Archive for the ‘Web Presence Optimization’ Category

Marketing Focus of the Week: Charter Schools

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On March - 11 - 2014

Back To School

The Charter Schools industry has become extremely competitive, and with each school scrambling to enroll more students everyone can use an edge. In fact, our team at Kreative Webworks has designed a specific student enrollment program just to help schools market to parents in their authorized districts. There are a lot of facets to a comprehensive digital marketing program, but organizing a blogging program is not out of the reach of even the smallest charter schools. 

 

Why should Charter Schools blog?
It’s just good public relations and good branding. Parents who are researching the right school for their child have an opportunity to get a feel for the schools culture, values and activities. In effect, build a comfort level with the school before they even engage a councilor to explore admissions.

 

Bloggers WantedLikewise, parents of current students are likely to enjoy staying up to date with school activities along with an increased familiarity and satisfaction with the faculty. Both of course are retention factors. It’s just a great way to keep motivated parents informed, and well…motivated.

 

Increased Web Presence:
Word of mouth is incredibly effective, but you can’t rely on word of mouth to get in front of parents at the exact moment they are searching for alternative education for their child. That’s why it’s so important to constantly be running an inbound marketing campaign. And yes, your Charter School MUST show up in the search results for keywords like “charter schools (insert your location here)” or “at home schooling” or “online high school” as a major objective of your inbound marketing strategy.

 

Blogging is not the end-all to a robust web presence, but it is a contributing factor. Search engines look for a constant stream of quality content, and a blog is an effective means of facilitating that content and augmenting your overall online marketing efforts.

 

How you blog is as important as how much you blog.
You want people to actually read it, share it and comment on it. The more attention it gets, the more the search engines take notice and have reason to rank your blog article on the search results pages and get in front of more parents who are considering a Charter School education for their child.

 

Some Blogging Basics:

  • One idea per post: If you find yourself straying off topic, congratulations… you just figured out your next blog post.
  • Word Count: How much is the right amount of copy? The answer is not one more word than is necessary…not one word less than is necessary. Job number one is to engage your readers. Close behind that is drawing the attention of Google and the other search engines. We generally recommend 300-600 words, but if a deeper topic warrants more coverage, don’t sell yourself short. Search engines have recently started to favor longer posts.
  • Sexy Title: Or at least interesting or relevant. Keep it appropriate for the audience, but make it unique and interesting enough to stand out. It also doesn’t hurt to throw in a keyword or two…but not at the expense of the integrity of the title.
  • Images: Find a great image that compliments the article. This is vital for sharing on Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, etc. Be careful about using licensed images, the financial penalties are over the top now, and many of the larger stock photo companies are actively using image recognition software to patrol the Internet and extract huge fines from them. When necessary we supply fully licensed images for our clients as part of our school marketing packages.

Many Hands make Light Work:
Yes, blogging can be a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming for any one individual. Here’s a few strategies to spread out the work to lighten the load:

  • If every instructor and administrator were assigned just one article to write per month, there would be an abundance of quality content publish on a regular basis. After all… why should they be the only ones handing out homework?
  • What about a “Kids Corner” where you let motivated students take a whirl? Or it could be part of an assignment where the best of the best get published.image3
  • It can be a team sport. If you aren’t going with an “all hands on deck” strategy where everyone blogs, perhaps assembling a team of motivated staff to handle the writing is a way to share the load. You might consider rotating the staff in and out so everyone gets a chance to write. That will also help to keep it fresh.
  • Hire a ghost writer or third party. We often write many of our client’s blogs on a regular basis. In some cases we augment their contributions, in other cases we do all the writing. Keep in mind, that you will probably lose a little of the personality when a third party takes charge. That’s why we recommend a hybrid strategy where our copywriters share the load with the school’s authors.

 

What to blog about?


image4There really is no limit to the topics of interest. Think of your audience; existing parents and students would probably like to stay up to date with happenings regarding the school. That might include anything from preparing for finals, to preparing for that field trip. Perspective parents might like to know more about student life, or the school’s learning philosophy. Students might like to see what their classmates are writing…which might also be especially appealing to perspective parents.

