Our Zang Plugin is receiving great reviews! See the latest review for Zang here.Read More
How many SEO companies are out there? In Utah I’m convinced of millions, most residing in Happy Valley. So what does this mean? In an unregulated industry sometimes it can be months before you figure out that the group you’ve been working with doesn’t know what they are doing. Here are a few tips or discussion topics you can use to either engage the next group or do it yourself.
- Keyword Identification: The way people shop has changed, now more than ever people are getting online to find products and services. Online search takes two forms; search (looking for a product) and research (due-diligence). Understanding consumer behavior is essential and plays hand-in-hand with keyword selection. Keep in mind you want to focus on terms that people are actually searching for. This tool will help you in selecting these important keyword terms:
2. Keyword List: Generating a list of keywords can be taxing and Google’s Keyword Tool can be of assistance but keep these suggestions in mind.
- List Product Brands/Service Names, Take a Sample of Clients and Ask What They Search, Check Competitor Sites, Use Geographic Variations (Salt Lake Advertising Companies, Utah Advertising) Use Specific Variations (Radio Advertising Agency, TV Advertising Agency) Use the Keyword Tool to Suggest Similar Terms.
Final Thoughts on Keywords – Focus on using these terms in the content of your website, the best place to practice this is in a blog. If your website doesn’t have one, get one! We recommend using WordPress as your all-in-one blogging/website solution. Make sure that the keywords selected are relevant to the page they are located on the website. This will also help when doing an AdWord Campaign.
Many people try to make on-page optimization more complicated than it really should be. On-page optimization creates relevance while building inbound links establishes authority. Off-page optimization packs more for the SEO punch but let’s not overlook two critical things:
- Keyword Selection for Each Page
- Make it Clear That Your Content is Relevant to Those Keywords
Gone are the days of keyword stuffing in your: URL, Page Title, Meta Description Tag, H1 Heading. Rather than using the same keyword phrase over and over again make sure you use a diverse set of related keywords. Always have some sort of analytics setup to monitor what you are being found for. This data can help you manage what’s working or give you alternate ideas on where to place emphasis. Always implement these strategies when writing your blog!
Content is King and Links are Queen, right? While that phrase can inspire vigorous debate links are an intricate part of SEO. Google uses links as a significant ranking factor. A link is viewed as a popularity ‘vote’ for a website. The greater the number of votes, the more likely your site is considered to be a topic authority.
Facts about links:
- You get more ‘link juice’ from sites with a higher page rank, establishing greater authority.
- Relevancy doesn’t matter! If your website has links from high page raking sites greater than that of your competition, you will rank well.
A question you should ask any agency is how they perform link building and demand to see where those links have been built. Yahoo! Site Explorer provides a free tool that lists up to 1,000 of the links to a site. See where you are currently and keep track of where you are being placed. Link building is very strategic taking time and creativity. Do they only submit your information to directories or do they create link bait? Do they guest blog in your behalf or put you on auto pilot and charge you for nothing? One of the most important things an agency can do for you is create meaningful content that other people will want to share and talk about. Do they know your business well enough to play this important role? Another accountability tool that can be used is provided by Hubspot called the Marketing Grader you can view a detailed report and link count as well. Accountability is crucial, you want to see constant progress while improving sales and conversion.
Content is a necessity for SEO search success. Feed the beast! Make sure you have a way to create content and distribute that content on a daily basis. Being in the industry it becomes very hard to generate the type of success a client wants without control of their website. Making sure you have an active blog is the easiest way to push out content. It then becomes important to broadcast that content over a verity of different channels. Having feeds that instantly push blog content to Facebook and Twitter are also crucial. Participation in social media does have SEO benefit especially when it comes to reputation management. Ask, ask, ask, make sure you are 100% comfortable with the group you are working with!
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is an open source online publication tool created in the early 2000′s. In the past, WordPress has been used almost exclusively as a blogging platform. It allowed writers to publish their own content on the web, whether they knew how to read and write web programming code or not. In recent years, the developer community behind WordPress has grown exponentially and has create some truly unique features that allow users to create not only online blogs, but full websites. With these new features, WordPress can be, and is, used as a CMS (Content Management System). It allows you to create pages of content, not just posts and articles. You can specify a layout for each individual page within your site, and although blogs are very useful online, you no longer need one to run WordPress.
