Tag Archives: Marketing Mistakes

Vol. 84: Avoid These 4 Marketing Budget Snafus

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Vol. 84: Avoid These 4 Marketing Budget Snafus - Eminent SEO

Marketing Budget Mishaps We’re All Guilty Of

Intro content While statistics can tell ad execs a lot about what’s working and what isn’t, the subjectivity of marketing often supersedes fact. It lives in the minds of creatives tasked with campaign ideology that must persuade prospects and existing customers to buy in and convert. Together, they partner with sales. But there’s a price in the typical disconnect.

Success stories in digital and traditional marketing spends are founded on some basic principles that often get lost in one-off trends.

Before you start identifying how your marketing budget will be spent for 2019, take a look at your performance this year. Use the following as a guideline. It might be painful. Nonetheless, it will serve as a powerful reminder of what’s important for strategy going forward.

4 Marketing Budget Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Forgetting Who You Are. Revisit the company mission and vision. Review your current position and how you stack up against competitors. Do your marketing initiatives define your product/service brand? If not, you’re marketing spend is off-target.
  • Clueless about Customers. When was the last time you did a survey or email campaign that focused on existing customers? Do your social media silos help identify and define who your business aligns with best? Who you want your customers to be may not equate to who they really are.
  • Knee-Jerk Reactionary Spends. Fear of missing the boat on being part of whatever is trending in marketing looks a lot like throwing money down the drain. One-off initiatives are more effective when they can be embedded into a larger, ongoing campaign. Cross-channel marketing works.
  • Buying Social Boosts. Consumers are savvier than ever before. If a social post has a lot of views but minimal engagement, you’re not fooling anyone. People want their info real and raw. Don’t waste a lot of your budget on boosts or paid ads, build your audience organically with substantive content and real time interaction.

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''An annual marketing budget is like winning the lottery. You have dollars at your disposal. Spend them well and the investment grows. Spend them wrong and you're back at zero.'' - Melanie Stern #marketingbudget2019

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From the Eminent Team

Our approach to content and marketing budgets is simple, straightforward and effective. Have a look at what we can do for you.

For more insights into the best ways to formulate marketing campaigns and how to distinguish wise budget spends, canvass these resources from our blog:

Examples Of Neuromarketing Marketing Strategy - Eminent SEO

Examples of Neuromarketing Done Well to Help Inspire Your Marketing Strategy

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Business Success Guide Rise And Shine - Eminent SEO

Business Success Guide: Rise and Shine with These Hacks

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Grow Your Cannabis Business with These Marketing Tips

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Cannabis Marketing Tips Dispensary Businesses - Eminent SEO
Marketing cannabis businesses is actually pretty nuanced. For example, you can’t just start a new Facebook account about your marijuana brand and say whatever you want about your products like any other business would. Nope. Facebook does not like that.

Cannabis marketing is still evolving with the changing industry, and there are things we can and can’t do. On top of that, the industry is young and many companies didn’t have to worry about strong branding and forward-thinking marketing because the demand was so high. But, with increasing demand always comes increasing competition.

Here are a few cannabis marketing tips to help businesses navigate the changing landscape of marketing and stand out from the competition:

Be Careful Your Marketing Messaging Doesn’t Target Minors

Cannabis is still in its early stages in terms of its legalization and acceptance in many ways. You must always keep age restrictions in mind and be careful about where you choose to advertise.

Marijuana businesses should make marketing messaging a top priority. Using a lot of jokes and incorporating cartoon mascots, like Joe Camel, will give the wrong image of your brand. It will also undermine the goal of the cannabis industry as a whole: to be taken seriously.

Make sure your social media AND your website both ask the user to confirm that they are 21 years or older in order to proceed. You might not be able to verify each follower yourself, but the disclaimer gives the platforms some assurances you are trying to do your part.

Don’t Try to Sell Your Cannabis Products on Social Media

The big social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, are being pretty particular when it comes to what you can and can’t say about cannabis on their platforms. Some cannabis business owners have reported being flagged, getting posts removed and their accounts taken down altogether. It seems like marijuana is all over social media, so why are some accounts getting shut down while others are not?

We turned to the Instagram Community Guidelines to see if we could find any answers. This seems to be the closest thing to an answer: “Offering sexual services, buying or selling firearms and illegal or prescription drugs (even if it’s legal in your region) is also not allowed.”

Okay, we get it. But, why then do some accounts seem to remain unrestricted for years while others are taken down over and over? With cannabis only recently becoming more legally available, it doesn’t surprise us that Facebook and Instagram are a bit paranoid about what they allow on their platforms. But, if cannabis is treated like other substances, this wouldn’t be such a common issue for dispensaries.

Just look at alcohol. Who is monitoring the Coors Light account to make sure the 82,000-plus followers are all over 21? No one. But, better believe they are promoting the sale of their product. It appears to be fine to share product pics and talk about the product as long as you don’t directly suggest that fans purchase it.

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a gray area for some. It’s hard to know what you can and can’t say. And who has time to read all of those guidelines, anyway?

Are You Recreational or a Medical Dispensary? Why? There’s a Big Difference.

If you are marketing yourself as a recreational cannabis business, then social networks should treat you like it treats tobacco and alcohol industries. Meaning, you should have to make specific warnings and then be allowed to market your product as you see fit.

However, if you are offering a medical product and making medical claims about cannabis, then it makes sense that they would view you as a pharmaceutical company, which has its own process for proving a product has medical benefits.

Decide What Type of Cannabis Business You Are

Recreational Or Medical What Type Of Cannabis Business Are You - Eminent SEOUnfortunately, if you want to play by the rules, you are going to have to decide. Are you going to market yourself as a recreational brand? Or, are you going to push the medical benefits?

If you are going to share health advice, be advised: Certain platforms will see this as a violation of their terms.

There are two main rules you should remember:

  1. If you are talking about medical benefits, don’t take a solid stance as a brand. Instead, refer to studies and other third-party information to support your comment, such as patient testimonials. For example, write, “Many patients claim CBD helps them with their arthritis,” instead of, “CBD is known to help with pain from arthritis.”
  2. If you are a dispensary, you cannot push your cannabis products. If you have some new products to sell, they don’t want you publishing a picture with a caption that says how and where you can buy the products. Yes, even if you are dispensary and require visitors to present a valid card before they can purchase anything. The social platforms don’t care. These types of posts will be removed, and your whole account may get banned or suspended.

Branding Your Cannabis Business Beyond Recreational vs. Medical

Of course, there is more to it than simply knowing whether your brand represents a recreational business or medical company. What does your brand stand for? Do you have a company mission statement? Why did you get into the cannabis business? What is your story? What is your long-term vision for your brand?

