Can Anyone Guarantee Your Google Ranking?

In a word, no.

Truthfully, it depends on a complex matrix of many variables, including what your competitors are doing, how aggressive your presence is, how much you are spending, and what keywords you are using to make your decisions. For Google, if you are buying Adwords, they will coincidentally rank you higher in the “organic” searches as well. If you are buying click-through ads on other platforms, the more clicks (you pay for clicks) you get, the higher your ranking. If you have more reviews on public sites, such as reviews on Google or Yahoo! Maps, or yelp, you will also rank higher.

Here is an e-mail solicitation one of our clients received. At first, it seems like most spam, fishing for business, but there are some red flags here. In the first sentence, they say “a Leading SEO & Web Development Company”, but never mention their name in the entire message. They tell you how they are one of a few companies that do this, and tell you that they are ethical in their strategy.

SEO Letter

 

Moving down the list, they mention “Guest Posting” as one of their services. This means that they either use anonymous/guest logins or one of many usernames to post reviews about you on review sites like Google, Yelp and others, and even on your own website if you have a reviews section. Nothing about that is ethical.

They say they will create content and blog posts for you, and submit them to other blogs on your behalf. You need to be careful about this, because it’s your image that they are creating. If you are a specialist in your field, and they know nothing about it, they will pay for articles from a 3rd party reseller who knows nothing about you.  At CountyWebsite.com, we are constantly expanding our services, including writing and editing for our customers. With us, you know who is writing for your business. We are not contracting out to sources in other countries, or even other areas. We do our work in-house, to better serve our customers. It’s a growth area, and these solicitations know it. Proceed with caution.
One of our new services at CountyWebsite.com is a comprehensive, cross-platform directory service. We know that we are not the only company that offers this service, or has access to this platform. They do too, but they are counting on you not knowing that.

Almost everything else is standard on any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) program. We can help you with your search terms and optimizing how customers find you, the same as they can, but we’re not running a con or scam to get you to think that only they know the secrets.

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Bug and De-bug

bug

This day in Tech History, September 9, 1945 is documented as having the first real de-bug of a computer documented.

 
Operators of the Harvard Mark II find a moth trapped in relay #70 in panel F. The bug is taped to their troubleshooting log where it was written, “First actual case of bug being found”. This was not the first use of the term “bug” for computer problems, but this was the first time the term “debug” was used.

This should serve as a reminder to check your websites for missing and broken links. After all, You’re only as Strong as your Broken or Missing links!

 

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Media: We Do Video, Do You?

CameraAdding a video to your website not only gives detailed visual information to your customers, but it also greatly enhances SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

How does a video help you?
1. It makes your website sticky:
When a viewer starts to watch a video on your website, they stay on your site longer. Google recognizes a website that can grab and hold a viewers attention, and Google will give you a higher search ranking.

2. Keywords, keywords, keywords:
When you upload a video to the internet, you title it, you write a description about it, you give it tags. And all of these require text that search engines recognize and utilize when finding results.

Do you YouTube? Do you have a video on your homepage or Facebook page? Adding video is one of the best ways to get and keep customers on your website.

If you’ve got a Facebook page or YouTube account, but don’t know what to do with it, we can build it out and keep it moving. If you don’t have one yet, we can set up one for you, from scratch. County Website has packages and services to set-up, manage and advertise your page.

Not sure if you want to make a video? We can make a video using slides and text that can help get you on your way. Trap Pro has a series of videos, which are compiled as slides, each targeting different geographic areas.
www.youtube.com/user/TrapProVideos

Atlantic Blue Water had a commercial made, then we did some editing for adding text information and geographic specifics for targeting different marketing areas.
www.youtube.com/user/ABWaterServices

Check out some more video examples on the homepages of:
RichWinklerPainting.com
MattressAndCarpet.com

We can create a video to fit your needs. whether that is coming to film you onsite, or working with slides and stills to create the slideshow you need.

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Facebook Marketing Tips

FB IconDo you have a Facebook page for your business? Are you using that page to it’s fullest potential?

Facebook is a great way to engage with your customers and develop a positive rapport. However, it does require some careful attention. Here are some tips:

 

  • Visuals are very important. People like to see the products/services that are being offered. Facebook is a great platform to keep a solid collection of photographs and videos. This collection should include your products, services, videos about your company or video customer endorsements. You can even include staff photos and profiles, so that your customers can see exactly who that are working with.
  • Engage in conversation with your customers. You can easily ask questions, respond to feedback, have contests, etc. The more interactive you make your Facebook page, the more people will interact with your business.
  • Promote your products/services  carefully. Every business is trying to gain more customers, and Facebook is another tool to help promote your business, but remember, promote wisely – Too much promotion may turn away people who feel like you are only trying to sell when they are looking for a positive, well-rounded experience.
  • Be part of the community. Customers want to feel like they are dealing with a trustworthy business. Facebook is a good tool to show that you are more than just a business – you can share stories about your employees, your neighborhood or city, other local businesses (that aren’t your competitor), or general information about your industry. This can help the customer feel like they are part of a welcoming community, and in the world of social networks, this is a positive attribute!

