That is not the case with the LBC! Take a look at this graphic –
This is a screen shot from the analytics account of one of my customers, a custom furniture maker here in Albuquerque. He is a small one man shop. His site traffic has always been small as he never wanted to go to the trouble and expense to get ranked high in the organic rankings. His site severed more as a photo album for his traffic and that was just fine with him. What the graphic shows is that he was running along at about 40 – 50 visits a week to his site until the end of January. That’s when I put a simple listing into the LBC for his business. The very next week, his traffic doubled! Not only is he getting more calls, but his walk in traffic has increased as well.
The thing that amazed me the most was the speed with which this change occurred. Normally, any type of SEO is very slow. With the LBC, your changes are recognized within minutes. There is simply nothing that compares with this in terms of making your phone ring!
If your business is not in the LBC your missing the boat. If it is, make sure it is well optimized. There’s lots that can be done in the LBC to increase the number of views that it gets.
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The New Adwords Format – Are You Behind the Curve Again?
Google Give Us More Room in Our Ads
Adwords policy on the ad format changed recently. The promoted reason from Google was to bring the ads in line with the mobile view of things. This of course makes sense given the fact that recent data shows over 50% of all web content is now being viewed on mobile devices.
The differences in numbers:
Old adwords format:
- 25 characters in the headline
- 2 description lines with 35 characters each
- 95 characters total
New adwords format:
- 2 headline fields of 35 characters each
- one description field of 80 characters
- 150 characters total
At first glance you’d be tempted to say, ah cool, more room! We all struggle to make compelling copy in such small spaces after all. However, the real gravy in my opinion is the way they’ve changed it, and 2 special little fields I have not mentioned yet.
So first off, the bigger headline should be a good thing. After all, headlines are the make or break part of the ad. If your headline doesn’t catch their attention, adios! Another good thing they did is to remove placing your display URL at the beginning of the headline. This always irked me, cuz sometimes you just don’t want it there! You can see what I mean in the shot of one of my ads below. Even though this ads converts well, I don’t like it:
With the new format, they have gotten rid of this, now what you enter is what shows up in the ad. Here’s a copy of one I just started to test against the above ad:
Larger Adwords Headlines Should Mean Higher Click Thru Rates!
Of course as anyone who’s ever used this traffic source knows, there are no guarantees. But having more copy in the headline should be a good thing, time to test.
Now take a look at the display URL in the ad above and notice after the “.com” portion you’ll see “/stop/wrist-pain/”. Google has labeled this as a Path field with two blocks available, see the shot below. This is actually copied from a technique we’ve used for years now. Previously good ad writers experimented with adding a subdomain as a prefix to the display URL, something like this:
The new format just slides this to the right end of the display URL. In my mind this actually makes for a cleaner ad.
I have ads which have been running for years that I have not been able to beat in tests. I am hopeful that these new changes will give me a little bump for both my private campaigns as well as those of my clients accounts. Of course, the beauty of adwords is you don’t have to guess. The public will let you know if your ad is better or worse than the control you’re testing against. That’s what’s great about the system.
So don’t dilly dally, get at least one new ad in each adgroup written in the new format and see if you can improve your account’s performance. In a game where your performance changes can often be measured by adding a comma or capital letter someplace in the copy, these new features should generate very measurable impacts.
And if all of this gives you a headache, call or email me. It’s what I do, I have lots of aspirin!
Website designs that are smart and pretty
Your website design is Pretty, but is it Smart and Pretty?
How do you get internet surfers to your site?
You take a pretty website design and make it smart and pretty!
Think about it… don’t you hate clicking on Google search results to only end up looking at a screen of stuff that you don’t want to read.
We Want Our Clients Forever
At SLW Consulting, we are not going to build you a crummy site that doesn’t work, take a check and say good by!
