51 episodes

Vertical Web's Internet Marketing Clinic has been a popular ongoing SEO and Digital Marketing Series since 2003. Created by seo expert Beth Guide, this podcast is designed to help business owners, learn the tips, tricks, techniques, and lingo of internet marketing. We cover different topics each week in how to help our listeners succeed in having a web site that works for their business, works for their customers but also works for Google so that it is highly ranked and visable. We also teach conversion and user related concepts that help our listens learn how to maximize the ROI. With over 600 attendees each month this podcast expands our clinic and makes it more available to our business owners so they can participate on their timeline.

Houston's Internet Marketing Clinic Beth Guide

    • Education
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Vertical Web's Internet Marketing Clinic has been a popular ongoing SEO and Digital Marketing Series since 2003. Created by seo expert Beth Guide, this podcast is designed to help business owners, learn the tips, tricks, techniques, and lingo of internet marketing. We cover different topics each week in how to help our listeners succeed in having a web site that works for their business, works for their customers but also works for Google so that it is highly ranked and visable. We also teach conversion and user related concepts that help our listens learn how to maximize the ROI. With over 600 attendees each month this podcast expands our clinic and makes it more available to our business owners so they can participate on their timeline.

    Effective Strategies for Holiday Marketing: Web, E-mail and Social Media

    Effective Strategies for Holiday Marketing: Web, E-mail and Social Media

    Fall is upon us, which means the holidays are soon to follow. For business owners, this time of the year is filled with opportunity - opportunities to develop your brand and capture a new wave of customers in the process.

    Of course, the competition is fierce during the holidays, especially as we near Black Friday and Christmas. That means SMB owners and online retailers must be ready to optimize their web presence to the extent they can. By strengthening your website, ad marketing, e-mail marketing and social media marketing channels, you’ll give your business a fighting chance to rise above the holiday noise this year.

    Here, we’ll address how to do just that.


    First, start by optimizing your Google Business Profile and integrating analytics
    Whether your business operates globally or locally, optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP) is a strong - and simple - first step. For local SMBs, it’s unavoidable - your company needs a locally optimized GBP to garner traction with Google.

    Start by making sure your company’s name and address are accurate. Put up a photo of your company’s building. Fill out as much of your profile as you can - posts, reviews, events - all of these signals add up to let Google know where your business is located. And ensuring your business is properly geolocated by Google is a must-do to achieve any degree of local SEO success. Use geo-specific keywords in your company’s description and posts. Publish photos and videos (that you or someone within the company has taken) regularly. Just make sure that the company’s profile is active and frequently updated.

    Take a few minutes and integrate Google Analytics (widely termed GA4) into the website, too. It’s quick and easy to do so, and it provides valuable insight into how your site is performing from a traffic and lead-capturing standpoint. Users, sessions, page views, conversions, bounce rate, engagement time - there’s a lot of data here, but you don’t need to be a digital marketing expert to extract value out of it.
    Create more customer touch points through e-mail and social media
    As the holiday season approaches, consumers start gearing up to buy. That means it’s time to get your brand in front of them. With so much online noise competing for our attention these days, consistent (but not obnoxious) touch points are needed to drive leads to your company.

    A proven way to do this is with e-mail marketing - Mailchimp is our preferred tech for automating many e-mail marketing functions, but you’ll need to provide the content.

    Ideally, this content will provide valuable information that’s designed to “hook” the user toward your website. At the least, taking a spot in their inbox will bring your brand to the front of their mind - the first step toward making a conversion.

    Don’t be afraid to regularly send out these e-mail blasts - a couple times a week is considered optimal - and make an effort to capture user e-mails when they visit your site or make a purchase through your business. It’s easier to sell to current customers than new ones, and that means you’ll need an updated e-mail list.
    E-mail marketing can also be used to pick up additional customer reviews
    Customer reviews are weighted heavily by Google for SEO purposes. They are, therefore, a high-value target for brands. E-mail marketing can also support this goal by (politely) reminding users to leave a review. Many buyers have no problem doing this, they just need to be asked.

