How To Improve Your Click Through Rate on Google AdWords & Bing

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sat, Sep 19, 2015

How To Have Your Ads Stand Out From the Competition on Google AdWords

In my previous blog I tried to answer the questions, What is A Good Click Through Rate on Google AdWords. As I tried to demonstrate, this answer varies dramatically from industry to industry and also impacted by the device being targeted. In this article I will demonstrate how to improve click through rate (CTR), no matter the industry or the device.

First let me remind you of the importance of a good click through rate. It’s one of the factors and some would say the most important elements in determining Quality Score. Quality Score influences Ad Rank, which in turn can influence how often your ads show. And can often result in savings in your bidding.GoodCTR

Here are some easy fixes to improve your click through rate. The focus of this article is Google AdWords, but because Bing has copied so many of their features, the same advice applies to them.

Start By Cutting Down On Impressions

One of the best ways to improve click through rate is simply to lower the overall number of impressions. This doesn’t mean cutting down on potential opportunities for business. If you’re using broad match with your keywords then it’s often triggering a number of words that really don’t apply to your business. Changing these phrase to either modified broad match or phrase match will lower your impressions significantly right away.

Even with the match change, your ad can still being triggered by words that don’t apply. For example, for a plumber the phrase “plumbing repair” would obviously be important. Yet, if they’re typing in “DIY plumbing repair” or “plumbing repair videos,” these might not be good candidates. By adding DIY and videos as negative keywords, you block your ads from showing for these phrases in the future.

After doing these two actions your impressions should go down dramatically and as a result your CTR will improve. Imagine you’ve gone from 1500 impressions a day to 750. Even if your number of clicks remain the same, the CTR has doubled.  

Have More Ad Groups

The tendency by people setting up their own AdWords campaign is to choose as many words as they can, then dump them all into the same Ad Group. It’s easy, but seldom effective as it requires one or two ads to work for all the phrases. Grouping your ads by similar phrases and having ads that incorporate the targeted phrases makes a difference. Tossing plumbing repair and sewer repair in the same ad group, may be convenient, but not very effective. Break them out in their own ad groups and have the ad copy incorporate these words in the actual text. When people see the phrase they typed in bolded in your ad copy, it will often attract their attention.

Make Your Ads Stand Out

Adding ad extensions such as call extensions or sitelinks can make your ads stand out more and as a result encourage prospects to either click your ad or click to call you directly. Google is constantly revising the site links they offer so it’s best to pay attention to what is new. Often if you can incorporate a new feature before the completion, it will really stand out.

Also try to make your ad look different from the completion. If all the ads currently running for a phrase look remarkably similar, then try a different approach. If all the ads boast of free shipping, then adding that won’t really set you apart. Focus on different benefits or maybe have shorter ad copy.

Always Be Testing                                                                   

One important way to impact CTR is through the ads you run. You should always be running 2-3 ads for each ad group. This way you can compare the click through rates of each ad. If one is doing noticeably better than the other, pause the poorer performing ad and create another. If this does better than your original leader, then pause that one and create another.

Bid Higher

The position of your ad is another determining factor. If you are consistently showing up in the top 3 positions and not getting clicked then you need to rethink your strategy. If you’re ad consistently shows up in the lower positions, then people won’t pay attention to it. Then you need to rethink your bidding. If you can’t bid higher for that word, then pause it and devote your attention to the words you can competitively bid on.

This is only a few of the ways you can to improve you click through rate. One of the main objective is not just to drive traffic, but to get the most out of your advertising dollars. This is why hiring an agency or consultant who is fully trained in Google AdWords or Bing is often a good investment, despite their fees.


Tags: pay per click managment, Google AdWords, Bing Ads,

What is a Good Click Through Rate on Google AdWords

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Tue, Aug 25, 2015

A question I often hear when reviewing a Google AdWords account with a prospect or client is ‘what is a good click through rate for keywords and ads”.  Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this as it varies dramatically from industry to industry and market to market. It can also vary greatly on devices. What is a good click through rate on laptop most likely would be horrible on mobile devices for some and just the opposite for others.

Overall the average click through on Google for ads rate is 3.16%. But for your particular industry this could be a very good CTR, while for other it would be horrendous.

The key to finding out what is a good click through rate for your pClickThroughRateay per click campaign is to look at data over time. There should be improvement and if there isn’t then there could be problem. And you need to dig deep into the data and understand what is happening.

Click through rate or CTR for those that don’t know, is the number of people who clicked on your ad out of the number who were exposed to your ad.  There are two categories of click through rate you want to examine. The first is on an individual keyword basis, and the other is with the ads.

