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Are You Ready to Play the BIG Game?

30 Aug 2014 | Posted Under SEO
By Carl Weiss

When fall is just around the corner and anyone mentions “the BIG Game,” most people immediately think of   And why not?  With a viewing audience of over a hundred million people, for a sporting event that commands nearly $4 million dollars for a 30-second TV ad, this is one game that’s hard to beat.  Well, at least it is on TV. When it comes to that other BIG Game, the online marketing game, we’re talking about a whole other arena.
the Super Bowl.

Like it or not, the Internet is a game that has specific rules.  Play the game well and you'll be rewarded.  Play it poorly and you might as well stay on the sidelines.  In this article, (and on the BlogTalkRadio episode), we'll discuss the ways to create and execute a winning game plan. (Hint: "Winging it" is not an effective strategy.) We'll also talk about the difference between offense and defense, as well as the difference between just winning the game as opposed to creating a championship team.  So put on your team jersey and get ready to root for the underdog as we show you how to get ready for the BIG game.

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With a worldwide audience of nearly three billion, Internet marketing is in a league of its own.  Unlike pro football, this is one game that literally every business owner on the planet is forced to play.  The problem is most businesses are still sitting on the bench when it comes to online visibility.  Statistics show 95% of businesses in the U.S. have little or no presence on Page One of the major search engines.  This is primarily because this is one game where the rules constantly change.

Get Off the Bench and Into the Game

Nowadays, most businesses have a website.  In the past, this was all you needed to get off the bench and   What this means in plain English was that, once upon a time ago, all you needed was a properly optimized website to get into the game. That’s because before 2005, the Internet used a website-centric architecture.This was in the era before such things as blogs, social networks and online video.  Once these online elements became commonplace on the Internet, the rules of the game changed forever.  So much so, that by 2014, your website only contributes 25% to your overall ranking.  The other 75% consists of activity related to your blogs, social nets, podcasts and videos.

Sad to say, the days of set-it-and-forget-it online marketing are over.  If you want to succeed online, you need not only to embrace these off-site elements of your web presence. You need to feed them.  Regularly.  Before you spend a lot of time and money playing the game of online marketing, you need to start off by taking a look at your current strategy.  More precisely, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What key words are my websites and landing pages targeting?
  • How many Page One position does my site currently and on which search engines?
  • How much traffic am I now generating? 
  • Where is the traffic coming from, is it organic, social, mobile or paid?
  • How many forms have been filled out from my website/s?
  • How many phone calls came from my website/s?
  • How many sales per month are a direct result of my website/s?

If your answer to these questions is either “none” or “I don’t know,” then you need to head back to the locker room and rethink your strategy. Because if your current game plan is not scoring points (i.e., sales), the only solution is to make some changes. 
locker room and rethink your strategy.

If the name of the game is to score, then the first thing that every business owner needs to do is define what is meant by scoring.  That is, are you trying to generate leads? Sell your products and services? Or simply brand your business?  If you can’t define your online goal, how are you going to be able to achieve it?

What is Your Starting Lineup?

Once you determine what you’re looking to achieve on the playing field, then you need take a look at both your offense and defense.  Where most people consider their website to be the quarterback, in today’s online arena, it’s really only an eligible receiver, ready to catch and run downfield with the content you create.

You really need to look at your blog as being the quarterback, since it’s responsible for passing on timely information regarding your business.  Face it: once you create or refresh a website, how often do you change it? Once every year or so?  If you want prospects and clients to stay current with your business, weekly blogs are the best way to move the ball down the field.  Of course, there are a number of other positions that are vital to your offense as well. 

We regard our social networks as part of our offensive line.  They give us the ability to run interference so   Like any good offensive line, these players need to work out daily in order to keep in shape.  They need to stay healthy throughout the long season.  And they need to get off the bench and into the game.
that our receivers can get in position to catch the pass before the quarterback gets sacked.

