Is Your Only Online Marketing Strategy the Right One?

March 18th, 2015

orange county online marketing strategiesSEO used to be the only thing flying in Internet Marketing.

Find tons more traffic through search engine ranking and you’ll get tons more sales.

Google’s Penguin update in April 2012, and several important subsequent updates to the way that Google ranks and displays search results put a huge damper on all that SEO hysteria. It wasn’t an Earthquake that was immediately apparent, but the devastation to SEO practices has been near total.

Amateur SEO buffs have still not recovered and probably some half of all the people working in SEO still do not quite know what a post-Penguin SEO strategy should look like.

For folks whose only strategy was optimizing with ample keywords and keywords in just the right places, SEO may very well be dead. It simply stopped working. But… Read the rest of this entry »


What Is Search Engine Optimization / SEO?

March 11th, 2015

Here’s a great, simple explanation of SEO 101 from the folks over at SearchEngineLand.


Schema Markup for Orange County Restaurant Websites: What You Should Know

February 17th, 2015

Orange County Restaurant Website SEOThe restaurant website is a continually evolving animal.

Getting it to do what you want is a lot easier said than done. In most cases, restaurant websites act only as brochures and so getting people to click through still requires classic SEO techniques rather than flashy website antics and bells and whistles. That means, it’s got to show up in the results, and then it’s got to inspire a click.

Schema Markup is first and foremost being used simply to make your website stand out on the Google search results page. It’s unfair, but it really is that simple. That’s not to say that you should consider Schema Markup only as a way of adding some lights around your search results listing, but you could think of it that way. And for most restaurateurs. designed a way to label some of your site’s HTML content so that search engines – like Google, Yahoo and Bing – can better read the content and know exactly what it refers to. When they’ve done that, then they can re-present some of it to searchers on that search results page. Take a look here at exactly what thinks restaurants should be indicating.

You won’t be immediately loading up your entire website with every possible Schema code, but because Schema is relatively new (or at least, because it’s only slowly being adopted), it’s a fast way to bump your click-throughs from search engines. In part, that’s because few of your competitors are going to be yet using it. Let’s get going. Read the rest of this entry »


Growing Organic Search Traffic In 2015: 5 Essentials

January 20th, 2015

orange county seo2014 was a year of great reckoning for Organic Search Traffic and in a lot of other areas, too. SEO is not dead and it’s not going away. It’s also probably not getting a lot easier. Some might argue, though, that it’s a little bit more fun.

For people searching for things on the internet, Google arguably got their backs, and for that, the internet itself is a lot more fun. Were it not for a lot of the changes that Google has made, the Internet would undoubtedly have collapsed under the weight of so many hot air filled SEO consultants convinced that what they’re doing (sometimes on behalf of their clients and sometimes not) is not spam. Technically, maybe it’s not spam, but just about every SEO way of tricking Google has gone under the bus, and the bus keeps rolling on.

If you’re running, or continuing your website in 2015, here’s the most important SEO points you should know for keeping and growing that essential Organic Search Traffic. Read the rest of this entry »


Optimizing for Image Search: 3 Tips to Get You Going

December 15th, 2014

orange county seoAny SEO project can take a little sweat and quite a lot of know-how. Images are one of the easier things to tackle, and the surprise is that they’re often one of the things that get overlooked.

Whatever images you’re currently showing on your website, you can probably tweak them just a little bit and get a big return on the effort. All major search engines scan the Internet to now what’s out there, and to deal with images they actually rely far more on the graphic data itself. There are just a few text fields, then, that are of key importance to making sure that Search Engines scan and understand your photos accurately. Read the rest of this entry »


SEO vs. Social: Which Matters More For Your Business?

December 1st, 2014

orange county seoIn its infancy, SEO was primarily something for specialists and experts. Social Media was only for kids. Between the two there was essentially no interaction; and nobody cared.

Today, any business looking for even minimal success on the Internet needs to invest at least some time and effort into BOTH SEO and Social. There is still an argument about how much of either you may need, but it’s absolutely NOT a question of one vs. the other. No matter what your business model, B2B or B2C, it’s in your best business interest to understand both fields as two sides of the same coin.  Here are the four important reasons why:    Read the rest of this entry »


5 Ways to Get More Out of Yelp (and More Positive Reviews, too!)

October 22nd, 2014

orange county social media agencyNo one’s feeling the bite of Yelp’s review filters more than Yelp themselves.