If you hope to stand out from the competition, you must first define what sets you apart. Ask yourself what makes you unique?

Start with a Mission Statement

Marketing Tips For Cannabis Dispensary Businesses - ESEOA well-crafted mission statement aligns the company officers and employees with the same goals and objectives. The mission statement can act as the framework for decision making and provide a clear path to change if the company gets off track.

Without a mission statement, a company can easily lose track of its values, stability and specific goals.

Here at Eminent SEO, we have our own Mission Statement clearly stated on our website:

“Eminent SEO seeks to create and promote beautiful brand collateral, expertly optimized websites and well-crafted marketing messages as a means to push the boundaries of internet marketing, and to help companies, corporations and government agencies be more successful.

“It’s our mission to deliver ethical, high-quality services while simultaneously working on creating meaningful relationships with our clients, partners, each other and those in the community around us.”

If you want to get to work on your own mission statement, here are some things to consider: Mission Statement vs. Vision vs. Company Culture

Examples of Cannabis Business Mission Statements

TheCannabisIndustry.org:

To promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

“The National Cannabis Industry Association was founded on the principle of power in numbers. The thousands of American businesses involved in the state-legal cannabis industries represent a tremendous economic force in this country. As the industry’s national trade association, NCIA works every day to ensure our growing business sector is represented in a professional and coordinated way on the national stage.”

EarthMed.com:

“EarthMed prides itself on providing the highest quality compassionate care to patients who truly need it. We understand that for many, pain is a daily part of life and that nobody should have to live in pain when there are treatments available. Medical Cannabis has many medical benefits that ease the pain that traditional medicine cannot offer. EarthMed’s focus is to provide a safe and legal venue for patients to receive treatment using Medical Cannabis.

“Another ideal EarthMed strives for is community outreach and education regarding Medical Cannabis. These include educating the community with regards to the benefits of Medical Cannabis and how to legally obtain it.”

KindMedsAZ.com:

“Kind Meds is a medical marijuana dispensary that is focused on cultivating top-quality medical cannabis flower and similar products to help patients overcome illness, pain, and to live happier.

“Our company is passionate about supplying grade A cannabis flower as well as being a reliable resource to help educate individuals about quality cannabis medicine, because we feel that it can help change people’s lives for the better.”

Define Your Buyer Types

Before you can market to new prospects, you must define who they are. If you have a luxury cannabis brand, for example, your buyer might have a higher income, certain profession and live in a specific geographical location. You also need to consider age, gender and interests.

Buyer Personas for Cannabis Businesses

Depending on your specific brand and goals, you may have one, two or several buyer persona types. If you are just getting started, don’t overdo it.

Define your top two to three revenue-generating buyers and build your strategies around them to start. Consider:

  • Medical patients
  • Cannabis advocates/fans
  • Professionals
  • Advertising partners

Let’s say you are a medical cannabis dispensary that offers top-shelf products in Mesa, Arizona. You may ask yourself:

Who is my desired customer? What motivates them? What do they need to make a decision?

Define:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Favorite websites
  • Shopping preferences
  • Typical buying concerns
  • How they found you

Once you have your buyer personas identified, you can create better marketing strategies for each one. If you know your buyer hangs out on Instagram and watches YouTube videos but never goes on LinkedIn, then you know where to focus your marketing dollars and effort.

Cannabis Business Logos

We always tell our clients to think about how their logo will look on T-shirts, hats, mugs, letterhead, business cards – all kinds of swag and print. Your branding should be cool enough to wear on a hoodie, and professional enough to use on the website and marketing collateral.

James L. Bowie, a sociologist at Northern Arizona University who analyzes patterns and trends in logo design, wrote in Slate’s design blog “The Eye” in 2016:

“Analysis of United States Patent and Trademark Office records shows that 44 percent of logos registered as trademarks for marijuana-related businesses feature the familiar cannabis leaf.”

Too many cannabis brand logos and websites look the same. If your competitors are all using the same colors, fonts and symbols, maybe – actually, definitely – you should do something different. How else will you stand out among the endless sea of green marijuana leaves?

Marijuana Cannabis Dispensary Logos All The Same - ESEO
Where’s the creativity, people?

Cannabis Digital Marketing

Branding is just the beginning. Next, it’s tagline, messaging, website and marketing strategy. In today’s marketplace, people are consuming more digital content and less traditional media.

You might still rely on some forms of direct marketing, such as billboards, radio spots and print. However, if you expect to be successful long term as a brand, you’ve got to incorporate digital.

Our outline for a successful cannabis digital multi-channel marketing plan includes:

  • Quality Website
  • Expert SEO
  • Well-Researched, Relevant Content
  • An Engaging Website Blog
  • Google My Business and Other Local Listings
  • Organic Search Marketing
  • Social Media, such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Email Marketing
  • Text Messaging Marketing
  • Video Creation and Promotion
  • Branded Asset Development
  • Banner and Ad Network Campaigns
  • Influencer and Brand Partnerships
  • Event Sponsorships (with Online Event Promotions)
  • Reputation Monitoring and Management

We then track all marketing channels and evaluate the data each month to determine what the strategy will focus on in the following month.

The cannabis industry is evolving at a fast pace. If you want to be part of the future of cannabis, you might want to consider upping your branding and marketing game.

The Public Demands Quality Cannabis Content

Matei Olaru, CEO of Lift, a cannabis media and technology company in Canada, said that putting the right data, instruction or knowledge in front of consumers, sellers and medical professionals is a need that cannabis entrepreneurs can fill.

“Decades of misinformation has been perpetuated by prohibition,” Matei said. “As the number of legal cannabis consumers increases exponentially, so will the opportunities for information and media companies (in print, video or on the web).”

Before Applying These Cannabis Marketing Tips, Share Your Story!

Have you found success with a specific marketing strategy for your cannabis business? What about an epic fail or a big lesson learned?

Share your cannabis branding, marketing or business strategies in the comments and help budding entrepreneurs grow their businesses (pun intended).

Together, we can create and share cannabis content that matters. Learn more here: Professional Cannabis Branding and Marketing Services or call to speak with a pro: 800.871.4130.

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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The Importance of a Website SEO and Brand Audit

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Website SEO And Brand Audit - Eminent SEO
Not auditing a website before determining the scope of work for a large SEO project is like going fishing with no bait. You’ll only get bites from the small fish that don’t really know SEO. An experienced SEO agency will not take on a large SEO project without auditing it first.

Oh, your website isn’t working? Can’t afford a website SEO and brand audit? There’s your problem right there. You don’t have a budget to do real marketing. Might as well not even finish reading this post then if you’re “one of those.”