    Don’t overthink it. A week after a customer buys something from your site, automate your e-mail marketing platform to send out a review request/reminder. It’s a no-risk, high-reward approach to building your brand’s reputation.
    The Google Display Network provides a brand awareness boost for pennies on the dollar
    Chances are, you’ve seen plenty of small ads served through Google’s Display Network (GDN). The GDN is one of Google’s many, and often confusing,

    • 1 hr 55 min
    Auditing Website Basics: The Rules Every Business Website Should Follow

    Auditing Website Basics: The Rules Every Business Website Should Follow

    Auditing Website Basics: The Rules Every Business Website Should Follow
    Developing a business website is difficult work. To be frank, it’s a job that most small business owners aren’t prepared to handle on their own. The job is only getting tougher, too, as Google is constantly raising the bar on what constitutes a high quality, trustworthy site. And every business owner should want a website that Google considers trustworthy because those are the sites that secure top ranking spots.



    If your site isn’t performing as well as it should, the problem (or problems) may be basic. With so many elements to optimize on modern websites, it’s practically impossible for small business owners to catch everything. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to business site basics. Follow these rules, and your site will be off to a good start.
    First, a word of caution about website builder platforms
    Before diving into those rules, though, we need to address a question that comes up all the time:

    “Can I build a business site with Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, etc.?”

    The answer is yes, you could, but business owners should avoid doing so at all costs. Site builder platforms are easy to use and inexpensive, but the website they crank out are impossible to market and optimize. That’s a deal breaker for any business owner that plans on using their site as a lead and sales generator.

    Websites build on one of the above platforms are essentially invisible to Google. They spit out bloated code that Google has trouble recognizing and interpreting. They give site owners insufficient latitude to make major technical changes. They do not allow site owners to choose their own host and you’re trapped inside the platform’s ecosystem. If the platform goes under, so does your website, permanently.

    Given all of this, we cannot in good conscious recommend site builders. What we do recommend is WordPress - the standalone version, not WP’s own platform and hosting service. WordPress remains the gold standard for marketability, customizability and performance, so every business owner’s first choice should be WordPress.

    That out of the way, on to the rules:
    Rule 1 - Make sure your title tag and headers are formatted properly
    Every page should be paired with a title tag - it’s the single most important element in helping Google understand what the page’s content is about. This title is identified using a title tag - something you may hear referred to as an H1. H1 (or H2, H3, H4 and so on) tags are designated in the page’s HTML code and are used to identify a title or header. Titles and header are important for Google and users, and generally for the same reason - they help the reader understand what the page’s content is about. This is obviously important for users, as their decision to consume the content or move on has to do with the content’s title.

    It’s also crucial for SEO purposes because Google isn’t going to rank a page that it doesn’t understand or isn’t properly titled. Properly-formatted and written headers help Google with this. Proper format means using the right H tag - only one title tag (H1) per page, and headers should be organized in a hierarchical format. That means using an H1 with the top header, H2s for content section headers, H3s for subheads inside those content sections and so on down the line. 
    Rule 2 - Feature your services and products in high-importance navigation elements
    If Google doesn’t know what your business sells, it will probably not rank the page. At best, your site will be improperly categorized in the wrong product or service area. The result of this? Users ending up on your site after searching for something completely unrelated to your business. That’s exactly the kind of traffic business owners don’t want.

    To ensure Google places your site in the right category and serves it to the right users, reinforce what your company does in the site’s most important n

    • 1 hr 52 min
    The Right Tools for the Job: How to Get WordPress Set Up for Business Websites

    The Right Tools for the Job: How to Get WordPress Set Up for Business Websites

    Wordpress is one of the internet's most powerful engines, as something like 40 percent of all sites run on WP. Millions of those sites are professional or e-commerce in nature, and from the get-go, they must be configured properly to succeed.



    That means integrating the right tools into Wordpress during and following the initial WP install. If you're partnered with a reputable web hosting company, these tools may be included with your install package - a major convenience for site owners who don't know where to begin.

