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Marketing Automation in 2016

Target ROAS bidding for improved marketing automation

We’re there. It’s been over three years in concept, research and development. Business technology and marketing automation are changing a lot. We now have more advanced access and easier use of API with web hooks than ever before. It’s an incredible feat because a year ago we were barely able to connect some software and services. Now API are native to practically every popular application for business. The truth is this, even with all these incredible hooks and features, marketing wont be entirely automated any time really soon. What we can do however is exchange more data and information then utilize machine learning and self-awareness supported by input and feedback. So what exactly does this look like and what does it mean for companies? Well using data such as projected/estimated value on new business opportunities. For example, what if we could map your new opportunities precisely back to their sources of influence and amplify those. That’s exactly what machine learning is capable of. We adopted the use of Google’s target ROAS (return on ad spend) bidding in 2013 and have been working with it and our products to provide that type of optimal value to our customers. In the past three years we’ve worked on building a road map of not only how software should exchange and use the information that relates to each part but also monitor the outcome of new opportunities created. To that end, we’re happy to announce that we’ll be rolling out CRM support in 2016. The support and product needed will be included to all our customers for use with their commerce metrics and insights to better optimize campaigns. Customers who have been early adopters and users in the past year have seen significant upticks in their overall return on investment from marketing. Returns have doubled and even tripled in some cases. Marketing automation is using additional data and essential insights in business to act as signals for pushing and pulling levers in your AdWords campaigns – primarily controlling bids and budgets to influence impression share, increasing the overall share of top performers while highlighting deficient areas of your accounts and campaigns within. This allows us to optimize by knowing where more human capital effort needs applied, which is why I insist that for the time being marketing is not and will not be fully automated soon, but it is coming. As machines become more self-aware of design, styles and what is providing a greater return on investment from certain industries, many of those practices and successes carry over into other companies. It’s competitive in advertising but generally speaking, once you’ve managed millions of dollars you get the general gist of what works well for one company, can typically be applied in some fashion for another. This is a universal concept, not to say it always works or applies exactly the same way for one business as the next but let’s face it – companies have been using templates in all sorts of design and marketing for decades. Yes some of the best have high production values and are certainly original, that remains important. Marketing automation will level the playing field for all businesses investing into advertising in 2016. DESIGNA is on the forefront of those discoveries because we’re willing to adapt quickly, implement changes from feedback and stay the course of bringing the best machine learning available; battle tested, tried and true.

Marketing automation results

The results are clear, our customers end up saving between 20% to 40% on advertising that is less influential and could otherwise go unnoticed. We also are seeing better trend to reach target ROAS in a shorter amount of time then traditional methods. The reason is Google’s innovation with data science as it relates to advertising is a massive part of their business interest. In short, Google wants to provide a better experience for its users and businesses want connected with customers looking for their goods and service. We can utilize clusters of data collected through a variety of automated and manual input to determine what drivers help assist and cause conversion or new customer acquisitions. Typically we see a clear path visitors take, usually involving multiple marketing networks and channels. This data is referred to as an attribution model and is essential for machine learning and marketing automation because 9/10 times it’s a combination of placements or advertising networks that need amplified in order to increase ROAS. We will be supporting new, advanced and automated bidding methods in the new year; while growing our existing study using new software and data resources to help businesses effectively increase returns. Out of thirty case studies so far, 27 have been successful. Three were startups who may not have been the best fir for the studies due to constrained marketing budgets; we kept them part of the study for posterity sake. Part of our research revealed that impression share is still very important and has an indirect correlation to rising or falling conversion rates. Because impression share is so important, it’s important you’re not spreading budgets too thin and therefore we suggest consulting a marketing analyst to determine if you have a proper budget for your marketing, geography and goals.

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PageSpeed Matters

PageSpeed Insights Analysis and Test Results

Welcome to my next entry on the basics of SEO. These are the industry inside tips and tricks that will take your organic rank to the next level! Follow my blog and get the basics, which in my opinion are the most important factors when working to improve your position in the search engine results page (SERP). In this lesson we’re going to the heart of your pages, it’s code. Now Google had a hosted service that was available for the public to use called Google PageSpeed, but that PageSpeed Service hosted by Google is being discontinued and now you need to work with an engineer, hosting company or CDN that will continue to work with this product. Thankfully I’ve been working with this service for the past three years, perfecting how our customers can benefit from the fantastic code advancements that PageSpeed provides at runtime.

The long and short of this SEO basic lesson is this, your code and how you program matters. The way your server operates and delivers content will influence how your website ranks organically. It’s becoming a more important part of search engine optimization every year. Businesses used to be able to run on super inexpensive/cheap hosting plans for $4 or $6 a month but these plans has limitations and Google can tell if your host is limiting the number of concurrent connections to pages or databases. Google can also determine how fast your pages load due to coding, render blocking issues or your overall server speed. You can even test your website with Google’s PageSpeed Insights to determine what the strengths and weaknesses of your website are. Depending on what your website is made with and what page(s) you’re testing, you should at least be able to get close to 70. If you’re using a CDN or Google PageSpeed service like the one we run for customers, you should be able to get close to or exceed a score of 80. Anything higher than that is good but then again that could be an indication that your website is lacking important features or functionality.

In summary, your “PageSpeed” matters. Load times and code optimizations are becoming more important every year. It’s not just enough to update your website, hosting or source code every three to five years like you used to. Website and hosting technology should be fluid and adaptive. Yes, this will be a more expensive proposition but if you’re working with a good consultant or company, they should be taking care of this and warranting their work against these change. If no you should be giving us call, we manage dedicated servers and host PageSpeed as a service starting at $150/mo but it includes updates to code standards, or if Google announces a new development in how they rank websites, we update your properties. It’s a small price to pay to know that your work is done following best practices and updated when the standards change again, which you know they will.

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Avoid Duplicate Content

Don't clone your content

This week, in part two of ten in my lessons on the basics of SEO, we’re going to review the problems of repetitive or duplicate content and ways to avoid this problem. Let’s face it, it’s never easy to come up with new ideas! If you find yourself grasping at straws it’s really easy to accidentally get caught in a loop and repeat ideas or content. It’s fine if there’s an occasional overlap but you can’t continue to write about the same thing over and over without risk of an automated or manual penalty. So how do you avoid the pitfall of duplicate content? My advice is to review what’s popular in your Google Webmaster Tools report. Identify keywords that have high impression but lower position and consider creating a series around that topic. Another trick I like to use is to review your previous posts and pages to identify ideas that you may not have had enough time or room in your posts to include. Another problem we all run into now and again is trying to incorporate older ideas of content into new posts. In my opinion this is a bad idea because your regular readers (and therefore search engines) are likely to pick up on this trend. It’s going to turn off your audience and make them not want to continue reading articles, especially if they are intended to be part of a series or additional information on a particular topic. For example, in this series on SEO basics I’m creating a new post on a topic within the scope of the series theme but it’s important that I haven’t covered the ideas presented already or that I haven’t done it already in the past as part of a different series. Now granted, this is easier said than done because as time passes you get more and more content and then you’re struggling to come up with the next post. So another idea I like to use to come up with original content is to review what’s trending or news in your industry and provide your perspective on it. For example, Google recently announced that mobile friendliness is a ranking factor (which is probably has been for a long time as far as I’m concerned). This is important to readers though, it’s timely or recent and can help you to carve out some rank for a topic that’s trending. So next time you’re having trouble coming up with new ideas, look into Google Webmaster Tools keyword queries report, check out recent industry news or try other out of the box methods such as asking your readers and customers what they want to know more about!

If you’re stuck in a rut or worried you may have too much overlapping content, just give me a call at (480) 277-3675 and I’ll help you to develop a strategy for your business. It’s not easy but if you’re carefully planning a direction with a schedule it can make the work a lot more manageable.

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Preservation and Over-Optimization

Avoid optimizing content too much

Welcome to part one of ten in my new series on the basics of SEO! I have consulted literally thousands of companies on how to optimize their content better for better rank on popular search engines such as Google, Microsoft’s bing and Yahoo! I worked multiple years for Go Daddy and did contracted work on behalf of Google at a company called TeleTech. I have over ten years professional experience optimizing websites for higher conversion rates and rank. My company DESIGNA is also a certified Google Partner and I’ve been named Google Business Community Advisor in 2014-15 and also a Google Partner Community Ambassador.

This will be a quick refresher for some and a new adventure into the fundamental details that ensure a positive outcome from your SEO related activities. So my series this year is going to strictly focus on the simplest, most actionable things you can do with you website over time to effectively increase your PageRank and continue providing relevant information to your website visitors. I’m going to say upfront that there’s no “secret sauce” here, or SEO magic. I don’t subscribe to blackhat methods and even have a disdain for link building activities! If you’re looking for advice in those areas of SEO you’re best to move on, because you’re not going to find it here…

I’ll start with two of my favorite basic SEO tips. One, we over optimize and two, we need to work harder at preserving the web. Don’t go and delete old content because maybe you did too much work on an article, or page tagging. Sure you might be using too many headline tags or improper meta tags. Correct the page’s errors and preserve it unless it’s absolutely abusive in comparison to modern practices! I see so many old websites that were excellent for their time and still provide redeeming benefit and value to your rank. Next thing you know someone is taking a wrecking ball to a decades worth of content and you wonder why you’re nowhere to be found. So I’ve always had this philosophy when optimizing a website for higher search rank; a good, basic practice in SEO is to preserve what you can and add new layers of content. Try not to over optimize…

How to tell if you’re over-optimized:

A basic way to tell how optimized (or over optimized) your pages are is to count how many H1, H2, H3 and H4 tags you’re using. You can also use a word could and look at how often a word appears on a page. If you’re repeating a word (more than what would appear natural), three, four, five or even six times then chances are you’re not really writing for people. You’re trying to write for search engines and that’s not going to get you very far. If your pages are using more than one H1 tag, or too many H2 through 4 it could also be problematic. Basically too much SEO is always a bad thing.

Stick to basic formats such as an H1, followed by a paragraph, then an H2 title with a paragraph and another H2 title tag followed by another paragraph. Next thing you know you will have real organization and structure to your pages for better rank, which is what search engines like Google want because it makes it easier for users to follow along the content in your pages. If your design is failing that could be another problem too. Sometimes people try to put too much on one page and you’re going to create a lot of confusion. I mean this article alone I have enough content for three or four other tips for future content on the basics of SEO!

When you think you may have over-optimized a few pages or even many pages it might help to consult a professional. The person you’re consulting with should be able to explain clearly what is either lacking or over embellished as far as SEO on your web pages. Again, there’s no magical mystery or secret sauce here. If you’re using too many title tags, too much copy or something just isn’t flowing your consultant should able to look at the page and know it within ten or fifteen minutes – thirty tops! Remember too, nobody is perfect when correcting past mistakes or making improvements. Hence the term “optimization”, we don’t always get it right the first go. It’s the process of seeking continuous improvement and scrutinizing your own work that will lead you to becoming a “Master of SEO”. I’ve even been dubbed “the Jedi” by my peers, because of my keen ability to detect and resolve disturbances in “the Force”. All joking aside, if you continue to follow my bi-weekly entries on SEO basics – I’m confident you’ll learn new ideas, concept and actionable items you can apply directly to your pages and search engine optimization practices. You’re going to learn more about internal link structure, external links and much more to come…

As always you’re more than welcome to leave a comment or ask questions in the section below. I’m also available for one on one consultation and optimizations when needed, just call me directly at (480) 277-3675 and let’s setup a time to speak more!

