Search Results Page Features by Percent Clicks

You probably have wondered or really need to know how people click on results in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in order to bid on keywords in your Adwords campaigns. What percentage of clicks go to The Knowledge Graph, right?

Well its a bit more complicated than that because there are more thaqn a dozen different “features” on SERPs today. MOZ has a great visual over here https://moz.com/mozcast/features

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What is a Blog Post Worth

HARTENSTINE Search Engine First Marketing Does Blogging Pay?  Its the most common directive issued in SEO. Blog! If you want free traffic, Blog! If you don’t have a big budget to pay Google Adwords or Bing Adcenter for clicks, BLOG!

But does blogging really payoff? Here is your real-world-local-business answer. Not only can we see exactly how many clicks a blog post is bringing every month, month after month; we can calculate the exact value of those clicks, and therefore calculate the exact value of the blog-post. (which means how much could you pay someone to blog for your business) Here is our Query Report from Google Webmaster or Google Analytics.

blogging-pays

A single Blog-post about how swimming pools can pop out of the ground, brought our business 31 clicks from natural searches last month.

average-cost-per-click

Therefore if our blog-post brought 31 visitors and we are paying a nice round figure of $3.30 per visitors in our PPC campaigns, the blog is worth $102.30 per month or $1,227.60 per year. With this data, we can now make many more assumptions about our marketing spend.

Brilliant! Hold on! What you may have missed is that there are 4 blog-posts on this website, but this is the only one that is performing to bring us a measurable number of free visitors. That is a variable that needs to be included in our overall marketing calculations to determine what a blog-post is really worth (paying for).

Plus there are a few noteworthy bullets to go with our numbers that can serve to flesh-out your Internet Marketing assumptions:

  1. The blog-post title, when written, did not reflect what those online searches would be that produces our traffic. This blog-post could potentially perform much better with the right title. That’s water under the bridge, but now that we know, we can still do some SEO to increase our page position and thereby, increase our clicks.
  2. The CTR for this post is exceptional. Combined with Average Positions (that are at the bottom of page 1) and that tells us the other results on the SERP (search results page) are not as appealing, and may also mean our meta description (SEO) is working well.

Another critical marketing variable not provided here is CONVERSION (into leads, into sales) but that’s something for another post. With conversion figures you can really dial-in your ROI – the ultimate in Internet Marketing Planning.

Alrighty then:

  • Q: What should I blog about?
    • A: What questions do your customers ask you?
  • Q: Should you hire someone to write blogs?
    • A: Can you produce the material for them and can they optimize the content?

I know those are not an answers, but they should point you in the right direction to the answer you need. Only you know your business well enough to make all this work. Everyone else can only help.

Well, without question, blogging works to bring (relatively) free traffic and save you the cost of paying Google and Bing for visitors. There is technique (SEO) involved in making it work to its full potential, but my experience is that everyone has moments of inspiration and motivation, but few can actually execute – consistently. Perseverance and persistence (lack thereof), not $, is what inhibits most Internet Marketing from real success.

But at least now you cannot say you don’t know whether blogging is worthwhile for your business.

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InSourcing is The Future of SMB Internet Marketing

Insourcing is bringing a third party (someone who would have worked as a consultant) to work inside.

Of course everything has its place. DIY (Doing it Yourself) digital marketing is the norm for small and startup businesses. Google Adwords Express is exactly such an on-ramp service. It helps the DIY Internet Marketeer get started.

Outsourcing one’s (digital marketing) is the next natural step for 99.9%. Most small businesses go directly from DIY to Outsourcing their Internet Marketing (to an agency). That seems like the correct evolutionary process…but it is often the most direct route to DISAPPOINTMENT!

The problem is, DIY is not a best-practice, and outsourcing is not cost-effective.

Very few businesses consider Insourcing their Internet Marketing first,

  • a) because consultants and agency do not typically offer such services (because they make a lot more money when you outsource), and
  • b) many businesses think its too difficult to Insource.

But think of Insourcing as hiring an Intern. The fact is, the hardest part is just finding the right one. Since I started offering my SEO Toolset, SearchStation directly to clients, my business has evolved into an Insource model – and that has been positive for us both.

There is much more to this story when you learn that typical businesses gets “trapped” in agency relationships that cost more to get out of.

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Developers and Internet Marketing

A Cautionary Tale…beware of developers when in the pursuit of Internet Marketing. Sounds like a Brothers Gimm Fairy Tale. The moral is that the roles assumed by many developers often leads to very understandable clashes with outside Internet Marketing.