What’s Does a Website SEO and Brand Audit Include?

I think it’s hilarious when business owners call and tell me their website traffic is tanking and when I offer a paid website audit, they tell me they don’t need it. Huh?!

Every website needs an audit, even if there is SEO actively being done. A full website SEO audit would include reviewing the following:

  • Your brand and how those keywords appear on Google search
  • How well search engines can access the website
  • Which keywords the website is currently ranking for
  • The design and user experience quality
  • How fast the website loads on all devices
  • How the website scales content to fit on all devices
  • The online brand reputation
  • Social media exposure and messaging
  • Website content quality
  • Quality and quantity of backlinks
  • How many internal links are broken
  • Duplicate content issues
  • Link penalty issues
  • Competition and their organic exposure

A comprehensive website SEO and brand audit should be performed by an SEO expert – someone who knows what to look for. Tools can help identify issues, but it still requires a professional to dissect the data and tell you what’s really wrong with your website. It also requires an expert to develop an effective SEO strategy that will fix all the issues found in the audit.

Seems like common sense right? That’s because IT IS.

You should perform an audit on your website on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. This doesn’t mean tracking the website in a tool and waiting for the tool to tell you what’s wrong. I mean a real website SEO audit where someone manually reviews all of the action items mentioned above.

Why You Need an Audit Right Now

Benjamin Franklin Investment In Knowledge Interest Quote - Eminent SEOBusinesses often come to us with broken websites. The business owner doesn’t really know why their website is broken because they’ve been paying for “SEO” for several years. The truth is, their business probably wasn’t really investing into a real SEO campaign. There are a lot of companies out there that do spammy SEO techniques and get away with it because business owners aren’t aware of the shadiness.

Businesses that are caught up in the old SEO techniques, or that haven’t had their website analyzed in a while, need an audit right now to get out of the slump they’re in. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we will need to do a major cleanup of the past SEO to make the site compliant with Google’s quality guidelines.

Another reason you need an audit right now is because your website probably sucks. I’m not saying that in a bad way; it’s just true. There aren’t a lot of website developers that understand the complexities of SEO. Therefore, they won’t have the ability to build you a fully optimized website. It will just be a skeleton.

The real website experience comes from high-quality user experience designs, silo architecture, dynamic development and great content. If you’re missing any of those, your website sucks.

A rock-solid website requires a team of professionals to develop the site, because designers, content developers, website developers and SEOs should strategically work together to develop the most KICK ASS website for its industry.

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When your website isn’t producing leads, your business is losing money and opportunities for growth.

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That should be enough reason to purchase an audit.

Keeping Your Website Healthy Means More Money for Your Business

When you maintain a healthy website, the organic rankings will climb. The rewards? More money for your business because you’re constantly attracting qualified leads.

Keeping your website optimized with fresh content and digital assets creates a real advantage for your business. Websites can see thousands of organic rankings and easily 20,000 unique visitors by just keeping it clean with fresh, high-quality, optimized content the audience wants to see. We know because we’ve done it.

Don’t Cheap Out on Your Website SEO

Looking for qualified inbound leads? You need an audit.

Looking to grow your website traffic? You need an audit.

Trying to dominate your competition online? You need an audit.

Have an outdated website? You need an audit (and a new website).

To be real, every website should have a professional website brand and SEO audit done right now. We’re on a mission to clean up all the spammy websites that provide zero value to users. More specifically, we’re looking to build businesses valuable websites that have beautiful designs, messaging and SEO.

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If your website SEO isn’t bringing in qualified leads or your website isn’t converting them, an audit is considered PRICELESS.

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If you’re ready to dominate your competition and grow your brand organically online, you have to invest in SEO. Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Our Website Audits and Custom Strategies

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Vol. 77: Nonprofit Project Launch and Bad SEO Habits in 2018

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Eminent SEO Newsletter Vol 77 Nonprofit Project Launch 2018

Partnership in Recovery

Eminent SEO has proudly served the addiction treatment care community for more than a decade. With the opioid epidemic sweeping the country, the death toll continues to climb. What can be done?

The truth is, there is a big void that needs to be filled. The government and private insurance providers only cover so much. There’s a gap when it comes to funding the vast ongoing needs of those in addiction recovery. Insurance may cover treatment, for example, but not housing, food and other necessities. Some have been out of work, and not everyone can afford even the most basic necessities.

That’s where The ECHO Foundation comes in. Longtime recovery professional, Jim Haggerty, founded this nonprofit in 2014 and dedicated the organization to educating, mentoring and providing tools and resources to individuals seeking addiction treatment. Eminent SEO joined the effort by offering to create the branding, develop the website and manage the marketing. Together, we know we can make a difference.
ECHO Recovery New Website Launch On iPhone - Eminent SEOView the beautiful new site and, if you feel inspired, please consider donating. Every penny counts.

Thanks for your support, fam.

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Inspirational Quote

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

– Coretta Scott King

Our Website Highlights

New Addiction Treatment Certification Allows Rehabs to Bid on AdWords AgainSeveral of our addiction treatment center clients here at Eminent SEO have asked us about this news: “Exclusive: Google unveils vetting process for drug rehab ads.” So, we took to our blog to answer the most pressing questions stemming from this recent Google development.

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Examples Of Neuromarketing Marketing Strategy - Eminent SEOThere’s an intuitiveness to digital marketing that if your campaigns aren’t geared toward each platform uniquely, your advertising and social spends may miss your proposed target audience. Why? See our latest neuromarketing blog post.

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Customer Survey on Bad SEO Habits in 2018

SEO changes so often that even last year’s techniques can be outdated. As we progress into 2018, our team took a moment to reflect on some of the outdated SEO tactics of yesteryear to develop a list of our top five.

Bad SEO Habits In 2018 - Eminent SEOOut of the choices below, what do you think is THE WORST habit you can have as an SEO specialist in 2018?

1. Creating one page for EACH keyword variation.

SEO isn’t about tricking Google into serving up your site. Writing content that is valuable to your users should always be rule No. 1. Google rewards websites that provide a great user experience. No user wants to read 100 pages on the same subject. Sure, that used to work. Today, it will only hurt your rankings with Google.

2. Mass purchasing links from poor directories.

Look, links matter; if we are guessing right, they always will. It’s a world wide WEB. How else will Google connect the dots? Links help search engines find useful content, too. However, not all links are created equal. A huge increase in low-quality links will definitely raise a red flag with Google. Instead, focus on quality over quantity.

3. Not conducting backlink audits EVER.

Even if you don’t buy links and work on “white-hat SEO” link-earning techniques only, that doesn’t prevent other sites from linking to you. Spammy sites that rely on scraped content, for example, can show up in your backlink index in huge numbers. Google holds you responsible for your backlinks, purchased or not. Monitoring them is key to avoiding a bigger issue.

