Tag Archives: Denver


I’ve always believed that one of the best practices in leading a company is to view your role as you would if this was your first day. It is as if you were just hired by the board (or yourself) this week to lead and change the business. You are taking over the existing operation and are charged (and excited to be so) with making changes and driving new growth. With that, in mind, I am making the following announcement.

This morning, I had to fire a long-time employee; it was hard; he had been around 20 years and, for the most part, done an excellent job. But it was time. There needed to be more passion in his work.
I took it well. Yes, this morning I fired… me.

It was my small business’s great luck to find someone to run the show who has a solid background in building a valuable business and will have that new passion so crucial to a business… me!

Today, as the new Boss, I view everything we do as a company based on the value it delivers to the customer, community, and employee. Today, I am building a new marketing plan and encouraging co-workers to act like owners. I am even building new compensation plans to reward anyone working with us in the same manner an owner might be compensated. I am asking every employee (4) to review everything we do and find ways to improve it.

I have brought in new talent to drive the critical components of our services. I will contact every customer to tell them how committed we are to their success. It’s just a start, but as the new leader of this small business, I understand that every business is vital to the people and communities it touches.

I wish our former leader (me) success in whatever he does in the future, and I welcome the new Boss. (Me). I am confident he will grow the business over the next decade with integrity and a genuine commitment to the values the partners passionately believe in.

Do yourself, your clients, and your employees a favor. Fire yourself and start anew this year.

1.2 Million Dollars in New Leads, With 1 Page and No Off Site SEO.

 1.2 Million Dollars in New Leads, With 1 Page and no off site SEO.

I know, SEO is a very difficult to understand these days… but we all must conceed there is “something” that determines where Google and other search engines place a result from a search query. Understanding how that works (or at least some of how that works) is what a good search engine optimization company does.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...


The process of understanding that is to watch carefully how certain pages move up and down in the search engine results for certain specific keywords.  And when you see positive movement, figuring out what may have caused it. This is where it gets really tricky, especially for an SEO who is actively working on marketing a clients website, because in my humble opinion, Google does some very interested things concerning “timing” of search rankings.

The short version is, what you see happening today may only be temporary, and based on Google wanting you to think what you did in the last few weeks, or month may have been the cause of the change, when, the truth is, they’re just waiting to see if you react to a positive change by doing more of what you did, and then seeing that you do, they ZAP your silly little SEO process and drop your rankings like a bowling pin going down for a 7-2 spare pick up.

It’s the typical “Google is smarter than you syndrum”. Look,I am pretty sure they only hire people with an IQ higher than 195, and thats for part time positions. You are NOT going to outsmart them… really. Go ahead.. try.

So what do you do?  Well, doing nothing with a pages SEO is a great process. You see , once you get past the basic’s of some good quality promotion of a site, and making sure the site has decent if not great on page optimization, the rest falls into the hands of the audience.

The people who search will have a much larger impact on your pages ranking than any backlinking or SEO wizardry you may do.

English: White hat seo symbolizes good ethic t...


Here is my example. This page is ranked very highly in about 7 different city searches for the major keyword.  In other words, if I set my browser to Denver, or one of the major suburbs around denver, and type in the keyword, with no location intent (a city or zip)  this page is in the top 2.  That by itself doesn’t mean much, but it also brings in a huge amount of the right traffic for the client. This year they are getting about two proposals a month from the page, with an average value of 50K.

8-18-13 blue sky screen google basement finishingScreenshot_3

 There aren’t a bunch of backlinks to the page.  We haven’t done any SEO to the page except the concept, and the onsite work… meaning just the basics.. title tags and such. So why does this page rank so well?  People LOVE it! The click through rate is huge, and the time on page is excellent.

This page is so popular that I know of at least two other competitors to the company that use it to show their prospects what a basement finish might cost. Now thats a great testimonial.

So what’s the most important element to SEO?  Popularity of the page you build. (past the basics,. aAnd, isn’t that exactly the way it should be?  I told you those Google people were smart.


