The Battle for Top of Page

Top of Page

We love being able to help clients move their sites up in Google search using organic methods with search engine optimization and through purchasing Google ads to reach the top of page. Together along with a great social media campaign, you can see some great results – all of which we’d love to help with.

There’s a big change that Google unveiled several months ago that goes into effect in September 2019 that you’ll want to know about. Google plans to “sunset” the average position metric in favor of four new search metrics.

Top of Page

We hear it mentioned a lot…What’s my position on the page or I want to be top of the page. Google in the past delivered this metric to let you know the average position which many found useful.

Don’t worry though – they are replacing it with four new metrics that you’ll start seeing in your monthly reports for our current Google ad clients. These four metrics Google believes will give you a much clearer and more accurate insight into where your ads appear on the search results page.

Google’s Four New Metrics

  • Impressions (Absolute Top) % – percent of ad impressions shown as the first ad above organic search results
  • Impressions (Top) % – percent of ad impressions shown anywhere above the organic search results.
  • Search (Absolute Top) IS – impressions received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
  • Search (Top) IS – impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

Absolute top and top impressions are the ones you’ll be looking at to determine where you are showing up on the page.

Search top and absolute top show eligible top impressions. You can look at these as indicators of the opportunity to show your ads more prominently.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s a change, but not a bad change. These metrics can actually help to tell a better story and also help with finding additional opportunities.

As always, we stand ready to help. Shoot us a note so we can get started.

 

Source: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/9140484?hl=en

Analytics and SEO: Something to Look Out For

analytics

Recently while meeting with a potential client, we were reviewing their current analytics and SEO. They contract already with another local company known for its ability to deliver great search engine optimization results (SEO).

As we reviewed their analytics, we became very concerned that when they began working with this company, their page views nearly doubled and their bounce rate was near non-existent.

We called a couple of marketing companies in our industry to make sure we weren’t totally wrong. They all were as shocked as we were. For comparison, the average bounce rate is 45-55%. An excellent bounce rate is 30-45%. An unlikely bounce rate is 20-30%. Anything below 20% means something is broken. [1]

What’s a bounce rate?

bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session. [2]

How’d this happen?

With that knowledge, we did some investigating and discovered that their analytics code had been placed on their website twice. The double analytics code will affect bounce-rate (number will drop to almost 0) and page-views (which get inflated).

I love analogies so here’s one to explain what this means.

Let’s say you enter a room and you open a door and then immediately open a second, going through both. When you go through both doors, the tracking code believes you have entered once and immediately created another action by entering the second, thus the bounce rate being near zero percent as you have ensured no one ever leaves before entering the second door. At the same time, by entering the room through both doors, you are counted as entering the room twice – but you’re still just one person, one session.

Our recommendation

Our recommendation was for the potential client to talk with the current company as they were happy with them before this meeting. The hope was that this was a mistake. We wanted them to be given the opportunity to correct their mistake. In the case they couldn’t receive a good answer, we also supplied them with a quote for us to take over their service.

If you are paying a company to handle SEO work for you – check your analytics account. If you saw a huge jump in page views and a decrease in your bounce rate below 20% when they took over, it’s broken. It hasn’t been set up correctly and needs to be fixed.

Sources:

  1. https://www.gorocketfuel.com/the-rocket-blog/whats-the-average-bounce-rate-in-google-analytics/
  2. https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1009409?hl=en

List Of ALL Countries in the World

All the Countries

Recently we ran into an issue with Google Ads where despite only targeting our ads to those in North America, people in other countries were seeing the ad.

My first thought was to block the countries that were viewing the ads. Google generates a nice list and it took a few minutes to exclude them.

I started thinking again, what if I was proactive and just listed off every country in the world except our target country, the United States of America.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t allow you to just block a continent nor do they provide a list of all the countries. So I took it upon myself to make a list and then decided let’s save everyone else that would ever need this list a ton of time.

So, here’s two things – how to exclude countries on Google and the list of all countries in an easy list that you can copy and paste into Google.

(Side note – Google doesn’t allow you to exclude Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, and South Sudan since apparently your ads won’t be displayed there anyway).

Excluding Countries on Google

When you go into your campaign on Google Ads, click on locations. The first you’ll see is your targeted area. I would have assumed by targeting that I would in fact be blocking all the other countries, but alas, this looks to only be in theory. Beside the word targeted is the word “excluded”. Click on it and in the new page, click to add locations in bulk. Copy the list of all countries, or to block by continent, scroll further down for that list.

Once you’ve entered the location list and hit search, you’ll want to hit the “exclude all” button that appears below the search button. Your list of countries will then populate below that.

