Hey Google! Take me to the Best Bike Shop in Greenville”

Ah, the simple life. Remember when SEO, Search Engine Optimization, was relatively uncomplicated?

You could spend a few hours on your Google dashboard, track down your keywords (the reference point your customers were using to find your site) then write a blog post and stuff it like a Thanksgiving turkey with corn bread and key words. Observe:

“Are You Looking for the Best Bike Shop in town? Well take a look at Sunshine Bikes, located in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina. We stock the best , fastest, and sexiest bicycles in Greenville, SC and our customers come from all over the Upstate of South Carolina for our great pricecs on Michelin cycling tires, Power Bars, Stan’s Tubes, and components from SRAM, Ritchey, Campagnolo, and Cane Creek. ”

Santa Cruz mountain bike fromSunshine Cycles in Greenville, SC. Yeah they might be a client of mine.

 

Not a cyclist? Just swap out all that cycling specific nomenclature (bike shop, best bike shop,bike tires) for your product’s and you’ll quickly understand.

Google prefers fresh websites with rich content and if your site hasn’t updated its content at the same rate as your competitor’s, they were more likely to end up on the top of the search results. And that’s why blogs were critical to one’s SEO success.

Now…who actually types into a search engine field anymore?  Now we have Alexa, Siri, Google Home, Echo, and running robots.  Yeah, running robots.All this guy is missing is a chest-mounted .50 caliber.


Didn’t an Arnold Schwarzneggar character warn us about this?

SEO. Because your web visitors might not say “I’ll be back.”

Anyway, where was I? Voice search.

“Hello Alexa? I still like to type and prefer solid writing skills over video production.”

 

Now it’s no longer enough to manage your SEO in that old-fashioned, aforementioned technique. Blogs are still important (Google still likes fresh web content) and when crafting that blog post, you’d best take a few minutes, use your favorite voice search app and search for your own product. Go back to your Google dashboard and see how people are finding your site, and your competitor’s, then craft that post using those long phrases and sentences. And it helps if you can craft an intriguing essay because the written word is still a powerful tool.

And if you’re struggling with your SEO, your Instagram feed, or the jungle that LinkedIn has becoome, give us a call. We’ve been doing this for a few years and love helping customers find the perfect bike, or restaurant, or fabricated rebar, or craft beer, or…

If I don’t answer the phone it’s because I’m on my bike.

You can reach us at john at jackrussellconsulting dot com. Or just us the contact form below.

Hoping for an If

I’ve been fascinated by and have followed Formula 1 racing since high school. Unlike NASCAR or Indy racing, the technology, and the budgets of F1 are in another world. And when a team of engineers has a budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars, there’s no telling hat they’ll come up with. Over the years I’ve watched clever teams subjugate the rule book by chilling the fuel (lower temperatures allowed the fuel tank to hold more fuel); forcing exhaust gas over a movable rear wing to increase the car’s grip; create an electrical charge for hybrid motors by capturing the heat generated by the brakes; use pneumatic bursts of air in lieu of springs to open and close valves because a mechanical spring could never move fast enough when your engine revs to 16,000 rpm. And every year the cars become more fascinating.f1-mclaren-honda

 

And one of the best teams has always been McLaren. Founded by Denis Hulme and Bruce McLaren in the late 1960’s, their team grew to be a technical powerhouse that dominated a variety of racing disciplines. And in the mid 1980s, none other than Honda joined their team as the engine supplier. From 1983 to 1992, Honda engines powered F1 cars to 67 victories, with 44 of those coming from McLaren. And those 44 victories brought McLaren four consecutive world championships.

Following those stunning years, Honda took a hiatus from F1. They came back,sort of half-heartedly, from 2000 to 2004, but not with McLaren. And then in 2014 they announced they would be back with McLaren. And the racing world rejoiced and delighted in this. Fans wondered what sort of technical marvel Honda would produce, what sort of breathtaking innovation would come forth from the Willy Wonka factory of engine manufacturers?

