New (Feb 2011) Google Algorithm Change Results

Google once again made this announcement today indicating that there will be a significant change in their algorithm which will affect approximately 11% of the search results.

Whenever Google makes a change like this site owners take notice. Important to note: If you own a local small business the majority of these change will not affect you primarily because when someones types your company name and or the service you provide then “generally” you site in your local area is the most relevant. So it will show near the top of the pages.

Obviously there are ton of factors that go into ranking a page in Google but it seems it all comes back to relevance. Keep that in mind as you tackle the SEO of your site.

I have not seen any significant changes in my sites as of yet. Most of the pages are basically where they were before the change.

One thing I have noticed is some of eZine articles and squidoo lenses are not being ranked as well.

Also, I have noticed some of the Hub Pages links not ranking as high, going from position 4 down to position 33.

For some bizarre reasons eHow and Wikihow has not been affected. But, the other article/how to sites have been. Google seems to have labeled those sites as “spammy” or certainly less relevant for folks who are searching the internet.

Regular websites (html, WordPress, etc) has not changed in the serps. Even my 1 page sales letters seem to be totally unaffected.

I am still looking into this, and what it all means. If I find anything else going on, especially if it impacts eCommerce sites I will let you know.

Are you guys seeing the same results? Leave your comments below.

– Mark


Increasing The Value of Your Website

Gold by D'Arcy Norman
Increasing the Value of Your Website

I was browsing the just ended “aisle” at and I started to notice a trend among some of the websites that were fetching premium dollars over some of the other sites.

The distinguishing factor was revenue.

Depending on whether the site had even $1 in revenue could be the difference of hundreds of dollars in the ending price.

So, in this post I wanted to share with you some of my observations,and things that I see in my business when it comes to increasing the value of your website.


If you want to sell your internet empire one day for a profit then you better get some “real world” revenue at the end of all those bits.

One of the best ways to do this is to actually sell something. I know this seems obvious but so many people mess this part up.

Jay Abraham calls this phenomena, “selling from your heels”.

Think about it.

If the primary focus of your website is to turn a profit, then everything about it should be geared toward fulfilling this goal.

There are two categories of products that you can sell. Physical and Digital. Let’s begin with physical…


This is what I do a lot of,  primarily because of my retail background.

If you are not in retail or do not currently have a physical product that you are manufacturing than this category is considerably more difficult than selling digital products. Using micro niche sites I have the content (blog posts, articles, pages, buyer’s guides, etc) and SEO properties of the website all geared toward the one thing that I want to sell.

This helps climb the Google rankings, and also provides some extremely relevant information to a niche that is generally underserved. Also I go through great lengths and testing to find the right price point and product mix.

The simple truth is people like buying stuff.

And if you have the goods that folks are looking for (on the web) than it can be an easy sell. Believe me, Amazon doesn’t have to break my arm when it comes to buying the next school text-book I need. They just sit there quietly optimizing, and making sure the goods are in stock.

When a customer wants something they go to Google (or Amazon) and… Voila! There is the item. If you don’t have it the customer scurries on to the next dealer and so on until they find what they’re looking for.

The major takeaway here is that you must have the goods if you want to play in the physical product game.


I love these things. The idea of selling an extremely high profit margin product, with no delivery costs is very tempting and can be incredibly lucrative.

However, it’s not easy. In fact selling a digital product online through SEO is tough.

It’s not impossible, but be prepared to suck wind for a while.

Until you build a list, or know how to utilize PPC very well, or deploy market leadership strategies, or have some monster backlinking strategies. This arena is tough. One of my strategies in 2011 to improve my profits is to do more market leadership (like this site).

With the exploding growth in apps, and fantastic delivery options for publishers this is the part of my business that I am looking to grow in 2011. Adding a digital product to your website is an excellent way to monetize and ultimately add a ton value (in terms of revenue) to your web page.

Traffic By Design By Zouny
Does your website attract buying traffic?


One important thing to keep in mind as you build out your site is to do a check to see if your niche has buying traffic. A way to test for this is to build out your site, and once you start getting some traffic see if they click on an ad, or hit the buy button.

For physical products, I find a good conversion rate is .25-.50% same thing goes for digital. If 1 out of 200 visitors click the buy button that is a decent conversion rate when you are just starting out. obviously, if you can do better, great. But, I like to stay conservative.


Adding articles, video, podcasts, etc. All add some value to the site. However, depending on the quality of the content is how much value they will bring when the site goes up for auction. The big thing to keep in mind about content is it builds page rank, and gets you traffic.

Both of these factors will have an impact when you go to sell your site.


Selecting a great domain name with some “on target” keyword phrases is a great way to build value to your site.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you are browsing for a domain…

  • .COM is always better. It’s getting difficult to get an on target keyword domain but this is still the marquee of all domain names.
  • Do your research first. Find out the traffic numbers a competition of your target key phrase. Use Market Samurai to find all of this out.
  • Under 20 characters. Keep it short and the domain name’s value increases.
  • No Hyphens.
  • No Misspellings.

There are full Internet Marketing courses about domaining that are available in the market because this topic can be incredibly complex. However, just start having a look around You will start to notice the sites that pull the “big dollars” are the ones that follow these classic domain name conventions.


You can increase the value of your website by doing the build out for people. Building websites still costs money, and time. (Even if it is relatively cheap.)

