Social Media Blog Posts by Scott Gombar

first steps to SEO Success - Meta Tags

First Steps to SEO Success – Meta Tags [And What to Avoid]

It’s been a while since I added to this series.  My plan was to finish the series and turn it into an eBook by the end of the year.  I guess I better get moving a little.

What We Will Discuss:

  • What Are Meta Tags
  • What Meta Tags are Deprecated
  • What Meta Tags are Important
  • Other Meta Tags

So far we have covered:

Now we’re going to talk about one of the more misunderstood and often abused areas of SEO.

What Are Meta Tags?

first steps to SEO success meta tagsMeta Tags are not visible when visiting a web page or blog post.  They are inserted into the header code of a web page.  They provide more information about what the web page or blog post is about.  They also provide other information to search engines.

There are meta tags that are useful to search engines, and others that are no longer useful.

If you are using a WordPress site it is easy to add Meta Info.  Most SEO plugins assist with providing meta information.

Yoast SEO plugin is my SEO plugin of choice on WordPress.  It is the most widely used SEO plugin.  Be sure to do your own research to determine what works best for you.

Most CMS or Website builders provide tools to add the appropriate meta information to your site.

If you are building a website with your own code, then you will have to manually add the appropriate code to your web page header section.

Meta Tags are short snippets of code that provide information about what your web page or blog post is about to search engines.

Why Are Some Meta Tags Useful and Others Not?

Let’s start with Meta Keywords.

Meta Keywords used to indicate to a search engine that a web page should be shown when a searcher queries for that keyword.

The problem was website owners and SEOs would stuff this meta tag with irrelevant keywords.  This created a negative user experience for people looking for specific information.

Meta Keywords can still be added but it’s pointless as major search engines do not use this information anymore.

Meta Description is used to describe what a web page or blog post is about.

A meta description is a one or two sentence synopses of the web pages content.

Google and other search engines won’t display much more than this.

Meta Descriptions are still very useful.  One thing to note is that Google does not always display the meta description in the search results.  Many times, Google will opt to display content from the web page or blog post itself.

There is no clear explanation as to why Google might choose to display content from the web page versus using the meta description.  It most likely depends on the search query being entered.

This is a typical Meta Description

<meta name=”description” content=”Meta Tags Are an Important Aspect of Search Engine Optimization.  Learn what they are and which ones can help you rank on Google”>

meta description tags for SEO

Google has stated that using keywords in a meta description will not help your SEO.

Where meta descriptions will help is enticing searchers to click on the web page.  Writing a compelling meta description, possibly with a call to action, is more likely to drive traffic than ignoring the meta description or using something generic, or keyword stuffing (which won’t help AT ALL).

If you read my blogs on a regular basis then you will know I talk about engagement all the time.  Google uses engagement statistics (bounce rate, time spent on a page, shares, etc..) to determine a page’s relevancy.

If a page has a low bounce rate and good engagement statistics, then there’s a better chance it will rank higher.

If searchers are clicking through a search result because of a well-written meta description, and stay on the page, visit another page on the site, leave a comment or share the page then Google considers the page to be more relevant.

If a page is considered more relevant there’s a good chance the web page moves higher in the search rankings.

Meta descriptions should be 160 characters or less.  Short meta descriptions will usually not have great results when shown.

Google has tested longer meta descriptions in the past.  As of this writing, the meta descriptions are not parsed beyond 160 characters.

Title Tags

We talked about web page and blog titles and their importance in an earlier blog post.

Title Tags are the meta tag used to tell search engines what the title of the web page should be.  This is an important meta tag as well.  This might be the most important of the meta tags.

Google will not serve up other information for the title tag.  The title of your page might make or break your clicks and visits.

<title>First Steps to SEO Success – Meta Tags [and What Not to Do]</title>

meta title tags for SEO

I wrote a lot about Titles and Title Tags in my post about Page and Blog Titles for SEO Success.

Title tags are probably the most important meta tag for your SEO.  This is why I dedicated a separate section to title tags.

Let’s talk a little about what might make the above title successful.

The title describes what the blog post will be about.  It also gives the searcher a reason to click through.

The searcher might ask if they are doing something wrong that could be hurting their SEO.

There was a study done by Brian Dean of Backlinko that showed using parenthesis or brackets significantly improved CTR (Click Through Rates).

These meta tags are probably the most recognized but there are a lot more.  Let’s explore.

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Other Meta Tags

Meta Robots Attribute

This tells Google what it should do with your web page or blog post.  There are two attributes that you can assign to this tag.

Index/NoIndex tells Google whether the webpage should be indexed on the search engine.

Follow/NoFollow tells Google whether the links on your web page should be trusted (Follow) or not trusted (NoFollow)

There are other meta tags that are specific to social media.

Open Graph was originally specific to Facebook.  Open Graph meta tags pass information from your web page to Facebook.  This is how Facebook can identify:

  • The page title
  • The description
  • What image to use
  • Author
  • Date
  • And more

Today Open Graph is used by Pinterest and Google Plus as well.

You can set up Rich Pins for Pinterest.  This is an extra step that is done through the Pinterest platform.

open graph meta tags for Facebook and Pinterest

Some of the more common open graph meta tags are:

<meta property=”og:title” content=”What Happens When You Stop Doing SEO? [It’s Not Pretty]”/>
<meta property=”og:description” content=”What happens when a business decides to stop doing SEO on their website? The results are pretty dramatic and can impact a business immensely.”/>
<meta property=”og:type” content=”article”/>
<meta property=”og:image” content=””/>

what happens when you stop doing SEO post on Facebook


Twitter also has meta tags to do the same.  Twitter meta tags are often left out of blogs and web pages.  This is a lost opportunity for many site owners.

twitter meta tags

What About Rich Snippets?