Sadly their return to glory never materialized. While the car above may look like an earthbound missile, it’s been woefully uncompetitive against the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, and Williams. They have two former world champions behind the wheel, the brightest engineers in Japan and England, and a history of technical innovation on their side and they still managed to create an absolute dud of an engine, which created a dud of a car.

What went wrong?

For that you’ll have to ask someone much smarter than me but it’s gotten so bad that one of their drivers recently hoped for an if:

hoping

Did Fernando Alonso really say that?

This relationship seemed to have everything going for them. They had the best budget, team, support, leadership, drivers, and so on. And yet here they are, well into their second year as a team and their lead driver is wishing someone in front of him had wrecked because that might have given him the possibility for a podium, i.e. third place.

Trust me when I say that no one in the racing world would’ve expected this arrangement to yield these sort of results.

Which brings us to you and your business web-based goals. The clients I perform Search Engine Optimization for end up on the front page of their desired key word searches. Results like that do not come overnight, they come after research, website optimization and the publishing of essays geared towards the client’s product or service. And I believe that all the technical know how in the free world won’t achieve results unless you’ve got an intriguing storyteller.

I know I couldn’t save McLaren, but perhaps I can help you. With SEO there’s no secret formula, no white hat methods that only so-and-so knows; it’s solid common sense followed up with carefully crafted essays designed to draw the reader in, get them to engage with your website and convert them to followers and buyers.

Don’t turn over your SEO to an office volunteer then hope for an if. Your social media landscape is too important a commodity for that. My company, Jack Russell Social Media, specializes in front page SEO results. And remember, the best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google’s search results.

Giraffe for Rent in Greenville, SC

One thing’s certain in this brave new world of digital marketing, change. The arc of the social media landscape is as predictable as a handful of popcorn kernels tossed into a hot frying pan. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on the learning curve of social media, some platform throws a monkey wrench into the works and the popcorn starts popping. Right now I’m challenged by LinkedIn wanting to be Facebook, Facebook wanting to replace cable TV, Youtube wanting to be Spotify, and Twitter forgetting what made it cool. Even Instagram has forgotten what made it fun and interesting and so popular.  And Snap Chat? Sorry kids but now that Town & Country Magazine, Huff Post, and your local TV stations have Snap Chat accounts, the end of their cool factor is near.

DSC_0952

Autumn the Giraffe has a new Daddy.

One of my clients recently approached me and wanted to spend a chunk of money and they asked me to find an outlet. The client is Mark Muncy, a well-known Pediatric Dentist in Greer.  Mark’s office is heavily decorated in a jungle motif with parrots, tigers, monkeys, and plenty of tropical green plants. He’s also been known to don the occasional giraffe costume. Hey after all, he’s a Pediatric Dentist. And he’s sort of a big kid. You’d have to be to be in that business.

Dr. Muncy Logo RGB

And this is also my work, along with Curtis Newman and Sonya Brown.

So I thought about his needs, his customers, and how best to reach them. And then I went to the Greenville Zoo and found a huge opportunity for him. As of May 1st, Mark’s office now sponsors the Giraffe Cam and Giraffe exhibit.

Five years ago, heck even a year ago I would’ve come to a different conclusion. A year ago I would’ve spent some money on Google but take a listen, mobile web searches are now taking place in a handful of apps and that’s a trend that’s going to continue. How many of use now Facebook as a search engine without even realizing it?

“Hey friends, where’s the best place to get a tune up on a Lexus sedan?”

Every time you pose such a question on Facebook, a Google programmer gets that much further way from a 12% raise.

So back to those giraffes. Here’s why I think this’ll be a home run for Mark Muncy. The zoo gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a year and most of those are moms with their kids. And the Giraffe Cam gets tens of thousands of hits per month and in the end of the summer, we’ll get a third giraffe, a male that’s coming here to hopefully make giraffe babies with Autumn. Let’s hope, correct?

Plus the Giraffe Cam is so darn cute. I dare you to watch Tatu the baby for less than sixty seconds because you won’t want to miss her doing something baby giraffy.

So how can I help you? Is your business looking for an out of the box cross-promotional opportunity? Then give me a call and we’ll talk. (864) 616-7171. There’s a giraffe out there waiting on you.

