New Domain!

***Update 9/8/2016: I no longer run and it has now been taken over by a spammer. Any posts after 7/16/2015 were not posted by me.***


I’ve purchased a new domain and I’m in the process of moving everything over and getting the new site to look and feel the way I want it to. Therefore this site will no longer be getting updated. For my latest posts, please visit


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!

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? 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.


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.

What is Twitter?


“Twitter is stupid. Who cares?”

This was me one year ago. I never understood the point of Twitter. To me, Twitter was for people who were overly obsessed with celebrities and wanted to be able to keep up with their drama-filled lives and potentially connect with them in some way. Other than that, I had Facebook for sharing updates on my own life and keeping up with my friends’ lives – why do I need Twitter?

At the time, I had just started another graduate class and one of our first assignments was related to social media. We had to participate in a social media platform that we had never used before and talk about it. I took this opportunity to finally start a Twitter account and see what all the buzz was about!

I admit that even after a few months, I still thought it was stupid. I was tweeting about my experiences and using the hashtags but I was only doing it for the assignment. I didn’t think anyone was reading what I had to say. No one was interacting. It was like I would just post a thought and it floated out into space, never to be seen again. So why do it?

Well, in September I started a new job as a search marketing specialist at an agency. This new job requires a little bit (meaning a lot) more online interaction with the industry than my last one did so I’m getting a lot more interactive on many social media platforms. And believe it or not, I’m actually starting to like Twitter. I’m starting to see more of the purpose behind it, the networking abilities, and how much fun it can be when you know what you’re doing.

Super Bowl Sunday was just a week ago and I’m sure you noticed all the hashtags included in commercials so I thought to myself, there’s got to be so many people out there who are still clueless about Twitter and just don’t get it. I’m not saying that it’s for everyone or that you should start your account today. But maybe just understanding it a bit better can help you to join the conversation when your friends start using the words tweet and hashtag around you.

The Basics

Twitter is a social media platform in which people can post short messages (140 character max) that anyone on Twitter can see. You can “follow” people that you are interested in (but this is not necessarily reciprocal – just because you follow someone does not mean they follow you back). Following someone means their updates will show up on your account homepage in a feed.

Your account’s “screen name” is called a Twitter handle. It’s how people are able to find you. It is preceded with an @ symbol. For example, my Twitter handle is @KelsC14.

You can also use these Twitter handles in your tweets when you want to call out a specific person/brand/company. Like this:

Thanks @Company123 for sending my free sample! I love it!
Had dinner @SomeBurgerJoint tonight – best burgers in the state!


Once you tweet something, these are the interactions people can have with it (not just your followers but anyone on Twitter):

Retweet: This means that the person has chosen to display your exact tweet to their own followers. It’s a way to spread information to a larger audience.

Favorite: This just means they like what you said. (Similar to a Facebook like)

Reply: Someone comments on your tweet in a reply. Their reply is shown to their followers as well as added below your original tweet.

Creating Lists

Once you’re past the novice stage and start following hundreds of people, you may have some people you want to keep up with more than others. Maybe you’re like me and you have a wide variety of accounts you follow for different reasons like thought leaders in your industry, celebrities and TV shows, news update accounts, your real-life friends, family, co-workers, spoof accounts, etc etc. In this case, it’s helpful to create lists for these categories so your feed doesn’t get all junked up with nonsense. To do this, just click on “Me” in the top navigation, then click on “Lists” in the left navigation. Create your lists here. Then when you want to add someone to a list, you can do so here:


Going forward, if you’re only interested in reading updates related to your close friends, you can go directly to your list for that group and see only their updates.

What is a hashtag?

Hashtags use the # symbol. The symbol is placed before a topic that you are talking about. Essentially you use it to tag your post with the topic so that others can follow what’s being said about that topic. A simple example is when hashtags are used for live events, like when you’re commenting on the Super Bowl (#SuperBowl) or the Grammys (#Grammys). While you are watching this event, you can follow a feed of live comments from everyone else watching. Hashtags have also developed into more than just specific topics, and tweeters have gotten more and more creative with their use. Sometimes they’re simply used as a punch line to a joke or a funny addition to what’s being said. Here are some more contextual examples:

Trying some new recipes out for the #SuperBowl today! #GoHawks
It’s been three days and still no power in our neighborhood #HurricaneSandy
2 hours after arriving to work, my legs still haven’t thawed out from the walk #WisconsinWinter
Found $20 in my jeans this morning #MorningWin
Made out like a bandit at @BostonStore today – new shoes, jeans, dresses… I love the #GoodWillSale!
Looks like its Ramen noodles for dinner again #collegekidproblems
It’s been a long week and a bottle of wine is calling my name #TGIF

Of course, as it always does, this online speak has moved into everyday conversation for many people. So now when you hear people using the word “hashtag” in everyday conversation, this is where it started.