When I created my SEO Checklist several years ago rich snippets were not widely used yet.  They still have not been implemented by most of the websites on the internet.

Rich Snippets or Microdata is like Meta Tags in that it provides microdata about a web page to search engines.

I wrote about Rich Snippets and Microdata briefly in this blog post. 

Since more is being said about Rich Snippets and their usage on Google’s Search Results Page I will add that to my next blog post in the First Steps to SEO Success Series.

While it has not been declared outright it is possible that one day Rich Snippets ( will replace meta tags.  Google is relying on the information from rich snippets more and more.

If I were implementing an SEO strategy today I would include both meta tags and rich snippets as part of my strategy.

Next up in this series is Rich Snippets and

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One Hack to Improve Website Traffic

This One Hack Will Increase Your Website Traffic by 95%

This One Hack Will Increase Your Website Traffic by 95%

Google Analytics Hack

I have read case studies of a trick that increases traffic by 200 or 300%. It’s an ethical method of increasing traffic so of course the nerd in me was intrigued.  I put the theory to test.  Here are the one trick and the results.  You may get better (or worse) results than I did.  I certainly would have liked a 300% increase in traffic but I got 95%.  I will take it.

The Hack

It’s really quite simple.  If you’ve been blogging on your site for a while then you probably have dozens, if not hundreds, of blog posts.  Go back to a blog post from a year or more ago.  The blog post should be primarily evergreen content.  Evergreen content is content that can be shared or used over and over again because the content is not outdated.

Once you find an appropriate blog post go through the post and update it.  Remove or update content that has a date.  Change a few images around.  Remove any content that is not longer relevant.  Add new content if there is any available.

In my case, I also found that I needed to update some of the on-page SEO elements.  I also modified the title but left the URL structure alone.  Remember if you change the URL structure you will have to add a 301 redirect.

OK, after reviewing and editing the blog post I shared it across most major social media channels.  I was moderately impressed with the results.

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The Results

1 hack to improve website traffic by 95%I had a traffic increase of almost 95% compared to the same time frame a week earlier.   I also had an increase of 67% over the same time period a year earlier. 

Compared to the week earlier there were also some other impressive, and more telling, statistics.

Page Views increased by 157%.  That means people were looking at more pages as a result of the updated blog post.  This is awesome.  You want people to look at more pages on your site.  This shows they are interested in knowing more about you and what you do.

Pages per Session increased by 32%.  Again, this is great.  More pages being viewed every time someone came to the site means they want to know more.

Average Time on Site increased by 5735%.  Wow..just wow.  People read the blog post and likely much more.

Bounce Rate decreased by 19%.  Great as well.  As indicated above people visited more pages while on my website.  This is truly awesome.

One Hack to Improve Website Traffic

An interesting stat was the new versus returning visitors.  The pie chart on the top is the newer results while the one on the bottom is from the previous period.  It makes sense that people who have been to my site before would return to read the article but when you combine that with the increase in page views and time on the site this equates to remarketing.  Most marketers and business owners know that you have to touch someone 7-10 times before you can close.  Instead of touching 16.7% of my audience for at least the second time, I reached 40% of my audience for at least the second time.

Awesome Website Traffic Increase

My quick case study shows what most marketers have probably suspected for some time.  You don’t always have to create new content.  Repurposing and sharing old content works well to drive qualified traffic to your site.

How do I know the traffic is qualified?  Well if it wasn’t qualified traffic the bounce rate would not have decreased and Page Views/Average Time on Site would not have increased so dramatically.  I drew the right audience by repurposing a blog post from over a year ago.

Practicing this one hack consistently will obviously have positive results on your traffic and on your business.  I would love to hear back from anyone who does this to hear their results.

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digital update may 16 2016 from Scott Gombar Google Partner

Digital Update May 16 2016 Facebook Live & Twitter Characters

Digital Update May 16, 2016

Another week has passed and it wouldn’t be a complete week without a couple thousand changes in the digital world.  Alright, maybe I am exaggerating….a little.   There were some pretty big changes and some surprising news this week, and one change a lot are not even aware of yet.


Google has quietly increased the length of their title tags to approximately 70 and their meta descriptions to potentially 278 characters.  That might not seem like a lot but that means that you may be able to get 1 or 2 extra words in the title tag of your page.  For the meta descriptions that is an increase from 160 characters to 278.  That’s quite a jump.

If you’re wondering what in the world I am talking about here is an image to explain further.  In this example you don’t see the extended characters for the title tag or meta description.  It does not seem to happen in all searches but more likely in this case is the site developer used short title tags and meta descriptions.  You should always use as much real estate as you can when it comes to Google so use all characters wherever possible.

Google Title Tag Meta DescriptionFacebook

Facebook LogoFacebook has partnered with DigitasLBi to create a live Morning Show using Facebook Live of course.  The show will be similar to other morning shows in that there will be news, weather, recipes and workouts.

The show is going to be called Rise and Shine, and will air 3-5 times a week.  The show will be displayed on a brand’s Facebook page, in the timeline and guessed it, Messenger.   Look for more on using Facebook Messenger for marketing, and in general, in the near future.

While Twitter owned Periscope has seemingly started to become irrelevant (I’ll probably get some hate mail on this statement) Facebook looks to take live streaming to the next level.  Challenging the status quo of packaged television is certainly one way to do that.  I am excited for the future possibilities.