20 Reasons to Use WordPress
1. One of the biggest reasons to run WordPress on your site is to easily write, publish, and manage your content without the knowledge of code. The writing area of WordPress is very similar to any word processing program. For example, to bold a section of text you simply highlight the words and press the bold button. If you are more familiar with HTML, there is the option to switch back and forth from a HTML editor window and the Visual editor.
2. Because the WordPress software is installed on the web hosting server, you can log in to your site from any desktop, laptop, or tablet computer on earth as long as there is an internet connection. This allows you to manage your site without having to install any editing software on your computers. You can even make changes or publish new content while on vacation!
3. With a CMS structure to your site, you do not need to waste time editing files on your server to input content. All of your copy is actually stored within a database, and is much faster than static websites. Because WordPress takes over all of the heavy lifting, you can focus on your content and push it out to your audience immediately. Just like sending an email, posting copy, videos, audio clips, images, etc. is immediately available to your visitors.
4. WordPress utilizes the concept of templates. Once your site is created, the header/footer/sidebars/content areas will be consistent across your entire website. Images will display the same on every page, headers will always look like you wanted it to, and your user’s experience on the site will be completely consistent!
5. The publish capability within WordPress not only allows you to publish content immediately, but gives you the ability to schedule your articles for an hour, three days, two months, or even years from now! You can bust out an entire months worth of articles in one weekend and set them to publish at specific dates and times.
6. A user’s experience on your site can be controlled when you know who they are. Giving your visitors the ability to create their own accounts within your WordPress website can go a long way. You can allow guest bloggers to write articles for you, and allow only registered members to see your VIP sections. The WordPress membership functionalities would take months to build into other websites.
7. If you write new content, wouldn’t you like your friends and followers to know about it? You can post links to your site using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. without needing to log into each service every time. Set it to automatically post and tweet your links, and forget about it completely. Let the WordPress site do everything for you.
8. Although most of the content on your website will most likely be text, WordPress allows you to easily add images, video, audio, podcasts and more to your site. Media is a big part of WordPress, and you can even upload it from the browser. By selecting your images or video clips from a selection box, you let the website take over. It uploads the files to the server, puts it in a safe location, and embeds it into your posts or pages. It’s easier than 1-2-3!
9. Your content isn’t very useful if no one knows where it is. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of getting your website ranked well on popular search engines, and is easily automated through WordPress. The CMS generates meta descriptions, title tags, and rss feeds which act like basic sitemaps for blog posts. There are also many, many additional plugins that let you increase the SEO power of your website.
10. Sometimes, you don’t know what you want your website to be like in 6-months, or a year down the road. WordPress is flexible enough to throw up a single page now, and easily add as much or as little as you want later. This allows for easy growth potential.
11. As the single largest CMS out there, the developer community behind WordPress has the ability to continually look for improvements. With millions of websites running this software, the desire for hackers to find loopholes or backdoors increases. However, the creators of WordPress look for these security risks and fix them. There are regular upgrades that eliminate risks and add new features.
12. Comments are a big part of online communities. Luckily there is a very strong comment engine behind WordPress that allows visitors to respond to your content. It even helps you crack down on spam comments while increasing the two way communication with your visitors online.
13. Allowing visitors to comment on your content is one thing, but a bonus to this is seeing what people are saying and commenting on. You can identify the hot topics that your readers are interested in, and focus your attention on those trending areas.
14. One last high note about the comments area: the ability to filter what your readers can say. You don’t want some PETA activists starting a virtual riot on your pet store website, right? The ability to flag certain key words is helpful.
15. RDF Site Summaries help regular readers keep up to date on new content on your site. Luckily, WordPress automatically generates the XML files that visitors can add to their RSS readers.
16. Often times, there isn’t just one person working on your website. It would be a terrible idea to give all of those people the same login credentials, so WordPress allows multiple members. You can give some basic content writers an author status, and their managers could be set to editor. This grants people access to what they need but restricts the settings where they could cause harm.
17. With the growth of tablet computers, and mobile internet ready devices, not everyone will view your site on a desktop or laptop computer. WordPress has several solutions for mobile websites that are both quick and easy.
