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The Griffanza Blog

Online Marketing, Social Media and SEO Awesomization!

  1. The Misunderstanding of Sales on Social Media

    Bill Griffin Owner, CEO of GriffanzaPosted by Bill Griffin
    My short bio
    There are some sales folks that feel themselves lost trying to sell their wares on social media channels. This is a strange and fickle neighborhood where the prospects are like flies at a fully loaded picnic table. They are zinging around everywhere, hovering, landing and zooming away again from Twitter to Facebook to YouTube, Pinterest and the like, constantly moving from online to offline and back again. Never seemingly staying still long enough for the proverbial and tried and true sales pitch swatter to land with thunderous accuracy. They appear to have the attention span of feral ferrets with matching maturity.

    Sales and Social MediaThe tenured and successful sales pro sulks away indignantly, hurt, confused, and wondering why any person would waste their time on such things. How can anyone sell using social media, it’s too busy, chaotic and apathetic? And it will feel like a very lonely place indeed if you are haranguing people to make a purchase without any consideration for conversation.

    Traditional sales tactics won’t work on social media for a few reasons:

    1.) People are wary of sales pushes on social media, it comes across grubby and one sided. The whole culture of social media is to converse and share. The look at me, look how great we are sales guy doesn’t have a sporting chance. There are way too many ways of blocking and filtering out such disruptions and commonly get associated with spam.

    2.)  It is fundamental for salespeople to “get in front” of the prospect, if even for a very brief moment. On social media there is no sure fire way of getting in front of anyone. The attention share is very limited and people prefer information and resources rather than sales jargon.

    3.) Using social media as a standalone sale vessel will not get you very far. It would be a big mistake to not utilizes and combine all of your marketing efforts in a sales campaign. Social Media combined with email marketing, contests, compelling landing pages, calls to action, in real life meetings, unique deals and incentives would garner you a better ROI.

    This doesn’t mean that social media and sales won’t work at all. What it means is that you have to go about it differently. Supply information; engage with your audience on fringe topics. Carry on conversations as you would in any social atmosphere. When people want to buy, they will now know who you are and what you have to offer.

    grow your social networkHere are three tactics that will help with sales on social media:

    1.) Build, grow, tend, nurture and engage your network. Befriend them, hang out with them. Empathize, care and do what you can for them. The more active and social you are the greater the results. Don’t sell, give information.

    2.) Because the medium is different so should be your approach. Deconstruct your selling methods. Don’t sell with a slide rule, get creative, be unique and genuine. Stand out in a good way, be accountable. Move toward the fun and entertaining side of things, it’s much more effective. Big bold changes need to be made!

    3.) Utilize the many social media tools; research and cyber stalk the people who make purchasing decisions. This is a revelation to some and common sense to others. Go where your prospects and leads hang out. What can be simpler than that?

    Remember, the technology is the means. People skills are still the most important aspect of social media. Stay honest and transparent, fallibility transcends to trust, polished, slick, salesy types do not.

    If folks want to buy something it’s easier now than ever before to shop or garner information online and the first place they turn to are recommendations from their friends and associates. Become their friends and associates on social media. When they need you you’ll be there, not to make the sale but to catch the sale.

    How have you been approached with sales on social media?

    What are some ideas you have on how to sell on social media?

  2. 9 Basic SEO Design and Development Tips

    Bill Griffin Owner, CEO of GriffanzaPosted by Bill Griffin
    My short bio

    Search Engine Optimization is crucial for your website to get found online. Search Engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo need certain types of information and structure to be able to find and index your website. There are many facets and nuances to SEO and the guidelines are forever changing. Google’s algorithm introduced some major changes this year as well as last year. It can be time consuming and confusing to keep up with them all, but if you don’t your site could suffer in rankings.

    There are however, fundamental SEO practices that are necessary and most likely won’t change anytime soon. Above all else remember to be user friendly, if your visitors have a difficult time finding the relevant content on your site Google will know and subsequently push you down in ranking. As I always like to say create the content for your audience and then you can edit and tweek for SEO.

    Here are 9 Basic SEO Design and Development Tips that will prove to be useful:

    SEO Basics1.) HTML Format

    Your site must be using an HTML format. Most non-text content cannot be crawled by the search engines; although they are improving in this aspect it is best not to leave anything to chance. To check and see if your site is using HTML, simply copy a line of text from your site and paste it into your notepad, if it sticks it is HTML, if does not, it is not HTML.

