City Ranked Media will host a free WordPress training event on December 16, 2016 starting at 1:00 pm. This training will focus on basics of using WordPress, the WordPress dashboard, publishing new content to the web, as well as simple SEO tactics you can use to increase the visibility of your websites pages and posts. The class will be taught by Duane Baumgartner, Founder of City Ranked Media.
Refreshments will be provided.
December 16, 2016 starting at 1:00 pm
City Ranked Media, Inc
500 West 8th Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
What we will cover in the WordPress Training
Free WordPress class to cover the following topics:
Working in the WordPress Dashboard
Understanding WordPress and how it works
Adding new Pages and Posts
Working with the Media Uploader and Media Library
Basic SEO tips and techniques for blog posts and pages
Understanding WordPress menus
Basic requirements for attending this class
A functional already published WordPress website
Working admin level credentials to log into your website
Laptop with wifi capability
Interested in attending this class?
Please fill out the form below and we’ll confirm your spot. Space is limited to the first 10 people. Preference will be given to customers of City Ranked Media.
Targeting Local SEO After Google’s Doorway Page Update
Way back in March of 2015, Google released its Doorway Page Update specifically targeted at websites trying to gain rankings using pages that Google deemed added no real value to search experience. In local SEO, this was a search tactic used years ago to rank for specific terms of “[Keyword + City]”. Here at City Ranked Media we tested and used this strategy on a few websites with some success, but quickly moved away from it understanding these were nothing more than “Doorway Pages”, something that Google frowned upon.
In the second quarter of 2015, City Ranked Media began testing how we could send signals to the search engines that a client served a specific geographic area, even when the client didn’t have a brick and mortar location in that area. The specific challenge was for service-based industries, such as pest control or plumbing companies, that would or could service customers in person in their area.
Introducing the City Ranked Media Geo-Block
After much testing, revisions, and refinement, City Ranked Media launched beta testing on the City Ranked Media Geo-Block. This block was designed to send city-specific data to search engines for important services a client provided, reinforcing with the search engine that the client served specific cities. The code, structure of the code, schema markup, and position of the code relative to other website elements was continually tested and refined to ultimately achieve desired results in first page rankings for pages the City Ranked Media Geo-Block was inserted on.
Initially the programming staff at City Ranked inserted this specific code directly into the website code for testing purposes. Later, after successfully completing beta testing, our programming staff created a WordPress plugin for easier and more standardized implementation for all City Ranked Media clients. The beta testing on this plugin and its effects for local SEO rankings were great enough that City Ranked Media copyrighted the code behind the Geo-Block.
City Ranked Media Geo-Block Local SEO Results
During beta testing, City Ranked Media tested this new programming on Enterprise Level SEO clients in several markets across the United States to get a broad set of data to compare. Clients in the following markets were tested:
North Carolina (rural)
During initial testing, modest improvements were seen in rankings for longer tail keywords. Code, positioning, and front end aesthetics of the Geo-Block were revamped to be more search engine friendly, and more understandable for Google’s Quality Raters.
After revamping the Geo-Block’s code and front-end looks, clients participating in the beta testing began to see positive movement in rankings. In some cases, rankings increases were minimal at first, but as Google continued to crawl all changed pages with the new code, landing page began to see major improvements. In fact, many of these pages achieved first page rankings for cities outside of the client’s normal SEO footprint.
Sample Results (click to enlarge)
Future Enhancements to The City Ranked Media Geo-Block
We’re already hard at work utilizing this new code to enhance and affect Local SEO based upon GPS location.
I want to cover a topic I think many small business owners rarely think about, the viability, and scale-ability of their current advertising efforts for the future. In times past, for many small business owners, thinking about the future of their advertising was as simple as knowing what ad size they wanted to purchase in the next edition of the local yellow pages, or perhaps the next ad they ran in the newspaper. Unfortunately, this type of thinking does not, and will not translate into a successful and long term internet marketing strategy.
Why internet marketing is different than older forms of advertising
When it came to older forms of advertising such as yellow pages, direct mail, and newspapers, shelf life was limited, and research options for consumers were even more limited. Ad positions were determined by factors such as who was willing to pay more for their ads, how long they had advertised in that particular medium, and the frequency they advertised. Fast forward from those times years back, and you get to 2015, the age where consumers rely on online mediums to make buying decisions.
Unlike times past, search engine rankings are not determined by who pays the most, but instead businesses are graded and ranked by who does the best. If you think about all the different options out there when it comes to online properties to use when making buying decisions, search engines like Google have become experts in delivering the results their users want. Search engines rely on people coming back to their properties to use them over and over again. If they lose users, they lose market share, if they lose market share, then they lose revenues generated by advertising platforms such as pay per click.
The wrong way to think about internet advertising when it comes to hiring a SEO Company
Can’t you just get my website ranked for the keywords I want, then I stop paying?
We here at City Ranked get asked this at least once a week, if not more, and sure we’d love this to be the case, but unfortunately it’s just not the way that quality internet marketing works. Rankings on major search engines are highly sought after, as they can equal new customers and business growth. Competition for first page rankings is fierce, and there’s always someone looking to take the top position on these searches.
