I’m often asked how to get better Google rankings for a business. They understand that if a business doesn’t exist online, it’s likely they won’t exist offline very long. We can discuss other search engines but, today we will just focus on the King of Search. According to PC World Google is the King of Search with a 66% share and Microsoft Bing at a distant 15%.
Before I talk about improving results, I like to give a lesson on the anatomy of Google search results.
Let’s take a look at the layout of the Google search results page. When you do a search for a business, Google serves you up some content. To simplify the process I’m going to take some artistic license. There are three 3 components. 1- Paid Ads 2- Places (Maps) & 3- Organic Results. Interestingly enough each of the 3 components has a different way to get to the top of each section.
Let’s start with component 1. Paid ads. The first section of ads are ones the top-left of your screen and they have a yellow background. The second section of ads are down the right site of the page. To get listed in here you have to get a Google adwords account and pay up.
This can be fairly inexpensive for categories that don’t have a lot of competitors. This is how nationwide companies often show up for local search when they don’t actually have a local presence. Alternatively, in highly competitive markets this can be very pricey. The good news is you can get to the top, the question is “at what cost?” If you plan to take this route, I strongly recommend you have professional set you up with your account. Some knowledge on the front-end can save some serious time and money.
Component 2 is the Map results.
This is often directly below the primary paid section. This section is great as they are location based. They only list businesses that have a physical address on the map. Each listing in the section has a pin with a letter and a map to show you it’s location. Google offers free places pages for businesses. These pages are basic, but they do allow for the all important client reviews.
The simplest way to get optimal ranking in this section is to #1 have an address in the search area, and to have a good quantity of positive reviews. Again, good news here is that these pages are free. Your business may already have one as Google uses a variety of sources to automatically create these pages.
You can claim your page by clicking on the link underneath it and by then clicking on “Mange this page”. FYI It does require a Google account to take control of a page.
The 3rd component is the Organic Results. Who doesn’t love organic. This section is also free and Google does a good job of ranking web sites primarily on the content of the pages (relative to the search) and the popularity of the website.
This section rewards those who have great web sites with specific intelligently prepared content. Some web professional will say getting a blog will get you great organic results. This can be very true with some diligent work and training from a professional. ~:-)
This month we are going to chat about everyone’s favorite gadget. I purchased my first iPad last month and I’m really enjoying my new toy power business tool. As a long time iPhone user I’ve installed nearly 400 apps in Apple’s iOS. Today I will share with you short list of a few of my favorites things (on my iPad)….
- Drop Box is a free app that gives you the same space as cloud. It allows me to share files with all of my devices connected to the Internet.Gone are the days of forgetting where you place that important file. Just throw it in your drop box.
- Everynote is a great way to create and share notes and todos. There are many note sharing apps. What makes it a favorite for me is its ability to organize and search my info. It’s also a plus to be able to Evernote on my tablet or Macs with files shared in the cloud.
- LogmeIn gives me remote control of my computers from my iPad. I have complete access to my Macs and even a PC.
- CardMunch is used to convert paper business cards into contacts in my address book. This card scanner does a remarkably good job. It can also add photos automatically from LinkedIn.
- Facebook & Facebook Pages give access to your profile and pages.
- HootSuite allows you to manage all your social networks from one app.
- You Version Holy Bible is the best online bible. I’ve tried a a lot of paid and free bible. This is my favorite as it has many translations and great reading plans. I also really like how it can read the word aloud.
- Pages is Apple’s word processor. Similar to Word, but with more style. I’m typing this article in Pages right now.
- AIM is a chat app similar to iChat on the Mac. I use AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) to chat with the family and office.
- Find iPhone shows the location of all of your iOS devices. It can even make them ring when the ringer is off.
- Netflix streams TV on your iPad (or iPhone). Very cool.
Ok, here are a couple more… I recently found one app that my kids are using to learn to type (ParaType) on and another that my daughters are using for vision therapy (Captain Lazy Eye). The results look promising.
Do you have some apps that you love? Please comment on this article to share. ~:-)
What iPad did I get? I purchased the new iPad (Generation 4) with the retina display. It can connect to Internet over wi-fi and over cellular.
Oscar Myre IV
When Oscar isn’t playing with gadgets he is helping businesses with their marketing at omOriginals Marketing!
The world of web is becoming increasingly more competitive. You have less than 30 seconds to make a good impression and to then turn a visitor into a customer. I’ve prepared a quick list if 4 must haves if you are looking to have a successful web site.
1) Make it EASY to contact you.