    2.) Flash is Evil

    Stay away from Flash or Java related plug-ins, the search engines will not see them and they most likely will slow your site down with cumbersome coding. Place your web address in SEO-browser.com and you can see what aspects of your site the search engines are indexing.

    3.) Crawlable Link Structure

    Make sure your menu/navigation has a crawlable link structure. Each webpage should be linked from another page. If the pages are not linked from one to another and stand alone, the search engines will not see them. Keep the navigation in the order of importance. If your goal is to have visitors log-on to a webinar, it should be on the first page not buried deep within the site. Try not to go more than three pages deep, every page should be reachable by no more than three clicks. Utilize drop down menus and anchor texts if need be.

    4.) Avoid Frames

    Try to avoid using frames or I-Frames. They are crawlable but search engines have a hard time organizing them. There are advanced ways of circumventing this but for our SEO purposes we’re keeping it basic.

    5.) Forms and Spam

    Do not place anything you want searched on forms or surveys, Google and the rest will not index them, this includes links. Speaking of links, do not have more than 100 links per page. This is a roundabout number but anything above 100 the search engines may consider spam. You don’t want that.

    6.) HTML Site Map

    Construct an HTML Site Map and place it in the footer of your website so it can be accessed through out the site. Not every webpage needs to be placed in this site map. It should correspond to the link structure of the menu navigation.

    SEO web development7.) XML Site Index

    Use an XML Site Map or site index to help web-crawlers analyze and index each webpage on your site. It depends on what content management system your using but this can be as easy as adding a simple plug-in, if not you can use this site map generator http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ It is strictly to help search engines organize the pages on your site and has no adverse or advantageous effects for the end user.

    8.) Site Speed

    Site speed and upload time has become crucial to good SEO. This will be a hindrance as you add more content to your site. Be sure your coding is nice and tight and the java script is at the top. If your site takes more than two seconds to upload 75% to 80% of your visitors will click away. Also, the slower your site the less likely it will compete for ranking in the SERP’s. Google is big on speed now and you can check your site speed HERE, so obviate from flash and cumbersome add on’s, plug-ins and scripts. Avoid too much editing within your content management system and strip all word doc code using notepad or another HTML editor.

    9.) Images

    Use alt-tags, titles and descriptions for all your images. When you upload images to your site be sure to accurately fill in these fields. Search engines read and index HTML, images are not HTML but the alt tags (alternative text), Title and descriptions are. This will help your images come up in relevant organic search. Make a habit of doing this for each image. I know it may be time consuming but images are holding more and more sway in SEO. Also, name the image file appropriately, the search engines may pick up the file name from time to time.

    So, these are the basics for SEO design and development. It can and will become much more involved but if you start here you’ll have most of it covered. My next blog on this subject, which is the next step in solidifying your SEO is the basics of keyword targeting and utilization.

    If you have any good SEO practices for design and development please comment or if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer, if I can.

  3. The Real Deal with Social Media ROI

    Bill Griffin Owner, CEO of GriffanzaPosted by Bill Griffin
    My short bio

    The real deal with social media ROI is it creates a place for small and medium size businesses at the table. It gives them the opportunity to market and interact with the big boys, have a say and compete at a fraction of the costs from traditional marketing channels. Creativity, tenacity and willingness levels the playing field as costs are secondary since they can create, produce and publish their own marketing content directly into the online world where their customers are spending the bulk of their time.

    The Real ROI of Social MediaWhat some companies fail to realize is that the ROI in social Media is the effort that you put into it. The overly simplified version of ROI is that if I Tweet “Buy this”, they do. I capture the transaction and then divide the human effort and voila, resources minus costs equal return on investment. It doesn’t work that way, it won’t work that way, so don’t expect it to work that way. This perspective is like planting an apple tree and expecting oranges to grow from the branches. It won’t so change your expectations. The marketing funnel is no longer a linear model, it comes and goes in all directions at lightning speed.

    The most significant aspect of social media is participation. Participate a little, get a little, participate a lot, and get a lot. With that said it isn’t simply cause and effect it also has to be contextual, relevant and authentic, you still have to have a great product or service. You must realize that nobody gives a damn about you or your company unless you take an interest in them. If you fail to do so you’re doomed from the very get go. Check your ego at the door and see how you can help others for a change.