4. Spending time looking at and studying tracked keywords ONLY.

We stopped reporting on keyword rankings as a primary organic marketing key performance deliverable years ago. Why? The data lies. Search results are now personalized, localized and even limited, depending on the device you search from. Rankings don’t tell the full story. Instead, use the amount of traffic, user engagement and quality of the leads to measure organic success.

5. Practicing SEO as if the industry NEVER changes.

If you follow SEO at all, chances are you know how fast this industry changes. As a team, we listen to podcasts, read articles, conduct studies and share new ideas on SEO daily. If you’re not making a regular effort to educate yourself on the latest news and best practices, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Education is power and, in this case, your key to success with SEO today.

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Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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How Businesses Are Wasting Money on Marketing That Doesn’t Work

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Businesses Are Wasting Their Money Marketing That Doesn't Work - Eminent SEO

This is probably the conversation I have the most frequently with marketing industry peers and clients. It is just a repetitive chat; the subject gets people animated, agitated, confused and eyes-bulging, vein-popping frustrated. Why? Because nobody listens.

Here’s one note of caution for starters: If you think you know marketing because of a Google search or two, you don’t know squat!

Marketing and Sales People Are the Biggest Suckers on the Planet

We’re in this conundrum together – because there isn’t one answer on how to do marketing. Instead, it’s essential that you understand the options and how they work together (or fail).

Even with the best industry gurus on your side, watching the SEO analysis month over month and staying current with the latest Google and Facebook algorithm shifts, there are no guarantees that your creative campaigns or media placements are going to work. Depressed yet?

Here’s what I can tell you. Marketing, just like people, shifts. What works today can be gone with the wind of tomorrow’s latest and greatest trend. Yaaass. This business is not for the emotionally thin-skinned. In other words, grow a pair, do some due diligence and have fun.

Beware of Snake Oil Yes Men (and Women) That Guarantee Anything

Recently, I had a client call me on the phone (old school, I know) to share his excitement. He’s got a handful of websites and just got a call from this guy in Chicago who swears he can deliver a branded TV commercial and media placement on 30 some odd stations. Wait for it… all for 1,000 bucks.

You’re laughing, right? It gets better. This guy also says he will guarantee 300 leads, calls that will go directly to my client’s call center.

Remember what I said earlier about there being no guarantees? Yeah. It applies here. So I called the guy in Chicago. I told him that if he wanted to swear to God that 300 leads are guaranteed, it was on him. I wouldn’t bet on that and I don’t think the Lord would appreciate being the brunt of a wager in futility.

How did I call him out? With one easy question: “Can you send me the list of media channels where the commercial will run?” I asked with a snarky smile. He replied, “No.”

This was a sketchy operation with phony leads that would undoubtedly go nowhere. Trust (sort of), then verify. Works like a charm.

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Businesses are wasting money on #marketing that doesn't work because they do not think QUALITY over QUANTITY. They are also thinking about the past instead of evolving.

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Secret Keywords Are Like a Losing Game of Hide and Seek

Ever since Google has been cracking down on those who try to outsmart it (some do so successfully, but it’s temporary) one such solution appears as a “miracle grow” for SEO rankings. Watch out for the companies that say they will boost your presence by using targeted keywords strategically placed and hidden within your fine print of terms and conditions or right-hand-side testimonial content, for example.

Do really you think this is smarter than the peeps and tech that crawl websites for Google? Naw, probably not.

Marketing That Doesn’t Work: More Isn’t Mo’ Better

Marketing Tactics To Use In 2018 Keywords Video Content - Eminent SEOOverconsumption comes by us honestly. We’re Americans. It’s what we do. While some people have an issue with taking in excessive amounts of food, alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships or shoes (yes, shoes), many business owners believe that a handful of websites to represent their product offerings are better than just one.

Moreover, these duplicate (basically that’s what they are) sites house essentially the same content as one another. Not only is this so passé and ineffective; it’s naughty.

Why the marketing tactics mentioned so far don’t work isn’t just about cheesing up our industry standards. Our core audience detests it. Millennials are now the largest group of consumers. If your business doesn’t understand this audience, you might as well hang it up right now.

If you’d rather get a clue as to what you should be doing to get their appeal and more accolades for your product or service, keep reading.

Pander (I Mean Cater) to Your Audience

Millennials can be cruel. Maybe not cruel, but brutally honest. They don’t understand the merits of privacy (thank you MySpace, and now Twitter and Facebook) and believe that everything is subject to discussion, rant and opinion on the web. If your product or service doesn’t cut it, you’ll know, quickly. Here’s what to do to angle it all in your favor.

Invite the Criticism

Take a deep breath. Swallow that lump of insecurity in your throat. Be bold enough on social media to have a unique presence and put posts out there that speak to who you are and what you stand for. Take the heat that comes.

Pay attention; it’s the most inexpensive way to get an understanding of what’s working or not…and it’s ideal for discovering gaping holes of opportunity. Although, social media is not the place for ongoing product pitches. It’s about having a personality and building a following.

Make Millennials Matter

Leveraging the right social media platforms is essential to owning the millennial market. How you position your profiles is even more important. Make sure your content doesn’t talk down to them, as it needs to include them.

Position this audience as instrumental in your success. They must be part of your conversation. If your brand strategy allows them to lead the conversation, that’s golden.

Create the Experience

Product and services aren’t flat surfaces (though many smart devices are pretty close). The world isn’t flat either; it’s full of dimension. Enter marketing and editorial content.

What resonates with people today is a full-bodied experience with your product, service or brand. It taps on the emotion, the most powerful place your marketing can target. People may not remember what you said or did, but it’s how you made them feel that matters.

Provide Information That’s Unique and Individually Topical

The definition of an information junkie = millennial. From their childhood, web surfing was the only way to get the answers they needed. Ask a question of their parents, and “Google it” was the go-to response. As such, the information you put out must be accurate, relevant and thought-provoking, which gives them a reason to investigate further (they will) and respond.

Build Your Brand with Integrity That Is Globally Relevant

Long gone are the days where providing a free product offering would win over potential customers. Today’s consumers are cynical, and for good reason. With the onslaught of cyber theft and security breaches, people understand that if it says it’s free, there’s probably a cost.

If your product or service doesn’t provide global impact by its very existence, then your company brand should. If it doesn’t – to a millennial – you don’t exist.

Top 6 Marketing Angles Worth the Expense

Sales, web development and marketing firms will try to entice you into needing what they offer. With all the choices, it’s difficult to discern between necessity and fluff. Use this list of must-haves to position the marketing of your business well.