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Why Google Matters For Business

Floral Shop Marketing

Google was built with everyone in mind, I mean think about it.  Doesn’t practically every person you know search with Google?  At some point, even if they don’t start there they will eventually “Google it”.  Therefore, wouldn’t a business need to be there and know how others are searching?  In other words, if your customers search for your business by name, what are they finding out about your company?  What if a person searches by a term that relates to the products or services your business provides?  Is your company represented at the moments that matter most?  Better yet, do you even know what those moments of search are?

If you answered responsively positive then chances are you’re on top of everything and shouldn’t read on any further but if you’re like 90% of other business owners and managers you’re either too busy with the day-to-day or have entrusted this responsibility to someone else.  Well I’m challenging you to change and break bad habits.  You should know what searches provide new business opportunity and what that cost you.  Why does this matter?  Well let’s suppose that you’re finding that a majority of your business comes from a certain group of “channels”, keyword(s) or online/offline placements.  How much impression share does your business have on that channel that performs well?  What does it cost you to lose or gain more of that impression share?  Can your “rank” or position be improved further and what would that take either from a budgeting (paid search) or (organic) content creation initiative?

If you’re like most business owners you’ve either put this work in the hands of a possibly capable individual or company, or you’re attempting to figure this out yourself without assistance and there’s a very good change you’re like other business owners (9 out of 10) who don’t know the answers to some of these really important questions I’ve been asking throughout this read.  Now keep in mind, I don’t write as often as I used to about Google and it’s use for small to mid or Enterprise-sized businesses.  I want to really drill this point in to my readers, if you don’t know the answers to some of these difficult questions as a business owner, you or the person doing this work on your behalf are doing it wrong!

In summary, you should know exactly where new business opportunities come from, what they cost, how much of it you have (position and impression share) and if you can get more of it or not.  If not, then why?  If there is more impression share available, how much more of it can you get and what will the cost of it be to get?  Some vendors will charge by the page, campaign, click costs and others might charge a flat rate.  Like most business owners, I prefer that you know exactly how much a service will cost.  For example, my company Design A charges $50 per page (minimum of four pages) which includes SEO, copy/content and licensed images; whereas some agencies won’t really tell you what each page or project costs, it might just be one big bundled price which (facepalm), doesn’t really translate well for anybody.  So moral of the story is, know what a media, SEO or paid search channel is going to cost and gain a projection of business earned over time.  I advise all my customers to purchase work on media/pages based on organic performance, the businesses needs against what’s reported (position, % change or some key performance indicator) and purchase more search network or display advertising based on how much business an analyst has estimated it can earn you.  In my honest opinion, this is the most effective way to measure and increase your presence with confidence, knowing it can translate into so much business earned based on estimates on longer-term forecasts.  There’s are many combinations of tools, gadgets, widgets and reports that enable us to do this but the most valuable resource any business can have in my professional opinion, is a trusted certified Google Partner such as me and the team at DESIGNA.  If used effectively, Google will provide a wealth of important information useful in any size business to help you plan and/or grow.  If you pay attention to trends and have an experienced advisor such as me and the rest of our team here, you can really get exceptional value, gain a lot of knowledge and apply Google for your business.

That is one of many reasons why Google matters for business…

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Attribution Modeling and Lead Scoring Analysis

attribution and lead scoring

Attribution analysis is labeling everything in a “closed loop” to ensure we’re getting completely accurate report on every engagement, from stimulus to assist through intermediate clicks and last click; the entire journey each conversion takes from the beginning of engagement to the last click just before conversion occurs. There are a lot of methods and techniques used to management this process. A lot of my work involves manual analysis and matching to ensure the accuracy of automated systems that pass information from one platform on analytics data to another source. Sometimes this pushing/pulling is done manually for accuracy and validation. I also help companies determine what actions/events should be considered an engagement worth counting.

We can then use this data to match gclid (a value assigned by Google to every click) matched back to a callers phone number. We can then push that data and use your input values to push values into Google Analytics.  Google Analytics and AdWords are capable of matching back to every touch point the gclid interacted with to know exactly what sources have the highest ROI. Now we’re getting opportunity source, opportunity cost and opportunity value! The important thing here is that Google has already created the engine that enables us to do this, it’s just a matter of employing best practices to ensure we’re getting all the necessary data points for analysis. Some of this process can be semi-automated but ultimately I believe manual review is needed to ensure a greater degree of accuracy.

In summary, the benefit of building an attribution model and conducting lead scoring is that we can clearly identify every point of interaction from stimulus to the last click leading up to conversion. Then using a well-defined lead scoring methodology we can push value metrics and data into Analytics to determine where the best return on investment is provided to aplify those points be increasing Max CPC/CPM bids and reducing waste by pausing the sources that have poor conversion rates or assist factors. This is a very complex way of managing advertising, it’s time-consuming but can produce incredible returns by lowering cost per acquisition (CPA) and improve actual monetary value for businesses that are growing or trying to improve the results from online advertising.

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Panda 4.0 and SEO

Google SEO Panda 4.0

Are you ready for this? Panda 4.0 released as announced by @mattcutts on May 20th 2014.

What does this mean for the world of SEO?  Well does Matt Cutts gives us a good hint a few days before the update?

Possibly.  I’ve been explaining to people for almost over a decade that I strongly believe Google looks at your page speed, server speed and server security.  I strongly believed this when I started working at Go Daddy.  I still believe (and think that this validates) by larger suspicion that Google has been looking at this as a factor of SEO rankings algorithms.  I also believe that Google applies the laws of physics to determine rank algorithms but most SEO companies and consultants I speak to find that too “absurd” to be true.  I believe that OpenSSL is a part of the factor that’s been running for almost a decade but not many believed that theory.  I’ve got many more ideas about what Google’s new principles are and how they will shape the way we think of SEO for a company or your business.

Local SEO is changing, we’re using more Rich Snippets.  Rich Snippets are tiny pieces of more information (including local business address, phone numbers, authors, product, prices and descriptions) that are submitted to Google regularly.  I believe that this is another of the largest factors in modern SEO, along with having proper optimization and backlinks from your businesses Google Places page(s).  It’s very important to ensure you’re making progress in your natural backlink profile and that you’re not counter productively reverse “optimizing” or creating a drag/resistance by forcing unnatural backlinks.  All links should be from natural sources such as Twitter, Google+, Google Places pages and similar organic and authoritative websites such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes or similar long-standing online/offline publications.

The next part is your server load tolerance and security.  Why would Google rank your website #1 constantly if your server can’t withstand or is limited due to processing time or memory capacity.  In other words, if your server can’t take it why give it to someone who is just going to crash?

Finally, credibility and reputation.  What are other people saying about your business online?  What do customers think of the quality of your work and focus in your businesses subject matter expertise?  If many people say your servers are good wouldn’t Google be wise to feature those businesses more prominently?  Doesn’t conversation and what people are saying matter?  Yes. Yes and Yes!

So this is just a quick bit of food for thought on SEO and how our professional SEO services are changing in 2014 and 2015. There’s more to come soon  but if you have questions give me a call and let’s talk 8-bit, haha get it?  (480) 277-3675

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WordPress VS HTML5

You can always go good old fashion HTML5/CSS.  Time to design is usually a lot lower.  You can typically have a new marketing campaign with a closed loop attribution model within two or three days.  You can also get excellent enterprise analytics on behaviors and conversions these days.  All leading to higher/better overall return on investment because your businesses cost to produce a conversion decreases as you create the demand through effectively targeted marketing and using analytics to gain insight on what assists/causes conversions overall is far easier on a straight up website.  They usually cost a lot less to get started too and you’re up/running a lot faster.  Easier to manage analytics and closed loop attribution model is the key to win big online.  Know your costs and adapt advertising to align with what works while eliminating the channels proven to be the least effective advertising target, keywords, placements and/or advanced filter overlays.  Before you know it your business is winning big.  We recently got a customers (Towing Company) campaign to perform with a consistent $8 to $10 cost per acquisition.  Acquisition defined as an order run for towing services.  The reason is their website was built in HTML5 and CSS, able to adapt faster to what the marketing campaign needed to perform sooner than later.  It also assisted in increasing mobile conversions by over 1000% with under $200 spent in advertising on Google.  It’s exciting to see how rapidly we can positively impact a business return on investment (ROI) using an agile method and rapid development approach!

Early studies indicate that users prefer these websites over many of the custom and premium WordPress themes.  I think it’s because the appearance and format may be a little more pixel specific and because we’re able to make faster changes on the fly based on what marketing insights are telling us.  I don’t necessarily believe it means dump WordPress but we’re now using it as a heavily focused/emphasis on our local SEO services.  This is important because you must have some workflow to ensure continuous growth in your % change reports displayed using Google Webmaster Tools.  I only advise using first-party tools because otherwise your data and performance metrics may get skewed by an API altering information.  You can never be 100% it’s completely accurate unless it comes from Google in my honest opinion.  I believe in scrutinizing information from reporting to ensure there’s a match between your current data and Google’s reporting tools.  This means that your business is more likely to build a bigger/better and all-encompassing attribution model.

In summary, attribution models are important because those allow us to map conversions, purchases, conversations and key performance indicators back to their original source; ie the specific keyword, placement and audience/demographic reports to ensure we’re always using the highest converting targets and overlays while improving the weakest links as indicated by their cost to convert.  For this and more information on attribution models, local SEO, AdWords or conversion reporting analysis subscribe to my blog, check out my  free Google Helpout or go to my website and call!

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What is SEO in 2017? Get Free SEO Tips and Advice!

build natural backlinks

This article was originally written by me in 2014. I’m in the process of updating to meet the current standards and best practices in 2017. In short, I believe many of the best practices remain the same, with the addition of compute, web service resource utilization, and as always good content to draw your audiences, then retain them with new, relevant and important information about the topics they are searching for. I’m also a big believer that media is still, and always will be, an important part of SEO. You overall effort, quality, and activity are still essential.

The following is an edited version of my article of SEO tips and advice from 2014:

SEO in 2017 is the year a lot is changing, in my honest opinion.  I keep getting asked questions repeatedly about backlinks, I can assure you that if any SEO has heavy emphasis on backlinks they are clearly steering you in the wrong direction.  Why?  One example is my blog.  It has virtually little to no backlinks and the places I do have little to no PR to pass on; yet I still manage to rank incredibly well, on the first page of Google for competitive search terms.  I had someone recently tell me that “backlinks 2017” wasn’t competitive.  Okay, really?  Never assume you know more than the next guy.  Don’t assume that a lower volume search term isn’t more valuable compared to a broad, higher search term with a significantly reduced conversion rate.