If you can do the build out in a professional and high quality way then it will increase the overall value of your site. I use WooThemes or Elegant Themes as the basis for my websites. WooThemes Canvas Theme is an ideal template to work from.

If you are not technical than you should learn how to outsource this side of the business. Do not get bogged down in the details. You have to launch your site at some time, and you can always do iterations.

Just get it going!

People pay for quality. So, the more skilled your design team is and how well your site converts is all going to impact the overall value of your website.


Articles/content and the build out are two low value added activities. Even though these two tasks add some value; it is in no way compared to the proper domain name and revenue the site generates. I bet you can tell what the high value activities are…


The income generated from your website is the most vital part of adding value. Money, is the true factor that gets your website to go from $50 to $1000. This fact parallels with my retail experience no matter how good your site looks, or what location it is in. It is the income that rings through the register that makes the difference in the asking price of a business or website.


I hope by now you can see where I’m going with this. The reason for doing all this hard work to your website is… To sell it one day.

Hopefully for hefty profit.

Right now I’m building my business on this very assumption. I’m getting the income (cash flow) today, with the increase in value (upside) when I go to sell it tomorrow.

That will do it for this time. I hope you got something out of this post. If you did, please pass it along through the interwebs.

Talk soon,
Mark Del Degan

Initial Take on Zendesk for iPad

New Zendesk for iPad
Just Announced New Zendesk for iPad. Customer service folks rejoice!

Raging customers is just part of the business. Lucky for you Zendesk is here.

The folks over at Zendesk released a brand new version of their popular customer service application on the iPad today.  My initial take on it, is that the app much like the rest of the service is really well done.

I was not currently aware of this service before the announcement, but I started looking into it.

We are going to implement this into my business over the next week. I was blown away of what this can do for our support requests. Right now we get around 20 requests a day from customers (Nothing major, but still something that has to be managed.) As we grow I expect this number to rise and I needed a solution that would handle multiple support agents without granting them access to my Gmail account.

Enter Zendesk. Not only is their app wicked cool but it integrates with the current support email so the customers know what’s going on at all times. And we can use the apps, and web logins to manage all the requests. Sure beats having to go through the inbox.

As we really start digging into this service more I will let you guys know some additional takeaways. But for now, if you are looking for a new solution for your e-commerce store support then you might want to check out Zendesk. (By the way, I’m not getting paid for this.) (Also, like most things in life worth having it is not free. It costs $9 for three agents and goes up from there.)

Just have a look at it, there is a free trial.

Talk soon,

3 Easy Ways To Improve eCommerce Customer Service

Improve eCommerce Customer Service
Improve eCommerce Customer Service

Today, the customers raged online about one thing or another. So, A couple of things went on, 1 of which was out of my control (Damn you Postal Service). The other was not, and this is the why I want to share with you how I fixed it.

When you are selling stuff online customer service is a big part of the equation.

Whether it is physical products or digital, people will invariably have complaints or questions.

I found that the most effective way to deal with these issues is to have excellent on site information that should defer some of the emails.

Implement these 3 easy ways to improve customer service online and your staff will thank you for it…

#1 Add An FAQ

This is something that we are currently doing to all of our niches. Customers really like these, because it an easy and familiar way to get their questions answered.

Having your eCommerce store on WordPress makes this so easy to implement. Just create a new page and start answering the most frequently asked questions that you’ve received in your inbox. Your staff should already have most of the answers,  just ask them. If your just starting and are the main person who takes of it all than compiling this list will be easy peazy.

After you have it together, start promoting it on your site. Make a blog post about it and include the links to the page in the side bar of your item page, and add it near the top right and bottom of your website. Those are the most common places customers go looking for it.

#2 – Be Specific

This is the issue that was in my control. One of the products we did a video. Problem is the measurements were wrong.

“Why don’t you just upload a corrected video?”

Because unfortunately the video gets me a lot of traffic and has been around for a while so… the solution?

Annotations. Thankfully the video was uploaded via YouTube and could easily (ok, not so easily) be fixed right with those nice text boxes across the measurements that were incorrect.

Going back to the item on your site. Add all the hight and width details, weight, etc.

“Make sure you add the correct details.”

Also, if something is a little obscure about the item mention it. That way you will get fewer questions about it.

These things all help manage expectations. If you tell that your handling time is 2 days then believe it or not customers will expect the item to leave your warehouse in about 2 days. If it is a special order. LET THEM KNOW. The biggest thing that really cheeses folks off is being lied to.  “Imagine that”.

Manage the expectation of your customers and the emails will be reduced.

It’s the little things like this that  really adds up. Start taking little steps to correct some of the ambiguity of online shopping and your customers will thank you for it with their wallets.

#3 – Include An Easy Way To Get In Touch

It still behoves  me why some eCommerce stores bury their contact information.

A phone number can dramatically improve the conversion rate and reduce the number of complaints. Shoppers just like to know it is there.

Yes, they do call but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

The truth is, just adding an easy way (like in the top right corner) to contact your company can make all the difference. If you don’t currently do this you are leaving money on the table.

Implementing these 3 easy ways to improve customer service online will help your customers make informed decisions and decrease the number of complaints in your inbox.

What are some of the ways you improve customer service?

Leave your interesting and creative responses below… (RWJ Quote)

– Mark