2018 marketing angles that work:

  • Quality content – original copywriting and optimized alt tags for imagery should rank organically
  • Video often – boosts viewership and experiential marketing
  • Cause marketing – brands your business with emotional substance
  • Niche campaigns – all media outlets, segment your audiences
  • Embrace the screens – use cross-channel marketing to increase impressions
  • Long-phrase keywords – catches the low-hanging fruit of search engines

Final Thought on Marketing to Your Audience

Not every business can claim millennials as its target audience. True. However, early adapters of web use and the culture of instant gratification aren’t merely for the young. This is how every generation under 65 years of age consumes.

Today, we are all millennials. Your marketing efforts need to align with our new, collective behavior.

See How to Appeal to Generation Z Online

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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The Good, the Bad and the Rankings: A Straight Shootin’ Discussion About Ethics in Digital Marketing

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Ethics in Digital Marketing - Eminent SEOThe modern internet is very much akin to the Wild West. For every honorable, upstanding SEO expert, there are at least twice as many “outlaws.” In other words, there are unscrupulous practitioners that will stop at nothing to claim high search engine rankings and rustle up as many user views as possible.

Reflecting this rise of desperado digital marketing in the early 2010s, Sheriff Google started deploying deputies to clean up the streets. Since then, enforcers like Penguin and Panda have become incredibly sophisticated at sniffing out unethical digital marketing techniques and penalizing the offenders.

But what about these bad “dotcombres” is so offensive that the Sheriff Google feels it necessary to ding their search rankings? Some of the most common penalties assigned to websites that have violated Google’s webmaster guidelines are in response to:

  • Sparse, poorly written content
  • Numerous deceptive backlinks
  • Heavily spammed queries
  • Multiple doorway or interstitial pages

Organizations risk more than the ire of Sheriff Google (and subsequently penalized search rankings) when they opt to use questionable techniques. Unethical SEO and digital marketing tactics can also cost an organization thousands of potential customers or leads.

Whether an organization is managing its own online presence or handing those duties off to an SEO professional, it’s vital that decision makers understand the signs and cost of unethical digital marketing.

Defining Ethical SEO

SEO Practices Not OK Corral - Eminent SEOEthics can be difficult to define, especially in an ever-evolving environment like the Wild Web. However, most webmasters and users can agree that an upstanding website is transparent, helpful and honest. Advertisements, if any, should be straightforward rather than duplicitous. Content should be accurate, helpful and relevant.

That’s why organizations performing their own digital marketing should develop a list of ethical SEO best practices. Likewise, discussing the topic with potential digital marketing professionals should provide insights into that company’s position when it comes to ethical SEO.

The following are a few rules of thumb that outline the general principles of ethical digital marketing:

  • SEO professionals must always honor the webmaster guidelines of each search engine.
  • SEO professionals must commit to creating a positive, functional user experience.
  • SEO professionals must present user content accurately and without embellishment.
  • SEO professionals must always properly cite content generated by a separate party.
  • SEO professionals must communicate realistic expectations to their clients about search engine rankings.

Questionable vs. Ethical SEO Strategies

Wanted Bad Dotcombre Crimes Against SEO - Eminent SEOWhen it comes to Western movies, deciding who is ethical is a breeze. Good guys wear white hats. Villains wear black hats. Nobody else wears hats. Simple, right?

Thankfully, distinguishing between ethical and unethical SEO techniques isn’t very complicated either. As a rule, ethical (or “white hat”) SEO strategies will prioritize user experience, follow search engine guidelines and produce consistent, long-term results.

On the other side of the spectrum, unethical (or “black hat”) SEO strategies are only concerned with short-term gains. They tend to focus on taking advantage of search engine algorithms rather than serving the needs of potential visitors.

Examples of ethical SEO techniques include:

  • SEO site optimization
  • High-quality content production
  • Guest blogging
  • Internal linking

Conversely, examples of unethical SEO techniques include:

  • Stuffing keywords
  • Spammy blog post creation
  • Hidden text placement
  • Paying for links

The Consequences of Unethical SEO Techniques

Organizations that implement spam-heavy or manipulative SEO strategies risk heavy penalties from Google and other search engines if their unethical strategies are discovered. The subsequent search rankings loss could considerably damage a company’s long-term success in attracting new customers.

That’s why it is so important for SEO practitioners to hold themselves to extremely high ethical standards. The wrong move could cripple an entire marketing strategy. That being said, organizations in need of digital marketing services must search for a partner that can deliver on their promises.

What to Expect from Ethical SEO

New SEO experts are constantly riding into town. How do you tell a straight shooter from a dang varmint? A public commitment to ethical digital marketing is certainly a good place to start. Thankfully, there are multiple angles that organizations can explore to evaluate the ethics of a particular SEO practitioner.

Here are just a few things to look for when trying to figure out if an SEO company is committed to ethical practices:

  • Communicates realistic expectations – SEO optimization is a long-term strategy. In some cases, it can take weeks or months for a website to reach its desired search ranking. An ethical SEO practitioner will communicate a realistic time frame for the results the client has asked for. Organizations should remain wary of SEO professionals who promise overnight results.
  • Uses solely sustainable techniques – Search engine algorithms, especially those developed by Google, are constant changing. As a result, some techniques that may have worked well in the past are no longer effective, and may even lead to penalties if used. Ethical SEO practitioners keep a close eye on the industry and never knowingly recommend an outdated SEO strategy to clients.
  • Prioritizes user experience – Keyword stuffing is, or should be, a thing of the past. These days, search engine algorithms are far more concerned with the presence of accurate, high-quality content rather than keyword density. An ethical SEO practitioner will take the same approach as they recommend solutions for a client’s website.

Understanding Ethical SEO Will Help You Know Whom to Trust

Organizations that understand the importance of ethical SEO can make smarter decisions about whom to trust with their online presence. Doing so also protects their long-term digital marketing strategy from the hawk-like gaze of Sheriff Google.

As commerce becomes increasingly digitized, the importance of ethical SEO is only going to increase. Be sure to bookmark or subscribe to our blog for more helpful updates on SEO best practices and other relevant digital marketing topics.

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Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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More Big-Box Retailers Bite the Dust: What’s to Blame? (Besides Online Shopping)

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RoomStore Sports Chalet Phoenix - Big-Box Retailers - Eminent SEO

A Sports Chalet and The RoomStore are situated next to each other in north Phoenix, and both franchises are in the process of going out of business for good. (Eminent SEO Photo)

It’s always sad to see a business close its doors and leave behind a vacant storefront.

Well, almost always – depending on if the shuttered business personally wronged you in any way.

