How Qualified is Your SEO Traffic?

Blue keyboard button for search engine optimization

Rankings and traffic are often the most important indicators of web search success to small business

Sense a “but” coming?

Here it is:

But, you have to think about those metrics in the context of your business and your own SEO.

Typically, they’re a good indicator of search marketing success. But, take a look at some of the ins and outs before you sit back and relax, thinking everything’s okay:

  1. What’s the Source of Your Traffic?

No website has 100% perfect traffic from awesome sources. None. Spammers hit every domain on the web to some extent.

Take a look at the source of your traffic in Google Analytics. You will see some sources that come from foreign countries where you’d never possibly do business (like Russia or China).

We’re guessing you don’t want any HVAC customers from that area.

That’s an obvious example.

But, it gets less obvious. Again, if you’re an HVAC company, how valuable are certain keywords and phrases like “fix your air conditioner?”

You have to be a little careful with some of your traffic sources.

  1. What Keywords Do You Rank For?

Just like traffic sources, you have to know what keywords you rank for and consider their context. If you have great rankings for keywords that aren’t really relevant to your industry, those rankings really aren’t valuable at all.

It’s hard to find all the keywords you rank for these days. Google’s concealing that data, making it harder to access so you move over to their profit center they call “Adwords.”

  1. This Is Where Experienced SEO Companies Come In

Technically, your SEO is never done. You can always do another thing or try something else to grow your business online.

The web is so complex. And it changes so fast.

Some SEO companies are better than others at finding the right keywords for your niche. And that’s really where their experience makes a difference for your company.

Other companies can find keywords that will drive you more business. However, they may miss some of the best opportunities.

That’s why you want to go with a company who’s been around in the SEO game for a long time. They’ve navigated the murky waters of SEO. And they know how to choose the highest-converting keywords right away.

It’s some helpful advice that you must keep in mind to ensure your success online.

How to Combat Fake Content in 2017

Hands typing on laptop computer

Yes, it’s here: fake content. And it’s here in great supply. Some web experts speculate that machines may be able to write as convincingly as humans in the near future.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can counter the various types of fake content out there so you don’t find yourself getting burned by competitors who cheat.

  1. Fake Reviews

Ahh…nothing looks better on your company or product than a nice 4-5 star rating. Fall below that magic 4-star threshold, and you start to lose a lot of credibility and customers.

Fortunately, you don’t have to find yourself falsifying reviews to keep up. Not only would you feel guilty, but some websites, like Amazon actually sue customers who knowingly engage in such practices.

90% of consumers say they’ll happily leave a positive review when you offer a good product or service. So, it’s really just a matter of asking.

  1. Fake Viewing of Your Ads.

Did you hear about the Russian “Methbot” scam? It involved multiple hackers creating “bots” (software programs) that accurately mimicked consumer behavior on the web. The amazing part of the scam was that it was done in such a sophisticated way that fraudulent activity was difficult to detect.

The software attacked hundreds and thousands of websites. The websites attracted ad algorithms, which then showed the ads. The bots clicked the ads, generating revenue for the hackers. Current reporting states about $180 billion were stolen.

It’s hard to protect yourself from this one. But, you can look for unusual traffic spikes in your advertising platform. Your suspicion should go up exponentially if you notice a number of these spikes in a short time span.

  1. Fake Business Listings

Yes, your competitors do know how to create call centers, complete with a local Google map listing, that make it appear as though the company is owned and operated locally. This is true for local professional services like plumbing, heating, locksmithing, and carpet cleaning. To top it off, they often send in professionals who aren’t competent and charge excessively high prices for their services.

Google nails these from time-to-time. However, they pop up quickly to the point where even Google can’t keep up.

You can keep yourself safe by displaying photos of your storefront and referring to local neighborhoods you serve. Plus, you can also report the fake listings to Google.

Fake content will continue to be a challenge to deal with. But you can beat it with the help of these tips.

3 Reasons to Use Bing Ads Instead of Google Adwords

White cover magazine and blank screen phone, flat lay tabletop

When you think of online marketing, you usually only think of Google. It’s your only option, isn’t it?

Sometimes yes, and others no. Of course, it’s going to be your primary channel for marketing because that’s where most of the web’s traffic goes first.

But, in the case of PPC ads, you may be better served with Bing. Here’s 3 reasons why:

  1. Bing Ads Cost Less, While Still Helping You Drive Revenue

Google makes somewhere around $60 – $70 billion in revenue from Adwords. It accounts for 75% of the company’s annual profit. Google’s interest lies in keeping prices for PPC ads high…and hiding organic search data so paid search becomes more attractive. That’s precisely their strategy.

With Bing, you pay far less for the same (or even better) ad placement. And you still drive revenue because people do use this search network. You can’t beat Bing, speaking in terms of value.

  1. Bing Doesn’t Force You To Use Closely Related Keywords

Google recently forced all Adwords accounts to have their ads show up for terms with common misspellings of the target term, plural versions, and grammatically-related variations. Of course, you can see how this would cause you to get more clicks. But you may not want those clicks because they don’t actually drive revenue. But, Google gives you no choice.

Bing, however, does give you the choice. You can only appear for the exact terms you want.

The result? You spend less money and make more sales.

  1. Who You Can Access with Bing Ads

If your target customer is women 45+, Bing is the search network you want to chase. As you might expect, Google’s market skews towards younger males ages 18-44.

As a result, you can reasonably infer Bing’s audience is more likely to have children. They’re generally less tech-savvy than their Google counterparts. And, as an FYI, they tend to be more blue-collar than Google’s white-collar audience.

Is Bing Really Better?

Technically, you can’t say which paid search network is better. It really depends on who you want to market to. You have to evaluate which search network best fits your business model.