CTR is particularly important for search ads. It's a factor on shopping campaigns, but it's much harder to improve. And on display one can expect really low click through rate as your audience is seldom as motivated as they are with search. Generally your CTR will be lower on the display network due to higher volume and lower relevancy.  

It is the ads which really determines the CTR of both categories, however. If you’re ad isn’t relevant to what the searcher is looking for they won’t click on it.

Why is click through rate important? It is one of the elements Google AdWords uses to display ads. If you’re ad or keywords have a much better click through rate than your competitors, your ad will show more often even if they bid more. You’ll also know if you’re competitors CTR is better if your ads start to show less and less.

For all your work you may find your click through rate is as low as 3-5 percent. Unfortunately. for some accounts this might be a good number. For those businesses in the service industry, particularly those that service a specific community, however, the number should be over 10. And depending on the device they’re on, it should be even greater. If you offer emergency services and your click through rate is in the single digits, something is seriously wrong and your ad won’t appear in the top 2 positions very long, which on mobile is crucial.

One thing to remember is that there are a significant number of people who won’t click on an ad no matter how relevant it might be. They simply have more confidence in the organic listings. This number ranges from 70-80 percent depending on which study you read. So don’t be hurt if you do a lot of work and the majority of people ignore your ad. As long as you’re doing better than your competitors and most importantly, generating revenue than that is what matters.

Ultimately what is a good click through rate for your AdWords account is what phrases or ads is what gets you the most amount of business for the lowest possible price. A pay per click specialist will help you to improve your click through rate, while finding other ways to generate business for your company. There is a cost to hiring them, but having a professional run your account can eliminate a lot of waste, which alone can help to justify their costs. They can also help you to extend the reach of your business in your specific market.

Read my next blog If you have a low CTR and would like to learn how to improve your click through rate.

How To Have A Successful Mobile Marketing Campaign on Google Adwords

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Mon, Jun 29, 2015

No matter your business, your market, or your demographic, mobile is here to stay. 96% of people have a mobile phone in the U.S. In the United States and many other countries, there are already more searches on mobile then desktop. And they’re not just browsing.  They’re looking to make a purchase or a place to eat or have begun searching for a car to buy.
These number are only going to increase, millennials are already using mobile in ways the older generation are just catching onto. The projected numbers are simply staggering, but given its amazing growth already, now seem feasible. Mobile-Phone-Marketing

Look at your analytics and you’re likely to see a significant spike over the last few months. Many of these are resulting in conversions. 73% of mobile searches trigger follow up actions, like a purchase or call. Nor should you think that if you don’t have a lot of conversions from mobile that it’s not worth the investment. 90% of consumers start on one device, but finish on another. This means they could start searching for a vacation destination on the mobile phone, while traveling on the subway, then make a reservation later at home on their desktop.

Why You Need A Mobile Friendly Site

If you don’t already have a mobile friendly site, get one.  I know that’ easier said than done, given the cost involved. Yet, the sooner you get it done the better off you are. At some point you’ll simply have no choice and by then you’ll have missed a lot of opportunities.

Here are some stats from Google
• 67% of consumers are more likely to convert on a mobile optimized site
• 52% of consumers say they are less likely to engage with a company is not mobile optimized
• 61% of consumers will move to another site if they can’t find what they want quickly.
• People check their mobile phones about 150 times a day.

Getting a mobile site that converts

Now that you’ve decided to go with either a mobile site or a responsive design, here are some things to consider:

Help your customers find your business easily. My youngest son was at a friend’s house and instead of giving me the address he sent me a link to his location. I could open it on my phone and get immediate directions.  Integrate Google Maps into your site, so they can click it and get directions to your location

Keep your form simple. I know it’s great to have as much information as possible from prospects, but even on desktop people don’t like long forms. On mobile people may love to text, but they don’t want to fill out long forms. Keep the form to just the most important information to get a better response.

Keep the text to a minimum. Even if your site is mobile friendly, it doesn’t mean every page works on mobile. If you have a lot of text it might turn searchers off. Don’t get too extreme, because people still are looking for information. But even on desktop people respond to pages that highlight important information or is contained in bullet points.

Menu should be horizontal. Studies show that people prefer them this way as they are easier to navigate. They’re working with their thumb, not a small cursor.

Make the phone number clickable. They’re not going to go back and forth from your site to their number pad to type in your number. Have it so that they can call directly from your site. Even if you don’t have a mobile friendly site, this is something you should do.

