Using Reviews On Google Adwords

There are three ways that you can use Reviews on Google Adwords.

First there are the two ways to get the little gold stars – with thanks to Joy Hawkins for helping me to make sense of this..

Reviews on Google Adwords Express

The first is by using Adwords Express linked to your local Google My Business page. It is unclear to me whether the gold stars are active at the moment or not. Here’s what Mike Blumenthal said about this service back in 2011.

According to Adwords Express in the UK, the difference between their service and regular Adwords is that they are specifically designed for local small businesses and first-time advertisers. It is an automated service where several types of ads are created and constantly optimised for you showing on Google, Google Maps and relevant partner websites, on both desktop and mobile. You don’t need a website and don’t have to spend much time managing your ad campaigns. That sounds like a great way to give Google a licence to spend your advertising budget so not one I will be following up on!

AdWords, meanwhile, allows you to advertise locally, regionally and nationally. It is described as being for businesses that want more features, more reports, more tools and more control over their ad campaigns because they can select their own keywords or write multiple ads and actively monitor and manage campaigns.

Merchant Ratings on Adwords

The second is through Merchant Ratings.

I found out about these by chance when I was trying to clean up my citations profile so that I can change my Google My Business listing to show my new address. came up as having the old address.

A call to them revealed that they offer a service where you can ask clients to leave you a review. Google then goes out to their chosen sites and aggregates your reviews into a star rated listing. You need at least 30 with

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Posted in SEO

How Can I Tell If This Bill For Hosting Should Be Paid?

One of our clients has received an invoice from a previous hosting supplier but doesn’t know if they should pay it or not.

It is for hosting their website… but we are hosting their website!

It may be a scam or it may be an honest mistake – whatever, the client does not want to be paying for a service they are not actually receiving.

How does it work when you set up a website then?

First you have to rent a domain for a period of time – normally one year but discounts are usually available if you want to rent it for a longer period. You rent your domain from a registrar.

Then you have to purchase some hosting – that’s some space in the cloud where you can hang your website so other people can see it. Hosting packages cover different sizes of space and are for a period of one year. Most registrars also offer hosting.

Then you get a website designer/developer to build your website on that piece of hosting space that you have purchased.

You don’t have to buy a new domain every time you want to change the design of your website. It is much better to retain the existing one – unless you are going to be doing a completely different business.

How can I tell who is hosting my website?

In most cases, if you check your domain through, you can see who is hosting your website.

Look at the section which tells you where your nameservers are being pointed.

For example, if you are using TSO Host, you will see and listed as your nameservers.

That’s who you should be paying for hosting your website.

What’s the deal if the nameservers don’t match who is hosting my website?

Checking, I can see that this client’s nameservers are pointing at their registrar – the company they pay to rent their domain name from and through whose dashboard their emails are being run.

That is

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Posted in SEO

When Do You Stop Contacting Prospects About A Product?

We’ve had to ask ourselves when you stop contacting prospects about a product. Every week for the best part of a year, Jon has pitched about our social media training courses at networking events. But only one or two people have actually signed up.

And yet, looking at the social media profiles of local business owners, there is so much they could learn on these workshops.

The classes themselves are cheap as chips and last for 90 minutes so they are not a huge chunk out of the working day.

So what is not to like?

Is it that people don’t see the value of social media?

Is it that they don’t have the time to implement what they will learn on the courses?

Or is it that they think they already know how to use social media, so don’t think they need a course.

Or is it that our pitches are pants? We have tried quoting success stories, we have tried educating people on the value, we have tried reducing the price, we have even tried juggling to entertain. We have tried newsletters that use examples of all of the above.

But none of these has resulted in getting his regular breakfast partners signed up.

Although some have agreed to a 1-2-1 personal consultation. They say they would prefer that. posted these helpful stats recently.

48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
ONLY 10% of sales people make more than three contacts

2% of sales are made on the FIRST contact
3% of sales are made on the SECOND contact
5% of sales are made on the THIRD contact
10% of sales are made on the FOURTH contact
80% of sales are made on the FIFTH TO TWELFTH contact

It makes us want to keep trying.

However, sometimes you have to say, is the price of the conversion worth the effort it takes to get the sale?

For us, cheap as chips, information packed public workshops are not.

This product is now no longer

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Posted in SEO

Google Plus Announces That You Don’t Have To Use Real Names Any More

Why keeping it real is vital to using Google+ safely

Google Plus’s rule was quite clear. Just like Facebook, they wanted to ensure that there were only real people on their platform.

So, you had a personal profile from which you created your business page. And that personal profile had to be in the name of a real person.

