What I’ve Learned About What Google Loves

As many years as I’ve been developing and programming websites I always realize that what I really love about what I do is…I’m always learning something new and challenging. I’ve been reading Evan Bailyn’s new book “Outsmarting Google” and it’s fantastic. And it validates much of what I tell our customers everyday…to rank high on Google you need to be the most popular guy on the block. If people think you’re important, so will Google.

What Google Loves - linkbuilding

And those customers ask the same question, every time. How do I do that? How do I become the most popular kid on the block, the one everyone goes to to answer the important questions when it comes to what they’re good at doing?

Well, first you have to realize that in order for people to think of you as the subject matter expert, you’re going to have to do a lot of hard work. This is not a if I build it they will come. Doesn’t happen on the Internet, hell, it doesn’t happen in life. So if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort than don’t expect anyone to do it for you.

So when you read or hear that content is king that is exactly right. And it best be original content. Copying someone else’s content is fine so long as you give proper credit. But Google doesn’t give it as high a score as original content. See, your content has to actually show your expertise. You can’t merely say it. You have to prove it. This fact is what makes the Internet the level playing field it is. Even the newest of us can become a recognized popular expert in a given field that drowns out the so-called credentialed expert who doesn’t publish on-line. It’s all about perception. So some kid could outshine a professor with a degree any day of the week and twice on Sunday if he’s been out there sharing what he knows with everyone around the world. And all those folks will be linking to the kid because he’s the only source in town who’s talking. Thus Google likes the kid because everyone else likes the kid.

Tomorrow I’ll start sharing what I’ve learned about building expertise on the Internet. I will be alternating between my personal blog and my company blog at Yellowbird Marketing Solutions.

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On-line Marketing Plan as Part of Marketing Strategy

Opportunities are lost due to limiting on-line marketing strategy plans to simply one-way communication vehicles.

Marketing plans are most effective when you’ve fully integrated traditional marketing such as phone, direct-mail or face-to-face selling with online channels and are used to support the whole buying process from pre-sale to sale to post-sale. Add to the mix the continued development of customer relationships and you create a symbiotic process that increases leads and revenue.

And while the on-line marketing part of the plan can span right across an organization’s many functions such as customer feedback, customer service, product development, sales, finance/payment, delivery and administration, on-line marketing plans tend to be looked at strongly as mainly marketing communications plans, to the detriment of what more it can offer the company. Opportunities are lost due to limiting on-line marketing plans to simply one-way communication vehicles.

The reality is that any on-line marketing plan needs to be a part of a broader marketing plan. And it should also fit in with the overall business plan. It should be an integral part of the company’s overall strategy to bring in leads as well as information.

7 ways to handle negative responses

I recently had a former customer call me up on the phone. He was asking me to help him with removing a negative comment that was posted on his listing in Google local directories. He thought it would go away if we took his website down.

It should become apparent as to why we no longer do  business with this guy.

See, rather than deal with the complaint on its merits, he wants to ignore it. He claims the complainer is being unreasonable. The complainer felt he was being taken for a ride by my former customer. I wasn’t really disagreeing with the complainer (by the way, I’m not the complainer), which is why we no longer have this guy as a customer.

So I thought I would discuss the 7 ways we recommend to our good customers how you should look at handling complaints:

1. Never fear the complainer – Complaints are an opportunity for you to show your community how you handle adversity. Avoiding it says as much about you as does confronting it.

2. Be totally honest – admit fault, within reason, even if it isn’t your fault. If one of my customers complains I didn’t perform as they expected, even though what they’re complaining about isn’t in the scope of the project, as long as it’s reasonable I will take responsibility for the misunderstanding and work to correct the problem. I will not bury my head in the sand and hope it goes away.

3. Respond back in the medium where the complaint originated – If the complaint is from Twitter, don’t respond back in LinkedIn. Keep it within the medium received. Responding back in a different medium makes it look like your avoiding the issue.