Super Chef!

I’m the Chef that knows his way around SEO, Google, Facebook, and a kitchen.

 

 

Concessions

The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart. ~ Robert Green Ingersoll

Who hasn’t tasted defeat? I have and it hurts. I’ve competed in Tae Kwan Do, Cycling, Cooking, and Business. And in these competitive endeavors I’ve often felt well-prepared and ready for battle. Over the years I’ve brought home trophies, medals, glory, newspaper clippings, TV and magazine appearances, grand prizes, and cash. I’ve also brought home wounds, stitches, bruises, and scars of all shapes and sizes.  In one rather memorable NORBA-sanctioned Mountain Bike race, I knew, just knew I would win. I can’t remember being more prepared or more confident than at any time in my life. Then as soon as the starter’s pistol fired, I was waylaid by another rider and hit the ground hard enough to get a mouth full of dirt and gravel embedded in an elbow. I managed to finish in third place.

Ouch

I’ve been humiliated by a trio of kids on a Food Network show that was supposed to be fun entertainment but it sure felt like a winner take all competition to me. So that’s how I approached it. And when the kids overwhelmingly voted for the other chef, wow, did that hurt. Yeah, nothing like having millions of folks watch along as you get your butt handed to you by twelve year-olds.

As I’ve I grown older, I’ve learned to be prepared for defeat. It still hurts but it should also make me stronger, more resilient, and hopefully more gracious. I’ve also helped others compete and I’ve prepared them for victory, and defeat. Because at the end of the day, we have to be ready to accept the outcome. We can’t blame the officials, the fans, the field of play or the opponents. When we compete, we better have a keen understanding of the rules, our teammates, and our own abilities.

Which brings me to Cam Newton.

There’ so much to like about the guy. Of course his athletic abilities are super human and he’s done wonders for the Panthers. And I like his approach to the game. I love the way he signals a first down, the way his cadence can disrupt the opposing team, and the high fives he gives to his fans after a victory. And honestly I can’t remember any pro football player taking that much interest in the fans, or his teammates. At the NFC championship game, he had all the names of his teammates inscribed on his shoes. With respect to children, especially the ones battling a life-threatening illness, he goes above and beyond what any player in my recollection has done. Yeah, there’s a lot to like about Cam.

And then this happened.

Cam sulks jpeg

And we all know it was wrong. But just catch your breath for a minute and understand that Cam is the leader of the team, not the leader of the organization. There’s Jerry Richardson and after that there’s a host of administrative staff; a GM, assistant GM, Director of Player Engagement, Team Administrator, HR Director, and so on. So my question is, did any of these people prepare Cam Newton for defeat? I know, Cam should’ve been more professional and gracious. But the man is 26 years old and he’s just had his butt handed to him in the most important performance of his life. Of course he’s going to be disappointed and dejected.  Plus the NFL decided to cram both teams into the same conference room so he has to listen to the opposing team brag about their victory. The real question is why the heck was he allowed to go in front of the press in such a foul mood? Wasn’t there anyone in the Panthers organization that had prepared him for this moment?

When Apollo 11 lifted off on its way to the moon, President Nixon had a speech ready just in case the astronauts died. And he was prepared to read it. General Eisenhower had a concession speech ready in case the Normandy landings failed. It’s the hallmark of a great leader to prepare themselves.

Physically and mentally, Cam, and the Panthers, were ready to play football. He’s a tough competitor and I have no doubt he walked into that stadium in the best shape of his life. He’s had an amazing year and he’s led his team through adversity and glory. He’s done wonders for the organization yet when he needed the Panthers organization in his corner, they weren’t there.

Are you prepared for defeat? Are your people?

Work hard. Work smart. Know your opponent’s weakness and exploit them. And when all is said and done and you’ve given it your best shot and you still end up in second place, will you throw yourself on the floor and kick and scream? Or will you hold your head high, do a little self-evaluation, then plot your comeback?

Panthers 5

A Case Study in Cookies

I love making people happy.