Twitter Changes Character LimitIn what was probably my favorite piece of news this week Twitter announced they would not count links and pictures towards the 140 character limit in a tweet.  If you use Twitter then you know the pain of tweeting something with a link and an image only to have to edit your text to make everything fit..sometimes making your tweet harder to understand.

There had been talk of Twitter increasing or even removing the character limit of a tweet.  Many long time Twitter users (including myself) were not happy with that plan.  Not counting links and pictures towards the character limit is a much better idea.

I saw an interesting stat last week.  Twitter’s own research revealed that only 2% of active Twitter users switched back to the chronological timeline after Twitter changed their timeline to a relevancy based feed.


Instagram has made some cosmetic changes to their platform.  While there is nothing earth shattering it’s worth noting that the icon is now a pink/orange/purple background with the same camera icon.  They’ve also made the platform a little cleaner.

It’s worth noting a couple of other things about Instagram.  I wrote a couple months ago that Instagram was going to move to a relevancy based timeline similar to Facebook.  While I have heard that some accounts were moved mine has not so it has not rolled out to everyone yet, if it ever will.

Also worth noting is the increase from 15 second to 60 second videos on Instagram.  This happened a few weeks ago but I did not have an opportunity to write or talk about it.

Stay Up To Date With The Digital Updates.  You’ll Be The Cool Nerd at the Dinner Table.

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Snapchat with Scott Gombar

Snapchat is About to go BOOM | Is Your Business Ready?

Using Snapchat For Business Branding And Growth

snapchat for brandingSnapchat is a way of sending messages to followers using videos or photos as the ‘snaps’. Snaps can be manipulated by using a range of filters and they are only available to be viewed for a short period of time, usually twenty-four hours.

Snapchat was launched in 2011. Statistics show that it has over one hundred million active daily users, sending out four hundred million snaps per day. In the United States, it is estimated that eighteen per cent of all social media users are using Snapchat. This figure jumps to thirty percent when only ‘millennials’ are taken into account. But, while over two thirds of Snapchat users fall into the eighteen to thirty-four age group, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram before it, Snapchat is starting to be picked up by a wider demographic

In other words, this is a booming social network and marketers are beginning to latch on to Snapchat’s potential.

However, most marketers do not believe that buying advertising space on Snapchat is the way to go, at least not yet. Snapchat’s one drawback is a big one; according to many marketers is that it is impossible to target users in the way that you can with other social media platforms. And in digital marketing the ability to target and track is now taken as a given.

However; lack of ability to target customers does not mean anyone is dismissing Snapchat as a marketing option. There are other big opportunities for marketers with Snapchat, the biggest being that it is a great way to build and spread brand awareness. Rather than spend big dollars on buying advertising space, many brands are creating fun and innovative content for their customers and followers.

Snapchat and brand awareness

Brand AwarenessBrands are beginning to look at Snapchat as part of their social media marketing mix. It offers a different kind of brand awareness through the use of clever, fun and innovative content marketing campaigns.

Content marketers have found that they can use Snapchat to create engaging stories in a fun and innovative way. As mentioned above there is a range of filters and features available including: emojis, music and text– all available from within the Snapchat platform.

Because of the immediacy and self-imposed time-constraints, Snapchat has started to take off as an authentic social media platform that can make a strong impact and spread brand awareness in real-time.

Here are five ways you can use Snapchat to surprise and delight your audience/customers, while at the same time building and growing awareness for your brand.

  1. Real time access to live events

Why not give your social media audience access to your own live events as they happen?  Events such as unveiling a new product or service, announcements and even activities that your company supports or partners with are all prime examples of sharing opportunities. This is great for your audience, it is not seen as direct selling, but rather it is seen as inviting your friends to celebrate good news with you.

For example, do your partner with a local sports team? Why not Snapchat your team’s successes?

  1. Offer unique content

What if you offered your customers a sneak peek of your product or service before it became available on any other social media platform, or anywhere else for that matter?

One great example is fashion brands that have begun to use Snapchat to show their collections to followers before they hit the runway. This way they make their customers feel included in what is a very exclusive, secretive, even protective industry. This means that by the time the runway shows start their precious customers already have the inside running, like making them feel they are part of the team.

  1. Offer free stuff and other great customer benefits

Everyone loves a giveaway. As you probably already know, when you include a competition, promotion or giveaway in your newsletter, your customers are more likely to open the newsletters and engage with the content. So why not invite your customers to follow your Snapchat stories with the incentive of something free at the end?  It could be a straight giveaway, a two for one deal, or even a discount code for their next purchase. This is a great way to get your customers coming back for more.

  1. Take your customers ‘behind the scenes

share your story on snapchatShow your followers what goes on at the office – this will make them feel part of the family. Company milestones, warehouse tours, staff outings or even just profiling individual staff and their achievements – there are a million and one ways to do this and have fun with it. And best of all, it really adds personality to your brand.

  1. Snapchat gives influencers another way to spread the word about your brand

In the world of social media, influencers are the big guns who can help spread awareness of your brand beyond your traditional demographic. You may not be able to count famous celebrities amongst your influencers, but what about your partners? They will all have their own networks that you can tap into. What about complimentary brands—ones that you can work with to build awareness of both offerings?

Maybe your partners don’t yet have a Snapchat account but they can suggest that followers of their other social media networks—e.g. Facebook and Twitter—take a look at your Snapchats.

