Top 10 Google AdSense Mistakes


In 2003, Google announced a pretty revolutionary way for website owners to monetize their content easily and automatically. Through snippets of JavaScript code, webmasters could now post ads on their sites and get a share of Google advertising revenues. AdSense took many site owners from earning nothing on their sites to earning thousands of dollars per month. Almost a decade later, AdSense is still a popular choice for monetizing web content.

It’s true that one of the biggest keys to success with AdSense is website traffic. That will never change. If you want to earn from pay-per-click advertising, you need the visitors to make those clicks. But even if you don’t have huge amounts of traffic, you can start earning from AdSense. You can also maximize those earnings by avoiding some of the common mistakes people make with AdSense.

Here are 10 of those mistakes. Avoid them and follow our tips instead to start increasing your AdSense revenues.


Mistake #1: Not Using Channels

It’s important to know which websites, which topic categories and which ads are providing the best results. It allows you to see where you should be adding more content, where you should do more testing, and the like.

AdSense automatically separates your reports based on URL, but you need to go further to track your results by using the “Add new custom channel” feature. You can set up as many channels as you’d like and track a variety of different things.



Set up channels for different ad positions, categories of your web page, specific pages and different ad sizes. When you know what’s working best, it’s easier to maximize your earning opportunities.


Mistake #2: Not Testing Different Ad Positions

To understand the best positioning for your ads, you can certainly use Google’s heat map as a starting point. The darker colors show you the most clicked areas of a web page. Looking at the screenshot below, logic would say that the top and left side of your content, your top left menu and bottom of your content are likely to be your best performers.


However, remember that this heat map is based on a large amount of data. It’s what’s typical for most websites, but it’s not specific to your unique website and design. Use the heat map as a starting point, but always do your own testing to see what ad positions work best.

You can also use services like or Google Analytics’ “In Page Analytics” to do heat map testing of your own pages.

Note that as you test your ads, you should also experiment with the number of ads you show. While you can show up to 3 ad units per page, that may not be your optimal number.

If you want a simple solution for split testing your ads, you can find free code that will allow you to split test your ads right here.


Mistake #3: Not Testing Different Ad Sizes and Types

Just as you should never rest with the placement of your ads until you find the optimum positioning, you should also take the time to test different ad sizes and ad types. To start with, AdSense has its list of “Recommended” ad sizes which include the medium rectangle, large rectangle, leaderboard, wide skyscraper and mobile banner.



Again, these are a good starting point, but you should do your own testing as well. In addition to ad sizes, AdSense gives you the option of showing only text ads, only image/media rich ads or doing a combination of both. We all have assumptions about what will work best, but we can often be surprised when we test those assumptions.


Mistake #4: Not Testing Different Colors and Fonts

Should your ads blend in with your content? Or should they stand out? Common advice is to use the same font family and color scheme as your website. In many cases, this may be the appropriate option, but you won’t know until you test it.

If you are placing ads in the middle of content, blending in seems to make sense. But if you’re putting ads in side bars or outside of the content, standing out might be more appropriate. Test it and find out.

You can even create your own ad unit templates and save them for later use.


Mistake #5: Not Bothering to Set Up Backup Ads

There will be times when AdSense cannot display ads for you. If their system cannot find ads relevant to your page or if there is some other technical difficulty, they will show a blank space by default. However, you can set up an ad on another HTML page and have that show whenever there are no ads available.



By having a backup ad (formerly called an “alternate ad”) in place, you ensure that your pages are always displaying relevant ads to your website visitors.


Mistake #6: Only Using Google AdSense

For many, Google AdSense is the biggest contextual ad earner. However, this isn’t the case straight across the board. Other contextual ad services like Chitika produce good results for their publishers.

The key is to get out there and experiment, finding the best solution for your needs.


Mistake #7: Not Understanding the Rules

Just like in everyday life, ignorance of the rules is never an excuse. If you don’t understand the Terms and Conditions for Google AdSense, you risk losing your account and earnings.

Some common violations that people aren’t always aware of include:

  • Clicking on your own ads: Google WILL find out.
  • Asking anyone to click on your ads for you.
  • Drawing attention to ads by using images like arrows or thumbnails that appear to be part of the advertisement.
  • Not having a privacy policy on your website that complies with data and privacy protection laws.
  • Sharing specific details of your AdSense statistics outside of your gross earnings.
  • Publishing content that violates their terms. For example, pornography, violence, hacking, excessive profanity and a whole bunch more.

Be safe and do read the fine print to avoid any unpleasant surprises. It’s a long document, but it’s definitely worth a read.

Mistake #8: Not Trying a Search Box

Google AdSense allows you to create a custom search box for your website. You can allow people to search the web, your website only or any website(s) you choose. Google ads will appear alongside the search results and will be marked as ads.


While the average site may not have a lot of searches, it is an opportunity to increase revenues through those searches. It’s also very easy to put on your website with no scripts to install. It’s just the same type of copy and paste code as the rest of AdSense ads.


Mistake #9: Not Trying Link Units

Another underutilized link format is link units (formerly called “ad link units”). Link units are a way to display topics related to your particular website page.


When a user clicks one of the topics, they will be taken to a page with ads they can click to get more information. You get paid when a user clicks one of those ads. For that reason, many people shy away from link units because they think they are less likely to get paid because 2 clicks are required. However, keep in mind that someone who is already interested in one of the topic areas is likely to make a click or two to find out more information.

You can place up to 3 link units on each page, but remember to test different positions and sizes too.


Mistake #10: Modifying the Google AdSense Code

This is a violation of the Terms and Conditions, but it’s important to mention on its own. AdSense provides with plenty of opportunities to tweak the size of your ads, the type, color and fonts, so use those available options.