4. Use the complaint as feedback from your customers – If your widget has a problem you will usually receive that information in the form of a complaint. Use it to fix the problem and show the world how you did it.

5. Listen – Many times when a customer is complaining all they want is to be heard. It’s as simple as that.

I had a customer of a customer many years ago who called complaining that a battery pack her son used in his hobby race car had exploded while being recharged. Back in those days it usually took twelve hours to recharge a battery pack. The kids would buy 2-3 battery packs so that they could race for hours. They also used to try to recharge the packs very quickly, literally zapping the daylights out of them. The problem was that NiCad batteries are a notoriuosly greedy substance. The battery doesn’t know when to quit taking a charge like SLA batteries do. There is a lot of heat created while charging which builds pressure inside the battery. So, once in a while a battery being charged too fast will build enough pressure to pop its top.

Scares the hell out of you.

It scared this Mom’s kid, which of course upset her. The sales person who took the call was having trouble getting her to be reasonable and so I took over. I asked her what the problem was and she proceeded to yell and scream about what had happened. When she appeared to be running out of steam, I asked her if there was anything else that concerned her and she proceeded on for another 10 minutes. I asked her one more time if there was anything else she wanted to tell me and she went on again, but only for a minute.

I then apologized to her for the incident. I asked her a few questions and I discovered that her son, when zapping the daylights out of the battery, didn’t use dry ice to keep the battery from overheating. He couldn’t afford dry ice so he tried the not so good alternative, ice cubes. She wasn’t too happy with her son when he admitted to what he was doing. You can’t really fault him since many of the other boys were recharging the batteries and he just wanted to do the same. The charging instructions that come with the batteries are usually tossed aside rendering them useless. So, I told this mom I would send her 3 battery packs for free along with a detailed set of instructions on how to properly charge them.

Total cost to us was $75.00. But we gained a customer for life because I took the time to listen.

6. Follow up – Never assume the problem is totally resolved, always follow-up. This will reinforce in the customers mind that you really are listening.

7. Make sure you share these experience with your audience – Don’t be afraid to share the real you. Your audience will love you for it.

Confusing Internet

Many small to medium size companies find the Internet to be a very confusing place.

My friend Tom was recently lamenting:

  • How come I’m not getting traffic to my web site?
  • What is this Social Media thing all about?
  • Will it last? I’m told I should have a website.
  • I’m told I should be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube…aahhh.
  • Too much to decide on, too much time involved figuring it all out.
  • How is it that some people seem to be all over the Internet and I can’t even get off square one?

Like anything out there worth doing, the Internet takes a lot of hard work, which means a lot of time. And time is something many of us have very little of to start with. So to put more time into something that has a really steep learning curve and doesn’t seem to produce results makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, right?

Tom continued to think out loud:

But gee whiz, look at Charlie, the Butcher across the street. I’ve never seen him so filled up with customers. The wife said she saw a coupon he had put onto this thing called Facebook. All of her girlfriends are raving about it. She used that new smart phone I got her last Christmas to scan something called a QR code, whatever that is.

But I just had the website redone last year and it cost me a bundle. I’m still not getting any leads from it.

Come to think about it, that damn phone book ad isn’t producing butkus. And it costs hundreds per quarter for it, tried to cancel it months ago but I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Sure wish there was someone out there who understood business and could help me develop a marketing strategy that would make sense, remove the confusion and make it productive.

Well there is, Tom. Call me at Yellowbird Marketing Solutions and I’ll help you figure it all. We can help you develop a package that will fit your budget and produce results. I’ll even show you how to cancel that phone book ad that does nothing but frustrate you.

You can find me at:

QR Codes

As a marketer I’m always looking for new ways to help my customers engage their customers. QR codes is just such a way.

A QR Code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

Looks like this:

One of my customers is a local butcher shop. He could make qr codes and paste them to his front door. The code could contain in-store specials available only to those customers who can read this code.