Seems simple enough, but I see a lot of sites that make it difficult to connect. I recommend having a link to your contact page on EVERY page. For some businesses it also makes sense to have your phone number on EVERY page.
2) Deliver value.
It is good to tell people you are good at what you do, but it is even better to demonstrate that you are an expert. You can share your knowledge (with out giving up the farm) on your site.
Some examples of value can be Frequently Asked Questions, informative articles (like this one) or possibly free downloads. You don’t necessarily have to be the author. Find or create some value and add it to your site.
First off, what is a BLOG? A website blog is the news section. New content is added, old is archived.
It is a beautiful thing.
If created and optimized properly the content give you amazing results in the search engines. A smart blog can also be a great launching pad for your social media. (Be sure to contact me to learn about integrating your website with Facebook and other social sites.)
4) Share your successes.
It is easy and powerful to share testimonials on your website (all of your marketing for that manner). Nothing gives you better credibility than the words of others. If you have great reviews from customer you must have them on your site. If you don’t have any then go get some.
I wish you a prosperous 2013. If treat your website to the above “must haves” you’ll be off to a great start!
This month I want to encourage you to take another look @ Linked-In. I’ve seen a lot of activity in the last month. For most users, I recommend that they get in at least once a quarter and make sure their info is updated and make some more connections. This month, I encourage you to logon, write a couple Recommendations, add some Skills and make 7 or so endorsements.
Before I get ahead of myself, here is a quick recap of one of my favorite social networks: LinkedIn is a online networking tool for professionals. At the heart of LI is your professional resume. You might think this is just for people looking for a job. You would be correct that it is a good place to look for jobs. It is equally good to make yourself available for making business connections. If someone is looking for a trusted CPA, a trusted Lawyer (I’m restraining myself from a joke here), or even a trusted web site developer, they can look on LI.
My favorite part is the Recommendations section. Fellow users can post recommendations of you professionally. LinkedIn doesn’t have critical reviews, just positive recommendations . I believe strongly in the power of testimonials. (You can see evidence in our marketing and the marketing of our clients.) You can say that “you are an expert”, but a testimonial from a client or customer speaks volumes more. My business has been blessed with about 20 of these recommendation gems on LinkedIn. Most folks don’t have many. I believe this true because it takes a fair amount of time and effort to write a recommendation.
LinkedIn just recently added a new Endorsement section, where you can list your skills. Your connections can then click on the + sign if they believe you possess such skills. Where it took months to receive 10 Recommendations, I received 23 Endorsements for Website Development, 21 Endorsements for Web Design & 15 for Social Media in less than 2 weeks. I also received endorsements for 20 other skills during this same time. Endorsements won’t replace Recommendations, but it is a great way to demonstrate your strengths.
Another nice update is the enhancements on the pages that you can create for business on LI. You can now customize the page with additional content. This a great place for people to learn about your business and connect with key people. It is also an excellent place to post job opportunities.
Don’t forget to look behind the scenes. You can see who is checking out your page! The insight (stats) show you their level of SENIORITY, INDUSTRY, & FUNCTION.
Here is our updated page for omOriginals Marketing! www.linkedin.com/company/610011 If we aren’t already connected on LinkedIn, I invite you to look me up and connect. My personal profile is @ www.linkedin.com/in/oscarmyre4
Happy networking. ~:-)
You probably remember my article “Interview with an iPhone”. Now it is time for you to jump in the interviewing chair. It is time for you to interview your web site! I have 5 questions to help. Don’t be shy. Demand quality answers from one of your best marketing tools for your business!
1) Have you made our business look good?
First impressions are big. If your web site doesn’t look professional and well taken care of, neither does your business. Simple. Take a look to see if your business looks like the type of company you’d want to work with. This is your place to highlight your strengths. This is an especially good place to hear from others in the form of client testimonials – testimonials make you marvelous.
2) Have you helped people find our business?
There are two parts to this:
1) When they are at your site people expect to be able to quickly and easily get a hold of you via phone, visiting your business, connecting on facebook or eMailing you. Can they?
Part 2) Can they find your web site? Today’s phone book is called Google. Trying “googling” your business. You need to be easy to find by typing your business name AND your product/service name and the city, state you are located in. You also want to make sure you can be found at bing.com, yahoo.com and others. Not found? Call us to schedule a free consult on how to GET FOUND.
3) Have you sold people on what our company can do for them?
Your current and potential customers should be able to learn more about what you offer. Make sure it clearly outlines the value you bring to the marketplace, and why.
4) Have you helped our customers?