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Using Anchor Text for SEO is Stupid

Using Anchor Text is Stupid.

As a Denver based Search Engine Optimization Company we can clearly say that using unnatural Anchor Text to help your sites ranking is stupid, and always has been. SEO’s have been using it as a measurement and tool since the beginning of time and with the recent changes at Google many are suffering the consequences, and more accurately their former or current clients are suffering the rankings drop.

Google Chrome
Google Chrome (Photo credit: thms.nl)

One of the principles Google speaks to in SEO is taking actions as if Google didn’t exist. Great SEO starts with that premise. So unnatural Anchor Text is a CLEAR violation of that principle, and can be easily identified by a search engine.

I do not think that on Site basics apply to this principle.  Your site must be as clear and specific as possible about its content. That’s not gaming the system, it’s just common sense. Most of the tactics Google seems to hate are off site and in your sites link profile.

Let’s go to the basics. In order of importance for making sure Google and other search engines can index and understand what your site is about (or your sites pages).

  1. Your URL.  This seems simple.  If your site URL or page URL says Dentist, well, Google will have a strong clue that you’re a Dentist.  I know about the Google patent on exact match domains, but as of now we haven’t seen much evidence that there have been any changes in actual rankings.

Here is the logic:  If Google didn’t exist, I would want a domain that clearly defines what I am. So yes, I would use a domain like Dentist.com  or Dentist in Detroit , or Pretty smile dentist….   To me that stands’ up to the principle that great web visibility starts with acting like Google doesn’t exist.

2.)    Your Meta Title:  Next to the domain name, this is how any search engine figures out what your site is about. Remember, these are robots, not English majors reading the Title of a page.  So if you are a Dentist in Chicago, I would use Dentist in Chicago in the first few words.

3.)    Content:  I don’t really give a hoot about percentage of keywords in your copy, or even your H1, H2 tags…what we should care about is that when someone reads the page, that it is very clear what the page is about.  If that leads to a natural paragraph heading that includes the words in your title tag, so be it. If it doesn’t, that’s fine to.

4.)    And… remember… content and rankings are by page not site. It would be very confusing if Meta tags were the only information a person looking for your site could see, and every page on your site had the same Meta title.  80 pages of Dentist in Chicago. Looks sloppy. And then which page would they click on?  Confusing.

And then to the off site:

English: The three biggest web search engines
English: The three biggest web search engines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are times when you can use Anchor Text to point to your site. But the reality is not many. And if you are lucky enough to get a link on a good quality site, Google will already know what the page is about that the link is pointing to because it’s clear in the Meta title and copy on the page. Why add Anchor text? Really?  You don’t think Google or others have the page Indexed?  Then that’s another issue.  And then if you use the same Anchor Text to different pages on your site that have different subjects, will, you get the picture.

Using Anchor Text always has been stupid (in most cases).

I know that the vast majority of SEO tips and principles are really just opinions, so if you disagree I completely understand and respect that. SEO or web visibility is a complex field, and you always have to look at correlation versus causation and do a bunch of research and study to really feel confident.  Or, you can produce really stellar content and give clear and precise information on your site and pages, and then actively become part of the Internet communities to promote your business.  In the now and the future we feel (even in its simplified summary) that the later will win the day.

Don’t hesitate to call us if we can help you. 303 500 3053 ext 1.  (Mike)



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Google Places (Google Plus for Business) now showing competitors Zagat ratings.

Google Places ( Google Plus for Business) now showing competitors Zagat ratings.

Google Plus for Business and Google Places listings are now showing not only the similar places information on listings, but are now also showing the review scores of some of those similar places (or you might say competitors).