    Evaluate your people skills, patience and listening ability because those are the three traits you’ll need in spades to be an effective communicator via social media. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how many business degrees you’ve ascertained or if you won the top sales quota in the whole wide world in the history of existence, if you do not or cannot develop these fundamental skills you will fail at social media marketing. Get in there and tell everyone how smart you are, how wonderful you are and how they should listen to everything you have to say. Go ahead and pound your chest with bravado in the social media channels, do it and see what happens.

    In any business case, ROI is derived either from revenue generation or resource retention, regardless of whether “revenue” is derived from sales, membership, tuition and the like. ROI in social media can be all that and save you the astronomical costs of hiring an advertising agency or PR firm which is a significant aspect of return. It is not just what you gain but also what you save and multiply that by the opportunities that social media uniquely presents.

    It’s a mistake to measure ROI on social media strictly in a sales cycle capacity. Think about how much money you’ll be saving by utilizing tools like LinkedIn and BranchOut to look for and vet new employees. The human resources aspect alone can save you not only tons of money on recruiters trying to fill that new position but also tons of time spent ascertaining detailed information on prospective candidates. Again it goes back to effort and what you want out of social media.

    ROI of Social MediaHave you thought about ROI and collaborative problem solving? How much does a business advisor cost? What would a consultant charge an hour to help resolve a couple of business problems that are holding you back from progress? Social media can be a fantastic business resource. Submit your questions forth on Quora or a relevant LinkedIn group. You will be astonished at the amount of feedback, and careful consideration experts put into solving the issue at hand.

    The real ROI of social media is not one stand alone metric like sales or follows; it encompasses dozens of business aspects and efficiencies. If you are only measuring sales through social media than you are selling yourself short. It is the overarching reach of new opportunities that culminates its overall value and within those opportunities you need to benchmark them against pre-social media. What can you do now that you couldn’t do then? Maybe more succinctly, what can you afford to do now that you couldn’t have afforded to do before social media?

    Please do measure sales against the costs and time you put into social media. That is a sound and responsible business practice, but don’t stop there. Measure everything else that inherently goes along with participating in social media. Keep track of the residual effects of growing your network, the talent and prospects you come across, emails, names, trends, events, promotions, networking, purchasing habits, surveys, marketing studies, likes, dislikes, advice, insights, data, followers, influence, accessibility, friends, leads, saved time and so on. All of this, add it up – every last tid-bit should be taken into account when you throw social media ROI against the wall. If you take an honest look at what sticks and how much that would have cost you without social media your face may break from the sheer size of the smile it produces.

  4. Why Tracking Your Website with Google Analytics is Crucial to Online Success

    Bill Griffin Owner, CEO of GriffanzaPosted by Bill Griffin
    My short bio

    When we discuss the idea and implementation of measuring a websites performance with Google Analytics many companies do not understand its full potential and that’s if they’re even tracking at all. The analytics of your site are the eyes and ears of what your site is doing, where it’s been and where it’s going. Some site owners are only interested in traffic and how many “hits” they get each month. Which is a good interest to have but your curiosity must expand, there are too many other variables to cover and the numbers you see can and will lie to you upon first glance.

    Creating a Google Analytics account should be the very next thing you do when the site goes live. Establishing an account immediately will give you the advantage of accumulating as much data as possible. If you do not have a Google Analytics account for your website I want you to stop reading this right now click here and setup one immediately. Do not put it off one second longer. Do it now, it’s free!

    Google Analytics VisitorsGoogle Analytics can be very confusing for the untrained eye and well trained eye for that matter. We’ll be going over the fundamental statistics every website owner should know and why they are important and how you can understand, cross reference, leverage and improve them. Remember the law of averages when looking at your Analytics, the longer you’ve had your account the more data you have acquired and the more data the more accurate the information. I would not recommend making any drastic changes to your website based on only 3 months worth of data. In fact, it can take up to one year for your data to be actionable but that mostly depends on how much organic traffic you get. Usually after six months you can start believing your own eyes.

    Google Analytics offers a new version and an old version dashboard. If you are a novice to GA stick with the old version, it’s much simpler to understand. Become a quick learner and take a look at the new version as well because someday Google may only offer that option, I doubt it but you don’t want to be caught flat footed and the newer version is a more comprehensive reporting tool anyway, just more cumbersome to use

    Here are key performance indicators (KPI) in Google Analytics that you should be able to interpret immediately:

    Visitors Overview

    The Visitors Report lets you know how many people came and visited your site. It also breaks down the information in solid numbers as well as percentages. This is the big picture metric to gauge if your site is growing or not and can be compared to different time frames. It is also a great report to examine the quality of your visits with metrics like average time spent on site, new visitors, how many pages were viewed and bounce rate.

