WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace for SEO: The Ultimate Website Round-Up

The importance of SEO cannot be overstated, especially if you’re a small business owner looking to gain an advantage over your competitors. Done right, SEO will attract more visitors to your site – and more visitors means more chances of a sale.

But before you can get onto the business of search engine optimization, first, you need a website. There are tons of website building platforms out there; you might have heard of some of these names already thanks to their very aggressive marketing teams – WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace.

If the thought of putting together an entire website on your own doesn’t scare you, these content management systems promise to deliver you the same results that a professional can at a fraction of the cost. However, hiring a web developer – who has spent years training in the top techniques of the trade – is the best and only way to guarantee a professional, clean, and fully-functional website.

One benefit of hiring a web developer is that you won’t have to make the difficult decision of which web building platform is best for your website’s SEO – it’s our job to take care of that for you! PTG handles everything from website strategy, design, content development, and data analytics, saving you the trouble of doing that yourself.

But whether you go for a pro or decide to DIY, it’s helpful to know the difference between content management systems. Here’s a round-up of the three most popular website building platforms, and what SEO features each one has.

 

WordPress

WordPress began as a blogging platform way back when but has now grown to be one of the biggest and most flexible content management systems. It’s best known for its open source code, which allows developers full access to different customization options and features.

While the basic, out-of-the-box site already comes with enough tools to jumpstart your website, what really sets WordPress apart from the others is its database of tens of thousands of plug-ins and themes that you can use to truly make your site your own. This includes the ever-popular Yoast SEO plug-in that webmasters use to optimize their page for search engine rankings.

Because WordPress began as a blogging site, it’s incredibly easy to update your content regularly. As we say in the SEO industry, content is king, and being able to publish new content frequently is one key to better rankings.

 

Best for

People who have a background in web development and design, or are willing to learn; businesses of any size; people who need easy and fast blogging capabilities

 

Pros

  • Option to add over 50,000+ plug-ins that can help boost SEO
  • Full customization options
  • Complete control over your website, including technical aspects like page speed
  • Flawless blogging integration
  • Customizable URLs, page titles, and metadata descriptions
  • Optimized for mobile

 

Cons

  • Takes time to learn, delaying your site launch
  • Less secure because of third-party apps and plug-ins
  • SEO-boosting plug-ins are necessary for added functionality; not built in

 

Wix

One of the original drag-and-drop website builders, Wix has moved on from its obsolete Flash-based platform to today’s HTML5 code. Wix’s claim to fame is that it makes it easy for anyone to build their own website from scratch.

Wix recognizes that just having a website isn’t enough in today’s competitive global market, so they launched the Wix SEO Wiz. It’s a complete search engine optimization toolkit that is intuitive and delivers quantifiable results, so much so that Google even acknowledged it in one of their conferences.

“The Wiz”, as its fondly called by the Wix community, analyzes your website and makes suggestions on what to tweak to improve your search engine rankings. It provides you with a thorough checklist of things you can do, such as adding important keywords and editing image alt texts. Wix offered some very convincing statistics for The Wiz: 82% of Wix-ers saw their rankings improve after using it, and over ⅔ of Wix websites have made it to the first search results page.

 

Best for

Start-ups or small businesses that don’t need a complicated website, or have the time and resources to put one up

 

Pros

  • Easy drag-and-drop, all-inclusive website builder; can launch a site quickly
  • Access to SEO toolkit “The Wiz”
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
  • Automatic and instant indexing
  • Automatic site mapping for premium accounts
  • Automatic free SSL certification
  • Customizable URLs
  • Integration with Google Analytics and Google Search Console
  • Access to SEO add-ons from the Wix App Market
  • Wix Site Booster
  • Optimized for sharing on social networks
  • Optimized for mobile
  • Integrated blogging capabilities

 

Cons

  • Less flexibility in terms of functionalities
  • Not optimized for large businesses or websites that require multiple pages
  • Difficult to implement advanced SEO techniques

 

Squarespace

The newest player of the bunch, Squarespace is known for its gorgeous design above all else. Just like Wix, Squarespace allows you to build your own website based off of exclusive, customizable templates. It’s not particularly well-known for its SEO-boosting capabilities, but they do incorporate some tools that allow you to optimize your site for search engine rankings.

 

Best for

Creative content or design-oriented brands

 

Pros

  • Easy, drag-and-drop interface with inclusive domain and web hosting
  • Free SSL certificates
  • Automatically-generated sitemap and metadata
  • Automatic tagging
  • Clean URLs and HTML markup
  • Customizable URLs, titles, and page descriptions
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
  • Optimized for mobile
  • Integrated blogging with third-party apps like Google Drive and Evernote

 

Cons

  • Less flexibility and control over your website
  • Fewer templates than Wix or WordPress
  • Limited e-commerce options
  • Not as friendly for SEO beginners

 

Conclusion

Ultimately, it’s not really about what website builder you choose, it’s about the content you create. Good content and quality backlinks are more important factors in your SEO ranking; in fact, Google itself has said that what website building platform you use doesn’t factor into your ranking.

Google ranks you based on how useful and authoritative your content is for your keywords. If people find your content relevant and trustworthy, you will rank higher. Most website builders provide pretty similar SEO features, so it’s really about how well you’re able to take advantage of them.

That being said, WordPress has a slight advantage over other content management systems. While it is more difficult to learn, it will provide you with more flexibility and SEO tools in the long run. With its blogging roots, it’s great for publishing lots of quality content and boosting your on-page SEO. Thousands of plug-ins can be incorporated into your site, letting you fine-tune your website for better rankings.

 

Go for the pros

SEO is way more than just what platform you use to build your website. Even if you go for a drag-and-drop website builder like Wix or Squarespace, there are still a ton of SEO techniques you’ll have to master if you want to get a much-coveted spot on the first search results page.

Good SEO combines web development, psychology, marketing, and so much more. Instead of spending the rest of your life getting the hang of it, it’s easier (and more cost-effective) to hire someone who’s already done all the difficult legwork for you.