Some people have attempted to change the ad code to hide the “Ads by Google” text or to make the links open in a new window.  Any tweaking could cause you to lose your AdSense account permanently, so simply put…don’t do it.

AdSense is a hands-free way of accepting advertising on your website and it can be a pretty impressive revenue booster, so treat it with care and do the work needed to optimize your performance. Avoid these 10 mistakes and you’ll be well on the way to improve your results. 

Top 10 Video Marketing Mistakes


Video marketing is an extremely powerful yet often overlooked channel of marketing. People often (mistakenly) think that succeeding in video marketing is a matter of luck. That you just put out a video and cross your fingers and hope that it “goes viral.” That’s not how video marketing works at all.

Just like any other marketing tactic, video marketing involves taking systematic steps to create a desired result. Video marketing, when done properly, can bring in thousands or even hundreds of thousands of visitors. This happens deliberately, not by accident.

Yet most people who try their hands on video marketing don’t ultimately succeed. Why is that? It’s because they make one of these ten traffic-destroying mistakes along the way.

Mistake #1: Relying on One-Hit Videos

If any part of your business plan relies on your videos “going viral,” you’re out of luck.

Yes, a small (miniscule) amount of videos do go viral every day. But the amount of videos that make this mark are so tiny that shooting for it at all is completely unrealistic. If you’re spending any amount of time or energy on trying to go viral, you’re running yourself in circles.

If you’re going to get into video marketing, expect to be in it for the long haul. Yes, you can and will drive a lot of traffic. But it’s not going to happen overnight and it’s not going to happen from one video.

Mistake #2: Not Developing a Channel

Having a YouTube channel allows anyone with a Google account to subscribe to your channel. It allows you to build your brand by customizing your background. It allows you to sequence your videos however you like. It allows you to lay out your page in many different formations.

Each of your videos should be a part of a larger plan for your entire channel. Don’t just publish standalone videos. It’s impossible to “follow” a standalone video. If you’re just publishing single video after single video, you’re not going to build an audience.

Work towards building a channel. Spend time perfecting your channel’s layout and design. Your channel’s followers are your core viewer base.

Nicole Munoz Youtube


Mistake #3: Focusing Too Much on Fancy Effects

Fancy special effects are a fantastic add on to your videos. If you want to add a flashy intro sequence, if you want to “blur in” your subtitles, if you want to “explode” out of your video at the end, that’s all great. But special effects should never become to focus of your video.

You should also never let special effects hold up the production of your video. If it’s going to take forever to get a special effect intro done and you’re ready to launch now, then you’re probably better off just saying “go” now.

Special effects, more often than not, are done primarily for the video creator’s ego. They don’t truly add any value to the end viewer’s experience. Focus on the content, not the effects. If you can get effects in without too much time or money, go for it. But don’t let your product get delayed special effects.

Mistake #4: Getting Hung Up Over Video Equipment

Video2The world of video equipment can be incredibly confusing. Should you get a wide lens camera or a long lens? What about telephoto? Should you get a condenser microphone or a dynamic microphone? What about wireless – Should you go with a lavaliere mic or an over ear mic? How do you avoid static? What about lighting? How many lights do you need and do you need to purchase a lighting kit?

The questions go on and on and on. You could literally spend days researching the perfect video setup and still have questions leftover.

The reality is, for most people who’re doing their own video setup, a simple setup will do. You can go very far with just an iPhone 5 camera and a dynamic microphone. Your whole setup can be done for under $200.

Give yourself a deadline. If you’re setting up a studio from scratch, give yourself two days to do all your research and buy what you need to buy. No more. Don’t spend weeks and definitely don’t spend months figuring it out.

If you really want quality high enough to warrant months of setup, you’re better off hiring a professional to shoot for you than trying to set it up from scratch yourself.

Mistake #5: Not Knowing Your Audience

checklistThe kind of content you think your audience wants can be very different from the kind of content they actually want. For example, you might have a YouTube channel geared towards real estate agents. You might share some of your personal best tips for closing sales and feel great about sharing. But your audience’s main problem might not be closing sales – It might be getting leads in the first place.

If you don’t know where your audience is at, it’s very difficult to produce the kind of content they’re looking for. So how do you know where your audience is at?

Ask. Ask them what kind of content they want. Respond to their comments. Better yet, respond in the video itself. Acknowledge them by name, read their question then answer it for them.

Get to know your audience. Don’t just share what you want to share. Instead, aim to actually figure out what your audience wants and needs and give it to them.

Mistake #6: Expecting Results Too Quickly

It’s quite rare that a new channel starts up and instantly gets hundreds of millions of views. Instead, you’re more likely to start off with just tens or a couple hundred views. Then your second video will get a few more viewers. Your third will get even more.

As you publish more videos, more and more people will join your audience. Your reach will have a snowball effect. A few months or years down the line you’ll be able to publish a brand new video and have it get hundreds of thousands of views instantly. But that takes time.

Expect your video marketing efforts to take at least six months to pick up.

Mistake #7: No Call to Action

Does your video tell people what to do next, or does it just give them the content then leave them there?

When you create a high quality video, you create a lot of goodwill. But in order for that goodwill to translate into clicks, into leads and into sales, you have to have a call to action.

Your first call to action is probably going to be to “click here” or to direct people to an address on your website. Make your call to action as clear and as powerful as you can. Then use other call to actions to move people through your sales funnel.


Mistake #8: Being Afraid to Spend Money

money-fitnesIt’s very hard to create a high quality video without spending any money. Here are just some of the things you’ll probably want to invest in:

  • Getting a professional intro sequence done.
  • Video editing.
  • Having slides put in.
  • Editing software (if you’re doing it yourself)
  • Audio quality enhancement
  • Etc

Yes, it is possible to do it all yourself and not spend any money. But the result will probably be a lot of wasted time and an inferior video. Trying your best to spend as little as possible is a terrible way to create a video.