You can scroll down to the screen shots at the bottom to see several examples.  I started this blog to see what other review sites the Google places listings show for some top ranked (in Maps)  listings. The basis was just to update and see if anything had changed. Doesn’t look like it has. You can see the usually suspects below. These are sites you should actively seek reviews from your customers on.  All are based in a top 20 market  ( Okay it’s Denver)/

Top Ranked Local Sites and review mentions:

Chiropractor:  Reviews from around the web: insiderpages.com (7)yahoo.com (3)citysearch.com (1)

Chiropractor 2: Reviews from around the web: citysearch.com (54)dexknows.com (20)insiderpages.com (3)

Denver Dentist 2: demandforce.com (28)citysearch.com (2)dentalelements.com (68)

Denver Custom Home Builder: Reviews from around the web: kudzu.com (1)

Denver Remodeling:

judysbook.com (1)

But here is what really caught my eye:  Under similar places for a basement finishing company Google is now showing the scores for the competitor’s listings.  That’s new for me, and another good reason to monitor your business reputation, and ask your customers for reviews.

It also should be noted that the main reason I was going through this exercise was based on the issues Google seems to be having even getting real reviews from your real customers posted. Our clients are reporting reviews not showing up after posted. It just doesn’t get any better than that. But in all things Google Plus (Places) patience is the main attribute needed to maintain one’s sanity.

Here are some screen shots.

From a Basement Finishing Search and Google places page: https://plus.google.com/109113884867743336579/about?hl=en


From A Search For Top Rated Dentists:

I could add more, but you get the picture. Let me know what you see and we will continue to keep our eyes on how the new world of Google Plus for Business may affect your Internet reputation and marketing.


Mike: 303 500 3053 ext 1

Local Search Ranking Results and Factors 2012

If you run reports for Local search engine rankings you may be in for a big surprise.

For every keyword you are looking at you need to run four different queries, because Google will serve the results in three different ways with different results for each. Local searches may use one of the following type searches. Let’s use Basement Finishing as an example.

1.)  Just the term Basement Finishing

This will bring up results Google thinks are relevant to what location you are searching from. I assume they use the IP from your Internet provider, which may or may not be in the actual town/city/zip you are sitting in as you search. This result (and I will add pictures later) will have the strongest organic listings for the major metro area you are (of you are ) part of.  Followed by the Maps listings.(Generally)

2.) You may search with your city name in the query, like “basement Finishing Broomfield”

This brings up the Maps first.  A big difference than a search with no city.


3.) You may use the zip code, like “basement Finishing 80020”

This brings up different organic results in the first two positions than the non city term search and then the maps.


4.) You may just use the generic metro city name, like “Basement Finishing Denver”.

Completely different results from all of the above.

Four commonly used search structures for local, one keyword. This is one reason that using a non local SEO for a local business can be a mistake. Few understand, or work on the entire set of query types, and may be sending you reports with just one type query, when you are missing 75%  of the opportunities.

Here is a quick copy of examples:


Basement Finishing Browser set to 80020

Basement Finishing:

Basement Finishing Broomfield

Give us a call any time for a free assessment of how your site ranks in all of these local query types. 303 500 3053 ext 1.


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Google Local Search in Denver

The different types of Local Search

There are three different type search query types that a company needs to be aware of when it comes to local search. Those being, a search with a large city, that represents the entire metro area in the search term, a search with a logical suburb in the search, and a search with no local intent (city, zip,).

Let’s say I’m looking for a house painter for my Mom who lives about 25 miles south of my location. Her home is located in a small sub division by the name of Bowmar.  I live in a small city called Lafayette, and both are part of the Denver metro area. What are the most likely methods I will use to search?

First I am going to use the (what I call Facet city) Denver.  Denver in my mind is generic, and should bring up the best of the entire metro area?


As you can see I get the PPC ads, and then the top few companies that are large established Denver painting companies. Now, because we did the optimization for both, I know more about them then a stranger would. But either will service my Mom’s home, and both are good painters.

Note that the top two results are NOT Google places or maps listings. They are organic. Also note that Vivax shows up both as the top organic listing and as number 2 in maps.