From there, you could promote your skill as an author by adding Authorship with a byline and a little picture of yourself every time Google ranked your post or page.

It was all about building trust in you as a person that it was safe to communicate with online and potentially do business with.

The whole point was that the spammers and scammers who were not prepared to use their real names were excluded!

Google Plus Announces That You Don’t Have To Use Real Names Any More

Discussions online say that it is YouTube which has pushed for this change of rule – and we all know the scammy, spammy comments that happen over on that platform. So why on earth would they want to replicate that situation on another platform?

It’s been suggested that Google have done this to encourage more people to use the platform – which is currently populated predominately by marketers and social media managers.

However, my experience of local business owners is that it is not privacy issues which discourage them from using Google Plus. It’s a lack of understanding of the potential benefits and the worry that it’s just another platform that will suck up their time without any material benefits.

Anonymity on Google Plus and Fake Business Reviews on Local

Do we really want to allow competitors to be able to set up fake accounts and then leave nasty reviews on our business pages with no come backs? For me, that’s what the really frightening part of this is.

Back to the old days where horrendous untrue comments could be left with impunity

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Posted in SEO

How to Sell Your SEO Plan With 5 Slides in 5 Minutes

There are so many benefits to implementing an SEO strategy, yet convincing a company to get on-board can feel like pulling teeth. Oftentimes the biggest challenge is in navigating the company’s complex organizational structure, and selling your case to the person in charge of making decisions. That person varies from company to company, and their resistance can take many forms.

Org Chart

Today’s column will look at five different people offering different common objections to implementing an SEO strategy. For each scenario, I’ll give you ideas for making your pitch in five minutes with five slides. Now, let’s figure out how to break the ice and move things forward toward SEO greatness.

To start, here are five basic tips that apply to all five scenarios:

  1. Commit yourself to learning their frame of reference, and their language. Are they financially-minded? Technical? Show-me-the-money types? Where are they coming from? Nothing else you do will matter unless you figure these things out.
  2. Get them to specifically define their objections. The more well-defined the better, but don’t wear out your welcome asking for more details. You want them willing to listen when you’re ready to tell them your point of view. Listen attentively, and respectfully.
  3. After they have clearly defined their objections, let them know that you would like to pull together some information/data to help them see an alternative point of view. Ask for a second meeting and promise that you will lay it out for them in 15 minutes or less.
  4. Recognize that you have no more than five minutes to make your pitch. It doesn’t matter how long the meeting is scheduled for, you have five minutes to win the day, or not. After that, their minds will already be wandering. That’s why you’re going to do your pitch in five slides.
  5. Don’t meet before you’re ready. Postpone the planned meeting (no more than once) if you aren’t prepared. Your best opportunity is available only once, so don’t blow it.

Those are the basics of what you need to do, but everything needs a bit of context. Let’s take a look at five

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Posted in SEO

Improve your SEO impact with powerful competitor intelligence

As SEOs, we all know that keyword analysis can be a major challenge. Using existing data to build a content strategy has become increasingly difficult since Google started hiding most of the keyword information in Analytics behind “not provided.” Another challenge is the fact that Google Analytics only provides statistics on your own search referrals, telling you nothing about competitors.

That’s where SimilarWeb comes in. As my understanding of search engine algorithms has improved, I’ve learned that it’s not enough to rely on Google Analytics alone. Knowledge is power, so I have turned to SimilarWeb’s PRO version to get in-depth analysis for my clients’ websites and competitors. (Before you commit to the PRO version, there is a free version you can kick the tires with, to get a feel how the app works and the powerful insights it provides.) SimilarWeb will show you the “not provided” keywords and so much more. You can see paid vs. organic social referrals, affiliate referrals, stickiness metrics, comparison charts for multiple sites, industry category-wide data, ad creative and much more. This is the tool that solves the age old question of “where is my competitor getting their web traffic from?”, a question often asked to us marketing consultants.

Below is the first screen you see when entering a website in the platform’s search box. It’s called “Audience Overview,” and it contains the general traffic stats for the website in question. For this example I picked’s stats to demonstrate SimilarWeb’s features and advantages. You can see Asos’s desktop visits for the last 6 months (or adjust the date range to your liking), you can see the average time users spent on the site, the average page views per visit and the bounce rate. So far, this is all data that you would see for your own site in Google Analytics, but here it’s available for your competitors’ websites as well.


The SimilarWeb module I’ve been using the most, though, and the one I’m going to focus on for this article, is

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Posted in SEO

How Much Should I Charge As An Hourly Rate?

Great question from a new business owner we are about to start working with.

We had talked through the importance of

and then she asked: “how much should I charge as an hourly rate?”