Purple Tie Guys (PTG) is a leading SEO specialist and web developer based in Huntsville, Al. We can not only build your website, but provide custom web strategies and solutions to boost your rankings, reach your customers, and increase your profits.

 

By |2018-09-23T18:47:40+00:00September 23rd, 2018|Post|0 Comments

Can Marketing Brainwash People?

Can Marketing Brainwash People?

Today’s market and political climate are painfully tumultuous. That is why half the country is burning their own Nike shoes and the other half is buying twice as many.  It is the reason why some of the people of Huntsville, Al wear Rocket science t-shirts, while the people of Decatur, Al let you know that they voted for Trump & Pence on their bumper stickers and hats.  With the spread of social media, it seems that American values have never felt so polarized.

The only one thing they seem to agree on is that the media is brainwashing their kids.

The job of a marketer is to sell products,  in a persuasive way that speaks the majority of the people, they are selling to. So, are advertisers the devil?  Just how much of an impression can a marketing or ad campaign make? Can you change the mind of the public through advertising alone?  The only way to get an answer is to find out if people can get brainwashed in the first place.

Subliminal Messaging

The biggest accusation towards marketers and media I have seen to date is subliminal messaging. I heard crazy things while growing up in Huntsville,

subliminal messaging

          Copyright Fox and Matt Groening

AL from Disney coercing kids into sex through subliminal messaging or Playing Helter Skelter backward summoning the devil. It has sent people into a moral panic.  It is also 100% urban legend.  There has been no recorded evidence of subliminal messages working anywhere.

Where did the misconception come from?

James Vicary, a behavioral scientist in the 70’s, published an experiment that stated subliminal messaging made his test subjects buy popcorn and Coke when they didn’t even want any.  However, the president of the Psychological Corporation, Dr. Henry Link, called foul and told him that the study wasn’t credible unless he was willing to repeat the test and get the same results.  When Vicary repeated the test a second time, he did not get the same results. It turned out Vicary fudged his numbers. He even publically admitted he falsified the results while he was under investigation.

However, admitting false data wasn’t interesting to the people selling newspapers. So, they barely covered the rescinding of that information. Thanks to yellow journalism and bad science that most people now, even many of those in Huntsville, Al, believe subliminal messaging is still a thing.

But why weren’t people affected by something like that? What makes people subconsciously immune to suggestion?

The answers to those questions come from both the KGB and the CIA.

Mind Control Doesn’t Work

mind control

       Copyright Duffer Brothers and Netflix

Every country has its sins. Whether the country is as old as civilization itself or is only a few years old,  there are going to be horrible secrets behind the scenes of its government.

Project MK Ultra is one of the lesser known atrocities committed by our government at a time when the country was still trying to be a global superpower. What little of its records were declassified in 2001 told the story of an attempt to outright brainwash people into becoming sleeper agents during the Cold War. There were a lot of illegal acts that were involved. These included the use of torture, hypnosis, experimental drugs, and child abuse.

However, in all of this tragedy, there was something interesting in the results that were uncovered. Hypnotism could put people in a suggestive state, but it couldn’t control one’s mind.

If someone has strong scruples against an action, even in a hypnotic state, they won’t do what they are told.

According to Psychology Today, “What has been documented is that if you found a subject whose personality was deviant, to begin with, and wanted to direct their minds to do something extreme like plant a bomb or commit an assassination, you may be able to guide him or her to do it—with or without hypnosis.”

If the American Government can’t hypnotize someone to become a spy,  no advertisement can hypnotize an adult.

Why do People Change Their Minds?

If no one can hypnotize a person and tell them what to do, then why do people change their minds? After all, cults exist and people try new things every day.  The answer to this question boils down to two words: emotional connection.

People are not logical or rational by nature. We are emotional first and logical second.  It doesn’t matter how rational the argument maybe if you point out evidence for evolution to a creationist, they are going to feel attacked and deny what’s right in front of them. And if you tell someone that they have a home in your compound they will be much more receptive to drinking the kool-aid in front of them.

So, a successfully persuasive person would need to lower down the defenses of their audience before making their point. It’s the same with marketing campaigns. You need to create an emotional response to your product to succeed. Until then, you will win no one to your product, no matter how logical your reasoning can be.

Next week, I will go into further detail about the science behind marketing persuasion. Stay safe Huntsville, Al!

By |2018-09-21T19:47:15+00:00September 21st, 2018|Post|0 Comments

White Hat vs. Black Hat – What’s The REAL Difference?

Anyone who’s ever run a website knows how pulling in visitors can be hard work. Whether you’re running a site for profit or you merely want to become relevant in your own particular field, you need to put in the work and do some search engine optimization. Maybe you figure you’d do it yourself, or you may consider hiring an SEO company to help boost your rankings.

But no matter who’s doing it, there are a lot of different ways to do SEO. There will always be those who are standing at the crossroads, trying to discern exactly how they want to be getting their hits. There are two major schools of SEO thought and methods: black hat and white hat.

 

What Is White Hat and Black Hat SEO?

The color-coded names are pretty simple and evocative of how these practitioners work: black hat refers to gaming the SEO system and algorithm by brute-forcing their sites with keywords and links in order to increase their search engine ranking, while white hat is all about the hard work of catering to your site’s actual human audience. Black hatters are playing the low-effort, high-reward SEO game to increase rankings and gain hits quickly, usually looking for the fast ad money payout; this means that if their rankings do increase, they likely won’t stay that way for long once users realize what they’re clicking, or search engines punish them.

Meanwhile, white hatters are more interested in building the same ranking over time using more credible strategies, so that when they get on top, they stay on top. You always want to be a white hatter, because search engines work hard to keep ensuring that black hatting your site’s SEO doesn’t become too profitable.

