When you want the latest digital marketing news, turn to Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks and co-host Jacob Man on the EDGE. This week they were joined by special guest PJ Christie, CEO and founder of Search and Convert. Here’s the news roundup from Episode 313 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast:
50% of Small Businesses Do Not Have a Marketing Plan
From Matt Southern on Search Engine Journal: 50% of Small Businesses Do Not Have a Marketing Plan! Furthermore, this survey of 350 small businesses revealed 25% of respondents are unsure how they plan to grow their business in 2019, 55% spend less than 5% of their annual revenue on marketing, more than 58% spend five hours or fewer on marketing every week, and 86% would rather spend time on their business than spending time on marketing.
- Erin Sparks: Seriously? Half of small businesses have no marketing plan?
- PJ Christie: I’m actually surprised it’s that high from the small business owners I know. And for the ones that do have a plan, is it any good? If you’re saying the plan is written on a Google doc or a piece of paper they can pull out of a drawer, then no, it’s not. And spending less than 5% of revenues on marketing is way off. The rule of thumb is 10%. So they’re just shooting themselves in the foot at every turn.
Google updates Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines
On Search Engine Land, George Nguyen reports Google has updated its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines for the first time since July 2018. EDGE of the Web episode 302 featured Marie Haynes who is a Google Quality Rater Guidelines. Check it out to learn more.
- PJ Christie: If you obsessively watch Google Search Console like I do, the signals they’re sending are really clear. It’s all about the mobile experience. They want to make sure impressions and click-through rates are there for the organic search results that are showing up. If SEO matters to your company, then Google matters. They’re paying a lot of attention to the actual performance of websites. And if your site is performing, then what they’re really looking for (if Google had their way) would to provide the one result that would be the exact result everybody is looking for. Pay attention to metrics like bounce rate, click-through rate and so on.
- Erin Sparks: And then there’s EAT: Expertise, authority and trust. If you’re not doing right by those on your site, you’re not going to rank.
- PJ Christie: For sure. If there’s a health component or a wellness component to what you do, Google is actively going to go and find the most authoritative source out there. And if your site is not the most authoritative source in your market, then you’re just not going to be seen. And you really can’t fake true authoritativeness and expertise.
Time To Ditch Mailchimp?
- Jacob Man: It looks like they’re trying to reduce the number of free setups by counting your “audience” rather than subscribers. If someone unsubscribes, they’re off your list, right? But now Mailchimp will still consider them part of your audience, which means your audience can keep growing even if your list shrinks. And you’ll be paying by your audience. If there’s an option to “archive” people so they don’t count towards your audience, then a bunch of other questions come up around re-subscribing, overseas implications and so on. If you don’t want to archive people, then you end up paying for audience that isn’t even receiving your newsletter. People are not happy about any of this.
- PJ Christie: I find email marketing in general to be problematic. If you’re not using a clear double-opt-in model, you could be alienating your base. Personally, I gave up on email marketing back in 2009. In part this is because I don’t have a sales team. It’s just me doing customer acquisition, and I don’t want to risk alienating people by reaching out too frequently. But if part of Mailchimp’s attraction is taking your list and targeting them in Facebook for remarketing, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s simply not going to work like it used to, and probably not at all. Facebook just won’t do it.
FTC Tackles Companies Not Allowing Negative Reviews
From Mike Blumenthal on GatherUp: Last week the FTC issued orders against three businesses for including illegal non-disparagement language in their contracts with customers that attempt to limit negative reviews. This is the first time the FTC has actually taken enforcement action against the use of disparagement clauses that violate the Consumer Review Fairness Act.
- Erin Sparks: The penalties are minor if the company agrees to file ongoing compliance reports. But continued violations can be fined up to $42,000 per incident.
- PJ Christie: I applaud their overall effort and their overall mission, but I’m not certain that this is where I want them spending their time. It’s not really policing free speech that I’m worried about. I support the effort uphold a level of fairness in user agreements. But there’s bigger fish to fry right now at the FTC.
Connect with PJ Christie, Founder and CEO Search and Convert
Twitter: @SearchNConvert (https://twitter.com/SearchNConvert)
Search and Convert Website: https://searchandconvert.com
Search and Covert Facebook: @searchandconvert (https://www.facebook.com/searchandconvert)
Search and Convert LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/search-and-convert/about
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