Marketing on Google AdWords

There is a distinct advantage to advertising on Google AdWords even if your site shows up well in the rankings. Ads show in the top 2 spots and often people aren’t going to scroll down a lot to find answers. They’ll either go with one of the top choices or redo their search.

Here are some things to take advantage of the full potential of Google AdWords.
Use extensions including sitelinks. There are a number of extensions you can add to an ad and sitelinks is one of the ways to make your ad stand out more. According to Google, campaigns with Sitelinks see an average 30% increase in clickthrough rates. Only two get to showmobile-ads-sitelinks-1, so make sure the ones that do will most likely appeal to mobile users.

Use click to call with a Google forwarding number. This is part of the click to call feature and allows you to know when an ad resulted in a conversion.

Include the location extension on the ad. When your ad is displayed they can see how close they are to your business.  They can click on it to trigger Google maps which will give directions and time to location.

Keep ads short and simple. Even though you can type in the same amount of text when creating the ad, it doesn’t mean that is how it shows up on mobile. Often it might only be the first line of text that appears so give this the most attention. And think about what you want them to do. If it’s to call, then include this call to action in your text.

With mobile you can now capture prospects no matter where they are. A newspaper might be tossed aside, a billboard is now in their rearview mirror and their junk mail is in the recycling bin. Their cell phone is always with them. It’s estimated that people look at their cell phone 150 times a day. So if you want to reach them, then market to them, even if it means bringing in an agency to help

Tags: pay per click managment

How To Set Up A Successful Google AdWords Campaign

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Thu, May 21, 2015

Although every Google AdWords campaign has a different strategy, the framework for most successful campaigns is the same. No matter what your business is or your market, you essentially begin with many of the same settings. Here are some things you need to do when setting up any successful Google AdWords campaign.

Keyword Research
Use Keyword Planner to develop a keyword list. This should be your first step so you know how the campaignWhat_Goes_Into_An_Ad will be set up. Depending on your business, the keyword list could be quite extensive. I won’t go into all what is needed here, but assume you have some understanding of how to find phrases. Once you have your list group the words into Ad Groups that have a similar theme. It seems obvious but don’t put dog clothes and cat clothes in the same ad group. Or emergency plumbing and sewer line repair. It helps to plan all this out before you begin your campaign. This way you’ll know how to set up the Ad Groups in your campaign.

Landing Pages
Now that you have your list of phrases and have grouped them according to theme, determine where you’ll send them. Ideally you’ll be able to take prospects to landing pages designed for each ad group. If not, determine what pages on your current site would work best. Too often people use the home page, but this seldom is the best idea. Most likely your home page is designed for a number of types of visitors and people who’ve clicked on your ad may not see what they’re looking for right away. If your campaign starts to show a good profit, however, then begin to invest in landing pages, especially for your big ticket items. It will help tremendously with conversions.

Campaign Settings
This is where you determine where your ads run and when. If your market is national or a small radius in aCampaignSetup community, it’s imperative you put this right when you set up the campaign. Except for your time zone and type of campaign, most of this can be adjusted later. Choose Search only and not Search and Display. One thing to remember to do is to click All Features, so you can take advantage of all the features AdWords offers. After this under advanced location settings look for Locations options. Then click People in my Targeted Market. This will avoid people from other areas seeing your ad and who might not really be in your market.

Another important setting is under Ad Rotation. Especially starting out you want to be testing your ads so you want them to Rotate Evenly. This way you’ll be able to test the ads you create. You can always switch this to one of the other options when you have some data with which Google can work with.

Ad Groups
By the time you’ve gotten to this step you should have a good idea of how the Ad Groups are going to be. Copy and paste the words you’ve assigned to each ad group. Then incorporate the main phrase from each Ad Group in the ads you’re creating. Create two ads for sure, possibly three, but no more than that.  This way you can get data on each ad to see which has the best click through rate. After you’ve been running them awhile begin pausing the lower performing ads and create new ones to compete against your best ad. Hopefully these will overtake that one.

Match Types
Provided you have enough keywords in your list, make sure to put them in as phrases match, modified broad match or exact match. Only if you have a very small list should you use broad match. This could help you to develop a larger list, but this should only be a temporary solution. With broad match you’ll most likely get a lot of words that don’t apply.

No matter the match type you use, there are almost always going to be words that don’t apply to your campaign. For example, people might be looking for a career in your field. So Chicago lawyer might be a targeted phrase, but Chicago lawyer salary most likely wouldn’t be.  When you’re doing your keyword research you’ll most likely notice a few words that don’t apply. So add words like careers, jobs, etc. to your negative words list. This will prevent your ads from showing for these phrases.