In late December I bake chocolate chip cookies and bring big plates of them to my clients as a way of saying Thank  You and Merry Christmas. And today I dropped off some to one of my new clients, a law firm. Recently they had found themselves in a tough situation. This particular firm has been around for 20+ years and they’re seen as the old guard in their particular discipline. And for years they would get four or five referrals a month; new clients sent to them by other firms or previous clients. And life was great until about three years ago when their referral rate started to drop off.

Why?

Greenville, SC has grown tremendously in the last five years, likewise all of our town’s industries. The legal profession is no exception. We’ve had all sorts of attorneys move into this town and open up shop without any regard to tradition. They hang a shingle, have a professionally built website, then optimize their sites for Google, Bing, Yahoo. They get on Twitter, Snap Chat or LinkedIn and tell the world who they are and what they do. And they get out to Chamber meetings, sponsor beer tastings, 5K runs, and they blog twice a month. And soon they’re taking away business from the established law firms that have failed to keep up with the 21st century’s preferred forms of communication.

When this established law firm called me, I knew I could help. They didn’t use Facebook, did not utilize LinkedIn, didn’t have web links on their email signatures and they showed up on page seven or eight of Google’s search results. Yikes!  They approached me and asked for some help so I made some recommendations, built some snappy LinkedIn profiles, created a Google+ page and so on.  I also found one of their partners that can write like nobody’s business and set him up on a blogging schedule and we were off to the races. A great writer is key to a solid online strategy because you can blog all you want but if no one’s enjoying your words, they will not share, comment or engage with your blog and you will not get the most out of your SEO strategy. I cannot say this enough: An effective social media strategy requires a solid, creative writer.

It’s been about thirty days since we got everything up and running and today I was delivering those cookies. The paralegal at the front desk smiled broadly when I walked in.

“Oh John, they’re so excited. We got our first client from our Google page this week.”

Wow. I was floored but damn happy, too. And when she saw the cookies, she was doubly excited. And I got a quick thumbs-up from one of the partners as he headed to a conference call.

Social Media Greenville SC

Chocolate Chip, Oat, Malted Milk Cookies. Got Milk?

Now I don’t promise results like this because advertising is something we should look at with the long distance approach of a telescope, not a microscope. Though I do promise cookies at Christmas time.

Perhaps I can help your company. If you’re not getting the results you desire from your social media or you’re just too darn busy to properly manage it, give us a call. We’ll ask the right questions, plan a strategy then get to work. And we’re anonymous. Your customers will believe it’s you on Facebook or Twitter, and not some guy on the other side of town.  Got Milk?

Googled

A thousand dollars a month.  That’s what my client was spending on Google Ads.

Yikes!

Yet when he came to me, he had one goal.  “Keep me up front on my Google search results.”  Well sure, that’s easy if one has a significant budget for Google Ads but eventually that money’s going to run out.  Then what? He had a significant following on Facebook but lately it’s been tough to get noticed on that blue juggernaut unless you’re willing to put money behind your updates.  And how do you get Facebook money turned into meaningful Google search results?  Most marketers know that one needs fresh web content to make a dent in Google, but with everyone else in a competitive segment creating fresh content, one’s content better have legs.

Legs

Will your content turn the right heads?

 

And that means publishing something of value, an essay that will be enjoyed, shared and commented on. So I wrote an emotional post on how quickly our children grow and change. That’s a familiar theme that every parent can identify with, yet I kept it around five hundred words. Then I utilized his significant Facebook following by posting at the right time, in this case on a late Sunday afternoon.  I put $20 behind the update to make sure that a majority of his followers had the opportunity to engage with his website. And 24 hours later, I had the desired results.

Keep in mind that my client is in a fairly competitive field and his business model requires a significant number of daily visits to his medical office.  His patients are his lifeblood, but his patient’s parents are paying the bills.  My post appealed to the parents, tugged at the necessary emotions and reminded them why they patronize my client in the first place.  And the client got what he was looking for: Google search results, shares, comments, and thank yous.

Would you like to read my post?  I’d love to share it but I can’t because I promise this particular client anonymity.  When his clients tell him “I love your writing”, he just smiles and says “Thank you.”