Getting to the top of search engines, and staying there takes hard dedicated work, and it gets harder every year as more and more small businesses compete for the very same keywords you want to rank for.
The search engines judge your business all the time
You may not know it, but the search engines are keeping track of your business, every day. The search engines, especially Google have become very good at understanding consumer needs and wants, then matches them up to businesses that meet their needs and wants. Google delivers personalized search results for virtually every person that regularly uses their search engine. Google has been able to deliver these personalized results because they’ve become experts in understanding information provided to them through a variety of sources.
Search engines like Google judge and grade virtually every business on the internet. This grading system, also commonly referred to as a Search Engine Algorithm is the tool they use.
Search engines change their algorithms
The determining factors on how a business ranks for top keywords is nothing more than a mathematical equation fed by hundreds of inputs to determine specific rankings delivered by the search engines. These algorithms are being changed all the time to improve search results, and keep up with consumer demands. Businesses that are serious about generating leads from the internet over the long term will need to keep up on these changes and the ever changing landscape online to remain competitive.
Understanding SEO, Web Design, and Internet Marketing for the Future
Whether you decide that outsourcing your efforts or keeping them in house is the right thing for your business, the same thing will be true for both situations, forward thinking. With changes in search engine algorithms, and the consumer driven demand for changes online, one thing is certain; change will occur. This change is happening right now, and companies are stepping up to meet the demands of the new consumer. Everyday companies like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and many others are delivering goods and services once reserved for the small business segment. Have they infiltrated your business vertical? It will only be a matter of time before someone figures it out.
Understanding how to anticipate, adapt, and maximize return with these changes will be the key to ongoing and successful small business advertising online, well into the future. Those businesses that make continually smarter decisions now will position themselves as the competitor to beat well into the future as long as these marketing exercises are completed regularly and adapted to meet the ever changing demands of the consumer. Businesses that are willing to take calculated and educated risks with their marketing stand to become the trail blazers of the future, and the new game to beat in their specific business segment.
The risk of the “wait and see” approach to Internet Marketing & SEO
The concept of “first to market” with ideas is no greater than it is now. Those that wait and follow the crowd when it comes to blazing their own path online will always be just that, followers, and as such, never leaders online. Sure when it comes to internet marketing and rankings, there are always areas to exploit to help your business grow, but being behind the times, and playing catch up to a game that should have been started long ago is no position any business wants to be in. So when deciding on a viable, long term internet marketing strategy, small business owners need to determine the viability and growth potential of their strategy for long term success.
Determining if your SEO & Internet Marketing Strategy is Future Viable
No one can tell the future, but savvy internet marketers can certainly see which direction it’s going. Do you understand how your target audience is changing? Are you taking advantage of technological advances in your industry? Are you keeping your website and marketing up to date with these changes, and changes in your business? If not, you’re missing the boat, and your competition is doing exactly what you’re not.
Understanding what your customers want, how to engage them (and I’m not talking about a phone call), and how to turn someone that’s shopping into a customer. These are all paramount exercises for a small business owner to complete when it comes to completing an honest assessment of their online marketing.
Promoting and Updating Your Small Business Website
I get it as a small business owner, you’re busy. There’s a million things to worry about, and if you’re like me, most of the things that suck up your time have nothing to do with why you started your business in the first place. Small business owners are pulled in several directions everyday, and rarely do they get what they planned done during the normal work day. I, myself am writing this on a Friday evening between dinner and kids showers because I myself didn’t get this done during my normal workday.
Remember you started your business because you are passionate – and – YOU ARE DIFFERENT
I’ve been helping small business owners advertise themselves for almost 15 years, and with only a few exceptions of the thousands of business owners I’ve met, all of them have something that makes them different from who they perceive as their competitors. Typically when I would ask these business owners what made them different, I’d get the same canned answers: we provide the best service, we provide quality work, we provide the best guarantee…and on and on from there. It wasn’t until we were able to really dig in deep with these clients did they actually really think about what made them different, and sometimes it takes someone from the outside to point it out.
I’ll give you an example. I met with a plumbing contractor that had been in business for many, many years. It’s probably a third generation business, one of the oldest plumbing companies in their market. I asked the owner what made their business different from other plumbing companies their size in the area, and got the same old canned answers, the same I’ve heard many times before: they’re the best at what they do, they guarantee their work, they’ve been in business for years, etc.
It was only after much questioning about their services and what they offer was I really able to help the business owner understand what made them different, why someone should choose them over their competition, and for this business owner, the realization of what they offer compared to almost any other plumbing company has most certainly set them apart when it comes to their digital marketing, and here’s what really makes them different:
They only employ licensed Journeyman Plumbers
All of their plumbers are Union
They provide flat rate pricing on all service plumbing work
They’re heavily involved in the community, and give back to it
To this business owner these simple facts seemed just normal day-to-day business, but when it comes to marketing your business, facts like this are gold mines. Prior to City Ranked Media taking over this clients website, they had been marketing themselves as just the plumbing company that had been around for a long time. They were in essence just another plumbing company, unless for some reason you as a consumer came to their website and really cared that they had been in business long before your parents were born.