18. Possibly one of the most unique things about WordPress is the large repository of plugins. These scripts made by thousands of developers worldwide are available to install and modify the default behavior of your site. There are even some outstanding plugins that are available for a reasonable premium fee.
19. Equally unique is the library of themes that are available for the general layout of your site. From expert designers to industry experts, these site templates are completely customizable and quick to install.
20. From pages to posts, the content can be displayed a number of ways. The feature to specify a layout on individual pages is a must have for your sites.Read More
CALL TO ACTION MARKETING
Some aspects of marketing are intuitive, almost second nature. Human interaction is often built around some form of marketing. Whether you are trying to sell yourself to a potential spouse or you are trying to win a debate over who was better a better quarterback — John Elway or Tom Brady — it always comes back to marketing. How well can you influence, manipulate, or convince your audience to agree with what you are suggesting to them.
We all have one friend who is better at convincing than everyone else. Sometimes we say he has a “golden tongue.” Think Eddie Haskell from “Leave It To Beaver.” What makes those friends so good at winning arguments? Often it can be their “calls to action.” When the nerdy kid gets the gumption to walk straight up to the most popular girl in school and looks into her eyes and says, “If you go on a date with me, all you wildest dreams will come true,” that is an amazing call to action. If it works, and she says yes to the date, he will have his work cut out for him on the “fulfillment” side of things, but that is another conversation all together. Point is, he had a great “call to action.”
So, you have been running newspaper, radio, direct mail, and online ads for a couple of months but are not sure that your marketing is having any effect. Sound about right? Well, take a look at your call to action.
“So, if you need a new water heater call 1-800-555-5555!”
“Remember to get your water heater and furnace inspected yearly. We are having a winter special to make sure your heater and hot water don’t fail you this winter. If you call in the next 24 hours, you can get our full inspection package for our $99!”
In the bad example, we leave it up to the audience to determine when they need a new water heater. In the good example, we get them to let us inspect their water heater for them. If it is bad, now we have a way to show them they are ready for a new system. If not, at least we made $99 on the sales call. The “GOOD EXAMPLE” is a lot more appealing and effective.
Always, always, always remember to have a call to action in your marketing. If it isn’t getting phone calls, change it!
Call to action marketing. Do it.Read More
I’m not sure if this year-old New York Times article is most effective as a warning to online consumers to only shop with reputable merchants, or as masters course in organic SEO tactics. Don’t get me wrong – I would never condone or recommend such lowball SEO efforts merely to get more eyeballs on a website, but the weakness it exposes in Google’s algorithms is fascinating.
The dirty tactic in question is drumming up as much negative feedback, reviews, and internet buzz as possible in order to boost one’s Google ranking.
The evolution of online reputation management has been an interesting one. At first, just getting a client to appreciate the value of an online review was tough. But when they finally get onboard with the concept, the next big hurdle is convincing them that they don’t want each review to be canned, vague, and squeaky clean. Consumers who search reviews are a savvy lot, to their credit. A shimmering, boilerplate review is as big a red flag as an infuriatingly negative review, maybe worse. An online reputation that is lightly peppered with honest, not-so-positive reviews convinces the consumer of something that may be more important than anything else – that your company is transparent enough to involve your consumers in their branding. Plus, some sub-par reviews, in all their honesty, only serve to validate the veracity of the many positive reviews.
But is building a business model around generating negative reviews a smart play?
Despite the article being one year old, and Google’s recent efforts to become a bigger player in the world of online reviews, doing as the article suggests and Google searching “lafont designer eyeglasses” still brings up the website decormyeyes.com as the very first search result. It’s obviously still a valid SEO strategy, but in a world where online reputation is just as important as online presence, it remains to be seen how effective this tactic remains. After all, there are still plenty of online shoppers who don’t take the time to search out a company’s reputation before buying from them.
