Tidy Up the Internet

https://www.flickr.com/photos/katerha/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/katerha/

I know it sounds silly, but sometimes, when I see local businesses with multiple domain names with conflicting information, it makes me wish I could just get in there and Tidy Up a bit.

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These two search results are for the same business… but one is an old website and the other is new. There is conflicting information because the old website lists the old staff, old location and old hours. 🙁

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These two are also the same business… listing different phone numbers and the newer site with expanded services, images, and testimonials.

This can happen when website owners hire a new company to update or recreate their websites, but they don’t think about how to handle the old website.

The right steps to take are very simple to do and will benefit the business not only by keeping their web presence clean and tidy, but also by consolidating all the search engine trust and link value into one domain. That is a good thing. By having two domains you not only confuse your potential customers, you also confuse the search engines. And confused a search engines can’t rank your business well in the search results.

If your web presence needs a little Tidying Up, please drop us a note. Ask Joanne can help.

Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page – Copyblogger

Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page – Copyblogger.

Have you ever stared at something, knowing you’re doing everything right, but it still won’t … freaking … work?

That’s how Copyblogger has felt about its Facebook page for quite some time.

As of today, the page has 38,000 “fans,” but Copyblogger’s presence on Facebook has not been beneficial for the brand or its audience.

Watch Out for GoDaddy Phishing Emails

I’m generally not too vulnerable to phishing emails – that is, those emails that are sent to look like they are legit, but then give you a link to click on that requests login, banking or other personal information. Just this morning I received an email that appeared to be from GoDaddy about my account:

Dear Valued GoDaddy Customer.

Your account contains more than 8954 directories and may pose a potential performance risk to the server.

Please reduce the number of directories for your account to prevent possible account deactivation.

In order to prevent your account from being locked out we recommend that you create special tmp directory.

Or use the link below:
https://www.godaddy.com/make.aspx?user=392526094bcba21af9fd4102ce5ed092

Sincerely,
GoDaddy technical support.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Copyright (C) 1999-2014 GoDaddy.com, LLC. All rights reserved.

When I checked the link (by hovering over it and looking in the lower left hand corner of the browser window) I saw that while the link appeared to be going to GoDaddy, it was instead going to: http://www.billlatronica.com/wp-content/themes/logins.php

Curious, I clicked… and got to a page that looked like this:

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Take care. Watch your URLs, don’t login anywhere that doesn’t have the correct credentials.

SEO: Don’t Pay Per Keyword

I know that there are a lot of SEO companies out there that charge businesses by the keyphrase. That is, pay us $150+ per month for top rankings for 3 keyphrases. At first, it sounds like a good deal, right? Someone promising that you can get TOP rankings for at least a few phrases.

But here’s the thing… a large percentage of all queries in the search engines are unique queries (I am researching my stats here, but seem to recall reading that it was up about 58%).

So do you really want to put all your SEO eggs in only 3 keyword baskets? I don’t think so.

The value of keyword research is finding the keyphrase variations that people most commonly use related to your business. But even that is only your best guess at which keyphrases to optimize on. As I have recently mentioned, AdWords can be a great way to refine your best guesses into real data, but even so… you’re always trying to figure out the phrases that lead to action. And it’s an ongoing game, not a “once and done” proposition. That’s why it’s so important to review your analytics to see which words, which visitors, which traffic turns into the best customer for your business.

Ok, I will get off my soapbox. Before you jump into a contract with someone charging you by the keyphrase, make sure you know enough about your own business to know if those few phrases are really going to generate new business.

Why Watermark Your Images?

Any images that you put on your website can be indexed by Google, shared on Social Media and snagged and downloaded by people looking for images. Now, we hope that people are not indiscriminately stealing images from your website, but we actually hope that people are finding your site through Google image search or through Pinterest and other social media.

The trouble with the ubiquitous sharing of images is that often the images don’t link back to the originator’s website and if they are not watermarked in any way, there is no way for someone to find their way back to your site.

There are different types of watermarks. The one above is the simplest. This type can easily be created in a program like Picasa. When you export an image, you get the option to put a watermark on the image.

Watermark

 

Most photo editing programs will have some capacity for adding watermarks to images. In addition to Picasa, I also use PhotoShop Elements. Click here for the the help article for creating watermarks using PSE.

Transparent watermarks in the center of the image is the best way to make sure that people are not re-using your images for their own purposes. A lower right hand watermark (the only kind Picasa offers) is easier for people to crop out, but it serves the purpose of letting people know where the image came from. So, if the image was posted on Pinterest or other social media, at least people will be able to easily find their way to your website.

Negative Keywords in AdWords: Accentuate the Positive

If you are advertising on Google and you don’t know what negative keywords are, you need to find out.

Negative Keywords

Companies that are particularly vulnerable to not knowing about negative keywords are those that setup AdWords using Google’s Starter Campaign as well as those companies that employ a “set it and forget it” mentality for their AdWords campaigns.

Negative keywords are the words that you do NOT want to trigger your ads. They are words for things that you don’t sell or services you don’t offer. You can start your negative keyword list pretty easily by just thinking about related phrases that don’t apply to what you offer. For example, if you have a bookstore that sells only new books, you could use “used” and “free” as negative keywords.