Slated to be the “TripAdvisor for everything else,” Yelp’s heavy-handed, review-crushing filter has lots of small business owners looking elsewhere for listings and reviews. Any positive reviews faked by friends and family are gone, but then, plenty of real reviews – good and bad – are gone, too.

In short, you can’t really automate review editing with a filter. TripAdvisor relies on travel fanatics to prove themselves via multiple reviews. But TripAdvisor will also human-edit where a negative review sounds too fanatical, or a positive review too friendly. But not every broad sector of the market can rely on such a public to correct them. Read the rest of this entry »


The Orange County Social Media Marketing Quick Start Guide for Small Businesses

September 24th, 2014

Almost nothing in Social Media Marketing is fast. Though at some point in the future you will see fast results, the lead up to that moment can seem like it’s slow going.

Don’t let that stop you.

We’ve spoken to small business owners with hundreds of friends on Facebook and yet no idea how to use Social Media for Marketing. This is the fastest, most effective way we could come up with, for getting started, and for getting something out of it. It shouldn’t take more time than regular, offline marketing and other than the person or persons you’re paying to manage it, it shouldn’t take more money either. Read the rest of this entry »


Google Analytics, Part 2: The 5 Key Metrics

August 18th, 2014

Data is a hot issue. There’s no question.

But that doesn’t mean you need a master’s degree in statistical analysis to keep up. Most small business owners concentrate on their core business first – and learning a lot of fancy data modeling techniques is nowhere near what they’re going to think about today. But that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore it.

Whether you’re running a website as part of your core strategy, or just as an online complement to your offline efforts, then this article is for you. In just five minutes you should be able to better see how your internet visitor are finding your site, how they’re interacting with it and you should be able to make significant improvements in the results you realize.

Once you’ve got your Google Analytics tracking code installed, here’s what you should be watching for.

1) New vs. Returning Visitors

This will give you an immediate good idea just how many people your website is attracting every day. They’ll come from all over the Internet. You’ll find them under the Audience/Overview section. While you’ll probably always have a majority of new visitors, it’s the returning visitors who’ve taken an interest. This metric will always tell you how well you’re doing. Returning visitors should start to increase whenever you’re making significant improvements to the site.

2) Pageviews

Pageviews is the default report under Behavior/Overview. It will give you an immediate idea how many pages your average viewer is seeing. Again, you want this number to go up, because you’ll get more engagement, and possibly more business, when your visitors stay and read more pages.

3) Bounce Rate

Corresponding negatively to Pageviews, is your Bounce Rate. This one is important because it reflects the number of people who do not view more than the one page where they originally land (their Landing Page). You always want this number to go down, and Google recommends really concentrating on bringing this number down as one of the basic goals of all of your SEO activities. You do that by encouraging visitors to visit other pages on your site.

Not always easy, Bounce Rate is the focus of lots of people in the industry from UX pros to designers to programmers.  You’ll find the Bounce Rate as a column in the report under Behavior/Site Content/All Pages.

4) All Pages

In the same place as above, (Behavior/Site Content/All Pages), you’ll see that the main point of the report is a ranking of the popularity of all of your assembled content. For most businesses, the website homepage is nearly always at the top of the list. It’s where most of your incoming links will direct people and simply the first page most visitors will see.

But don’t get too caught up. All of the statistics across the report are interesting, “Average Time on Page,” for example. But the default view of the report is a ranking of the popularity of all the pages according to the number of visits any of them receive. Be careful because your newer pages will be automatically ranking further down the list. You may very well learn a lot from those pages as they begin to move up the list.

5) Acquisition

Lots of SEO people, even the tough ones, are still crying about the loss of all of Google’s Organic Keywords. In the worlds of Analytics and SEO, it was like losing your right hand.

Keep in mind, the Google Analytics world we’re talking about here, is all concerned with the very factors that the latest Google algorithm changes are looking at. So it’s not just keywords anymore. On the contrary, a high Bounce-Rate page, even with just the right keywords, will not rank as high in search results. Google is watching these numbers too.

The new-ish Acquisition section, though lacking those once insightful keywords, is still a rich place to learn about how people are finding you. The Channels report will become more important as your site develops – but gives you an instant breakdown of traffic coming in from Referrals, Organic Search, Direct traffic, Social traffic and from a paid campaign if you are buying any ads. That’s just for starters.