As is the case with most the web now, there are very few sources with high PR that wont set your link set to “no-follow”.  No follow is a disposition which a webmaster can explicitly tell Google not to follow your link, don’t pass PR from their web page to your page.  The majority of the web has become this way, any highly authoritative backlinks must be earned.

So how do you earn the highest, most credible and valuable links on the internet?  I’m glad you asked!  I’ll give you a few hints, it doesn’t involve spending hours a day or week creating anchor text from other websites and pages back to yours.   Start by creating compelling, one of a kind content.  I sort of feel like a broken record because I swear every other blog post I’m writing has a similar theme.  Stop “link building” and start creating original compelling content in 2017 or get left in the dust!

In my opinion a compelling title and description are more important than your backlinks.  Why?  Because Google is known to measure CTR (click-through rate), it’s displayed as a performance metric in Google Webmaster Tools and it’s known to carry some of the heaviest weight when determining your keywords Quality Scores in AdWords.  Why?  Because Google looks as CTR as one of the highest indications of relevance between a users search and a click on the title.  So trust me, your titles and descriptions are more important than ever before and must be a primary focus in 2017.  If your hired/contracted SEO professional isn’t talking about how to write better, more compelling title and description meta tags then you’re probably headed in the wrong direction!  If your SEO isn’t talking with you obsessively about structured data markup schema (a.k.a. micro-data) then you’re definitely headed the wrong way, TURN THE CAR AROUND!  Micro-date or structured data markup schema was introduced back in 2011 and is considered the golden standard in SEO these days.

Another thing I’ve noticed a lot of lately, are SEO “professionals” that are using SEO oriented websites to build/duplicate links in mass volume.  If there’s no contextual relevance between a website about SEO and your pool supply company, then guess what?  Google is either going to consider those links as spam and/or manually penalize your website and force you to remove them.  Now you’re having to double up and undo all that “work” you did.

So here is a summary of a couple important things Google looks at:

  1. Is there contextual relevance between your website and the website linking to yours?  i.e. shouldn’t anchor text/backlink from a website about SEO to a pool supply website.
  2. What’s the websites reputation that is linking to you?  Has anyone ever heard of it?  Does it provide good relevant content?
    1. What’s the quality of your website content?
    2. What’s the quality of the websites that link to you?
  3. What’s your websites history and reputation?  Have you or your SEO been found building shady backlinks before?
  4. How are you using micro-data, or Rich Snippets, do you use data highlighter / marker to test, and are you measuring/managing your data.
  5. What is your CTR?  Are you even measuring it?

You can take my advice or leave it.  Agree or agree to disagree – I have clients who get thousands of dollars (sometime tens of thousands, or more) worth of traffic to their websites every month and that’s not even counting conversions and new business opportunity I acquire from my readers – that would just be a comparable cost if I had spent it on AdWords.

What are your thoughts?  Do you have any questions?  Leave a comment below!  I’m always happy to elaborate on these concepts in my weekly/bi-weekly updates.

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Google Understands Synonyms & Relevance

In SEO, contextual relevance and synonyms are like having Clouds buster sword from Advent Children - they all combine into one.

I ran into this today and so I thought I would take a moment to add it to my tips.  This is a really important one to remember when you’re writing throughout 2014. You don’t have to have an exact match between the keyword in your articles and they keyword you’re trying to rank on Google for. Why?  Because Google understands synonyms and can easily identify when there’s contextual relevance between the synonym and the category applied to your blog posts.

For example, let’s say I want to rank high on search engines for the keyword “search engine optimization (SEO)” or other closely related phrases. Your article doesn’t have to include that exact keyword in the title or body of page copy, the article could be about “tips for ranking on Google”.  As long as I properly categorize my post in WordPress, write a description in that category and have proper contextual relevance and/or synonymous  keywords then I’m going add to my overall authority and rank on the keyword(s) I really want to rank for.  It’s that simple!

Now the key here, from my experience, is that you have to be using a limited number of categories per post (I usually try to stay as close to two or three as possible) and that you have to put descriptions on the post categories.  Now you’ve helped map the contextual relevance one degree further for Google to better understand the relationship between your article and the keyword(s) you want to rank for.  I can’t guarantee this will help you make it to the first page but I’ve had a lot of success using this methodology!   Another important step is to double check your WordPress settings and make sure categories appear beside your article and that when they are clicked they go to a dedicated page that has the description at the top.  It should be visible, some themes like to remove this description, which is you ask me is a very big mistake!  You want Google to crawl these categories to ensure that it is being fed the appropriate information, that “hey this article is about this, but it related to that bigger body of work organized under this category page”.  So again, it’s very important you’re properly categorizing your posts, that your categories have descriptions and that they are visible on the category pages which you click into them on your WordPress blog.

Including keywords in articles is a tough habit to break, really it is and it isn’t to say that there’s not more then one way to skin a cat, there certainly is!  It’s just what works for me and I’m ranking for some of the most competitive keywords in my industry.  So ten years experience and a new blog that’s less then a year old; I must be doing something right.  Right? So write about butter cream, categorize it under cake baking tips and go crazy!

Remember, the less you’re trying to force your content to be written for keywords (and instead, written for people, like it should be) the more likely your are to actually enjoy writing and not have to force square pegs into round holes.  Guess what?  Your readers will enjoy your blog more too!

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Building Backlinks in 2014


First off, I feel its incredibly important to dispel many of the myths circulating the internet and industry about backlinks.  You absolutely do not, under any circumstance, need a high volume of backlinks in order to get your website ranked on the first page of Google search results.  In fact, the majority of my highest ranking web pages have very few or no backlinks whatsoever.  So you may ask yourself then, why is it that so many webmasters and professionals in the SEO industry?  Well it’s a simple misunderstanding really.  When you do obtain a high quality backlink, the PageRank flows from that website into your page and then naturally forward to any of the other pages you’re linked to from there.  The primary problem with the backlink building obsession that many inexperienced SEO businesses have made it a primary focus when it should really be one of the last things you do to increase PageRank and in a low volume too.  Quality of quantity.

Backlinks are only one of many factors Google uses when determining the ranked order of pages in search results!  There are literally dozens of arguably other more important factors but I’m still going to touch base on some of my personal favorite ways to build great quality backlinks and how to avoid the pitfalls that most companies and SEO professionals run into when trying to jockey their website to the first page of Google search results.

Build Backlinks the Right Way:

Creating Originally Amazing Content is King

You’ve probably read this hundreds of times but original, quality content is king – key being original and quality.  Not citing or quoting another website or source out the wazoo but literally having a unique perspective and voice that lends credibility to the topic(s) you’re a subject matter expert on.  When you create content that’s one of a kind more people will cite, quote (even try to rip off) your work.  The first part is a positive, the later I trust Google discovers then invalidates, penalizes and ultimately award your website the higher rank of course.  Fair is fair, you created the content (or you didn’t if you’re the person plagiarizing) and Google is going to act appropriately.  So what’s all that have to do with backlinks?  I’m glad you asked!  Well when you’ve really nailed it and engaged your audience with great content and literature worth reading, they will cite or quote you responsibly (if they have any appreciation for your hard work) or link to your business entirely.  Typically, this is done using anchor text and so Google is provided the contextual relevance and relationship between the two sources.

Setup Verified Profiles

What about the practice of setting up authoritative, verified profiles?  What’s that look like?  Well it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds.  Time consuming, but easy to do!  Whenever you create a business its facebook page, Google+ page for business or twitter – your website or blog should reciprocate links!  It’s a simple and easy way to signal that “this is the official twitter/Google+ page/facebook of such and such business”.  This is a counted backlink that Google will typically discover, is in fact reported in Google Analytics, Referring Sites report!  If you think for one second that Google isn’t considering this data when counting backlinks, authoritativeness and where your website should ultimately be positioned, then I’m sorry to say – you’re wrong!  Yes – sometimes these are “no follows” and they don’t pass PageRank, this is true.  It doesn’t mean it’s not a factor when Google determines your websites rank.

Start Blogging Regularly Using WordPress

Start using WordPress!  Why shouldn’t you discuss the topics you want to rank for?  There are people who are incredibly passionate about the topics and content you want to appear on the first page of search results for.  Some of us talk about these topics every day, some once a week and other once a month.  Google is not only looking at the frequency, but again judging the quality of your work.  WordPress makes it easier to jump into blogging regularly!  Sure, there are a dozen different blogging platform but I’ve found WordPress the most efficient for my workflow and for the purpose of search engine optimization (SEO).

Are You Engaged With Your Audience?

When is the last time you took a moment to answer a question or provide feedback using a social network or community?  You think that doesn’t matter or count?  It does – it’s another referred visitor/traffic data source and it counts to your total referring site.  Guess what?  Those links ultimately flow through your profile and back to your website!  Surprise, social actually matters and you better not abuse it.  Not only is it important for your reputation but all that data is getting analyzed at the speed of light, literally!  How do I know?  What do you think authorship profile is verified from?  Google+.  So what’s that mean?  You need to actually leave insightful, one of a kind comments, questions and engage with others in a spam free sort of way.  I’m very involved in several SEO and AdWords communities.  Many times I’m answering questions for other agencies who need help with tips and best practices in those areas.  Why do they trust me when I’m technically “a competitor”.  Because I have nothing to hide!  None of my advice is “secret sauce”.  Google’s own Matt Cutts speaks about these best practices regularly.  Now, some of what he can and can’t say is to ensure that the triggers (or mechanisms) in the PageRank algorithm, that cause higher position in search results, don’t get abused or manipulated.  In other words what Mr. Cutts can tell you is what to do and what you shouldn’t do, but he can’t tell you exactly if a certain signal is considered important by Google because a lot of people would frankly take advantage of it and then engineers at Google have to think of yet another new way of tracking website authority or importance.  Take note, Matt just received a really high quality backlink right there, did you notice that? `( :  Whether or not he returns the favor is irrelevant because who or what you link to is just as important as building backlinks.

So in summary, stop obsessing so much about backlinks.  Start an obsession about a topic you want to be known as a subject matter expert in (for me, it’s AdWords, Analytics and SEO).   Create original, one of a kind content that people want to properly cite and study.  Start to engage with communities and your target audiences online.  It’s about genuine conversation and exchanging ideas, seriously.  This is more important than most people know.  If you’re not prepared to do these things or are unsure if you can do SEO responsibly it’s okay to hire a reputable SEO professional like myself to do it on behalf of your company.  It’s taken me over a decade to master the best practices in SEO services, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time or if you need to turn to a true expert in search engine optimization.

How NOT to Build Backlinks:

Thou Shalt Not Plagiarise

Try to understand, you’re a self published author now.  What happens if another author plagiarized a piece of work in the writing community?  Surely it would eventually be discovered and some monetary penalty would be assessed.  It’s even possible that if severe enough, that writers work would even be pulled from their distribution channels (ie: Amazon, Google Play, etc).  The same is true when you’re creating content on your website or blog, if you’re ripping off another persons work Google will eventually discover this and your rank will immediately be downgraded or removed altogether.

