Category Archives: Miami SEO Blog

What is the difference between organic listings vs sponsored listings/ads?

When you perform a search the first few listings are usually sponsored results. Sponsored Listings also appear on in a sidebar. Sponsored listings are usually a different background color with the words “Ads” or are indicated by small “Ad” icon. Advertisers bid against each other for prominent positions. Basically whoever is willing to pay the highest amount per click (PPC) get’s the top position.

Then you have Organic Listings. Organic Listings are generated by Google’s Search Algorithm to provide users with the most relevant results. Statistically, Organic Listings are more effective and have a higher conversion ratio.

Which one is right for me?

If you’re budget allows it, it’s best to have both a Sponsored Listing and Organic Listing. If you need results right away, and you’re budget allows it, you should go with a Sponsored Listing. Overall, you’ll want to invest for the long term to reap the rewards that come with a high ranking Organic Listing.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

Pros

  • Instant results: You can pay to list your site in the top results within 24 hours.
  • Control: You can target keywords, and geo locations with fine precision.
  • Flexibility: You can add/remove keywords as needed. You can cut keywords that aren’t performing.
  • A/B Testing: Having instant results will allow you to A/B test campaigns more effectively.

Cons

  • Cost: PPC is often very competitive. PPC puts in a bidding war with competitors for each keyword.
  • Complexity: Setting up a campaign is very complex and it’s easy to make costly mistakes such as improper keyword targeting.

SEO

Pros

  • Free traffic: In some cases, such as a blog or news site, it may drive significant search traffic.

Cons

  • Time: It take months to years to rank for even a low competition keyword. The fact is most sites never break through to page 1, let alone within the 1st 10 pages/100 results.
  • Targeting: Targeting is broad and unpredictable. A significant amount of the traffic to your site will be unqualified.
  • Unknowns: You really have no idea if the keyword you’re targeting will drive adequate traffic, and how it will perform.
  • Inadequate traffic: If you finally reach the 1st position you may be disappointed to see that there’s not nearly as much traffic as you had expected. When Google’s data shows a keyword generates 3,000 searches a month, you’ll find it’s a highly skewed estimate when you’re only generating 25 visits per month. How can it be so far off. Odds are the 3-4 ads running above position 1 are capturing all the traffic.
  • Commitment: Once you target a keyword, you’re married to it for the long haul. Sure you may rank for similar keywords, but you’ll never rank #1 for all. If you ever reach page 1 then end up with inadequate traffic, you can’t just change keywords. It’s time and money wasted. It’s not uncommon for competitors ranking #1 to also be advertising. Chances are they wasted time and money on organic SEO too.
  • Unpredictable: Google regularly changes their search engine algorithm to prevent anyone from gaming their system, and positions fluctuate constantly. Methods to rank today may not work tomorrow.

Conclusion

Unless you run a news, or blog site, Pay-Per-Click is the clear winner. PPC and advertising in general is extremely complex from end to end. Hire us to manage an effective PPC campaign for your business.

Need quicker results?

If you require results now, and your budget allows it, you can buy your way to the top. The solution is to employ a Google AdWords Pay Per Click Campaign. We can have a sponsored listing for the 1st spot in as early as 1 day.

While Google Adwords seems D.I.Y., we strongly advise having an expert manage your campaign. It’s very easy to lose your shirt if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. We can assist you tackle your campaign, reach new customers effectively, and maximize ROI.

Avoid any SEO company that claims they are able to get you on page 1 for a competitive keyword overnight for organic listings.

This is a common practice amongst Shady SEO companies that operate outbound sales rooms.

One example of how they scam you:

Shady SEO company charges you say $300, then they spend $10 of that on a Google Sponsored Pay-Per-Click Listing. Then they say “look we got you on page 1.” Then your Pay-Per-Click listing drops after 1 or more clicks, and they pocket $290.

How long will it take to rank on page 1?

The time it takes to rank depends on several factors. It can take as little as a month to years. Google’s® sophisticated algorithm adjusts results slowly and randomly. Google updates their algorithm regularly to prevent companies from gaming their system.

The time required to rank depends on a number of factors including:

  • the competitiveness of your target keyword(s)
  • How old your domain is
  • If your site is professionally optimized
  • How many competitors you’re up against (Search Results)
  • How many backlinks you have (if any)
  • The quality of your backlinks
  • How old your backlinks are

Example scenarios:

Older Domain, Optimized with Backlinks
If you have an older domain (6 mo and older) and are already ranking in the 1st (2-10) pages, you’ve already broken the ice and have a stronger chance of ranking quicker. We can give you the extra push you need to get your site to the top. We can acheive positive results in as early as (1) month.

Older domain
If you’re not ranking at all for your keyword, you may have some on site optimization issues that are harming you’re site from being indexed properly. We can correct this. You may not have any back links built to your site. Google is pretty much one big popularity contest, more so than high school, and back links are a vote for your reputation. Once your site is optimized, We can begin building back links. We can gain positive results in as early as (1-3) months.

Brand new domains typically have to “wait” longer before they can rank for keywords. It requires 3 – 6 months on average before you can expect to see positive results.

Competiton

How many listing/competitors rank for your keyword is another factor. Are you up against (50,000) or (100,000,000)? When the competition is (50,000) or under (3) million you can expect promising results within (1-3) months. If you’re competing against (10) million or more you’ll need to battle for a year or longer. Especially if you’re starting from scratch. Starting from scratch, we’ve managed to move our client’s businesses on page (1) inside a year up against (70) million+ competitors.

Blackhat, whitehat and other colorful headwear used to describe questionable practices of some SEO companies.

Blackhat, Whitehat and other colors are often used to describe the practices which search engine optimization companies employ.