She was just plucking figures out of the air.

That’s when I remembered what my old Business Link advisor had told me.

How much should I charge as an hourly rate?

Bob said that I needed to work out all my expenses for the month. Not just business expenses, but the cost of my mortgage and keeping my home and car running.

The utilities and the cost of feeding yourself.

Then you need to work out how many hours you want to work per week. Multiply that figure by four.

If you can work out how much you need to pay out each month, you can then divide that figure by the number of hours per month that you want to work.

The resulting figure gives you a base point – that’s the minimum hourly rate you have to charge to cover your monthly costs.

But, remember, that’s just to break even!

How much should I charge as an hourly rate if I want a successful business?

If you want to make a profit so you can take a holiday or go out for dinner, then you need to start adding to that figure.

When you have reached an hourly rate that allows you to run your home and your business and have money left over to do some fun things, that’s your minimum hourly rate.

Now some people would then tell you to double it!

I leave that up to you!

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Posted in SEO

Suitcase Pages On Facebook – Don’t Make This Mistake

When you try to link your personal page to your business page, it can be quite easy to get it wrong.

We’ve started noticing a lot of ‘suitcase pages’ showing up

Go to your personal profile on Facebook

Click Update Info

In the Work and Education Section, start to type the name of your business into the box.

It should come up with the profile picture of your business page.

You can click on this and then fill out the information requested.

Click Add Job.

Don’t choose suitcase pages on Facebook

If it comes up with a suitcase page, cancel and wait a few days.

Are you trying to link to a new page?

Have you changed the name of the page?

It could be that Facebook needs time to update its database.

Find out more about our social media courses. Or attend our Facebook Frustration workshop.

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Posted in SEO

Don’t Put All Your Business Eggs In One Facebook Basket

It’s been a bad week for the Lollies when it comes to Facebook.

First up, they decided to tell everyone that our website might be unsafe. Yup, even though we have proved ourself to My Web of Trust, Norton, McAfee and AVG Trusted websites, Facebook doesn’t believe them.

So, every time we try to add a link to one of our blog posts, we are given a message about the link possibly being unsafe. Added to this is a captcha that is so difficult to read, it pretty much makes you abandon the idea of posting it.

I have filled out a report complaining to Facebook every time. But no response.

If I do manage to get the link up there, if anyone clicks on it, they are told that the website may be unsafe. And given the option to mark it as SPAM or not spam in very small writing.

So why have Facebook come to this decision? Well, I regularly post links to the helpful blog posts on my site on my personal page and my business page – as I have a perfect right to do.  I have never received negative feedback on my business page.

If I see a friend who is struggling to sort out a problem and I have a blog post with the answer, I post the link.

However, Facebook also now give people the choice to say whether they want to see certain things in their newsfeed or on their pages.

They can hide things from their timeline or say that they do not want to see content from this source.

They have even started asking people to rate a series of posts so they can get a better idea of what their users want to see.  Make News Feed Better.

This means that anyone can start to affect how Facebook perceive your content, including your competitors who have liked your page or are friends on a personal level.

It also means that I am no longer able to run ads to my website – well, not unless I want to pay Facebook to tell my

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Posted in SEO

Organ Grinders, Monkeys and Google My Business

Oh how we all laughed! The Local SEO Pros of the world united in sniggering at Google’s most recent advert for Google My Business in the US.

It would seem that it is so easy, even a monkey could do it!

The ad says that it’s the best 10 minutes you can spend on your business today

And it talks about how it now only takes 3 steps to get your business on Google Search, Maps and Google+ for free.

1 Tell us which business is yours
You just have to find your business on the map and, if it’s not there yet, you can add it for free.

2 Verify we’re talking to the right person
Google wouldn’t let just anyone manage your business info. They will contact you by phone or send a letter to confirm that you are the owner of your business.

3 Help customers get in touch
Google will ensure they have the right information for your business, including name, address, phone number and hours.

The ad finishes by saying:

Oh, if only!

Why it’s dangerous to believe that setting up Google My Business is easy

Because they are not telling you the full truth. It’s a great advertising campaign to get businesses onto Google My Business by saying how easy it is. And it does look easy… if you don’t know the back story and all the things you need to watch out for as you input your information.

We have had people ask us why we charge so much to set up these listings when Google say it’s simple. Well, as Red Adair said: “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur”

We were reminded of this when we spoke to a local tiler who has to contend with ‘blokes down the pub who can do the job for half the price’. But will that chap check the foundations on which the tiles are to be laid? Without the right preparation, the tiles will be cracking and moving

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Posted in SEO