 

White Hat Techniques

White hat SEO practitioners are more traditional site runners and content creators. They want to make sure your experience is worth the click on their link by doing the following:

 

  • They create unique and informative content – The #1 rule of running a website, no matter when you’re doing it: content is king. User experience and interface does matter, but without the content your users actually look for, you’re nothing. This is why white hatters always strive to regularly create the kind of quality content that keeps visitors returning and affiliates linking back to them, and that builds up actual credibility that translates into higher search engine rankings.
  • They optimize their site for all platforms – This is why UX matters, because you need a good, reliable way to deliver your quality content to your audience. The easier it is for people to access your site — that is, faster loading times on both desktop and mobile, intuitive and simple navigation, and full readability on mobile — the more people will recommend it and keep coming back to it, increasing its ranking.
  • They create well-thought-out meta tagging – Keywords shouldn’t just be meaningless phrases containing the search term. They have to be descriptive, and in the age of voice searches and even more personalized queries, they have to follow the user’s line of thinking. Consider using questions and full sentences in your meta tags, and your site will match up with actual searches more.
  • They put in the effort to build links – Good white hatters will put in the digital legwork to create backlinks to their site on others in the same field or niche. This is done by constantly engaging with other similar (not to mention reputable) sites and getting them to link back to yours so your page ranking goes up.

 

 

Black Hat Techniques

Black hat SEO practitioners usually employ the following rule-breaking techniques and methods to increase their search rankings:

 

  • There are too many low-quality keywords – Spamming keywords (some of which may be unrelated to one another) in a site’s text is a glaring sign that the site is stuffing their content with them in an attempt to look like they’re credible. Having a bunch of these keywords is guaranteed to hit on searches, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll find good content behind that link.
  • They use bots to manufacture engagement – Some black hatters will employ bots to fake human interaction on their sites and posts, and you’ll easily spot them when these “comments” include mentions of certain keywords that are either grammatically incorrect or just plain unnatural.
  • They redirect you somewhere else (and unrelated) – There are some page results that are just doorway pages to something totally unrelated. They’ll stuff these doorways with a bunch of keywords so that they can rank on search engines and prey on unsuspecting users, redirecting them to a site that’s not about what they were looking for (and sometimes may even include malware). Watch out for these.
  • Their sites contain invisible text or links – Sometimes, black hatters will also put in invisible or small text or links containing a keyword so that their page will rank on those related results. They’ll employ a number of ways to hide these links and text, but it’s often not hard to find.

 

 

Do Your Research

When you hire an SEO company or consultant to help you make your site more relevant, it pays to make sure you’re not paying for a black hatter. Black hatters aren’t always incompetent, but what they all have in common is that they’ll use underhanded methods to try and improve your site’s SEO and search rankings — and these methods are swiftly punished by search engines, wasting their attempts to boost their relevance and, in turn, your hard-earned money.

Make sure you keep these questions and considerations in mind when you’re shopping around in Huntsville, Al for an SEO guy or team for your site.

 

The real difference between white hat and black hat SEO isn’t just in the methods they use to improve your website’s performance and achieve your goals. No, the real difference lies in whether they actually care about building something credible and long-lasting on the internet. It pays to do SEO the right way.

 

By |2018-09-19T10:16:09+00:00September 19th, 2018|Post|0 Comments

Behavior Based Marketing: A Solution to Demography

Behavior-Based Marketing: A Solution to Excess Demography

If you are a consistent reader of the last couple of blog posts, you may have caught me on a soapbox rant about the inaccuracies and damaging results that come from demography in marketing. You may have also seen me on the same soapbox about customers feeling overwhelmed about advertisement oversaturation. Before I should start buying a literal soapbox from Amazon, I want to point out that both of these issues are not only solvable, but there are some forward-thinking companies that are already engaging in that solution. I am talking, about behavior based marketing.

Behavior-Based Marketing: What is it?

When you assign a person or a group of people based on concrete traits, you are using demography.

For instance, I the blogger, and technically female, 5’1, live near Huntsville, Alabama, and have two jobs. These are traits that are more or less fixed, and while there is some room for fluctuation, such as a gender reassignment, moving to another location, or quitting a job, those are still long-term concrete factors that are less likely to change.

However, when you start assigning a person or a group of people based on their personal habits, you are using behavior profiling.

In this example, I the blogger; rarely go out in public, play video games moderately, like horror movies, and am knowledgeable about odd bits of trivia. These traits also define me.  However, these traits are also abstract. They can certainly be demonstrated through things like the choices I make, and my preferences, but they are still very much internal factors until I use my behavior as an outlet to express them.

So, if I were to come up with a formal definition for the term, Behavior Based Marketing,  it would be ” a marketing tactic that is based on the evidence of consistent habits, patterns, and rituals of target audiences.

The Case for Behavior-Based Marketing Tactics:

Human beings are just a funny bunch. There will always be part of us that wants to belong to a group of people like us. We crave it on a psychological level because we are capable of feeling lonely and vulnerable. However, there is also the part of us that wants to be acknowledged for our individual traits just as much.  We want to fit in, but we also want to stand out in a small way.

This is solved by people showing parts of their personal preferences in public when it fits a societal standard and keeping other personal preferences to themselves.

Example: How Demography Could Fail You

For instance, a conservative, religious, 50-year-old white man who’s lived in Huntsville, Alabama his whole life is shopping at a bookstore. Already, you can cobble a customer profile with his information.

It would be easy for the bookseller to guess what the customer would buy based off that information. The bookseller guesses that the customer would either pick up a James Patterson novel, a Western, or a Faithpoint book. This is evidenced by his previous interactions with other customers like the one who just walked through that door.

But the customer goes to the comic book section instead.

This is a part of the customer’s personal preference that does not jive with his stereotypical outer appearance.  He might not even share it with others in his life because he either does not feel it is appropriate or thinks no one else he knows would be interested. However, there are two ways that this entire scenario could go, based on which information the bookseller goes by.

 

  • The bookseller noticed the customer walk to the comic book section. He knows that his initial prediction was debunked based on the customer’s behavior. With that knowledge, he can make an accurate sales offer and create a positive sales interaction.

