Client Testimonial: MyGuru, Test Preparation and Tutoring

This is a short “testimonial blog post” about the effectiveness of the investment I’ve made in working with Chris on local online marketing strategies. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about marketing strategies for my small but growing tutoring company. We’ve been around since 2009, and I’ve tried a lot of different stuff: inbound marketing through content, social media (of course), pay-per-click, and various offline strategies too. My goals are to both improve SEO rankings but also increase actual web-site traffic (through both organic search and referrals from particular web-sites). As a provider of 1-1 tutors in various cities with no physical locations (students meet tutors in coffee shops, libraries, etc.), we face a specific set of challenges. MyGuru has an elite team of tutors in Chicago, but we’ve expanded to many other cities as well. Our success is, in large part, a function of being known locally for having great tutors. At the same time, we are trying to build a brand that, regardless of location, is more generally known for offering excellent advice related to specific exams, like the ACT, SAT, GMAT, or GRE, as well as for academic skill development through better mindsets, academic planning, more effective study habits, or better time management. So, I worked with Chris and C.SEO to develop a three pronged strategy: Develop powerful, general content that’s not location specific and build links associated with that content Develop powerful, localized content, and build links associated with the content Use specific tools to cost effectively get local profiles up on the most important business directories, like Google Plus local, Yelp, Angie’s List, and more. I have been very pleased with the results of this effort. There are so many marketing options available to small businesses these days, and lots of ways to spend (and waste) money and time. By working with Chris, I not only get helpful advice, but someone who was able to dig in and set up Google Plus Local vs. Google Plus Brand profiles for me, or call Yext and negotiate on pricing, and many other major and minor things. The results have been nice. Organic traffic is about 50% higher after about 6 months of working together. MyGuru is flourishing in part due to Chris’ helpful advice and hard work. Mark Skoskiewicz Founder of MyGuru   — This is a guest post authored by Mark Skoskiewicz and posted by Chris Turner...

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Valuing SEO: How Much is a Good SEO Strategy Worth?!

Search Engine Optimization is commonplace now. In the earlier years of 2000, it was an after thought and not on many an organization’s radar. The search marketing industry has evolved along with digital technologies and now SEO incorporates several elements to include technical, content, social and graphical components. With that being the case how do businesses go about finding value in SEO and determining what is an appropriate cost for an organic optimization strategy, agency or SEO technician?   Organic Percentage Of search Before we talk prices, cost and value, common ground of where the results of SEO have to be accepted and understood. The search engine results page (SERP) is made up of a mix of organic listings, paid opportunities (ads), and local results. On average, the result page is made up of 50-70% strictly organic results. The SERP for each search engine varies and results for industry keywords can cause variations in the display. Query Comparison: “Outdoor Tents” vs “Used Cars Nashville” vs “Burgers” The examples above show how different the results pages can vary between industries and those industries’ keyword targets. In these examples, paid advertisements (PPC, pay-per-click ads) make up about 15-20% of the page with 25-30% of the page being local listings and local results. The rest of the SERP content is organic results. Not only that, but many of the recent local updates to Google’s local system have centered on applying organic value to local results; furthering the importance of organic optimization for both organic listings and local visibility.   Pricing SEO and The Individuals/Agencies Doing It Now that we have conveyed the importance of organic optimization (yes, SEO), how much does it cost? Well, it depends. As the SERPs vary per industry, per keyword, SEO for a specific business should and will often vary based on the strategic targets. One primary method use to gauge the cost of SEO uses the willingness of you and your competitors to pay for impressions and clicks from search; in other words, Adwords data. Using Google’s Keyword Planner, it is possible to get search information on how many impressions and clicks a marketer can expect on an individual or set of keywords. Let’s look at an example for pricing SEO: Business X is looking to invest $800 per month. In 10 keywords. Those keywords receive a total of 10,000 impressions and those keywords’ ads receive 100 clicks (K.I.S.S. here) then the investment in each keyword is $80 dollars with a cost per click of $12.50.   This doesn’t take into consideration that your SEM campaign may be focused on exposure along with actual click throughs. Ultimately, the business is investing $800 in 20-30% of the SERP. If we quantify the other 70-80% of the page with the same value ($800 x 1.7 or 1.8), the organization should be willing to invest $1,360 to $1,500 in the organic area of search. At this point, this is where SEOs (like us at C.SEO) often make the case that the work of optimizing a website will also provide better results on the paid side of the marketing strategy, but ultimately, doing both SEO and SEM is the key to maximizing search. Why wouldn’t you want to make the most of the SERP?! Obviously, there are budgets and conversion statistics to evaluate.   The Wrapper: SEO vs SEM Conclusions It is easier for business owners and decision makers to invest in paid marketing because it offers clear returns on the investment (ROI); for X dollars you received Y visits/calls/forms. Nevertheless, with proper tracking and systems in place organic optimization can offer clear...

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Google Moves into the Registrar Business

Yup, Google is testing the waters on allowing Internet users to register domains with them. The new service, called Google Domains (currently in beta and by invite only) allows users to manage, transfer in, and buy domains from within Google’s system at domains.google.com. To introduce the service, Google is offering selected invitees the ability to purchase a domain for free as long as the domain is under $12 USD. You may have received an email from Google Analytics with a 20-character code for free one-year registration. As a test of this new service, I purchased (for free) the domain achristurner.com. I setup forwarding of the domain and it was active within 1 hour! Impressive… most impressive. The process was extremely simple and easy to navigate. You will find the standard options of registering in the process: auto renewing, domain forwarding, administrative contact, hosting options, privacy settings, and a few others. The platform is integrated with Gmail and uses the Google Wallet for purchasing. Some users may find it interesting that once they complete the registration process, they will be immediately offered the options of using a template hosting site such as SquareSpace, Wix, Shopify, and Weebly. Although it is designated as ad space, where is WordPress or HostGator? They aren’t partners?! The Wrapper I would have to say I  am not surprised by this move. I think it has been a long time coming. Google has been providing businesses with Google Apps centered on helping streamline digital assets and the management of said assets; the timing of this move was just unexpected. But a good move seeing that the fiscal year starts in September. That being the case, one can only speculate that there will be concerns with ‘extra’ (read: preferential) value being given to domains that are hosted by Google. Only time and SERPs will tell. Reviewing the Terms of Service, there are no indicators or areas of concern as much of the language mirrors the terminology used on all registrars.  ...

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