Instead, focus on how to intelligently invest your money. Invest in things that’ll really make a big difference.

Mistake #9: Not Tracking and Analyzing

analyzeYouTube offers a fairly comprehensive analytics package. It can tell you how far along people watch in your videos before leaving, it can tell you what your traffic sources are, it can tell you about who’s watching your video and more.

A lot of people completely ignore YouTube’s analytics. Even people who’re fanatical about website data for some reason seem to ignore YouTube data altogether. This is a huge mistake.

YouTube’s analytic package is a gold mine waiting to be explored. Using this data, you can hone in on exactly what’s working and what’s not. This will help you create more home run videos in the future.

Mistake #10: Not Promoting Your Videos Enough

Another mistake is thinking that you just put your videos up on YouTube and they’ll promote themselves. That’s not how it works.

In the early stages, most of the traffic that comes to your video is going to come from you and your existing audience. In time, your YouTube audience and YouTube’s traffic will bring you a lot of people But when you’re first building up your following, you have to be the driver of traffic.

Promote your video(s) on your website, on your list, on your Twitter feed, on your Facebook page and on anywhere else where your audience is. Get the word out about your video(s) and start driving those view numbers.

These are the top 10 video marketing mistakes people make. Video marketing can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool if you approach it right and give it the time and energy it needs to flourish.

8 Post-Penguin Link-building Tactics

linkbuildingIn many ways, the Google Penguin update really tossed up a lot of what the internet marketing world thought they knew about SEO. Many old link-building tactics, such as buying .edu links, mass blog comment posting or article directory submissions not only lost value, but could actually come back and hurt your rankings.

Today, the search engine game has more and more become about getting real, genuine backlinks back to your website. Low quality backlinks have lost massive value, while high quality backlinks are gaining more weight.

In addition, Google is placing more emphasis on person to person relationships. In other words, social media relationships are beginning to play more of a part in search engine rankings.

It’s safe to assume that Google Penguin won’t be Google’s last big tossup. As search engine technology and especially the AI technology that was developed for Panda evolve, we can expect more big changes to roll out. More likely than not, these changes will further deemphasize low quality linking and prop up high quality linking even more.

So in the post-panda world, what can you do to build more backlinks and build your rankings? Read on.

1) Guest Blogging

One fantastic way to build links to any website is to write guest blogs. What’s amazing about guest blogging is that not only do you get high quality links back to your website, but you also get to put your content right in front of real people in your industry.

There are a few different ways to write guest blogs. The easiest way is to head over to and find other blogs in your industry who want your content.

This is fantastic for links, but most high quality, high traffic blogs won’t be advertising for guest posts this way.

Instead, you need to approach them directly. Try to build a relationship with them by commenting on their blogs and interacting with them over Twitter. Build high quality content on your own website.

Then, when you think you can provide something of value to their audience, send them a message directly with your proposal.


2) Help a Reporter Out

One of the best ways to get in contact with reporters who need stories is Help a Reporter Out (HARO.) This is a free site where reporters who need sources go to post what they need.

Sign up for their newsletter. Anytime a reporter requests a source in your area of expertise, contact them. Get in touch and let them pick your brains about the topic.

This benefits you in a few ways. First, they’ll often link to your website right then and there. Make sure you ask them to make the link active, as often newspapers will just write your site in text without linking.

Second however, you build a relationship with that journalist. If you keep doing this, you’ll soon have a small rolodex of press people who’re in your debt. When you next launch a creative or edgy product, you can get in touch with them and manufacture your own press blitz.

3) Contact Your Commenters

If you run a blog, discussion board or website that has any kind of social interaction, chances are other people who also have websites are going to contact you.

Whenever you receive a comment from someone who says they love your site, get in touch with them. See if you can arrange some sort of backlink deal with them.

These people already love your content. Getting them to agree to have you write a guest post or even give a free link back to you on a relevant page shouldn’t be too difficult.

Nicole speaking4) Build Real Relationships

Go to conferences and cultivate real, genuine relationships. Meet people face to face and engender goodwill.

A lot of people will link to you if they like you and you ask. In fact, for many high profile individuals that’s the only way you can get them to link back to you.

People with massive twitter followings or blog followings are very rarely going to link to you if you just ask them out of the blue. They don’t know you and receive a dozen such requests every day.

On the other hand, if you meet them in person, have a good conversation and develop a rapport, there’s a very good chance they’ll do you that favor. That’s how you get the PR5 and PR6 backlinks – Through real personal relationships.

5) Social Bookmarking Websites

Getting your content to the front of a social bookmarking website like Reddit, Digg or StumbleUpon is a fantastic way to drive tons and tons of traffic your way. If you’re making this a genuine goal of yours, make sure your server is setup to handle the traffic.

If you do manage to get your post ranked highly on a social bookmarking site, you’ll see tens of thousands of people flooding into your website. Don’t be alarmed if the bounce rate is much higher than usual or the time on site much lower. The quality of traffic from these sites tends to be lower, as people on these sites click many links in a short period of time.

The real value you’ll get from getting on the front of a social bookmarking site is through the links you’ll build. If you land on the front of reddit, you’re going to get dozens or even hundreds of backlinks in a matter of hours or days. These will help your rankings for the rest of your site’s life.

6) Build a Strong Social Media Presence

Google is paying more and more attention to social media. Already Google +1s carry a ton of weight. If someone +1s any of your content, there’s a great chance that your site will be popping up very often in the search results.

Create a popular fan page. Be active on Twitter. Get Google +1s. If you’re not already active on social media, now is the time. The time for webmasters to “wait and see if it matters” is over.

Experts have said it. Web stats have said it. Users have said it and now the search engines are saying it: Social media matters. Today, not only will it drive visitors, but it’ll drive rankings as well.