Your partners/influencers may in turn have some great idea for content that you can create together.

In conclusion

By using Snapchat for business branding and growth you will show your customers, and prospective customers that you are agile, friendly, approachable and innovative. You are playing in their space, not simply expecting them to come to yours.

At this point in time many marketers believe that Snapchat’s key marketing asset is about brand building and awareness as opposed to direct selling. Create great content, have fun with your customers and partners and above all, use Snapchat to build and spread awareness of your brand.


10 Social Media Trends for 2016

10 Social Trends for 2016

2016 is less than 2 weeks away so it’s time to discuss what trends to look for in social media for the new year.  I started to write the post, then decided I would get some help from the Blab Universe, and I surely did..thanks Samantha Kelly.   So here is the audio, video and blog post…10 Social Media Trends for 2016.

1. Be Personable-I have been saying this for years now. You audience wants to see more of the business owner(s) personality and personal life. Now, I’m not suggesting that you put everything out there for the world to see but give them a taste of what your life outside of work looks like.

We all know that business owners have very little time to themselves but there is a reason you started your own business. I find that most business owners went into business for themselves to improve the quality of life them and their families. Show your audience what that looks like.

Here’s an example drawing from my own life. I love baseball, and it really bothered me that I couldn’t be more involved in my oldest child’s softball career. Now that I am working for myself I have some flexibility with scheduling. This allowed me to coach my son’s t-ball team this past spring, and I loved every second of it. Pictures and moments were shared to my social media accounts.

I didn’t give away my whole life but I showed that I am human and have other passions in life. If you look around you’ll find pictures of my oldest daughter and me on the paintball field.

Social Media Trends for 20162. Become fans of your audience-This one will be the toughest for many business owners, and marketers. It’s also probably the most necessary one if you plan to grow socially as a business.

You probably network in real life if you’re a small business owner. There’s a good chance you see certain people all the time when networking. You ask them how’s business, you show an interest in their business and maybe even their personal life.

Why not do the same on social media? You have an audience (hopefully). Why not interact with what they’re sharing on social media? Like, comment, share…all of these things are noticed and often reciprocated.

I know this is a difficult task to manage. It can be very time consuming. There are several ways to do this. You can hire a digital marketer. You can bring on an intern. You can use a tool like Hootsuite to keep everything in one dashboard.

Whatever you decide to do stick with it. If you’re not a fan of your audience you will lose your audience.

3. Repurpose and Remarket-Such a powerful option in marketing yet so many fail to do this. On the day I am writing this blog post I shared a blog post that was written for a client of mine over a year ago..but it’s relevant today. This is called Evergreen content and you can do this with some of your own content, as long as it’s still relevant.

I also take my blabcasts (podcasts recorded on and upload the content to one of my websites, YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher and it will be on Google Play once Google launches their podcast platform. The link is then shared multiple times over several social media channels.

It’s great to blab or periscope live thus creating a community, but when you do this you’re only reaching a small audience. Not only can this be discouraging to some but it limits your reach. People lead busy lives so you cannot expect everyone to be available for a live show all the time. You can however reach those people later by remarketing and repurposing.

4. Content is still king, it’s just evolved-Yes, content is still king. You’re just seeing it evolve into formats that people can easily digest. Adopting video through live streaming allows you’re brand/business to stand out more because EVERYONE has a blog now. There are several ways to use video and audio to share content as mentioned in repurpose and remarket.

Content Evolved is KingToday I am moving towards a combination of video/audio and written blog. On many of my posts I will now include video and/or audio, plus a written post. Each member of your audience has a different style of absorbing content that is also sometimes determined by their current environment so meet your audience where they are..not where you are.

5. Advertising-I am working on another piece of content regarding the sales/marketing funnel. Certain aspects of the funnel are dead in my opinion. Not everyone will agree with this sentiment and that’s fine but we live in a society of instant gratification.

I don’t want you to think I am suggesting that you should return to the days of cold calling, or have every piece of content you share be a sales pitch. You should absolutely still have a digital marketing plan but like content marketing the funnel is evolving and your team needs to evolve with it.

Google and Facebook are making it incredible easy to market to your ideal client. Google has taken it a step further with Call Only ads. Call Only ads eliminate the need for landing pages, long forms to fill out and moving people through a funnel. By clicking on the ad the potential client is connected to you via a phone call. Just make sure that someone is there to answer.

This is one reason advertising is changing the face of the funnel. The playing field is level now because you can create ads on two of the largest networks in the world, and the ads only connect with who you determine to be your ideal client.

6. Video/Live Streaming-If you have been listening to anything I have been saying for the last few months then you know live streaming is my new favorite form of content delivery. It’s so easy to interact with your audience and create lasting relationships.

There’s a form of marketing..right? Relationship Marketing is exactly what it sounds like…building relationships to grow your brand/business.

digital marketing trends 20167. Listen-Any good salesperson will tell you to LISTEN. This is true on Social Media as well. Listen to what your audience wants and how you can deliver it to them. Social listening is the art of “Searching” for topics related to what you do and joining the conversation.

You do this in real life, well some of us do. Imagine you’re out and about and you overhear a conversation about your favorite sports team, or likely to chime in, even if you don’t know the people having the conversation.

It really is that simple on social media. The difference is it’s easier to find those conversations, and easier to interact. It’s almost expected that someone from outside the circle of the person creating the conversation will join in, especially if hashtags are used.

8. Assisting Others-You will hear me say often that I am always willing to help others, and I practice what I preach. Samantha Kelly suggested we add assisting others to the list. When she said this it made perfect sense, and I came to the realization that people are more willing to help people on social media than they are in real life.