Hey, he’s signing the checks, right?

May I help you?  My rates are affordable and I can customize my services to fit your needs.  And I’m a published author that knows how to get readers. Give me a call and we’ll talk.

 

I Predict a Tie

As Rich Gore made his way to the front door of my restaurant, I put an arm around his shoulder, pulled him close and mumbled, “I’m gonna wipe the floor with Phillipe.”

Rich pulled on his jacket and smiled casually.  “Malik, I’m gonna predict a tie.”

Once upon a time, I was a B list celebrity chef with an A list ego.  And I’ve also had a competitive nature for a very long time, and while that nature has many positives, it also comes with a bit of a downside.  And that’s what led me to spend an afternoon in a local shopping mall wearing a chef’s coat and a red silk boxer’s robe.  The Food Network was in town with a travelling live show that included a wine tasting, cooking demos, cookbook signings and a cooking competition; but with a guy like me on stage, I planned on winning, no questions asked.  Cue the theme from Rocky.  But over in the producer’s corner was Rich Gore.  And he was going to make sure the whole thing ended in a tie.

When show time came the next day, myself and Chef Phillipe Chin each had a mystery basket of ingredients, a picked-from-the-audience assistant, and a pantry of dry goods, the MC Bill Boggs, and a special guest in none other than Southern food authority Nathalie DuPree.  We had thirty minutes to cook and an audience of a couple hundred shoppers watching and cheering us on.  Like many other cooking demonstrations I’ve done, it was on a narrow stage with a minimum of equipment, and little room to work.  But that can be a lot of fun, and I’ve always been good at making do with what I have.  When Nathalie called time, I believe I had three different dishes.  Likewise Phillipe.  And I have no idea what I made, I can’t remember.  But I will remember the next few minutes for a very long time.  Mr. Boggs announced that the winner would be declared through the audience’s reaction and that our producer, Mr. Gore, would measure their reaction trough his computer.  I looked down at Rich as he donned a pair of enormous headphones.  In one hand he held a heavy laptop computer, in the other he hoisted what looked like the antennae from an old Chevy.  The antennae had a wire wrapped around it and it was plugged into his computer.  And those of us on the stage were the only ones that knew the laptop wasn’t turned on.  Rich stood up and waved that antennae around and pretended to listen intently to the beeps of his reaction-judging software while Bill Boggs had everyone cheering first for me, then for Phillipe.  After a couple of minutes, Rich whipped off his headphones and with unbridled enthusiasm announced: “It’s too close, we gotta do it again!”

Super Chef!

Cue the theme from Rocky!

And I stood up there laughing myself stupid.

We did the whole thing again and Bill really got everyone screaming and yelling, first for Phillipe then for me.  Rich directed his antennae towards the loudest screams and the shouts, his eyes wide and intent on judging their enthusiasm.  Finally he ripped off his headphones, threw his arms into the air and with a look of shock and disbelief announced a tie.

“It’s too close to call. It’s a tie!”

Phillipe and I were both laughing so hard that Phillipe chided me.  He was afraid we would give away the secret.

“Chef! Behave, behave.”

“Yes, Chef.”

What was at stake?  From the chef’s point of view, not much.  Phillipe and I both had solid reputations; there was no money riding on the outcome, no contracts to star in the latest cooking show, no kiss from the local beauty queen.  What was at stake was Rich’s reputation and his desire to be successful.  And he measured success in the audience’s laughter, smiles, and applause.  So what if the chicken dishes were thrown together in thirty minutes or less, did the audience enjoy the show?  And the answer was yes. When we came off the stage, me and Phillipe signed autographs, took handshakes and returned a lot of smiles.  And the biggest one was from Rich.

“What’d I tell ya, Malik?  It was a tie.”

That’s a lesson I’ve carried with me for a long time. Is your audience getting what they came for?  Have you engaged your audience, your staff, your customers, or your family?  Are they having a good time enjoying the show, their job, or just their day?  When you’re on the stage, the real winner should be the audience.

Thanks, Rich.