    You want to take into consideration the bounce rate average compared to overall visits. A bounce rate is when a visitor gets to your site and immediately clicks away. There can be hundreds of reasons why they do this and should be addressed if your bounce rate is over 65%. For instance if you get 100 visits and your bounce rate is 65% the actual number of visitors who stayed on the site would be 35. Not so great a number when you consider where you thought you were. Also look at the average time on the site and if it’s less than 1 minute you’re not really knocking it out of the park content wise. Are you? All of these metrics should be put in context with one another. Depending on what your goals are adjustments usually needs to be made on the site to acquire the desired results.

    Traffic Sources Overview

    The Traffic Sources Report is essential to know where your website visitors or traffic is coming from. There are three main sources in this report consisting of Direct Traffic, Referring Sites and Search Engines. The report breaks down which percentage of each is bringing traffic to your site.

    Search Engine Traffic shows the number and percentage of people that clicked on your site from various search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. You will almost always see Google in the lead here because of its enormous market share in the search business. Because of Google’s large market share one of the most if not the most important metric on your site is Google Organic traffic. This traffic comes from people who type in the text or keywords they want information on and your site comes up on the search engine results page and thus they click on your site. Google Organic traffic is pay dirt and having a high percentage of it lets you know that your site is being found naturally through Google without expensive and time consuming outbound marketing activity. This is a direct result of good search engine optimization (SEO) practices. If you have a very low percentage of Google Organic Traffic then you’ll need to resuscitate your SEO efforts.

    Direct Traffic shows the number of visits from people who typed your specific url directly and in consequence came to your site. This also includes people who have clicked on your site from a bookmark. Having very high direct traffic may indicate good brand recognition but it can also indicate that your website is having trouble being found on search engines. These numbers should exist in a delicate balance with each other as well as your overall marketing plan.

    Is Google Anlytics ImportantWithin the Direct traffic report you will find your Keywords Report. Your keywords report avails priceless information on what words and text people are using and finding your site on. You can see the ranking of each term as well as asses which keywords are effective and which are missing. Often time’s companies are not utilizing the keywords they want to be found on in the content on their site. This report will prove whether your keyword optimization plan is working or not. Frequently companies will discover keywords they are being found on and never thought that would be the description people use. Depending on their effectiveness and relevancy it’s a good way to capitalize and use those keywords and terms in the copy on the website.

    Referring Sites show the traffic generated from links that are located on other websites or social platforms. Referring sites traffic is becoming more and more important do to not only the credence Google puts on inbound links but also the weight social holds regarding Google’s algorithm and how it ranks websites. There is a treasure trove of fantastic information in this report. You’ll see which and how many other sites are linking to yours and how many visitors they are providing. The referring sites report will also show you which social platforms are sending traffic your way and when. This is very helpful info when deciding which websites or social networks you may want to advertise on.

    Content Overview

    The Content Overview report lets you analyze each page that is visited on your site. Including how they got there, how much time they spent on the page and if they made any purchases. The information provided here will give you great insights on which pages your visitors liked or did not like. If a page has a high bounce rate, that would be a good indicator that there is not enough or inaccurate content. Or in the case of a high bounce rate on product page it could be that the price is too high. Again context is king when looking at these numbers along with your marketing strategy.

    Goals Overview

    The Goals Overview report will show you and track all of the business conversions from your site. Business conversions can mean email signups, when some fills out a contact us form, registrations, downloads and of course sales. Anything that a visitor has to take action on and you deem worthy enough to track. This Goals page will be representing the bottom line on online engagement. Although there are many other indicators involved, tracking goal conversion will give you the best idea of your Return on Investment (ROI). The difference with Goals from the rest of the reports is that you’ll have to set up each goal manually for the tracking to commence.

    There is loads of information on Google Analytics out there and I’m positive I’ll be writing more posts on this topic, but I wanted to give you an overall look and sense of urgency. Take the guess work out of your website. You do not have to work blind, the amount of information you can ascertain from Google Analytics is amazing. Use this free tool and garner the insights and direction you need to become successful online. I am convinced that you are lip twiddling crazy if you do not!!

    If you have any questions regarding setting up a Google Analytics account let me know in the comments section below.

    If you have a great Google Analytics metric that you like to use above all others please let us know – Share the Love!