It can be as simple as sharing someone else’s content or thoughts or as complex as connecting people for the greater good via social media. Crowd funding campaigns are often shared across social media and I have witnessed many donations and shares from complete strangers.

This is an easy trend for your brand or business to take part in but still takes an effort. Showing others your sincere compassion goes a long way to creating a trust worthy and honorable name for yourself.

9. Consistency-I had to be reminded of consistency as well. While it is something I always tell clients and others asking for my opinion it slipped my mind for this list. One of the members of the audience in the chat pointed out that consistency is important. This is a very valid point. If you create a Facebook page and post on it for a month but then abandon all efforts you are not being consistent with your social media efforts.

Here is an example of where this can backfire on your business. Lots of people created Twitter accounts only to eventually give up because they didn’t understand them, or they felt the effort wasn’t worth the reward. Along comes Periscope and Blab which both require a Twitter account. Suddenly everyone who wants to participate in one or both find themselves getting reacquainted with Twitter again. The only problem is you left your audience high and dry, and Twitter has made changes since you last were on. There is no level of consistency in your social media campaign.

My suggestion to business owners who are trying to handle their own social media campaign is this. Try one channel first. Figure out where your audience is and use that channel for marketing but remain consistent. Once you feel you have mastered that channel then move on to another channel. This will require a lot of research and learning to get going but if you are not in a position to hire a marketing expert then this is the best approach. Without consistency your efforts are for naught.

10. Build Relationships-If you’re doing 1-9 then this is easy for you. In the face to face world you know you have to build relationships to succeed. If you’re in the business of burning bridges it won’t be long before there are no bridges to burn. You know what you have to do.

It’s no different on social media. You have to take the time to cultivate relationships. Yes live streaming can speed that process up a little through Blab, Persicope and soon Facebook Live. You have to build up the relationships and it probably will take a little longer and a little more effort on social media.

There you have it.  Nothing earth shattering or really that new, but all of them are trending as we head into 2016.  Really all you need is to apply what you already know from interacting with people in the real world and apply it to the social world.  Do you think you are able to do that as a business owner or entrepreneur?

Did we leave anything off of the list?  Let me know!

Frustrated at Google

Are You Making a Big Mistake With Google?

CT Social Media ExpertThe face of search is Google.  It still is today and it shows in the metrics.  Nearly 70% of all search queries take place on Google but you may be making a huge mistake by putting all your eggs in the Google basket?

Consider this.  You’re the passenger in a car.  The driver says I’m hungry and could go for some Chinese food.  You’re not in an area you’re familiar with when it comes to restaurant options.  What do you do?

Today many people ask Siri, Cortana or Google using a voice search.  Unless you’ve been under a rock you know that iPhones have a large share of the smartphone population.  This means that when an iPhone user uses Siri to perform a search they may not be using Google for their search results…a decrease in their search dominance.

With one example you can see that the face of search is evolving.  However, it goes so much further than that.  There are numerous ways to for things now.  Let’s cover a few.

Google Search Alternatives

Voice Search on Your Smart Phone-As a mentioned earlier many smart phone users will use Siri, Cortana or Google to perform a voice search from their phone.  Obviously if you’re using an Android then you’re still using Google to search but if you use Siri or Cortana you can change the default search engine.  Keep in mind that a large share of the smart phone market belongs to Apple so Siri is used often to perform a search.

siriYouTube-The second biggest search engine today is YouTube.  Yes, I know it’s owned by Google but it is still a different platform.  Many people use YouTube to find how to videos, DIY videos, entertainment and much more.

Facebook-Do I need to go into details?  Facebook is by far the largest social media platform on the planet.  That means people are searching for things.  They’re looking up people, businesses and asking questions and so much more.  Facebook has been developing their search functionality for years in an effort to be the face (pun intended) of the internet.

Pinterest-Pinterest has a very large audience of women.  That means that when it’s time to look for recipes, clothes, shoes, home décor and things often associated with women they may be using Pinterest before going to Google or Facebook.  I smell opportunity for blue collar businesses!

Bing, Yahoo, Ask-Some of the other search engines.  I say some because there are more.  These are the more popular ones.   Bing has been chipping away at Google for years but has gained very little ground.  Can you guess what the default search engine is for Cortana?

LinkedIn-It’s where the professionals go.  If I want to find information on a business owner, sales person or solopreneur LinkedIn is the default search engine.  If you’re a business owner not on LinkedIn there’s a good chance you’re hurting your business.  It’s not enough for you to be on LinkedIn though.  Your company should also have a presence on LinkedIn.

People also use LinkedIn for Job Search.

Reddit, Digg, Delicious-These are social bookmarking sites.  Essentially they’re another way to share content.  However many people on the internet use these to “discover” the web.

Twitter-Twitter as a platform has a large number of users but also may have the largest number of idle or abandoned accounts.  However that is changing as people who once ignored their Twitter accounts are suddenly seeing the value thanks to Periscope and Blab.  Twitter has also introduced moments in an attempt to keep people on the Twitter platform.  Searching hashtags (#) started on Twitter and it’s still a relevant search mechanism today..on most social media platforms.  Twitter search is used in large part to discover currently relevant conversations.

In fact Google recognized Twitter’s popularity and partnered with them.  Tweets are now indexed on Google…..again.

green-twitteriTunes-Speaking of conversations..iTunes is currently the most popular place for Podcasts.  If you’re seeking information on a particular topic and you think a podcast on the way to work or a meeting might be the perfect way to gain knowledge then you’re likely searching on iTunes.   Google is going to add podcasts to Google Play in 2016 but for now its iTunes or a plethora of 3rd party podcast submission sites.