If you are not sure which keywords you should add as negatives, take look at the Search Terms report in AdWords to find all the words that have triggered your ads in the last 30 days. In the Keywords tab in AdWords, click Details, and then All under Search Terms.

Search Terms ReportThe resulting report will show you keyphrases that triggered your ads to display. Based on the keyphrases on that list, you can determine which phrases should not have triggered your ads and add them as negative keywords.

I recently ran this report for a new client and they found that over the last 30 days they had paid $90 (30% of their monthly budget) for 87 clicks to their website for products they do not sell. Unless your campaign is setup with only exact match keyphrases, Google will show your ad for keyphrases related to those you specify.

By knowing and naming your Negative Keywords, you can Accentuate the Positive and make sure your ads only display for the correct keywords.

Let Your Domain Go Naked (non-www vs. www)

In the early days of the internet, everyone assumed that you MUST have the www in front of a domain name for it to work properly. As it happens, the www is just a way of indicating a “subdomain” of your main root domain. The root domain is always the domain name “naked” without the www, ie. http://askjoanne.com vs. http://www.askjoanne.com

I used to be a proponent of always using the www when identifying a domain name. This was partly because it was the most familiar format to people, and also because, if you precede your domain name with www in almost any email program, it will be automatically turned into a live link to your website. Lately, however, I have changed my tune and prefer to let my domain names go naked… without the www subdomain in front.

It really doesn’t matter which you decide to use, but you do need to decide. Since the search engines see pages http://askjoanne.com/what-askjoanne-does/ and http://www.askjoanne.com/what-askjoanne-does/ as 2 DIFFERENT pages, they can actually filter your site for what they consider to be “duplicate” content. Also, in getting links to your site, you want to make sure that all links are consolidated and go to the same domain (www or non-www), otherwise you “split” the strength and value of incoming links to your site across 2 different pages.

There are two steps to making sure you have a single primary domain name in use. Set your preferred domain name in Google Webmaster tools:

Set Your Preferred Domain

The next step is to setup a 301 redirect so that all traffic goes to one version of the site or the other, but not to both.

301 Redirect

 

Have you set your preferred domain? If not, you should. Questions? Ask Joanne.

Why Google AdWords is Worth the Money (when it’s done right)

At heart, I’m quite frugal. The idea of spending money to “buy” clicks to my website via advertising vs. creating really great content that just gets found naturally seems counter-intuitive. However, there is a way to use PPC (pay per click) advertising, like Google AdWords, in a very cost-effective way.

When you’re setting out to optimize your website, you make your best guess at the keywords and phrases that are likely to bring the right traffic to your site, that will result in conversions (leads, downloads, purchases, etc.) You optimize your site for those words and phrases and you watch and wait. Since you can no longer get detailed keyphrase data from Google analytics, you look at things like traffic sources, landing pages and top content to try to discern the best performing keywords. Your data is limited and you are still guessing at which keyphrases actually drove the conversions.

Running a short-term ad campaign starting with your best guess at the right keywords can provide a wealth of information… and not just guesses, you can get real quantifiable data on which keyphrases people used to find your site, which ads caused people to click-through to your site and which phrases have the highest conversion rates. You can even find related search terms and phrases that you may not have thought of before.

You can then take the data you’ve gathered via AdWords and use that information to create a much more effective optimization plan for your website. You can focus on the keywords that you KNOW create click-throughs and conversions. You can use the new keyphrases to target your blog content or expand your product or service listings. You can use related keyphrases to expand the descriptions of your products and services. You can use AdWords as a real-time, very effective research tool for improving your website.

There is a caveat though…. I DO NOT recommend using the “starter campaign” version of AdWords that sets up your campaign for you by leading you through a series of simple questions. Remember, Google’s goal is to get you to spend money on advertising with them, your goal is to make money from the advertising you do with them. Invest either the time or money (DIY or hire someone) to setup or revise your campaigns. Getting the “hard facts” on the right tightly targeted keyphrases that reach the right audience with the right message is well worth the time and effort.

Lazy Days of Summer

I haven’t been posting much lately, but that doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing… Here are a few things going on this summer:

  • I stopped using my personal Facebook account (it’s amazing how much time you gain when you’re not wasting it surfing FB.)
    left-facebook
  • Completed the Google Analytics Course – eCommerce Analytics: From Data to Decisions
    Google Analytics
  • Watched a very interesting Google Partner video on using Google Analytics to Improve AdWords Performance.
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  • I’m also checking out a new (to me) service called RivalIQ. It’s got a lot of fantastic competitive data on SEO, Keywords and very detailed social media analysis.

Throwback Thursday: How to Sort IE Favorites by Name

Way back in 2004, I wrote an article about how to sort Internet Explorer favorites by name. As with most of my articles, it was in response to a question a client had asked.

Currently, if you Google “sort favorites by name” my article is the top result:

Sort Favorites by Name

Unfortunately, because it was written so long ago, the instructions are wrong. Fortunately, someone else has written a great How To article for How to Sort Favorites in the current version of Internet Explorer (I found this after I couldn’t figure out the instructions on the Microsoft site!)

Just a friendly reminder that Google REALLY values age and longevity. So, if you’re contemplating putting up a website, or writing an article or blog post, Do it Now. Don’t wait.