 

  • The bookseller did not pay attention and offers him the latest James Patterson novel in a conversation. He used his faulty logic based on what he knows of a demographic. This creates an awkward interaction could cost the store a repeat customer.

 

Demography is Good for General Advertising Only

If you use only demography to make marketing decisions with, you will fail as a company. Demography is only good for gathering generalized information about a broad audience. If your goal is to sell a generalized product to anyone, then demography is good for that.

However, will doom you in an interpersonal interaction.

People are not statistics. If you try to pitch a specific item to a specific person based on general data, you will wind up stereotyping. Stereotyping and generalized messages used to be acceptable in a time when people lived, ate, bought,  socialized, and died in one location. However, thanks to technological progress, that isn’t the case anymore.  We are now exposed to a variety of places, people, and culture more than ever before. When you put a diverse group of people in one place, personal taste, values, and habits grow more diverse. Generalization is bound to fall flat.

 

Conclusion

Ok, so I stated my case as to why demography does not succeed in an interpersonal sales situation. However, I did not state the companies that are already engaging in this practice, what they are using, and if there are people who demand this form of advertising. That one is going to have to come around next time.  Stay safe Huntsville, Alabama.

By |2018-09-14T20:49:09+00:00September 14th, 2018|Post|0 Comments

Choosing an SEO Company: Here’s What You Need To Know

The Internet is a hell of an invention. The world is a lot more interconnected these days thanks to it, in every possible sense. It’s a tool, and a very powerful one. All the glories and all the horrors of the world can break out in mere hours once they find the right platform.

This is where SEO companies come in. It’s 2018, the technology has matured, and companies exist who can look after your websites and the content on them to make sure that they’re properly optimized. Of course, as with all things, there are good companies and bad companies, and here are the basics on how you can tell which is which and get the best SEO services for your buck.

 

Get A Track Record

The best way to see if a company does good work is to look for that work and evidence of it.

Look up reviews for the companies you’re examining, and observe what they say. There are also lists of trustworthy SEO providers, and in this digital age, your SEO company doesn’t have to be local to provide you what you need; you can be in Huntsville, AL, while they’re in Raleigh, NC and still get effective results.

From the company itself, ask them for case studies of the work they’ve done, and for some clients they’ve worked for before that you can ask about.

Get testimonials from the people they’ve worked for; this is where your network of industry friends and insiders comes in handy. Referrals have worked to bring quality business since time immemorial, and that hasn’t changed here. Ask them what they liked and disliked about the company, and see if those match up with your needs.

Have A Concrete Goal

So this is on you instead of them, but working with your SEO company is a two-way street. SEO is, basically, a marketing concern, and to that end, you have to determine what it is you want of them. And this has to be concrete because SEO isn’t just something you do, it’s a means to an end. Traffic and rankings for their own sake mean nothing. If people visit your site but then do nothing further, what good is your site then?

Traffic must serve a specific goal. If you’ve confirmed that the traffic on your website translates to increased revenue, then increasing traffic becomes a good goal. Or if you’ve identified a target market, and thus set a goal of attracting more traffic from that market, that’s also good.

Basically, figure out what you want, and the company can more easily tell you what needs to happen.

Consider Communication Styles

Communication is vital in any relationship. Platonic, romantic, business, whatever; all connections are founded on effective communication. It’s a matter of meetings, and of just speaking to each other in general.

Do you prefer something more freewheeling, or would you instead have daily updates, weekly updates, monthly?

What kind of information do you want to get?

Do you perhaps want separate reports, like a summary for your boss and a more detailed report for your marketing department?

Go through all this with your company, and find out what works best for you. See if you can come to a reasonable compromise with the company you’re working with.

Determine Your Resources

Is there anything in this world that doesn’t cost money? SEO certainly does. Don’t think you can just drop in five dollars and have your website looking all beautiful at the top of the search results.

Don’t hesitate to ask the company you’re after, as they’ll have a contract structure for you to peruse. Define your budget, and check it against what you’re hearing, and the conversation afterwards becomes much easier.

And by resources, we don’t just mean money. The company may need to work with your people, like developers or content writers, to properly optimise, so ask them what they need and consider how much time you’re willing to commit to them.

Also consider how free a hand you’re giving the company. You may want to have someone to sign off on what they’re doing, to maintain control and build up trust, but this will cut into their time. Or you could give up oversight and let them do what they wish without anyone having to approve, but that has its own downsides.

What To Watch Out For

Just as you have ways to find the good, there are ways to root out the bad. Here are a few red flags to watch out for:

 

 

 

Lack of Transparency

 

 

Don’t be afraid to ask exactly what it is they’re going to do for you. A good company will be upfront and transparent about their methods and techniques. If anyone responds with ‘trade secret’, or even worse, says it’s a secret but promises guaranteed results, drop them.

SEO is an open field, the technology is mature, its techniques are well understood, and by its very nature can’t really be hidden. This isn’t like cuisine, where a unique taste defines the establishment. Anyone with any kind of ‘secret sauce’ is talking out of their ass.

 

 

 

Guaranteed Results

 

 

Related to the above, if an SEO company promises to get you to the top of the results page in a given timeframe, they’re again lying through their teeth. Though the methods are known, the results are impossible to guarantee. You should especially be careful of a company that says this before they do any research into your company or your current SEO profile.

Conclusions

SEO is a competitive field, with its ways sometimes odd to the untrained observer. Fortunately, as with almost every other trade, it has its experts. The points we’ve discussed are things to consider when you’re shopping around for the best SEO services. Hopefully, you’ll a find a good company that’ll do right by you.

By |2018-09-11T10:46:02+00:00September 11th, 2018|Post|0 Comments

A Marketer’s Rant

Marketing Rant: Sales and Marketing aren’t the Same Thing!

Be thankful that I have the restraint to avoid using expletives in this text because I am in a very salty mood with MLM and sales companies. The Dead Sea does not hold the amount of salt I contain for these people.  If you are a recent marketing graduate (or any recent graduate in general), you most likely have seen these things before in your latest job search.