 

Speaking of parents, how many of them might want to do an occasional guest post? They could write about their careers, and how their education enabled them to achieve their aspirations. Or perhaps a tech-savvy parent might write about learning software they have tested.

 

You don’t have to limit yourself to one blog category. For example, you could have one blog entitled “Home Room” and another entitled “Kids Corner” and a third one called “In the News” and yet one more entitled “Play Ground”.

 

Promoting Your Blog:

The typical strategy that we use for our Charter School clients consists of a coordinated effort and repeatable steps.

  • In the blog article, we hyperlink to other blog articles on the website or perhaps relevant pages to the blog topic.
  • We write a “Teaser” which is no more than an interesting and VERY short paragraph to pique the interest of parents, perspective parents, students and teachers who are following our school clients on Social media such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. This teaser links directly back to the specific blog article. This not only drives direct traffic to the article, it signals the search engines that something of interest is happening on your website (that’s a good thing).
  • We schedule these teasers to go out simultaneously on all of our client’s social channels.
  • We encourage everyone to “Share” the articles with their circle of influence.

 

There are many facets to a comprehensive inbound digital marketing strategy for Charter schools, private schools, of any industry for that matter. Blogging is just one tool in your online marketing toolbox, but it is something that your school can have a great deal of control over and actually help move the needle and fill up those classrooms.

 

Charter School Marketing is a student enrollment marketing program developed by the team at Kreative Webworks specifically to help schools gain more visibility in their authorized districts to enroll more students.

Share

What is Adaptive SEO?

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On September - 11 - 2013

First you have to understand that Google’s objective is to promote the best websites, not the best “optimized” websites. Search engines want to display the most accurate and varied results for each and every search query. Search engine optimizers know basically what the engines are looking for and attempt to gain a competitive advantage by “gamming” the system.

These techniques were not only publicly advertised, but considered industry best practices. The problem was they never met Google’s guidelines in the first place…they just happened to work.

What is Adaptive SEO?

Google is Smarter than You and everyone you Know.

You might assume “Adaptive” means reactive, but that’s not quite accurate. In fact where SEO is concerned it’s just the opposite. For years search engine optimization companies have been reacting to Google and adopting their techniques to outsmart the search engines.  These practices not only proved to be unsustainable, but have taken a dramatic turn for the worst. Regardless of what you think, Google is smarter than you, and everyone you employ… regardless of how tricky you think you are.

 

Adaptive SEO is about Web Presence Optimization, not Search Engine Optimization.

Adaptive SEO is about NOT playing cat and mouse with the search engines. It’s about developing a legitimate long-term, bulletproof web presence by doing things right. It’s about developing and sharing good quality content, it’s about link “earning” not link building. It’s about a good sound technical structure for your website, with easily indexable pages, clear navigation and fast load times. It’s about being mobile friendly and socially active (yes, your social presence is an actual search engine ranking factor). It’s about reviews and reputation and citations on directories and other reputable and industry related websites.

 

So where did your Google Rankings Go?

Did you used to have top rankings for all those money keywords, but they literary dried up over night? …and I do mean overnight. If you’ve seen a slow decline in rankings, or if your rankings fell off a cliff on a specific date, it was most likely because your SEO team wasn’t playing by Google’s rules.

So what happened? Were you actually penalized for these tactics? The answer is both “yes” and “sort of”. “Yes” if these tactics were blatantly overused, “sort of” if all those tactics which were previously sustaining your search dominance were simply no longer being counted.

Backlinks (links from other website, directories and web properties around the Internet) are a ranking factor. Suppose you had 1000 incoming links, but 950 of them were cheap “spammy” links that your SEO company purchased instead of earned. There was a day when you woke up and Google decided to no longer give you credit for those 950 spammy links. Now you have only 50. Naturally your search results are going to take a hit. Were you penalized? Sort of…it was more like a “correction” similar to what the stock market goes through periodically.  Similar to investing in good quality stocks with a track record of a return over time, Adaptive SEO is about investing in quality techniques and developing a sustainable long-term strategy…not about using questionable practices that will eventually stop working.

 

Where to start?

Start with the Research

Kreative Webworks Inc. Orange County CA Internet Marketing
Kreative Webworks
is a full service Digital Marketing Agency serving Orange County California since 1999.