Over the last couple of months, multiple big-box retailers with a once-prominent presence here in Arizona announced they would be closing all of their locations. The notable closures include Southwest-based sporting goods franchise Sport Chalet and the Arizona-only furniture chain The RoomStore.

So, what caused the demise of these long-standing retailers?

Was it online shopping (ecommerce) options? Too many direct competitors? Failure to distinguish themselves from similar franchises? An economy that simply refuses to kick into the next gear?

It’s likely all of the above, plus another, less-talked-about factor I’ll examine a little bit later. First, let’s look at the particulars of these franchises’ final days, as well as some of the main influences that put them out of business.

Details on The RoomStore’s Closing

The RoomStore is currently having one of the more spectacular going-out-of-business bonanzas I’ve ever seen. Around the metro-Phoenix area, shopping center signs and cargo trucks have unabashedly been heavy on terms like “Liquidation” and “Going Out Of Business Forever.”

RoomStore Liquidation Truck - Eminent SEO

A semi-truck parked near The RoomStore in north Phoenix advertises the furniture retailer’s going-out-of-business sale. (Eminent SEO Photo)

The company’s website impresses the sense of urgency even further, encouraging you to negotiate the price you want and that nobody beats The RoomStore’s going-out-of-business sale.

RoomStore Going Out Of Business Sale

Um, are they excited to be going out of commission? The company even appears elated to point out that several locations have closed and the rest are shutting down soon.

RoomStore Homepage Locations Listings

The Room Store was actually founded in Texas in 1992, and it opened its first Arizona location a year later. When all of the Texas RoomStores began closing down in late-2012, the Arizona locations were immune, since they were owned by a separate company: The RoomStores of Phoenix, LLC.

At its height, The RoomStore owned 12 locations in Arizona, primarily in the greater Phoenix region. The company was perhaps most recognized locally as a long-time sponsor of the Phoenix Suns.


When The RoomStore filed for bankruptcy protection last December, it was a definitive sign that the local furniture empire was on its last legs.

Details of Sport Chalet’s Closing

Sport Chalet’s wind-down process has been much more somber. In April, the company sent an email to all of its subscribers announcing the end of the franchise. A version of that email is currently on the homepage of the website, which appears to be the only page on the site anymore.

Sport Chalet Homepage Closing

You can’t even find which stores are still open through the website. The company has sent several follow-up, matter-of-fact emails that announce extensions of honoring customers’ gift cards and other similar notices. The retailer doesn’t appear to have any sense of urgency in enticing the consumer to visit a store and buy an item on discount before the place closes.

Founded in 1959, Sport Chalet at one point had more than 50 locations in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and, especially, California, where it was headquartered. The sporting goods chain is part of the Vestis Retail Group, which also owns Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) and Bob’s Stores, all located in the Northeast. Vestis has filed for bankruptcy, but it is keeping most of its EMS and Bob’s Stores open while cutting out the fat that is Sports Chalet.

Too Much Competition for These Big-Box Retailers?

The RoomStore and Sport Chalet were both plagued by lukewarm and negative online reviews. For The RoomStore, complaints mostly concerned returns, refunds, sales tactics and even deliveries and the quality of furniture. For Sport Chalet, sky-high prices and poor customer service appeared to hamper the business most forcefully.

As a significant side note, if you’re going to survive as a brick-and-mortar store in today’s environment, you’ve got to offer an experience, not just lay out merchandise and hope somebody buys it. If you want to look within The RoomStore’s industry, it’s easy to see that the home furnishings giant IKEA offers a distinct shopping experience. Did The RoomStore offer a discernible experience, or did it simply (haphazardly) sling furniture?

If you’re looking at Sport Chalet’s industry, you can see that Dick’s Sporting Goods at least somewhat offers an experience, as each store maintains a locker room feel. Did Sport Chalet offer an experience? Do large photographs on the walls of various sporting activities make for an experience? The franchise initially started out with a focus on skiing equipment and later expanded to scuba gear, but after that, it tried to appeal to a wider audience, and it ended up throwing aside its unique selling proposition in the process.

Also, Sport Chalet wasn’t on its email and ecommerce game the way that Dick’s is. Personally, I was buying online from Dick’s Sporting Goods way back in the early 2000s. Lo and behold, several physical locations started cropping up around town just a couple of years later.

It’s obvious that Dick’s has a two-fold strategy to grow its business. Even if Sport Chalet’s ecommerce sales were vibrant, they weren’t enough to salvage the entire company, and apparently not even worth keeping as an online-only business.

Also of note is that Sports Authority recently filed for bankruptcy and later announced it is closing all of its stores. Same concept here: What was the Sports Authority Experience? Anybody? Bueller? Sports Authority was once the country’s largest sporting goods retailer, but like Sport Chalet, it will soon be no more.

What do these major setbacks mean for the great American sporting goods store going forward?

Did a Sluggish Economy Kill These Franchises?

Well, even if the economy is hurting – which it no longer seems to be, by most indicators – the furniture and sporting goods industries aren’t currently feeling the pain. Here are a few stats that tell the tale, as provided by the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • Retail and food service sales are up 3.5 percent in Quarter 1 of 2016 from the same time period last year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings store sales are up 5.6 percent in Q1 of 2016 compared to the same period last year.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales are up 7.4 percent, one of the largest jumps in any retail and food service niche from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016.

So, even if retail is up this year and the furniture and sporting goods sectors are particularly doing well, those factors apparently weren’t enough to save franchises like The RoomStore, Sport Chalet and Sports Authority. You would think that even a higher-priced store like Sport Chalet, for example, would be able to survive as long as the economy’s in good shape and there’s enough consumer spending to go around, but alas, some businesses are still going under.

Truth be told, these franchises were hemorrhaging profits for years prior to the economy righting itself, but by the time it got better, it was too little, too late – and the writing was on the wall for these once-prominent retailers.

Did Ecommerce Sales Play a Role?

It’s always the elephant in the room every time a big-box retailer goes under: internet sales. Yes, online sales are becoming more and more common as the checkout process continually gets easier, but ecommerce still doesn’t take up as big of a chunk of the market as you’d think.

According to the chart below, ecommerce sales comprised only about 2.5 percent of all U.S. retail sales (adjusted) back in Q1 of 2006. The market share has continuously grown since then, rising to nearly 8 percent of all retail sales in Q1 of 2016.

Yes, 8 percent doesn’t really seem like that much, but that still represents more than $92 billion in transactions in just one quarter of the year. It’s decisively large enough to play a role in putting brick-and-mortars out of business.