Social media links might not matter in the traditional PageRank passing sense, but having a strong social media presence will still certainly help your rankings.

Business Rockstars Ken Rutkowski and Nicole Munoz
Business Rockstars Ken Rutkowski and Nicole Munoz

7) Do an Interview

Find experts in your niche and interview them about the subject.

When you do this, the expert will often link to you. Other people will link to you. It’ll be fantastic for search rankings, for Twitter, for Facebook, for your email list and for building traction all around.

Again, the key to getting people to agree to be interviewed is to build personal relationships. Either that, or build relationships with key networkers who can introduce you to other influential people.

8) Start a Video Series

Videos are a fantastic way to both get new visitors and improve your relationship with your old ones.

Start a video series and publish it regularly. Get people in the habit of receiving content from you. People who love your content will watch and share your videos regularly. Keyword optimize your videos and there’s a great chance that you’ll rank highly on Google or YouTube.

These are nine linkbuilding tactics you can use today to generate real, genuine links that post-penguin Google will love. What’s more is that these linkbuilding tactics will almost definitely survive the next Google update, and the one after that. These links aren’t built on quick-fix solutions, but actually get you real endorsements from real people.

On Page Search Engine Optimization for Blog Posts


On page search engine optimization is an extremely important part of the overall search engine optimization formula. Some people say it’s half the equation. In reality, it’s more like an entry ticket to compete.

Having your on-page SEO done well isn’t necessarily going to help you topple the #1 position for your keyword. However, if you don’t have your pages well optimized, chances are you won’t rank at all.

Consider it an all-important prerequisite to getting your website ranked on the front page. If you don’t have your on page SEO done properly, chances are you won’t rank at all.

The primary reason you want to do on page SEO is so that Google can accurately tell what your page is about. A poorly optimized page will seem like it’s about everything. A well optimized page on the other hand will tell Google exactly what the page is about, so Google can give you strong rankings for that keyword.

Here’s how to optimize your page for search engines. For the purposes of demonstration, we’ll be using the “All in One SEO” plugin for WordPress for a number of these steps.

Step 1: The Title Tag

The title tag is the most important tag in all of your SEO efforts. It’s what Google places the most weight on when they’re trying to determine what your site is about.

Your title should have as much of your keyword towards the front of the tag as possible.


Different pages on your site should have different title tags. Do not have the same title tag throughout your entire website. If you do, you waste each individual page’s potential to rank for unique keywords.

For example, below is a setup for how your WordPress pages and posts might look like. You can configure your system to by default put post’s title first, then the blog’s name second, rather than the other way around.


Step 2: Meta Description

Your meta description tag doesn’t actually help you rank higher. Instead, what it does is tell Google what to display beneath your search listing. This can help you get a lot more clicks from Google by writing the “right thing” to hook your audience in.


Each page on your site can have a different meta description. You definitely want to write the meta description for your home page and the popular pages on your site yourself. For the pages on your site that aren’t too popular, Google will just take an excerpt from your website and use that as your meta description.


Step 3: Meta Keywords

Your meta keywords tags tell Google what keywords you think your site is relevant for. It doesn’t bear much weight as far as helping you rank goes, but it can really help Google figure out what your site is about. It takes just a minute to do them and is good SEO practice in general.

Step 4: URL Structure

Generally, you want your URL to contain your keyword as much as possible. You never want to use just your post ID or the date as your URL. You should also avoid cryptic URLs that contain data that no human being can read.

If you want to use just your post title as your URL for example, this is how you’d do it in WordPress’ “Permalinks” settings.


Step 5: Image Alt Tags

Optimizing your alt tags plays a much larger part on SEO than a lot of people think. It won’t single handedly help you rank, but it is an important factor for your on page SEO.

Give the images on your site good alt tags. Make sure the filenames are meaningful and make sure that your alt tags are descriptive. If you have purely navigational images on your site, such as white space or button backgrounds, name them numbers (111.jpg) rather than a text based keyword.

In WordPress, you can change the alt tag of images by going to that image’s preferences.


Step 6: Noindex Non-Content Pages

You should noindex your non-content pages. Your affiliate pages, your category pages, your archives and so on should all be noindexed. This is particularly true if those pages contain duplicate content. On most blogs, category and archive pages are mostly duplicate content so you definitely want to noindex those pages.


Step 7: Internal Linking

Internal linking is one of the most crucial factors you could pay attention to for your SEO.

Make sure you have links going from all your content pages to other pages on your site. Embed these links within your actual content, or within links on the site or bottom of the article.

Things like “You May Like” boxes or “Related Posts” boxes are all good choices.


Step 8: Have a Robots.txt

A robots.txt just tells search engines where to go and where not to go. This is a good way to disallow search engine spiders from going where they’re not supposed to.

This can help you keep the areas you don’t want from ranking out of the search engines. For example, you probably don’t want the paid areas of your site indexed and shown in the Google search engines.


Step 9: Low Ad to Content Ratio

One factor that’s become more prominent since the Google Panda and Panda 2.0 updates is the ad to content ratio on your website. As the name suggests, the idea is to avoid stuffing your site with ads.

Google knows that great websites tend to only have a few ads on their pages. On the other hand, people who focus too much on milking their visitors for as much cash as possible tend to produce lower quality content.

So, therefore, pages with more ads tend to rank lower. Of course, you do need to make money – Just limit your ads to one or two per page, rather than spamming ads all over the place.


Step 10: Regular, Fresh, High Quality Content

Finally, it all comes down to content and content quality. Google is looking to promote websites with high quality content.

Produce fresh content as often as possible. The more fresh content you have, the higher your chances of ranking.

These are the most important on page factors to pay attention to in search engine optimization. Get your on page optimization right before you try and topple your competition.

