QR Codes Engage Users Fast

Contact Us by QR Code
Contact Us by QR Code

Now that you has seen QR Codes or Quick Response Codes on brochures and even store price cards how can you use them too? Here are a few of my suggestions.

Add a QR Code to Your Print Brochures
Add a QR Code to your print brochure, you can send your user to your home page or better yet send them to a custom created landing page that has a special offer to allow you to actually measure the results of your exposure from a trade show, speaking engagement or direct mail piece.

Offer Special Coupon Codes and Promotions
Want to track smartphone users? As most desktop users are not using QR Code scanners, you can encode special offers as a text snippet and even embed a special coupon code in a QR Code that can then be used immediately by smartphone users.

Encourage FourSquare and Google+ Local Reviews
By embedding your QR Code on your menu or guest check, restaurants can encourage visitors to interact immediately with location specific places to share their favorite spots with others and encourage visitors to even leave service reviews.

Print a QR Code on the back of your business card
With the ability to embed a vCard in your QR Code, you can make it easy for smartphone users to add your contact information to their phone and if they are syncing to Outlook will appear there too.

How do you think you will use a QR Code? Just click comments and let me know your suggestion too.


SEO Checklist for Websites Around 50 Pages

You’ll want to watch this video from Maile Ohye at Google for more great tips. Just click the video at the bottom of this post or watch it online: http://youtu.be/El3IZFGERbM.

Here are my tips interspersed with those from Maile:

1. Decide if you are going to show your website as http://www. or simply http:// alone. Whichever one you chose set up a 301 direct for the other on your server. This prevents Google from indexing your pages as duplicates.

2. Make sure to do a background check on your domain to make sure it was not used by spammers.

3. Make sure to set up your Google Webmaster Control panel account. Google will advise you of problems with your website here and you can also check the crawl, search queries that trigger your site and also submit new page URLs for indexing.

4. Make sure to implement Google Analytics. You’ll want to make sure to track your success online.

5. Make sure you are developing your site for your readers. Make sure your navigation is practical for your audience. Keep your pages short and on one topic only.

6. Define what a conversion means for you. Is it a purchase, a lead, or newsletter sign up. Ask for a conversion on every page.

7. Make sure you use appropriate keywords on every page. By keeping only one topic on a page, you can better keep your keywords to a fairly narrow focus.

8. Make sure to use keywords in the file name as lower case and hyphen (not underscore) separated.

9. Don’t use click here. Include descriptive anchor text when you link out and link to internal site pages.

10. Do not hire SEOs that guarantee a site ranking. Maile says that businesses cannot guarantee any Google rankings so don’t be fooled into purchasing services from bogus promises.

Make sure to watch the video below for even more great tips.


Building Your Website for the Future

What gets the thumbs up for websites?
What gets the thumbs up for websites?

Based on what search engines are valuing and devaluing for organic placement what’s a business owner to do with optimizing their website to try to garner top organic search placement?

1. Build your site and create your content as if there were no search engines. Over time, organic search results will become so unique and so personalized that there will be no way to beat the system in the future. So instead, it is by far better to start now focusing on creating a winning online presence that caters to your local users and focuses on creating your business as an authority in your industry.

2. Look for more ways to promote your business and website in ways other than just in the organic search results. Consider pay per click advertising promotion, newsworthy press releases, writing articles for industry magazines, and creating question and answer articles for your local newspaper.

3. Focus on location specificity in your content and on your website. Work to own your local marketplace. Make sure your phone number and address with full location and zip code are placed on every site of your website.

4. Work to connect with local resources like the Chamber of Commerce and other local business organizations. You can participate plus show a link to your website when you become a member. But remember this is way more than just building local links, this is about working your local network and building a location specific base. If you are a brick and mortar store, building loyalty programs with a smartphone app now becomes incredibly important as Google will use the data from smartphone users who actually visit your location to boost your results in the organic search results both in mobile and on desktops.

5. Watch the bounce rates on your website pages. It used to be a good strategy to include a lot of informational content on your website to build traffic numbers, but now that strategy may be driving a 70% to 80% bounce rate on your site which you must now work actively to lower to the industry average of about 46%. That may mean getting rid of articles and informational content that had been built before to solely establish industry authority.

Many of the things that search engines are now valuing to provide tailored organic search results are simply not scammable. It is becoming very difficult to garner search placement based on a strategy of serving content to please search engines. Instead, I recommend the tactic of becoming meaningful to your location specific users and supplement national visibility with pay per click advertising.


Search Engines – What’s In and What’s Out

What gets the thumbs up from search engines?
What gets the thumbs up from search engines?