You set the bids at the Ad Group level, although you’ll quickly find each word may require its own bid adjustment. The Keyword Planner will have given you suggestions on what the average bid is for a word. This can be helpful, but you’ll find it’s not entirely accurate. Still it will give you an idea on what to bid. I bid low to start out just to see what placement each word has. You’ll get data rather quickly on where the words rank so you can adjust. But by bidding low you don’t overspend.

Ad Extensions
What makes Google AdWords so successful are the extensions they provide businesses. These are features that help to further make your business stand out, from call extensions to sitelinks and call outs. Incorporate any of these that seem to apply to your customer base. Sitelinks especially are an effective way to add more information about your business and take them to more appropriate pages depending on their needs.

Most businesses fail with their Google AdWords campaign because they set it up quickly and didn’t put any thought into their objectives. Then after a few weeks they wonder why they’ve blown through their budget with little in return. Then they give up.  Avoid their mistake and take some time in developing a strong campaign from the beginning. Knowing what goes into a successful Google AdWords campaign will help you eliminate wasted spend and provide a better opportunity for successful conversions.

If you don’t have the time or someone on your staff to be responsible, then consider hiring a professional. Their costs will be more than offset, by their getting business for your company. There is no better way to market a business today then Google AdWords.

The Impact of Not Having a Mobile Site on Google

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Wed, Apr 22, 2015

This past April 21 was a date many business owners had been dreading for quite some time. It was when Google’s new algorithm involving mobile sites and which impacts those that aren’t. How much of an impact Mobile impact on Googlethis change has had on sites is not yet known, but even if it’s minimal, which I doubt, it should get business owners thinking.  The time for them to have had a mobile friendly site wasn’t April 21. It was last year, if not even longer ago.

The data involving the importance of mobile is overwhelming
• 64% of people own smart phones and it’s projected by 2017 it will be 92%
• There were 38 billion calls to businesses as a result of mobile searches.
• 60% of US adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline.
• 60% of Yelp’s search volume comes from mobile.
• 40-50% of mobile searches have local intent

As the last statistic shows, for those businesses whose market is local, the importance of mobile is even more important. In the beginning it was restaurants that were being searched most on phones, then travel destinations, and now it’s very nearly every type of business, including those in the home service industry. When people have a leaky faucet or an electrical problem, they don’t hurry to their laptop. They search on their phone.

Google has been laying the groundwork for this by designating sites that are mobile friendly and those that aren't. Now they're taking the next logical step.

With this change with Google means is that if you and a competitor have similar rankings, but their site is mobile friendly and your site isn’t then their site will now rank higher. And if you have a lot of competitors, then you could drop significantly.

So understanding its importance, here are some things to be aware of it your site isn’t currently mobile friendly.

Check FIrst if You Have An Issue

Surprisingly many owners don't even know how their site looks on a mobile device or if they should even be concerned. Google has a tool that you can use to test it first.

Don’t Overpay For Mobile.

One of the growing industries because of this, unfortunately, are webmasters who are charging companies exorbitant amounts to create a mobile site. I’ve heard clients being given estimates of 6500 to create a small site that has no shopping program or anything special. Although there is some debate over whether to have a separate mobile site or a single site that works on all devices (a responsive site), it’s still not worth paying that much for it. Many hosting companies such as GoDaddy and have website builders that work perfectly fine for most businesses. You can either have someone in your company or consultants like myself that can build sites for a fraction of the cost many designers charge.

Google Won’t Banish Your Site

The fear many have and which some unscrupulous agencies have encouraged is that Google will take your site out of their index. This won’t be the case. Here is what John Mueller, a Google spokesman, said about the change. “It’s great to get people motivated to make their website mobile-friendly, but we’re not going to be removing sites from search just because they’re not mobile-friendly.”

If you rank very well for phrases that are competitive, then your site will go down on their list. If you’re a small town dentist with only a couple of competitors your site will likely maintain its first page listing.

What About Google AdWords

Although many people assume that the higher the bid, the better your ad placement will be.  Bids are part of this, but just as with their organic rankings, a mobile site is still necessary.  Don’t assume that just because you’re willing to raise your bids, your site won’t be affected. It will

Don’t Delay

Whether you’re impacted by the algorithm change or not, don’t delay any longer on making the change. If this means paying your webmaster to do it or use some website builder program, the sooner off you make the switch the better off you’ll be. Even if you only see a small impact from this change, it still comes down to user experience. If your prospects are using their phones to search for what you have and end up leaving because of the difficulty in navigating your site on their phone, it costs you money.