Thou Shalt Stop Obsessing Over Backlinks

It’s not about how many you have or even necessarily who links to you.  Why?  Because, do you really think you’re the only person clever enough to try to post anchor text from a news source or forum back to your web page?  As more people post the amount of PageRank that flows from one page to the next diminishes.  In other words, in about one week those links you spent days or hours building are going to eventually become useless.  Now you look like your spamming so Google will assess a manual penalty on your website and you will find a friendly message waiting for you in your Google Webmaster Tools.  So now what?  You have to double back and clean up all those crappy links you created – so you’ve effectively double or tripled your workload.  Nice going “SEO guy”.  How about you stick to your day job and leave the proper SEO work to a professional like me instead of trying to cheat the system Like A Boss with your bad “link building strategies”?  Seriously though, cut the Black Hat SEO tactics out and just do an honest days work for good great pay.  Don’t want to do it honestly?  Do yourself and your client a favor and just hire me instead.  Stop wasting everybody’s time with your lame link building “tactics” that do more harm than good. (end rant)

Thou Shalt Not Write Like a 5th Grader

Okay everyone, it’s time to put on your big boy pants and actually use that brain of yours!  What’s that?  You haven’t ever written before?  Okay well maybe it’s a good time to start or (heaven forbid) you should actually hire a writer that’s skilled and deserves to be paid well for really great original work.  I’m not referring to TextBroker (bleh) by the way, no offense to anyone who’s getting exploited by them – no I’m referring to real writers that are attending College for a Major or Masters in Journalism or even well established and experienced writers such as our team of professionals.   I hire part-time writers now to provide unique perspective because, guess what?  It actually matters and will influence how you rank!  So please stop writing like you’re in grade school and trust me your rank on search engines will increase.

Thou Shalt Not Use Bizarre Formatting

 Look, I’m not saying that my style of writing is text-book perfect by any means.   However; I follow an easy to digest formula that many of my readers like.  I label my sections with compelling titles and write in a way that personally, it works for me.  Find your own style – figure our how you like to write or blog and try new things now and again but the most important rule when blogging or writing, especially for people (which is who you should be writing for when doing SEO work) is that your content is legible, easy to read and digest.  I still remember picking up printed copies of Reader’s Digest as a kid and many times I use that as my inspiration when writing and formatting my articles.  Print is still king in layout in many instances if you ask me!  Now granted, some print to digital have lost a lot of their “umph” in translation – but go to your local library and find yourself old copies of Reader’s Digest or National Geographic and learn how your content should be formatted for reader’s attention.  I swear that this matters when you’re doing SEO work for customers and it does influence whether of not somebody is going to backlink to your page.  You think that’s going to happen as often if your page is an absolute mess?  I think not…

Anyway, the thing s that you shouldn’t do are just as, possibly even more, important then what you should be doing to build backlinks effectively.  I swear to you that going out and building any quantity of backlinks will get outranked by quality content any day of the week.  I’ll take on any SEO in a challenge who claims otherwise.  MY content will not only outrank yours but it will stay on the first page of Google search results longer.  I really hope these tips about building backlinks in 2014, help you as a professional SEO or small business owner trying to do it yourself.  If you need help, contact me.  I provide fixed rate services that are incredibly reasonably priced and typically a fraction of what other businesses charge.  I’m an honest down to earth guy just trying to make a good living for my family, seriously…

Thanks for reading!  What would you like to see more tips for on my blog?  Please give me ideas and ask questions.  Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply!

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10 TIPS FOR SEO IN 2014 #10 – Titles & Description Meta Tags

SEO Title and Description Meta Tags

Meta tags are often thought to be a thing of the past.  Not so much really, title and description meta tags are probably more important than ever before!  Clickthrough rate (CTR) is important for increasing your organic position as it’s an indication of relevance and quality (just like AdWords CTR will influence your Quality Score).  A higher CTR on an organic listing will help to increase and maintain position on the page.  Title and descriptions meta tags are more important than they were before because this will influence your listings CTR.   If your title is a close or exact match to what a user searches, then the probably of receiving the click had been proven to increase exponentially.  Your title tag influences the blue link of your organic listing and the description appears below the title tag in black text.  The description should typically be a compelling summary of the pages content.  It’s important that your description and title are closely related to the topic of the page but also interesting, putting a unique description will increase interest and in turn the probability that someone will want to visit your website over all the others that are listed in the search results.  If you’re not sure how to write a compelling description, I advise that you study other popular listings. Whatever you do though, don’t copy another websites description or title. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting penalized – being removed or having position change for the worse.

A good title is typically two or three words in length, if you need to break up several phrases separate them with a hyphen “-” to ensure that we’re helping to establish a relationship between the phrases.  For example, the title tag of this page reads “10 TIPS FOR SEO IN 2014 #10 – Write Captivating Titles & Descriptions”.  Notice how the primary topic/category is listed first followed by the specific topic of this post, which falls under a larger body of work “Tips for SEO in 2014”.  It’s important you’re labeling posts, pages and content properly, it’s not a very difficult process it’s just time-consuming.

Here’s a quick summary of tips on your title and description:

  1. Be concise.
  2. Make sure your titles are compelling.
  3. Try enhancing your title by using a hyphen “-” and several phrases.
  4. Make sure your title and description are contextually relevant.
  5. It’s important you’re not copying someone else’s titles or descriptions.  Originality is key!

In summary, great title and description tags should jump out to readers and people searching the web for information.  They should stand out like the cover of and incredibly well drawn comic book in my opinion.  Just like the art of a great comic jumps off the page, so too should the titles and description meta tags of your pages when you do SEO work.  If you’re still finding trouble figuring out how to optimize your titles and descriptions, or how to increase CTR,  give our team a call and we have search engine optimization (SEO) services that will help you!

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10 TIPS FOR SEO IN 2014 #9 – Learn About Building Natural Backlinks

build natural backlinks

Building natural backlinks is important because it’s what causes PageRank to flow freely from one page to the next. It’s important that Google+, Facebook, twitter and Linkedin backlink to your company’s website.  All roads should lead back to your business, try to make it personal.  Balance personal profile images with strong branding in the background.  Do not let your branding replace your personal profile pictures, they should still be present and branding is secondary in the background.  Don’t stuff links all over the web trying to pass PageRank and “link juice”.  This is a poor SEO tactic and frankly I find it to not only be a ludicrous gimmick but a complete insult to what search engine optimization (SEO) is really about.  I consider link builders to fall within “blackhat SEO” territory.  Avoid people boasting massive link building strategies like the plague.  This isn’t how you should be increasing your position on the search engine results for popular keywords and phrases.  Trust me, I do not go on massive link building escapades and I rank higher on search engines and make it to the first page of Google search results plenty.  It is not, I repeat, not about building massive quantities of links from other websites.  You need to be focused on your standard set of links from other website properties you manage, such as social media and standard directory websites like Yelp, but under no circumstance should you go out and buy our create tons of unnatural links.  Guess what’s going to happen?  Your position in the search rank will sink faster than lead in water.  Seriously, I don’t know how else to say it more clearly, stop buying links and don’t try to force links out into the web.  It’s just a terrible idea altogether!

So now you may ask, how does one go about building natural backlinks?  Well I’ll let you in on a big secret.  Create original, one of a kind content and you’r going to be amazed at how many people link to your pages and leave comments on articles your write if they are even remotely decent!  No seriously, if your content is truly one of a kind and not something copied/pasted from another website, all sorts of people are going to link to your blog and website and your position on search engines is going to change quickly.  Sometimes within as little as 48 hours (the standard time delay of Google Webmaster Tools reports).  It’s amazing!  Don’t believe me?  I’ll prove it by screen sharing my position changing over night, straight out of Google Webmaster Tools.

In summary, create better content or hire me and our  staff to create great content for your company.  It’s not that search engine optimization (SEO) is incredibly difficult, it can just incredibly time-consuming. I think it’s something you really need a strong passion for, otherwise you’re just going to get frustrated and give up before making real progress.  If you’re consistent, updating regularly and building natural links by creating compelling content and publishing through social media marketing channels then you will get all the backlinks you need in order to rank on the first page of Google, I promise!

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10 TIPS FOR SEO IN 2014 #8 – Blog With Frequency.

SEO Tips in 2014 - Blog Frequently Using WordPress

If you’re not blogging at least once every two weeks, (in a Brooklyn accent) forget about it…  The frequency and quality of your blog updates still matters, you can see benefits and gains when you blog within one to two days – if you don’t then you’re doing something incorrectly.  You’re missing a very important step in the SEO process.  There’s a lot that goes into a good blog, even more that goes into planning, writing, editing and scheduling your content.  There’s no fast and easy way to manage this process besides either investing the time and doing it yourself or hiring a company to do this work for you.  If you hire a company, make sure they staff writers in the USA.  Google knows the differences in writing styles from one country to another, not to mention literary proficiency.  It’s not to say you couldn’t outsource overseas but we don’t because we’ve found that high quality of the writing is what help get companies to the first page of Google.  We typically employ Masters of English and Journalism Majors, this ensures the absolute best in quality, completely original content and very dedicated blog writers (bloggers).

Blogging shouldn’t be a hobby if you’re trying to rank on the first page of Google.  This should be something your planning in advance and creating at least a blog post once a week if you’re not in a super competitive industry or market.  If you are then you’re going to have to produce two to three times that.  For example we rotate between page one and page two of Google search results for “SEO Tips 2014”, anytime we fall below page one we need to produce two or three really high quality updates and within a day our rank will rise.  It’s very competitive depending on your industry and location, but it really boils down to just a couple of key points; frequency, quality, following best practices and originality.  It’s very important you write compelling headlines because that’s the link that displays in the search results, if you’re headline (title tag) doesn’t grab a reader’s attention your listing will not get clicked and your position will fall over time quickly.  We like to use WordPress for SEO and blogging.  It makes our staff better at organizing and editing content, it also creates a relatively easy way to submit updates to search engines.

Remember, blogging for great rank can’t by a hobby, it needs to be something you plan carefully and measure reports and important metrics like change in your avg. position using Google Webmaster Tools.  If you’re still having trouble with reporting or changing your rank on Google, we provide search engine optimization (SEO) services give us a call at (480) 277-3675!

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10 TIPS FOR SEO IN 2014 #7 – Optimize and Submit Your Sitemap

How You Submit a Sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools (top right)

If you’re not creating sitemap and submitting using Google Webmaster Tools, good luck!  This is a simple way to ensure that your most important pages have a better chance of ranking on Google and counting toward your overall authorship ranking. See more on authorship profiles in tip #4.

There’s a lot of really easy ways to build and optimize your sitemap, my favorite way is to use WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin.  It automatically builds an effective, well structured sitemap and includes images which I believe it a best practice.  You can build a sitemap manually but it’s a very time consuming process.  Many site building and content management tools such as WordPress have easy to use plugins.  After you optimize your sitemap you need to login to your Google Webmaster Tools and submit it for index.  It generally takes 24 to 48 before you can get a good indication on how content is going to influence your rank and if you’re going to make it to the first page of Google or not.

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10 Tips for SEO in 2014 #6 – Link Google Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics.

