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The Blacklist: Popular SEO Tips and Tricks That Can Get You Banned

Be skeptical. In the world of SEO, anyone can call themselves an expert. Many so-called SEO gurus are operating on guesswork ("It worked for me!"), outdated knowledge ("Stuff those keywords!") and outright lies ("I'll be gone by the time they know it!). In fact, quite a few popular SEO tips either do nothing at all or can be outright harmful to your business.

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Back to Basics: Which Keyword Match Type to Use in a PPC Campaign

When you start looking at your keyword options for Adwords, you'll discover that there are a few basic keyword types that you can use when choosing which searches trigger your ads. By picking the right match at the right time, you can better hit the audience that is going to get you the results that you want.

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The Importance of A/B Testing in PPC Advertising

In PPC advertising, you need to know that your ads and landing pages are effective. A/B testing can help you determine what is working and what is bleeding your campaign of funds.

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How to Capitalize On the Search Landscape

When it comes to traffic generation, the building block of any digital initiative, you need to be savvy in how you reach and engage the highest number of qualified visitors to your website. In terms of the search landscape, and for this purpose, specifically Google search results, searchers should be introduced to as many click-through opportunities as possible. The more “real estate” that your business owns on the first page of Google Search results, the better chance you have of gaining a new visitor.

Below is an image of the typical Google Search result page, specifically a search for ‘denver inbound marketing agency’. Following that, we describe the 4 main elements of the page that we advise businesses capitalize on.

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Back to Basics: Create Killer AdWords Copy That Gets Attention

The most popular form of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Paid Search is Google AdWords. Carefully crafted AdWords can be a very cost-effective way of generating quality traffic to your website and boosting your sales. If you do it right, your business can attract a wealth of new prospects. But if you do it wrong, it is just another advertisement that doesn’t work.

If you think your business can’t take advantage of this online marketing opportunity, you might want to think again because this can be the perfect way to draw attention. Because it’s pay-per-click, you pay only if prospects click and visit your website. But, of course, you do want them to visit, so you have to create killer AdWords copy that will really get your prospect’s attention:

  1. The headline: This is the first thing that prospects will notice. Although it can contain no more than 25 characters, the headline must immediately grab their attention. You can’t use any punctuation except a question mark, and use of all capitals is not permitted. Try to put one of your keywords right up there in the headline because it will appear in bold and have more chance of motivating prospects to click-through to your website. If you don't use a keyword, remember to keep it relevant to entice prospects to click.
  2. Body copy: You have two descriptive lines to make your case for why this prospect should visit your website. Each of these rows can only have up to 35 characters so each word must be strong. Include at least one keyword and highlight what makes your company different. Promote any special offers or pricing. Use a strong call to action like “call today,” “order now,” “sign up,” or “get a quote” to let prospects know what they should do next.
  3. Display URL: AdWords lets you choose a brief but meaningful display URL, which can be no more than 35 characters. This may be different from your destination URL, which can be as long as 1024 characters. Make sure that the landing page you take prospects to matches what they saw in your ad.
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Keyword Optimization: When You Need It & When You Don't

It's easy to get confused about the importance of keywords. Some people come to a mistaken belief that everything on your site should be optimized all the time. Others, also mistakenly, think that we're in a post keyword era and that they can safely be ignored. While search engines continue to evolve their algorithms, keywords remain an integral part of good SEO. However, they need to be used wisely. A few tips on where they count and where they do not:

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PPC Analysis is About More Than Keywords

The lowest hanging fruit to optimize once a Pay Per Click campaign is live are the keywords. It’s almost always the first place someone looks to “see how things are going”.

We can’t argue with the fact the keyword level optimization is a must to successfully manage a campaign. But we also believe that if this is all you look at, you’re only scratching the surface of your potential.

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How To Evaluate SEO from your Current Provider


There are thousands of SEO agencies and consultants out there....

Some are great SEO providers who utilize "white hat best practices", while others are simply great salespeople who promise you rankings on the first page of Google for any keyword you so desire. 

Due to the complex industry of SEO, it's easy to be mislead or misinformed by agencies who "talk the talk", but don't "walk the walk."  If and when there comes a time that you need to evaluate SEO from your current provider, there are key indicators you should look for and others you should avoid.  


When you first started with them, did they complete competitive and search landscape research for your business? No SEO initiatives should be proposed until there is a firm understanding of the competitors in your market. These are not just your direct business competitors who sell the same products or services as you, but for other entities that rank for the same keywords that you would. Say for example, that your company is United Plumbing. You want to show up 1st whenever anyone searches for ‘plumbing’ in your local area. When it comes to the search landscape, you not only have to compete in search engine rankings with your direct competitor Joe’s Plumbing, but you also have to compete with Wikipedia, industry bloggers, etc. By determining who is in the market, your SEO company can more easily assess your competitors SEO efforts and craft a plan that will work for you.

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The Little Phone Number on Your Website Can Have a Big Impact on PPC ROI

As digital marketing strategists, we are always looking for the most comprehensive data regarding just how effective our digital strategies are performing. The Internet allows us to better track our marketing spend when compared to traditional marketing outlets, and the data we collect such as cost per online lead, is what indicates ROI, and validates further digital marketing efforts. 

One of the major data points that we track through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is called a conversion. A conversion, also known as a lead, is anyone who is brought to your website through a PPC ad, who then decides to take further action such as contacting your business, or purchasing a product. This could be an online action, such as a form submission, which is easy for us to track through AdWords and Google Analytics. But there is another critical element on your website that should be tracked, and this one occurs offline.

The phone number on your website is a crucial conversion element. A few years back, we realized this and began searching for a way to track the phone calls that are generated from PPC efforts. Fortunately, we came upon a couple software providers who also noticed this as a necessity. Thus, call tracking was born.

Call tracking involves purchasing a phone number from a vendor to match your area code. You then embed a little bit of JavaScript (generated by the vendor) into the code of your website. Once it is set up correctly, the code will seamlessly switch the existing phone number on your website to the one that you purchased once someone accesses your website from a PPC ad. When they then dial that number, the call will automatically forward to your existing business number. The caller will be none the wiser.

You can even purchase different phone numbers for each campaign in your AdWords account in order to more directly report which campaigns are generating the most calls. From here on, it is easier to mold your PPC strategy and know where to invest your monthly budget.

We can track the following types of data to provide valuable insights and results into the efficacy of your PPC advertising:

  • Calls Per Day
  • Answered, voicemail or hang up status
  • Unique versus repeat callers
  • Call duration
  • Call recording 

It is also important to note that, as business owners and managers, we seldom find time to answer the phone ringing in the background. After implementing call tracking, it is essential to be diligent about answering the phone. The person on the other end of the line is far enough along in the buying process that it will take much less effort for you to reel them in. These leads can be more qualified and CHEAP.

Moral of the story is - don’t forget about the little phone number on your website because it can have a big impact on your paid search ROI.




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Why You Should Optimize Local Listings for Your Business

You have heard all of the big names, Foursquare, WhitePages, Superpages, Yelp, Citysearch, etc… But what exactly do they do?

These local listings companies collect your business information, sort of like a digital phone book, and provide you as search results to people searching their site for your type of business.

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