Another idea could a local restaurant listing the soup of the day with a !0% discount coupon for those who can read the qr code.

There are innumerable ideas for using these codes. Can anyone come up with some more?

How important is the page one ranking position

In other words, one moment Penney was the most visible online destination for living room furniture in the country. The next it was essentially buried.

Likely told in many articles, but this came from a NYT article : “How valuable was that? A study last May by Daniel Ruby of Chitika, an online advertising network of 100,000 sites, found that, on average, 34 percent of Google’s traffic went to the No. 1 result, about twice the percentage that went to No. 2.

The Keyword Estimator at Google puts the number of searches for “dresses” in the United States at 11.1 million a month, an average based on 12 months of data. So for “dresses” alone, Penney may have been attracting roughly 3.8 million visits every month it showed up as No. 1. Exactly how many of those visits translate into sales, and the size of each sale, only Penney would know.”

The article talked about the amount of traffic JC Penney garnered from gaming the system by using a link building scheme. That scheme artificially gave JC Penney a number one rank on the first page in searches conducted during the recent holidays. 3.8 million visits per month for 3 months is a lot of visits.

Google reaction, according to the article:

“On Wednesday evening, Google began what it calls a “manual action” against Penney, essentially demotions specifically aimed at the company.

At 7 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, J. C. Penney was still the No. 1 result for “Samsonite carry on luggage.”

Two hours later, it was at No. 71.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Penney was No. 1 in searches for “living room furniture.”

By 9 p.m., it had sunk to No. 68.

In other words, one moment Penney was the most visible online destination for living room furniture in the country.

The next it was essentially buried.”

Google would do best to preserve the integrity of their search algorithm since it appears they may have been looking the other way during the holidays due to the enormous sums spent by JC Penney on paid search ads. I see that the EU is looking into possible anti-trusts issues with Google.

Any decent Internet Marketer doesn’t need to resort to such tactics like the one Penney used. A good market strategy that includes honestly working the system should be able to put you on page one. You just need to work it.

How’s that keyword list working for you?

How’s that keyword list working for you?

When I sit down with a potential customer to discuss market strategies we get to the topic of keyword research.

And I run into a number who think that because they’re in a particular business, they know all of the keywords someone would use to find them on the web.

And, of course, they use these words in describing their business.

Some of these words may actually be good words. But they don’t know because they used the SWAG method to determine their list.

question mark

SWAG, for those not in the know…Scientific Wild Ass Guess…

…Because these websites still get little to no traffic.

When it comes to keywords, there are plenty of keywords that have
tons of traffic…


…But having traffic isn’t enough if you want to run a PROFITABLE web-site….

…or are they tire-kickers who will ask a lot of questions, expect a lot of free stuff, and then leave not      spending a dime with you?

Your marketing strategy needs to target the buying customers ready to spend and make you money – not the tire-kickers who cost you money.

Unless you’re targeting buyers instead of “tire-kickers”, all of your SEO efforts and thus your market strategy, will be completely wasted on attracting worthless visitors who never buy.

Hello world!

Making the Internet work for you.

Rich Garling
Rich Garling

Just a short piece on me…after all it is my blog. I own a small marketing firm, Yellowbird Marketing Solutions , located in the Chicagoland area. With Mike, my business partner, we specialize in integrated marketing strategies concentrating in Internet marketing for small to medium size businesses. Our goal is to ensure that small businesses get off on the right foot when first entering the Internet marketplace.

We have seen many examples out there of companies that have a really pretty web site, but because they didn’t pay attention to their message, didn’t use SEO, have no other presence on the web to speak of, they get no traffic. They’re frustrated because there is soooo much to know. All these small business owners want to do is to run their businesses.

The aim of this blog is to offer advice, ideas and solutions on how to make the Internet work better for all of us. I invite folks to join the discussion, respond and engage in the conversation so we can learn together and make the Internet work for all of us.