    Here, we've got a list of every important tool to consider for site owners just getting started with WordPress, along with some helpful information about WP management fundamentals.
    For SEO purposes, it's Wordpress or bust - stay away from site building platforms
    If you haven't launched a site yet, build it in WordPress. If you've already launched a site that's not in WordPress, prepare to move it to WP. And if you've already launched a WordPress site, congratulations - you're on the right track.

    The truth is, there's no good reason whatsoever for business owners to pick anything other than Wordpress for their online presence. WP is the gold standard for several reasons, including:

    Google prefers WordPress websites (better SEO) - The downside with site builder platforms is that they're built using bloated code that search engines cannot interpret well. Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and other drag-and-drop builders may be easy to use, but that simplicity means sloppy code on the backend. If you're serious about ranking on Google, this bloated code is a fatal problem.
    WP is well-supported by an active, open source community - WP is an open-source engine, so anyone can access the codebase and contribute to it. The benefit of an open source engine is that it's constantly being improved upon by the community, so WordPress users are always coming up with new and better tools.
    There are hundreds of thousands of plugins that can expand WP's functionality - Speaking of tools, there's an endless list of additional features and plugins to choose from. Each one adds to the site's capabilities, so if there's something that your site needs to do, but currently can't, there's a good chance that a solution already exists. It just needs to be installed on the site.
    Wordpress allows people to maintain ownership of their domain and assets - If the site is created through a standalone installation (Wordpress.org), you'll have complete ownership over all the site's assets and domain. With site builders like Wix and others, the site is contained inside the builder's ecosystem. That means if the platform goes down, so does your site. Further, if you want to move or make major changes to the site, that may be impossible if it's hosted on a platform.

    In short, WP's feature-rich, SEO-compatible code makes it the undisputed leader among site creation engines.
    Wordpress.com or Wordpress.org? Here's the difference
    The first hurdle business owners may run into when getting started with WordPress is whether to publish through Wordpress.com or Wordpress.org. We strongly recommend going with Wordpress.org, but here's a quick guide to both:

    com - Wordpress.com is WP's version of the site builder. While it utilizes the same WP dashboard and publishing process, the site itself is hosted on WP's own servers and is therefore functionally identical to sticking the site on another self-contained platform. Further, by opting for WP's own platform, site owners may be responsible for additional fees related to "premium plugins" and other features.
    org - Wordpress.org is the standalone version of WP that we recommend. With wordpress.org, site owners have access to all of the software's base files and user-friendly dashboard. In addition, owners have complete freedom to host the site with the hosting company of their choosing, and may make any changes they wish without interference.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Building a Better Blog

    Building a Better Blog

    How to Write a Better Blog
    Blogging, it’s not why most people get into business, but written communication remains an important part of customer acquisition. And online, that means writing high quality blogs, articles and landing page content to help send the signals to Google that will equal long term SEO success.



    With today’s tech-based, always-online economy, the value of good writing may not be obvious. That’s where we’ll start before addressing how to write a more effective piece of website content.
    A 24/7 Salesman: The value of an expert blog
    Without a website, companies are passing up on 30 percent of their potential business. Even when no one is at the office or manning the phones, the company’s website is there representing the brand. In this way, an effective website is like a salesman who never takes a break. Publishing high quality content is like giving that salesman the best possible sales pitch - with it, they’ll represent your company well and earn more customers as a result.

    In the end, as the company’s owner and resident expert, you have complete control over your brand’s messaging through the power of blogging.
    Every business owner is an expert, so put that expertise to good use
    The first hurdle for business owners to get over is a psychological one. “I can’t write,” said just about every business owner ever, but as an expert in your industry, your insight has value to Google and to users. That’s true even if you can’t write like Shakespeare.