About(.com)-says they are the largest source for expert content on the internet.  You can get questions answered, and find resolutions to some of your problems.  There is also Quora which is a social platform that basically does the same thing.

Yelp, YP, Angies List and others-These are local directories, and there are hundreds.  Generally speaking there are probably 5-10 high quality local directories.  The rest are largely ignored by marketers and most businesses.

Industry Specific Social Media Platforms-Just about every industry has their own platform to participate on.  For example Avvo is a platform for attorneys while Bigger Pockets is one for Real Estate Investors.  If you’re looking for a business or person in a specific industry there’s likely a resource for it.

There is a ton of other ways to search the internet for information.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.

The Madness

Frustrated at FacebookOne thing I do want to point out is Google does index most of these sites and directories as well.  That means if you take to Google to look for something then it may show up on the first page in one of the aforementioned sites.  However you won’t always find what you’re looking for that way.  If you’re like me then when you search on Google you probably ignore the directories and social sites in most cases.

You’re probably wondering why a Google Certified Partner would write a blog post to talk about other ways to search the internet.  Well, there is a method to my madness.  Yes it’s true I am a Google partner and some would even call me an expert.  However it’s important to understand the changing landscape of search for your business.

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up all the options as they exist today, and in the future.  I can compare this to the SEO companies that still practice link spamming and keyword stuffing.  These methods today will hurt you, but five years ago they worked.  It was wrong to do these things but it worked if you wanted to rank on Google.  Today your site probably doesn’t exist if you haven’t updated your methods.

I have always looked to the future to ensure that my clients and my business are prepared.  Clients are listed on local directories, all of the major search engines, relevant social media platforms and anywhere that will work for their business…even iTunes in some cases.

SEO is not just optimizing for Google.  It’s optimizing for the user.  Google recognized this about 5 or 6 years ago.  So should your marketer or SEO provider.


Episode 1 of Become a Social Business

Episode One Blab And Scope

Episode 1 of Becoming a Social Business by Scott Gombar.  It really was an open forum.  I spoke with numerous people regarding how to make their business a more social business by using Blab, Periscope, Facebook, LinkedIn and a relative unknown in the Social Media world, Alignable.  We had several experts in the field chime in and let us know their thoughts and opinions.

The focus was definitely on Blab and Periscope.  Let’s just say the future looks bright.  We discussed how politicians might be able to leverage Blab and how it’s already been used for webinars, training and even a realtor showing a house.

I also briefly discusses a new platform called Alignable.  This is a newer Social Media channel focused on local business growth.  Sign up and add Scott Gombar!

Have a listen and let me know what you think.

5 Easy Steps to Blab Your Way to Business Success

BlabIMIt’s new and it’s fun.  In fact some, including myself, find it addictive.  Blab is the newest platform to storm the social media scene.  While the idea is not necessarily a new one (Google Hangouts has been around for a while), it’s ease of use and tie in with Twitter make it much more appealing to less technically savvy people.

I have had the privilege of participating in probably about half a dozen blabs now..maybe more.  One Blab afforded me the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback to a member of the Blab team.  On another Blab we got to speak with someone who has been using Blab for some time and was able to provide tremendous pointers and feedback.  The consensus seems to agree with my opinion that ease of use is the primary reason Blab will rival Google Hangouts in a short period of time.

Blab is still in beta with updates and new releases on a fairly regular basis.  In fact on Friday I co-hosted a Blab for my Growth Success Radio Podcast, manually downloaded the video and uploaded to YouTube.  On Saturday a  button was added that allows you to upload directly to YouTube.  Blab is incredibly easy to use so if you have not used it yet, I would strongly encourage you to use it.  Blab can have 1-4 people talking on camera to each other about whatever they want to talk about.  I have seen about every topic imaginable.  There is also a chat room where people can also engage with the hosts.

Hosting and Participating in Blabs allows you to make a name for yourself.  Talking with others gives you the opportunity to display your expertise in your industry.  Additionally people do business with people they know, like and trust.  Participating in Blabs gives you the opportunity to do this on a regular basis if you have the time.  I have only hosted one Blab to date but as I mentioned earlier I have participated in at least a half dozen..maybe more.   I have met people, including influencers, that I may have never met otherwise.  I was able to speak with them and display my knowledge of Digital Marketing while building relationships.  Think Speaking Engagements meets Networking.