 

Share

PPC: Lead Generation on Demand

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On May - 3 - 2013


Enable contextual and measurable multi-device marketing

  • Are you struggling to make your presence felt online?
  • Do the deeper pockets of your larger competitors keep you up at night? 
  • If potential customers are using multiple devices to search for information, how will you drive them to your landing page?
  • Should you invest more in organic marketing or incorporate a paid advertising program in your overall digital strategy?

If questions like the above are on your mind, pay per click (PPC) advertising offers a solution so you can compete with the bigger players in your industry. It gives smaller local players a level playing field by allowing healthy competition for the more generic keywords.

Google is following the trend where more users now search for information using multiple devices such as tablets, desktops, and smartphone, and other search contexts, i.e. time of day and the device used. The search giant’s recent update to its advertising product, Google AdWords offers to reduce some of the complexities involved in managing multiple ad campaigns.

 

Google AdWords – Enhanced Campaigns

Termed Enhanced Campaigns, these new features hold promise that the life of the digital marketer is going to get much easier. Separate campaigns for each digital device will soon be a thing of the past. We can now integrate campaigns across all devices based on parameters such as a prospects’ location, time of day, when a query is run, and type of device used. The ability to run contextual, multi-device marketing campaigns that can be measured to a granular level can add significant value to paid ad campaigns.

Key benefits include:

  • Ability to integrate and run a single campaign across multiple devices 
  • Create targeted ads based on device used and location of search
  • Measure the impact of various ads across devices

For businesses this is great news since paid campaigns will become much more flexible, easy to launch, less time consuming, and best of all, cost-effective.

PPC: How does it help Deliver Qualified Prospects?

Most of us have been front row witnesses to the evolution and development of the PPC model, and especially Google’s AdWords tool. It has definitely changed the way we view display advertising. Having to pay only when someone clicks our ad gives you some assurance that you are meeting the core objective of driving qualified traffic to your website.  PPC helps you:

√ Generate quality leads quickly: Ads are delivered only to web surfers searching for information related to your keywords. This is good indication that the visitors are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

√ Ensure real-time impact: You no longer need to wait several days or even weeks to understand the impact of a campaign. With PPC, you can roll out a campaign within hours and watch the results rolling in almost immediately. If required, you can even pause the campaign or experiment with a different creative format based on reports generated.

√ Location-based targeting: Local businesses can automate the delivery of ads based on search location and time of day. This enables quicker lead conversion as the target audience is in close proximity to your business location.

√ Quantitative measurement of campaign effectiveness: One of the biggest advantages is measurability.

PPC offers insight into:

  • Conversion Rate (CR): Calculate the number of leads that took action after clicking your ad—made a purchase, registered on your site, filled a form, etc.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Measure the relevance and impact of ad campaigns. A low CTR means you need to improve the quality of keywords and/or the creative.
  • Quality Score: This is the sum of relevant keywords, CTR, quality of your pages used by Google to measure ad rankings, and effectiveness of PPC. A good quality score indicates highly optimized use of ads, keywords, or campaigns.
  • Negative Spend: This indicates that your ad is appearing in searches that are not relevant to your business. You need to identify a set of negative keywords to avoid appearing in irrelevant listings.

 

Integrate With Other Tactics

Merely investing in a PPC campaign will not help. You need to make it an integral part of your overall campaign and ensure consistency in messaging and positioning across both paid and organic channels. Consider the following factors: 

  1. SEO Strategy: Don’t run your PPC campaign isolated from other tactics like Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Consistency in the message you deliver through the ads and your organic search results landing page will have a measurable impact on your overall strategy.
  2. Competitive Search and Visibility: PPC campaigns help capture keywords that actually aid conversion. You need to invest in extensive and ongoing research to identify keywords that will increase your visibility.
  3. Data Analytics: Compare data gathered from both your organic and PPC campaigns to understand your buyers’ behaviour and optimize campaign effectiveness.
  4. Targeted advertising: Link your landing page directly to your ad. Ensure that the call to action is visible on the first click.
  5. Digital Marketing Budget: Determine the maximum cost you are ready to incur per lead since it plays a key role in determining your advertising cost. You can either pay a flat rate for each click or opt for a bid-based program.