Blackhat usually refers to employing unscrupulous techniques for SEO. One of the oldest blackhat practices is keyword stuffing. Keywords are hidden in a page’s code that is not visible to users to trick the search engines.

Some common places keyword stuffing occurs:

  • meta keyword tag (Google has ignored this tag for years)
  • text areas of forms
  • making text the same color as the background
  • using negative margins to position text far off the browser’s boundaries

Google® is wise to these shady techniques nowadays, and using them will quickly get your site removed from results. Even today unqualified SEO companies employ these “ancient” techniques, and their clients suffer the consequences.

Some Blackhat SEO companies use risky automated backlink building software. Software capable of building thousands of links in no time at all. The software seeks out and spams blogs, forums, and just about any online form that you can insert a link into. Again Google has wised up to this behavior and will flag your site quickly for removal.

Whitehat is considered to be the honest Google® approved method of getting your site to rank. At least that’s what self proclaimed whitehat companies believe.

Some methods so called whitehat companies use:

  • Purchasing Sponsored links
  • Paying Press Release publishing sites for backlinks.
  • Getting backlinks by paying off guest bloggers.
  • Creating content and networks of Blogs, Social Media Sites, etc that interlink between each other and your site.

Sounds pretty innocent, but at the end of the day, they are trying to manipulate the search engines. These so called whitehat techniques have gotten sites penalized severely as well.

In closing, It’s all blackhat because you are attempting to manipulate the search engines. There’s just varying degrees.

What’s the option for playing by the rules? Google® claims all one simply has to do is create great content, and it will rank. That may work for super niche keywords, but it has yet to work for competitive search terms. Your best bet is to forget about hat colors, and have a healthy balance of several methods. Great content, excellent on page SEO, and quality backlinks.

Is your ranking on Google® accurate?

So you see website is on page 1 for your target keyword, yet you are still not receiving any calls or emails? Chances are you aren’t on page one and your results are being skewed by Google’s® default web history feature.

About web history
Web history is a feature implemented by Google® that personalizes users results based on their web activity. Sites you visit in a search are promoted to show up higher in the results the next time you search using the same keywords. While the intentions is good, it skews your results, and then you have no idea what a new user searching for the first time will see. The solution and a good practice is to disable web history.

How can I disable web history?

  • 01. Visit Google® and perform any search.
  • 02. On the results page, click the gear icon on the upper right.
  • 03. A drop down menu will appear. Click “Web History”
  • 04. Click “Disable customizations based on search activity.”

Note: You have to do this each time you sign out of a Google account.

Solution 2: Use (2) browsers
We recommend using Safari signed out with web history disabled for most web surfing. Then use Firefox at the same time signed in to manage AdWords and other Google® products.

And there you have it. Now you can see search results the way the real world sees them. Now you can see where you actually rank and get an accurate view of the competitive playing field.

Is Google Ads quality score a waste of time?

After years of running successful adwords campaigns with conversion ratios averaging 40-80% we can tell you with confidence not to waste your time trying to build a landing page with a perfect quality score (10).

The number one reason you shouldn’t waste your time.

Google does not demonstrate an example page with a perfect quality score that you could build off of.

We wasted plenty of time trying to make a Landing page with a quality score of (10). It’s supposed to translate to lower costs per click. So we followed Google’s vague instructions as close as possible. Use your keyword for your campaign name, ad group, etc. Make a landing page relevant to your campaign, ad group, ad and keywords with proper use of html tags. We also followed advice around the web such as add privacy policy, terms of use, etc.

The highest we scored initially was always (7-8). And sometimes that score would be as low as (3) without changing much. We found if you edited the keyword (ignoring warnings of losing stats), and saved, your quality score would change back to (7).

Then we gave up, and ran (1) campaign, (1) group, (1) ad with a bunch of relevant keywords. We found that quality score fluctuated throughout the campaign. Within a few days some keywords had a quality score of (10) for no special reason. The savings was not significant. Then the score changed back to (7), and continued to fluctuate up and down randomly without anything else changing.

So once again. Don’t waste your time playing Google’s Mysterious Quality Score game. Concentrate on building a landing page that will convert traffic into sales. Then use a set of targeted keywords from (1) ad, then a/b test different designs and ad copy until you find your sweet spot.

Pen Tool Design Tips for Photoshop & Illustrator

Here’s a technique that lets you have every bezier drawing tool you need at your finger tips via simple key combinations. Great for when you are drawing or have to recreate or cut out detailed artwork.

In both apps you can:

  • Hold down space (Hand tool) to navigate your work
    -more effective than using the scroll bars
  • Hold down space + command (zoom tool) then click to zoom
  • Hold down space + option (zoom out tool) then click to zoom out

While hovering over a point:

  • Simply click to remove a point when you see a (-) sign
  • Hold down option to edit bezier curve of a point
  • Hold down command to move/drag points
    For Illlustrator: Before using the pen tool, select the “Direct Select Tool”

Otherwise you’ll have to:

  • Stop dead in your tracks
  • Go to the toolbar or hit “A” to Swicth to the “Direct Select Tool”
  • Move your point
  • Then go to the toolbar again or hit “P” to select the “Pen Tool”.
  • Then you can get back in your drawing groove with your hands back over the Command, Option, Space Bar

How to configure server permissions so WordPress does not require FTP for plugin installs/updates.

After you upload your files, you’ll want to make sure ownership permissions are set to Apache so that Wordrpess can update and/or install plugins without requiring FTP credentials. You can set permissions via SSH.

Single site hosting:

chown -R apache:apache /var/www/html

Multi site hosting:

chown -R apache:apache /var/www/

You may need to do this whenever uploading folders.