Five Easy Steps to Blab Your Way to Business Success

  1. BlabbingHost a Podcast Style Blab with Other Industry People – I host a weekly podcast on Business Growth and Success every Friday at 10am.  It’s simple to schedule and set up.  It’s simple to start and add your co-hosts.  I have a co-host and a guest every week and we talk all things business.  I switched my podcast over to this format because it’s so much easier for everyone to get on.   In order to use Blab you have to have a Twitter account but that also means you have so many potential viewers.  People love to come in and ask questions and get advice.
  2. Visit and Participate in Other Blabs – It’s amazing to me that when I visit other Blabs people check what I do and invite me into their conversations.  Right now I’d say for every 3 I visit I am invited into one.  This helps you grow your following on Blab very quickly and also helps to establish your expertise on a given topic.  Many hosts are very cordial and love to hear your thoughts on topics.  Just make sure you are prepared to discuss whatever the topic might be.
  3. Record & Upload Blabs to YouTube and Your Site (and Facebook) – One of the awesome features of Blab is the ability to record the blab session making it so much easier to market your podcast.  As I mentioned earlier Blab has now added a button for upload to YouTube.  Even better is Blab will send you an email shortly after the session is over with a link to download your Blab as a video or audio file.  You can then edit the video and/or upload it to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Your Website or wherever else you choose.
  4. Record & Upload Audio Version of Your Blab for iTunes and Other Podcast Feeds – As I mentioned in number 3 you will receive a link with a audible version of your Blab session.  You can download this and upload it to wherever you host your podcasts.  Our podcasts are uploaded to and automatically submitted to iTunes and other podcasts sites.  So you can go to the RSS feed on Growth Success Radio or iTunes to be notified when the next episode is available.
  5. Be Consistent – As with any social media platform you have to have some level of consistency.  If you’re not blagging on a regular basis you will not build up a following and you will not be relevant.  You should also try to participate in as many relevant blabs as possible.  Of course I am not suggesting you live on need to eat and sleep, but you have to build your audience just like you do on any other social media platform.

Blab is growing and evolving constantly.  And there are plenty of other ideas and tips that I could point out but we’re just going to start out with these 5.  Practice with these items and before you know it you will be the Blab expert.

You see it’s not hard to get going on Blab.  I have encouraged several of my clients, and one non-client to host shows on Blab because I truly believe it will work for them.   One final thought…Blab is in beta and very new to a lot of people.  While I have had a lot of luck in being asked to participate in Blabs I don’t know that this will be the case as the popularity grows.  On my own show I lock the 4th seat because I have had a few “troublemakers” try to join.  I suspect that as Blab grows you may not have as much luck as I have had.


Tweets on Google Search Results

So You Ignored Twitter, Now What?

So You Ignored Twitter, Now What?

Tweets on Google Search ResultsGoogle is now indexing Tweets from Twitter.  You remember Twitter right?  That social media site that you chose to ignore..the one only kids are using..the one you just could not understand.  Yes, that one.  Well you spent all of your time avoiding it like the plague and now Google is indexing tweets.

What does that mean to you?

Hypothetically a tweet might just out rank your website for the same search term. Imagine this scenario.  You are the owner of a pizza restaurant in Smallville, USA.  You work hard for years ensuring that your site is found by Google because Google is where people go to search for things. Then one day someone posts how Tony’s Pizza Shop in Smallville, USA is the greatest pizza.  Because of the relevance (time and date, locale and keyword) it now ranks above your website on a Google search.

Most Twitter users are also mobile and I am sure you have been hearing a lot about Mobilegeddon.  Not to beat a dead horse but you can no longer afford to ignore the mobile population.  Mobile search has surpassed desktop search for the first time in history.

Of course I am over simplifying this for the sake of argument but I think you get the point.  You spent years making excuses why you are not on Twitter and now it could come back to bite you in the ass.  What else are you ignoring?  Facebook?  LinkedIn?  Google+? Instagram or Pinterest?

A pizza restaurant would do well on Instagram, and you can cross post to Twitter and Facebook from Instagram allowing you to become more efficient with your social Pizza Restaurants Should Market on Instagram and Twittermedia efforts.  In fact I follow a pizza restaurant or two on Instagram.  They typically get a lot of likes for every picture they post.  Comments often include “What Are Your Hours?”  or “We’re Coming for Lunch Tomorrow” or “@joeschmoe when are we going?”.

What’s the Point?

Really, the point is this. You have only yourself to blame if you ignore any of the larger social media platforms.  If you feel you just can’t keep up, or you don’t have time to learn something new, or you simply don’t have time to manage another social media platform there are plenty of qualified individuals and companies that can manage it for you.

Social Media is a critical part of any marketing plan for a business.  It’s not an optional part of your marketing efforts, it’s almost mandatory.  If you can’t be found on the internet then you may as well not exist as a business.  Just look at some of the things you can do on Social Media.

  • Create a community of people who are in the buying process and educate them on your expertise.
  • Listen for questions, not just from your followers but from anyone…and answer the questions to build trust and good will.
  • Share blog posts from yourself and other relevant bloggers.
  • Share quick video tips (Video has the best reach of all forms of content).
  • Create Good Will by sharing other businesses you have worked with and their expertise.
  • Target and retarget those who meet your desired demographics
  • Attract people to your website or landing page with the intent of getting them into your sales funnel.
  • Much, Much more

Google Runs Things..Sort Of

Search Wars featuring Google, Facebook and TwitterAs the search and content wars continue to heat up you can bet more changes are coming.  In fact Twitter and Facebook are working on search in efforts to rival Google.  Facebook and Google want to be your gateway to the internet, and for some they already are.  If you’re not making an consistent effort to broadcast across the popular social media sites then you need to be.  If you aren’t able to for whatever reason (time, knowledge, otherwise) then it might be time to reallocate your marketing budget to a professional with the tools and know how to get it done.

As a side note..most professions also have social media sites specifically for their professions.  You should also join these site as it will allow you to get advice and share ideas with others in your profession.

Not sure how your marketing efforts are doing?  Find out in 60 seconds for free!

7 Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

7 Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

My Personal BrandMaybe you own a business.  Possibly you’re a sales rep or an insurance agent.  You could also be a student, or an executive in corporate America.  The truth is no matter where you are in life you have to be concerned with your personal brand.

I am an Inbound (Digital) Marketer by profession which means that I use the internet to market businesses and individuals.  While this is a part of developing a personal brand I am going to focus on the not so technical aspect of improving your personal brand.