If you’re not sure, Bing’s at least worth a test. You can save quite significantly on your PPC costs.

Just In: Nearly 60% of All Searches Come from Mobile


Okay, so the truth is this is an estimate. However, it’s likely more accurate than any other out there.

According to an article at Search Engine Land, Google’s said more than 50% of searches come from mobile devices.

Now, they’re reporting that Hitwise has done some extensive research of their own and believes that number sits around 58%. To get the data, Hitwise analyzed several hundred million searches across both smartphones and tablets.

So, whether the number’s at 58% or not doesn’t matter. What we do know is that most online searches happen on mobile devices.

By the way, they found this pretty cool data too, which shows the percentage of mobile searches by industry:

mobile graph

Is Your Website Optimized for Mobile Searchers?

Having a responsive design is not enough. It’s a good and necessary start because Google says you should have one. Don’t have a responsive design, and it will hurt your search rankings.

But, just being responsive won’t be enough over the long haul. For example, your site may look good for mobile devices, but you could still have buttons that are way too small for people to click with their fingers.

So, instead of buying or clicking to call, they click the wrong button and go to the wrong page and get lost. Or, they get frustrated because they can’t click the button and leave.

Sales lost right there.

Or, maybe you sell a service and rely a lot on them to read your content to sell themselves on you. If they have to constantly zoom in and out and scroll around to read, that takes more work.

The more work they have to do, the less likely they are to buy eventually.

Your website could also be too fancy and take way too long to load. Every second counts. Even though data download rates are increasing, you still have to keep your website compact (in terms of file and image sizes), to make sure it loads quickly enough.

You see, it’s all about user experience. They just want to click a couple buttons and get what they want now. And that’s it.

The smoother and more valuable you make their experience, the more sales you’re going to make. With online marketing, it really is that simple.

4 Business Processes You Should Outsource (And Why)

Today, it’s so easy to outsource. And, you can outsource literally every aspect of your business.

Websites make it easy to find contractors from around the globe willing to do anything. The cloud makes it possible to get just about any kind of software. SaaS means you can get what used to be expensive software at affordable monthly prices.

But that doesn’t mean you should outsource everything you do. So what should you outsource?

Some suggestions:

  1. Website Design

Let’s put it bluntly: design is hard to learn. First of all, coding is a language all its own. It’s not easy to pick up on. And it takes a lot of time to do, even if you are already a designer.

Your other option? Use a template website that you can modify. But, you can guarantee you won’t be able to make your website look exactly the way you want. Or one that’s best for your customers.

Plus, a professional design makes a clear, positive impact on your website’s visitors. And on top of that, you need to do a fair amount of routine updating to keep your website operable and secure. It’s a lot of grunt work you don’t want to do.

  1.  Business Apps

If your company doesn’t have the money for an IT team, outsource your business applications as much as possible. Office 365 and Google Apps work great for your typical business functions. For example, you can get all the basic office applications for just $5 per month.

That means you don’t have to deal with all the updates and bugs or licensing. It’s all done for you by Microsoft at an affordable price.

  1. Anything You’re Not the Best At

As a business owner, you know your strengths. You’re a good bookkeeper, but maybe you’re not the best salesperson. In business, it always pays off best when you focus on your strengths, rather than improving your weaknesses.

So make a list of what you do well. And make a list of what you struggle with. Find ways to outsource what you struggle with.

  1. SEO

Make no mistake about it. Search engine optimization is amazingly more complex and time-consuming than it was just a few years ago.

Unless you want to be a full-time SEO specialist for your company, you should outsource it. But that’s where many companies make a mistake.

You can outsource it cheaply, but you’re guaranteed trouble if you do. Instead, talk to multiple vendors to see how they work. Use one that charges at least competitive rates, if not more.

It’s far easier and less costly to start a business these days. But you still have to make wise decisions as you outsource. And hopefully, these get you on the right path to doing that.

At it Again: Google Experimenting with Local Business Cards

What new ranking changes does Google have in store? You never actually know. They test out a lot more than you think. Many of their changes never even roll out.

At Search Engine Land, SEO experts say Google is testing out a new feature called “local business cards.” And they’ve actually confirmed this with Google. You may have seen these already. They look something like this:


However, this hasn’t been rolled out on a large scale yet. So it’s possible you haven’t seen these. Currently, they’re being tested at the local level, so you won’t notice them for large companies or brands.

What Could Be Going on With These “Local Business Cards?”

You never know exactly what Google’s doing with any of its changes. As we like to say so much on this blog, you have to remember they are a for-profit company. Currently, they are worth $474 billion, which puts them about $79 billion behind Apple ($553 billion).

As with any company, the goal is to be number one. So how’s Google going to get there?

Well, their top revenue generator is Adwords PPC campaigns. And it’s their top dog by a large margin.

Take a look at how Google ranks local businesses to a certain extent right now:

This is called Google’s local 3-pack. Before the 3-pack, there was the 7-pack. And SEO experts believe that Google reduced the number from 7 to 3 so more businesses would move over to Adwords to get on the front page of Google.

Now if you notice, going back to the “local business card,” it shows two pieces of content from local businesses. And again, it takes up the top space of the first page of the search results.

That’s less real estate for other small businesses to use. And how many people will click around on that carousel to see the other results anyway? Many web designers advise against those scrolling carousels on websites because users don’t like them.

So that means user experience gets compromised to some degree. And that leaves only one reason Google could do this:

To roll in more profits.

Likely, Google wants to continue to optimize their PPC revenues, their most significant source of profits. They may be able to compromise user experience a little. So, they’re testing it out to see what happens.

Stay tuned to i5ww’s blog for more updates on this issue as it evolves.