I haven’t posted here for years. If anyone reads this, here’s what’s happening with my blog web business.
I have sold the bulk of my very profitable web sites. So now I have this and a couple left, and am sort of retired. But I do want to share with business owners who use blogs on their websites what I have learned over the past 20+ years.
First off – getting ranked is a total pain these days. As opposed to only a few years back when all the tricks we discovered worked. These days, not so much.
It is much easier to get ranked in Bing that Google. And Bing does have what – 20-25% of searches? In the portfolio I had that was the most successful I think I attributed 25% of revenues to Bing searches.
These days there are a few basic strategies that cannot be ignored. Content and inbound links. Still works, but boy do you have to do this right.
Content needs to be pretty well hand written and very specific to the theme of the blog. Especially Google is very theme focused.
Inbound links must be from related, ranked websites. Buying links from non-related sites will be detrimental.
Hopefully I will contribute here a few tricks of the trade I have learned over the years.
Domain Registry of Canada – DROC.ca
If you get an official letter from Domain Registry of Canada (droc.ca) read it carefully.It has the Canadian flag, looks very official and the header reads
Domain Name Expiration Notice
What they do is scour the WHOIS for domains that are expiring. Then they send out a very professional letter soliciting the renewal of the domain. At an outrageous price. $40 for a yearly .ca – I pay less than $11 at www.baremetal.ca.
Then they also offer other available domains such as .ORG and .INFO at $40/year as well. I get these as well for less than $10.
The Domain Registry of Canada extracts details of your domain name registration record from the publicly available whois database, known as ‘whois data mining’ and is a violation of the terms of the whois service.
They are nothing but scammers.
Matt Cutts just released a video where he talks about what’s coming SEO-wise in the next few months. He started off by saying their mantra:
“You work on building a site that people love, want to bookmark and share and we will work hard to let people know about the site.” (Loosely transcribed)
Penguin 2.0 is about to be released. This version is targeting “black hat” websites and webspam. He said it will me more aggressive than Penguin 1.0. For websites that are on the up and up, this is a shrug. For people trying to game Google – it will have an effect.
He also said they are continuing to look at links, which does affect us. I for one am working hard to ensure the links to other sites are valid and credible. I do this by creating links from related sites, and for the most part – links are contained in text that also relates to the linked site.
… Give it to them.
As I have stated before, Google has changed a lot in the past 18 months. In the old days I used to have no trouble getting sites on the first page in Google. And for the most part – using “white hat” techniques. These days – not so easy. We still manage to get sites ranked well, but it is a lot more difficult. The thing is, Google wants to produce the best search results possible to their users. And that is honorable indeed. There is a lot of spammy sites out there trying to game the system.
So bottom line then… what is it Google needs for a site to be considered worthy of the first page?
Content. That is now #1. Metatags, key words and so on is much less important these days. Google doesn’t even consider the “keywords” metatags any more. Sites with fresh content (blogs) added often, every day/week constantly win the top spot.
Inbound links. Aside from content, links is still pretty well the only way search engines know your site is out there. But you can’t just go and buy 1,000 links for a hundred bucks. You need quality links from related sites. Period.
If your blog is noticed, others will link to it. You can spend some time going to related forums and register using your site link. You can post to other blogs. Yes, there’s some work to it.
A study done about a year ago stated that 51% of small businesses didn’t have a website. Which is really incredible when you think about it. Those 51% of your competitors are the ones you can beat if you had a website.
Most people go to their computers or smartphones to look for products and services. They will go to a company’s site to look for details about offerings, specials and contact information. Few people still dig up a Yellow Pages book to find products or services.
Whether you are a landscaping company, coffee shop, roofer, painter, physical therapist or what have you, if people are not able to find you, they are eventually going to stop calling you. Word of mouth is only good for so long – you need a website so that people can learn about your business and call you.
Your site does not have to be an award winning design.
It needs to be clear, and give the visitor the information they need and a call to action. Here are the basic requirements for a small business website:
- A very clear description of who you are.
You don’t want the visitor to wonder who you are. Say it right up front on the home page who you are and what you do.
- A sensible web address
Also called a domain name. It is getting very difficult to find a non-registered domain these days that is short and memorable. So a little digging is needed here. It all depends on your business. It is better to have a longer domain name that makes sense than a short one that no one can remember.
- Customer testimonials.
This is important. One of the most powerful influence tactics is the concept of “social proof”. If you see a testimonial from a person that belongs to a group you respect, your confidence in the product or service will increase.
- Fresh content.
That’s why a blog is a perfect website. You can add posts as often as you want, and search engines love fresh content. Besides, customers might come back to your site several times before they are ready to buy.
- A clear call to action.
If you want them to call for a free quote – say so.
A blog is a web site. There is no difference really, and with this type of site you can update the site yourself easily from any browser from anywhere. A “custom website” of yesteryear – was often difficult to update. And very expensive. Today – easy.
I have been creating websites since the web became a way to share information in around 1993. Until a few years ago we used complicated web design software that required skills and patience to create a site. Not too many business people had the time nor interest to acquire the software and learn how to use it. So we became “webmasters”. Web geeks. These days, with WordPress as the new standard – it is much easier to set up a web site for the average business person without too much learning. That’s a good thing, but it still takes time and some knowledge.
You might have heard about Google’s Panda, Penguin and EMD updates. To make a long story short – Google wants internet search to be perfect. They want to deliver results that matches your search perfectly. A big order. So over the past year or so they have changed the way they index web sites. The objective is to get rid of “bad” web sites, spam sites and sites created just to make money on advertising.
The result, however has been dramatic for thousands of web masters. Suddenly you find your site nowhere to be seen on the first 10 pages of Google. And you wonder why. Turns out that many real sites got penalized for no or little reasons. If your site got bumped – there are a few possible reasons:
1. The EMD update penalized sites for matching their desired keywords to the domain name. So if your domain name is GrimsbyPlumbingSupplies.com and all the keywords and meta tags say Grimsby Plumbing Supplies you might have been penalized. To fix it – change the main keywords.
2. Duplicate content. If your content appears in too many other sites, or on your sites in different files – that’s a problem. Always write your own stuff.