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Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ Category

The Magic of SEO for Manufactured Housing

March 21st, 2012 No comments

If you know anything at all about the internet, then chances are you already know that you can essentially 'buy' traffic for a website. There are resources like Google Ad Words and a myriad of websites where you pay to play the web marketing traffic generation game. Certainly, using other forms of advertising to drive traffic to a website is also a form of 'buying' traffic. With that in mind, consider how nice it is when SEO brings you traffic without any extra costs from your other traffic driving efforts!

SEO – Search Engine Optimization – are the strategies that web gurus utilize to get high organic placement on a given search engine. With Google as the Big Kahuna of all the search engines today, much of the focus tends to be on getting good ranking on Google. Good ranking generally means being visible on page 1 of a Google-search. Most people looking for something online don't go past page 2 on Google, unless they are seriously researching a topic. Thus the importance of page ranking.

With millions of searches monthly for key words that include “manufactured housing,” getting high search engine results in the manufactured housing industry is not an easy thing to accomplish. So when you do manage to achieve page 1 or 2 – versus say a never-to-be-seen result on page 13,187 – it is something to brag about. This is especially true when you haven't paid for the click throughs to the page that may help you achieve the page 1 ranking result.

Here at MHProNews.com (aka MHMSM.com) we are pleased to say that we have achieved page one on many topics that we elected to focus on for a client, news or other goals and purposes.

A picture or a graphic is worth a thousand words. An example of a topic we wanted to get good SEO on was the Manufactured Housing Institute's (MHI) new President and CEO, Richard A. “Dick” Jennison. Please notice that while USA Today – where Jennison recently had published a short article – has a far broader circulation than all the manufactured housing publishers combined, we managed to snag the top spot on page 1 for the keyword set shown below. We also managed to edge out MHI on the ranking for this same topic.

 

SEO Google 1

 

Another example is the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show. We dominated the page 1 of Google on this subject, as you can see in the graphic below.

 

SEO Google 2

 

The Internet is constantly changing, so the results for a given search can change literally moment by moment. If you have a hand-held smart phone, tablet or iPad, you may get a different result on your hand-held than you would on a laptop in the same room! So it is no surprise that results can vary depending on where you are located and many other factors.

Because the Internet is adding content moment by moment, SEO focused efforts ideally should be ongoing. If you want to dominate a topic in a specific niche or market, that can take a little time, but it is time and effort well spent. Once you grab that top spot legitimately – as opposed to using the type of black hat SEO tactics that can get you penalized later – staying on page 1 becomes easier.

Let's look at an example for a specific client in the graphic below.

 

SEO Google 3

Good SEO typically doesn't happen by accident! It takes the right strategies, traffic and execution to get the type of outcomes that you see here.

There is a 'cost' in terms of time and expertise to getting the types of results shown above. There are topics that at a point in time we wanted to dominate or at least achieve a page 1 result. But if our emphasis shifted, we can always shift resources to or away from a given set of keywords.

The bottom line is that SEO 'magic' pays off.

When you are thinking about either business to business advertising/marketing, business to consumer focused marketing or are thinking about having a new website built or refreshing/revising an existing website, please contact us. We are not the cheapest, nor are we the most expensive by a long shot. What we are is the proven best value. In the world of manufactured and modular housing, you are unlikely to do any better. So you'll be glad you called us or emailed. My office phone is 815-270-0500. # #

5 Reasons Why MH Retailers and Communities Should Be Using WordPress

June 4th, 2011 No comments

WordPress LogoWhether you call your business a Manufactured Home Community, a Land Lease Community or a Mobile Home Park, or call your sales lot a Manufactured Housing Retail Store or Mobile Home Dealership, or anything else for that matter, there are five (5) very good reasons you should be using WordPress as the keystone of your online marketing strategy.

1. Simple installation and setup

No one needs an online marketing solution that is difficult (expensive) to install, update and maintain. If you do it yourself, it is that much more of your time that gets eaten up – and, of course time is money. If you use a professional to do it, that hourly billing on a difficult platform will eat you up.

In my opinion, WordPress is the simplest solution for the needs of clients like manufactured housing communities and retailers. It is much more cost-effective than comparable solutions for use as a Content Management System (CMS) and is just plain easier to administer.

2. Ease of Use

Most CMSs don’t require you to learn HTML or PHP code to use them. That is their beauty. Anyone who can create a letter in MS Word, OpenOffice or any other word processor can create or update a web page using a CMS.