One of the things that makes us very different from other web consultant firms is the complete package that we offer. We want to build your site if needed, or repair your existing site, help you understand your site analytics, assist you with new traffic sources like Adwords and Facebook, and be your web marketing consultant for as long as you own your business.
We’ll help you succeed online. You don’t have to take our word for it either. We’ll show you data from existing clients to prove any claims of success we make. Once we start working with you, we’ll show you the data from your account and explain how to interpret it, every month! The next time you get an out of the city solicitation for services like this, ask them if they have any real data to back up their BS!
The web is an extremely powerful tool to market your business, no matter what you do or sell. It’s also an extremely complicated process. Having someone on your team who spends all of their time studying and keeping up with the technologies and systems is invaluable.
Call today for a free consultation.
Backlinks Down, Content Up
One of the problems of maintaining a good business web presence is keeping up with all the changes at Google that have a dramatic effect on your site traffic. Here’s a new one for you.
Your site ranking is a very complicated math process. It has been common knowledge by people who study and practice SEO that having a lot of relevant backlinks to your site helped it rank better in the search engines. Unfortunately, this knowledge led to the inevitable abuse by some who hammered the bots with tons of auto generated, purchased, and otherwise improper backlinks. Google is particularly interested in looking for certain “footprints” of backlink structure that represent the various paid backlinking services out there. Rumor has it there have be some de-indexing of sites due to excessive use of paid backlink services. If your buying backlinks, stop now! This type of junk SEO service has been sold heavily to business owners for a few years now.
Google realizes that there should be a normal, natural variety of backlinks if it’s a good site. However, they have recently announced that they will downgrade the value of your backlinks and put more emphasis on your actual usefulness as a web site. Not a bad idea!
This also means that going into the future, more than ever, adding content to your site on a regular basis is very important to get good traffic to your site. The simplest and most effective way to do this is with a WordPress blog installed in one your sites sub directories. If you don’t have a blog attached to your site, fix it soon!
WordPress isn’t just the simplest way to post a page of content to a web site, the structure of the pages created in the blog software are very web crawler friendly. The system, if set up correctly, also pings Google and other services and says “Hey, I have some new content here”. Generally this brings the bots running in a short time and your page gets indexed.
Repeating this process consistently over time will assure great organic rankings for your site. It’s exactly the kind of site Google wants to present to their searchers, great, interesting, and relevant content. As a business owner, I understand you probably don’t have time to be blogging all of the time. Pay someone to do it! Just make sure they are creating useful, interesting content. Remember too, the content doesn’t have to be series of social blabbering. Call your blog an FAQ and use it to answer the most common questions you get from your customers. Have categories set up to display new products or services. Think out of the box a little and content creation get easier.
Why you should care about Yelp if you own a business with a local market!
I admit I’ve been avoiding Yelp for a while now.
After all, why the hell do I need another social site to deal with, I barely get on Facebook anymore. When you work 8-10 hours a day on a computer, seeking relaxation on Facebook isn’t in the plan. As long as you don’t operate a business trying to market locally, no problem…
Ah, you haven’t heard the interesting facts about the new iPhone voice search feature called SIRI have you? Don’t feel bad, not many business owners have, here’s the deal. SIRI is this very cool new voice activated search feature built into the new iPhones. It’s being advertised on TV constantly. It turns out that people really like it. So what? Well here’s the kicker. When someone does a voice search for a local business or service, the search results come from Yelp, not Google! All that hard work you’ve put in to get a presence online for your website is now missing 20% – 30% of the mobile search market.
It’s probably not a coincidence that Yelp is based in San Francisco. I also find it interesting that I have two consecutive posts about Mr. Jobs. Not that I post that much, but still. It seems that Mr. Jobs was still full of interesting concepts right until the end. Apple and Co. have been in a battle over several markets, but I think they realize the huge stakes involved in search and information serving, especially in the local markets.
Until SIRI, local results were served almost exclusively by Google. You played by there rules or hit the highway. Now Yelp will be a player in the local markets. You can see efforts from Google to dominate this market, but no matter what they do, they won’t reach SIRI searches, very clever Apple!