Here I am, searching for work in my field that pays more, as you do when you are trying to move up in the world. I type in  “marketing Huntsville, Al “. There are little marketing positions open. Instead, I see advertisements for things like Avon, Herbalife, and even companies both local and abroad that offer you a base pay on top of commission, flexible hours, and low training required.

My Experience with Job Scams

Stop reading if you have heard this one before:

A young marketer almost out of college is applying for a position. After visiting a small office with an almost job scam too pleasant secretary to fill out paperwork, she gets called in for an interview.  At a local Publix or Walmart in the middle of Huntsville, Al.

Why would a marketer for a company be in a local grocery store, you think, as you head inside with the one other candidate you are competing against for the position. There you see a small portable booth with a nicely dressed worker…selling bamboo pillows/ satellite dishes to customers at the store. This was not a marketing position. It was a sales job that was in a store instead of door to door.  That is the jobseekers equivalent of putting sugar on crap and calling it ice cream. Needless to say, I did not answer the follow-up phone call the next day.

So, as someone who has fallen prey to these malicious pseudo companies, I am going to point out what the difference between their use of the word “marketing” means, what the real definition of marketing is, and how to avoid these immoral thieves that take advantage of desperate people trying to make a living.

Pyramid Schemes and Sales Company Traps

MLM’s and deceitful sales companies both as near as Huntsville, Al and as far as Seattle, Wa plague the crap out of both prospective job seekers. They deliberately target people who are too desperate to question their shady tactics or too naive to realize what they are getting into. When anyone tries to call them out personally, they will argue with you using circular logic or just outright delete bad reviews.  Here is a brief definition of the two, just so you can wrap your head around both ways you can be scammed into debt.

MLM

pyramid scheme, mlm, huntsville al job scam This abbreviation stands for multi-level-marketing, it is a more sanitized version of the term pyramid scheme.  This is described plainly by, of all places, Urban Dictionary.

A scheme in which a person (as a “seller”) buys a certain amount of product from a “distributor”, and then sells the product for a profit. The seller must then kick back some of his profit to his distributor. In turn, all the other sellers this person has recruited and distributes product to must give some of their profits to him.

So, what makes it problematic?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Why is pyramiding dangerous? Because plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors inevitably collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. And when a plan collapses, most people—except perhaps those at the very top of the pyramid—end up empty-handed.”

Sales Company Scam:

This one is much more sneaky because they utilize pyramid practices while looking much more official on the outside. Essentially, they put out ads for marketing positions with expectations of base pay plus commission, benefits, flexible hours, and working directly as someone marketing a product. Then, you learn it is a sales position that runs on commission alone. It’s all commission and bonuses depend on people under you.

        A career blogger, Willy Franzen, explains the nature of these companies best, “Many people would argue that operations like the ones that I’ve just described aren’t scams. If you define a scam as someone who takes your money and doesn’t give you what you expected, then these job opportunities aren’t technically scams; however, they do give you one impression of how you’ll be spending your time and offer a completely different experience.”

But isn’t Marketing and Sales the Same Thing?

No. They are connected, but they are not the same thing.

Sales involve convincing people to buy your product with an interpersonal interaction. It is literally convincing people why they want to buy something and close the deal entirely on the spot.

Marketers do their job in the beginning of the sales process by indirectly priming the potential consumer for the sales through persuasion.

For instance, if a company was selling hamburgers, marketers would tell the salespeople where the right locations would be for stores, the right airtime to be airing commercials, and what their selling point for their product would be.  Salespeople would be the ones to make the deal on the spot.

Marketers would be the planters, and Sales would be the payoff.

How can You tell the Scam apart from a Real Job?

Rank on Google

  • Research is key here. If you go to a job review site and they are all positive or all negative, then chances are the company is not reputable.
  • Check for news articles about lawsuits regarding the company, or check the materials they use to make the product they are using.
  • Check and see if the offer of the entry-level position is too good to be true. Make sure the pay scale is proportionate to the local area.

 

By |2018-09-07T22:35:23+00:00September 7th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on A Marketer’s Rant

Is Local SEO REALLY Effective for Local Businesses?

If you’re a small business, you might not think SEO is for you. After all, it’s just another expense to add to your already growing budget, right? It’s a common misconception amongst local business owners that SEO is just for big shots and major corporations. But the reality is everyone – yes, including you – can benefit greatly from local SEO.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is any activity that increases your ranking on search engine results pages. Why is this important, you ask? When people search a term that is relevant to your business, like “good coffee shop” for example, where you place in the search results page is very important.

The higher you rank on the search results, the more visible you are to potential customers, and the more opportunities you have to close that sale.

There are many methods for increasing your website’s ranking. The technical side of SEO involves having clean formatting, integrating social media, establishing business profiles on online directories, and making your website responsive for mobile users. The content side of SEO involves having great quality web content, using relevant keywords throughout your site, and being featured in articles and reviews by reputable third parties.

One of the most popular and effective ways a local business can market themselves is by using a variation of this called local SEO. Using local SEO will help you reach the customers that matter the most to your business: people in your area. You already have an advantage since you know your target audience well – they’re your neighbors, your friends, and the people in your community.

In 2018, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business, big or small. 64% of people use search engines like Google or Bing to find local businesses in their area, and a whopping 78% of local mobile searches end up in a sale.

The numbers don’t lie – here’s how local SEO can help you convert those website clicks into cash.

 

You target the right people at the right time.

When people need a specific product or service, they want one that is easily accessible to them at the moment they need it. Search engines understand that local searches are often more relevant to their users – someone in Huntsville, Alabama has no use for restaurant listings in New York, for example.

46% of all Google searches are actually local searches, and having an SEO strategy will help you take advantage of this.

 

Local SEO works because it connects your business to people nearby who are already actively seeking it out; they just need to know where they can get what they want and how. That’s where you come in – good SEO practices will make it easy for potential customers to find and contact you.