There’s lots of chatter in my industry about the future of search engines and how Google’s new algorithms are changing the landscape of how business owners work to keep and improve their website’s placement on Google. What seem apparent to me is that the following important trends are surfacing and impacting what we see in the organic results.

What’s In?

1. Search results returned by location specificity. But not only your Google.com preference location that you have set, but by your mobile search history and actual Google recorded locations over time.

2. Search results returned by click through rate and bounce rate gathered by Google by users of the Chrome browser and Android tablet and smartphone operating systems. Anything Google can track it is and it appears to be using this aggregate information in returning search results.

What’s Out?

1. The ability to impact search results by building links and enhancing on-site keyword density.

2. The ability to impact search results by crafting title tags and H1 tags by page to try to boost search rankings.

3. Links from social media and activity on social media. Google is appearing to devalue these types of signals which is a reversal from their announcement that they were using them in their search algorithm over a year ago.

My Conclusion

As social activity can be spammed just like link building, Google appears to be devaluing these items in favor of location specificity through concrete user tracking based on search history and location. Just try to turn off Wi-Fi on your smartphone and you’ll see what I mean. In your Android system, Google keeps turning it back on as it uses Wi-Fi to track your location in order to know where you are so as to develop a better profile on you to determine what results to show you. Even if you turn it off, it will go back on.

Keep in mind that Google has now actively worked to tie your smartphone number to your desktop and tablet Google account and so now understands the full picture of who you are, where you live, and what you do based on your activity online and offline.

Google is using all this data on you to serve search results tailored just to your needs. It’s all about relevancy. See my next post on Thursday to see what you can and should do with your website based on what search engines are evolving to like for organic placement.


Are You Really Working Negative Keywords in AdWords to Your Benefit?

Educate yourself on the value of negative keywords in Google AdWords.
Educate yourself on the value of negative keywords in Google AdWords.

Keywords are the backbone of a successful AdWords campaign, but negative keywords are the “secret sauce” that make a program truly successful.

Negative keywords in an AdWords account will limit the search queries where an ad will show on Google search, but not quite as effectively in the Display network. That being said, the inclusion of negative keywords into every AdWords program is something that should be done and routinely reviewed.

Here are some of my tips on developing your own negative keyword list for your AdWords account.

1. Create a standard list you can use for every program but review it first before using as some keywords may not be appropriate for every campaign. Some I routinely use are: free, discount, info, information, forum, reviews, stories, school, job, hire, career.

2. Decide if you want to add all your keywords to the negative keyword field as broad match or if you would like to use phrase match instead or in addition to the broad match keywords you’ve added. This requires a little bit of thought; think how searches for your product would be done. I will typically add a combination of both.

3. Do a reality check and monitor your account for actual search queries. If you are seeing keywords that are not targeted to what you are really selling, take some time to review if you need to expand the negative keywords you are using. You may find that there are new versions you may want to add. An easy way to do additional negative keyword discovery is to use the “add keywords” button just above the keyword table. Look at the keywords that Google is suggesting that you add. Look over the list, you’ll find all kinds of additional keywords that may really not be about your product or service and these keywords will give you great ideas on new negative keywords to add.

4. If you add your negative keywords as broad match, you will not need to create such an extensive list as Google will also use synonyms and close variations in your negative list as a nice benefit of using broad match.

5. Watch your AdWords alert button for negative keyword conflicts that Google will tell you about over time. Sometimes you will want to leave the keyword in place and sometimes you may want to remove it.

If you need help with your AdWords program, I invite you to find out more about our AdWords set up and management services.


Google is Serious About Smartphone Compatibility

Google Blog Screen Shot
Google Blog Screen Shot

Google is serious about forcing you to address smartphone compatibility on your website. In fact if you do not design now to accommodate smartphones Google is now actually lowering your Google AdWords Quality Score for your landing page. Now there is an even bigger penalty in Google Mobile Search.

On the Google blog this past week, Google showcased this image showing how it will now be tagging results in the mobile search results showing when a site is using a tool like DudaMobile or other service that simply redirects a user to the home page of a website and not the page mentioned in the actual search results.

That’s a huge black eye and sure to now kill any mobile traffic for sites that are not properly serving up mobile optimized content. With Google predicting that smartphone searches will eclipse desktop and tablet searches this year, Google is getting serious about search quality for smartphones.

You can read the full article from the Google blog and see a large photo of the return in the results red flagging sites that are not mobile responsive and redirect mobile users to the site home page not the real content.

Make sure that you read the details of what Google is now revealing on their best practices for websites and how to serve and design websites that are responsive as surely Google will be penalizing sites in the future that do not adhere to their best practices.

If you need a responsive website, I invite you to check our service offerings.