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Entries in SEO (8)
Just about every businessperson I know has crossed paths with a Black Hat SEO who made sweeping statements about search rankings, saying things like “bot,” “automated,” or thinly veiled references to a wheel for an insanely cheap price with no mention of on-page SEO.
It’s easy to be seduced by this sort of salesmanship. There’s a reason that infomercial hosts gesticulate wildly like ravaging lunatics proselytizing their products as the latest, greatest, must-have items this side of Tuesday: hyperbole sells.
This two-part series is dedicated to 7 specific things that will come up when shopping for SEO that are red flags for work that do the opposite of what is intended.
7. Only Talking about Link Building
Though link building is an integral part of an overall SEO strategy, I must emphasize part of. Link building is a long-term strategy that works concurrently with on-page SEO. Having one or the other is like having a car without an engine:
Having substantial backlinks but garbage on-page SEO means no one will use your site; having great on-page with no backlinks means you’ll be harder to find in search results.
Hiring separate companies for link building and on-page SEO is fine. If you hire one to do everything and they say your entire strategy will just be link building, beware. If the next words out of their mouth are “It runs itself!” then you should also be running.
6. Installing links to anything more than just their company page
Companies will put a mention of their company in your footer if they have done substantial work on your site. This is nothing out of the ordinary and often isn’t noticed. A Black Hat SEO will take this to the next step and install entire link farms to link to other clients’ sites to sap your PageRank and improve their sites.
This is a lazy tactic that ends up hurting their clients more than helping them, but even more so is a malicious use of your digital real estate. Make sure you’re informed of all additions the company is installing to ensure they actually are improving your SEO and not just beefing up other clients’ sites.
5. Offering copy writing for a poverty wage
A decent writer is hard to find. An exceptional writer is ever harder to find and more expensive. Spending $100 for a dozen articles seems a good idea for about 12 seconds until you realize that there’s no native English speaker that could write something worthwhile to your visitors for a price so low.
Farming copywriting is a fairly common practice and not a necessarily bad one. It can keep content costs down and speed up turnaround. However, the price of the writing is usually indicative of the quality of the results; Black Hat SEO uses low-grade resources to produce low-grade sites with nominal impact.
Doing simple math will tell you what to expect: does it equal $2 per hour? Or $20? In short, see examples of the writer’s work before you hand over a single dollar. If you suspect they are farming work out, get more information on whether the copywriters are native speakers or not. This could be the difference between copy that sells and copy that makes visitors fall asleep.
4. Having unarguable ideas about link wheels
These never work. Link wheels involve creating secondary off-site pages that will be used to A. Generate content B. Link back to your domain to increase PageRank. So far so good?
Not exactly. Blogs are a completely legitimate way to create links to your domain without being spammy. However, Black Hat SEO tries to game the system and can create dozens or hundreds of pages full of content unreadable to actual humans just to host backlinks. Google has made substantial updates to penalize or completely remove websites that do this from their search results.
A proactive SEO strategy involves quality targeted content generation. If a proposal wants to create large number of off-site pages to host content and backlinks, it may be time to look for other strategies.
Lookout for Part 2 – Top 3 ways to spot a SEO Snake Oil Salesman!
This two-part series is dedicated to 7 specific things that will come up when shopping for SEO that are red flags for work that do the opposite of what is intended. Our partners at SEO Austin helped inspire this post.
Are you getting the most from your marketing dollars? We strongly suggest that all of your campaigns provide measurable return on investment. That’s why we love these digital marketing tactics:
Social Media: Sure it’s the new black, but that’s because it harnesses the power of so many different marketing disciplines. Part PR, part direct sales and part web strategy, the beauty of SM lies in the ability to engage prospects where they live, and track those conversations back to your website.
Affiliate Marketing: Word-of-mouth works. So why not align your business with online leaders that already have built-in communities? Most affiliate marketing is commission-based, so you only pay when your ads work. That’s the smart kind of thinking we like.
Loyalty Programs: The easiest audience to sell to? Your existing customers. By incentivizing your clients to remain true to your brand, you not only sell more to them, you also create brand ambassadors that spread your message to their network. Double score!
SEO: No great mystery here. People are searching Google for your product or service. Rank high enough and they’ll find you instead of your competitor. It’s all trackable, measureable and easy on the wallet.
Ad Networks: This is the intelligent way to serve banner advertising. Networks utilize demographic, geo-location and behavioral targeting to only put your ads in front of the most qualified prospects. This saves you money while improving click-through and conversion rates. Boom!
If you have questions about any of these channels, don’t be afraid to drop us a line or stop by the lab. We’re always up for jawing digital marketing strategy over an icy brew.
If you live in this country, you’ve heard of either black friday or cyber monday. There’s no escaping it. It’s no longer accurate to say that the holiday season is around the corner, it’s already here. Whether you run an online store or are strictly brick and mortar, this is undoubtedly the busiest time of year for all businesses.
A lot of thought goes into planning ad campaigns for the holiday season. You should know your customer base pretty well by now, and if you’re not planning your campaigns around them you’re setting yourself up for failure. You should know your average order amount and which promotions & incentives inspire your customers to take action. This is inarguably the time of year with the fiercest competition and the lowest profit margin, yet you can make out like a bandit if you’re well prepared. Below are a few tips to keep you in the black.
1 Stack ‘em high.
Nothing says “cancel my order” faster than the word backorder. With so many other companies selling the same thing out there, customers want to know whether or not you have what they want. While there is a chance they may want to keep the backorder, the odds are better that they will just tell you to cancel the order and find it elsewhere. Be honest with your customers and let them know if you have it in stock. If you anticipated the demand, you should be in good shape.
2 Get it out the door.
There is nothing more frustrating than getting repeat phone calls from the same customer about an order. Regardless of whether or not you supply a tracking number, some customers will still call you for tracking information. If their order is 5 minutes late they WILL call you again. Orders should be shipped promptly and whomever answers the phone should have tracking information front of them at all times. Your customers will appreciate this.
3 Extend your promotions
The only thing customers love more than a deal is an exclusive deal. If you’re willing to take a small hit on the upfront price you’ll make it up in volume and your customers will rave about you. Extending your promotions until the next promotional period is a good way to keep your customers involved and thinking about you. If you’re willing to extend your holiday pricing to the first of the year, customers will take advantage.
4 Watch the clock
Courier services are inundated with packages this time of year. Make sure your customers are aware of blackout dates and any possible delays in shipping to ensure that their packages arrive on time…unless you like processing returns.
5 Leverage technology
People like to brag. They can’t wait to let their cronies know about the sweet deal they just got. Help them. Allow them to share their purchase with the rest of the world. While I would normally recommend social media interaction, even email will do. This is the best type of internet marketing you can get, because it’s free. Turning your customers into brand ambassadors could be as easy as adding a like button to your receipt page.
I hope some of this has got your wheels turning on ways you can boost your bottom line. Did I miss anything?