Local SEO for Real Estate Agents - Getting Found Online

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sun, Mar 22, 2015

For a real estate agent Local SEO is crucial to getting new clients.  According to one report, 9 out of 10 people looking for real estate at some point look online. And over half begin their search first online. It’s not enough to be listed on the company website. They also need to be found in a number of other sites, including social media. Many Realtors thinks this means having their own site, and while this can help, it’s not imperative.
Having a strong presence online helps you reach prospects searching online for Realtors, as well as those who know your name, but want to see your experience. If you have a website, you want to optimize it for your community and your services, while having testimonials from satisfied customers. Yet, even if you don’t have a site, there are still many ways to be found when people search for Realtors in your market, including directories specific to real estate.Local SEO Services for Real Estate Agents

Here are some things a real estate agent can do to be found online, none of which cost any money. Follow these steps to improve your presence on the web.

Agency Site

The first place to begin is the main agency site. Find out what the site allows you to add for a bio. At the very least you should be able to add a photo and a short biography. Depending on the amount of text allowed, create as in-depth a bio as you can. Don’t just say you enjoy selling real estate. Give specific reasons you’re in the business. And think about what your clients say about your work. These can often be features to include in your biography. Also include any connections you have to your community, from membership in the Rotary club, to coaching a youth sports team.


Google+ was meant to compete with Facebook, but it’s never caught on with people the way they hoped. Yet, as a local directory it’s one of the first places people go to when looking for services in a community.

First set up a Google account if you don’t already have one for YouTube or Gmail.  If you do you should see your first name in the upper right hand corner with a plus by it. If there is no name there, then either log into your account or set up a new one. In both cases click the blue sign in button and then either log in or set up a new account.

Once logged in then click your name at the top. The screen will change to Google+ and you’ll see a button that says home on the left. Click the drop down menu and it will bring up a navigation bar. Look for the button Pages. After clicking for this look for Get Your Page.  I’d recommend choosing store front if you have a realty office. Use this for the address. For the number, however, use your cell number or office number, not the agency number.

For the categories make sure to have real estate agent as your primary listing.
With you can set up an account by clicking on login at the upper right corner.  Make sure to click where it says login for Realtors. You’ll need your mls id and have to create a password. Include your photo and add a lengthy description of your background. Many agents just have a line or two, which doesn’t really give that much insight into their experience. Make sure to fill in all the fields they have available. Real Estate Agent SEO


Look at the upper left hand corner for sign in or join. If no account then click join and provide an email address and password. You’ll receive a confirmation email that once you click on the link, allows you to log into your account.  Fill in everything that applies including the optional things like year started. Make sure to include links to your LinkedIn accounts, Facebook page, and website (either the companies or your own).


Go to to create an account. Look for signup in the upper right corner.  Once you’re set up, then log into your account and fill in all the categories including your online accounts such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Also add listings. They’ll ask you to search for the property first to see if it’s listed. If so, then add it to your account. If not, create it.


For Facebook you have to have a personal account first. Then look for pages along the left. There you can create a page. Click Local Business as the category. For the name, I suggest using your name and then adding Realtor behind it or real estate agent. Once you’ve created the page you want to get people to like it. Facebook makes it easy to do this by allowing you to contact everyone you’re already friends with. Once you have 25 likes customize the url for your page. Often the page will have your name and some letters behind it.  Go to to customize it eliminate the excess words.


To first create a LinkedIn account, look for Join Today along the upper right hand corner. When signed up, add your background just as if it were a resume, going from your present position back. When adding your current position, make sure to link to your current agency, instead of just typing it in. Once you’re set up, then start developing connections. The more connections you have the more likely someone seeing your bio will be impressed.


Once you’ve set up all your accounts, you’ll want to get reviews or endorsement from satisfied clients. Try to make sure you spread these reviews around. If the person has a Gmail account, then ask them to leave a review on Google+ since they won’t have to set up an account. Trulia and Zillow make it easy to ask for reviews for their sites, by just having you input their email addresses.

A comprehensive Local SEO program for real estate agents will also involve pay per click, content marketing, and getting listed in numerous other directories, but this list is a good place to start. If you’re a Realtor and would like assistance with your online presence then feel free to contact me.

What is Local SEO and Why You Need it For Your Business

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Thu, Mar 12, 2015

I still hear from a number of business owners that have no idea what local SEO is. They know they need for their business to be found online, they just don’t know what that means. To them it means being found on Google. That is a large part of it, but Local SEO is so much more. And its much different than just regular SEO.

