Google Smashes Earnings Record in 2nd Quarter

Google posted record earnings in the 2nd quarter.

“We had a great quarter, with revenue up 32% year on year for a record breaking over $9 billion of revenue,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “I’m super excited about the amazing response to Google+ which lets you share just like in real life.”

Read the whole Google Earnings Statement…

While Facebook is huge, people still use Google for search and for selling ads.  They make so much money on ads because the top sites get lots and lots of traffic.  Does your site rank for high-traffic keywords?  Crush your competition with SEO combined with Social Media Solutions.  Contact Jeff at RedHotRankings.com for a free website analysis.

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Tony Robbins SEO Guru?

TonyIs Tony Robbins motivating?  Sure.  SEO Guru?  Not so sure.  Actually, I’m positive he’s not.  In fact it sounds like Tony Robbins is running a really big SEO scam.

I’ve had two calls asking if I know who Tony Robbins is (of course I do), and if I’ve heard he’s offering to get you on the first page of Google for 300 (yes, three hundred) keywords in something like 3 days.  The cost is anywhere from $3,600 to $25,000.  Wow!  Not cheap, but people trust Tony Robbins… I used to, but not anymore.

To get on the first page of Google for some long, obscure, even good-sounding keywords that nobody searches for, and therefore have no competition, is no big feat.  You may be able to get there just with linking, but so what?  You won’t have any traffic to your site since nobody searches for those keywords.  $3,600 for that?  How about $25,000?  No thanks.

Getting on page one of Google for a keyword or search term that people are actually searching for usually requires good content, a bit of on-page SEO, link building and possibly some social buzz.  But before you even start, you need to know much competition there is.  If the competition consists of big, established, highly optimized sites with really good SEO, it will take more than 3 days to rank higher than they do.

But Tony Robbins doesn’t promise you will rank higher than the “big boys” for competitive keywords, he just promises a page one listing for 300 search terms.  For the uninitiated, the difference may not be obvious until you find out that being on page one isn’t really all that helpful.  Being in the top 3 on the search engine results page is what matters.  Listings 4 – 10 get less than 25% of the clicks – combined.  Is it worth paying $3,600 to $25,000 to be in positions 4 – 10 for obscure keywords with zero search volume?

Positional click-through percentage

The following graph shows the percentage of click-troughs the first 10 results of the Search Engine Listings receive:

Search Engine Results Click Through Rate

So should you fall for Tony Robbins scam?  Business owners need good advise and guidance to be successful.  Fleecing them for $3,600 to $25,000 can wipe out the marketing budget of a small company.  They eagerly anticipate the phone ringing, but nothing ever happens.  I’ve seen too many business owners get ripped off and it limits their potential to grow, affects their employees, service levels, salaries, and everything else related to their business.

Resist the lure of a quick fix.  A good SEO company starts with market research and develops a plan that includes a focused list of target keywords that have the highest potential to deliver the best ROI for their client.  Good content should include the keywords, and the site requires links from good sites, not sites that could be banned as a span site next month causing you to lose all your links (something that happens all too often).

It won’t take a good SEO too long to get good rankings for keywords with significant traffic, but 3 days is crazy talk.  If your SEO can explain what is needed and why, and it sounds reasonable to you, then you may be in good hands.  If they say anything about 300 keywords in 3 days, hang up the phone quick as you can.

Top 3 Reasons 92% of Businesses Fail Online

Time and money are two things, none of us, especially business owners, can afford to waste.  But after consulting with hundreds of businesses, I have found enormous amounts of time and money wasted which erodes productivity (usually of their best employees), and adversely affects their bottom which limits the possibility of future growth.

I have defined the Top 3 Reasons Most Business Owners Fail Online to help businesses avoid these common mistakes.  This information is really tailored to brick-and-mortar “offline” businesses, but can be applied to online businesses, too.

Define your goal1) A Goal Was Not Clearly Defined.

Before you start creating a website, the goal must be defined and the competitive landscape analyzed.  It is critical you know what needs to be done to achieve your goal in terms of website site, SEO, link building and social media.

Many businesses feel they need a website but are not quite sure what to expect.  The website gets created so their customers can see they are online, but without a roadmap or plan, the goal is never achieved.

For example, let’s say you have a pool service company (or alarm monitoring, IT support, etc.) with 70 clients that pay you for a weekly or monthly service.  Your goal is to build the business to a point where you can retire someday, and you and your accountant figured your business needs to be three times as big.  So our goal for the first year is to double the business, or gain 70 new clients in one year.  Once a prospect calls, you know you have a 30% conversion rate, so you need 210 prospects to call you.  But the business is seasonal so we only have 7 months or 140 work days, so you need 1.5 good qualified leads to call you per day.  Now we know what needs to be done, and we track and measure our progress based on the roadmap we created and make adjustments as necessary.

Online presence2) Mistaking a Web Site for a Web Presence

Businesses often pay thousands of dollars for website that looks good, has their branding, logo, phone number, email address and maybe a contact form, and even some good content and a strong call to action.  Most would think they are done.  After all, the website designer said it was SEO optimized.  What more could possibly be needed?