 

You improve your word-of-mouth.

Even with all the cutting-edge advancements in the field of marketing, word of mouth is still by far the most effective way to market your local business. Back in the day, this meant getting recommendations from friends and family about which bar to go to or which dentist is the best. The rise of technology hasn’t changed this at all, but it has transformed the way we get our recommendations.

9 out of 10 people trust online reviews – yup, even from complete strangers on the internet. Many people said they even put online reviews at the same level as a personal recommendation from someone they know.

They scan blogs and comments to determine the quality of a business so that they can make informed decisions about which brand or company to choose. If people like you enough to leave good feedback, others are bound to listen.

One of the major focuses of local SEO is monitoring and responding to online reviews about your business. It helps you keep track of what people think about your products or services, lets you signal boost positive reviews, and gives you the opportunity to reach out to the people who have had negative experiences.

This shows that you truly care about your customers and are dedicated to providing the best in your field.

 

You keep track of your customers and your business.

The great thing about SEO is that it’s measurable. Part of SEO is analytics – looking at the data and tweaking your strategy from there. You can glean so many insights from tracking your SEO results; you can monitor your number of clicks, website traffic, which pages are most popular. You’ll know which methods are working and which need improvement, helping you make better, more calculated decisions.

There’s also a sense of accomplishment in being able to see the tangible results of your SEO efforts, whether it’s an increase in site traffic or higher conversion rates.

 

You avoid losing sales.

If you’ve been neglecting your SEO, or, worse, using questionable methods to boost your rankings, you’re definitely hurting your business in the long run.

At best, not having an updated address, contact number, and business hours make it harder for people to find you and purchase your products and service. A messy website that is ill-structured, outdated, and hard to understand will turn away potential customers, thus losing you revenue.

At worst, black hat SEO techniques will get you penalized by search engines, whose algorithms are constantly being updated to weed out spammy and irrelevant websites.

If a search engine determines that you’ve been engaging in dubious practices to artificially boost your ranking, they can bump you down or remove you from the results altogether.

 

You can get revenue with little to no cash-out.

There are many SEO agencies who are experts in SEO for local small businesses, and they can definitely help you get the results you want. But did you know that you can still reap the benefits of SEO without having to shell out any extra money?

Claiming your business on online directories like Yelp or Google My Business is FREE. All you have to do is claim your listing, update your contact information and address. And voila! This is your first step to reaching your potential customers. Search engines will automatically rank you higher because your information is verified and up-to-date, and it will be much easier for people to find your business when they search online.

Any local business, whether you’re an established neighborhood mom-and-pop diner or an exciting new startup, can benefit from implementing good SEO practices. Promote your products and services online with SEO, reach a wider audience, and see your business really take off.

 

By |2018-09-03T10:12:38+00:00September 3rd, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Is Local SEO REALLY Effective for Local Businesses?

Demographic Marketing: Is it still relevant

Is Demographics Still Relevant in Today’s Marketing World?

For a long time, demographics and statistics have been the backbone of how we record an existing population. It has helped us determine a rough estimate of generic statements to help us answer specific questions, such as “How many people live in Huntsville, Alabama? How many people in Alabama are under 15? ” etc. So, it is of no surprise that marketers use statistics to try and advertise their goods and services to as many relevant people as they can. However, shopping trends change rapidly. Almost as rapidly as our technology and the environment. This makes me wonder, has our approach to marketing outdated? Do people even fall for the same things they did 10 or 20 years ago? If not, should we change strategy?

So, let’s look at how and when the use of statistics started before we render a verdict.

The Birth of Demography

demographyDemography, or the practice of sorting a population into specific data groups, is a science that is almost as old as the idea of civilization itself. Ancient China, India, Greece, and Rome. In the Middle Ages, Christians kept up the practice through official documentation by clergymen. Then, it was applied in the Modern Era to note the trends in death tolls for children under 16. From then on different statisticians further specialized into different fields of demography, whether for religious study, birth and death rate study, or even nutrition study.

Since then, we have looked into what makes up a population in a given area, such as Huntsville, Alabama, and made our own conclusions based on the data we find.

The Use of Demographics in Marketing Segmentation

The use of demographics in sales, much like any other sales practice, has technically existed long before any specialist put a name on it. After all, we have been buying and selling things since the dawn of the barter system. It doesn’t help that there are various schools of thought on the matter either.

However, if you want to know when it was named, then it was coined by Richard S Tedlow.

Richard Tedlow, a business historian, applied the four steps of marketing segmentation, based on factors such as availability, technique, and production etc.

  • Fragmentation (pre-1880s): The economy was characterized by small regional suppliers who sold goods on a local or regional basis.

 

  • Unification or Mass Marketing (1880s–1920s): As transportation systems improved, the economy became unified. Manufacturers tended to insist on strict standardization in order to achieve scale economies with a view to penetrating markets in the early stages of a product’s lifecycle. e.g. the Model T Ford

 

  • Segmentation (1920s–1980s): As market size increased, manufacturers were able to produce different models pitched at different quality points to meet the needs of various demographic and psychographic market segments. This is the era of market differentiation based on demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle factors.

 

  • Hyper-segmentation (post-1980s): a shift towards the definition of ever more narrow market segments. Technological advancements, especially in the area of digital communications, allow marketers to communicate with individual consumers or very small groups. This is  known as one-to-one marketing.

Why Demography is Failing: Identity through Preference over Fact

Marketers on the internet initially thought they could apply demography with mass communication and reach more people than before. But that niche tastes, huntsville, Alabamadidn’t happen. As of 2016,  4 out of 5 of people have left a webpage because of a pop-up or autoplaying video ad. People use adblockers more than and there was a greater fear of spam over time.

What they did not count on was that the taste of their customers would start to vary. Increased availability with mass communication meant an increase in the exposure and creation of niche communities and expanded preferences. This created a perfect storm that would defy marketing segmentation. You have grandmothers from Huntsville, Alabama who can talk to young people from Beijing, China about their love of knitting and Dr. Who.

