Make Sure You Don’t Get Locked Out of Your Own Business

I see this all the time, it is not uncommon at all. A business person buys an existing business, several months or years down the road they want to solve problems with organic placement and find out that they have no access to the important tools that control their online presence.

For any business owner considering buying an existing business, these are the things you should demand before the final payment for your new business changes hands. Then verify that they have been done before you sign over the last check.

  1. Domain name registration should be transferred to you.
  2. You should have the admin URL, login, and password for your domain control panel. Verify this! Make sure that if you needed to change your domain name servers you have access to do so. This allows you to change web hosts when you want without hassle.
  3. Your web hosting should be in your name and you should have administrative rights to the account and know how to login so you can set up new email accounts, and change passwords to lock old owners out.
  4. You should be an administrator on your business’ Google AdWords account. If the old business owner used his email address to set up the account, he or she needs to relinquish this email account to you or have Google AdWords change it to yours before you make your last payment to them. Don’t be satisfied with anything less than administrative rights.
  5. You should be an administrator on your Google Analytics account. Once you are an administrator, you can remove all old business owners and account managers from accessing your Google Analytics account. Don’t be satisfied with anything but administrative privileges. If the original business owner cannot do this for some reason, ask to be made a standard user so you can see the traffic, but demand that before you exchange final payment that a new Google Analytics account be set up with you as administrator and the new Google Analytics tracking code be installed on the website at their expense. This will allow you access to the old stats but full control moving forward. Demand that the old account remain in place for a minimum of two years.

You will never have more leverage to get what you want than before you make your final payment or before you pen your final signature to a contract. I have seen a number of instances when new owners simply did not know to make these changes and we have had to re-mediate them at expense to the new business owner. Be smart, be careful, and make sure you are not locked out of some of the most important tools to grow your new business. You should be in control not the old owner or an old account manager.


SEO is Out – Web Visibility is In

SEO as we have known it over the past ten years is dead. What has taken its place is Web Visibility.

No longer can a website focus on keyword density and keyword stuffing to get organic search placement using traditional SEO tactics; instead the approach to garner placement is about web visibility.

What exactly do I mean by web visibility?

The new approach for organic placement is multi-pronged. Now, what’s important and garners improved organic placement and protects your site from serious placement fluctuations in the SERPs is much more than code tweaking. Here’s what I think is important for websites interested in moving up in search placement and real world experience.

  1. Have great unique content on your website.
  2. Have a targeted home page that is more than pictures, but not all text.
  3. Cater to your audience based on trends you see in questions, sales, and buyer activity.
  4. Make sure you are using your meta title and meta description tag properly on each page.
  5. Make sure you are blogging on-domain not off-domain.
  6. Do a press release and send it out via PR Web every quarter.
  7. Get going on Twitter and make sure you have great content.
  8. If Facebook makes sense for your business get going and work to interact.
  9. Consider writing articles for Google Knoll and several other high profile content sites linking back to your website.
  10. Develop a content building program for your website based on traffic and bounce statistics.

The key is to not be static. Watch your website statistics, pay someone to analyze them if you don’t know how on a monthly or quarterly basis. Know what is happening on your website in regards to what readers are reading and where your sales are coming from. From what you find out take action to improve and build your online presence in a smart way.

Garnering organic placement is much more than keyword density it is about what you are doing as a strategy in many areas across the Web. That’s web visibility!


Using Freeloaders to Your Advantage

You’ve hit the tipping point on all you do and now your website traffic is continuing to rise, in fact you’ve never had so many visitors to your website before, but your conversions have not grown at the same rate, what can you do?

First, it is great to be successful and have a high traffic site, but if you are not converting your readers into buyers you may want to consider a new strategy to specifically market to the reader-freeloaders on your website. Much of what you will select to do will be based on your specific sales goals.

If you are a local seller and your traffic has grown, but when you look in Google Analytics most of your traffic is outside of your service area, I would enjoy the numbers and know that Google will eventually award you with improved organic placement. However, I would put your out of area readers to work for your benefit by actively asking them to Google +1 your pages or like you on Facebook. You’ll then be able to get SEO juice off of the traffic that will never convert to a sale for you.

If you sell nationally or service locally but also sell products nationally, I would take a careful look at your traffic and the pages where you think you have freeloaders. On those pages you will need to evaluate if you should follow my advice on Google +1 and Facebook or if the pages are good areas for you to advertise the products you sell nationally.

