You Can Count On… Clutch Ratings & Reviews

OptFirst Internet Marketing – A Firm That Delivers!

At OptFirst, we specialize in integrated search marketing. We’ve found that search is one of the highest converting media opportunities for possible marketing spends.

Specifically, we put companies in front of the consumers by organic, paid and local search, as well as through Google Shopping, Re-Marketing, Facebook Ads, and Google/Bing maps. Research finds that whether a business decides to use paid and/or organic search to increase their online visibility is an important part of their overall marketing strategy. If a client doesn’t want to miss out on valuable opportunities, they need a partner agency that looks critically at the customer journey and has strong technical knowledge.

We’re always looking for new opportunities to grow and share our unique knowledge. In this light, we’re very excited to announce our most recent partnership with Clutch – a Washington DC-based ratings and reviews site that shows distinguished companies in different fields, including search marketing. Optfirst is listed 4th in their list of Top SEO companies in Miami.

For each firm on the site, there is an intensive research process. Chief among the factors taken into consideration are Clutch’s conversations with clients. In interview-style phone calls, clients are prompted to discuss the services they received, the results of the engagement, and other relevant aspects of the collaboration. Clutch has reached out to our clients to get an overall sense of our services and to ultimately determine if we truly deliver. We’re proud to say that of the 14 reviews published to our profile, we’ve received an overall 4.9-star rating!

Our clients have voiced their opinion of our work, and their feedback has been highly positive! For one client, we provided SEO services and PPC maximization, as well as website improvements and continued maintenance. Some of the changes include blog posts and the creation of a new payment system. We’re proud that this client was satisfied with the outcomes of the collaboration:

“Optfirst has exponentially increased traffic to many websites, in some cases raising conversion rates by 100% in just 2 years. Their robust metrics-reporting tool and customer service are second to none in the industry. Scalable to meet the needs of any sized company makes their team a great partner to grow with.”

The search marketing industry is always evolving, and here at OptFirst, we’re always trying to stay ahead of our competitors. We build websites that not only look great but also perform. Thanks to Clutch, we hope to engage new clients and improve their bottom lines through our unique search marketing practices!

AMP Impacts Organic and Paid Campaigns

AMP appears to have a larger impact than originally thought. Here is how it looks to impact organic and paid campaigns

SEO

Early 2016 Google announced that mobile pages that featured certain technologies, like AMP, would get preferential organic search positions in their mobile index results. – article here: Wired – Fast Loading Tech– Google announced later in 2016 that the mobile-first update would roll out in the first quarter of 2017. The short version is that Google is deleting their original, ‘desktop’ index and only using their newer, mobile index. The mobile index is the only index that will be used to index BOTH mobile and desktop results. What your site warrants to rank on mobile it will rank for both.– The target was Q1 of 2017 but announced a delay and that it will be rolled out throughout 2017 – article here: mobile-first delay article.

AdWords

On May 23rd Google announced that they will AMP their results and charge 50-60% of the CPC for Advertisers using AMP landing pages in their AdWords campaign.

In order to accommodate the mass need for business owners and advertisers to build AMP websites and landing pages we recently launched the beta version of our AMP page builder.

What Happened To My Google Rankings? The Answer is AMP Mobile Sites PLUS Google Rolled Out the Mobile Index Update

Did you just Google your core business keyphrases this morning and are thinking, “What Happened To My Google Rankings?” The answer is a combination of the creation of AMP Mobile Sites PLUS Google’s Mobile Search Index just rolled out.

As I write this blog post I’m thinking of the millions of business owners whose rankings will drop as a result of this update. The very same business owners who were told, at one time or another over the past 7 years, they should re-create their business website on WordPress. All of the data they were presented with made sense; the updating technology, ease of use, compatibility with other platforms, mobile responsiveness, that it was built using open source (as they thought to themselves…Whatever that Means!@#\!) and so on.

The challenge is now WordPress does not have a plugin or core update to easily create an AMP site from an existing WordPress site. This difficulty to convert “pages and archives” to the new AMP criteria (cited on WordPress here). This leaves millions of businesses on the WordPress platform at risk of losing their hard-earned Google rankings.

If you are reading this blog then Google just fully released AMP preferential treatment and has switched over to their mobile-first index. Here is a background on all the facts:

1. The story starts to make sense when Google first stated that AMP results will go ahead of non-AMP pages on mobile (cited in Wired here).
2. It was first thought that Google would run two separate indexes, desktop, and mobile (cited in Search Engine Land here).
3. On September 27th AMP results started showing on desktop. The news about their being 2 separate indexes didn’t seem to make sense since Google was showing AMP results on desktop. It made sense that this was a test for the big update to come, one index with mobile-first results (cited in Search Engine Land here).
4. Just this past Friday, November 4th,  it was confirmed when Google announced there will be one index, with mobile criteria leading the ranking criteria (cited in Mashable here).