Overlooked Factor: Reluctance of Dealing with Sales Associates

Although online shopping is more convenient than ever, I think the issue goes much deeper when it comes to why big-box retailers are hurting. When shopping online, you can line up dozens of items side by side, check out their specs and then make your purchase with one or two clicks of a button, all without having to deal with a salesperson.

While it’s hard to beat physically trying out an item in the store, some might still say, “Why deal with a potentially incompetent, unhelpful or pushy sales associate when I can just buy the merchandise online.”

To some shoppers, it might be a diagnosable social anxiety disorder that keeps them buying their furniture, clothing and other merchandise from a distance. To others, it might be a conscious decision to avoid the hassle and wait that is latent every time you walk into a store – especially one like The RoomStore or Sport Chalet, according to many online reviews.

Many people spend more time with their face buried in their phones or computers than they do interacting with others face to face, so it’s no wonder ecommerce continues to grow. You could argue we’re being conditioned to do more interaction online than we do in “the real world.”

According to a 2015 eMarketer forecast, Americans spent an average of 2 hours and 54 minutes each day on their mobile devices last year, and that doesn’t even count phone calls. That number equates to 44 days out of the year just spent on a mobile phone or tablet. The 2016 average is expected to jump to 3 hours and 8 minutes per day – again, not counting using a phone the old-fashioned way.

Learn More About Internet Addiction

While some can juggle face-to-face interaction and heavy internet usage well, others cannot. If those who struggle with it are able to simply buy merchandise remotely, even if it means the item’s size or color might be askew once seeing it in person, then that’s a risk they’re willing to take. And let’s be honest, you can find some great deals online. Also, the online checkout process is usually easy and you’ll save gas by not having to drive to a store.

It all adds up to a significant threat to big-box retailers, which need to make sure their online sales process is as good or better than their in-store operations.

Conclusion

So, ecommerce sales, stiff competition and possibly the economy are all going to weigh heavily on brick-and-mortar retailers going forward, but I also think we shouldn’t discount the ever-increasing reluctance to social interaction. If someone can buy the same item online that they would otherwise have to walk into a store and deal with sales associates, especially a place that’s not known for its customer service, how can you convince them to buy from you on location?

We’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on why big-box retailers are going under as well as your ideas to keep them afloat. Comment with your opinions below.

Oh, and R.I.P. Sport Chalet, Sports Authority and The RoomStore.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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8 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid During a Website Redesign

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seo mistakesEvery website needs to have a facelift once in a while. Let’s face it, web developers are not SEO’s in most cases. Each individual is experienced in their own area and possess their own specialties. When a website redesign transpires, you need to keep your SEO team involved in the process to avoid common SEO mistakes that can occur.

Here are 8 of the most common SEO mistakes we see in redesign projects:

1. The Website is Non-Indexable

We’ve run into this issue a lot with CMS websites specifically. These sites will have an option of whether or not the site visible to search engines. Often times in development you don’t want your website indexable but then developer will forget to check “Yes, I want my website visible to search engines” after the website has launched. By having this option set to “No” it will be a lot harder (or impossible) to get your entire website crawled and indexed by search engines.

This can also be an issue when the website has indexing issues due to incorrect canonical settings. When using canonicalization, it’s important to know how to implement the proper indexing code because if it’s done incorrectly, it can prevent search engines from accessing certain pages and prevent those pages from being indexed properly.

2. The On-page SEO Team Is Not Involved in the Process

A common mistake that’s made is that companies don’t always involve their SEO team in the process of redesign or when developing a brand new site. To avoid common on-page SEO mistakes, the SEO team needs to be involved in the design from start to finish.

When redesigning or developing a new website, you should be thinking about how this will impact the SEO from the get go. When I say SEO, I mean website content, meta data, taglines, calls to action, imagery, etc. Throughout the process you should ask yourself how each item affects the SEO, page by page. Also, this is the perfect time to improve your on-page SEO, or add to what is already there.

3. The Website Content Isn’t Properly Optimized Before Implementation

This is a prime example of why you should have the SEO team involved from the get go. A mistake a lot of companies make is they will write content, but not optimize the content for keywords and conversions. Each page will be just a jumble of content with no headers, meta tags, or a clear call to action. Who reads huge blocks of content these days? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

nobody got time

To avoid this, it’s best to have the content written before the website is live, and sent to your SEO team for optimization. This way when the web developer is implementing content, they can also implement all of the correct headers, ALT tags, and meta tags.

4. Failure to Analyze Current Analytics

Your website analytics are your best friend when looking to restructure landing pages and web copy. This is often overlooked in the website redesign process. If not properly assessed before redesign, it can cause your bounce rate to increase and conversion rates to decrease. After all, what are you basing your content and structure off of when you’re not looking at the numbers?

Our recommendation is to assess your current landing page data. Look for:

  • Bounce rates
  • Conversion rates
  • Average time on page
  • Conversion funnel

The pages that have the highest conversion rates and lower bounce rates are the ones to look at first. What’s different about these pages compared to pages that have lower conversion rates? Do they have bullet points and headers instead of plain blocks of text? These are just some things to look for when analyzing your current website analytics. You want to make sure your landing pages include elements that high converting landing pages already have. Don’t reinvent the wheel – just look at the data in front of you.

5. Not Utilizing 301 Redirects

404 error

We’ve come across this issue a lot here at Eminent SEO. Companies will come to us wondering why they had such a huge decrease in traffic after they launched their new site. This is one of the first things we look at and when we ask if they recently had a redesign done 9 times out of ten the answer is yes. If you change your URL’s at all and 301 redirects are not used properly when redesigning and launching a new website, you will lose traffic and rankings. But why?

There are a number of reasons you can lose organic rankings and traffic. For example, if inbound links are pointing to URL’s in your website that no longer exist they will now direct to 404 pages – and Google doesn’t index broken links Also, a lot of times during a redesign the URL structure can change which causes internal broken links. You have a call to action button linking to another page, for example, and whoops – 404 error. That’s where you’ll immediately lose a user or the search engine spider.

6. Not Implementing Responsive Design

If you’re doing a website redesign, I’d hope that it would include a responsive design. Not only because it’s 2014 and everyone’s on their phone these days, but also because it drastically improves your organic mobile rankings and traffic.

A responsive design is a mobile friendly design where your website will scale to fit all devices (PC, tablet and phone). This is great for SEO because it will scale down your website imagery and make sure your website load quicker on mobile devices. One of the bigger issues with not having a mobile friendly site is the page loading time. This will create a poor user experience which leads to higher bounce rates. Google sees this and can devalue your mobile rankings – they don’t want to serve up sites that have high bounce rates.