Kreative Webworks Inc. Orange County CA Internet Marketing
Kreative Webworks
is a full service Digital Marketing Agency serving Orange County California since 1999.

 

Share

How NOT to Measure your Web Presence

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On April - 22 - 2013

I originally posted this Blog article on Hotfrog.com a couple of months ago. I was just talking with a client and the subject came up again. I think this one is worth posting again: 

With Google changing their algorithms like the rest of us change our underwear, what were once sound SEO techniques are now little more than a pipe dream for those of us in the industry. That includes YOUR in-house Digital Marketing team.

Traditionally it was all about page rank. Still a good indicator of your popularity and certainly an influence on your website traffic, it’s not in itself a goal with much significance any longer. Why? Because search engine ranking reports show only one view of the world. The reality is everyone sees something different for the same search. The two big offenders are:

Wild card #1: Personalized Search:

Suppose that you are an outdoorsman and frequent sites like Field & Stream and Outdoorsports.com. Now let’s suppose that I am a musician and often visit music sites like GuitarCenter.com and Musiciansfriend.com.

Now let’s suppose that we each search for the word “bass”. Is that the guitar or the fish? Well Google is going to show you (the sportsman) websites like basspro.com and tacklewarehouse.com. However Google is most likely going to show me (the musician) websites like bassexchange.com and fender.com.

Google knows your search history and wants to show you what they THINK you are looking for. So where does that leave your search ranking reports when different people may see different results regardless of where your report tells you that you rank?

Wild card #2: Local Search:

Just like the search engines try to outguess what we are looking for by our search history, they also assume that we are more interested in businesses that are local to our individual locations. Since they know where we are by the IP address of the Internet connection we are using, the search results are skewed to the location of the searcher, not the location of where the report is being generated from.

So, if I (the alleged musician) am searching for “guitar center” from my San Clemente CA location, I will see all the local stores around me. If you searched on the same thing from your (fill in the blank) location, you will see a completely different set of locations.

Google search results

 

So where does that leave your ranking reports?

 

Now that I’ve bashed page ranking reports, it’s time to confess that they are still an important part of our improvement strategy. They just shouldn’t be the goal any longer. As a Web Presence Optimization firm those reports are just for reverence. They are one of several different tools that should be used to measure performance.

What I believe is a more important measurement are the actual keywords that are actually driving traffic to your site. Search engines have become smart enough to rank good quality websites for keywords that aren’t even mentioned on the website because they understand what the website is all about. They understand the “Theme” of the website based on other related phrases that are used on individual pages and throughout the site.

Web presence optimization techniques are now more about organizing groups of related keywords into themes. If done properly, various combinations and synonyms of those phrases are going to start driving traffic. 

The example below shows that over a 30-day period we drove 3,142 visits to the website from 2,035 different keywords. I can tell you that we are NOT optimizing 2,035 different keywords. We are optimizing this private investigative website across specific themes like “cheating spouses” and “private detective”.

The end result? The website is drawing traffic for phrases such as: “signs your husband is cheating” “signs your wife is cheating” “signs your partner is cheating” etc.

So what’s more of an indicator of success; the fact that this website is currently ranking number 1 for “full service investigation” on Google, or the fact that they got many hundreds of actual targeted visitors with questionable marriages?

Advice for Business Owners: Your SEO team (In-House or a professional firm) should be using a variety of different criterion to measure success. The best indicator? If your phone isn’t ringing, something (or someone) is not working.

Share

Apparently I have a Great Face for Radio

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On February - 1 - 2013

Chuck Bankoff on Business Experience Radio ShowAndy Warhol was right. My 15 minutes of fame lasted exactly 15 minutes. Did you catch my interview on the Business Experience Radio show the other night?

I didn’t think so, but then again I knew that going in. After all, it was actual broadcast radio and many of our followers are all over the country and out of range. The good news is you can still relive my 15 minutes (literally) via podcast and streaming audio. Yippee…lucky you!