    If you’re willing to practice writing and get better, you’ll eventually develop your spoken voice into an effective written voice. For many niche subjects, all that’s needed is clear, direct writing with some expert insight or examples sprinkled in.
    One easy way to come up with blog topics - listen to the customer
    Looking for a good blog angle? Pay attention to what customers are concerned about. These could be your customers or a competitor’s customers, wherever they provide feedback. This could be a question asked in an e-mail, a comment in a product review or a complaint on social media. Whatever it is, there’s probably a blog angle in there somewhere, as long as you’re looking for it.
    Google wants original, expert ideas, so be careful with AI writers like ChatGPT
    Although some of the ChatGPT mania has died down, there is still plenty of conversation regarding what it, and other AI writers, can do for website owners.

    ChatGPT can help with some writing-related tasks, but it cannot replace the expertise needed for the content writing itself. It’s not a cut-and-paste job. You’ll have to do some extra work to get the page to a publishable level.

    Google is on the record saying that it’s okay with some AI content as long as it meets the search engine’s quality standards. Unfortunately, AI content doesn’t. When AI “writes,” it’s actually scraping content from tons of existing pages, pulling out information and reordering it to create the semblance of an original article.

    But nothing in the AI page is original - just an amalgamation of the pages it pulled from. Google doesn’t like that because users don’t like that. Users don’t want an internet full of same-sounding, no-value junk, and so Google doesn’t want to fill its SERPs with same-sounding, no-value junk.

    As such, search engines will penalize sites that rely too much on AI for their blogging and website content. And yes, Google can easily detect AI writing.
    There’s room for AI to fill a role, though, so here’s how to use it
    To summarize so far - don’t take what the AI writer gives you, then turn around and publish it on your website. That’s a no-can-do, but what can you do with ChatGPT and similar AI generators?

    Generate a pool of subject-relevant keywords - Every blog should be optimized with high-value, subject-relevant keywords. These provide Google with the signals it needs to understand the page’s content and properly categorize

    • 1 hr 53 min
    SEO Secrets that Will Elevate Your Impact

    SEO Secrets that Will Elevate Your Impact

    If you’ve just launched a business website - or are about to launch one - your work is just beginning as the site’s owner. With millions of e-commerce and professional sites already online, it’s a real fight to get new websites noticed. In fact, it’s impossible to gain traction online without an effective SEO plan in place. That’s because search engines are picky when determining which pages to rank - those with better SEO fundamentals are much more likely to snag those coveted top spots.

    https://youtu.be/w7Bdz9JOqVg

    But that only raises another question - how can business owners get started with effective SEO? That’s what we’re addressing this time. With these following tips, any business owner in any industry can get a competitive start with SEO and build a steady stream of traffic.
    The right engine means everything when starting a website, and that means WordPress
    If you already have a website, it is hopefully built in WordPress. If it’s not, we’ve got some bad news - you’ll likely need to migrate it to WP. That includes sites built in Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and other stripped-down website builders. If you haven’t built a site yet, WordPress is the engine of choice.

    Why? Compared to site building platforms, WP’s backend is far more compatible with Google’s site discovery and indexing process. In other words, Google understands WordPress sites better than others, so it’s more likely to fully crawl, index and properly categorize a website. In general, the more confused Google’s spiders are when crawling a website, the less likely that site will rank. WP ensures minimal confusion between the website and Google.
    Make your title tag count - with high impact keywords
    Every page on your website has to explain itself to Google, and title tags and headers are an important part of that mission. Each page gets one title tag (an H1), and you should treat it like a proper title - it should explain the content’s primary focus. And for Google, every title tag should also include relevant keywords that send the right content signals to search engines. These keywords are essentially clues that tell Google how to judge, locate and categorize the content.

    It is extremely important to locate the most relevant keywords (i.e., the product you’re selling) as high up on each page as possible. This will maximize the chances that Google’s spiders will find them.

    Additional headers are used with content subsections, and they act just like title tags. Each section header should describe what’s in the following section while including high-relevance keywords for Google.
    Localize your headers, copy and images for your business’s service area
    Most small businesses have a tight service area that’s near their operating facilities. It’s this area that your SEO should be targeted toward.