To learn more about how to take full advantage of all of the features of Facebook marketing, contact your sales representative or call our office, (703)535-3320.

Let CountyWebsite.com help you develop a Facebook marketing campaign!

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Social Media: We do Facebook

FB IconIf you have been reading our discussions of social media, you have been thinking about how it applies to you and your business. You have probably been contemplating ideas of what to do and where to start. We can get you up and running. If you’ve got a page, but don’t know what to do with it, we can get that moving too. County Website has packages and services to set-up, manage and advertise your page.

Contact us to get started!
Like us on our Facebook page, too!

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Thinking Seasonally

back-to-school-fall-sale-marketing-postersWe are all affected by the seasons and the changes that go along with them. You prepare yourself and your business for the highs and lows that come with the calendar. Pool Companies are slower in the colder months, and their business increases as the weather warms. Travel related companies have an uptick in business for summer break, but also at the holidays and school breaks. Food products are always in demand, but what your customers want can change with the seasons.

The part of the calendar we are in right now is referred to many as “Back to School” season. College students are packing up and moving, teachers are stocking their rooms with teaching materials, parents are making purchase for school supplies and wardrobes. It’s also the end of the summer, where gardeners are looking at cleaning up the yards and plantings for the dormant season, as well as storing equipment for the colder months.

What do you do to prepare your business for the changes ahead? Even after you are out of school, or your kids are out of school, people often look to the fall displays of products for inspiration in making changes for themselves. Why not use that to your business advantage and do a refresh of your own public image? Now is the perfect time to revamp your website.

Have you been thinking of a new, warmer color scheme for the fall? A sale to draw in some of that seasonal desire to change? How about a coupon program to lure online browsers and shoppers to call or come in to visit your store? What about fall fix-up specials for the home, or just a reason for a dinner out? There are a million reasons to update your website or add to the one you have. What are you waiting for?

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Go for the Coordinated Approach

IBM_PC_jr_01_fullThis day in Tech History, August 12, 1981: The IBM PC was introduced

It was a flawed product from the start. It was not developed through regular standards and protocols that would have quality control. It was a “stop-gap”, a product meant to be fleeting, but fill the need to get “something” on the market, until a real and better unit could be developed.

“By compromising quality for rapidity, the design of the IBM PC forced software programmers to resort to inelegant methods of software development, hindering the reliability and compatibility of their software. This laid the groundwork for the reputation of the PC as error-prone and frustrating to use. “

To this day, IBM has a reputation for being buggy in their systems, and seems to always be patching holes in their programs. [read more about the IBM PC launch here: thisdayintechhistory.com]

The lesson here is that if you want to have a product that won’t come back to haunt you, you need to do it right the first time. Put a plan together, and make sure it is right, before it sees the light of day. This applies to all aspects of life, not just computers, but to business, marketing plans, and live in general.

Your marketing plan should be the best that you can do. It should be a coordinated effort between platforms, methods and events. If you are featuring coupons on your website, mention it on your Facebook page. Make sure your staff knows about them. Give advance coupons to your customers that they have to come back to use. Make sure that there is a special item that will draw them in. Coordinated plans get better results.

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Squirrels and Smartphones

squirrel phoneWhat do smartphones and squirrels have in common? And why should a business owner care?
Two years ago, CountyWebsite built a website using the domain name www.SquirrelRemoval.mobi. The site is a ‘mobile website’, built to be easily viewed by smartphones; such as iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries. It was built for a small business that specializes in pest control. Squirrels are just one type of animal which often get in and make their homes in attics…..and they become pests. The website was built to be ‘smartphone friendly’, including only the most important content from the clients main website, and with small pages to fit a small screen. When you look at the site, you don’t need to squint to read the words. You don’t need to hunt around and scroll around a big site searching. It’s neat, complete, and compact….

So was it worth it? Did it make sense for the pest control business owner to build ‘another’ website? Was there even enough traffic to justify the effort and the cost? Would the business get a return on their investment? Was it still too early?

In 2012, Google released their “Mobile Playbook”, a guide for businesses, on how to “Win with Mobile”. Google’s top mobile executive predicted that one million small businesses will go mobile with a mobile website…..last year! That was in 2012. The paper offers “5 crucial mobile questions that every business executive should be asking themselves today”. One question, “Is our organization adapting to mobile?” The paper says that mobile search queries have grown 5x in the last two years. Yes, Virginia, people today are searching for local businesses on their smart phones. Our clients are seeing it in their website statistics. We are seeing it. It’s not surprising to see the stats on a local business website today indicate 20% of the site traffic is originating from a smartphone. But, studies are also showing that consumers will look for businesses that have smartphone friendly websites. If you didn’t already jump on the mobile bandwagon, think of all of the customers that you have been missing!