Edit Webmaster Tools Settings in Google Analytics

This helps to determine what content drives impressions, traffic and position higher.  It makes it easier to determine when CTR is low, indicating that you may need to work on your titles and descriptions.  There’s a lot of very interesting data that can be obtained by doing this, you can see position change over time, there’s also a ton of data that pertains to segmenting position change by various types of content you’re publishing.  It’s really important you complete this step and it’s also very easy to do.

Step #1 – Assuming you have used the same email to setup Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, sign in to your Google Analytics account.

Step #2 – Click into the website profile and property you will be linking Google Webmaster Tools to.

Step #3 – In the top right, click admin.  Then under the “PROPERTY” (middle) column, select “Property Settings”.

Step #4 – Scroll to the bottom of your Property Settings and you will find a section called “Webmaster Tools Settings” select “Edit”.

Step by Step Gallery to Help You Link Google AdWords and Analytics Together:

You will be able to choose your Google Webmaster Tools from the list, if it’s grey or not appearing there’s something wrong with how you have configured your Google Analytics or Webmaster Tools settings and you should call our team for help at (480) 277-3675.

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10 TIPS FOR SEO IN 2014 #5 – Build #SocialMedia Following

Social Media Following

This is going to be the recurring theme in 2014 –  “personalized search” is influenced by the people you and other people in your circles follow.  Building a genuine social media following online isn’t easy, I find that content typically has to be 10% about your company, product or services and the remaining 90% to be unrelated. Remember that most people on social media are there to connect with friends and for entertainment, so if you think shoving advertisements in their face will build your following then you’re fighting a losing battle.

If you’re trying to take more than you give, you’re going to fail.  If you also don’t follow our other tips pertaining to social media, engagement and content then you’re wasting your time because people wont be able to identify value in your content very easily.  It’s less likely they will want to follow you, share your content or any engagement that would be an indication or signal of value to the major search engines.  Bing is personalizing search using facebook following and Google personalized search results using twitter and Google+ as far as I can tell.  When your follower(s) search content closely related to a topic you have posted about, it’s very likely they are going to see the content you’ve posted related to their search on the first page of Google search results.

To build a following you can purchase paid marketing, use organic methods of engagement, thank people for sharing content and typically I find the most effective method is to ask!  If you aren’t asking prominent people online to follow you, then guess what?  They probably wont!  It is not about following 1,000 people and hoping that 1 in every 3 people you follow, follows back.  It’s about meaningful conversation, real connection and building personal relationship.  That’s how you build an effective following using social media!

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10 Tips for SEO in 2014 #4 – Setup Author Profiles

Setup Author Profile in WordPress for SEO

If someone follows you, it’s much more probably that they are going to see content that has your authorship profile associated with it.  It’s a factor of new personalized search results by Google. WordPress and Blogger are excellent ways to do this easily.  From WordPress admin, you login into your admin panel, then go to the “Users” section.  Select “Your Profile”  and then complete the “About Yourself” section.   It also helps a lot if you’re using Jetpack Publicize, it breaks sometimes but overall it’s a very useful and easy to use tool to link your WordPress with social media websites like Linkedin, Twitter, facebook and Google+.  Gravatar can be a benefit to keep profiles uniform.

Author profiles can also be made manually by using authorship tags but I suggest avoiding these whenever possible because standards are bound to change eventually and it would be a pain to have to update all your web properties to match or use the latest standards of authorship tags and information.

Quick Instructions:

  1. Login to WordPress admin area.
  2. Under “Users”
  3. Select “Your Profile”
  4. Complete the “About Yourself” section.
  5. Use Jetpack Publicize to link your social media.
  6. Make sure you have setup your Google+ profile with the same email as you use on WordPress then verify authorship on Google.

Author profiles are a very good way to build reputation with followers and search engines.  They are becoming more important in the PageRank algorithm and search engine optimization (SEO) process.  I highly recommend you start settings these up and optimizing them immediately if you haven’t started to already!

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10 Tips for SEO in 2014 #3 – Engage With Followers

Engage with your followers on social media.

Social media on Twitter, facebook and Google+ isn’t just about building following, it’s about meaningful conversations!  Yes following is important, but if you’re not connecting one to one and still trying to connect one to many then you’re doing it wrong in my opinion.  Thank people for following you whenever possible, let them know you appreciate it and engage with fans of your work.  You would be surprised how a little of this goes a long way.  I try to always reply to posts or comments within 24 to 48 hours.  Sometimes a couple may fall through the crack but it’s not the end of the world.  Leave more meaningful comments on other blogs, posts and reply to other comment threads.  They don’t always even have to relate to your industry, remember Go Daddy built a massive customer base focusing on fans of NASCAR.  You don’t always have to try to shove your brand into relevant conversation, try to be social.  People are using social media to connect with friends or family and for entertainment!  I try to follow a ten to one rule when using social media, for every 10 posts one of those will be about our DESIGNA or our services.

Your engagement and relevant contribution may have an impact on your ranking.  We know that when a person follows you on Google+ it does affect their personalized search results and as long as you’re using authorship profiles, you’re more likely to have your content, blog posts or social comments display to people who choose to follow you or your business online.  It’s thought that social media engagement is a new method that the Google PageRank has changed  to adapt to a more modern method of identifying authoritative content on the web.

In summary, we are 100% that your Google+ following does impact personalized search.  The only way to build a following is to engage and contribute or share meaningful content.  This should factor in somewhere to the PageRank algorithm so it’s important to get up to speed with the “best practices” in social media, fast!

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10 Tips for SEO in 2014 #2 – Provide Value

Define a Value to Your Readers

Are you just publishing articles in hopes that you will rank on the first page of Google or are you actually publishing useful information that provide greater value to your visitors? If content provides little to no benefit to your reader, the odds of them considering useful, sharing it or following you is slim to none. It’s better to give too much than not enough.  It’s important to try sharing images, video and links to other useful information.  If you’re not building backlinks using anchor text then you’re clearly doing something wrong.  Careful not to pass too much PageRank by linking to too many external websites.  It’s okay to do once in a while, especially if the content is relevant and/or about your company but too much and you may do more harm than good.  My general rule of thumb is one external link for every ten internal links.  This is a good ratio to maintain the majority of the PageRank acquired through natural flow without coming off as useless spam.  From my experience, if you’re writing and creating original content about subjects you love, you’re ten times more likely to rank on Google.

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10 Tips for SEO in 2014 #1 – Measure Success

Using Google Webmaster Tools - Position Change Reports

Are you measuring your position change using the percent change reports in Google Webmaster Tools? If not you’re missing the boat, big time! Try and use these to show clients that your work is providing value, if you’re still struggling at increasing position there may be on-site factors or poor link building strategies (backlinks) being used that are inhibiting you from getting that highly coveted, first page ranking.  Hitting the first page of Google isn’t easy, but with careful planning and a lot of hard work it can be achieved.

If all else has failed, give our search engine optimization (SEO) services a try!  Our rates are incredibly reasonable, starting at just $280/mo.  We give our clients exceptional value and work hard to keep your business. Call (480) 277-3675 and ask for Andrew!

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Meet Your Google Partners Community Ambassadors!


The Google Partners Community is a place for current and aspiring Google Partners to go and discuss search engine marketing (SEM), AdWords (also known as PPC) with one-another.  On December 17th, I was flown out to San Francisco, courtesy of Google, to present as one of the five new Google Partners Community Ambassadors.

The Ambassador program is a new initiative from the Google Partners Community team to encourage engagement and to bring unique expertise to the community.  Ambassadors help agencies continue learning, we host educational hangouts and conversations about a variety of Google AdWords topics.  Basically, the Google Partners Community is a great place to exchange ideas behind best practices, to share thoughts or opinions on the various AdWords account management techniques.   For example, we discuss how to increase Quality Scores, clickthrough rates (CTR) and conversion rates to reduce the cost per acquisition (CPA) for our customers.  The Google Partner Community is not only a place to discuss strategies though, but also a place to get useful information on how to mold your agency into the best Google Partner that you can be!

As a Google Partner Community Ambassador, I have the opportunity to share my thoughts on ways to optimize Google AdWords campaigns and how to get the most out of a clients advertising budget.  In 2014 I’ll be making a concerted effort to host a hangout on air every three to four weeks in order to help others learn more about Google Analytics, YouTube TrueView, Campaign Optimize and increasing AdWords Quality Scores.

Google’s very own Jennifer Qiao is even providing us with our own “hangouts in a box” kit which includes a video camera, microphone and lighting to help us provide a better quality production when we host  an educational hangout for agencies and Google Partners.  Everyone at DESIGNA is grateful for the opportunity to be part of the incredibly special Google Partners Community and I’m especially appreciative of the tools, resources and recognition that Google has given me personally.  I feel like it’s an incredible way to give back and I really believe that good great things come to those who give selflessly.

Visiting Google is definitely one off my bucket list, I even was able to demo Google Glass which is more exciting than I even imagined it would be!  I was provided the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas on YouTube TrueView advertising in front of a nation-wide agency audience.  After our live broadcast we were able to sit down to brainstorm about how we could shape and influence the future of the Google AdWords Partner Community and Ambassador Program!

I’m excited about what the future holds, Googler Jenn Qiao eluded that there are bound to be more exciting announcements in the new year with the Partners Community and the Google Partners Ambassadors.  I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated!

Here’s a video introducing the Google Partner Community Ambassadors from my trip to Google on the 17th:

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Named a Google Partners Community Ambassador


Hey there!   I’m Andrew Rulnick, the owner of DESIGNA.  I was just named one of five Google Partners Community Ambassadors!  My mission has always been provide valuable insight and perspective into best practices with Google AdWords.  I’m incredibly passionate about marketing analytics.  I’m honest the a fault and I love helping others to be more successful with their advertising.  Being named one of the five first Google Partners Community Ambassadors is important to me because I feel like it’s a sense of validation from the staff at Google and the Google Partners Community, that my experience, input and unique perspective are appreciated.

I feel a strong sense of kinship in the Google Partners Community and I was immediately drawn to help other aspiring partners and current Google Partners that were are running into the same roadblocks and obstacles I’ve had to overcome before.  It also gives me an opportunity to showcase my knowledge, stay sharp, to know each of you a little better and for you to get to know more about me too.  The Google Partners Community has given me another opportunity to branch out and make a difference.

Communities have given me a lot over the years, I learned programming several decades ago from online communities.  I started became interested in Google Analytics, through an online community.  Overall, community means a lot to me, it’s a place to go and share ideas, to exchange useful information but most importantly to help each other.  I’m very grateful to be named one of the five Google Ambassadors, thank you all very much for your recognition and support!  More information on the subject will be coming, I have a trip scheduled to Google’s offices in California on December the 17th.

Here’s a copy of the original post from Google Partners Community:

Jennifer Qiao


Announcements  – 11:46 AM

Meet a Google Partners Community Ambassador:+Andrew RulnickAndrew grew up in Akron Ohio, and dropped out of college in his sophomore year for a career at Go Daddy, when they had fewer than 300 employees.  He went on after that to work for a BPO – Tele Tech.  He says, “My Dad recently became sick with stage 4 lymphoma, I decided it was time to focus on new challenges and my family.  I started DESIGNA with the help of my amazing wife Niki and some close friends.