     

  5. Establishing Your Brand on Social Media

    Bill Griffin Owner, CEO of GriffanzaPosted by Bill Griffin
    My short bio

    To effectively spread your brand across social media you first need to identify what and who your brand is. Branding goes beyond a tag line or jingle, much further than a company logo or mission statement. Branding is the soul of an enterprise; it’s where perception and reality kiss in the minds of your consumers and the general public. Proper branding has that emotive ascent tied into the recognition and consistency of a business model. Articulated social brands are a multidimensional participatory art form. Existential and ghostly at once it parlays feelings, memories and anticipation. All of which is inclusive to whomever bothers to take notice or engage.

    It is imperative to determine your brand before the message and conversation goes through social media channels.
    Establishing Your Brand on Social MediaYour brand connotations need to have systemic patterns because changing direction online in midstream can be confusing and detrimental to your goals. Take the time at the beginning of your venture to get this right and leave room for growth for a logical but adaptable course ahead.  Scrutinize what you believe and test your opinions.

    When formulating your brand think through your customer’s anxieties, considering they are just as much a part of it as you are.
    Analyze their lives deeply and philosophically. What troubles them? What eases their strife? Look beyond the typical marketing studies and economical motivations. Figure out not only how to solve their problems but in an enjoyable and stimulating way. There are no dark mahogany offices online, you are there to enlighten and befriend not to intimidate and insist.

    Accept the fact that the 20th century model of branding a business is over.
    There are some aspects that have and will carry over but for the most part the information age, the internet and social media has made this a cooperative, corresponding and engaging culture. Customers can and will rally if they feel they have been treated unfairly, duped or taken advantage of. Prepare for scrutiny, embrace it, learn from it and become a better organization because of it. And conversely do the same with positive feedback and interactions.

    Rigidity and an uncompromising company culture will decimate your brand on social media.
    It is imperative to learn and keep up with the technology and social platforms. Some social networks may work well in engaging your audience while others may not be so effective. The important thing is to keep an open mind and try new ways to participate. Remember that these are only tools and the overlaying objective is to communicate with human beings. And as far as getting your brand exposed to a new and relevant audience, there is no better way than social media.

    Listen with an empathetic ear.
    While you may have the knee jerk reaction to intervene in a dialog about your brand on social media it is even more important at times to let your advocates and dejected hammer out the dialog on their own. This will give you legitimacy when people act on your brands best interests without your meddling. It is also important not to shut down unflattering comments as long as the decorum is not too offensive to the community as a whole.

    Social Media BrandingResolve customer relation issues as they arise and keep the process in the open.
    People can tell when others are being unreasonable, you shouldn’t fear that. It is in your best interest to keep the conversation live as it will prove to others that you have nothing to hide and are dealing with the situation in an honest and forthright way. Companies tend to want to take the unsatisfied off line and assess the grievances there, but that would be wrong. Some of the best opportunities to strengthen your brand are to assuage your customers anger in the open, even if you’re not at fault and especially if it does fall on your side of responsibility.

    Social Media and online branding does not solely exist on the web.
    In real life (IRL) connections, conversations and meet ups will have a strong impact on your audience and customers. Do not pass up or brush aside the opportunity to attend or organize events that are relevant to your industry or for the betterment of the community. Your organization should be involved physically as well as intellectually. Networking and seminars not only solidify your brand and message it strengthens bonds that may have originated online and will create some of the best referrals and brand advocates you’ll ever ascertain.

    Support charities and sponsor causes that are close to your heart, company values and clientele.
    This shows that you care about others and that will draw positive attention to your brand as well as a terrific way to interact with a new circle of people and business entities. Participating in community activities and getting involved may also capture favorable attention from traditional media outlets. It will invigorate the disposition of your employees and associates, all of which can and will be related through your social networks.

    Social Media and online branding have a lasting impression on consumers, what are some of the strategies that you use?

    What are you doing that strengthens and spreads your brand through social media?

    Write back we would love to know!

     

  6. Beware of SEO Mercenaries

    Bill Griffin Owner, CEO of GriffanzaPosted by Bill Griffin
    My short bio

    In the rule of law you cannot plead ignorance, if you commit a crime you will be punished whether you knew it was a crime or not. Same with taxes, if you didn’t know about a certain business tax, tough luck you got to pay, and now with a fine or community service. The same can be said for your website and in particular your investment in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or lack thereof. It is the responsibility of the business owner to educate themselves on SEO and what it means and understands its process and benefits both long and short term. The process is as much educational as it is evaluative.

