposure of being on listed on a high profile site, but the SEO benefit of having your link associated with that same high search engine ranked site.
2. Don't Forget Your YouTube Videos
Make sure you take advantage of the text box under your video to support your visual content with keyword rich descriptions. Always use an http:// hyperlink - it won't work otherwise.
Why bother? Even if your website address is in the video?
Because people are not likely to copy and paste or remember your website address if they have to. If your website is just a click away, you have a real shot at a visit on your website from your YouTube video. The same principle applies to any video publishing site.
3. How To Make A Hyperlink In A Website Editor
Let's get down to basics.
If you are adding a description in an HTML editor about your business/website or appropriately sharing your link in a string or blog comment there will most often be a button that looks like an infinity sign.
- Highlight the word(s) that you want linked to a page on your website
- Click on the hyperlink button
- Type in the http://www.yourwebsite.com hyperlink
4. Hyperlink HTML
If you don't have a hyperlink button to use while in an HTML editor, you can use HTML code to create a hyperlink for text or a website address.
<a href="http://www.yourwebsite.com">text or website address</a>
I want the word service to link to my services page on my website, the HTML code would go like this:
Please remember these hyperlink tips, because I sure don't want to turn into Valerie! ... and if you do, you can get the most out of your online presence.
"Have fun storming the castle!"
Remembering what Mama always said...
can keep you from going wrong with your online business.
The following is an ongoing compiled list:
1. "Always date a girl with a good reputation."
When buying a previously owned URL make sure it has a good reputation, as years of cached links may show up on the search engine that you don't recognize.
2. "Be yourself." Google's Panda update is cracking down on content farming
3. "Why buy the cow, if the milk is free?" Be careful not to give away too much of your service that you should be paid for in your social media marketing
4. "There's always more fish in the sea."
Watch your ROI, if your efforts to get a prospective client's attention on social media are falling on deaf ears ... or blind eyes, move on. Social media can take up a lot of your time and money - a big picture strategy should go hand-in-hand with focus.
5. "Don't move too fast; take your time to get to know each other."
A sudden influx of SEO activity can actually hurt your search engine rankings in the long run. Also, being hasty can allow mistakes to go unnoticed. It is more important to take your time to be accurate and strategic where your website's information and links will be placed.
6. "It's not nice to lead people on."
Make sure the links that you post with your content on social media or websites go directly to the page with the information you are talking about. You will lose people along the way in a string of links.
7. "If you like it, put a ring on it."
When liking an article
by a higher profile company or individual, make sure you comment with something compelling that will result in views to come back around
to your website or social media page.
8. "Beauty is skin deep."
Your website may be attractive and innovative, but if it is filled with shallow content, grammatical errors and is hard to navigate, the viewer will lose interest.
9. "Stay away from Lover's Lane."
Don't park your website's URL while you are building your website. Sure, you may make a few bucks, but you have no control of what is going to be linked to your parked domain by the registrar. You may have cached links and content that can harm the brand image you are trying to portray once you go live. Can you think of anymore?
Yesterday, I drove through the pharmacy window, which is quite routine for me as a mother of five. But, I am not only a mother of five, I am a mother of four children who each have or have had their own significant health problems. As I signed my initials over and over again for the prescriptions I was picking up for my large family, the familiar face in the window whispered "It's Azsi's last day today." I looked through the window and could see Azsi, the pharmacy manager, was on the phone. So, I scribbled "Azsi we will miss you!!!!", instead of my last initials.
Just in time Azsi hung up and ran over to the drive through window to tell ME how much she would miss me. She started to tell me how they loved when I came to the pharmacy because I always had a smile on my face. How most people get so frustrated with their one or two kids, but I have five and I always have a smile for them. As she is going on telling me where she is relocating across the country and where I can visit her ... the last seven years come flooding back to my mind. It was her smiling, happy, exuberant "hello Mrs. LeClaire!" that would greet me and give me the strength for the rest of the day as I drove through her window to pick up prescriptions after being up all night at the hospital with one of my children. I have counted on her happy-to-see-me over the years to pick my spirits up after the letdown of doctor visits where the realization of a chronic condition in one so young hit hard. Over the years she was even greeting my children by name, noticing how they had grown older, and that they looked healthier. I don't know whose smile came first, but I happen to know she cared about every "patient" of hers.