“Now I finally have the opportunity to shape a company of my own and give back to the industry and people that have given me so much.  That’s how I view our Google Partner community, my opportunity to help as others have helped me to learn and grow.  I still strive to grow, learn and continue proving my ability day in and day out all while helping others to do the same.”

Ambassador Hangout – December 17, 4 pm EST/1 pm PST
This is your chance to hear tips and experiences directly from our Ambassadors. Andrew’s topic is “Highlighting the Benefits, the reporting and Targeting — and how to win big with TrueView.” This will also be an opportunity for you to learn how to become an Ambassador as we expand the program in 2014.

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What is SEO? Learn More With DESIGNA.

People ask us all the time, “What is SEO?”  SEO stands for search engine optimization and its the process of organizing your website and it’s content so that it’s more accessible by people and major search engines,such as Google.  The process typically involves writing specific content about a subject (such as search engine optimization) that is commonly searched for by users on the web.  Writing compelling content is paramount as ranking depends partially on the quality of the writing. Then we go through the process of creating your meta tags (title, description and keyword) to help search engines to easily identify what your content is about.  It’s important because this influences the title and descriptions that display in the search results when you rank in the search results.  Another important and primary factor are backlinks, which are anchor text (hyperlinked) from other authoritative sources on the internet crediting your page or articles.   Backlinks need to be highly focused on quality and not quantity.  We would personally take one or two high quality links over a hundred poorly constructed spam links that could get you banned from search engines altogether.  When you anchor text and build backlinks they should be compelling, thought-provoking or informative in nature and be very highly targeted so there’s a strong relevance between the page you’re linking from back to your website, page or blog article.  When you build backlinks you’re passing PageRank (named after Google Co-founder, Larry Page).  PageRank is a quality score that Google assigns to pages, this score gets through from page to page as they link to one another.  Very few,  (except perhaps Matt Cutts) know exactly how the PageRank algorithm works and no one at Google who knows will ever tell you exactly how PageRank is factored, it’s also always changing.

Here’s an illustration of our speculation on how PageRank is working as of 11/25/2013:

PageRank diagram


Essentially there’s a point of diminishing returns based on how many sources a web page links to.  The more links that are created from a source, the less PageRank passes to all sources that are linked to from the original source. However, if all sources are added we believe PageRank is added then divided to produce an average and rounded up because to the best of our knowledge PageRank doesn’t use decimals, but it might!  The long and short of it is that the  higher the quality of  your copy, the more likely other website owners, blogs and content publishers will link to you (backlink) using hyperlink (anchor text) and as PageRank passes through many sources to your website your PageRank should continue to increase over time.

This isn’t always the case though and a high PageRank isn’t even necessarily a requirement to establish yourself on the first page of Google search results. Often Google will analyze the quality of your content in respect to grammar and how well it’s written, whether or not it’s original work or copied off another website to determine where your website will rank on specific keywords.  One of the most important qualities any website can have on the internet is originality.  Do not ever rip off another company’s work because the major search engine  will know it and you will either be penalized or not rank at all until it’s corrected.

Another important factor of SEO and your rank on Google is the use of image alt attributes.  Like meta tags, image alt attributes tell search engines what your image is using plain text so it can determine what your image is of without having to use OCR technology, even though Google says it doesn’t OCR the web; we believe it does because of applications such as Google Goggles and image search.  What’s that mean for SEO?  Your images should be unique and properly labeled!

Sitemaps are another very important part of SEO.  A sitemap helps search engines to understand the organization of your website, how frequently you update pages and the importance using a numerical value.  DESIGNA uses Google Webmaster Tools to submit sitemaps, updates and to track how your website ranks and whether or not you’re on the first page of Google.  We use really in-depth reporting through Google Analytics to determine what content is helping you to catch greater opportunity for visitors and to discover what types of headlines generate a higher clickthrough rate (CTR).

This is just scratching the surface of SEO, for more information and a complimentary consultation, call our team at (480) 277-3675.  Our plans start at just $240/mo and we’re known to be a very reputable SEO service provider!  DESIGNA was started by Andrew Rulnick who worked four years for Go Daddy and two years at Teletech consulting for their client Google.  He has over ten years experience in search engine optimization and Google AdWords account management and can handle your company’s ranking for you.

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Featured on Google Partners Community and Cupcakes From Google

In the last three months, we’ve gone through a variety  of monumental changes and have  accomplished some pivotal stepping-stones at DESIGNA!  We’re working harder than ever before for our customers and strategic partners, to provide the absolute best in customer service and support.  We’re always working hard at providing real results from online marketing using Google’s Enterprise suite of advertising products like Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Google+ and Google Places to name a few.

DESIGNA was recently made a Google Partner in 2013 and the Owner/President of DESIGNA, Andrew Rulnick, was featured on 11/20/2013 by Googler Jennifer Qiao in the Partner Spotlight on the Google+ Community page.  Jennifer and the team at Google are so awesome, they even sent us delicious cupcakes!  As Andrew commented today,”I’m very excited for the opportunity to be working so closely with the Community Managers at Google, Jennifer Qiao and Google are unpredictable in the best ways possible.  They always continue to surprise us in way we wouldn’t have imagined.  I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to work with such an amazing group at Google.  We will have exciting announcements on new developments for 2014, so stick around and follow us online.”

The original post on Google+ by Googler Jenn Qiao reads as follows:

Google Partners Community

Jennifer Qiao

Water Cooler  – 11:37 AM

Partner Spotlight: Andrew Rulnick, DESIGNAThis week, we got to know community member +Andrew Rulnick, who has been very helpful in the community. Want to be featured next week? We’re looking for our most active members for our weekly spotlight.Tell us about your career journey and how you got to where you are today.I wrote my first program in basic and created my first video game by the time I was eight or nine years old. I knew search engines was going to be the next big thing so I started to dive into every technical manual I could get my hands on from engineers and product managers at Google.In 2004 I graduated high school and went to work at a very small company named Go Daddy.  It was very entry-level, but we all have to start somewhere right?  In 2011, I went work for a company named Teletech (Direct Alliance/Revana). When I showed that I was a leader in the company, both the top 1% in sales and customer satisfaction I was promoted to supervise teams of account managers, account executives, aspiring junior analysts. This turned into an Executive position for me where I was able to work with other teams within Google to work with their existing client’s, agencies and accounts.

About a year ago I decided that we were ready to launch another business, this time with a lot more thought put into pricing and our services, the quality and scope of services; I was determined to make this a success so we spent about three months planning out our business model, service logistics and marketing plans.  Then we launched DESIGNA and haven’t looked back!

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I love helping others and to educate and empower people. I’m passionate about helping our customers win in advertising with higher conversion rates.  I’m a highly competitive person in business.  The most rewarding aspect of my job though is when I can teach someone something new or provide a new perspective they hadn’t considered before speaking with me.

What’s one lesson or tip you want to share with your fellow Partners?

The best advice I can give to current and aspiring partners is to push the envelope, challenge what you know or what might be commonplace, know more than your competitors or work with someone who is willing to invest the time required to master a particular set of skills that may not be your strength.  Surround yourself with people who can help you balance your company’s strengths and weaknesses.  My other piece of advice is to be open and honest with your customers, tough love as I like to say…  If you’re losing impression share due to budget, tell them.  If landing pages need optimized or new content needs created communicate that to them.  It makes a worlds difference in Quality Scores and I think it’s important to help customers understand that all these things have to converge (come together).

What do you think the future of digital advertising will be like?

Oh boy here comes my Ray Kurzweil moment….  Huge fan of his work though seriously. I believe there will be a day in the very near future that we will be very closely integrated with technology (smart phones, Google glass) these devices are going to monitor heart rates and administer medicine/medical treatment.  As for the advertising element, I just want to think of what I want/need and have it provided to me within one or two clicks, blinks of an eye or gesture/voice recognition.  I can imagine billboards floating in my view using Google Glass ver 2.0 – whatever that becomes, and Google owning digital real estate all over an augmented reality displayed through Google Glass.  I can see a world where Google understand contextual relevance of what I see (like with Google Goggles) and through glass I’m served with advertisements and TrueView video to help me make decisions and to empower me with options and media!

Delicious Cup Cakes from Jennifer Qiao at Google.

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Credible Internet Marketing

Google Partner for credible internet marketing

DESIGNA was founded in 2013 by Andrew Rulnick and his wife Nicole.  They are a team who work incredibly tirelessly for DESIGNA’s customer’s service and satisfaction.  In our first six months doing business, DESIGNA was named a Google AdWords Certified Partner.  Owner Andrew Rulnick had this to say, “At the heart of DESIGNA’s service model reside two primary core tenants instilled in me from my time spent working for Go Daddy; credibility and accountability.  When we make mistakes (and everyone will now and again, we’re all subject to human error), we own it and work hard to fix it.  We adhere to high standards of having greater transparency of the work that goes into servicing our customers Google AdWords campaigns and we make our reports completely accessible through access to AdWords and Google Analytics.”  We are very determined to provide only the best service and support when it comes to managing Google AdWords accounts and we aim to bring all those best practices to the community.  These aren’t trade secrets, these are the best practices that Google has conclusive evidence to support adopting them for your company or customers.

DESIGNA is currently responsible for managing over $45,000 in Google AdWords (With constant growth!) in advertising per fiscal quarter for its clients.  We’re even responsible for consulting the Smithsonian Institution on its Google AdWords – Ocean Portal science campaign!  Our primary objectives are to provide truthfulness and credibility to internet marketing using Google AdWords and to help our customers get the best possible return on investment from their Google AdWords campaigns through rigorous adherence to industry best practices as defined by Google.

DESIGNA only uses first-party reporting from Google, customers are given access to see work done on their Google AdWords campaigns and they are able to view costs first hand from Google.  According to owner/president Andrew Rulnick, “I believe that our customers should have less restricted access to marketing data.  We want our clients to see all reports exactly as they appear from Google.  While this requires more time to go into greater detail and to remain more accountable to campaign performance, I strongly believe this builds a better trust between DESIGNA, it’s customers and strategic partners.”

Andrew went on to say, “We really value our clients and we’re in the business of educating them on how we can do better collectively and what steps need to be taken to reach high conversion rates, lower cost to convert and bring stronger Quality Scores to our customers.  These are all essential metrics and marketing components such as website, agencies, support services, AdWords campaign management and analytics reports,  all must converge to accomplish the target goals of a specific customer.  We have nothing to hide, if anything the reports really demonstrate how hard we’re working for our customers”.

To take this one step further DESIGNA is strongly committed to providing as a service for its customers in 2014.  The major benefit will be a consolidated view of reports, an integration between sales and marketing so to speak.  Integration between and Google AdWords enables the two divisions within companies to align so that businesses are more likely to get better returns from advertising and to get greater insights on what marketing channels are producing greater return on ad spend and why.

Contact DESIGNA for a complimentary analysis of your AdWords and Google Analytics.  We also provide exceptional resale rates to strategic partners and agencies who want to license the use of our campaigns for their customers.  We work directly with businesses who want AdWords run too, you don’t have to be part of an advertising agency or consultant to use DESIGNA’s services.  We price ourselves very affordably and we even have special rates and financing available from PayPal if you contact us, we’re typically even cheaper than the majority of our competitors who provide a comparable service!

