random marketing thoughts

Nov 22 2021


Random Marketing Thoughts

This page will read sort of like a Twitter feed – short posts on various marketing topics.

Which is better for SEO: WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, or SiteGlide

January 5, 2022

I’m not going to go into detail about each of these platforms’ SEO features such as:

  1. Heading tags such as H1,H2,H3,H4,H5,H6
  2. Meta title and description
  3. OpenGraph Tags
  4. Menu designs
  5. Server customizations and htaccess editing
  6. image naming control and alt tags
  7. and the rest of the supposed 200 SEO ranking factors (for the record, this list is nonsense as there’s not even such a thing as “Latent Semantic Indexing” in an SEO context).

This post is a summary of existing research and my professional experience as a marketer since 1993, a university marketing instructor since 2015, and a digital marketing agency owner since 2008.

Each of the below links will take you to a sufficient level of research to make your decision:

  1. SquareSpace versus WordPress SEO
  2. a second article on Square Space versus WordPress SEO Keep in mind, their assessment on WordPress was poor but it still won.
  3. Wix versus WordPress SEO
  4. SiteGlide versus WordPress SEO (likely the most biased opinions on the matter but I included it for objectivity sake. When it comes to SEO, Siteglide is garbage.

How much better is WordPress for SEO than SquareSpace, Wix, or SiteGlide? WordPress is so much better at SEO than the others, that we refuse to work on them – they are so bad, it would be unethical of us to take your money. 

What’s the solution? If your website is built on SquareSpace, Wix, or SiteGlide then we suggest one of two things: (1) Find another SEO who will take your money or (2) Let us rebuild your website in WordPress.

Caveat: WordPress is based on PHP and for the most part, WordPress was and continues to be developed on a antiquated framework. This post isn’t a commentary of CMS development technology – but just on search engine optimization.

Coordinating SEO and Website Design

January 3, 2022

(a potential project management nightmare scenario)

One of the greatest frustrations for a marketer is having an external/third-party website designer work with an SEO expert. When both the website designer and SEO have worked together for a few years for the same company, marketing projects run smoothly. What tends not to run smoothly is when a client wants to bring their own website designer into a marketing project.

In the order of things from client facing to customer facing we have:

  1. Client Goals
  2. Client Objectives
  3. Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategy involves, in part, the execution of everything the customer sees and interacts with. To make a digital marketing strategy work, website design and search engine optimization must be united as one entity.

When a client brings in their own website designer, things can get a little wonky. When working with a mix of external and internal team members, project management becomes a much higher priority – project management becomes the “strategy execution police.” Consider the following example:

To execute their vision, Company X hired a marketing agency. The only request Company X has, is that the project uses their website developer. Company X doesn’t realize that the developer is, in fact, only a designer who hacks their way through the development stage (the actual coding of the website). Neither Company X, nor the designer, know that the marketer is the project manager and that the designer needs to follow the marketer’s lead. Company X’s owner is very busy but insists on developing the marketing strategy – but not telling anyone this fact.

What seems to be unfolding here is a typical failure in project management.

The marketer is constantly playing catchup and trying to fix the designers mistakes. The website launches without the marketer’s knowledge, only for him to find out eight days later.

Upon analysis with an SEO tool such as aHrefs, the marketer finds this:

SEO services using aHrefs SEO tool
Over 115,000 SEO problems on the new website.

At this point the marketer could:

  1. tell the client they aren’t a good fit for the project and walk away
  2. ask the client if they are finished doing theirs their was and are ready to do proper marketing

Depending on exactly what these SEO errors are, the website may be unsalvageable. In communication with the designer, the marketer asked:

  1. why do the images have names like 23487624876.jpg?  Are we selling 23487624876s?
  2. why do some of the internal links go to http pages while others go to https?
  3. why are their no H1 tags on the pages?

After several other questions, the owner of Company X soon realizes that a website designer is not a developer and that a developer is not a marketer (nor is a business owner necessarily a marketer).

The three people (owner, designer, marketer) agree that the marketer will manage all aspects of the project. Everyone is happy and the project restarts with proper marketing management.

Two weeks later, before the new-new website is launched, the owner aggressively asks the marketer, “why aren’t we ranking for x, y, and z searches on Google?” The marketer tells the client they aren’t a good fit for the project and walks away.

Two years later, out of curiosity, the marketer checks on that website project, only to see the same 115,000 errors and the site still not ranking for anything.

