Game Over for Black Hat SEO

I recently posted a lengthy informational piece on Zeon Solutions’ blog about black hat SEO strategies: why they’re bad and how they hurt your site. If you or your SEO agency are doing any of these tactics, I strongly advise that you stop immediately. When you start optimizing solely for the search engines at the expense of your user’s experience, you make the internet a messier place and Google doesn’t want to show messy websites. Google will come after you and prevent you from displaying in search results. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you!

Zulily Review

If you are a mother with young children, you will absolutely love this website! Or if you’re just a single childless gal in her mid-twenties like me, you’ll still likely find something you’ve gotta have too. But with all the adorable baby/kids clothes and toys, I think the site is more directed towards mothers. I’m warning you: Be ready for cuteness overload!

Zulily dress 1

Zulily offers a wide selection of items during what they call “events.” You have a limited amount of time to order these items before they close the window. Once that window is closed, they place a bulk order to their vendor and ship everything out. Due to this system, your order may take a few weeks to arrive. If I remember correctly, the two orders I placed took about 2-3 weeks.

I ordered two dresses and a pair of shoes – all at really great prices! The dresses fit great and I’ve already worn one of them out (and looked fantastic I might add). Unfortunately the shoes did not fit. Even though I ordered my typical size, they were at least a half size too small. I couldn’t find any information on their website on how to make returns so I emailed their customer service and received immediate responses to take care of the order promptly. Excellent customer service!

Zulily dress 2Even today, as I went back to the website to gather photos and information to include in this post, I found myself spending so much time just browsing the deals and even placed another order. I can’t help myself! They have so many great things to choose from.

Click through this link to start shopping today!

Molly Cool’s Restaurant Review

Molly Cools Logo

I recently celebrated a birthday so I went out with some friends for happy hour at Molly Cool’s. I love this restaurant for many reasons. It has a great atmosphere, delicious food, lots of drink specials – and don’t forget the outdoor seating right along the river (that’s only open a few months out of the year, so use it when you can!) Molly Cool’s is a seafood restaurant right in the heart of downtown Milwaukee on Old World Third Street, backing right up to the river. I’ve been here about five times now, all at different times of day and for different reasons and I’ve always had a great experience. Here are my takeaways in a nutshell:

  • The outdoor seating on a nice sunny day is absolutely perfect. It’s so peaceful, on a patio right along the river.
  • Eating there for dinner can get a bit more on the expensive side. However, the food and wine were both delicious the one time I was there for dinner.
  • Plenty of TVs in the bar area if you want to catch a game
  • I love their daily specials and happy hour deals:

Monday – Thursday     3–6pm Happy Food (Drinks 3-7pm)

Friday                           3–6pm Happy Food & Drinks
                                    The Oyster Orgy, includes $0.69 oysters & $0.69 Peel n Eat Shrimp

Saturday                      12pm – 5pm Happy Hour Drinks               

Sunday                        $3 Mimosas during brunch 10am – 3pm

Happy hour includes:   2-for-1 rail mixers, tap beers & house wines
                                    Small plates
                                    $2 Maryland Oysters

To see what else they offer, check out the Molly Cool’s menu.

My favorite dish: Hot Crab & Spinach Dip

5 stars for Molly Cool’s!

How Does Google Make Money?

Google Money

Google is taking over the world.

No really – think about how many times in your own daily life you use a Google product or are impacted by Google in some way. Many of us use Google as our main search engine of course, but even aside from that… Is your email through Gmail? Do you get directions through Google Maps? How about the last time you watched a video on Youtube? Yep, Google owns that too!

Just admit it. Google is huge, it’s everywhere and it’s here to stay. So how did this company get so big? How did it make all its money? All of the Google products I just listed are free – so how did Google make so much money with free products?

Advertising.

Advertising? But I’m not required to watch a commercial or anything before I’m able to perform a search, what do you mean by advertising?

I mean Pay-Per-Click Advertising – the ability for companies to bid on ad space on Google’s results page and pay Google each time their ad is clicked.  Because of these ads, Google made about $50.6B from advertising alone in 2013.

How Does it Work?

Let’s say you own a small business that sells baby clothes. Because you’re small compared to other stores that sell baby clothes, it will probably be very difficult for you to rank on the first page of Google results. Think about who also sells your product – not only do other baby clothing/supplies stores sell them, but also big department stores who have large websites and lots of authority. So you decide that since you can’t beat the online competition naturally, you want to invest in your business by spending money on advertising to get in front of more customers and increase traffic to your site.