List of All Countries

Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Andorra
Angola
Anguilla
Antarctica
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China Mainland
China, Hong Kong SAR
China, Taiwan Province of
Christmas Island
Cocos Islands
Colombia
Comoros
Congo-Brazzaville
Congo-Kinshasa
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Cote d’Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Falkland Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
Gabon
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kiribati
Kosovo
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Niue
Norfolk Island
North Korea
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Palau
Palestine
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Romania
Russia
Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Samoa
San Marino
São Tomé and Príncipe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Korea
South Sudan
Spain
Sri Lanka
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Sudan
Suriname
Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
The United Arab Emirates
Togo
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Tuvalu
Uganda
Ukraine
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Vatican City
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wallis and Futuna Islands
Western Sahara
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

List of Countries by Continent/Region

ASIA
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Brunei Darussalam
Cambodia
China Mainland
China, Hong Kong SAR
China, Taiwan Province of
India
Indonesia
Japan
Laos
Malaysia
Maldives
Mongolia
Myanmar
Nepal
Pakistan
Philippines
Singapore
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Thailand
Vietnam

OCEANIA
American Samoa
Australia
Christmas Island
Cocos Islands
Cook Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
French Polynesia
Guam
Kiribati
Micronesia
Nauru
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Niue
Norfolk Island
Palau
Papua New Guinea
Samoa
Solomon Islands
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu
Wallis and Futuna Islands

MIDDLE EAST
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Cyprus
Egypt
Georgia
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lebanon
Oman
Palestine
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Tajikistan
The United Arab Emirates
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Yemen

AFRICA
Algeria
Angola
Benin
Botswana
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Comoros
Congo-Brazzaville
Congo-Kinshasa
Cote d’Ivoire
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea Bissau
Kenya
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania
Mauritius
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Rwanda
São Tomé and Príncipe
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
South Sudan
Sudan
Swaziland
Tanzania
Togo
Tunisia
Uganda
Western Sahara
Zambia
Zimbabwe

EUROPE
Albania
Andorra
Austria
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Kosovo
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macedonia
Malta
Moldova
Monaco
Montenegro
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
San Marino
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom
Vatican City

ANTARCTICA
Antarctica

NORTH AMERICA
Anguilla
British Virgin Islands
Canada
Greenland
Mexico
Guatemala
Belize
Honduras
El Salvador
Nicaragua
Costa Rica
Panama
Bahamas
Cuba
Jamaica
Haiti
Dominican Republic
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Antigua and Barbuda
Dominica
Saint Lucia
Barbados
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Grenada
Trinidad and Tobago
Guadeloupe
Martinique

SOUTH AMERICA
Argentina
Bolivia
Brazil
Chile
Colombia
Ecuador
Falkland Islands
French Guiana
Guyana
Paraguay
Peru
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Suriname
Uruguay
Venezuela

This list is current and accurate as August 15, 2019. Please feel free to leave updates or corrections in the comments below.

And as always – we love helping our clients including with their Google Ad campaigns. Why worry about all this when you can have us taking care of it for you. Contact us to get started.

Why Hire a Social Media Agency?

social media puzzle

Social media can be like a puzzle. Some people will spend their day trying to figure it out, do their best, and then walk away sometimes having never figured it out. Some look at it and don’t even try. Some seek help from those that work on this ever-changing puzzle each day.

If you’re struggling with your social presence these days, you aren’t alone. A lot of businesses have their hands full when it comes to it and customer expectations. In fact, look at what some of their typical top goals are:

With so many goals and a moving target, it’s no wonder why businesses are looking for helping hands who’ve walked the walk on social media.

That’s where Dogwood Media Solutions can be a lifesaver.

Why Hire Us As Your Social Media Agency?

Not every business can take care of social media in-house and hey, that’s totally OK. We’ll share 3 ways we can fill in gaps or level up your strategy when it comes to social media and your business goals:

1. We have experts on staff

Dogwood is capable of running campaigns and providing a level of knowledge that simply isn’t possible in-house for most companies. We have a proven track record of running social ads which gives us a definite edge on someone learning the ropes of Facebook’s in-depth ad-targeting.

That sort of expertise is what you’re paying for.

Social media is so much more than clever captions and chasing the white rabbit of “going viral”. The fine details of social algorithms, audience segmentation and analytics alone require some serious knowledge to navigate. Again, that’s the benefit of hiring someone who’s been there and done that.

2. We have access to top-tier tools

At Dogwood we use a tool called Sprout Social. It helps us to manage multiple schedules, analyze post times, monitor conversations, and provide visual reports that show you what worked and didn’t. Simply put – it’s not an inexpensive tool, but because we work with so many clients on social media – it is totally worth the expense.

3. We can juggle multiple campaigns at once

Time is money.