With DESIGNA’s high standards for transparency in reporting, costs and being a Google Partner you can’t lose!  We work hard to keep our customers happy while bringing every best practice we can to the table.  Call (480) 277-3675 for your free SEO/SEM consultation!

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Local Advertising Experts Hangout With Google

Local Advertising Experts Hangout

Andrew Rulnick, the President of DESIGNA, was invited to a live hangout on air with Googler and Local Advertising Expert – Nordahl Ballingall.   You can watch the entire session in the video below.  Nordahl discusses best practices for Google AdWords, Google+ and Google Places.  Learn a bit about how DESIGNA incorporates intelligent bidding strategies segmented by device type and location targeting with conversion attribution and performance metrics in Google Analytics reports to improve our customers return on investment.  Nordahl Ballingall has some very good tips on reputation management, he’s also got some great insights on how to report on indications of success and overall best practices in local business advertising.

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The Process to Becoming a Google Partner

Google Partner for credible internet marketing

As you may be aware from our recent shares, DESIGNA has recently become a Google Partner. This is a process that has been in the works since early 2008. You see, not everyone is accepted in partnering with Google and it takes experience, demonstration of knowledge in all areas Google works with and a portfolio of clients managed to even begin to be considered. The road to partnership began with the maintenance of our high quality standards. Google only approves companies who have had the highest quality scores in their work and maintain positive relations with clients. As a bonus, we also have been rated highly by the Better Business Bureau, and so our clients know we will deliver quality work  at all times.

Additionally, to become a Google Partner, we have to demonstrate through a strenuous testing process, our expertise in analytics, adwords , campaign optimization and best practices.  Testing also focuses on search fundamentals  and demonstrating proficiency in advanced search and display  marketing.  We are proud to announce that we have soared through this process, and are highly certified in all areas.

You may be asking yourself, why do these things matter? Or even, what on earth do these things mean and why could it benefit me? We understand and want you to know that the benefits of working with a Google Partner cannot be overstated, and to let Google speak to the subject, we’ve borrowed this  from the partnership website:

“It’s important to invest your budget where you’ll get the greatest return. And there’s no more cost-effective investment than working with Google’s worldwide network of Certified Partners to optimize your usage of products like Google AdWords, Google Analytics and Website Optimizer.

  • Google Certified Partners can help you outsource AdWords program management or implement Google tools to measure and improve your program ROI.

To put it simply, we’ve worked hard to become best certified to help you spend your advertising budget most effectively. We can be trusted to help you grow your business!

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SEO Tip #2 – SEO Queries and Landing Page Reports (#SEO, #keyword, #content, #reports).

Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries Report

I’ve always subscribed to the theory that “you can’t improve a metric unless you measure it” my entire life but never really recognized that until the philosophy had been drilled into me by Bob Parsons and Go Daddy’s Management through the almost four years spent working at Go Daddy.  Now, having spent two years working for Teletech (working for their client Google),  I have to say it’s something that has stuck with me now in my positions as Supervisor, Manager, now Business Owner and lead Marketing Analyst for DESIGNA’s customers.

I play double, triple duty a lot in my line of work but I love it!   Not only  am I measuring how we’re working individually and as a company but also in the SEO and AdWords results we get for our customers!  It’s thrilling to see true, verifiable success in Google AdWords, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools!  You need to know whether or not your company is on the first page of Google, what keywords you’re there for and what their average position is and when you’re not there you need to understand why.

This brings me to my second SEO Tip. One of the factors of success is to measure your keywords (Search Queries) average position and their change as it relates to specific keywords and content (Search Queries and Landing page) reports. Wow.  What does that even mean?

What it means is your position on the page will almost constantly change.  Sometimes literally within a day.  The important think is to understand why there’s change, what caused the change and how you and specific types of content can affect it.  It’s not to say it’s predictable, it isn’t but at least if you understand what you can control and how those factors will influence your average position on keywords then you have some chance to influence the search results so you or your client’s companies are at least present.  Search Engine Optimization is an important part of Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) but that’s a completely separate blog post altogether…

I’ve always felt like biggest miss by the majority of SEO professionals, companies and our “competitors”, is a lack in complete transparency by using unaltered, un-adulterated, first-party reporting such as Google Analytics.  As a client or company that’s contracting it’s SEO or SEM work to another business or individual it’s an almost immediate red flag if they are using any “proprietary” reporting.  Why?  Because if the reports pass through API they can become altered.  Also, what’s the data retention policy if you cancel that service?  Typically your data is locked in or because it was altered in the first place it isn’t really true data to begin with!  Anything but reports by Google in Google Analytics or a comparable first-party suite is simply inferior!  Another interesting opportunity is to identify what types of titles and descriptions in pages have the highest click-through rates (CTR).  This is where you can win big in using reports in Search Engine Optimization, learn what types of content is most effective and what titles/descriptions get clicked the most!

What I mean is this, DESIGNA personally provides its clients with unrestricted access to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools reports.  That way when DESIGNA does an SEO or SEM/Google AdWords optimization for our clients campaigns or content, they can verify positive performance directly with Google.  When DESIGNA is falling short of our client’s goals and objectives we can begin to understand the why behind avg. position or performance related problems because we can take the time to properly analyze our SEO or Google AdWords SEM “Search Queries” and “Landing Page” reports!

In summary, DESIGNA brings SEO/SEM “Search Queries and Landing Page” reports directly to the surface for its customers then reports them as reported by Google Analytics, through Google Analytics.  You’re literally logging directly into Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to verify that you’re getting what you paid for…  A service that actually focuses on where your company is positioned for keyword search queries and determining what types of content, pages and posts are most effective at increasing your average position in the Google search results and ultimately how that’s impacting your bottom line using conversion tracking and attribution model analysis to determine channels and keywords with the most optimal cost per acquisition (CPA).

It’s also very important to understand that avg. position is a literal average and how impression share works based on key performance indicators exhibited in an average visitors behavior.  Have your website experience optimized because Google scores landing pages.  Your AdWords Keyword Quality Scores are influenced by how well your content displays, how compelling the page content is, navigability of your website, truthfulness in marketing or promotions and a many other (literally hundreds) of factors like the grammatical structure of your paragraphs, the inclusion of keywords in heading tags and whether or not your content is completely different or original to name a few.  There are other factors such as backlinks but these are all topics we will dive into in other SEO/SEM Tips to come at a later date.  Each of these areas of Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing using Google AdWords and Google Analytics is truly deserving of its own blog post.

Going through keyword (Search Queries) and content (Landing Page) reports also provides an opportunity to understand traffic and behaviors which will be a focus for one of another SEO tips in the series.   So follow DESIGNA on Google+, facebook, or just subscribe to get free advice.  Don’t hesitate to comment , reply, email or call (480) 277-3675 with any questions!

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Cyber Bully Web App Crackdown, Zero Tolerance Policy!

No Internet Trolls Allowed Here!

No Internet Trolls Allowed Here!Anyone who’s interested in hosting any web apps such as blogs, forums, chat apps or other web software to deliberately contribute to or enables cyber bullying behavior; your web app(s) will be subject to temporary suspended until the bullying gets moderated and reviewed by a DESIGNA employee, or subject to a $65 moderation fee.   We believe every business and person has the right to host incredible discussions forums and blogs to express opinions and beliefs.    However; it’s DESIGNA’s policy that anyone hosting hateful and/or harmful materials will be subject to suspension until a resolution is reached through an internal review and audit to ensure your web apps are compliant with DESIGNA’s Shared Hosting, Zero Tolerance Cyber Bully Policy.  Again, it’s our belief that every company and individual has the right to host software inexpensively (our Shared Hosting Plans start at just $4.00/mo) but that they must not, at any point and without exception enable any form of cyber bullying or terrorizing of an individual or group of people the internet.  You may not blatantly target an individual or group on the web to harass or harm their reputation or character without your hosting account getting suspended.

In short, the web is an incredible constructive place, it’s amazing what young adults, professionals and elders can accomplish with our minds and imaginations using the internet; however with our impressionable youth we have a responsibility to make sure the web is a safe place without cyber bullying inhibiting infinite growth opportunities.  Most importantly we don’t believe that any one person should limit a community’s ability to gain access to useful information, conversation and healthy debate or commentary.

DESIGNA’s Owners Andrew and Nicole Rulnick said that “If you want to cyber bully using applications hosted on our servers think again and take your business some place else!”.

If you need to report an incident of “Cyberbullying” go to, this website is still online despite the “government shutdown” in Washington DC.

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SEO Tip Number One – Nobody’s Perfect #Imperfect #SEO

DESIGNA for SEO Services and Google PageRank Experts

It’s come to our attention from some of DESIGNA’s adoring competitors (if you would even call them that) commented that we don’t rank PageRank on 1) highly competitive terms and 2) our brand name “DESIGNA”.  So we sat down and decided it was time to write a series of tips to help you.

While select terms are important for our business and we would love to rank for those today, we are only in our third month of business!  What’s even more exciting is that we’re already getting impression share for some very competitive keywords related to our services.  DESIGNA’s team is always looking for ways to make improvements to both its own and client’s PageRank – for higher position on Google’s search results and local search listings.

So that brings us to our first SEO Tip in a long series in the making. Nobody’s perfect! That’s where “Search Engine Optimization” comes from!  It’s about constantly identifying flaws in your design, code, content and/or backlink strategy.

Understand and accept that nobody’s website, landing page or blog are perfect.  That’s precisely what  keeps SEO interesting!  There’s always room for improvements.

SEO Tip #1 summary – Nobody’s Perfect:

  1. Stop trying to have everything perfect it’s virtually impossible.
  2. Continue to develop new and original content with some regularity.
  3. Google PageRank is constantly changing – it’s a long ride!
  4. Create a sitemap file and submit to Google using Google Webmaster Tools.  I typically update our sitemap and resubmit at least once a month.
  5. The quality of your hosting and DNS factors into PageRank.
  6. Audit your website content, pages, meta tags (title, description, keyword) and backlinks to make improvements at least once a month.  This is an important part of search engine optimization (SEO).
  7. Standards in design and code are always improving and evolving!  DESIGNA is constantly finding better ways to code and display information online. PageSpeed (also recognized as part of Google’s PageRank algorithm) optimization helps with user experience by reducing the load time of web pages.  Google favors faster and better organized websites.
  8. This entire process raises conversion rates across the board; for Google, your business and the user searching for your products or services.  Everyone wins!
  9. Google favors well written and displayed content.  Google’s advanced algorithms make it able to provide the most original and relevant results based on a long criteria of factors that are always updating and can vary from one website to another one just like it.
  10. Exciting new tools and website are constantly being added to the mix.
  11. Last but not least, (my personal favorite).  One of my mentors has always been Bob Parsons.  I’ve always looked up to him since the day I started working at Go Daddy back in 2006.  He told me that “You can’t make improvements if you don’t measure results of your input/output” or something like that. That’s one of the reasons I decided to focus on being one of the world’s best marketing analysts.  To Bob’s point – measure performance, sync Google Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics and utilize data sources to track how different content marketing  and keywords are influencing your position on Google’s search results.  Doing this also ensures you’re getting visualizations and actionable insights into Google PageRank and all its nuances.In summary, Google is the #1 search engine in the world because of its ability to provide the most relevant and best performing search results on the internet, users searching  benefit because they find what they actually wanted.  Businesses seeking that highly sought after, high PageRank or first page listing on Google  benefit because they get rewarded with the opportunity to win new customers.  Put in the hard work, schedule regular maintenance and updates.Accept that nobody is perfect and just continue to make efforts to optimize your content, pages and blog then before you know it you’re going to have your first page rank on Google
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What Do Google, Go Daddy, Adobe and WordPress All Have in Common?

