Best Ways to Build Website Visibility and Organic Placement

Two small statues on top of a computer shaking hands.
How do you improve traffic and visibility?

What is the best way to build visibility and traffic on your website as well as to place better organically (unpaid search results)? These three issues really go hand in hand. What you do to build traffic and visibility will typically benefit your site organically.

Here are my top picks as to where you should consider spending your money to get more activity on your website.

1. For immediate traffic, but at a cost, there is simply no replacement for Google AdWords. AdWords will not only drive immediate traffic, but immediate leads. When you need quick activity, this is the place to turn first.

2. To improve visibility and improve organic placement over time, blogging is still hands down the best way to build natural links and get the attention of search engines. The big caveat is however that you need to blog well, consistently, and write shareable information. If your blog posts are simply redux of your services, all about you, and do not explain or answer a question, you will not build links and provide strong value for readers. You will not build traffic, you will not build links, and you will not get shares. It used to be that most clients blogged three times a week, but now the trend appears to be blogging once a week with longer more creative content.

3. Social media helps to build buzz and helps to pass your shareable content around the web and to drive traffic to your blogsite and website. If you are just blogging and not sharing your blog posts on social media you may never tap into the true power of the web to create the traffic that you really thought you wanted or that you needed. Great content works hand in hand with social sharing. If you don’t have the time or budget to do this, go back and read number one and just stick with that approach – paid advertising.

4. E-newsletters continue to be an excellent way to build rapport with existing customers. It is three times more expensive to get new customers than it is to continue to sell or to build a sale with an existing customer. E-newsletters keep your name in front of your clients and provide for an easy avenue to share information, soft sell new services, and to position yourself as the “go-to” person for your areas of expertise. Besides that creating an e-newsletter list has strong intrinsic value. You can sell your list if you sell your business. E-newsletters appear to have strong staying power. It is not unusual for a client to read and then re-read a newsletter and touch base with you several days to a month after you’ve sent one. But here’s the caveat, just like number 2, your content has to be great, of value, interesting, not too self-serving, and be written in an interesting manner.

If 2, 3,  or 4 seem like too much trouble, you are a candidate for number one – paid advertising. It may seem hard to get started on building content and earning inbound links, but it is something that every single business should invest in as one part of their marketing program.

If you need help getting going on the web, I invite you to check out my firm at www.McCordWeb.com. I think that you will like what you see, find us affordable, and that we are a knowledgeable in positioning your website for improved traffic.

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OneDrive Versus Google Drive for Remote Teamwork – Who Wins?

 

Image of file folders
Working remotely on files is easy with OneDrive or Google Drive

I employ a number of tech specialists and interact daily with them to task them, pass files, give directions, load files, and pick up completed files. This allows me to easily expand my workforce, utilizing quality team members, that are not located in my same city.

I have tried a number of tools to stay connected and help them perform effectively for me. Two applications that I have really taken head to head have been Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. I actually use both, but here’s how they stack up for my needs and what I have found I like about each one.

Ease of Use:  Winner – OneDrive
In working with non-tech savvy employees who just really need to get to work and don’t want to take a lot of time to understand a system – OneDrive wins.

Although Google Drive can work for some staffers, the learning curve may require real hands on. The issue of setting up sharing, figuring out if they can save your file, having to turn the Google docs file into an Office compatible file are simply stumbling blocks for some in my remote workforce.

Integration with Your Desktop: One Drive – Google Drive a Tie
I love that when I install both programs, they automatically integrate into my file tree in Microsoft’s File Explorer. It is super simple to pull files out, load them in, and synching is automatic to your entire staff once set up.

Easy Set Up: Winner – Google Drive
As for easy setup, both are pretty easy, but Google Drive I think is easier. You simple send an invite to a Google account email address and then right click on the user to assign them properties of what they can use. OneDrive is pretty easy, but not quite as simple as Google Drive.

Features: Winner OneDrive
If all you need is file sharing and transferring, both OneDrive and Google Drive will do the job, but if you need remote access, integration with your team calendar, integrated instant messaging, and Skype, I personally like OneDrive.

Working on the Same File: Winner Google Drive
This is actually the only issue I have found I wish OneDrive would improve on where Google Drive has OneDrive beat. Two people can work on the same file at the same time. That can’t happen in OneDrive. If two do, OneDrive will make two copies of the file and it is up to you to decide which one to keep. My team and I just know on really important files when we can access them – we time share or I pull files out of a workbook, have my team work on the pulled out files and then when done overwrite my master file.

Both may be worth your while to try out. You can download One Drive here: https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/download/

You can download Google Drive here: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/drive

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Use Dynamic Search Ads to Complement Your AdWords Programs

Google Partner Badge
McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

If you are looking for a way to increase AdWords activity in your account while keeping click costs low, make sure you test Dynamic Search Ads.

I like to set up a separate campaign for dynamic search advertising instead of just creating dynamic search ads within an existing ad group. I feel that I have better control over the program and potential click costs. Typically dynamic search ads will be about one half of the cost of a regular keyword targeted program.

Dynamic search ads work by using the power of Google Search; Google knows what pages exist on your website and when you set up dynamic search ads, you tap into this power. Google will match a users search query to pages on your website, create, on the fly, an ad title for you and even take the person that clicks the ad to the page that speaks to that specific search by dynamically creating the destination URL.

There are no keywords with this type of campaign and dynamic search programs are really great for driving quality targeted traffic. Using this with ecommerce programs is a must.