As your site matures, all of your referral traffic will become more important – and hopefully – more prolific too.  You can take a closer look at specific referral traffic (as well as the other traffic types mentioned above) elsewhere in the Acquisition section. The All Referrals report then is another key metric you want to check. Very useful if you’re getting radically different traffic, you especially want to check here if people are visiting your site for very different reasons. You may want to consider creating, or encouraging them to land on different pages or to custom build more pages for each “visitor intent” as you come to understand each of them.

Of course, the five key metrics above are just the beginning. As you learn more about what people are doing on your site, you can learn how to better craft your site so as to better meet the needs of your visitors. That, after all, is Google’s intent in providing you with such a powerful tool.


Google Analytics: Why it’s the Best and What You Should Do with It! – Part 1

July 28th, 2014

orange county seo and analyticsSmall business owners, whether in Orange County, or pretty much anywhere, need Google Analytics now more than ever before.

Like any powerful tool, it’s as complicated as it needs to be, but don’t let that stop you from jumping in. The information you’ll start gathering in Google Analytics is invaluable – even if you don’t understand it all at first. There’s a lot to understand, but there are also lots of whole communities of people happy to help you out.

The standard reports that come with any Google Analytics account are a good place to start even if you aren’t exactly sure what to do with all of that hard, cold data. Eventually you’ll use it to fashion, record and later modify your Internet presence. Even if yours is already a successful and totally “bricks-and-mortar” business, everything you do online, is going to be icing on the cake.  Just have your account set up and verified and you can log in and start learning.

What Questions Am I Answering?

Google Analytics, perhaps any analytics, sounds like a pile of statistics. For lots of hands-on business owners, it can be like a trip back to business school. But it wants to be user-friendly, even if it isn’t always.

For the truly Analytics obsessive, the pleasure of Analytics comes from knowing what questions you can answer and from seeing them getting answered – almost in real time. Any analytics reports you’re looking at are going to be delayed by at most a few hours.  Though it’s easy to look at monthly summaries, you don’t need to wait for the end of each month. It’s always up-to-date.

The most important questions we want to start looking at are these:

  1. “How are people finding my site?”
  2. “How long are they staying?”
  3. “Which pages are attracting the most visitors?”
  4. And “What else can I learn about my audience?”

Now, those are the fairly easy questions to start getting answered, but they represent really just the bare minimum of what you can start to learn.

Why are Analytics so Important?

Who is visiting? For how long? And what are they doing on my site.

Running a simple five page website in the hopes that people will find it, read it and come in to your shop is just not how it works.

Business owners often want to know why and they start to look at how that website might work a bit better. Google Analytics remains the single greatest tool to getting you going in the right direction.

If you’re running a bricks and mortar business, you need to know where your visitors are coming from. Are they mostly from Ohio? If that’s the case, you need to modify your online content with your Southern California location. How many of them are coming to you from a mobile device or tablet? Is your website easily navigable for those mobile visitors? All these questions are vital to the success of your website – and ultimately, its effect on your bottom-line.

Nine times out of ten, people approach a company like ours and want – simply – more traffic.

But the way that SEO has evolved, the only way to get more traffic is to get more out of the traffic you already have. That means doing more with it, and satisfying more of the searches that people are ultimately making. On today’s internet, it’s a pretty severe misunderstanding to think that you need one million hits to break even with your 1% conversions.

On the other hand, Google Analytics is how Google partners with you to better understand why people visit your site and what they’re seeking. Satisfy them, and Google will be satisfied too. And then they’ll start sending more traffic.

Most newbies are going to spend the bulk of their time on reports like All Traffic, and All Referrals. Both are under the “Acquisition” heading. They’re easy to understand and they give you a good idea how people are finding you.

Pageviews & Bounce Rate

Lastly for this brief introduction, we want to at least glance at your Bounce Rate and the Pageviews your site is receiving. Both of these metrics are listed under Behavior/Site Content/All Pages. But we want to mention all of this here under the heading of “Doing more with the traffic that you’re already getting.” Google takes very seriously the number of the number of pages any given visitor will read. If they just land on the first page and then leave, that’s a Bounce.

In short, you want the Pageviews to go up and the Bounce Rate to go down.

Pageviews are a count of how many times each page was loaded. So you can see the popularity of every page on your site and hopefully build more similar and equally attractive pages. If a page’s Bounce Rate is too high, you need to change it. It simply means that people are landing on it, but without finding what they’re after, they’re leaving. Often this indicates that you should add simpler, clearer language, or a more concise and obvious call to action (or two). And Google will reward you – with more traffic!

Once you master these beginner’s steps, we can almost guarantee you’ll actually want to dig in a little further. We’ll cover that in part two of this brief series.

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