Google, Go Daddy, Adobe and WordPress

Starting next month DESIGNA is providing new customers with a mix of software as a service (SaaS) utilizing four of the best companies in hosting and technology; Google, Go Daddy, Adobe and WordPress.  DESIGNA’s owner Andrew Rulnick says that “This is another exciting and gigantic step forward for DESIGNA.  We’re providing our customers with faster loading websites utilizing Go Daddy’s world-class DNS combined with Google’s page speed API’s.  We’re finding that websites are loading in under three seconds on average, which is a good start but we’re working on getting that even faster working with Google and Go Daddy’s technology!  What’s really cool about Adobe and WordPress is that they are easily two of the most innovate and easiest to use content management systems (CMS) when you combine them together”.

DESIGNA is rolling its software platform out to all new client’s who purchase website design services.  These updates will enable customers to login and update what’s typically static page/site content using Adobe’s web-based interface.  Existing clients will be able to continue logging into their existing WordPress sites as usual and are encouraged to continue using  WordPress while they are migrated to the new platforms utilizing Adobe’s content management system.  Contact a member of our staff for more information on how to take advantage of these new account features that will be coming soon.

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SEO to Infinity and Beyond!

search engine optimize (SEO) "to infinity and beyond".

DESIGNA hit a tipping point today in our massive overhaul of our website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and we’re only tipping in “to infinity and beyond”.  Even after an exhaustive list of completely obsessive compulsive overhauls (including but not limited to)

  1. The layout of our content and how it displays (on both mobile and desktop devices).
  2. Restructuring our meta tags (title, description and keyword).
  3. Setting up robot.txt and sitemap.xml on our website, shopping cart and blog.
  4. Rebuilding anchors and building new back links.
  5. Integrating social media and syndication opportunities.
  6. Beginning to add structured data on both our website and blog.

And we are still only just getting started.  It’s an everyday process, every little minute detail makes a difference in how you rank on search engines like Google, bing and Yahoo!

It’s all never-ending…  That’s why our philosophy isn’t just to search engine optimize but borderline obsession.  When you think you’ve got your content dialed in, analyze to find new ways of making improvements to increase your PageRank.  I guarantee that even some of the best companies in search engine optimization miss steps and have to double back to optimize.  Search engine optimization isn’t that you get it right on the first try, it’s about going back and making improvements over and over “to infinity and beyond”!  Get involved on forums, start blogging using WordPress, become more social with your brand and create content that’s more meaningful to your website visitors.

Go back through your website with a fine tooth comb and ask yourself, is this the best experience for my visitors?  Are my meta tags unique, original and more meaningful?  Backlinks are one important factor but how are we obtaining them?  Try contributing in meaningful ways you would be amazed at how quickly your company can obtain that coveted listing on the first page of Google.

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Your Company’s Name Ranking on Google

Zero Moment of Truth

A prospective client brought it to our attention that we don’t rank on Google for our company’s name “DESIGNA“.  We only recently published our latest rendition of our website and made the choice as a company to archive (more like eradicate) our old website and blog.  Because companies, people and services change…

We’re content knowing that with a little hard work DESIGNA will rank on the first page of Google again.  Typically it just takes a month or two with consistent updates and it’s true that if we wanted to throw all our resources at it for 72 hours we could re-build our PageRank quicker and have that oh so coveted space on the first page of Google listings.

It’s my personal thought that companies covet position on the first page of Google way too much. There’s no question that establishing yourself on the first page of Google is important. But at what cost?  It doesn’t exclude all the other means which potential customers can discover information about a company.  We encourage our clients, to read ZMOT for inspiration and answers!  Don’t get caught with tunnel vision only to find that your company is losing crucial Zero Moments of Truth (ZMOT) because you’re so focused on PageRank for (insert your company’s name here) that you forget to update your presence all across the internet.  If you follow “best practices” but most importantly do what comes natural then you’re almost always going to win at ZMOT, when the tire hits the road and new prospective customers choose your business over the competition!

DESIGNA is powered by people.  Brilliant people with great talents in advertising, copywriting, art direction, design and marketing analysis.  The quality of our work speaks for itself, not our companies rank on Google.  This isn’t a dig at an individual seeking validation to build trust, it’s our way of saying “dig deeper“.  Look past the surface of “the first page of Google”.

One of my favorite examples is this; you will find dozens of wonderful restaurants, with the most amazing food, that aren’t listed on the first page of Google but you would never know how good the food is if a friend hadn’t told you or if you didn’t take a chance, walk in the door and try them.

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New PayPal Payment Options & E-Commerce (Coming 11/30/2013).

At DESIGNA, we’re always looking for ways of improving our operations, customer satisfaction and to make it easier for our customers to have flexible payment arrangements.  To that point, DESIGNA has selected PayPal to extend it’s billing and payment options (subject to approval).  We will be rolling this out over the next month and will go live for existing customers within the next thirty to sixty days.  This will provide easier, clear terms for services with custom billing agreements to meet your companies needs.  This includes but isn’t limited to approved lines of credit advances, advanced payments, invoicing with select Net 10, 30, and 45  Day Terms.   DESIGNA has also been selected to provide zero percent interest financing on select purchases.  Call (480) 277-3675 to review payment options and opportunity for significant savings on select purchases.

——-Original Story Published Aug. 11th 2013——-

DESIGNA has partnered with PayPal to extend six month interest free financing (subject to approval) on all purchases for website design, search engine marketing and search engine optimization services.  Over the next week you will see updates on our website that will allow you to go online and order marketing services.  Choose your options for PayPal and “Bill Me Later” using our fully integrated PayPal payments option.  All information will be sent encrypted using the latest in SSL and world-class dedicated hosting technology provided courtesy of

DESIGNA’s Owner Andrew Rulnick says “We’re excited to be work with excellent service providers like PayPal and Go Daddy to enhance the quality of our checkout and billing options for both our new and existing clients.  Flexible payment options with zero interest and a fully integrated, secure e-commerce experience makes it easier than ever before to sign up and get started while allowing many business to keep their hard-earned money available.  This enables our client’s to start making immediate improvements to the quality of their online presence and website design with our professional marketing services”.

Please call us at (480) 277-3675 with questions or for more information.  Our team will be happy to walk you through the application and checkout process over the phone.

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Ah, my WordPress Jetpack is on fire! Jetpack breaks!

I don’t normally do this and anyone who knows me personally knows that not only am I massive supporter of WordPress but also an open source, community advocate and heavy user of their add-on package named Jetpack; but holy $#!^ we shouldn’t ever have to go an entire month with a feature that you paid for broken!

WordPress Jetpack has a feature called Publicize which allows WordPress blogs to publish updates to social network such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.  It’s an important part of a companies unified messaging and distribution of information in a highly fragmented network.  Jetpack’s heavily used “Publicize” feature has been busted for approximately thirty days not allowing users to update their facebook status via their privately managed WordPress blog.  Granted this happens from time to time but I would expect a module that you pay for to be fixed ASAP the moment that reports start coming in.  Something doesn’t work as intended you should spend more than an hour a day looking at it.  Maybe it’s just my personal philosophy but if something is broken in my business I obsess about it and work on it 24/7.  I’m not trying to say that I don’t appreciate the work now that it’s finally fixed, it just shouldn’t take a month to do it and you should be regular communication with the people, the WordPress community that support your project (by the tens and hundreds of thousands).

Again, I don’t normally do this and I’m not saying that I don’t think the problem may have been complicated but going a week or two without a status update is one of the most frustrating situations.  It’s something I promise to never do with my clients, anyone who knows me will tell you I’ll never leave anyone hanging, it’s just a philosophy I’ve adopted over the last ten years of my professional development.  It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s downright painful but I seriously think the people at WordPress should consider this as a common practice when a major component is taken offline for an entire month.  They should also provide us with a free year of Jetpack Whatever, that’s my rant now back to work!

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Google AdWords for Smithsonian Institution

DESIGNA wins contract with the Smithsonian Institution to help manage Google AdWords Grant and consult on Google Analytics.

Even the nation’s most prestigious museum turns to us to manage their online presence. As of this month, DESIGNA is charged with handling the advertising budget allocated by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History on one of their newest projects, The Ocean Portal. This interactive program is designed to educate, entertain and inform people all over the world about the wonders of our oceans and Andrew, along with all of the members of DESIGNA are honored to be working with the program. Their site, is a wealth of information for ocean lovers and educators alike. Visitors can explore to learn more about ocean life and ecosystems, our planet’s oceans, how the ocean and its inhabitants have changed through time, conservation efforts and human connections to Earth’s waters.  Andrew is working hand in hand to ensure that all of the budgeted funds monthly are allocated properly in Google AdWords. With a program as extensive as this educational one, this is not an easy task but we’ve been able to already organize AdGroups, increase the click-through rate (CTR) and ad relevance to improve the quality scores within the multiple campaigns involved. Marketing analytics (Google Analytics & AdWords reports) have already begun to show early indications of positive results. DESIGNA can bring comparable results to businesses, organizations and clients of all sizes, regardless of budget or need, we can help boost performance and maximize your advertising budget!


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Marketing in a Digital Age

We no longer live in an age where the best way to market to clients is via newspaper. Print advertising has a place in our society, but the reality is that  the majority of advertising dollars need to be spent where the majority of the market is; on the internet.  Over eighty percent of Americans access the internet on a daily basis and the world-wide statistics are even more staggering. As abundant as internet users are in the United States, believe it or not, North America makes up only 11 percent of the internet use worldwide.

What should this tell us? Several things, the first being that if you want to sell a product, there is no more effective way to market it online. The second fact being that if you can effectively market online, you have an audience of billions available at your disposal. The key to getting your information, product and service out there really is online marketing. What most people don’t understand about online marketing is what they don’t understand. That’s right everyone knows how to search for a subject, but what they don’t understand is how the results come up in a search. That’s where DESIGNA comes in. We have years of experience working with Google and Google Analytics and so we know the secrets of how to get you to the top of searches.

And everyone knows, the results at the top of the search are the ones that get clicked on. Maybe you’ve been working with AdWords or with a marketing company before. What you may not be aware of is that the majority of our competitors do not design the ads, copy or the websites themselves. Most people aren’t going to tell you all the factors that help you to be a success. Most companies aren’t going to check your campaign daily, or even weekly for that matter. With the ever-changing internet, the daily attention is a must and you’ll only receive it with DESIGNA.