Much like rule 34 of the internet (a racy but poignant example), if something exists, no matter how obscure, there will be fans of it. Whether it is a hobby like extreme ironing, or a very obscure tv show pilot like “Heil Honey I’m Home” there will be forums, Facebook groups and Wikis dedicated to it by different people.

As Skyword.com put it, “Choice and freedom now give people the opportunity to construct their own identity outside of traditions and stereotypes.”

It was said best in an article by Alexander Jukowitz from Huffington Post “If you feed your marketing teams the same tired demographic research, you’re painting a very restricted picture for them. If you tell your team to imagine a “he,” that’s exactly what they’re going to do. You’re setting them up to reach the most stereotypical conclusions, which can hurt your brand and your bottom line.”

What Can Marketers Do?

So, what exists that will help marketers advertise to people so diverse? The answer to that question will come in the next couple of posts. If you want to learn more about the SEO services in Huntsville, Alabama,  explore the site and click on a few links

By |2018-09-07T20:51:01+00:00August 31st, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Demographic Marketing: Is it still relevant

Organic SEO Services and Practices- Be Active!

Organic SEO Services and Practices – Be Active!

seo services, google algorithm, criteria

So, a couple of posts ago, we briefly discussed the kind of things that needed to be avoided when trying to hire someone for SEO services. But how does SEO actually work? Because there are unfounded rumors, constant algorithm changes, and factors not explicitly stated, people give up on SEO before starting. Or worse, they end up throwing a bunch of money at Google Ads with the hopes that it would be enough to make it on the front page. But there is a way to get organic search results on any search engine. However, it requires attention from three different factors. A holy trinity of SEO if you will. So, if you want to get into or hire someone for SEO services you need to know these 3 things.

  • Quality Content
  • On Page Indexing
  • Off Page Indexing (Self ) and (Others)

Today, we are going to talk about the final part of the SEO trinity with hopes that it will not disappoint, much like the unfortunate release of the Last Jedi. Off Page indexing it almost the same thing as on page indexing, except instead of it being what you can do on the inside of the site, it is what you and others can do on the outside of the site. The more prevalent you are in the internet community, the more likely you will be favored by the harsh and unrelenting Google Algorithm Gods.

How Google Judges Activity

What You Can Do

If doing SEO was something that a person could do by themselves, then it would be easy for everyone to rank, making it hard to judge by quality. Google needs to double check, and then triple check to make sure that a website is valid. Google needs to know if they are doing right by all users. So, it relies on both  ‘word of mouth’ and actions from other users. It wants you to be useful to other people, so naturally, the more people like and visit a site, the more it will help your ranking.

There are some things that you can optimize off your webpage both electronically, and even IRL, depending on how well you play your cards right in your community.

digital advertising & brandingLinking Out to Others

No one knows everything. And when someone says they do, they are a liar and probably lousy at SEO. Linking out to others, either by way of giving credit to others or citing your sources, is imperative in SEO. Without linking out to other sources with a higher domain authority, you are not only rendering yourself invisible to the internet, you are participating in some form of plagiarism. Especially if you copy and paste several sentences or an image with no credit to the creator.

Aside: This is something that I and the art communities with original images and writing struggle with over and over again. Unless a work is specifically cited as public domain, don’t forget to credit the information! A simple link will save you tons of harassment, possible legal actions and penalties down the road.

Linking out to others can also lead people to relevant information regarding the subject matter.  For example, I write an article about the history of Huntsville Alabama. Maybe I talk about the space program or the agricultural history of the topic.  What if someone wanted to know more about this topic that you didn’t want to cover, like Huntsville, Alabama and the Civil War. That is the perfect opportunity to let them follow relevant subject matters regarding Huntsville, Alabama and it’s history.  Its a service to others and can establish your credibility.

Put Yourself on the Map

Huntsville Alabama Marketing Web Design Decatur Alabama Logo DesignIf you have a local business that you can put on a map or a phone number that people can call, you need to index it as much as possible.  Put yourself on Google Maps, Yahoo Maps,  Mapquest, and other places that will show off your location. Put yourself on every free listing that you can find with the correct information so others can find you.  Expose yourself to any and every possible review site so others can see what you do, and how well you do it!

It further increases your digital footprint, and it opens a doorway for others to communicate with you. It will also give you insight into customer needs, and what can be done to meet them.

(Note: When you do this you will be bombarded with messages from people who work for the companies you index with to try and get you to pay them for visibility. You can do it organically without their help. I know, because I did it. That Yahoo representative was not happy at the end of that phone call…)

Be Active on Social Media

Google does not only track your keywords, they also track you. When you repeat a brand name or a screen name on both your website and on other forms of social media as your user handle, Google will take note and put you in their indices. The more you chat with other people using your brand name in public comments, Google will record it. The more you are tagged in a twitter war, you are mentioned and indexed. Hell, the more active you are in general, the more likely people and Google will notice your activity, and by extension your website.

Just be careful not to err on the side of spam territory. Use genuine commentary and avoid repeating yourself over and over again. It will look like “self- plagiarization” according to the internet, (Which I personally believe it’s BS. It’s your content, you can use it however you want, but it’s just the sad reality of a spam filled world.)

 

If you’re in the Decatur, Athens, and Huntsville, Alabama Area, and you want someone to make your website more visible through SEO services, then you should consider calling us! We promise no contracts, no schemes, no long-term commitments.

 

By |2018-08-22T15:20:59+00:00August 22nd, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Organic SEO Services and Practices- Be Active!

US-Based vs Offshore SEO Services

US-Based vs Offshore SEO Services: Everything You NEED To Know

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing your ranking in search engine result pages so that your website attracts more visitors and earns you more revenue. Google, Bing, and other search engines employ an algorithm which ranks your website based on a variety of technical and content factors. To maximize your ranking, your website should, at the very least:

 

  • Be secure (HTTPS vs HTTP)
  • Be mobile-friendly
  • Load quickly
  • Have relevant and authoritative content
  • Have quality backlinks from other reputable websites

 

 

Why Is SEO Important?