Our clients web sites are helping their customers in a variety of ways. Your site can be a great place to check out your menu, download a form, pay a bill, order a product, answer a frequently asked question, check hours, call your business, give directions to your place of business or even read a helpful article (like this one).
5) Have you helped us make more money?
You don’t have to sell products online to make money from your website. I hope you are all tracking your sales to see where they are coming from. Consider your website as an essential sales and marketing tool, and don’t let it get rusty.
I hope this article got you started asking your web site some very important questions.
Want another set of eyes to take a look at your site? Ask our geeky team here at omOriginals Marketing to do a similar interview, for free! Ask your customers to share what they think of your site. ~:-) The more you concentrate on what your web site has done for you, the more it will do for you.
If you have eMail then you definitely get your share of eMail SPAM. Today it is conservatively estimated* that 80 to 85% of all the eMail in the world is SPAM.
*According to www.maawg.org
With so much junk out there how can get our inboxes back?
The answer is with the use of Spam Filters. Over the years we keep looking for a better SpamTrap. We tried many client and server side options over the years.
Google has taken this enterprise level spam filtering and included it with their Gmail eMail service. If you’ve visited with me at all you know that I strongly recommend not using free eMail accounts for businesses mail for numerous reasons including:
- Free Accounts Appear Amateurish
- When sending from a gmail.com or yahoo.com or someotherfreeone.com it gives the impression that you aren’t taking your business seriously.
- Free Promotion
- Sending for your domain encourages people to check out your web site.
- You are the master of Your Domain
If you own your own .com you are in control. A company like mine can host your eMail, but if you ever wish to go else where you can take it with you. A free eMail account is lost if you move your service elsewhere.
So with the above reasons, why am I now telling people to consider Gmail?
Actually I want to just use Google’s filtering. You will still send and receive Mail from email@example.com. Here is how you can use the Google Anti-Spam technology for your own eMail server. You get a service that is at least as good as SPAMfighter, MessageLabs or Postini (a Google owned company) – for free!
Word to the wise (that is you). Call your web host before starting. This is pretty geeky and if you share this article with them you can both be on the same page.
1. Create a Gmail account
This won’t be an address that anyone sees. Something like: firstname.lastname@example.org would be just fine. This account will be the filter between your email server and your local email client.
2. Forward your eMail to Google
For our clients (or others using cpanel). Go to your cpanel. Click on forwarding and create a forward from your eMail address to your new Google account. This forwarding option might not work on all servers. As an alternative you can use the Gmail POP3 feature and let Gmail collect your email by polling your email server every few minutes. This works fine, but there are two issues this approach: Gmail leaves SPAM emails with virus attachments on your server and since you need to wait for Gmail to poll your email server, email arrives with a few minutes delay.
3. Configure your eMail client.
Setup your Gmail account info is the same software you used before you read this article. For most of you that means in some flavor of Outlook or the new Microsoft Outlook called mail. For those of you fortunate enough you will setup using Apple’s mail or similar app on your tablet and/or mobile.
The trick here is to enter Googles info for the smtp (or incoming mail server) and your domain info for the outgoing mail server info.
For our clients use: imap.gmail.com for the Incoming mail server and mail.yourdomain.com for your outgoing mail server. Note: replace yourdomain.com with your actual domain.
Disclaimer: Different eMail hosts differ.
If you see any errors or omissions, please let me know. Here is to your new spam free (or at least less) inbox. If (when) done correctly, your mail you will have dramatically less spam and a much cleaner inbox.
7 things you need to know about Facebook (For business)!
When creating a Facebook Fan page last month for an organization in Cowlitz County, WA we noted that there are now 100,000 + Facebook members 18 and over!! (In Longview, WA plus 50 miles. I can remember when I thought 32k was a lot. Before you fire up Facebook, I invite you to take a few moments and learn 7 essential concepts about Facebook (for business).
1) It is about building relationships.
People are looking to be sold to (directly) they want to learn what you are up to and who you are. This is a long term investment.
2) It isn’t really free.
Yes, setting up an account is free. But, your time is valuable and to make and grow a successful FB page it takes time. Time to learn the right way to do things and time to do them.
3) People spend lots of time there.
Most people spend 30 seconds or less on website. In turn they spend over half hour on Facebook. This is great. Not because they we are wasting time online, but because lots of people are spending time and they are just a click away from visiting your web site, or joining your eMail newsletter, or (insert desired result here).
4) The Average user has between 150 – 260 friends.
When you get users to interact with you, their friends will learn about you from their news feed.
5) The more the better!