Please consider the above scenario before beginning any marketing project.


Press Releases for SEO – A Case Study

December 10, 2021

Background: Last year I bought an EIN Press Wire 10 press release subscription for $400 USD. The goal was to test their SEO value. This week I sent 5 of those press releases. Here is a result of that test.

Press Releases used to be a popular SEO strategy but over the last few years, the strategy has resulted in negligible SEO value. But, for any strategy, form time-to-time, I like to retest methods to see if or how the Google SERP algorithm has changed. Here is the result of one such test. 

This week, using the EIN press release service, I sent out a total of 5 press releases for 5 different clients. The PRs were well written, though not exactly news worthy, with one or two links from each press release pointing to the clients’ sites. Each client website is tracked by ahrefs and Google Search Console.

A sample of a distribution site that “reprinted” the pr is: https://www.wpgxfox28.com/story/45364379/listing-tool-for-industrial-real-estate-space4rent-network-launch

This looks great but, as I explained to my clients, some of whom I worked for for over 10 years, this stuff is just vanity and I’m only testing to see what kind of backlinks/citations we can get and if this activity moves the SEO needle.

After a week of checking ahrefs and Google Console I saw a few links. Google console reported the site https://www.rfdtv.com/ and about 4 different website links going back to my client while ahrefs reported:

one link https://afvnews.ca/2021/12/03/listing-tool-for-industrial-real-estate-space4rent-network-launch/ as a nofollow

This activity didn’t moved the SEO needle (yet) but it gave the clients something material to see (as much as I told them, it’s all a vanity metric). Maybe in a few weeks more links will get picked up but I’m doubtful.

Question: Has anyone tried a similar tactic and gotten better results? Does anyone have experience with EIN or other pr distribution platforms? Is this activity worth $40 US plus 2 hours of your time per press release?

Website Speed as an SEO Ranking Factor

Nov 29, 2021

Your website is still having a few SEO issues: See this for speed of delivery for your website to a potential website visitor’s browser: https://gtmetrix.com/ speed of delivery can be the #1 ranking problem if the speed is slow enough. It can also create a high bounce rate. Using a different speed tool https://pagespeed.web.dev/ you can get a similar website speed analysis. It may be possible to speed up your website 400% without loss of quality. 

Website hosting server location can help or hurt SEO. Now that you are changing servers, now is a good time to get a Canadian IP address/geo to improve website delivery speed and a potential Google ranking algorithm boost.

Bluehost sent an email to customers that, among other things, contained: “Website hosting server location can help or hurt SEO. Now that you are changing servers, now is a good time to get a Canadian IP address/geo to improve website delivery speed and a potential Google ranking algorithm boost.”

In working with one of our clients on SEO issues: Your website is now the “fastest/most error free” it can be. We got the Google speed score up to 88 but some things were breaking so I turned off two of the enhancements and the errors went away. Below is the current speed score then two site error reports (zero errors on site delivery to the browser!): The top slideshow was removed on the test server, I’ll add that back or a better slideshow plugin and send you an update tomorrow. If you login to your WordPress and then go to your website’s site-health.php tool you see the Godaddy Server failing a loopback request which is used anytime the site changes or the server writes dynamic requests. GoDaddy also delivers the site in 88 requests while the test server is doing it in 65 (this is due to how we configured your web server and not the server itself).


WordPress Design

Nov 22, 2021

Let’s continue this, never to be completed page of our thoughts on marketing, with WordPress. Just because you are the most popular doesn’t mean everything you do is a good idea. Take, for example, The WordPress Classic Editor. This plugin was a response to a new WordPress feature on editing website pages. As you can see, the plugin has over 5 million installations and a perfect user rating. People hated the new WordPress feature so much that a plugin was created to reverse the changes of the update.

wordpress seo


Google Analytics 4 versus Universal Analytics

Nov 22, 2021

Just like the previous WordPress update, for Google, new is not always better.

GA4 was still in beta when David was creating the new Digital Marketing Measurement course at Mount Royal University. Professionally,  for the 100 or so sights we manage, we put GA4 on a couple of the sites. During our client meeting to go over the analytics report using GA4 for the first time, we realized GA4 was garbage and quickly switched back to Universal Analytics. After researching GA4 more, we realized that we were not alone: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-analytics-4-backlash/411392/ We are  going to wait until GA4 is fixed to allow widespread use.



more to come!

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