Getting Traffic for Your Local Business


It’s a digital world out there and instead of pulling out the old Yellow Pages, savvy consumers are taking to the Internet before they visit local businesses in their area. This means you need to be visible online when people are searching for businesses like yours.

When your local customers are searching, you want them to be able to find you:

  • For your business name. This seems simple enough, but there are so many local small businesses that miss out on a tremendous opportunity when their potential customer cannot find them online.
  • For your type of business in your local area. For example, if you are a hairdresser in San Diego, California, you want to be found when they search for “hairdresser San Diego, California”.
  • For your product or services in your local area. Building on the previous point, you also want your potential customer to be able to find you for your individual services. For example, “children’s haircuts San Diego California”

Now, how do you make sure this happens for your business? It’s all part of the search engine optimization (SEO) process. Whether you hire a designer to create your website or you make it yourself, make sure everyone is aware of these important steps.


Part 1: Your Virtual Real Estate


Before you start building your website, there are a couple of important things to set up properly. If you already have your website, you don’t need to rush out and change what you have because your established website is already valuable when it comes to ranking well in search engines.

These are just extra considerations you should make if you happen to be starting from scratch.


analyze_crazyeggDomain Name

Register your own domain name and do not rely on other services that display a URL for you. You want to own this important virtual real estate for your business.

Consider purchasing a domain that is specific to your country and even your state or province if your business is specifically relevant to that area.

For example, you might register a domain with .us for USA, .ca for Canada, .uk for the United Kingdom, etc. You can also go further if you want to target your domain for a state or province. For example for websites from New York, USA or for websites from British Columbia, Canada.

NOTE: While a geographically specific domain can help target your website locally, it is not totally necessary. If you want to capture a worldwide or multi-national audience, a .com domain will suit your business just fine.


Web Host

Where possible, choose a local web host for your business. The location of your web host’s server  can provide clues about where your website is from and helps return your website in the search results for that area This isn’t a make or break factor, but it can helpful.

You can also ask your web host for what’s called “unique IP”. They will probably charge a small fee, but it ensures that your websites has its own unique space and you can’t be affected by any search engine cheating done by the web host’s other clients. You never want to put yourself at the mercy of other people’s mistakes.


Part 2: Building Your Website


websiteNow you’re ready to start building your website with search engine optimization in mind. If you already have a website, it is worthwhile to go back and fix what you can to ensure your pages are optimized to get highly targeted traffic from search engines.


Geographically Organize Your Website’s Directories / Folders

Many websites have information that is relevant to different geographic locations. For example, if you have a retail store that is located in different cities and offers different products or service, you may want to provide appropriate information for each area.

To help search engines understand which area the information is relevant for, you can label the directories (or folders) with the appropriate information. For example, your site might have folders like this:   – for your information for your store in San Diego

or  – and for your store in Carlsbad


Relevant Content

The content on each page should be relevant and useful because search engines rely very heavily on this to determine what your pages are all about. Include descriptive content about your products and services, where they are offered and more. Don’t repeat words to try to game the search engines, but write naturally and descriptively.


Add Your Business Address

Add your business address to all the pages of your website. Include your full address, including city, state and phone number with area code.

You can also add an interactive Google Maps map on your Contact Us page. To get a map for your page, go to:

Enter your address and once the map appears, click the link icon on the left side of the page:


That will give you some HTML code, so you can insert the code into your website.


Optimize Your Title Tags for Search Term + Location

Search engines use certain “tags” used in your website code to help them understand what each page of your website is all about. A title tag is the title that appears at the top of your web browser when you are looking at a particular page. It is also the title that appears in search engine listings.

For example:


In the above example, “Haircuts & Haircare Products | Great Clips” is the title tag. To target your title tag locally include:


  • What product / service you are offering
  • Your location
  • Your company name


For example, “Hairdresser in San Diego, California – Jenny’s Great Cuts” would be a descriptive title tag.

How you insert your title tag depends on the type of tool you are using to build your website. Consult the help files of your website builder to find out how to modify yours. The basic HTML code looks like this:

<title> Hairdresser in San Diego, California – Jenny’s Great Cuts</title>

IMPORTANT: Use a different title tag for each page of your website, so that search engines can find your different pages that are relevant to specific searches.


Optimize Your Headline Tags

Headlines are the large bolded headlines and subheads on your page. They are important in helping search engines understand what your various pages are all about. Just like with your title tags, you can include relevant information like the product/service you are offering and your location.

How you insert headline tags depends on the website building tool you’re using as well, but the basic HTML looks like this:

<H1>Professional Cap Highlights in San Diego, California</H1>

The number 1 in the tag <H1> is for your main headline. You can make subheads by using <H2>, <H3> tags, etc.


Optimize Your Description Tags

Another HTML tag that is relevant to your search engine optimization is your description tag. It is often shown in as the description in your search engine listing, so it’s worth ensuring this is descriptive and relevant to each page’s content.



In the above example, “Haircare services from Great Clips. We provide quality, no-appointment haircuts for adults and kids alike.” is the description tag.

Just like the other tags we mentioned, how you update yours will depend on your website builder, but the HTML code looks like this:

<meta name="description" content="Providing a variety of hair services for women in San Diego, California, Jenny’s Great Cuts is looking forward to giving you your next haircut, color or perm." />


Part 3: Listing Your Website

While search engines can find and ranking with little to no intervention on your part, there are some promotional activities you can do that will improve your chances of being found in the results. Here are some of the most important ones.


Add Your Website to Google Places

You’ve probably noticed that when you look for a type of business, Google returns its “Places” results that look something like this:


Google is the largest search engine, and you should take the time to get yourself listed in Places to ensure your site appears when people search for businesses like yours in your area. Rankings are based on a number of factors including how often your listing is clicked, how many other websites mention your business and the reviews listed in Google Places.