I don't need the pick me up so often anymore, my kids are older, healthier and stronger enabling me to grow my business and really enjoy satisfaction and success in my own life. I guess I have just come to take for granted Azsi's smiling face. But, yesterday it hit me hard to lose her. I never thought I would cry like a baby at a drive-through window with the face on the other side.
Azsi asked me if I would still be using her pharmacy after she left, my response was "are you kidding? I wouldn't dream of going anywhere else!" I have seen how she has passed on her loving nature to her staff. I could go anywhere for the medicine, maybe (and that's a big stretch) someone else could fill my orders more accurately, but that really isn't why I chose their store.
Social media has become a lot like that drive-through window. I have observed with local businesses that word of mouth is really the most powerful new business driver. A business owner with the same care and love for their customers can translate that to the online world. Genuinely caring about the individual behind the like or follow and following up with sincerity can go a long way. I couldn't help but tell you the story about Azsi, and that's what we human's do, when we experience an out-of-the-ordinary connection, we have to share it! I have experienced this give and take with many of my own clients who are thousands of miles of way.
90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know while only 14% trust advertising.We can help you with effective social media marketing.
Here is my newest website design
project. This website was custom made from top to bottom. I loved experimenting with 3-D dimension and shadows. It was so much fun brainstorming with Jeanine Kinzie on this one. I learned a lot about insurance and finances! She is amazing at what she does and explaining these complex matters in a way everyone can understand. I hope her website makes you feel as much at ease she does in person.
Now on to marketing www.jeaninekinzie.com
OK, I am fired up. I got a call this morning from a Seattle, WA phone number [206-496-0928] that claimed I was getting a message from Google Places because my listing had not been verified. Knowing that I had years ago, - red flag #1 -
I still accepted the call as my curiosity was peaked. - red flag #2 -
was the fact that I know Google Places had been replaced by GoogIe + Local on May 30th
this year. I was then forwarded to a woman who told me the same thing, but when she told me because my listing wasn't verified I could not be found on Google, I knew immediately what this was. She pretended to give me the wrong name for my business; I said "no that's not it." The rest of the conversation went like this:
"This is Rebecca LeClaire, right?"me
- "Yup!" I said, feeling the blood boiling for all my clients that have been scammed.
"Is your business MC Design & Services, LLC?"me
"Is your phone number 616-881-3753?"me
"You are very hard to find."- is there something about that that sounds funny to you? If I was hard to find how did she know all the information about my business with just my name? red flag #3 - me (ready to have a little fun)
- "You're not Google are you?"
"No, Google wouldn't call you, we didn't say that, but you are very hard to find and..."me
- "you said you were Google when you called me, your being dishonest, something about how I know a thing or two about SEO, rant rant rant"
still going on....."you can't be found"...that's all that's in my scriptme
- hung up
I checked how my google rankings were doing while on the phone by making sure I was logged off of Google and picking random cities around the United States and Canada to set my location as.
Guess, what? I can be found. :)Why would I log off and change my location on Google?
Because Google tracks all your searches and tries to bring up what you are most likely interested in and also brings the results for products and services that are closest to your location. That is why you should never trust the ranking results over the phone or in an email that an "SEO expert" tells you. They could be in California and you could be in New York.
When I hung up I looked over at my four daughters, who are home from summer vacation and were all sitting on the couch, their mouths hung open with that 'deer in the headlights' look at the realization that their mom who expects them always to be polite and respectful just yelled at someone on the phone. Making me feel a little guilty they asked me if it was the poor lady's fault that she was making that phone call for her boss. I told them about all the people that have called me that have lost a lot of money to companies like that, that I was being told lies over and over again, and that the lady I was talking to needed to know she was working for a dishonest company if she didn't know she was lying.