    Local SEO is the branch of digital marketing focused on targeting users in a particular service area, and it’s a slightly different game than general, national SEO. When users punch in a local search query (“Houston Mexican restaurants,” for example), Google returns a local SERP in response. This local SERP includes additional high-value spots like the map pack, so engaging local SEO comes with additional rewards.

    But local SEO also takes a slightly different approach. One part of this approach is to localize the content on your site’s pages, so Google understands where your business is located and what areas it serves.

    In practice, that means mentioning where the company is located in titles, headers and inside the body copy. The city it’s located in, the neighborhoods or regions it services, the names of nearby landmarks and major roads - these are all useful clues for Google.

    It goes further than that, too. Every image published on your website has metadata associated with it. This metadata includes where the photo was taken, so consider taking your own photos and publishing them with that metadata intact

    • 1 hr 54 min
    Using ChatGPT for SEO and Website Content Creation Properly

    Using ChatGPT for SEO and Website Content Creation Properly

    For anyone who has been around the Internet Marketing Clinic for a while, knows we always try to stay ahead of where the road goes. AI tools have turned 2023 on its ear, and it is not even March. In this episode of the IMCH, we are taking an in-depth look at how to balance AI tools like ChatGPT and your website, content or SEO efforts. There is a lot  of very dangerous misguided implementations ideas so we wanted try and stay ahead of it and let you know what we think you should be doing and how to used this very powerful tool, but do it in a manner that you don't blow yourself up.


    Do not copy AI-generated content and paste it into a website
     Before you run off to ChatGPT and generate your entire website from scratch - stop. In our practice, we’ve already seen business owners attempt this with disastrous results. And that is what I keep seeing and hearing. It feels like, right or wrong everyone things they found the secret to creating mass pages to place on their website and that is just not true.
    Google has upped the useful content penalty possibly taking aim at cut-and-paste AI-generated content, and the search engine is getting better and better at detecting it. There are hundreds of AI writers out there, but it’s unlikely that any of them could evade Google’s AI detection for long.
    Why is Google seeking and destroying AI-generated pages? Because AI can’t produce a page that’s as well-written, organized and detailed as a human expert-created page. At least for now, human experts provide more value with their writing than ChatGPT or other AI tools.
    This is because AI content generators work by scraping and distilling what’s already on the internet. Google doesn’t want a web full of copycat content - it wants originality. And it wants original thinking because that’s what users want. From Google’s perspective, AI content generators have the potential to pollute the internet with identical pages and damage the user experience.
    On the other hand Google also is okay with AI content if they add to the web. If there is solid new information it more than likely won't get dinged. But you have to committed to making sure the information is not just spun and put out on the website.
    There are a few more problems with AI content generation, that you need to be aware of to avoid a penalty.


    Superficial reasoning and knowledgebase - ChatGPT and AI writers can spit out tons of information with every prompt, but because this information is sourced from thousands of sites - many of them low quality - the information tends to be superficial. This problem is more pronounced for niche topics and industries, where there are fewer inputs for AI to work with. 
    Confusing conceptual linking and writing flow - AI also has trouble determining which pieces of information link together and how they should link together. Us humans do this naturally when we speak, because our communication is predicated on exchanging and responding to information provided by other people.That’s why AI writers tend to go off-track with topics or repeat themselves throughout an article. You won’t find an AI linking an insightful first-hand experience with the topic at hand. That kind of web-like conceptual thinking is still beyond the reach of AI.

     
    Difficulty with proper punctuation and grammar - Curiously, AI writers also seem to have the occasional issue with word order, sentence structure or punctuation. The longer the content, the more likely these mistakes are to emerge in a piece of AI content.

     It may not be long before these kinks are hammered out, but for now, the above should give business owners pause before they go all-in on AI. Doing so could wipe out your traffic now or in the future, when Google retroactively applies penalties for AI content-generation methods.

    All of this is subject to change as Google implements GoogleBard, its own AI Tool
     
    Everything in this article could become obsolete overnight - thus is the

    • 1 hr 52 min

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GenXer66 ,

So much great info

Just like class there is so much great info in this podcast. It comes at you like a firehose!

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