Difference Between # and @ Uses

Use the @ sign when you want to call out a specific person/company/account.
Use the # sign when you’re talking about topics.

Short Links

You might also notice that people will include links in there Tweets that don’t actually look like full links. Because of the character limit on tweets, people use these short links to save space.


How do you get this short version of the link? I use

Why Were Hashtags All Over the Super Bowl Commercials?

Using hashtags in marketing gives consumers a topic to talk about and interact with. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events throughout the year during which most of the country is sharing the same moment, so modern marketing capitalizes on this fact to create campaigns focused on getting people to share hashtag topics as well. A great example from this year’s Super Bowl was Bud Lite’s #UpForWhatever campaign. Bud Lite is using this hashtag topic to create buzz around their brand. Social media is all about bragging about the fun you’re having and how great your life is (right?) so it’s easy for people to use this hashtag when tweeting about their plans to go out drinking or travel or even just when they’re bored on a Saturday:

Got nothin to do 2day so I’m cuddling with my cat watching a movie. Text me if you’re bored too #UpForWhatever.

By creating fun hashtags, you can get consumers to join the conversation whether they like your product or not. From there, it just spirals into free advertising. If you can develop something long-lasting, your efforts won’t just be momentary, but could potentially become imbedded into common conversation. Bud Lite’s hashtag is still being used one week after the Super Bowl.

My best friend is in town tonight. We’re about to hit the bars and we’re #UpForWhatever!

So How Do I Benefit From This Twitter Machine?

Everyone has their own reasons for using Twitter, whether it’s just to keep on contact with friends, network with business-related contacts or follow the news. Whatever your purpose, here are some ways to get the most out of Twitter.

Social Uses

Stay in touch with friends/family – Tweets allow people to share quick thoughts and feelings about their day-to-day activities. Watching Twitter can help you stay in touch with what’s going on in your friends’ lives.

Recommendations – Twitter is a great place for recommendations and reviews. Reading your friends’ tweets about their recent dining experiences or online shopping purchases can help you learn about new businesses that you might want to try.

Share opinions – Twitter is the perfect platform for sharing quick opinions and thoughts. While you’re watching your favorite TV drama, you can post your thoughts on what’s happening as you watch. Or maybe you want to comment that you’ve heard Miley Cyrus on the radio so many times today you want to turn it off forever. Whatever your thoughts, share them and connect with others who feel the same way.

Work-Related Uses

Networking – Twitter helps you connect with people that would otherwise be unreachable. Interacting with people from your industry can help you develop relationships that benefit your career down the line.

Stay on top of industry trends – Following people who are in-the-know in your industry can help you stay on top of recent changes and trends.

Consumer Uses

Twitter is a great outlet to have a voice.  Positive or negative, your opinions can be heard on Twitter. Many companies want to know how their consumers feel and whether or not their product/service is satisfying their needs. Companies frequently turn to social media now to find out what their consumers are thinking.  On Facebook, opinions can only be shared if you have friended each other. However, on Twitter, you don’t need to be connected with the company in any way and they don’t have to connect to you. All they have to do is search on their company’s name to see who’s been talking about them and what they think.

For those companies/brands that you do love, help them out! Give them some props in this public forum. Share why you love them!

News Uses

Follow local news stations to keep up to date on recent news stories. You can also find out about important weather warnings. Check on the hashtag for your city to find more updates from other sources as well.

Share news stories that you find particularly interesting to spread the word.

Let’s Wrap This Up

So how are you feeling? That was a lot to digest. Hopefully you understand more about Twitter and why the heck it’s gotten to be so popular and why TV shows and commercials have been bombarding you with hashtags left and right. If you have any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments. Good luck with your future tweeting!


Beginner’s Guide to the Advanced Google SERP

This post is geared towards the non-search-marketer, those who don’t live and breathe Google every day like I do. You might search on Google all the time, but do you really know how it works? How you can get the most out of it? I’m going to help you out a bit by explaining some of the bigger Google results page changes that have occurred over the past year to enrich the results and answer your question as quickly as possible. This guide might help you out the next time you go to Google to find something.

Knowledge Graph

The knowledge graph is a collection of information put together and displayed directly in the search engine results page (SERP). Without even clicking through to another website, you’re able to get quick answers to the most popular questions. A search for pop singer Beyonce returns answers to almost any biographical information you could be looking for: height, spouse, popular songs, recent albums, family members and plenty of photos.