    Enlighten yourself with SEO, do your detailed due diligence and beware of SEO Mercenaries. SEO is the magic that gives your website its ranking. Magic as we all know is not real, but tricks are and in the realm of SEO there are black hat tricks and white hat tricks. Black hat being the bad hocus-pocus and white hat being the good, honest approach.

    SEO MercenaryWhen choosing a company or person to help with your SEO, evaluate and investigate each with specific criteria and a different level of scrutiny. Time and time again I come across businesses that have been hoodwinked, abandoned, and robed by black hat SEO’s, unscrupulous internet marketing companies and confidence scams. Much money and trust could have been saved if only the business owner knew what to look out for. Many times it is the business owners themselves that set the gears in motion for the grift by demanding unrealistic expectations and not comprehending SEO at all.

    SEO or inbound marketing is a continuous and concentrated effort which evolves with the growth of the website and constantly changing search algorithms. SEO Mercenaries claim quick fixes and impossible promises.

    Here are 8 signs to look out for when shopping for SEO services

    1.) Promises Number One Rank
    The variables that go into ranking make it impossible to promise a particular site front page results. That can be a goal in some industries but you’re much better off concentrating your efforts on the content of the site instead of chasing a rank that can change from city to city from week to week. And that doesn’t even account for individuals browsing history and social connectivity that skewers results.

    2.) Promises Number One Keyword Rank
    This is probably the most common SEO fallacy. The same warning as above applies here but with the added knowledge that when they promise number one ranking on a specific keyword, term or phrase it will be something that nobody searches for anyway. They may get you first ranking, but not on anything relevant to what you do, which is essentially useless.

    3.) Set it and Forget it SEO Software
    If you come across a company selling software or a plugin that implies it will take care of all your SEO needs without any work then run, don’t walk away from them. While some SEO software packages can be useful and are getting better, Search Engine Optimization still needs hands on attention. Most SEO Software packages tell you what’s missing but won’t show you how to resolve the issues framed within your strategy.

    4.) Fixed Pricing
    Be aware that some SEO’s may have fixed hourly rates or retention fees that are the same for everyone. This makes me doubtful you’ll get the best service. Think about it, $700 dollars a month fixed rate and they never even looked at your site. It doesn’t matter if your site has 6 or 600 pages? This seems to me they just want the sale. Every business is different and all SEO work has to be customized. Fixed prices usually mean you’re getting the cookie cutter approach, which isn’t very effective. There’s nothing wrong with a contract of service, in fact that usually is better, but with fixed pricing companies, they are hard to contact once the contract is signed.

    5.) Marketing to Fear
    You see these companies all the time asserting if you don’t buy their services you’ll go out of business or don’t let your competition kill you. These companies are marketing to fear instead of hope. Usually these folks lack integrity and are trying to scare you into a sale. The doomed if you don’t marketing approach indicates a less than trustworthy business model.

    SEO Mercenaries6.) Romanticized Robin Hoods
    These are the folks who are always calling out thier competition as not good enough or make salacious accusations. These SEO’s triumph in criticizing but offers no solutions of their own. When speaking with a potential SEO service make a mental note of how much negativity spews out versus how much actual problem solving they’re offering.

    7.) Paid Links
    Links are the biggest factor in gaining authority and search engine rankings. Some SEO’s would love to sell you them, but don’t buy. Usually this is an outright scam and at best just a waste of money. Any link to your site for the benefit of your site should be relative. Arbitrary links don’t help and in many cases can hurt your websites ranking. Link building is an important involved strategy within your SEO, of which has to be earned not bought.

    8.) Neglected Web Presence
    If an SEO has a minimal web presence or no website at all, stay away. The question is; if they can’t help themselves how can they help you? They should have at least a blog and LinkedIn profile as well as social media accounts, as social media is now intertwined with SEO. Beware of SEO companies that don’t eat their own dog food. Inexperience and hypocrisy abound.

    If you think SEO is a nip and tuck job you are highly misinformed. There is a lot of work that needs to go into SEO and remember if the deal sounds too good to be true it usually is. Setting clear expectations and educating the client is the key. When you start with a client there is always a first analytical phase, where you need to conduct an SEO audit of the site, do keyword search and competitive analysis and plan the inbound marketing strategy. You don’t just want to pull in traffic; you want to ensure that your traffic is of high quality. SEO Mercenaries have a tendency to emphasize traffic over relevance. Getting traffic is only half the battle, it’s what they do when they get there that counts.

    Have you experienced any Black Hat SEO trickery?

    What have we missed here? What other signs are there to look out for?

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