Dogwood has the bandwidth to run multiple campaigns at once that could otherwise bog down your team internally. By working with us, you can make better use of your team’s time and get more done with the people you already have.

Currently, on our team of 6, only one of our staff has nothing to do with social media. That’s a huge amount of energy dedicated to helping your business.

How do I know if I need help with Social Media?

You might be wondering whether you’re “big enough” to work with us. On the flip side, you might assume that doing so is simply out of your budget.

The reality, though? Just as no two business’ needs are the same, there is no “one-size-fits-all” in terms of what we can do for you.

We work with both companies big and small. From community management or social content creation to a one-off social audit.

Here are some questions to ask that can help you understand whether working with us makes sense.

  • Do you need a fresh perspective and expertise to help define your social media goals and campaign strategy?
  • Are you struggling to grow your social following or engagement rate?
  • Are you failing to see a clear, definable return on investment (ROI) for your social media presence?
  • Do you suspect that you’re spending too much time or money in-house on social media?
  • Are you capable of sourcing leads from social media but aren’t sure how to close them?
  • Do you have a sizable budget for social media internally but aren’t sure how to maximize it?

If “yes” to any of the above, it might be time to explore what we have to offer. Contact us so we can get started!

 

 

Insights, graphics and some content courtesy of our partners at Sprout Social.

Branding Dogwood and New Digs

new branding on walls at Dogwood

Recently, due to our growth, we moved to a new office space which gave us an opportunity to showcase our branding even more. I’ll explain more.

New Digs

When Harris Media Solutions and Dogwood Designs merged on January 1 to form Dogwood Media Solutions there were two employees. We rented a 260 square foot office space above Pike Road Optical in the town of Pike Road with the hopes we would outgrow it.

By March we had hired our first employee, making it three people in the office. In April came our second employee. Mack – our part-time intern started in May and with that – the room was full…or actually packed.

We made plans that when we hired the next employee that we would move down the hall to a little larger space that had about 460 square feet. We made that hire and the third employee began with us on July 1. Towards the end of June, we moved down the hall.

Most look at moving as an inconvenience or an annoyance. For us, it was exciting. It means our company is growing and our capacity to help more people continues to expand.

Branding Dogwood

Another opportunity it presented was that we came in the possession of an entry hall. It was basically an unusable space for productivity, but what it could do though was tell a story and give us a place to show off our branding. We’re still small so the story needed to be told on a budget!

new branding sign installed

Every site we build, our marketing materials, our proposals – they all have the Made With By Dogwood statement on them. Easy decision, we wanted that to be showcased in the hallway and we wanted it to be big. Correction – we wanted it to be huge.

The sign was printed and installed and it’s really a statement piece. Every time I walk through the hall I find my self touching the giant heart. And yes, I’m totally supervising in this picture. Matt’s ability to make the entire thing straight amazed me.

Gallery Wall

gallery wall brandingOn the other wall, we originally talked about showcasing some of our favorite work that we have done for our clients but then changed direction. Instead, we are featuring some of our favorite images from our Instagram and Facebook feed.

We want our staff to know how important they are to the success of our company. With that in mind, we chose to highlight them as part of our branding. What better way than to put their pictures from life within Dogwood on the walls?

We do some really good work, but also like to have some fun. We actually genuinely like hanging out together in this office too. Plus, we plan to change these out regularly to keep it interesting.

Our door is open and we’d love for you to come by and see our office space and hallway branding when you have a moment.

Made With By Dogwood

Mason Guttensohn – Designer

We are excited to announce the newest addition to our full-time team – Mason Guttensohn as of July 1, 2019. He’ll be joining as a designer after recently graduating from Troy University this past December with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design.

Bringing an intern in this past Summer opened our eyes to the amount of content that we work on as we developed new sites. Instead of hiring just for content, we wanted someone who could take on that role full time while also giving us more ability to handle more design work.

I’ve known Mason since he was a 7th grader entering the youth group at Taylor Road Baptist Church. It’s actually an issue as I’m working to break him of calling me Mr.Brian. It’s just Brian now Mason.

Thomas and Matt have known Mason for several years through Troy Frisbee and Ultimate Frisbee. Lauren has even known him for several years too.

So, All these connections made it an easy choice for who to hire.

Mason recently proposed to his girlfriend of nearly a year, Olivia. This actually happened since we offered him the position and his start date. That’s two weddings coming up for Dogwood staff!

Mason has been a resident of Montgomery his entire life and is very involved with his church. He’s ready to take on all your design needs. Contact us to get started today!

Site Speed Improvements

LoganCan.com site speed

Recently Logan Cantrell who blogs at LoganCan.com came to us with two issues – her site speed was slow and her theme was broken.