I once needed a story that summarizes the situation so I could point to it (for a prospective client) and say, “Look there may be someone in your organization that won’t like what I’m recommending and asking them to do. And that individual is a gatekeeper with the keys I need in order to help your company.”

So here is my story that I hope encapsulates for you, what to expect and what will probably go wrong. ( I imagine its already going wrong if you found this post )

The management at this company felt they needed to try everything possible to attract more new visitors to their website in their highly competitive vertical ( an online-training vertical). Normal! Like all jobs, it started with an audit of the online properties.

When asking for administrative access to anything, a little resistance is expected from the gatekeeper(s). Again, normal. Beyond this, when resistance persists and objections appear, its usually a sign of that the job may be coming off the rails.

In my story a developer was the original creator of the website, and the setup of almost everything the company had online. Naturally they were also the gatekeeper, since the developer falls into these roles simply because there was no one else in the company who could handle the job at the time.

The first real warning flag appeared when the developer told me they (wrongly) believed that the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) I was hired to do was strictly confined to on-site tasks (confined to editing the website). This caused the developer to objected to any access beyond where they “believed” I should be allowed. I was finding little discrepancies and in order to find and solve problems, I was going beyond the comfort zone of the developer.

At this point, I was suggesting a bit of house cleaning of Google Accounts and Properties was necessary. The developer represented to management that my “new” direction was needless, with requests for logins to Google/Bing/ISP webmaster accounts. What one doesn’t know always seems useless.

Warning flag #2 appeared when this developer decided to “read up” on SEO best practices according to Google. The developer then concluded that nothing they had done could possibly be inadequate or wrong because they had “Googled” how to do it and follow every instruction. The developer told management that all the “little issues” I was “getting picky about”, Google would totally understand.

(Google is so understanding! Makes one wonder why we would optimize anything.) I like to point out that Google’s very existence depends on cleverly hiding how their search engine works. Google is a marketing company, before it is a technology company. Well by the nature of marketing, everything is about deception. Google’s lack of clarity means that the entire SEO business is easy to interrogate and discredit in this process – because we often lack that tangible evidence. Well here it is…after the fact.

Proof that Search Engine House Cleaning Will add +50% traffic to your website.

A little bit more about SEO house-cleaning; one can clean a house and it can still look like a trash-heep. Right? House cleaning sometimes means letting go of things in order to move forward. Sometime that means loosing some analytics (analytics that are usually worthless anyway). Unfortunately there are people who would rather not let go of anything. Some even pay to store old crap they no longer need (re. in a self-storage unit), because they can’t bring themselves to throw anything away, even though they know it has almost no value, or worse, its hurting them. In this case, the developer convinced the manager of this project that they could not abandon their worthless analytics contained in a stray webmaster account, so the job stopped there.

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Retro SEO in 2015

Each year the noise-makers in SEO do their best to …(Im not sure), because if you thought there were something educational about it, you’d be wrong. And they manage to both bore us to tears and irritate with the usual dribble.

This years “SEO guru” writes about another “SEO Guru” and what to expect from Google in 2015.

Spoiler: From THE 10 DOUCHIEST JOB TITLES IN AMERICA. #4. Guru – The word is Sanskrit, and if you did not know that, then you’re not a fucking Guru. Moreover, this type of douchebag title is one of the “self-anointed” kinds. This means that no one ever called you a Guru (unless their tongue was firmly planted in their cheek) – you gave yourself this title; and for that, you are a douchebag of the highest order. In fact, you might just be the Guru of douchieness.

Guess what our Guru’s tips are?

Be awesome
Earn awesome links

(I’m not kidding) And you can read all about that awesomeness here SEO in 2015 or I can save you from that retched essay right here.

Absolutely nothing is new in SEO. Thats why its so AWESOME!

Instead I’m calling it Retro SEO because Im going to puke if someone says “awesome” again. (same as that “like-awesome” college degree you got in English?)

However, I’m actually somewhat relieved. Now that Retro SEO is the new black in 2015 I can stop reading about SEO and get back to work knowing that I won’t find myself in meetings with these SEO Gurus because they are busy writing about each other.

Retro SEO is that rare kind of SEO you might have heard old-timers in the Internet Marketing business saying for years; do the basics very well.

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How to Blog for Top Rank in Search Results

Getting to the #1 spot in the SERPs is usually not easy.  But if you remember that 93% of your competition does not know how to SEO their blogs, you should get very good results with these 13 steps to creating a top performing web page.

Before you start, your TOP KEYWORD is NOT your name (or your business name).