OK, so maybe I still feel a little bad...so scammers I will try not to raise my voice next time, I will just hang up...and I advise you do too!
At MC Design & Services, LLC we will be honest with you about your search engine ranking. We will even tell you when you have reached a point that you may want to lower your monthly budget on SEO.Contact Us
for a truthful consultation.
Here is the Riddle - fill in the ( ):
A (first type of business, product or service)
and a (second type of business, product or service)
want you to link to their websites, unless you are a (the one thing they could have in common)
salesman, I'm willing to bet they don't belong on your website.
I am looking for the best examples of two completely unrelated businesses and one thing they could have in common. You can use play on words, or the same word with two different meanings for what they might have in common. Keep it fairly clean please. You don't need to know anything about SEO
to participate!What You Win:
- Bragging Rights
- Your business or website profiled in our newsletter and social media
- $20.00 OFF any service with MC Design & Services, LLC!
Contest runs through April 7, 2012.
You can post your riddles as a reply to this blog post, or on our facebook page
(If you like us while you're there, we'll like you back.)
So what are "unnatural links"?
I have recently run into website business listing sites that are free, but require a reciprocal link. The reciprocal link they want you to post on your website has nothing to do with business listings, but is for some obscure business that is obviously paying the creators of the site for these deceptive links. When you find 20 sites that all look the same but have a different required reciprocal link - one for a Winery in California, and another for an Anger Management Clinic in New Jersey - you get suspicious. Do both of those products and services have anything to do with YOUR business? If not, and I'm guessing unless you're John Steinbeck, they do not, they have no business being linked from your site.
Sorry, I just couldn't' resist the play on words. Panda is the name that has been given to Google's release of changes to its algorithms to measure relevant searches last year, with updates still ongoing. Below is a graphic that explains the timeline. (Thanks to Search Engine Land for allowing me to share it!)
Sites that farm content or reproduce content that can be found on other sites on the web are the target of this change. Many sites took a hit earlier this year and had to scramble to improve their content or find other methods like subdomains to fight back after impact. Examples are Ask.com, EHow.com and HubPages.com. The main take away from this, and what I have been stressing to my own clients this year, is that quality, original-to-you content is so important.
I thought you might like to know what Google is looking for so you can evaluate your own website's content up against THE PANDA BEAR!
This is that soft and cuddly animal talking now...
"Our site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find "high-quality" sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content. The recent "Panda" change tackles the difficult task of algorithmically assessing website quality. Taking a step back, we wanted to explain some of the ideas and research that drive the development of our algorithms.
Below are some questions that one could use to assess the "quality" of a page or an article. These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves as we write algorithms that attempt to assess site quality. Think of it as our take at encoding what we think our users want.
Of course, we aren't disclosing the actual ranking signals used in our algorithms because we don't want folks to game our search results; but if you want to step into Google's mindset, the questions below provide some guidance on how we've been looking at the issue:
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
- Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- How much quality control is done on content?
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
- Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
- Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
- Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
Writing an algorithm to assess page or site quality is a much harder task, but we hope the questions above give some insight into how we try to write algorithms that distinguish higher-quality sites from lower-quality sites."I call it soft and cuddly because I am for this! I want to know the authority of the author and where the content I am reading came from, otherwise I don't feel like I can trust it. And the same can be said for your own company's content. If someone else wrote if for you and the same exact information can be found on your competitor's website, what will compel your potential customers to choose you over them?
As always if you would like help with your search engine ranking and need an affordable solution MC Design & Services, LLC is here to help! Contact Us
There are a lot of abbreviations thrown around about how to get your website noticed. The two main things you will hear that you need are SEO and/or SEM. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. But, they are not the same thing.
Here is an explanation of what they are: SEO - Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is the employment of techniques to get your website found on search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo...even Facebook) on the top of the first page of organic links.
What are organic links do you ask? Using Google as an example, they are all the links that come up as results to a search query just under the paid Google Ads on the top of the page.