My advice – go responsive if you’re not already. After all, mobile search is predicted to surpass desktop search by 2015. Do you want to be that company behind the times when your competition is nailing it with mobile website capability? Probably not…

7. Not Keeping User Experience In Mind

SEO today isn’t only about optimizing the website for keywords, but users as well. Every page should have a goal in mind when designing the page and the goal should be clearly laid out for users to understand the next step they need to take. If a user hits a landing page regarding one of your services, but you don’t have a call to action clearly defining what that user should do next (call, fill out a form, etc.), then the user will likely leave before taking another action. . If a user to bounces before taking another action that could be a potential sale that you just lost.

Always think about how you would navigate through the website as if you were new to using a computer or viewing websites. Would you know exactly where to go or what to do? Think of it in that way. If you can, perform a brief survey using friends and relatives in the demographic you’re targeting. Do they know where to go and what the next step is by page? Use this feedback to make your website dummy proof.

8. Improper URL Silo Structure

A website isn’t supposed to be built where all pages stem from the home page. This is confusing to the search engine spiders and doesn’t provide a clear path for proper indexing and Page Rank distribution. The URL structure should clearly define the path of each page location within the website navigation, starting with the most important pages first. Often times developers will create pages that don’t utilize a proper category or silo structure. Your URL structure should like this: domain/category/subcategory/page. Not like this: domain/all-pages.

This can also happen when a redesign occurs and the developer could be renaming categories, deleting categories, etc. This will affect the entire navigation of the website and could cause all kinds of issues from broken links to orphaned pages. If navigation is changing at all this is also where 301 redirects come into play.

Closing Thoughts

Don’t be that company that waits until after they launch their new website to learn they have major issues. This should be a process that takes place DURING the website redesign and development stages. If you wait to properly SEO the website until after the launch, the damage is already be done.

If you’re considering a redesign OR you’ve had a redesign and lost your organic rankings – let us help! We are experts in launching redesigns with all of the right SEO elements in place… and if you’ve already launched and think it’s too late, don’t worry – we can still help! Just give us a call: (800) 871.4130

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Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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4 Old SEO Tactics You Should Avoid

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SEO is a huge, bBad SEO Warning Signooming industry that at the same time lacks a substantial amount of standardization. Let me use an analogy here to help you understand what I’m getting at.

If you go to hire a carpenter to remodel the interior of your home, you can check to see if he’s licensed, right? You could also ask him for some pictures of his work, what professional associations or organizations he belongs to and how many years of experience he has. If he’s own a business, you could check the BBB rating and look up reviews online. By the time you check all of the facts about this carpenter, and maybe a couple others, the right one to work with becomes clear.

Not so with SEO! There are really no respected “SEO” licenses or certifications used broadly across the industry. Also, because SEO is so technical and dynamic, you really can’t physically examine the results of a company’s work. Not to mention, there are so many other variables per website that come in to play (budget, platform issues, corporate restrictions, etc) that it makes it nearly impossible to compare one SEO’s work against another.

When you talk with different companies, you could hear wildly different opinions on what tactics you should implement to improve your web visibility. Some make these claims just to make the sale, while others are simply mistaken or outdated in their approach.

What’s worse is that you never know what’s going to happen until you actually try it… which could cost you large amounts of time and money… and create a HUGE mess!

In an effort to help you avoid hiring a “bogus SEO” I have prepared a short list:

4 Claims and Tactics SEO Companies Use that You Should Avoid

While different companies will suggest various strategies and tactics, there are some claims and tactics they recommend which you should avoid focusing on at all costs. Here are some of those:

1) Focusing on organic rankings as your final results – Increased search engine rankings are always a good thing, but how valuable are they really?  If your SEO company helps you rank for many terms, but you receive few customers from those efforts, is it worth it to pay that company’s fee for those rankings? The real goal any SEO company should help you achieve is a great ROI on the dollars you spend with them.

*Don’t forget about our previous post: Why Tracking Your Organic Search Rankings Will Drive You Insane

2) Emphasizing keywords, not user experience – Your site does need to target certain keywords that have a high likelihood of converting. However, if keywords appear too often (“spamming”), that detracts from the message you attempt to convey to the visitors of your site. Within the content of your website, you should focus on the value you offer your visitors and how you can help them solve the problems they have. The keywords should appear too, but only where they seem most natural.

*Remember: The user should ALWAYS come first, SEO is second.

3) 1000’s of links, forum posts, and blog comments – Some companies promise to give you an outrageous amount of these types of links. At first glance, this seems good because your instinct is to think “more is better.” However, the algorithms have changed… a LOT. Several years ago, Google liked large quantities of links, but now Google focuses on quality.  Links are still extremely important for increasing your search rankings, but now it’s more important they come from quality websites topically related to yours. A small quantity of quality links will help your site more than a large quantity of poor quality links. In fact, a large quantity of links like this can actually get your website penalized.

*Marketing Tip: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

4) Large quantities of on-site content – Some SEO’s claim the more pages you have on your website, the better. Others recommend certain word lengths on each page, because they believe 1000-word articles outrank 500-word articles. In reality, content is viewed similarly to links by Google: quality trumps quantity every time.  If you want to, think of it this way: a quantity of quality content works best.

*Reminder: Content is still King, but it has to be the RIGHT content: 1 Gigantic, Huge, Monstrous Reason Why Quality Content is Necessary for your Website

Proceed with Caution Before Working with Any SEO Company

Because SEO lacks so much standardization, you’ll hear many ridiculous claims from the companies you approach, and these are just a small sampling of such claims.  If you start hearing your SEO company talk about using these tactics, you might want to consider moving on. Your search engine rankings, and your bottom line, will thank you for it.

Shameless Plug for Eminent SEO

We have had the opportunity to work with thousands of websites over the years. As the algorithm updates have dictated updated strategies, Eminent SEO has quickly adjusted to accommodate. Because we have access to thousands of website back-ends and analytical data we can generally anticipate a change and update our strategies before the general public makes sense of what is happening with just one site…

In other words: Our strategies are lasting, yet dynamic and built to grown with the algorithm changes.

Call us if you want to talk more on SEO. We love this stuff. (800) 871.4130

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Common SEO Mistakes | Are You Making Them?

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Matt Cuts released “The Top 5 SEO Mistakes Webmasters Make” which he mentions, though these were not the worst SEO mistakes you could make, they were however the most common.oops

Biggest Mistakes He Covers In the Video:

  • Is your site craw-lable?
  • Are you including words in your content in the order of which people will search?
  • Is your content compelling and marketable? Are you giving share value?
  • Is your title and description maximized on your pages with most traffic?
  • Not using webmaster resources and knowing how Google and SEO works.

This video is just another reminder that also supports our emphasis on the value of quality content that is optimized for search engines while adding value to your readers.

Enjoy!

 

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Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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