No offense intended, but I have yet to meet a website designer who was proficient at optimizing a site for the search engines.  In my experience, website designers are creative people who make beautiful graphics, appealing layouts and have the technical skills to but it all in a website format.  But SEO requires data and detailed analysis, things not very interesting to the more creative mind.

The result is your website is online, but you guessed at the target keywords (instead of using data to choose the keywords) and really don’t know if that keyword is far too competitive or if anyone is really searching for that particular term or phrase.  And nobody is tracking the website statistics to determine how visitors found your site and then using that information to make adjustments.  It is just a website on the internet.

To have a presence online means when someone types a phrase into Google that is relevant to you business, you are the first, or at least one of the top listings, in the “natural” search area of the search engine results page.  Basically, this is the area where listings are shown, not ads or paid listings.

organic google listing

To get that top listing requires not only on-site SEO, but also off-site SEO which includes other sites linking to your site, geo-targeting with Google Places, and social media sites.  For more, see our blog post on advanced integrated marketing here.  Here again, the road map comes into play.  We need to know what kind and how much off-site SEO is needed to rank higher than the competition for your targeted keyword.  Without all of this information, you may as well be shooting in the dark.

burning money3) Spending Advertising Dollars in the Wrong Places

Spending advertising dollars in the wrong places is not only  a waste of money, but it is also a huge waste of time since it can take months before you realize your mistake.  Those months could have been spent on effective online promotion.  Signing a contract guarantees you will spend your money in the wrong place for a long time and allows your competitors to gain an advantage in the market.

Offline directories, such as the phone book yellow pages, are all but dead.  Almost everyone searches online when looking for just about anything.  So the phone books have moved online.  Listings here mostly result in solicitations from other businesses.  I’ve conducted informal surveys and have yet to meet anyone that went to an online phone book to search for a business.  To make matters worse, the phone book listings generally are not shown in the search engine results.

Yellow Pages in Trash

Lead providers for service companies often provide the same lead to multiple businesses.  Business owners have told me the quality of their leads has deteriorated over time, but the quality of leads to their own sites have increased dramatically.  There was a time when these companies provided an invaluable service, but it seems their time has passed.

Money down the toiletLocal online directories can be tempting to a local business owner.  It seems like being in a local directory would eliminate the need for SEO, social media and the rest since the local directory will create plenty of exposure to your target market, right?  The truth is local directories pose no competition to a company with a goal, a road map, a plan that is being executed.  A local directory listing is along side all the other local companies, and more importantly, nobody uses local online directories.

Here is the market share for the popular search engines according to hitwise.com.  It equals nearly 100%, meaning local directories are largely ignored.

  • Google.com  72%
  • Yahoo.com 14.96%
  • Bing.com 9.43%
  • Ask.com 2.18%

If your company is in a local directory, the listing for your company, and not your competitors, would have to show up in the search engines and rank higher than a highly optimized website.  This rarely, if ever happens.  Signing a long term contract for thousands of dollars with a local directory is one of the biggest wastes of time and money a local business owner could make.

To summarize, businesses that are successful online have a clear roadmap, we call it the Market Research Report, an online presence that includes effective SEO and Social Media marketing, and spend their marketing dollars where the ROI can be measured, adjustments can be made, all without expensive long term contracts.

Google Panda Update: What Affect Will It Have? (Google Farmer)

Google-Panda-UpdateThere has been a buzz about an update called “Panda” to the Google search algorithm.  It is also called “Farmer” in the news media.  It has many website owners, online businesses and Internet Marketers frantically wondering what effect it will have on their business.

The change is designed to reduce the rankings of low-quality sites.  What is a “low-quality” site?  Sites with little or no original content, content copied from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. The update will benefit high quality sites that provide a good user experience.  Sites with good original content, in-depth analysis, useful reports, interesting research and the like, should see better search engine rankings.

The big question many people ask is this: Will Google consider my site ‘low quality’ and penalize my site with a low ranking?”

Google seems to “play it close to the vest” with what seem to be intentionally ambiguous answers.  Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google gives general guidelines, but nothing too specific. With the size of the web and huge variety of websites, getting too detailed would cause a great deal of questions and anxiety among website owners.  So we are left to trial and error and sharing our results.

Here is the main goal of the Panda:  “Thou shalt not run a website that is a content farmer”. This begs the question “what is considered a content farm?”

News sites are a good example of content farms since many are simply aggregator sites.  The DrudgeReport.com gets over 35,000,0000 hits a week and publishes no original content.  Will their ranking be affected?  Frankly, I don’t think it matters since the site is so well established, but smaller sites could certainly feel the impact.

Article directories and press release sites are two examples of sites typically considered content farms.  Article directories receive articles from submission services that submit the same articles to literally hundreds of other article directories. Ditto for press release sites.

But chances are your site is a legitimate business, often a brick and mortar business with an online presence, and not a directory.  So how will the update affect your site?

Google_Panda_UpdateHow Can You Benefit from Google Panda?