Ex: If you were a plumber in Lansing, MI and someone in your area needed to find a plumber, they would go to Google or Bing, type in "plumber Lansing, MI" or "fix broken pipe Lansing, MI" and you would want your website or business information to come up in the links that are provided by the search engine.
Not all search engines operate the same, having assistance from someone who understands the elements your website needs for each of the "heavy hitting" search engines will help your standing.SEM - Search Engine Marketing or Online Marketing
Search Engine Marketing is paid advertising such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc. OR campaigns to get attention or a buzz going about your business, which may have more to do with social networks (also search engines in their own right).
A lot of money can be thrown away on these kinds of ads. Having someone who understands how search engines operate and determine what is a relevant result for a search, and how the average Joe tries to find information will save you money and time. It also helps to know where to place these ads and what method of display is best for your audience.
Creating a buzz or following for your business takes creativity and knowing the current trends in the plugged in world. Social Networks are a good tool for this.
At MC Design & Services, LLC we will always recommend you pay close attention to your SEO standing. We can help you decide whether dollars spent on SEM are necessary and how big that budget really needs to be. From our experience we have seen clients benefit from our SEO service to the point that they no longer needed print or online ads.Contact Us
Today for a FREE Consultation!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the employment of techniques to get your website found on search engines (google, bing, yahoo).
So how do you know if you need it?
Have you ever googled your business?
Do you come up on the first page by typing in your name and location?
If you do, congratulations, you have achieved the first and easiest step. Now how will someone find you if they do not know your name? Try googling your services or products you offer and the area you serve (the towns that you do business in).
Does your website come up at all or even close to the first page? If not, you want to consider getting help.
With our SEO service we consider all avenues that people search, not just search engines, but whatever is generating the most searches at the time. We analyze your website to make sure there is nothing about your website that is hindering the search engines from reading it, or visitors from staying once they get there.
Our team uses many techniques to get your website's message and links out on the world wide web. We will consult you on what you can do to improve the situation, you can choose to do it yourself or have us do it for you.
The best part is that we are extremely affordable and know how to get results on the budget that you choose.
*Ask how to get some of your money back from advertising vouchers.
I recently had my first successful yard sale. I got to thinking what did I do right this time that caused me to be in the black instead of slightly in the red as in previous years. And then I realized it was the same principles that draw visitors/customers to a website.
1. Affordable Advertising
where people interested will see it. I only paid 5.00 for advertising on my local newspaper's website and rest was done by posting on FREE yard sale sites and craig's list.
The same can be done for your website, pay only for advertising that will reach your target audience, where they will be looking (if you are a locally run business - advertise on your local community's websites). And take advantage of all the free advertising available.
i.e. - facebook, twitter, social networks (more searches are done on social networds then google and bing) and websites that make sense for your business that offer free listing. Don't post everywhere and anywhere - this is a red flag to search engines and could cost you ranking.
2. Catch the eye of traffic
. For my yard sale, which was on a day when many others in my area were having sales, I posted signs on all the corners leading to my house. In big bold, letters my signs read 25 cents & baby, because I wanted people coming to my sale who would say to themselves "it's only 25 cents so I'll buy a lot" and I also had big baby items to sell. While I got a couple jokesters who were looking for the baby I was selling for 25 cents, almost everyone who came to my sale were people looking for what I had to offer. When posting on the Internet about your business, you want to use the key words that describe what you have to offer, but you also want to do it in a way that will drive your potential customers to YOU, not someone else.
3. Stand out above the rest
. In the past I have done yard sales with my sisters who have just as many children as I do, and therefore just as many things to sell. I hate to admit this, but for some reason when my things were placed on the same display as theirs, their things were always chosen to be bought over mine. This year I decided to do the sale myself. How does your business become the only one among the choices? Make it the only choice. Make your website, services and contacting you accessible by doing frequent branded emails with useful information or offers and links to your website and email. Keep posting on social networks, but make it fun and interesting. Consider hosting a webinar where you give an informative presentation in your field.
As always, we can help and you can afford it! See our new services
page for help with everything mentioned above.
Sign up for Email Marketing off our site and we will design an email template for FREE to match your business!