I do a fair amount of interviews, but usually via webcast or pre-recorded radio shows. Actually showing up at the studio (the broadcast studio for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) was a new experience. Broadcast radio is a lot faster than what I had expected and I actually enjoyed the snappy pace.

What really impressed me (other than the surroundings of the broadcast facility) was how prepared the Business Experience Radio Show hosts Lisa Caprelli and Brian Gaps were. They obviously did their homework.

Chuck Bankoff on Business Experience Radio ShowAfter the obligatory discussion of our company history, we focused on the convergence of search engine optimization, social media, video and other off-line media away from “websites” and more toward “web presence”.

We covered a lot of ground very quickly, so give it a listen if you have 15-minutes to spare:

Listen: Chuck Bankoff on the Business Experience Radio Show

Share

blog-web-presence

If you don’t dominate the search results for your own company name, you have some work to do.

How do you dominate the search results for your own company name when your website can only show up one time? Simple, you have to show up for more than one website. The good news is they already exist.

Face it, no company has just one website anymore, they have many websites. Those sites are their LinkedIn profile, their Facebook and Twitter accounts, external company blogs, review sites, Business directories, review sites likes Angie’s List and Customer Lobby. Even other websites that mention your company by name can occupy valuable real estate under your name on the search results.

Get Started Building Your Web Presence

There are all sorts of opportunities to expand your companys web presence…just take a look at the wide range of search results on the Kreative Webworks screenshots. Let’s start with some the ones that you have the most control over… Your social profiles.

Step one is to create your standardized profile. You want to establish this upfront so that all your profiles are consistent so the search engines have a high degree of confidence that all those websites you are about to claim are actually yours, and you get full credit. Use your keywords appropriately in your description.

Step two is to “Claim” all your Social Profiles. We use our “Claim You Brand” spread sheet to methodically go through all the top social networks, claim them and keep track of all the login credentials. This is the same tool we use for all our clients. Contact me and I’ll be happy to share it with you.

Step three is to go through each of your new web assets and fill out EVERYTHING. And I do mean everything. It’s extremely important that everyone of your profiles is at 100% if you want those social channels and search engines to take you seriously. Most of them will have an indicator letting you know your percentage of completion and what’s missing.

HINT: Be prepared with pictures and videos to go along with your profile.

Now comes the interesting…but time consuming part…actually doing something with your profile to drive it to the top of the search results. If you have a moderately unique company name and you do a good job of filling out your profile, you stand a chance of making a reasonable showing…perhaps not dominant, but certainly a hit and miss showing with some valuable real estate that you have control over.

In most cases you are going to need to give it a push. Most people don’t realize this, but many of the same factors that optimize a web page also work for social profiles:

  • Keyword rich content (including your company name)
  • Links from other web properties around the Internet
  • Updates
  • Traffic, comments, Likes, follows, etc.

As you may have noticed on the screenshots of the search results for “Kreative Webworks” it’s all about diversification. More content in more places means more customers.

Share

Conventional wisdom is that your best customer is the one you are talking with at any given time. Why? Because unlike your next prospect, this one has at least shown some interest in your products and services…otherwise why would they be in front of you at all?

The modern interpretation of that is the prospect who took the time to seek you out and go to your website or blog or any number of other web properties. They didn’t get there by accident. They either searched for you, or clicked on an email, or interacted through some social medium. In any case it was most likely through an effort that cost you money or time.

So let’s go on the premise that they were interested enough to check you out, but like the vast majority of initial web interactions, they weren’t ready to take any action. The reality is that they will probably check out your competitors…and do nothing with them either. At least initially…

Thus the reemergence of a technology called “Remarketing”, or the process of marketing specifically to people who have recently shown interest in what you offer.

Here’s how it works:

When a consumer visits your website via a search engine result, pay-per-click add, email link, or even an off-line advertisement, all of which you undoubtedly paid for in one fashion or another, we “tag” them. As they go about their business across the Internet over the next hours, days, weeks or months, we show them your custom banner ad. Your brand literally follows your best prospects around in the places they surf for mere cents per impression (literally a fraction of a penny).

Call us for a demonstration and an analysis to see if this technology can make even better use of your advertising dollars: (949) 481-0728

Share

Our over excited associate Baltej Gill from SocialMindz breaks down how important it is for businesses to have a mobile version of their website in this EXTRA cheesy video explanation!