Learning and watching large players in an industry is important to learn how trends will move. When eBay announced it was AMPing their entire mobile site anyone not paying attention was doomed to be left behind. eBay first figured out the importance of AMP and then announced its intention to AMP their site on July 4th of 2016 (cited in Search Engine Land here). AMP was first announced for news outlets and posts on WordPress but the initiative by eBay made it clear that this was going to be a technology suitable and preferred across all types of businesses and industries. The first reported AMP use on eBay was mid-October and still being tweaked at the date of this article showing the challenges of even the best development teams with the faster but newer AMP code.

On the WordPress platform it is also challenging and we ran into many obstacles using recommended plugins. The way we AMPed our own site is we created a separate AMP website and forwarded amp.optfirst.com and then configured the required forwarding, viewing and tagging. Creating a separate site that is AMP validated is an intense but worthwhile process. It can lead to a mobile version 4X faster of any mobile or responsive website.

To check if a website is AMP’ed or has an AMP version you can install the verified AMP Validator available here.

To learn about all the benefits of Accelerated Mobile Page, code elements and requirements you can view the Official AMP project site here.

5 Reasons We’re So Amped About AMP

As we all know, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are kinda huge deal for anyone that has a website that people view on a mobile device, i.e. everyone. The AMP framework basically strips away many of the unnecessary web page elements that slows down the mobile experience making it much faster for users. For anyone that hasn’t heard about the roll-out of this user-friendly mobile experience, here are the top reasons why we’re so excited about AMP.

1) It’s super fast – about 15% to 85% faster on mobile. Since it strips down the code to only the essentials, it’s able to showcase websites much more quickly. This is a huge win for anyone that has short attention span.

2) Google is a big fan – Google historically favors websites that optimize user experiences – especially for mobile – which is great for search engine optimization (SEO) rankings.

3) They’re noticeable – AMP sites have a small gray lightning bolt so people will know that your website is the one to click on and bypass your competitors.

4) Will help you get and keep visitors on your page – when over 50% of people are using mobile to search for products/services, it’s best to have the most mobile optimized site and since bounce rates can be as high as 58% for websites that take up to ten seconds to load – you’re bound to get more page views.

5) Last but certainly not least – while Google doesn’t explicitly say that it’ll reward AMP websites with higher rankings, when you look at the other advantages, i.e. fast speeds and optimized user experience, it’s easy to see how being an early adopter will be beneficial for not only mobile, but overall organic rankings.

With all these benefits to AMP-ing up a website, it’s no wonder we’re getting tons of requests from our clients to AMP up their current website!!

OptFirst Named a Top Local SEO & SEM Agency on Clutch

OptFirst Internet Marketing is an integrated search marketing firm. We are located in Miami Shores, Fl., and we specialize in PPC and SEO services. Our team of 19 works with small and mid-market businesses in mostly the real estate, legal, education, automotive and business services industries. Due to our performance, we are excited to announce Clutch has named us as one of the leading local SEO firms and one of the leading search engine marketing agencies.

Clutch is a B2B rating and reviews firm located in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Clutch’s team of analysts utilize client reviews, surveys, and data to help companies in various industries better understand their markets, and to help guide businesses’ buying decisions. This accomplishment would not have been possible without our clients; client reviews are a major component of Clutch’s rating process. They have analyzed our clients, portfolio, and market presence. With 15 reviews and an overall 4.9-star rating, we are honored to receive this recognition.

Check out some of our fortunate clients; we provided digital marketing services for a marketing group. The client needed a marketing partner and help with SEO. We helped the marketing group increase traffic for their clients, and we helped them track their progress.

Clutch’s sister sites—The Manifest and Visual Objects—also recognized our work. The Manifest is an online community that helps businesses with their goals and challenges; we are listed as one of the SEO companies. On Visual Objects, which is a more visually-based platform for businesses to connect, we are included in the list of internet marketing companies.

A 2018 Forbes article emphasizes the importance and gives instructions on how small businesses can utilize SEO and SEM. OptFirst is happy to be a firm that provides these crucial services.

Again, we would like to thank Clutch for this honor and our clients for their feedback. OptFirst looks forward to continuing our current client relationships and building more in the future. Check out our Clutch profile, and contact us about our services.

Agency Secrets Revealed: “We’re giving it all away”

John Kriney Reveals OptFirst’s Secrets: “We’re giving it all away”

Today I interviewed my boss John Kriney, author and Founding President of OptFirst Internet Marketing and learn the secrets of how to run a successful Online marketing business.  John and his staff at OptFirst Internet Marketing have spent the last 15 years running successful Internet Marketing campaigns and coding. In his latest book, The Online Marketing Manual, John divulges exactly how OptFirst delivers on its promise to make money for businesses via Google Ads, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and reputation management services.