SEO comes down to one basic idea. To get a website found when people search for a product or service. With local SEO, however, the intent is a slightly different. It’s to get a business found when people search for products or services in a specific community. They might find a company’s web site, its listing in Google’s local pack, or their listing on Yelp or any of another dozen directories people might use. A business doesn’t even have to have a website to generate business, although it helps greatly for them to succeed.

While it’s not necessary to have a website to succeed in local SEO it is crucial to have a place of business. It could be an office, a place of business, or even a home. An address is necessary and this address is at the heart of local SEO. But if they’ve had a previous address, it could be this location they find.

One of the driving forces for local SEO is that much information about local businesses is in inaccurate. According to Yext, 21% of listings are inaccurate and even more surprising that another 49% are missing listings. This means that %70 of searches will result in either the wrong information or no listing at all, Local-SEO-meaning this is a lot of missed business opportunities. These searchers are going to competitors instead of the actual business they are looking for.

Why is Local SEO important? Here are some figures that show it’s importance.

  • 73% of activity online is in one way or another “related to local content”
  • 86% of all online searchers use local search to find businesses
  • 3 billion searches each month are for local-based keywords
  • 1 in every 3 Google searches from mobiles are local

Now that you know what Local SEO is, and why it’s important, here are a few things to be aware of.

Local Directories Allow Much More than Name, Address, and Phone

Most directories pull their information from a number of sources, but often this is little more than the basics. Yet, the major directories allow for a business to put in a wealth of information on a business, from links to a website to photographs and videos. Once you’ve taken control of these listings, usually through some sort of verification process, then you can build on your listing. This can make it stand out from competitors.

Having control of your listings can also correct any misinformation out there on your business. If you’re like me, you’ve used your smartphone to contact a business only to find the number is wrong. Or plugged a destination into your GPS, only to arrive at the wrong location. Things like this can cost a business money.

Telephone Directories part of local SEO, But A Small Player

The telephone phone books were surprisingly late to online marketing. While they were still selling businesses on full page ads in a phone book, consumers were turning to the internet to find businesses. When they finally came onto the market, they attempted to bundle prints ads with online marketing. They convinced businesses that had web sites to pay for new sites. And while the directories they sell businesses on might generate a visit or two, they are seldom the first directory a person turns to when they need a plumber, chiropractor, or a dentist.

When they pitch an offer, be wary of what they are asking for. If they’re looking to take over your online marketing as they boast of special relationships with Google, take a pass. And read carefully their reports. Is the traffic being generated in your market? I’ve seen reports where most of the traffic wasn’t even in the country, let alone in businesses’ community.

Google Doesn’t Call You

Most often people don’t realize they have an issue until Google calls them to let them know there is a problem with their listing. Unfortunately, it isn’t Google calling you. It’s a scam. Whatever you do don’t engage with the person on the other end or call them back. There is a way to contact Google and have them call you back, but that is the only time they call.

If you know that you need help with Local SEO, then contact a professional such as myself. Someone that doesn’t start out deceiving clients, but instead is looking to get them found by the prospects.

Tags: Local SEO

When The Weather Turns Bad, Can Your Business Still Benefit Online?

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sun, Feb 22, 2015

This winter has been rough on a number of states, particularly those in the Northeast. It seems like each week another foot of snow is being dropped. It’s hard on the people living there and it’s been hard for the businesses that service that area.  There are a number of times when the weather can play havoc with a business location, but with online marketing there are things that can be done to keep your business going even when the weather has seemingly put a stop to it.

Take Advantage of Pay Per Click
Two main advantages of pay per click is that you can start a campaign almost immediately and target very specific locations.  This means you can start a campaign right away that is designed to reach the people in your market who you can still serve. For example, your drivers may not be able to get out to deliver food in vehicles, but you can still service people directly around you. Hand deliver pizza or Chinese to people that you know are within walking distance of your establishment. SnowStorm

People need to eat, and drink, no matter what is going on and if they aren’t venturing out too far, then run a neighborhood promotion. If everyone is getting cabin fever, you’re eatery or tavern make be very appealing.

There are always people who seem to get caught off guard by inclement weather and suddenly will be looking for rain gear, snow blowers, shovels, or better tires. Run campaigns that tout what you have in stock and maybe even run a special. People may not travel as far for some of these items as they would under ideal conditions, so let them know you’re in the area and offer competitive pricing. With things like shout outs and locations you can let them know you’re neighbors to them.