To add a website go to You have to log into your Google account (you can create one for free, if you don’t have one) and then you’ll be able to start the process. Encourage your customers to submit reviews and get listed on other local websites in your area.


Add Your Website Bing Listings

Bing also serves local listings and they look something like this:


You can add your through the Bing Business Portal at, but note that the service is only available in the United States at the moment. For other countries, Bing seems to pull data from Yellow Pages and possibly other location-based sites.


Add Your Website to Yahoo Local Listings

And of course, Yahoo has their own version of Local Listings at  (USA only).

You can choose a free basic listing or pay for an enhanced one. Yahoo Local Listings are available for other countries, but they have a different website set up for each country.


Local Directories and Review Sites

How often your site is mentioned and linked to from other websites plays a big role in how well you rank for your relevant keywords. Look for local directories and review sites where you might get listed and reviewed.

Local Small Business Online Marketing Checklist


The marketing landscape for local business has changed dramatically. Smart business owners, like you, are relying less on print and traditional media advertisements and are instead embracing the power of the Internet and mobile technology. Consider this your checklist for ensuring you have all your bases covered when it comes to marketing your business locally.

Your Website

If you don’t have a website, now is the time to create one. Your potential customers are searching for you online and they want to see your operating hours, address, catalog or menu before they visit you. If they can’t find you, they’re likely to move onto the next business that readily provides the information they’re looking for.

Your website needn’t be complicated, but should include the following:

  • Hours of operation
  • Catalog / Menus and Pricing, where possible
  • Any specials you are currently offering
  • Contact information including address, phone number and email address
  • An interactive map to help users navigate to your place of business (Use Google Maps)
  • “About Us” information about your company
  • Customer / Client satisfaction and testimonials information
  • Website privacy policy and other legal documentation


Search Engine Traffic

There is plenty of potential for local traffic from search engines. Whether your customer is searching for your business name or searching for the type of service you offer in your local area, this is highly targeted traffic.

Free Search Engine Traffic

Most of the business listings you see in a search engine are free and businesses do not pay to be listed there. Search engines use a complex algorithm to determine which pages are relevant for each search its users make.  For example, if a user searches for “kids clothing boutique Raleigh, North Carolina” and you happen to own a kid’s clothing boutique in that city, you’re more likely to be found, provided that your website is descriptive and includes those keyword phrases.


Main Listings

Always be descriptive when creating your website pages. Include your complete address on each page and describe your products and services. Make sure you or your web designer also includes descriptive keywords in your title, description and headline tags. If you’re building your site yourself, find out how you can modify your title, description and headline tags as the method varies depending on the type of design tool you are using.


  • Google Local: On Google, you may have noticed that there are Places results that often appear before the other listings.
  •  Bing Listings: Bing also has a similar service to “Places” for U.S.-based businesses. You can learn more at
  •  Yahoo Local Listings: For American businesses, add yourself to Yahoo’s listings at
  • Yelp: Go to to unlock your business listing.

Pay-Per-Click Traffic

PPCIf you’re not familiar with pay-per-click advertising, it is advertising that you pay for only when someone clicks on your ad. Unlike traditional advertising where you pay simply to have your ad shown, you are only paying for the results of clicks. You can also target your campaigns by only advertising for certain keywords and your ads will only be shown to people who are looking for the type of information or products you provide.

You can see pay-per-click ads in the search engines and they are labeled as an ad, but it’s not always immediately apparent. Here’s how pay-per-click ads look in the search engines…

Google: Ads are labeled as “Ads” and often appear at the top, before free listings and on the right side of the page.

Bing: Ads are also labeled as “Ads” and often appear at the top, before free listings on the right side of the page.

Yahoo: Ads are labeled as “Sponsored Results” and often appear at the top, before free listings and on the right side of the page.

Of course, there is a learning curve to pay-per-click advertising, but it is definitely a source of highly targeted traffic to explore.

A Few Pay-per-Click Tips

  • Set a budget and use the budget tools included in the pay-per-click program. They are designed to keep you from overspending when you’re not available to monitor your campaign closely.
  • Use coupon codes or other tracking methods, so you can calculate the profitability of your campaign and know what you can afford to pay for each click.
  • Be as targeted as possible. Don’t use the same ad for multiple keywords. Use different ads that you use the specific keywords in your ad text.
  • Make targeted landing pages for your campaigns. For example, if you are advertising “blue widgets Birmingham England” in one ad and then “red widgets in Bradford England” with another ad, not only will you use different ad text, but each ad should go to a different page that is highly relevant to those keywords.

Where to Purchase Pay-Per-Click Ads

  • Google Adwords: Google runs the most sophisticated and well-trafficked pay-per-click program and is the perfect place to start to learn the ropes and tweak your campaigns. You can sign up for an account at


Mobile Technology

Mobile Technology is booming and we can see it everywhere we go. Whether it’s cell phones, tablets or other devices, this has opened up new marketing opportunities for local businesses. People are searching their devices for business information, “checking in” at various locations, sharing reviews and more.

Mobile-Friendly Website

While mobile technology has come a long way and many devices display web pages well, anything you can do to make the pages load faster and easier to navigate can go a long way. There are a lot of tools that can help you set up mobile-friendly websites, but you can also use the following tips in designing your website:

  • Make clear and simple navigation.
  • Avoid the use of Flash as it excludes your content from a large portion of mobile users.
  • Keep the number of images to a minimum. This helps ensure your pages load more quickly and your mobile user is more likely to stick around longer.