I could use the larger suburb her home is in (Littleton).  So house painter Littleton looks like this:

Vivax is located in Littleton, so it shows up number one in maps,But what if I just look for the generic term no city or local intent, “house Painter”?  This is where Google try’s to figure out where you are located. And this is important!  Google thinks I am in Thornton Colorado.  Remember I am in Lafayette CO. Thornton is about 7 miles away, and in terms of local services, barely relevant to me. There are several large suburbs and cities closer to me (Boulder is next door, and Broomfield in the other direction).  But Google thinks I am in Thornton and will show Thornton results mixed with just national type results.  Here is what my Firefox shows as my auto detect location:

Here are the results:

As we did the optimization for Vivax and M and E it’s no surprise these guys show up.  But, we didn’t intentionally try and get results in Lafayette.  (remember that’s where I am searching from). These results are more of a hangover from these two exceptionally well promoted sites having great rankings and using the city term Thornton as part of their service areas.

So, the short story for a company trying to promote their site is this.  You need to check all three type search types in mind, and optimize for each. To accomplish this you must optimize both the Places listing and for the organic listings. In today’s local search, in my opinion, organic optimization or site promotion comes first. Look at the Denver search again, organic wins over maps.

But the most complicated issue is what location Google thinks you are searching from. When I try to find local services I am getting results for companies’ two suburbs away. So as a SEO firm, it’s important to complete local optimization based on a wide geographical area.

See… local is easy!  If we can help you with your Local visibility give us a call today. 303 500 3053 ext1

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How Much Does SEO Cost?

How Much Does SEO Cost?

If you look for an “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) Company you may find pricing from $49.00 a month to $5000.00 a month and more. It’s no wonder many of the businesses I speak with are completely confused.  The truth is there is no correct answer to how much SEO services may cost, there are just too many factors that have to be taken into consideration before any professional SEO company can give you an idea what your investment might be.

It starts  with what your geographic target area is, the competition for your keywords (or services), and looking at your current optimization, both on your web site,  off site (commonly called back links) and social signals and mentions.  If your web site was built by a friend of a friend’s cousin who did it part time to get through college in 2003 and, you have no idea how to contact that person, well, as part of the SEO process you may have to build a completely new site.  Cost?  $1200 to $7500.00 for the basics.

If your site was built in the last couple of years (hopefully by a web design firm  and not a friend of a friend…)  then you may only need to make some basic changes to the site, and in many cases this may only take an hour of your web companies time. Cost $50 to $150.00

Then it all comes down to are you trying to target searches in a certain area of a metro area, the entire metro area,  a state or region, a country, or International.

A small locally target SEO campaign for a suburb or two in a mid level competitive industry may cost as little as $600.00 total.  A city wide SEO campaign in a city the size of Denver will probably run at least $2700.00 or a $500.00 per month program for 6 months.  A national program will run between $750 and $2000 a month and you can count on working with an SEO for at least a year before you start seeing results and frankly you will probably end up doing SEO for years (as long as you are seeing a return)

But what about those $49.00 and $99.00 guaranteed programs, you may ask. Well, they don’t work.  Don’t trust me, just ask the company for three LOCAL RECENT references for the program.  If they can provide them, use the service!  If not, call us, or another real SEO firm. If any one reading this blog can show me an actually example of a SEO program (not PPC) working for under $175.00 a month. Please contact me. I am begging!  I have had so many clients come to me after wasting time and money on these; I would love to hear of one, just one, actual success story.

SEO, in my opinion is a great value even today.  The market is pushing pricing down. At the same time the number of businesses using SEO services is rapidly increasing. Remember, in every category there are only so many first page rankings and only 3 top 3.  SEO is never going to cost less. It’s just too competitive, and in a year or two, because of the competition, it may start costing more than it’s worth in many segments.

Now’s a good time to look at SEO, and what it might cost.

Call us for a free assessment and investment pricing. 303 500 3053 ext1

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Social Media Denver

I asked Lisa Michaud, President of a Denver based Social Media company to write a blog for us on what small and medium business owners should know and do in Social Media. It’s a great post for all business owners interested in utilizing social media to grow their relationships and business.