The more often people interact with you page the more they see your page and the more their friends see your page and the more their friends are likely to interact with you as well. Our page took some time to get to 1,000 fans, because of engagement we surpassed 2,000 fans and beyond at a much quicker rate.
6) Content is king. King.
We keep going back to this. Finding the write voice and delivery the right content to your fans is the best (and most difficult) way to grow your interactions. Deliver value.
7) Facebook tracks a lot of data.
Page admins have access to “Insights” to learn about their fans. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these. You can learn a lot of in such basic demographics, info on new likes and see how “viral” your content is becoming. These tools have help you improve your interactions.
You don’t have to do this social media stuff alone. None of us should do this alone. It is social media. ~:-) If your business needs help with Social Media Setup, Training and/or Maintenance I encourage you to schedule a free initial consultation with my office at (360)575-9839. I’d be honored to help you market like a professional geek. ~:-)
What is the coolest “must have” gadget on the planet? Well, it is the iPhone of course. And what is the most important App for the iPhone? After Angrybirds, I’d have to say “Mail”.
Nowadays, people have to have their eMail. Back when I was a kid we didn’t have eMail on our cell phones, we had to walk 20 miles up hill (both ways) to get to our computer to check our eMail. AND we liked it that way. But today we can have the whole Internet in our pocket including all of our eMails. And here is how to get setup.
- Start by tapping on Settings (from the Home Screen).
- Then tap on “Mail,Contacts, Calendars”.
- Tap on “Add Account.”
The iPhone has setup wizards, for iCloud (from Apple), Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo!, Aol, Microsoft Hotmail, MobileMe & Other. You will have to scroll to the bottom of the screen to reveal the last 2 options. With the exception of “Other”, they are all a breeze to setup. If you want to use your iPhone to check your business eMail (such as email@example.com) then “Other” is often the best route.
Let’s take the path less traveled.
- Tap on Add Mail Account.
- The first screen is simple enough. Add your Name, eMail, Password & Description. I think it is silly for a description so I recommend you simply put your full eMail address in there.
- Tap Next.
At the top of this screen there is very important decision to make…
POP (Post Office Protocol) or IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)
So what is the difference?
- POP messages generally are stored on the stored on the server and then deleted from the server when you check your mail. The result is that the message is now on your device and and nowhere else. This is the old fashioned way to check eMail and it works perfectly if you just want to check your eMail on one device.
Enter IMAP (the cloud).
- When you check a message with IMAP the message stays on the server (in the cloud). Since it stays on the server you can check it on multiple devices, such as a office computer, home computer, iPhone, iPad, etc. The beauty here is that you can see the same eMails from all devices as long as they are connected to the internet, they are in-sync.
I’m a big fan of IMAP, be sure to ask your web host if they offer it before making your decision.
There are 2 draw backs for IMAP.
- If you have Outlook (or Outlook Express) 2010 or older you should not consider IMAP until you upgrade. It doesn’t play very well with IMAP.
- If you use Apple Mail application you are good to go with whatever version you have. The second possible draw back is that since IMAP stores message online it can use up a fair amount of disk space. Be sure to ask your host about this.
Note: If you decide to go from POP to IMAP or vice versa, the iPhone won’t let you. You have to delete the account from your phone and re-enter it.
- From this screen you need to enter your incoming and outgoing mail server info. For our clients the host name for each is mail.theirdomain.com.
For example, ours is mail.omoriginals.com and the username is the full eMail address.
- For example: geek@omOriginals.com
- For our servers the outgoing and incoming are the same, but they both need to be entered manually. Tap “next” and wait for an error message. It will likely say “can confirm authenticity of server”. (This is normal).
- Tap details and then accept.
- After that it will likely say “Cannot Connect Using SSL”. Tap “Yes”.
- Smile as it verifies and you should be good to go. Congratulations!
If this is way over your head, call our offices for a half hour or more consultation over the phone or in person. @ 360.575.9839 and we’d be happy to help.
If you are considering adding YouTube (or some other video) to your web site, then this article is for you. We’ve been adding a fair amount of videos to web sites of late, here at the studio.
Whether you use YouTube or the family friendly Vimeo, video is here and it should be on your site. I’ve create a quick list of 7 reason why you should add some video to your web site.
Before we get ahead of ourselves. Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet? According to YouTube 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day. WOW!
That leads us to our first reason….
- Everybody is doing it! It is almost expected to have video on your site.
- Engaging. It is an excellent way to engage your audience. Your viewers get to learn from you while being entertained. They don’t have to read. People skim over the text, but they will often watch the whole video. And if they watch it they are more inclined to share the video and you websites.