Theme:

We’re actually big fans of the Genesis theme she was using. We quickly determined that the parent theme had not been updated before the most recent WordPress version came out. We ran a code change that disabled the change, updated the theme, and then took it back live. That fixed the site!

Site Speed:

Now, the next issue was the page load speed. We ran a site speed test on Google with the previous host to benchmark the results. After that, we moved the site to our hosting environment with WpEngine. This is where it gets good.

The site received a score of 49 from Google before moving. After enabling the content delivery network and object caching the score came up to a 92.

Here is the kicker – we’ve added an extra step that not every host will have. We’ve partnered WpEngine with WPRocket to enable even faster sites. And we are doing this for no additional costs for our current clients and future clients. Check out the results below:

The time to interactive dropped from 5.0 seconds to 0.9 seconds. 

Here are some benefits to having a fast site:

Google loves fast sites. Your search results will most likely go higher. Faster sites are part of a good search engine optimization strategy which is another tool we can help with too.

Your clients expect your site to load fast53% of mobile site visits leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

While this is a great example, we can’t promise site speed decreases to everyone. There are a lot of conditions involved based on where you are hosted now and with your site. That said, if you aren’t with us, the chances are pretty good that we can probably speed your site up. We’d love the opportunity to give it a shot!

Contact us today to get the conversation started!

Lauren House – Social Media Manager

We are excited to have Lauren House joining our staff as of April 22nd, 2019 as social media manager.

Lauren has worked with one of our clients for the past year and a half. She focused on social media and event management. We’ve watched her take the reins of their social media and do a great job. They’ve had consistent content that met their goals and objectives, and her design work and writing were all top notch.

Lauren began working with us at Dogwood back in January as a contractor writing blog content for several of our clients. Through both of these relationships, we knew when it was time to hire for this position, she was the first person we would be talking to.

Lauren will be working with several clients starting day 1. As she helps us develop better scheduling practices, she’ll be more and more involved with all of our clients. Plus, we are always looking for more clients to work with as our capacity for new projects just increased with her addition!

Lastly, Lauren is a resident of Montgomery and graduates from Troy University next month with a degree in English. She also works with multiple ministries at her home church, Eastmont Baptist Church.

Help us welcome Lauren!

White Label Services from Dogwood

white label your logo here

Did you know we provide a white label service from Dogwood? A white label service is a service by one company that another company rebrands as if they had made it.

We are a digital marketing agency. Our focus is on building quality websites and guiding clients through a plethora of digital marketing tools.

Some of these include:

  • social media marketing
  • search engine marketing
  • search engine optimization
  • content management
  • graphic design
  • blog writing

We’ve found that some agencies aren’t focused in this direction. For example, you’ve worked with clients on print, radio, and tv campaigns. At one time, this was a full-service agency. In today’s age though you are missing out on opportunities to deepen your relationship with the client.

You’re left with a few choices:

  • Pretend everything’s ok.
  • Hire people for positions that you may not fully understand or without a current revenue stream to support.
  • Lose your clients to a larger full-service agency.
  • Partner with a digital marketing agency that will act on your behalf, white labeling their services under your brand.

How this works with us is you retain your clients. We partner with you under your brand to provide the services we are good at. You continue to provide the services you already have.

Part of our service is that we agree to not pursue your clients. After all, we are partners and that would just be weird. Plus, we don’t offer all the things you offer. We know we’re better together.

We offer our white label service rates at a level where there is still room for you to make a profit.

There are additional benefits that we can discuss in person with our partners including free services and market exclusivity based on our level involvement in your business.

So, the next step, just like any first date, let’s talk on the phone or grab a cup of coffee together. Contact us and we’ll work out the date and time together.

 

Matt Wheeler – Our Newest Employee

Matt Wheeler

As of Monday, March 18th, 2019, Dogwood Media Solutions will have employee #1 report to work – Matt Wheeler.

Back in September of 2018, Thomas and I began talking about what this company could be. We knew we wanted to surround ourselves with people we can trust.

Matt Wheeler is someone that we both have known for many years and fits the bill perfectly.

Matt is coming to Dogwood after serving at Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood in their marketing department managing print projects. While we definitely handle print projects, Matt will apply his project management experience into the digital world.

Matt’s focus will be onboarding new clients, project and digital content management. His official title is project manager which encompasses a lot and will allow him to grow with the company.

Matt and his wife Madeline live in Montgomery and are newlyweds. Matt is Canadian and even though he’s a naturalized US citizen as of 2018, he’s still a fan of Toronto FC. It’s something we had to look over ourselves as big fans of Atlanta United.

We’re excited to have him on board and even more excited to put him to work soon!

Help us welcome Matt to the Dogwood Media Solutions Team!