Set It and Forget it? Not true in Social Media Marketing

So often when I am working with clients on their social media efforts, they comment “Well, I haven’t really looked at it lately.” I am always a bit amazed. While social media can drain time from your business if not done strategically, not looking at your social channels can also leave money on the table. One of the most important strategic exercises you can engage with daily is commenting on your channels and other people’s postings.

Just as a refresher, social media is not just about pipeline development. The overall goal for social marketing is to build relationships with your customers, clients, prospects, partners and vendors in order to:

  1. Increase revenue through direct communication to target audience
  2. Increase profit through deeper relationships with current clients = client retention and brand ambassadors
  3. Increased Brand recognition – Viral marketing effect
  4. Brand monitoring – understand what your market place is saying about you and/or your industry
  5. Marketing research – ask questions to understand your market place needs
  6. Pipeline development – create new clients through viral marketing & brand ambassadors.
  7. Ensure that you remain relevant and live within your industry
  8. Asset to company – ready to sell or find investors? Built in marketplace
  9. Generate site traffic – keywording, SEO links are incorporated into some social sites (LI, TW, FB)

Keep the pulse on the conversations daily or at least weekly to show your audience that you care about your network. If you don’t look at it, neither will your audience.

Lisa Michaud


The Startup Launcher

Social Media Systems Designed to Empower Your Voice



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Google Places Reviews and Rankings

There is far more to Local SEO in for Google places than just the ranking of your web site. The reality is, even if your site is in the first or second position for three of four keywords, you will still end up in the 3rd or 4th position for other relevant keywords.


Take our Friends At Vivax Pro Painting. Their site is ranked in the first or second position for just about every search you can imagine related to house painting ______ < add a city around Denver. But for a few searches they fall to 4th or so.

They still will get a high percentage of the clicks for one reason They have 6 reviews  and therefore have the “Stars”  on the SER places listing. This will draw people to click. If they had 2 reviews, or none, they wouldn’t stand out, and would lose about 75% of the possible clicks to their site because they are in the 4th position. The first three listings will get about 85% of clicks in a all things being equal situation. But by providing the searches with something that clearly makes your listing stand out, you can pick up a larger share of clicks, and therefore customers.

LOCAL SEO’s who focus only on rankings are not doing the best job they can… and their clients may be losing out on revenue.

That’s way we provide a turn key system to clients to get their customers to go to and review their services on Google and other important sites. It’s not SEO, it’s PR  and conversion tactics.


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White Hat SEO in Denver

As a company that works on web popularity and marketing programs for businesses in Denver a lot, part of that is seeing what tactics  other SEO companies use to get rankings for their clients.

SEO in Denver is a relatively small field, so if you are around long enough you have the opportunity to see the process and work of many of the leading companies.

One tactic that is used often by several is the production of additional web sites in addition to the primary web site of a client. As an example, of you business is a handyman service, an seo might suggest the normal process of working with your main site, and then add 4 additional sites with the words handyman _____

and add a city name to the city term.

Lot’s of good SEO thought process here, and some might call it black hat or at least gray.  AS a comparison other SEO’s use blogs they clearly produced and optimized that frankly have little or no value besides the SEO value.

We think the multiple web site tactic is white hat.  Why wouldn’t you want your business as visible as possible?  If the Internet was a Interstate highway, your web site is a billboard. Of course you would want as many billboards as you could put up.

BUT,  Using the same content on different sites is a no no. This is where marketing and SEO have to work together.  In a Marketing sense, if you are being seen by a different audience than your main site duplicate content wouldn’t matter. (It’s like running an advertisement in two different magazines).  Google however hates duplicate content and has no ability to discern logically if the content is intended and delivered to different audiences.

Just another example of how small business owners can get into ranking trouble, even when their intent is honest.

See more about our search engine optimization

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