1 ) You need to know what the TOP KEYWORD is for your goal.  If you want to be found for “your product”, use Google Keyword Tool found in Adwords and be sure you are using the right keyword.  It is not uncommon to be surprised that you do not understand what words people use to find your product on search engines.  The keyword with the greatest search volume is your TOP KEYWORD.  There can be significant difference in search volume that come down to a simple “s” added to the end of what you thought was your best keyword.  Keep the keyword tool webpage open; you’ll need it again.

2 ) Craft your Headline carefully first.  Its vital that your Headline, Title (and URL if possible) contains the TOP KEYWORD.

3 ) The TOP KEYWORD should be the first word(s) in the Title and Meta Description!  It should also be the first in the Headline and the Content area (the blog) as well, but that doesn’t always work.  Watch out for lengths and keyword stuffing.  Do not repeat keywords in any tags.  The Title must be less than 70 characters.  The Meta Description is 150 characters or less.

4 ) Create a Category of your TOP KEYWORD.

5 ) Forget about SEO for a moment and just type your blog post.  Just get the words, images and concepts down.  You can edit later.  Remember you are still writing for humans. Make sure it reads well.  Ideally your blog post should be more than 300 words.

SEO for images;

6 ) Be sure the Alt Tags for your images contain keywords and at least one contains your TOP KEYWORD.

7 ) Be sure to repeat the TOP KEYWORD 3 times in the Content of your blog post if you didn’t already.  Once in the first sentence (preferably the first few words), once at the end, and once more somewhere else in the middle.   If its a long post, try to get the 2nd or middle keyword near the 300th character* position, precision is not important on this one.   But be sure 1 instance of your TOP KEYWORD is in the last sentence.

8 ) Bold or italicize the 1st instance of your TOP KEYWORD.

9 ) Do a search for your TOP KEYWORD on Google.

10 ) Using the #1 position on Google SERP, link the 2nd instance (the middle one) of your TOP KEYWORD in your blog post to that website.  Keep the search results page open; you’ll want to incorporate others into your blog post if possible. Be sure to use your TOP KEYWORD as the Anchor Text for the links!

11 ) Create Post Tags with the TOP KEYWORD and some other well chosen keywords from the keyword tool you left open in step #1.  Do not use keywords that are not in your blog post, or now is a good time to try to edit-in some of those other keywords into your blog post.

12 ) Put the same keywords you used in the Post Tags into the Meta Keywords.  Do no include any keywords that are not in your blog post!!!

Back to your SERP page results from step #9,

13 ) Link other keywords in your Blog Post to the #2 and #3 web sites if possible.  (Yes, I would even link to competitors, but thats a personal decision) You needn’t be too strict with this step.  Some creativity may be beneficial.

If you follow these steps, you’ll have a very well Search Engine Optimized page to present to the search engines and hopefully it will achieve top position on Google SERP.


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What Heat Maps and Eye Tracking Tell Us About Video

This article is worth your time.

http://www.quicksprout.com/2013/08/01/7-conversion-optimization-lessons-learned-from-eye-tracking/

There are 7 examples, but one stood out in particular because it has been a hot topic of discussion for some time among my clients; why use video? or Should we get more video on our website for SEO purposes. See #2 

What you should take away from this is that media can be good, but you have to be careful with how you use it. If you are using media to help sell your products or services, that’s great. But if the media is a distraction, then you’ll decrease your conversion rates.

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Website Development Guidelines

To reach your goals you will need 3 things: Web Development, Web Design and SEO. Keeping these job-functions separated in your mind will make for a very successful online endeavor.

Web Development is the building of a web site. It deals with computer coding, things like creating pages and linking them together. Form submissions are a good example – they are the workings of the computer on which the website lives.

Web Design is specifically about the beauty and usability. The things that humans need in a website to understand your business and contact you.

Search Engine Optimization is about arranging things for search engines to understand your web site (and business) better so that your business can be found by those humans.

You can see that these are very different skill-sets that are often wrongly lumped together. The web designer talks to people, the other two to computers. Knowing these job-functions are different will save you from making the biggest, most common mistakes.

Good web design is almost priceless. Its worth every penny. Spend your time and budget on the design/er. And keep them focused on designing for people.

Web Development and SEO are similar in that they must consider the mechanics – how the website function must serve the business. re. an eCommerce website is very different from a local business website.

Web Developers and Designers go together, usually in pairs. The designer designs and the developer turns the design into computer code. What often goes wrong is that during this process, SEO is not included. And that is a big mistake.

I caution against using a Web Design firm to do SEO. 99% of these firms start as web designers (artists). As the firm grows, the imperative to increase services/income naturally includes SEO – but not because they are experts in SEO.