That brings us to special teams, which is how we regard videos and podcasts.  It used to be that the Internet was text only.  Today that isn’t the case.  Back in the late ’90s, people who found your business online would spend quite a lot of time clicking around your site to check you out.  Today, you have less than two minutes to score.  Additionally, people are five times as likely to watch a video or listen to a podcast, than read text. So you have to ask yourself if going multimedia isn’t a winning strategy, you need to adapt.

Good Offenses are Incomplete Without Good a Defense

When it comes to winning, defense is every bit as necessary as offense, right? Think about what would happen to the quarterback if the ball was hiked to him and there weren’t any offensive linemen to keep the other team’s defense at bay.  That would be either a very long day or a very short day for that QB.

Before a consumer or another business owner decides to do business with you, they need to check you out.  While your website, your blogs, your videos and social posts tell them a little bit about what you do, what it doesn’t tell them is what your customers think of you.

The main reason that prospects are reluctant to give you their contact information or make an initial purchasedoesn’t have as much to do with price as it has to do with trust.  Today, the Internet is known to have many dens of scammers and spammers.  You read about it every day. Nowadays, things such as reputation management, online reviews, and video testimonials are vital to giving a prospect the confidence to make an initial purchase or sign up for an offer.

That means potential clients want to read reviews and they want to hear what your customers have to say before they do business with you.  If you aren’t cultivating positive reviews and posting credible video testimonials, then don’t complain if they decide to do business with someone that does.

Worst of all, if you don’t have a mechanism in place that fosters positive reviews then that only leaves: Negative Reviews.  I don’t care how conscientious you are; sooner or later you’re bound to rub someone the wrong way. When that happens, don’t be surprised if the disgruntled party posts negative remarks and ratings about your company.  That’s just the way the web works today.  That’s also why you need to make the effort to cultivate positive reviews.  This way, if you take a hit, you’ll be able to get back on the field and continue playing.

A Great Coach Makes a Good Team Great

Last but not least, the thing that separates the dynasties from the also-rans in the NFL is one thing: great   If you’re still trying to put together a winning team without a coach, or are trying to coach your team by yourself, let me give you some food for thought.  Working the web to win is not a game to be taken lightly.  The success or failure of your business could well hinge on your company’s web presence.  Get it wrong and your website could languish in the backfield of this money game.  This also holds true for anyone you hire to manage your web presence. 

Unless you personally have the mettle and intestinal fortitude to lead your team onto the field week in and week out, you’re going to have to hire a coach.  While there are many highly reputable online marketing firms out there, there are also a number of firms that can do more harm to your business than a wily competitor.  That’s because there are still some people who make their money by trying to cheat the search engines in order to beat the search engines. While black hat tactics can jump you to Page One in a hurry, once discovered by the major search engine bots, these tactics can cause your website to be banished from the playing field altogether.

Therefore, it’s important you check out the credentials of anyone who offers to help you promote your web presence online.  Among the questions you need to ask:

  • How many years have you been promoting businesses online?
  • Can I speak to some of your current clients?
  • What are your fees and what will I receive should I choose to hire you?
  • Have they won any awards?
  • Do they have content published on third party magazines you can evaluate?
  • Have they published any books on internet marketing?
  • How long is their basic contract?
  • Do they offer any guarantees for organic search position?
  • Do they offer any guarantees for traffic increases?
  • Do they offer any guarantees social network growth?
  • What happens if you fail to deliver?
  • Who do I call if I have any questions or concerns?
  • Have any of your clients ever been de-listed by the search engines?
  • Are the terms of their agreement easy to understand?
  • Do they outsource all or some of their work?
  • Is any of the work performed overseas?
  • Can part of their campaign be changed if it’s not working?
  • Is there a mechanism in place to handle problems?

Last but not least, you should search online to see if their firm has any positive or negative reviews.  (Having no reviews is almost as big of a red flag as having a bunch of negative reviews.) The last thing you want to do is trust the future of your team to anyone who wasn’t  able to deliver a winning season or who has been penalized by the league. Because when it comes to playing the game of online marketing, you’re only as good as your last season.

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on

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