Text Message or SMS Marketing

You probably already have an email newsletter and understand the power of reaching your prospect directly in their inbox. Now text message marketing provides even more instant connection and results from your efforts. You can set up a cost-effective campaign using a variety of services, including


QR Codes

You’ve probably seen these black and white codes on printed advertisements in your area. They look something like this:




These special codes are a great way to connect your traditional marketing with digital marketing. QR codes can be printed on any brochure or advertisement and mobile users can scan the code and automatically be connected to your website.

QR codes are an easy way to share coupons, special offers, schedules and more with your prospective and current customers. You can make your own QR codes for free at


Coupons and Deal Sites

You’ve probably heard about sites like Groupon and Living Social that offer a special deal daily. These are a great way to get extra exposure for your business as these sites market locally and help ensure your offer reaches your local audience.

The deal site sells your special offer, collects the money and typically you receive about ½ the profits back. While it may seem like a large upfront cost, it can be a very effective way to get first-time customers through the door. After all, remember that satisfied customers are likely to come back for more, so the long term profits from a campaign could be very worthwhile.

Social Media

It seems like everywhere you go, people are talking about Facebook, Twitter and other social media. If you already have a large customer base and mailing list, growing your following on social media makes perfect sense. If you are a budding young business, it may take more work and strategy to gain a following, but your efforts can be very well be worthwhile.

  • Facebook: It seems like everybody’s kid and grandma is on Facebook these days and that makes Facebook a natural choice for embarking on a social media campaign.
  • Twitter: Not quite as popular as Facebook, Twitter’s beauty is in its simplicity. It’s a great way to provide a sounding board for your business and to connect with your followers as well.
  • Google+: This is a new social network created by the search giant Google. It attracts an older and more technologically sophisticated audience, but comes with some very powerful marketing possibilities.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is known as the professional’s social network. It is a great place to connect with other likeminded business owners, make important connections and more.


Where to Start

It’s true, there is a lot of information in this checklist and the thought of getting all these things done can seem overwhelming. Consider this your ongoing checklist to work through over time. Start with your website, get listed in Google Places and work on the other points. Just remember to track your results and see what’s working, so you can do plenty more of what does.

How to Claim Your Business on Google Places


This tutorial will assist you with getting more exposure and traffic to your businesses. By adding or claiming your business on Google Places, you are increasing your opportunities to reach potential customers and clients.

When Google users make a search on Google for a certain type of business in your area, the “Places” results may appear. You want your business to be in that list. Here’s an example of what you might see. This is a search for “pizza New York.”


 To get your business listed in Google Places, follow the instructions in this tutorial.


Step 1: Log into your Google account:

Be sure to use an account associated with your business. If you don’t have an account, you can create one for free using the sign up link.


Step 2: Search/Edit a Business Listing

Select the country in which your business exists. Enter your business phone # & click “Find Business Information” button. This allows you see if Google Maps already has some of your business information in their records.

If you own 10 or more businesses and you are trying to claim all of them, you can save some time by using the “bulk upload” option.


 If Google finds a listing, it will show up directly below the phone number search option. You can choose to edit the existing listing or add a new listing.



Step 3: Add your business information

If nothing shows up from the search in Step 2, you will be redirected to a page where you can add the business listing. Here you will have several areas in which to enter information about your business.

This section is for the basic business information, including:

  • Country: From the dropdown, select the country in which your business resides.
  • Company Name: Your business name
  • Street Address: The physical address of the business (no P.O. boxes allowed)
  • City, State, Zip: The city, state and zip code for the business.
  • Main Phone Number: The main number for the business. You can include additional phone numbers as well.
  • Email address: NOT your personal email. This would be the email address for customer support.
  • Website URL: Enter the website URL for the business. If they do not yet have a website, select the “no website” box.
  • Description: Enter a short description for the business (up to 200 characters).
  • Category (up to five): You might have to play with this a bit. Type the first word for the category you think would best fit. The dropdown will show related categories to that word. 

You must choose at least one from the list of categories offered in the dropdown. I.E. If your business offers SEO services, you might start by typing “internet or online”. The dropdown categories will then give you an option of ‘internet marketing services” as well as others. Select the one that is closest to your business services.


Step 4: Your service area and hours of operation

Choose whether business is conducted at your office location or at the customer’s location. If you offer services at the customer’s location, you will be required to enter your service area by distance or by list of areas served.

  • Service Area by Distance: Enter your city & choose how many miles from the location you service.
  • Service Area by List: You can list the exact cities/states/providences you service.

Enter your hours of operation.



Step 5: Payment Options

Select the methods of payment you accept.



Step 6: Add photos and videos

You can add up to 10 photos & 5 videos to display on your Google page.

Click the “Browse” button to search for your images on your computer. Then click the “Add Photo” button to upload.

Videos have to be uploaded to a 3rd party site such as YouTube. To add a video, enter the URL to the video and click the “Add Video” button.


 Step 7: Additional Information

If you have additional information you’d like to add to your page such as parking, brands or types of products available, discounts, and so forth, you can add those here.


Double check your information & click the submit button to create your listing.

Step 8: Confirm your location

If your phone # is already in Google’s system, you may be able to confirm your submission by phone. Otherwise, you will have to wait for a postcard to arrive at your address (can take up to 6 weeks) and then follow the instructions on the card to confirm.

Make your selection and click the Finish button.


You will be presented with a thank you page that will look like this, only with your business information.



If you confirm by mail this is what the confirmation card will look like.


Done For You!  
Feeling overwhelmed? There’s no need to worry!
We can create local listings for you. You can check out our Local SEO services here.

How to Use FriendFeed – a Social Media Aggregator Tool


FriendFeed is a social network that aggregates contacts from all your other networks. It can automatically search your Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and Hotmail accounts for other people who have FriendFeed accounts.

Unfortunately, after being acquired by Facebook in 2009, FriendFeed has more or less stopped being updated and no longer has its feed aggregating capabilities. That said, it still gets over 250,000 unique visitors per month in the United States and over 1.5 million worldwide, making it still one of the largest social bookmarking sites around.