What makes WordPress stand above the rest is the simple, clean interface used to create or update a page or post. The community responsible for the maintenance of the WordPress application has spent hundreds of thousand of hours developing the platform.

Because of the community development model, there is no direct profit motive to blind the development team to flaws that need correction. Likewise, there is a tremendous pool of talent constantly working to improve the product.

3. Out-of-the-Box Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

It is the very nature of WordPress’s roots that cause it to be a superior SEO tool right “out-of-the-box.” With all it’s inherent benefits, plugin developers have added their own contributions to WordPress’s SEO abilities creating the world’s premier CMS when it comes to building your Search Engine Ranking.

4. Flexibility (there’s a plugin for that)

Just there are WordPress plugins to help with SEO, there are WordPress plugins that extend the platform to do a myriad of things unimagined by the original developers at WordPress’s conception.

You’ve see the Apple ads – “There’s an app for that” – with WordPress it’s “there’s a plugin for that.”

There are so many plugins for WordPress that you’d be hard-pressed to find something it can’t do.

Most plugins are simple enough for most users to install and configure and are certainly within the skill set of any WordPress developer.

5. Saves you money while it makes you money

The best things about WordPress is that it is Open Source, which means you can you use it freely without any cost or licensing fees. The same holds for many themes (templates) and plugins.

If you require a special plugin or theme, they can usually be acquired at a reasonable cost. And the sheer ubiquitousness for WordPress ensures that if your web developer quits the business, gets hit by a bus or moves back to South Africa, you will find it fairly easy to find someone to take up the job.

So let’s go over the benefits of WordPress one more time:

  • Simple
  • Easy
  • Powerful
  • Flexible
  • Open Source

I’ve been in the web development and marketing business for fifteen years and that checklist is something I waited to have in one product for a long time.

To paraphrase former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, “WordPress and you… perfect together.”

How Do You Really Rank for Manufactured Housing Keywords?

May 11th, 2011 No comments

SE Rank Checker logoThe other day I overheard a person talking with their paid “web expert” about their ranking in the search engines (SEs). It wasn’t specific to Manufactured Housing, but I’ve noticed similar comments in this industry as well. The “web expert” was explaining how well he had done his job by noting that the client ranked #1 on Google when they typed his company name into a Google search.

Well, glory be!!! Ranking #1 for one’s own name? That must have required a ton of work and some long, hard hours at the keyboard for the “expert…” NOT!

I’ve seen the same kind of claims made for searches conducted using the website’s URL. WOW! A #1 ranking for your own domain name! If you don;t rank #1 for your company name and domain name, there are some serious issues that need immediate attention. Here’s the kind of results you should get using a domain-based search.

Domain Search results for 'yourkentuckyhome.com'

This result is for a website I run with news about local businesses.

I have had potential clients come to me who didn’t rank at all for their own company name. That’s a problem. Usually this occurs when a business doesn’t have a website and hasn’t been indexed online by a directory or other service. Fortunately, it is becoming a rare occurrence.

What you really want to know is how well you rank for a keyword that your current or potential customers will type into Google, Bing, Yahoo, About, etc.

For instance, my business specializes in web marketing and is based in Danville, KY. When I typed “web marketing Danville KY” into Google on one day, the following was the result on the Search Engines Results Page (SERP):

Keyword search for 'web marketing danville ky'

As you can see, OrangeCat.com captured the first four results for the keyword AND there is a more results link that gives several more. In addition, my website at KentuckyWebExperts.com ranked number five for an article that’s only been up for a week and after a domain name change to the site two weeks ago.

That’s the kind of result I like to see.

I posted a version of this article to my blog at BobStovall.com on Tuesday and now that article has taken the 5th position in a search of those keywords – in less than two days!

And it’s the kind of result you can get for your keywords if you use WordPress, add the proper plugins and post content that the SEs can easily index and categorize.

Word of caution: If you keep typing the same keyword into a search and then click on the same page over and over, you will notice it rising in the rankings. But only for you.

To get a true picture of how you rank for certain keywords, you need to use a tool like the SE Rank Checker and know how to interpret the results.

As you can see here, when we used the SE Rank Checker, the results for Google were almost identical to our web search except that my second site picked up another listing, giving me 6 of 10 page one results.

Search Engine Rank Checker result for 'web marketing danville ky' at OrangeCat.com

Looking up your own rankings by doing a web search will give you a good idea of how you rank, but to achieve the best results, use a SE Rank Checker search as your base results and compare the results of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work in the future to determine how you are improving and how fast.