Contact us directly and we will evaluate how a mobile optimized website might apply to your business.

Share

Live Chat adds the “human” experience to websites

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On May - 23 - 2011

The best part is you only pay for the actual lead…nothing else.

At its best, the internet simulates the human experience… a tough job with one-way conversations typically being the only recourse.

So how then can you fully engage your visitors in “Real Time”? Actually, with a new program we are offering, you don’t have to…we will do it for you. It’s called Total Live Chat.

Here’s how it works:

  • A visitor goes to your website
  • A live Chat widget bounces into place right in front of them
  • If they are truly interested, they just click on it and one of our Chat Agents engages them in a conversation.

Our Chat Agent’s goal is to collect their contact information, and find out what they need and then send the lead directly to you. Not only is your site monitored in actual time, you get detailed reports and an email summary of each conversation so you can act on your leads as they come in.

What are the benefits of Live Chat?

  • Internal analysis indicates an increase in leads from online advertising by 30%
  • Immediately connect with your most engaged visitors
  • Higher conversion rate of your precious traffic
  • Reduces website abandonment

Here is a quick video that explains it all in about one-minute…

Share

Don’t worry about your rutabagas, your garden is safe. That isn’t the type of farmer I’m talking about. The ones that are in trouble with Google are “content farms” that flood the Internet with a never ending stream of low quality content.

Why? Well one of the major components of search engine optimization is content. So like everything else in the SEO industry the “black hat” optimizers immediately started flooding the internet with hastily produced, keyword laden, recycled content in an effort to drive up the page count for their clients.

Did it work? Well sort of….  The techniques for writing search engine friendly copy are the same whether the copy is redundant and valueless to the human reader, or if it provides insight and original thought or news or any number of virtues to people seeking information.

Unfortunately this prompted the rise of the “content farming” industry. Companies and individuals who “scraped” content from other websites, rearranged it a little and spit it out as though it was new. If done cleverly the search engines would treat it as original content and reward the website with higher search rankings.

Google counters Bad SEO tactics

Google actually makes hundreds of changes to its search results ranking algorithm each year in an effort to stay a step ahead of black-hat optimizers who use dubious tactics in an effort to “game” the system rather than produce useful content. We knew this change was coming… we just didn’t know when.

Google’s’ “Farmer” algorithm went into effect towards the end of February and affected some 11.8 percent of Google search queries in the United States. The update was presumably aimed at content farms that produce low-quality or recycled content for the purpose of achieving higher search results.

Caught in the fallout?

Certainly anyone who employed an optimizer who relied on dubious shortcuts took a hit. Unfortunately that includes legitimate well intentioned business people who were simply trying to market their services on the Internet like everyone else. They trusted SEO companies that relied on dubious tactics, or off-shore optimizers with a poor command of the English language who simple scraped and assembled content for other websites.

It will probably also affect distributers of products that rely on manufacturers descriptions to advertise the products in their catalogues and in their shopping carts. In many cases there are hundreds of the same descriptions across hundreds of different websites. Google is not going to rank them all for the same thing. Did they do anything wrong? No, but now they are going to have to do it right.

There are no short cuts. There never have been…

Gamming the system has never worked for any length of time. Trying to circumvent Google’s algorithm is short sited and ultimately builds your web presence on a house of cards that collapses the moment Google makes a change.

There are certain things that work, and will always work. A Professional Digital Marketing Firm knows that Google is happy to reward optimizers that play by the rules and consider that the end game is to serve up the most accurate, meaningful and varied results to the person searching for information.

What’s the upside?

Well if you are just a person searching for something on Google, your chances of finding good quality results just increased. If you are a business who employed a skilled “white hat” Search Engine Optimization Company then a lot of the noise on the Internet just cleared out of your way to the top of the results.

And by the way, good quality content is not only original, well optimized by search engine guidelines, but is actually meaningful to the human audience. What good is it to rank high in the search engines for something that reflects well on your company?

Share
Subscribe to our
BLOG RSS FEED
Subscribe to our
BLOG EMAIL UPDATES