Here’s how to use FriendFeed.

Joining FriendFeed


The best way to join FriendFeed is to use either your Facebook or Twitter account. Yes, you can join with just an email address, but in order for FriendFeed to find your friends, you should use a social media account instead.

Start by selecting what account you want to use to join.


Then grant it permission to link your account.


Import Addresses


You can import friends and addresses from a number of different accounts. Click the account to scan your address book in that system for other friends on FriendFeed.


Browsing the Feed


Using FriendFeed’s feed is much like using feeds on Twitter or Facebook. You have a list of posts in chronological order from all your other friends who’ve posted to their feed.

Posting to Your Feed


Posting to your feed is done at the top of the page. Just type in your message, then click “Post.” To attach photos or files, click the respective button next to “Add.” To also post it to a social media account, click the checkbox next to the account under “Cc.”


Using Groups


If you’re subscribed to a group, posts from all its members can appear in your feed. This allows you to stay in touch with what’s going on within entire topics and industries.

To join a group, click the “Browse/create groups” button in the right sidebar.


Choose a group. By default FriendFeed will display all the groups your friends are. You can also search for groups by keyword.

To subscribe to a group, click on its name to go to its profile page. Then click “Subscribe.”


You can choose whether to add the group subscription to your main feed, or to a specific feed.


You can access specific feeds in the right sidebar.

Direct Messages


To send a direct message to someone else on FriendFeed, click “Direct Messages” in the right sidebar.


Enter the person’s username and the message you want to send.




Want to get updates of your feeds in an email, an instant message, or a popup? You can. Just click the Email / IM button at the top of your feed.


Those are the most essential features of FriendFeed. You’ve now learned how to setup your account, import contacts from a number of different features, browse your feed, post to your feed, use groups, send direct messages and receive notifications.

Bookmarking Made Sweet

How to Share Content on Delicious


Delicious was one of the first social bookmarking websites to hit the internet. When it first started, its function was quite literally “social bookmarking.”

People bookmarked their websites using Delicious and those bookmarks could be shared with friends. People could find other bookmarks that they liked through seeing what sites people they knew bookmarked.

Here’s how to use Delicious to find and share links.


To browse popular shared content, select one from the many “Discover Delicious” on Delicious’s front page.


You can also search for popular shares on specific topics by typing a keyword into the search box.


Follow and Share

If you find something particularly interesting, you can save it to your favorite list. Do so by clicking on the plus sign.


Add a Link

To share content, click on “Add link” on the home page.



Add your link. Simply put the URL in the box and click “Add.”


Add your comment (an introduction or your own opinion about the shared content) and the tags. Make it Private if you do not want to share it with other Delicious users and then click on “Add link”.

Reddit Basics – Five Steps to Use It Right

contentThe majority of Reddit content focuses around funny images, memes and videos. However, Reddit also has a very strong culture around news, politics and people helping one another out.

Unlike most other social bookmarking sites, Reddit has a very strong sense of community. Reddit users call themselves “redditors” and share a strong bond around the site.

The site’s user base tends to be liberal and democratic group, though there are occasional posts by conservatives that gets voted to the top.

Using Reddit is easy. There are just a few main features to be aware of and once you get the hang of the interface, you can spend hours and hours and hours on the site without getting bored.

Upvoting and Downvoting


The site revolves around upvoting and downvoting. Anytime you see a post you see that you like, click the up button. Anytime you see a post you dislike, click the down button. The numbers between the buttons represents its current upvote to downvote ranking.




Reddit is broken down into self-organized groups called sub-reddits. Sub-reddits are basically mini-reddits that have their own community, rules and topics.

Anytime you submit a post, it should be filed under the relevant sub-reddit. Anytime you want to find a specific kind of post, you easily find them by going to that sub-reddit.

To switch sub-reddits, click one of the listed sub-reddits in the top bar.


If you know the exact name of a sub-reddit, you can also find it by typing followed by the name of the sub-reddit.

Browsing Posts


There are four different ways to sort posts on reddit: By what’s hot, what’s new, what’s controversial and the top voted. You can use each of these sorting methods for all of reddit overall, or any sub-reddit.


To switch sorting methods, just click on that method’s tab.

Here’s what each of them mean:

What’s Hot: This is basically a mix of newer posts and posts with high rankings. It updates very frequently, meaning you can check by several times a day and see new things.

New: These are the newest posts. Usually they don’t have many votes yet, so it tends to be a mixed bag of good posts and bad posts.

Controversial: Posts that have a lot of disagreeing opinions. Useful for sorting through news or other fact-based posts.

Top: The highest ranked posts for any given period.
Once you’re in a specific sorting method, you can choose what time period you want to see posts for. For example, in “Top,” you can see the highest ranked posts for this hour, for today, for the week, the month or all time.




Comments play a large role in the Reddit experience. People share their own stories related to the post, comment on the post and often have high level debates on the topic.

Comments can range from very informed to uninformed, from hilarious to serious.

To view any post’s comments, click the “Comments” button under any post.


Much like Reddit itself, comments can be sorted by hot, new, controversial, old or best (top.)


To post your own comments, just type your message in the comment box and click “save.”

Submitting a Post to Reddit


To submit a post to reddit, click “Submit a Link” on the right sidebar.


Choose whether you want to submit a link to somewhere else on the internet, or create a text post on Reddit.


If you’re submitting an internet post, fill out the post name, the URL and the sub-reddit it should be submitted to.


If you’re making a text post on Reddit, choose a title, enter the text and choose a sub-reddit.


Those are the basics of how to use Reddit. You’ve learned how to sort posts, how to use sub-reddits, how to use the commenting system, how to upvote and downvote and submit your own posts.