7 Simple Steps to Brand Bliss


  1. Be Unique-this cannot be over-stated. The cookie cutter method just will not work here.  To stand out, to be memorable you have to be unique.  That does not mean you have to be over the top outrageous, it just means you cannot imitate someone else.People have a keen sense and ability to be able to sniff out someone who is being phony.  Overstating facts or exaggerating stories are almost always easily identified.  A quick turn off; for me at least is someone who is obviously telling tall tales.
  1. Be Yourself-there is nothing worse than someone who tries to portray something they’re not. This kind of segues nicely from Being Unique.  The easiest way to be identified as a fraud is to be someone you’re not.  It’s nice to have people you look up to, maybe even carry a quote or 2 from them but ultimately you have to be yourself.Being Yourself is hard for some people.  I am an introvert.  That means I am not exactly a social butterfly, at least until I get comfortable around people.  To counter that I have what I am told is a very dry sense of humor and sarcasm (I get it from my mother).  Most people identify me with a quick wit, almost always wearing a tie, always talking about my kids and always willing to help another small business owner.  These qualities describe who I have been pretty much my entire adult life.What qualities have you had your entire adult life?  What personality traits can you translate into your brand?

personal branding

  1. Be Personable-if people can’t approach you your brand is going to suffer. I often catch myself folding my arms.  Folded arms sends a signal to others that you don’t want to be approached.  In my case nothing could be further from the truth, it’s just comfortable for me but I am very conscious of the image I portray and correct it.Another way to be viewed as unapproachable is by burying your face in your smart phone or some reading material.Learn people’s names.  There are lots of tips out there on how to remember people’s names.  This is probably one of the best tips I can give you regarding being personable.  I am very good at remembering names but many people are not.  Use Google and research how to remember people’s names.

    When you see someone you met before say Hi (Insert Name Here), how are you?   How’s business?  Even more impressive is remembering specific information relevant to that person.

    For example….I received an email last week from someone who wanted to schedule a meeting with me.  I have seen this person several times before at other networking events.  I remembered that he worked a 9-5 but was also running a business after work hours.  I also remembered what that business was and approximately where he lived.  I responded with some times mentioning that I knew he worked during the day and we could meet near his home to make it more convenient for him.  He replied back with how impressed he was with my memory.

    I also would recommend not being negative in any way.  Don’t put your competition down, or another person down.  The first thing people will think is what is he/she saying about me when I am not around?

    One of the most important tools in your arsenal will be a CRM.  If you don’t already have one in use, get one.  This will fill in the gaps with your leads/clients and fellow networkers.

  1. Be Honest-honesty is the best policy. It’s really that simple.  If you’re not ready to commit to something just be up front.  If you cannot do something for someone due to ability or prior commitments just tell the truth.  If you’re not an expert on a topic, don’t make yourself out to be.
  2. Be the Expert-answering questions and offering quick solutions will quickly establish you as an expert in your arena. Everyone wants to work with an expert and everyone will go to the expert.Some of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert include podcasting, speaking engagements and awards/recognition.  It will be difficult at first to get yourself recognized as an expert on something but with time and persistence you will get there.Networking will definitely help.  So will the use of social media to join in on conversations regarding a topic that you want to be recognized as the expert in.
  1. Be Aware-people will talk but what are they saying. Monitor conversations to get an idea of how your brand is trending in your space.  There are numerous ways to monitor conversations online, especially Twitter, and to a lesser degree Facebook.Google yourself occasionally to see if there has been any feedback that maybe you’re not aware of.  Nothing can set a business back quicker than a negative comment, especially one that goes unanswered.Check some of the more popular directories such as Yelp, Bing and Yellow Pages to see if there are any reviews.

personal branding and social mediaThere are several local directory managers that can help you monitor these sites.

Lastly, survey your customers once in a while.  Ask for feedback on how well you provide services or how they are enjoying your product.  Even an occasional phone call, note or email just to see how things are going will go a long way with building trust and repeat business.

  1. Be Consistent-If you show up for one networking event wearing a 3 piece suit and the next event (of similar type) wearing shorts and a t-shirt you are not delivering a consistent personal brand.If you tell everyone you sell luxury cars one month, and then next month you’re selling’re not delivering a consistent message.  Worse your audience is not going to remember what you do, or recognize you as the expert on a topic.  A jack of all trades does not usually do well in business.Also be consistent with attendance.  Not showing up for a monthly event for 6 months does not allow you to build a level of trust with other people.

In Conclusion

Personal Brand Equals SuccessChances are whatever you’re in business for you have competition.  While you can specialize in a niche of a particular product or service you will still likely have competition.  At the end of the day you’re not selling your product or service, you’re selling yourself.

People want to do business with someone they know, like and trust.  Gone are the days of picking a name out of the Yellow Pages.  Just ask yourself how many times you have read posts on Facebook asking for recommendations on a plumber?  How often do you take to Google to research before committing to making a purchase?  Do you read the reviews?  Guess what, others are reading reviews too!  People usually post positive reviews about business and owners they know, like and trust.

If you’re trying to move up at work, or looking for a job out of school, it is still critical to build your brand.  How many times have you heard of people getting promoted, or getting a job because of who they knew?  How many times have you heard people ask how did John get that position when I know more than them?  Get out there and network with industry professionals.  Check out Meetup or Facebook for groups that get together and network with them.  Stop watching TV!

Happy Personal Branding


Edit 3/20/15: I have added a Slide Share presentation based on thisblog post.