Black hat, white hat, manufactured housing

February 20th, 2011 No comments

Article by David Segal in the New York TimesIf you didn’t see it this past Monday, David Segal of the New York Times wrote an article entitled The Dirty Little Secrets of Search. It was a story about how companies use what are known as “Black Hat” Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques* to try and trick Google into giving them a higher search ranking.

“Black Hat” techniques are often very successful at attaining high rankings, but the rankings are often short-lived.

In the article, Mr. Segal notes the case of J.C. Penney and their unusual placement at the very top of the rankings for hundreds of keywords through this past Christmas season.

Penney’s was using a technique where contextual links** were placed from dozens of websites around the world to specific pages on the J.C. Penney website. Many of these were paid links places on sites that had little or nothing to do with the subject matter of the link.

A spokesperson for Penney’s insists that the company had no knowledge of the links and did not contract them. I wonder who had the time and money to donate to making J.C. Penney #1 in so many search results.

At first blush, these techniques simply look like a smart marketing maneuver, and they are certainly not illegal. But Google (and all the other Search Engines) considers them an attempt to “game” the system and takes action against those using them.

The reason Google looks down on any practice that it sees as an attempt to manipulate search engines results is simple. Google’s search engine gets most of its revenue from advertising – AdWords – those paid search results you see in the right column (and sometimes at the top) of a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

For Google to maximize the return on the placement of AdWords ads, they need to return the best quality results for any given search. And manipulation of the results threatens that system.

In the case of J.C. Penney, retaliation came in the form of vastly demoted ratings, sometimes dropping from #1 to places MUCH lower. So now they are left with the time- and money-consuming effort of rebuilding their Google ranking. It won’t be easy.

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

‘Two hours later, it was at No. 71.’

Over the years, we’ve seen many attempts to “game” the Google results, but they all end the same. Google catches wind of the scam, changes their algorithm to compensate and the “Black Hat” marketer is left to start over.

If you aren’t a heavy-weight paid advertiser on Google, like J.C. Penney, the penalty could be complete removal from the Google search results.

I have been involved in marketing on the Internet since 1991. In all that time, I’ve used nothing but “White Hat” techniques for myself and my clients. “Black Hat” techniques sometimes offer quick results, but “White Hat” techniques provide results that last.

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* “black hat” optimization, the dark art of raising the profile of a Web site with methods that Google considers tantamount to cheating.

** A contextual link is one where a keyword-rich phrase is linked to a website, such as in the case of J.C. Penney where hundreds of websites around the world linked the term “grommet top curtains” to the page at J.C. Penney on grommet top curtains.

Louisville learning is a two-way street

January 16th, 2011 No comments

Louisville Manufactured Housing ShowOn Wednesday, January 12, MHMSM.com’s Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant, L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach and I presented our “Dominate Your Local Market” program at the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show. Roughly 50 persons attended the session and from the feedback we’ve gotten, the presentation was a rousing success.

I’d like to thank George Allen, whose programs preceded ours, warming the audience for us to bat clean-up for his generous introduction to our part of the afternoon’s proceedings.

Those that attended relayed to Tony and myself that they had gotten a great deal of value out of the presentation and I’m grateful for that. When I present one of these programs, I invariably get as much in return from those who generously share their questions and concerns with myself and the others in the room.

Ken Rishel shared with me that he’d rather refer to these type of programs as “workshops” rather than “seminars”. His line of reasoning is that there is mutual benefit from them and that the workshops provide actual, usable information instead of seeding a sales pitch.

I agree with Ken on that point 100% – my aim is always to provide value exceeding the value of the time the attendee spends with us. I know this is Tony’s philosophy as well.

We promised everyone who attended “Dominate Your Local Market” that the presentation will soon be available online. And it will. In keeping with the point of this post, some material that attendees expressed interest in will be added to the online version, creating “Dominate Your Local Market 1.1″

“Dominate Your Local Market” has long been the tagline of my websites at BobStovall.com and OrangeCat.com. We’ll do our best to keep content on them from becoming confused, but much of it similar – with content on my websites aimed toward general business and those on the MHMSM.com website more aimed toward the manufactured housing business, whether HUD-Code or Modular.

Thanks to everyone who attended our workshop in Louisville – I hope you had a great show – feedback indicates you did. And we hope to see you at shows and associations around the country this coming year. But remember that I am always only an email or phone call (859-544-9005) away.


“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through constant struggle.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, as we celebrate the birth of American clergyman, activist and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., let us remember that only through our consistent efforts will we make the changes that will bring our industry back to its rightful place in the American marketplace.