Determine your SEO first, then have the Web Developer follow the blueprint. The SEO should establish the framework on which the mechanics are built. This way the website will function for the business and it will be beautiful to people and it will be a thing of beauty to search engines as well. The perfect web site.

Now you know why Hartenstine does not do web design. We outsource both Web Dev and Web Design to specialist or work with the customers existing web firm. In the case you are seeking a new web-dev-designer. I am happy to help you find one.

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SEO in Whose Interest? or How to Choose an SEO Firm!

An SEO or marketing agency that sets up search engine accounts under the their name; 1) is taking the lazy path. Its easier to do it that way or, 2) they intend to keep all the work they do (with your money). When you stop paying, you don’t own anything. The good news is that Google has some guidelines you should know about concerning the Client-Agency relationship.

https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en&ref_topic=4540086

Authorized representatives must:

  • Never claim a business listing without express consent from the business owner.
  • Never make false, misleading, or unrealistic claims.
  • Never use harassing, abusive, or untrustworthy tactics with potential or existing customers.
  • Always work directly with the business owner to complete verification.
  • Always ensure that the business owner understands what Google My Business is and where Google My Business data is used.
  • Always keep the business owner informed about which actions the authorized representative will take on the business listing.
  • Always follow Guidelines for representing your business on Google. Note that the phone number and website for a listing should always be the single, authoritative phone number and website for the business and be verifiable by the business owner. Website content must be owned and managed by the business owner.
  • Always respond to management access requests promptly, and always transfer listing ownership to the business owner immediately upon request. Authorized representatives must, whenever possible, encourage the business owner to create an account, own the listing, and add authorized representatives as managers.

Failure to adhere to these policies may result in a suspension for the listing and/or account.

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How To Research SEO Keywords

Research and selection of keywords for SEO is the #1 priority in establishing an Internet Marketing campaign. All SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC campaigns (Pay Per Click or Paid Search Marketing) require a well conceived list of keywords.

You need to know what the TOP KEYWORD is for your goal.  If you want to be found for “your product”, use Google External Keyword Tool and be sure you are using the right keyword.  The keyword with the greatest search volume is your TOP KEYWORD.  There can be significant difference in search volume that come down to a simple “s” added to the end of what you thought was your best keyword.

However, there is a problem. Google says they want you to create good content – the articles should help your readers. And the more people that share and link to your articles, Google will reward you that way. Google use keywords (obviously), but you aren’t supposed focus on keyword optimization they say. So they make keywords difficult for many reasons we won’t deep dive into here. So you need to know where to look for your keywords and how to spot the right ones.

1) How do we know which keywords people use to find us?

In Google Search Console ( also displayed in Google Analytic when the accounts are linked correctly ) there is a section call “Queries”. NOTE that the numbers in this report are not accurate.

2) How do we know the most popular keywords?

In Google Adwords there is a feature called Keyword Planner, under Tools. use this to discover the popularity ( volume ) of keywords. NOTE that just like the above, these numbers are not accurate – just use them as a guide.

Tip: Notice that there are only about a dozen keywords in “Queries” that really bring home the bacon. As a beginner it is very easy to get lost in the weeds looking for the “absolute best keyword” when in fact the “best” are pretty obvious.

The best indicator of a good keyword is the CTR ( Click Through Rate ) – which means “effective”. So if you are looking to write about something, use good CTR keywords that are not getting a lot of clicks ( but also are not too obscure ).

Now that you have a good list, you don’t want to change the list halfway through the optimization process, so no other steps in your SEO checklist should begin until all parties have agreed on the keyword list.

Keywords should not be selected just because the words and phrases describe the product or service, but because they are the words people actually use to find your business/product/service.  It is not uncommon to be surprised that you do not understand what words people use to find your product on search engines.

The most important task of keyword optimization is to determine whether your pages are optimized for and rank highly in search engines for keywords that people actually want to find. If no one is searching for your targeted keywords, it won’t matter how highly the site is ranked in the search engines.” IBM

The RIGHT keywords are not always the TOP keyword (those that have the largest search volume).  The right keywords are perhaps more descriptive, and likely to be phrases.

The problem with good keywords is that they are usually not words at all. Good SEO keywords are usually phrases, that is, two or more words strung together in a saying or idea. When you enter keywords into your meta keywords section, don’t use words, use phrases.” ProBlogger April 2011

Now to win the gold-star, your keyword list should be organized in a hierarchy that agrees with the structure of the data contained in the web pages and this should also be reflected in the navigation of the website.  Put all that together and you’ll have a solid optimized website.

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