If they are a good fit with product sales, then start by creating your own banners, buttons, and links to your store to promote your own products. If you are going to provide great informational content, you should work to have the readers who like what you say move into your store to buy, Google +1 you, like you on Facebook, or be added to your email subscriber list. Which direction you take or multiple directions will depend on the information specific to your site. The key is to put the traffic to work for you! Don’t just invest your time and money into a well trafficked website, move your readers to action that will benefit your long term approach and goals.


Insights on Why Your Website Has Dropped Organic Placement

I found this terrific article and wanted to share it with you. It is “10 Reasons Your Site’s Search Engine Ranking Dropped
by Paul M Ventura on SitePro News. You can read the full article by clicking the  article title above. Paul shows some terrific insight into why your site may  have dropped organic placement on Google in light of some of Google’s recent  algorithm changes.

In a nutshell here are his reasons interspersed with some of my own  comments:

  • The Google Honeymoon Ended
    I’ve seen this before, new  sites start out strong and then after about four weeks fall to their more  realistic organic placement on Google. If you evaluate the site in the first  several weeks that the site has been added to the index you may be placed well,  but check again in about 8 to 10 weeks for more realistic expectations on where  your site will normally reside so you can start improvements.

  • Google Sandbox Effect Started
    This isn’t talked about  much, but I have seen in highly competitive industries such as real estate  site’s not even get listed in the Google index until other sites have started to  link to it. They can sit in the sandbox all alone for as long as six months
    while Google evaluates where they belong organically. A good plan is to do  article writing for links during this period to start building links. Another  recommendation is to do press releases during this period to start building  legitimate links as well.

  • Algorithm Updates/Link Juice Lost
    With the Panda/Farmer  update having penalized many article syndication sites, I feel that Paul has  some good insight here in that your site may have had links from these sites  that were penalized and so your site dropped in placement as well.

  • Malware
    Don’t think you have it? Well if you have a  WordPress blog on-domain, you’d better be monitoring. Why wait until Google has  you banned or blocked in the organic results. It is better to proactively scan  your site and WordPress files on a regular basis. I was even hacked and never  had been before. It can happen to the best of us with serious consequences.

  • Server Issues
    Has your site been down? We have several  clients where they are hosted on small no name companies and on their Google
    Webmaster Control Panel the robot is constantly reporting it cannot find or  access files. Move to a new host when possible if you are seeing this problem.

  • Robot.txt File Problems
    Webmasters can get carried away  with permissions to the Google spider. I’ve seen two situations where the  webmaster inadvertently disallowed access in this important file that all search  engine indexing spiders access before they spider your website. Make sure you  have the correct permissions and block only the files you need to block.

  • Penalization
    Did your last SEO firm or webmaster use  “black hat” techniques, hidden links, and keyword stuffing to get you organic
    placement before? How about keyword dense text the same color as your page  background? Think you are clean? Think again. I saw hidden text on a large  attorney website that had been installed by their website designer to scam the
    system. Don’t get your website penalized by these tactics. Google will not be  mocked.

  • Broken Links
    Check and check again. For blogs you can  use a plugin. For other sites use Dreamweaver to scan for broken links.

  • Duplicate Content
    I install on my site meta tags that  show me to be the content owner. Make sure when you add new content pages that
    you tag yourself in the code as the owner. Google is getting pretty smart on  this one, but there are still scrapper sites that may grab your content. When I  find them I send a cease and desist notice to the webmaster and if they don’t  remove my content I report them and the page to Google’s spam department and if  I get really made to their web host with a take down notice. Don’t make yourself  crazy over this, but it is a good idea to check your top trafficked pages with  online scanning tools. I use Copyscape and Dustball for this.

  • The Google Dance
    Grab your partner right? No, the  Google Dance is a phenomena where your search results will fluctuate wildly the  first week and sometime two weeks after Google does a big algorithm update. Hang  on and don’t freak out the first time you check your placement. Check again in  one week and then in a second before you start remediation just to make sure you
    aren’t dancing with Google. If you are your site will pop back up at the end of  the dance. Maybe not in the exact position, but nearly where you were before.

I think Paul nailed the ten topics in the article, the comments on each topic  are mine garnered from years of experience.