Take To Social Media

If you’ve been on Facebook, in particular and have a decent number of followers, start posting updates on your business on what is going on inside, while the weather is bad outside. It only takes a few people to start commenting, or better yet, checking in when they arrive at your location, to give other people the urge to venture out.

Don’t just rely on Facebook. Use whatever social media type you’ve developed a good following on and use that. Do whatever you can to get the word out that you’re open for business.

You don’t have to be a place of entertainment, a retail store, or service shop for you to generate word about your business. If you’re a roofer, for example, advise people on what to do to prevent snow from damaging their roof. Or if you’re a chiropractor, remind them to be careful shoveling and what they can do to lessen the strain on their back. It only takes a few minutes to post something of value that people will either share or comment on. And it only takes one person to later remember you’re business because of these postings and call you when they do need help to make that few minutes very profitable.

Take the Time to Write a Blog

If you’re kept in by the weather and yours is a business that isn’t presented with opportunities because of the storm, you can still work on your business. Take this time to write a new blog. This is what many business owners just can never find the time to do. I work with a number of small businesses and for some I write content, but for others they do the content themselves. Yet, even with my constant prods, they don’t seem to get more than a single entry every 2-3 months.

Be Mindful of Not Seeming to Take Advantage of Disaster

In the past a handful of businesses were criticized for seeming to take advantage of a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy. When well established brands such as Gap, Urban Outfitters, and American Apparel released emails and tweets that seems insensitive to the tragedy, the public responses was immediate and fierce. American Apparel was especially criticized for its Sandy Sale, when they told customers that “In case you’re bored during the storm, 20 percent off everything for the next 36 hours,”

If you’re offering a service or product that will benefit your customer during a storm then make sure the message reflects that. Don’t attempt humor or sound glib when doing any type of marketing. You want to build relationships with people not alienate them.

Don’t let the weather completely dampen business. You might now be setting records for business, but at least you’re generating some while the weather outside is frightful.

Why Mobile Must Be Part of Your Online Marketing Campaign

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Fri, Jan 23, 2015

The time to think about getting a mobile site is yesterday. If you’ve been putting off having a mobile friendly site you can’t keep putting it on your list of future projects. Yes, there is a cost for a mobile site, but it doesn’t have to be as bad as you think. And each day you go by without having one, loses more of your business to your competitors. Bad Mobile Site

Consider these statistics
• 67% of users are more likely to buy from a mobile friendly site
• 52% of users said that from a bad mobile experience they're less likely to return
• 7 out of 10 consumers look online first for local business information.

It’s not just consumers that are relying on mobile more and more. The search engines, in particular Google, are paying a lot more attention to mobile. 

Google's Push For Mobile

Google is now sending out reports from their Webmaster Tools to sites about issues they find with sites related to mobile. They offer suggestions on improving mobile usability issues they’ve found related to problematic pages and design issues. They also offer a free tool in which to examine a site from a mobile user’s perspective.

The importance Google places on mobile friendly sites carries over into its search results. Listings that go to mobile friendly sites are designated as such. It’s assumed this means they give it more importance as part of their algorithm.

If Google thinks you need a mobile site shouldn’t you listen? After all, they represent the vast majority of searches done online.
mobile friendly
Depending on your type of business the need for mobile might be greater. Restaurants, Realtors, travel destinations, have seen greater increase in mobile traffic. Yet, it’s very few businesses anymore that don’t have some portion of business that is from people on their mobile devices. The first step is to look at your analytics data if you’ve install any such software. And don’t just look at current data, but look at how much it’s changed over the last two years.

While looking at your data, look for the differences in people behavior based on device. Is your conversion rate lower on mobile and if this data isn’t available then look at time on site and number of pages viewed.

When doing research don’t just concentrate on your own site, but take a look at your competitors. Have they made the switch to mobile?

Types of Mobile Sites

There are basically two ways to have a mobile site. One is to have a site specifically for mobile. So when someone does a search your server detects their device and shows the appropriate version. With a responsive design you have a single site that conforms to whichever device is being used. There are advantages unique to each type, but in the end I prefer the responsive design. And so does Google.

"Responsive web design is Google’s recommended configuration when creating a #mobilefriendly site. With responsive web design, all devices get the same code and the same URLs, but the layout of the page changes based on the device."

If you do choose a responsive design take this in mind when creating each page. Too many photographs or too much text may create issues with a person looking on their phone. Forms can also be a problem, particularly if they’re long. Whittle them down to just the information you most need from prospects.