To be fair, iPhones only control a part of the smart phone population, but do you want to throw those customers away? Probably not. Anther nice feature of Yelp is that after you claim and verify your business listing, you can reply to reviews on your company, both the positive and NEGATIVE ones! That’s a good thing!
If you don’t have time to do this, hire someone. Merry Christmas! 🙂
Steve Jobs, Zen Master of 1’s and 0’s
Like no one else, Steve Jobs’ creativity made my life easier.
It’s a truly amazing world we live in, and nothing in it is more amazing than technology. I often ponder the concept behind how I earn my living and simply shake my head in near disbelief. Some explanation is required here.
Most modern gadget users haven’t a clue how any of this stuff works, so I’ll outline a brief description. You start with a pile of beach sand, extract some silicon, mix it with some other elements in correct design and proportions, and build a simple electrical switch. You then configure millions of these tiny switches in such a way that you can communicate with them by simply knowing if they are off or on, 0 or 1, binary language. If that’s all there was to it, it would be very impressive indeed. But there’s more.
Those of us who were around at the beginning of the digital age understand how magnificent the transition has been to modern day consumer devices. As someone who worked in a government research lab during this time period, I can tell you that the early computers were damn near impossible to live with. You needed to know all of the commands to type in to get any productivity from them. Even then it was an extremely frustrating experience.
Enter Steve Jobs. He had a different vision. How bout we make computers that are easy to use he asked? Most people laughed at his expensive, unusual machines. Everyone I knew was convinced that they would soon be out of business because they weren’t as popular as PC’s, too expensive, yada yada yada. I was a dissenter. I paid $3,500 for a used Macintosh SE and an impact printer, loaded with used software and 8 Kb of RAM. It still sits on my gun safe to this day, a prized possession. My son once suggested we use it for target practice, I scolded him!
Apple is now the biggest technology company on the planet, battling back and forth with Exxon Mobile for the title of the worlds most valuable corporation. What a difference a couple of decades makes huh? Steve Jobs, the guy who dropped out of college after one semester, largely because of the financial hardship to his adoptive parents, went to India to seek enlightenment, stated that taking LSD was one of the 2 or 3 most important things he ever did, created the most well known brand name ever conceived. His logo? An apple with a bite out of it, simple at it’s finest.
I make my living switching 1’s to 0’s and back again. Doing this correctly makes other 1’s and 0’s talk to my banks computer, and I end up with dollars to put food on my table, and send my son to college. What an amazing concept. I’ve had my 24″ iMac for about 5 years now, it still works perfectly, never so much as a hiccup. When I bought it, my son’s PC laptop had just died so I bought him a Macbook as well. After a couple of months on the Mac he summed up the difference very accurately. He said “When you use a PC, you spend about half your time fixing the damn thing so you can use it. With a Mac, you just use it, it always works!” Now in his first year at the University, his Macbook is still working just fine. Thank you Mr. Jobs.
As someone who’s studied Buddhism, I know that one of the beliefs is the idea that our lives, our spirits, posses an energy that never ends. When our physical bodies die, the energy returns to the system to be reassigned to another entity. You are certainly welcome to not believe that some other fortunate soul received a wonderful gift from Mr. Jobs this past week, I happen to think this is so. However, there is no denying that Steve Jobs spirit will live forever. He has secured that through a rabid following of the millions of Apple fans world wide.
Steve Jobs, Zen Master of the 1’s and 0’s. You have made my life easier. You will not be forgotten.
On of the hottest things going on right now for business owners who want to get exposure and traffic in a local market is Google maps and the Local Business Center (LBC). I’ve been involved in SEO (search engine optimization) and marketing on the internet for a few years now. Conventional SEO, while it is effective at getting lots of traffic, is very time consuming and slow.
That is not the case with the LBC! Take a look at this graphic –