Now traditionally, advertising has typically meant paying for ads in magazines/newspapers, buying TV commercial spots, or putting up billboards. But these traditional marketing platforms cost a lot of money for a very wide audience. It’s great to get in front of a lot of people but what if you could pick and choose who you wanted to get in front of? What if you could spend your money only on those people who were most likely to purchase from your site?

That’s what Google helps websites to do. Google is a search engine – meaning searchers come here to find answers or solutions to their problems. They are looking for information and by taking a look at their query, you can tell whether or not you would be able to help this person find what they’re looking for.

Google’s ads allow you to show up for all searches related to baby clothes and prevent yourself from displaying when people are searching for basketball hoops, TVs, party decorations, restaurants, etc. When you create a Google Adwords account, you specify when you want to show up and you only pay when that targeted audience ends up clicking on your ad. It’s a great way for advertisers to limit their marketing spend with highly targeted audiences.

Google PPC Ad Space

 

Aside from the ads that show up within Google’s search results, there are also a variety of other ads that Google offers as well that display throughout the Google network (a collection of other websites that display paid ads from Google) including remarketing ads and display ads.

How Much Does a Click Cost?

The actual cost per click varies depending on many factors. Each advertiser sets a max bid for each keyword they want to show up for, which is the maximum amount they are willing to pay per click for that search. Essentially you and every other company bidding on the same keywords go into an auction together and are ranked based on how much each is willing to pay and who is most relevant to the search.

Takeaways

Paid ads are not a bad thing. Some people have formed the assumption that just because the company paid to be there, they must not be relevant. This is not always the case. It’s very difficult to rank naturally on the first page when there’s so much competition, so sometimes really great websites just can’t get there. Paid search is a way those websites can increase exposure. Plus, the paid ad is very strategic – based on your search query, a search marketer chose exactly which page of the site they think you should land on. This means that there’s a chance the paid ads can actually be better results for what you’re looking for. (Sometimes, not always). If a listing entices you, go ahead and click on it. Just understand that every time you click on a listing in the shaded box, that company is paying for your click.  If you see the same company also listed organically, you can avoid the company’s added expense by just clicking on the organic listing instead.

Case of the Mondays

Happy Monday!

Don’t you ever just wish the weekend extended one more day? I’m having quite the rough Monday today, just couldn’t really get it together this morning and on top of everything, I left my phone at home. So lost without it!

In case there is anyone else out there having a case of the Mondays, here’s a video to lift your spirits and get you ready for your week. So pour that cup of coffee, sit back and take a little break for a good laugh.

nomorerack.com Review

I have become quite the loyal customer of nomorerack.com. It’s so much fun to browse all the deals. I’ve made 6 purchases in the past 6 months or so and everything has been satisfactory. I love the variety of products and great prices. I just can’t help myself! The products are low-cost, good quality and ship by the expected date. Nomorerack.com provides women’s apparel, men’s apparel, jewelry, home goods and more.

Description from the website: www.nomorerack.com

nomorerack is the online shopping destination for those who want quality brand named apparel and accessories for 50-80% off retail! We offer an incredible variety of amazing authentic designer merchandise, fantastic products and cool trendy items through exciting short term daily deals.

Here are examples of the things I have purchased so far and what my experience was with the products:

nomorerack maxi dress

3-Pack Maxi Dresses                       $30
I love maxi dresses in the summer and these came at such a great deal, I couldn’t resist. All dresses fit great and are of good quality.

Egyptian Cotton Sheets                  $29
I was in the market for new sheets so when I saw this deal it was a no-brainer. They are so soft and comfortable. I love them! Ahh… sweet dreams.

nomorerack banded bottom top

Boatneck Banded Bottom Top        $11
This is a classic top that goes with everything, I wear it all the time! Fits perfectly and washes well.

Fleece Leggings 2-Pack                   $15
These were such a smart decision. They got me through this incredibly cold winter! I’ve been wearing them almost every day – even under my jeans to weather the sub-zero temps here in Wisconsin. If I wasn’t so hopeful that spring is on its way, I’d be stocking up with a few more pairs!

Open Front Draped Cardigan        $13
Simple cardigan to layer up at work and it goes with everything. Comfy, quality material. Definitely worth the measly $13.

nomorerack womens racerback tank tops

4-Pack Ribbed Racerback Tank Tops, assorted colors       $15
The pastel colors of these tanks are so bright and fun. The tanks look great and fit great. Loved the low price!

Other notes:

Each purchase is a separate shipment. Shipping is a flat $2 for every order.