While low quality sites will certainly be affected, sites that offer unique, quality content are experiencing an improvement in their search engine rankings.  Better rankings mean more traffic and more revenue.

Here are some practical tips you can implement in your business to get the best results from Google Panda:

1. Content is still King!

Good quality, original content will yield the best results.  What you know about your business, industry or market is your most valuable asset.  Create good blog posts, web pages or articles using what you already know… just don’t make it into a sales pitch.  Just write about what you know and you will probably meet your visitor’s expectations.  A little controversy helps, too!

Focus on making your content:

  • Enlightening
  • Entertaining
  • Educational / informative

These are 3 key elements for good content.

2. Humans first and search engines second

If you or your SEO specialist is focused on keyword stuffing (I’m not talking about keyword targeting, but keyword stuffing, which is different) or any other gray or black hat techniques to “game” the search engines, knock it off.  Next algorithm change could destroy all your work.  Good content that is still keyword targeted, meant for humans, will give you the best results in the near and long term.

3. Check your old content

Do you have old, stale or out-dated content?  You may want to freshen it up.  I wouldn’t delete it since you may have links to the page, but add some updates.  If you have duplicate content, delete it or rewrite it.  Not sure if you have duplicate content?  http://www.copyscape.com/ is a good resource to check for duplicate content.

4. Social Media

Effective use of social media provides proof that people like your site and your content.  This is very powerful.  If you see and article that dozens of people “Like” with the Facebook thumbs up, you may want to take a look at it. Google notices too and indexes Facebook.  If you have not figured out how to use social media, now would be a good time to outsource that task to an experienced SEO firm.  In fact, you can give this article a “Thumbs Up” at the bottom if you like it, and I hope you do.

What is the verdict?

For news aggregators, affiliate marketers and others who use copied web pages, article directories and the like, it could be game over, or time for a change in strategy at least.  Google Panda is a friend to those of us creating quality content for our visitors.

What is the Right SEO Strategy in 2011?

What is right SEO strategy these days?  And what about all that “Social Media” stuff I keep hearing about… how does that come into play?

Basically, in 2011, “what 3 things should be included in your 2011 SEO strategy”.   This question was answered by Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google.  If anyone know, Matt knows.

What are the 3 things should be included?  He really gives more than 3 things, but to summarize:

  1. Optimizing for speed.  Users like fast loading pages.  Minifying java script, etc. can help.
  2. On-site SEO with the Content Management System and internal linking within the website.  A CMS is really only needed for large websites constantly publishing lots of new content.
  3. Social Media Marketing.

In his own words:

 

Social Media can be a missing link to any SEO strategy.  Come again?  Social Media is part of SEO?  In 2010, Google began indexing how many times sites are “Liked”, “Dugg”, tweeted, etc., which now makes Social Media part of the linking strategy for any website owner.

The problem is how to effectively use Social Media.  It can be very confusing, extremely time consuming and entirely ineffective approached in the wrong way.  However proper content syndication can eliminate the barriers to success.

The combination of Social Media and SEO is what we call Advanced Integrated Marketing.  It’s a powerful combination proven to increase rankings for more visitors, more customers and more revenue for your business.

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SEO For Web2.0 – An Integrated Marketing Approach

Web2.0 is a term that describes the evolution of the web that now includes social media.  SEO for Web2.0 requires an integrated marketing approach.  An Atlanta SEO company has developed a unique approach called “Advanced Integrated Marketing”.  If you are ready to embrace the power of Social Media with SEO for Web2.0, you will gain a competitive advantage today and in the future.

Social Media sites have begun to dominate the internet to the point where Google introduced a new search algorithm in August 2010 called “Caffeine” to account for Social Media Buzz.

google caffeine

Social Media consists of many popular sites, such as Facebook, Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, YouTube and others.  The problem?  Effectively promoting your business using Social Media is very time consuming.  It requires creating entertaining, enlightening or interesting content, promoting it on multiple networks and then getting others to take notice and promote it also.

What is SEO for Web2.0?  To get ranked highly in Google, you need SEO, good content and backlinks.  Everyone knows this.   But now there is one additional ingredient required as a result of the Caffeine update:  you also need traffic.  This is a real “Catch 22” situation for anyone trying to promote their website online.  After all, how can you get traffic if you do not rank?  But now Google won’t rank a site without traffic?  Seems like a trap until the power of social media is taken into account.  If other people like your content on social media sites and vote for it, Digg it, Like it, etc., you will begin to get traffic to your site.

But this gets back to the problem of the time required to promote your content on social networks.  Does this mean the web is now only for big corporations with the resources to hire teams of professionals to promote their content on social networks?  Not necessarily, but a more advanced and integrated approach is needed for effective online marketing.  Have you heard of content syndication?  It is the most effective way to harness the power of the social media, social voting and social news sites.  And it’s not just for big companies.  Anyone can plug-in to an effective content syndication network and begin to see just how powerful social sites have become.

To ignore the power of social networks is simply ignoring the evolution of the web.  But you can take advantage of this relatively new phenomenon to increase traffic to your site and grow your online presence.