- People love to share. This sharing helps in 2 great ways. It directly brings more people to your site and it can bring SEO power to your site as each share is a link to you site.
- Video tells a story. We have all heard “a picture shows a thousand words.” Well, the reason it is a cliche is because it is true. Your body language, the setting of the video, and a thousand other non-verbal communications are passed as you speak in video.
- We all learn differently. Some people are visual learners. Some like to read, some like to listen. This is why we should offer a variety of ways for people to consume our message.
- It can be fun. Entertainment can be defined as “an activity that is diverting and that holds the attention”. What better way to get the attention of our customers than with entertainment?
- It is easy to add to your site. You can add videos created by others on your site. You can click on the embed button on most videos from YouTube and get some code to place on your site. Simply cut and paste (ask your favorite geek if you need some help). You likely have the tools to create a video in your pocket (smart phones rock). Alternately, you can pay to have a video professionally produced.
Those are just a few of the reasons to add some video to your site. We encourage you to get the show running. You can use a video to make a commercial, show off products, share testimonials, tell a story or even train people. Whatever it is, all you need is an idea and a camera.
And if you have any questions about making videos or whether it’s right for you, feel free contact my office. You can visit our home page omOriginals.com to view a video commercial we created for the Renaud Electric Heating & Cooling Guys. Grab some pop corn and enjoy. ~:-)
Hello Geeks! This months focus is on a topic very near and dear to my heart…. Websites. I’ve compiled 7 questions about websites and the marketing questions that I’m often asked (or at least I should be).
1) How much does a web site cost?
The quick answer is we offer a free initial consultation to find out the right web site for your goals. An expanded answer is …There are 4 costs involved in a web site.
a) Domain Name: Such as YourCompany.com – this costs about $15 per year.
b) Development of the site: As you might guess this depends on a few factors including if we use a per-designed template or custom design site as well as how many pages the site has. Professional sites start @ about $1,000.00
c) Hosting: Quality hosting (with good support) ranges $30-$85/month) Hosting is essential renting space on web servers (computers) that ensure your site is up 99% of the time. This often includes eMails accounts such as you@YourCompany.com. OM hosting also includes friendly support and an annual marketing consultation with a geek.
d) Maintenance: A successful web site needs ongoing maintenance and adding of new content. At omOriginals we train all of our clients on how to do their own maintenance, so most of our clients pay $0 for maintenance.
Note: We are more than happy to perform maintenance as needed for any websites for $55/hour.
2) Should I BLOG?
What is blogging? Yes, most businesses will benefit from BLOG. A blog is a place on your site where you post news and updates. This info is helpful for people (& press) wanting to learn about your company and for the search engines. With a properly configured BLOG search engines assume that you are an expert about what you write about. When we build sites we include SEO training to get great search results.
3) Can you add a web site counter to my site?
Yes, but we recommend not using a traditional counter. They are often inaccurate and they share your stats with the world. Instead we offer web site stats (included with our hosting) that allow you to track the visitors to your site. The stats can tell you how many people visit your site, how many pages they view and so much more. These are available 24-7 for your review, but only you can see them.
4) What is the best domain name?
The best domain names often include:
a) company name
b) name of product or service
c) easy to remember & to spell.
For most businesses a .com is preferred over the other extensions for such as .net, .biz, .us. info, .etc. For non-for-profit organizations .org is more appropriate. During our initial consultation we can generally find a great name.
5) How should I select a web site developer?
When considering a few companies to work with, I recommend you look at the developers site and at least 4 live sites that they created. If you are impressed with their work, then schedule a meeting. Be sure that they can speak Geek, Marketing & English.
6) Can you create flash animations for my site?
FLASH is a powerful animation and programing tool for web sites, but it doesn’t work well on mobile devices. iPhone & iPads don’t support Flash. We can achieve similar functionality that works on mobiles, but we advise against flash.
7) Can you make my web site and Facebook work together?
Yes, and if done properly they can work and play very nicely together. This relation can work both ways, we like to add Facebook functionality to web sites and to drive traffic from Facebook to your site. I could write a whole article on this, or even teach a workshop. Oh wait…we do.
8. How can I get found on Google?
Google (and the other search engines) is interested in good content. If you write about what you do and add new content you are well on your way to good rankings. Get a Google places account and it will get you on the map.
WOW…out of space already for my column. I told you I like web sites. ~:-)
Both online and off. Call us for a complimentary consult: 360.575.9839