Any business with an online presence can benefit greatly from SEO services. Why is it so important? An overwhelming majority of online experiences begin with a search engine. Most people never scroll past the first page, so if you want to direct traffic to your website, it’s important to increase your ranking for important keywords. This involves many methods, like cleaning up your code, regularly writing content that is useful to your audience, sharing that content, and even managing your reputation and responding to negative reviews online.

SEO is a highly-specialized skill, so most businesses turn to companies who are experts in digital marketing. SEO companies provide many services – site audits, strategy development and implementation, as well as data tracking and analysis. Tapping into their experience can help you identify the changes that need to be made to your website for it to rise in the ranks.

Because SEO is so necessary in this day and age, many companies have popped up offering their services—both in the United States and offshore. India, in particular, is a frequent go-to for many businesses because of their cheap services.

How do you go about choosing from the hundreds, if not thousands, of options locally and around the globe? There are five main factors to consider when choosing between SEO services in the US and those offshore.

 

1. Cost

On paper, local and offshore SEO companies usually offer the same types of services, with one key difference: price. Many SEO firms based abroad, like those in India, offer similar packages at a fraction of the cost of their American counterparts.

This is a major deciding factor, especially for small to medium businesses who might not have the capital to spend thousands of dollars per month on a local SEO consultant. After all, if the results are the same, isn’t it a smarter business decision to go for the cheaper option?

The adage rings true—you get what you pay for. Of course, this doesn’t always mean that more expensive equals better results, but there is a point where the money you save isn’t worth the sacrifice in quality and the risk. A good SEO strategy requires a thorough audit of your site, marketing and social media expertise, and possibly an overhaul of the code and content of your website.

Offshore SEO services may claim to do all these for a low price, but they will have to cut corners somewhere to turn a profit – usually by providing lower quality content or even resorting to gray and black hat methods to deliver short-term results while staying within budget. Local services, on the other hand, might be more expensive off the bat to account for the serious research and work that go into creating your SEO marketing plan.

 

2. Communication

English has long been the standard means of communication across the globe; the internet has only made it easier for people to learn the language, so it’s no surprise that many people abroad can speak and write in English.

But anyone who has received messages and emails from offshore SEO firms can attest that there is a world of difference between a native English speaker and one for whom English is a second language. While some SEO agencies do have fluent English speakers on staff, this might not always be the case.

The language barrier could pose major problems even early on. A solid SEO strategy involves a back-and-forth between your company and the SEO service provider, and any miscommunication from budgets to business objectives could put your investment dollars at serious risk.

SEO also requires a lot of research and content writing, and you are more likely to end up with awkwardly-phrased content at best, and unintelligible writing at worst.

 

The time difference also stands in the way of seamless communication between you and the SEO company. This makes it more difficult to collaborate on your SEO marketing plan, and impossible to act on time-sensitive errors and problems.

 

3. Quality & Innovation

Outsourcing is incredibly helpful and cost-effective for technical tasks, but SEO is more than just simplifying code and adding backlinks. SEO consultants need a solid grasp of content and social media marketing to provide you with customized, comprehensive solutions.

Search engines like Google often take into consideration the length and quality of your web page content in determining your index ranking. Your company’s reputation and rankings are dependent on quality content and messaging – you don’t want to leave this responsibility with just anyone.

It’s easier for local SEO companies to understand your objectives and target demographic than for someone who is in a different country. Companies in America also have to adhere to very strict operational requirements so that you can trust their standards and attention to detail. Local writers obviously have a great grasp of the English language and are better able to create relevant and valuable content that is tailored to your company’s needs.

Offshore content writers usually hammer out large numbers of articles for a low price, which means that they might not be able to take the time to create your site’s content carefully. They are also not usually native English speakers, and this shows in the quality of their writing. Some even resort to shady tactics that could generate content for your website quickly and cheaply, but will hurt your business in the long run—more on that later.

Search engines change their algorithm for ranking and detecting spam websites regularly, so it’s important that the SEO company you work with is caught up with the latest optimization methods. SEO techniques that were commonplace even just a few years ago are outdated now, and could get your site penalized.

American SEO firms are usually up-to-date with algorithm changes and are at the forefront of new and innovative techniques. Local SEO companies also offer a wide range of long-term services, including data tracking and analysis to tweak their methods and continually improve your rankings month after month.

 

4. Integrity

There are two main kinds of SEO: white hat and black hat. White hat methods involve tweaking your website and improving your content to affect your rankings. It requires a company with extensive experience in web programming, networking, content writing, and even graphic design. With white hat SEO, your website content is king – it needs to be useful and relevant to your audience. The agency is in charge of figuring out the common search terms related to your line of business, and include those keywords in your content so that it’s easier for potential customers to find and connect with you online.

They’ll also increase your quality backlinks from other reputable websites, help you manage negative reviews online, and enhance your profiles on related directories and blogs. This holistic and multi-level approach to increasing your visitors and generating leads is the reason why many local SEO companies charge a pretty penny for their services.

While there are trustworthy SEO services in India and other countries, their low cost often means they resort to other, less expensive ways to manipulate your search engine rankings superficially. These shady and unethical practices, like keyword stuffing, using link farms, and scraping content from other websites, might boost your ranking in the short term, but search engine algorithms are programmed to sniff out disreputable websites that employ these tactics and penalize them by decreasing their rankings or removing them from search results altogether.

 

Offshore vs US-Based: Which is better?

The SEO company you eventually hire will run the nitty gritty of your online presence so that you have more time to focus on operating your business. They will improve your website and user experience so that it’s easier for customers to find your products and services. It’s important to hire an agency that is credible, easy to communicate with, will deliver long-term results, and give you your money’s worth.

By |2018-08-20T16:37:20+00:00August 20th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on US-Based vs Offshore SEO Services