One word of caution, make sure to keep an eye on your dynamic search ad categories and know your content. For example, you may want to create a negative category for your blog pages so you are not driving traffic to informational content. You may want to create a negative category for ecommerce pages that show a product out of stock. Just be a little savvy in set up, and dynamic search ads can be a great supplement for just about every AdWords advertiser.

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My Predictions for the Web for 2015

New-York-New-Year-2014[1]
Nancy McCord’s 2015 Predictions
It’s getting close to the end of the year and I’m getting the jump on the rest with my predictions for what we will see in 2015 on the Web. Here’s what I see as important for my industry and for business owners to take notice of.

1. The Mobile Web and Google
This whole next year expect to see more activity from Google in regards to refining how websites are ranked based on mobile friendliness. If you at the minimum do not have a DudaMobile website to turn you not so friendly mobile site into one that Google will like, now’s the time to make that move. Better yet is to invest in rebuilding your website using a responsive design which will serve you better in the long run.

2. Mobile Pay Will Be Hot
As all merchants will need to upgrade their swipe terminals to accept the new SIM card personal identifier in credit cards, Brian Shea of Seven Sages and I predict that nearly all merchants will move to the contactless pay terminals allowing greater use of mobile payments with Apple Pay and Softcard. I really like Mobile Pay and predict that this will really change our world in 2015 and 2016. Thanks Brian for the tip on terminals.

3. Organic Listings Will be Pushed Below the Fold on Google.com
Google is continuing to try to keep visitors on their site even longer with the Knowledge Graph and the Carousel. I expect to see Google continue to add even more location specific content on the Google.com page pushing true organic listings even lower on the page and these may actually be pushed below the fold. This will drive more businesses into Google AdWords for visibility. As the lines are blurred even further between paid ads and unpaid listings I expect to see strong growth in Google’s income as more businesses vie for the limited ad spaces.

4. Facebook Will Be in Direct Search Competition With Google
I don’t expect to see this in early 2015, but I would expect to see Facebook launch its own search engine by the end of 2015. I expect to see it branded with personal reviews and friend’s activity, making it a powerful competitor to Google. I am expecting to see developments in this area by late 2015 and early 2016. I feel that Facebook is looking to be more than a social news site and looking to go head to head with Google AdWords but in a unique creative way that will cause huge issues for Google’s market share.

5. Twitter Will Try to Become “Facebook”
In 2015 I expect Twitter to continue to try to attract more readers onto their home page and may actually drop the ability for so many third party apps to post content. I expect to see Twitter try to control scheduling of posts by either creating their own posting scheduling app or selecting only approved vendors. Twitter is looking to innovate and to stay vital, it will need to work to re-invent itself new technology in 2015 or start to lose market share.

Those are my top five predictions for 2015. Do you have any of your own you want to share, just leave them in comments.

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Try It Friday: Paying with Verizon’s Softcard and Your Smartphone

Watch me pay for food at McDonalds with my smartphone using Verizon’s Softcard app and my Galaxy S5.

Make sure to read the blog posts from earlier this week on how to set up Softcard and how to get it working. I have to say I think Mobile Pay is one of the most revolutionary changes since smartphones and the Internet. I believe it will change how we live our lives for the better. I personally love it, find it super fast, and feel that in the next year all retailers will embrace mobile pay.

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Verizon Softcard: Tips to Activate It and Use It Part Two

Continued from Monday.

The American Express Serve Card
The American Express Serve Card

Now that you’ve got cash on your phone, how do you spend it? Well first if you are in Waldorf, don’t waste time trying to buy something at CVS. They have their readers turned off. The problem is not your phone, but them.

1. Open your Softcard app. Enter in your unique PIN number, and turn on NFC that’s Near Field Communication. You can access this in settings typically in the button that you use to access your mobile hot spot, but look for NFC.

2. Your card will show on the screen. Hold your phone vertical and touch the bottom third of the phone to the payment screen with the contactless pay icon (you want to touch the screen where your Sim card is installed). The Serve card on the screen will move forward and off the screen looking like a swipe action. The cashier will then let you know if all has gone through and complete your transaction. While doing this, my phone vibrated. There was no “ding” like the videos for contactless pay show online.

3. That’s it super simple, fast, and way cool!

I personally think that mobile pay and contactless pay is the future. I thought I would never use it, but now that I have I am thinking of ways to use it more.

Here’s my short list on how I’m already or going to use Softcard:

1. Take no cash or very little on travel. I’ll use my Softcard.

2. Have reporting about my cash transactions from the Serve card website.

3. Send my kids into the store to buy things without having to go in – just send my phone!

4. Stop carrying my huge wallet with tons of credit cards – I don’t need them anymore, just my phone.

5. Shift to a smaller purse and wallet as now I just need my phone for payment.

I have to say that Softcard and mobile pay are revolutionary. It is a huge step forward. I think that the technology is still maturing, but in the next year I would expect to see all retailers move to swipe machines with contactless payments available.

Here are the stores where I am using mine at right now: McDonald’s, Verizon to pay a bill or buy something, Coke machines (wow – that is way cool), Footlocker. The two Subways I went to did not take Softcard, but they are on the apps map as doing so. CVS is also on the map as taking it, but Softcard did not work at two locations in my area.

Add to my list by clicking comments and leaving your thoughts.

Oh, thanks to our local Verizon store manager who helped me with my Softcard. It is hard to find good troubleshooting information out there when you have a problem. Instead go into your Verizon store and ask a rep who is using it now.

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