Back to the squirrels. Has it paid off to build a mobile website on squirrel removal? Today, we looked at the site statistics. Over 200 unique visitors in the last three months. That is roughly the same number as it was a year ago. Keep in mind, that these 200 or so customers are all NEW business, and not the same 200 as a year ago. Is that a big number? No, not really. A traditional small business website that is established and properly marketed and search engine optimized is usually getting 3 to 5 times as much traffic. But, let’s look closer at those numbers. 200 visitors in 3 months is about 66 visitors a month. If only 5% of those viewers become clients, that is 3 clients a month. In the squirrel removal business, 3 clients in a month might account for $600 in business. Or even $600 in ‘gross’ profits. That’s $7200 in a year. That means that last year’s investment in the site already paid for the site.

But wait, this space is growing fast! Apple just reported that they sold 32.1 million iPhones last quarter. I’ve had an iPhone for a few years now, and one of the best things about it is that it’s great for surfing the web. In other words, a mobile website that is generating $7200 this year might very well be generating $10,000 in business next year. You had better believe, that is a good return on investment.

And that’s why we wanted to talk about Smartphones and Squirrels.

Why mobile marketing?
•    Your business could benefit from an attractive easy to navigate mobilized version of your website.
•    Countywebsite.com has a development platform that is compatible with all mobile devices including iPads, notebooks, tablets and all brands of smart phones.

CountyWebsite.com got started early in the mobile website space, about six years ago. We’ve built many mobile sites for local businesses. And we’re ready to assist you today with your mobile website.

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The Tortoise AND The Hare?

Tortise and hareIn your business advertising, things are usually broken down into two choices, the Tortoise or the Hare.

The Tortoise uses the old reliable methods, and he gets fast results. Even the Tortoise has stopped using the yellow pages, but still he puts a lot of effort into web sites, despite those who claim social media is the way to go. He also sees great results from coupon programs and lead generation forms.

 

  • Tortoise COUPON tip – Online coupons usually work very well. We usually build a webpage that has four coupons on it. The reason online coupons work so well is they get ‘found’ when a potential customer has intent. Meaning, they find your coupons when they are looking for that type of thing. If you use an old fashioned coupon mailing service, people receive those envelopes in the mail when they are probably not looking for those services.
  • Tortoise LEAD tip – Lead generation forms. All that means is that we put a fill-out-the-blanks form on your website, instead of just having an email link. It gets more customers then an email link. Why? Well, the Tortoise doesn’t exactly know why, he just knows that it works WE know the reasons. Customers don’t want to have to take extra steps to give you their information. Opening their e-mail, copying your address, then sending you a message that they have to create is a lot to give you that information. Make the steps less. If a form is there, they are more likely to use it.

The Tortoise route to advertising and marketing is old fashioned, but it gets results!

The Hare uses only the new methods, and he is only just starting to see results. Using Facebook is partially an investment in the future. We all know of a business who had a website before any of the competition did, and today that business has built up years and years of web traffic and results. Well, this is YOUR chance to get in on something early. You can be on the cutting edge this time.

  •  Hare FACEBOOK tip – When you first have a business Facebook page, you are assigned a ‘number address’. So if you want to suggest that a prospective client or a friend take a look at your Facebook page, your url will include a long string of numbers (for example, facebook.com/pages/leos-vacation-center/7189001245692). But, once 25 people ‘like’ your Facebook page, you can request a real name, or short name. It’s like a domain name, instead of a number. That’s why you see really good Facebook names like … facebook.com/RVdealership … So the Hare suggests that you get started on this now, so you can get a nice, short name before the ones you want are all gone.
  • Hare MOBILE tip – Mobile websites are booming! Are they being used? Next time you go to the movie theater, look around the theater before the movie starts, during the previews and popcorn ads. Especially while they are showing that Coke ad in which leaves and branches growing up from under the young girls seat. Last time I saw a movie, it was amazing how many people in the theater were staring at their smart phone screens. And they weren’t all texting their mom! Right now there are still really good mobile domain names available. Act fast.

As in most things, the right choice is likely to be some of column A and some of column B. Rarely are things one-sided, especially when it comes to business and marketing. CountyWebsite offers the Tortoise AND the Hare services! Contact us and we will help you get started. We can help you get started on the route of whatever you are missing. You can go the route of the tortoise or the hare, or choose some of each.

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Change is Hard

change_aheadChange is hard. We all know that things don’t stay the same, but we still fight change. It doesn’t matter if change is for the better, or if it’s to solve a problem or improve a system. We resist change. That’s why those New Year’s resolutions usually don’t stick past the end of January, if you even get that far!

Why do some people embrace change better than others? Perspective.
Why do some people resist more than others? Fear of the unknown.
Failure is always a possibility.

Success is scary, too. Then you are faced with the question of “what’s next?” Planning in large ideas, and incremental steps towards those goals, makes the big picture easier to handle. Including people that will be affected by the change in the conversation is also highly suggested. They won’t feel like it’s arbitrary and unsettling if they have had input into the change and the process. Even if they disagree with you, having a chance to voice their views is sometimes all that is really needed to smooth out the path for change to happen.

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