Why you need both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools

Google offers website owners two tools to help analyze their websites. You need both. Google Analytics This is the most popular analytics site. You set it up using your Google account and it gives you a lot of useful information, such as number of visitors, what pages they looked at, how long they stayed, and much more. The one area it no longer gives information on is search terms people used to find your site. In 2013, Google finished implementation of a new search method that is more secure, but results in Google Analytics reporting almost all search terms as “(not specified)”. This is not helpful, but it is necessary to have the added security of the new method. Google Webmaster Tools Google webmaster tools gives more technically oriented information. It reports any errors Google has found with your site, which you should fix in order to rank better. It is now the only Google tool that will report what search terms were used to find your site. It shows how many times your site appeared in the listings when that term was searched, where you ranked, and the proportion of searches that resulted in a click to your site. When you are setting up Google Analytics, use the option to also set up Google webmaster tools. Links: Google Analytics Google Webmaster...

Why hiring an SEO or search ranking consultant is a waste of money

Like most small business owners, I am regularly sent emails by individuals or firms that claim that my website ranks poorly and they are the ones who can help me rank highly in search engines. You may have wondered if spending money to hire one of these firms is worth it. Definitely not. It will be like throwing your money away, and may end up hurting your business significantly in the long run. Here’s why. There is no way to guarantee rankings When one of these firms claims that they guarantee to get you to the #1 position, they are flat out lying. They do not know the ranking formula Google, Bing, or Yahoo uses. And since these formulas change regularly, there is no way they can guarantee the results. The top spot for irrelevant words is harmful They may get you to the top for certain phrases, but if those aren’t the phrases your ideal clients are using to search for you, what good is that. It may actually be more harmful because you will now have inquiries from unqualified prospects who waste your time. The only phrases that matter are those your ideal clients are actually using. Tricks will get you banned The way that almost every one of these consultants gets you well ranked is to try to trick the search engines. They employ many different methods, but all of them are harmful to your business in the long run. The search engines figure out these tricks pretty quickly and change their search algorithms regularly to combat this sort of activity. When that happens, your site...

Considerations when selecting a web developer

If you talk with small business owners, it is easy to find someone who has a horror story to tell about a web development project gone wrong. Are there good developers out there? Yes. Here are some questions to ask or aspects to consider when evaluating web developers: Will they develop the site that you have planned, or do they force you in to a model they use? Make sure they understand the role your site will play in marketing your practice. Share with them your ideal client and the problems you solve. If they don’t understand marketing, this may be a challenge. Do they understand solo practices and small practices? It doesn’t have to be in your industry necessarily. Ask to see examples of their work. Would you hire that person/firm? Make sure you understand what they are saying. Do they speak the language of business or do they speak techno-geek that is like a foreign language? Do you have control of the site? Can you easily make changes without any complicated software? Do you own the website address? Do you control the hosting account? Will the site use standard technology that gives you maximum flexibility for the future? Do they understand how to have a site rank well in the search engines? Can they explain what needs to be done in order to raise your site’s rankings? Will they implement the search engine ranking elements that you have created for each key page? Will you get a site launched in a couple of months (or sooner) so you can make changes as your business changes? Be wary...

Five types of articles any expert can write to create content for their website

Regularly adding well written content to your website is the single action you can take that will have the greatest positive impact on the ranking and effectiveness of your website. When I say this to small business owners, I usually get a response that they don’t know what to write. Here are five types of articles any expert can write that will be of interest to their target market and improve the results from their website. List This type of article is a simple list that will help your ideal client. It could be the tips to address an issue, mistakes people make in some area, resources you have found on the web to address a topic, or any other list of items that makes sense. It doesn’t need to be long. Start with a list of five items and work your way up to ten if you want to. You aren’t going into detail on each item, but giving a starting point for your reader. (Notice that this article is a list type of article) If you want, you can then write a more in-depth article about each item on the list if it makes sense to do so (giving you even more articles). Solution to a Problem This type of article shows the reader how to solve a problem. It has a definite structure and has the details they need to successfully solve the issue at hand. These types of articles are often shared with others because if it helps one person, there are likely a lot of others also searching for a solution to that problem....

Copyblogger’s decision to stop blog comments

Recently copyblogger.com, a big player in the online marketing world, announced that they would be stopping all comments on their blog going forward and moving all discussions to online platforms such as Google+ (see article here). As expected, there are those who are upset by this and those who support it. I have never allowed blog comments on my main business site, since I did not want to deal with the spam comments that come fast and furious when you allow commenting. And this is the key reason that copyblogger is stopping the comments on their blog. The manual review of comments that made it through the filters they have in place was just too much work. They said that only 4% of their comments were actually legit. My experience suggests that 4% is high – almost every comment I saw on my blogger.com site was spam. Some commenters have said that it will be a pain to read the post on the copyblogger site, then go to their Google+ page to add a comment. They think it will lead to less comments because it is more difficult. They also would like to see any comments below the article, since other people’s perspectives are valuable when considering what the article said. This decision and discussion got me thinking. Isn’t there a way to add Google+ comments at the bottom of an article so that you get the best of both worlds? You get easier commenting because the comments can be added right from your website, you get the search ranking benefit of having discussions on Google+, and you get...