The information on each person varies based on what people are most likely interested in. This next search for actress Rachel McAdams also points out her nationality and awards she has won. Sometimes Google also offers the names of other people that people also search for related to your first search.


Aside from public figures, this information can be displayed for a variety of other topics as well including cities, sports teams, companies, venues, bands and more. This next example is a search for Milwaukee, WI. Find pictures, a map, upcoming local events, points of interest, etc.


Need information about your favorite sports team?


Quick information right at your fingertips. (54 days until opening day!)

Photo Carousel (Also considered part of the Knowledge Graph)

The photo carousel is a new way for more results to get above the fold (meaning you don’t have to scroll down to see it) and for the user to quickly browse through many options. I’ve most frequently seen this occur with restaurant searches like the screenshot below. You get images, ratings, food style, price range all in one little icon. However clicking on an icon just gives you another results page for that restaurant so you’ll still have to click on the links below the carousel to be taken to the restaurant’s website or a review site.


Flight Comparison

With all these insanely cold temperatures in the Midwest lately, I’ve been doing a lot of fantasizing about hopping on a jet plane to anywhere warm at a moment’s notice. My sister lives in Louisiana so of course, the idea of visiting her for Mardi Gras was strongly appealing. Did you know you can now search for flights directly from Google? No more going to the airline website or a deals website – you can do it all right from Google.


I can’t verify that this is the best way to find every flight option or the best deals out there but I definitely didn’t find anything better on any other websites the day I was completing this search.

Now, the next time you perform a Google search, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re actually looking at and how you can use the results page most efficiently. If you have any other questions about the Google results page, add them in the comments!

Understanding Impression Share

When it comes to managing Adwords campaigns, most everyone knows the basics of performance – improve CTR, improve conversion rate, reduce CPCs, etc. But not as many people understand or analyze impression share.

What is impression share?

Impression share is the percentage of the time that your ad displays for a given keyword. If there are 100 searches on cat toys today and your cat toy ad displayed 100 times, you have 100% impression share. However, if your budget is too low for example, and your ad only displays 50 times because you didn’t have enough budget to display all 100 times, you impression share would be 50%.

Analyzing impression share can help you to better understand areas of opportunity. Maybe you have a high CTR and high conversion rate for cat toy searches – that’s great! But if impression share is only 50%, you’re missing out on some highly qualified traffic. Fixing impression share issues can get you in front of this qualified traffic more often.

How do I find impression share?

To analyze impression share on a keyword level, go to the keywords tab, click on the columns button and click on Customize Columns. There you can select the additional column options for Impression Share, Exact Match Impression Share and Lost Impression Share due to rank under the Competitive Metrics category. Once you’ve added these columns, you will be able to see these metrics for your keywords.



Overall Impression Share is the percentage of time that your ad displays when it’s eligible for a search.

Impression Share Loss due to rank is the percentage of time that your ad did not display for that search because it didn’t rank high enough to get onto the results page. This could be because of things like low quality, low relevancy or low bid. You’ll have to take a look at the specific keyword to determine what the problem(s) might be.

Exact Match Impression Share is the percentage of time the ad displayed for the exact match of the keyword. This one is important to look at when you’re buying a keyword with multiple match types. Ideally if you’re buying both the broad match and exact match of “cat toys,” the exact match impression share for the exact match keyword should be 100% and the exact match impression share for the broad match would be 0%. This is because all exact match searches should map to the exact match keyword. However, if the account is not functioning optimally, exact matches can map to the broad match keyword instead of the exact match. This might happen when your broad match keyword has a higher quality score or much higher max bid. Why is that bad? You could be paying higher CPCs for the broad match.

At the ad group level, you can also add a column for Impression Share Loss due to budget. This helps you understand how many impressions you’re missing simply because your budget is not high enough. Increase your budget in order to capture more of those impressions.

Using Healthcare Blogs to Earn Links

Today I was published on Healthworks Collective for a guest post for healthcare websites about how to use your blog to earn backlinks. As all good SEOs know, backlinks are an extremely important ranking factor for Google because they tell the search engine that other websites are vouching for you, saying that you are legit, reliable and credible. Trustworthy. The more times that other reputable and trustworthy sites link to your site, the more reputable and trustworthy Google believes you are. And the better your rankings become over time.

My post, entitled 8 Ways to Use Healthcare Blogs to Earn Links, provides more insight into how healthcare websites should be using blogs to improve their link profile and optimize their online presence. Note that the title refers to earning links, not building links. As I mentioned in one of my last posts about the future of guest blogging, a good SEO no longer focuses on building a huge link profile but rather creating content that earns them the link credit.