Marketing the difference in your business
Every business owner understands what makes their business different, I think that sometimes they just need to be reminded. For first generation businesses I think this is a much easier exercise because you as the business owner know what made you decide you could do better job. For second, third and more generation owners, this sometimes might be a bit tougher. In either case understanding and marketing what you do best can, and will make all the difference in the world.
For businesses – differentiation is everything
With the above business, understanding the above about their business changed everything. Marketing and SEO’ing their website for terms surrounding Journeymen Plumbers, the Union, and other related terms opened them up to General Contractors outside the state looking for these exact qualifications. It also allowed them to command a premium for their services understanding that every plumber on staff was a trained professional. Rankings, phone calls, and as a result, business has increased, big.
So do you know and really understand what makes your business different, and better?
Understanding your passion, and turning it into new business
Once you understand what makes your business different, it’s time to turn that knowledge into new business. You’re an expert in your business, and how your business is done. You’ve refined your trade or skill, many times over years, so you have knowledge on what people want, the questions they have, and most importantly the answers to those questions.
People want to know your knowledge. You get asked the same questions by your customers, so take this opportunity to answer those questions in a informative and helpful way through your website. Don’t try and sell your business at this stage, think about yourself being a resource, and answer these questions. Use phrases that people will search, for example if you’re a Plumber, and you do home plumbing repipes, answer some of your most asked questions regarding this service, i.e.: What’s the difference between PEX piping and Copper piping, and which is best? Make these articles super informative, and make them helpful for the average Joe homeowner.
Don’t sell yourself at this point. Remember you’re targeting people searching for information, not someone searching for a business to help them with their problem. You’re targeting people with questions on the best or correct way to solve their problem(s). Once the visitor understands that, they will then start searching for someone to fill that need. Getting them to your website is 50% of the battle, showing them you’re the best expert for their problem is a short gap to jump from there.
If you can bridge this gap from turning people searching for answers, into people exposed to how your business can help them, you will win some of them over. Now I know what some of you are saying, because I’ve had many of our clients tell me the same thing: why would I tell someone how to do something themselves, or why would I share my knowledge without these people paying for it? The answer is simple, with the advancements in information sharing via the internet, social media, etc., the answers to their questions are already out there, so wouldn’t you want these people to come to your website for these answers? Sure, will some people come to your website for answers and leave? Yes, but some will also engage you for your professional advice and services, these are the people that you’re seeking.
Share your information on social media
If you can do the above, and do it often, you will be successful. It won’t happen overnight, it won’t happen in a month, but if you can religiously add new content, at least twice a month, it’s almost guaranteed (as of the writing of this article) that you’ll be in a much better position than 80% of your competitors.
The exercise I’ve described above is nothing more than blogging. People are searching for the answers you have, it’s up to you to turn those people into customers.
Why you shouldn’t work with an SEO company that copies your competitions’ strategies.
As a business owner nothing can more frustrating than seeing one of your competitors copying the same website and SEO strategies that you’ve been using. It happens all the time, even within the SEO agency world, right here in Vancouver Washington. Here at City Ranked Media we’ve been testing different SEO strategies for years, only to have some of our strategies copied, which was the inspiration behind this article.
So if you think your SEO company is copying from your competition, below are the reasons you may want to rethink your strategy (or your SEO’s strategy) for long term business success.Continue reading
Here at City Ranked Media we primarily work in WordPress and all of our new client websites are built using WordPress, so you might say we’re big fans of the website platform. However in the years we’ve been using WordPress, we’ve seen some pretty big messes with some websites that people have brought us to fix. Pretty big messes that took a lot of time and money to fix, so that being said we thought that we’d write an article on questions to ask, and things to know before deciding to hire someone to build you a website in WordPress. Continue reading
Just about any business small or large will at some point be faced with the decision on how to properly SEO their website. It’s this need from small business owners, combined with the real complexities of how to get properly ranked on the web that has sprung up a whole industry of poor quality SEO agencies across the U.S. and the world. After doing some quick searches on the web, I came across an interesting story of a Pest Control business in Arizona that took the time to share his experiences with some these low cost SEO companies, and the results they provided.Continue reading
The answers to this question are as plentiful as websites returned on any given search on Google. As a business owner , you should be looking at SEO as a long term investment into your business. So my answer is: “It costs you nothing.”
SEO – done correctly – should yield measurable return on investment, therefore, the costs of quality SEO are far less than the return you should see in positive sales and growth for your business. However, I understand that most business owners still want to know the bottom line when it comes to the cost of SEO and what they should be budgeting for this service.Continue reading
The 10 warning signs that the person you’re talking to is not an SEO expert.
In this day and age it’s pretty easy to come across someone who claims they are an SEO Expert. As a small business owner you are no doubt contacted by several people every week via phone or email claiming they can rocket your business to the front of the pack for mere dollars per month. So the question here is: with all these people claiming they can do the same thing, who is telling the truth, and who is selling SEO snake oil?Continue reading