Cost Effective Mobile Sites

Hiring an agency to do your site can bGood mobile sitee costly. Yet there are other options that can significantly reduce the cost of a mobile site. Many hosting companies such as GoDaddy and now offer site builder programs the produce templates that are easy to customize. You don't need a site that is flashy or particularly unique. The content of your site, no matter who does it, should be the content. What makes your business beneficial to prospects. I've used these programs for clients and the cost to create a site is just a few hundred dollars. Less if you're willing to do the work yourself.

Either find the time, or the money, to create a mobile site. Like a decade ago when it became imperative a business have a web site, they now must have a mobile friendly site.

How To Know When A SEO Agency Can’t Be Trusted

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sun, Dec 21, 2014


I sat in a client’s teleconference a few weeks ago when they were talking with their web design company. They’d done a nice job with the website, but now they were offering to do their SEO work for them, as well. It wasn’t long before I could tell that much of what the agency was offering was BS.SEOAgencyRisks

The problem was that for those not as familiar with SEO, the presentation sounded good. They showed results they’d had with other clients and implied they had a special relationship with Google that allowed them to do things other agencies couldn’t. Yet, it wasn’t just that this agency was overpromising what they could do. It’s that some of what they were planning to do would put the business at risk, if discovered.

For a business needing help with their online marketing, it’s not just what services an agency offers that is important. It’s also how to know to when an SEO agency can’t be trusted and thus be avoided. You can’t plead ignorance later if something they go gets you penalized. Google, Bing, or Yelp won’t care if you were unaware of what was going on. They’ll only know that your company violated their policy and as a result needs to be banned.

Here’s some warning signs that the agency you’re either working with, or considering to hire, can’t be trusted.

They approach you dishonestly

There’s nothing wrong with an agency or consultant contacting you, offering their services. It’s when they mislead you that you need to worry. Have you ever received a call saying its Google and there is a problem with your listing. Google doesn’t call unless you schedule a call first.  It’s a way for the agency to make contact with you. Even f they do good work, do you want to start a partnership with a company that deceived you to get your attention.

Another tactic is to mention issues with your site. I recently received an email that started out saying “I was analyzing your site and it seems that some of your website rankings have dropped. It is due to non-optimized techniques/errors.” Nice gobbly gook. How do they know my rankings dropped when one, they don’t know the phrases I’m looking to rank for. And two they don’t know what those ranking were in the past. They’re sending out a standard form letter in the hope that someone believes they legitimately know about their company’s history.

They Promise They Can Get You Positive Reviews

Reviews have become a key element of online marketing, whether it’s on Google, Yelp, Facebook or dozens of other sites. As a Local SEO consultant I advise my clients on how to approach reviews, both positive and negative. This includes encouraging them to ask customers to leave comments on their business. Yet, I never promise them that I can help them get reviews. And this is where I differ from those that can’t be trusted.

If an agency is working behind the scenes to get you reviews, take a look at the names of those they get comments from. If they don’t seem familiar they could be creating fictitious accounts and then posting the reviews themselves. This can work for a time, but often Google or Yelp can catch on to it. Then the positive reviews could not only disappear, but so too your listing.

I recently caught an agency in a lie when I looked at one of the businesses they were serving. There were 8 comments on their Google+ page, but when I looked at each profile of the persons leaving comments it was obvious they were fake. All the reviewers went to a dentist in one city, a veterinarian in another city, a daycare in a third city, and a bank in a fourth location. They were creating fake profiles and then leaving comments for each of their clients.

Fake reviews can not only get you in trouble with the site they’re posted on. There have been cases when a government has fined a business or an agency for the practice.

They talk about a Special Relationship with Google

This can be hard to discern if you’re not familiar with Google operation. I’m a Google Partner and I have a logo on my site to prove it. Yet, being a Google Partner relates only to the AdWords platform and nothing else related to their divisions. It has nothing to do with Local SEO, or SEO in general.

If an agency starts telling you that they have a special relationship with Google, one that allows them to do things most other agencies can’t, then end the conversation then. One agency that I heard a pitch from boasted they’d been partners with Google since 2004 and had an email to prove it. Unfortunately the department that sent the letter had long since gone defunct.

They Hide Their Address Or Company Name

Many of the emails I receive have an email to respond to, but never list the company website, phone number, or address. This should raise a red flag right away. Even when they list an address, it doesn't mean it really exists. I love to type in an address from an email I receive to see if there is an actual location. More than a few I've searched for return results that show a location that doesn't exist.

It’s all right to have high expectations when searching for a SEO agency. Yet, don’t let your desire to get ahead of your competition cloud your mind as to what the agency promises. Do the due diligence to ensure that the work they do has a lasting impact on your business in a positive way.