In the meantime, Google’s refusal to integrate third-party reviews into their review listings (and to be fair, other third-party review sites’ desire to stay off of Google’s Place Page radar) help keep the negative reviews and the positive reviews indistinguishable from an SEO standpoint. Will this unfortunate dynamic in online marketing create more vigil or more cynical consumers? Probably both. But it’d be nice to see some sort of Darwinian consequences put an end to companies like this by the newly evolved breed of more vigil, more cynical online consumers.Read More
It’s been a few weeks since the new release of WordPress 3.3, codenamed “Sonny” after Sonny Stitt. I, for one, have been ecstatic about the new user interface on both the desktop and iPad. For quite some time, the WP dev team has been debating switching to a fly out menu rather than the drop down that they implemented earlier this year in 3.2 Gershwin. Although a small change, it really does help speed up the users experience and the effect is just as impressive on the iPad. Another big hit with most users is the Google+ inspired drag-and-drop media uploader that Matt announced this years State of the Word, obviously this feature is not utilized in mobile browsers.
New users will have the benefit of the new welcome screen, the new pointer tips, and the revamped help tabs throughout the admin panel. All these new features will help explain the new functionality of WordPress, and hopeful educate new WordPress users.
Despite the holiday season, the WP Dev team is still working hard on what’s to come next. First thing on the list: new default theme. This year’s annual default theme will be in Matt Mullenweg’s hands for WP 3.4. From the developer meetup notes, it looks like the WordPress team is filling in the missing features from Twenty-Eleven. It will still have HTML5 compliant code, but will include a mobile version. They are also adding the ability to auto-default to a static front page. All previous themes pulled the recent posts for the first time, so I’ll be excited to see what the final design looks like.
I haven’t seen a possible beta release date yet, but my guess would be mid-Q1.Read More
Often we are asked about “best practices” in social media, starting with Facebook. Our goals are simple, teach our clients exactly what it takes to be successful. We do crazy amounts of research here at Punchline Advertising and stumble across valuable information all the time. This particular find will help you better understand how to engage your audience in daily interaction. It will also help you plan a strategy to turn “likes” into leads. Most times researching a few case studies will help unlock the creative process necessary to gather a loyal following. We credit the amazing folks at Hubspot for putting this Facebook guide together. I guess any group Google Ventures invests in is worth keeping an attentive eye on.
This PDF is packed with: Award Winning Small & Large Business Pages, Best Practices, Facebook Lingo, Design Resources, Content Planning Info, & How Facebook Advertising Works.
At Punchline we are proud to provide high level education to everyone, not just our clients. We pride ourselves in being Utah’s top Social Media experts. Enjoy the free guide! how-to-master-facebook-marketing-in-10 days
We here at Punchline Advertising had the awesome opportunity last week to attend WordCamp SLC 2011. What a great event! WordPress is truly the best CMS out there and it is growing like crazy. The amount of support and knowledge from the WordPress community is fantastic. Some of our favorite speakers were Joseph Scott, Thom Allen, and Mike Payne.Read More
There is something called “the contract” or “the agreement” in advertising. It is based around the assumption that advertising is boring and annoying and that in order to sit through a commercial, you need to be given something. Usually the “something” is entertainment. Commercials on radio and television are often funny. Youtube is populated with large caches of commercials that are hilarious. Watch yourselves though. Don’t let entertainment replace the sales proposition in your advertising or you won’t find that you sell much of anything.
Consider instead providing value instead of entertainment. Let your customers know how they can improve their lives by buying your product or listening to your commercial. Give them some information for free, with no strings attached, that will make them a little more successful in their business lives, a little more healthier, a little weathier, a little wiser. Do this, and you will have a more qualified, attentive audience.Read More
WordPress released data this week that reveals they are the chosen platform for 14.7% of the top one million websites. They are growing too. Currently 22 out of 100 of every new domain is run on WordPress. Why is this important? Well, trends tell us that a lot of the industry is going to start designing and coding with WordPress in mind. Job creation in the WordPress realm is steadily growing and more and more widgets, plugins, and software is being written with WP in mind.
If you have a couple of minutes, check out the latest State of the Word…Read More
Last Friday Burger King announced that they were switching ad agencies and pulling “The King” from their marketing. Their sales have been slumping for a long time and many (including myself) think that their current campaign has lots to do with it. I have been saying that the King has been hurting their brand for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, the King is hilarious. But he never made me want to go get a hamburger in the middle of the day. Usually he made me want to look at other videos on YouTube. Speaking of which, here is one of Burger Kings least effective commercials ever. Remember to ask yourself, “Does this make me want to buy food from Burger King?” …Read More