Dressed casually, standing at 6’2 with a lean athletic frame, John Kriney makes his way down the OptFirst hallway.  He stops briefly before entering the conference room to speak to my colleague about what sounds like the launch of an ad campaign on LinkedIn about to go live.   After hearing that the campaign is live and “tracking”, he turns his attention to me. He walks past the Wynwood-esque wall mural visible through the conference room’s glass panels and enters the room with a smile. He’s five minutes early.

Me: Good morning John.

John Kriney: Morning Parker.  Did you like the book?

Me: Yes. It’s a great read and breaks down what we do here.  In fact, it seems like its the operations manual! Why publish a book that tells people exactly what we do and how it’s done?  Why make all that information public?

JK: It’s already public information, the difficulty is in finding it, putting it together in a way that makes sense and knowing how to apply it to your business.  A lot of marketing students, start-up founders, and smaller marketing departments need these services – but aren’t big enough yet where it would make sense to come to an agency like OptFirst.  We’ve had quite a few ebook downloads so far and most of those have been small businesses and few students.

Me: So, bigger companies need to do more than what’s outlined in the book?

JK: Actually, … the book covers all the areas that bigger companies need to build their online campaign strategies.  Smaller entities are more likely to just need some of the items in the book. That being said, some smaller entities can really benefit from understanding exactly what we do and how we do it – then opting to outsource that work to us anyway.  It means that they can hire more people to do what really matters, which is focusing on their business. So, they can hire people for legal services, selling real estate, providing medical services, etc. This is the same way the OMM helps larger organizations identify areas that they can cover with their own resources and gives them the knowledge to outsource other processes such as advertising their company to a top Internet marketing agency like OptFirst.

Me:  What makes OptFirst a “top marketing agency” in terms of competition?

JK:  That’s very simple, we’re incredibly good at two things that matter the most: tracking and coding and those two things combined with the processes I laid out in the book make us a cut above the rest. We save a lot of time for companies by keeping track of everything that happens on every campaign.  Every visitor, click, form fill and phone call is tracked and can be linked back to a specific source. We also make multiple landing pages for many of our campaigns and can set-up tracking code on websites and mobile apps.  We built our own customizable dashboard, Campaign Dash to show all the key metrics from dozens of different areas all in one place. We coded our own mobile app for iOS and Android to automate review management for our clients. This just means that things happen faster, more cost-efficiently and more accurately with us. That translates to more profit in less time for our clients.

Me: So, what are the areas of the book?

JK: You read the book …

Me: [laughing] okay so SEO, Search Advertising, Paid Social and Reputation Management.  What do businesses need to know about what those terms mean?  Which ones are more important?

JK: They are all important but SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is king.  It’s the core of what happens on the internet. People are searching for information and its the only reason why people go online with their phones, Macs, PCs and now IOT [Internet of Things] voice assistants.  SEO is the best investment in the long run for most businesses since it builds relevance and authority online and is hard for competitors to counter – if its done right.

Me: Is SEO link-building and making sure the meta descriptions on a word press site have the right keywords?

JK: You know the answer to that!

Me: I’m just asking you for the interview…

John Kriney Celebrating OptFirst Internet Marketing 10th anniversary

JK: [smiling] That’s a small part of it these days.  Keywords in the meta tags and H1 header content form a small part of what we call “On-Page SEO” in the Online Marketing Manual.  In the book, we include activities like link-building in “Off-Page SEO”.  Though we caution readers about being too gung-ho about building links in the wrong places and in the wrong way.  It is supposed to be a marathon and not a sprint. Too much too fast can lead to over-optimization, a concept we describe in the book, but it’s basically a counterproductive mentality for SEO.

Me: So, having good SEO in the long term is key to online success.  What can a company do online to make money now?

JK:  Now?  Web campaigns take a couple weeks to set-up right but if “now” means by this month or next month, the answer is Search Advertising and Paid Social.

Me: Google Ads which was formerly known as Ad Words correct?

JK: Exactly.  Search Advertising is Google Ads 90% of the time.  If set up right, a company with no prior online presence can go from launch to their first conversion in days rather than weeks.  A conversion might be a form fill or call to action for your sales team. If you have an e-commerce store, conversions happen when someone buys your product.

Me: That’s right.  Google Shopping Ads link straight to landing pages where people can click to buy instantly.  Literally going from the ad to the product to check out.

JK: Yep – sometimes it straight from the ad to check out.  It depends on the campaign. Search Advertising strategies for e-commerce make for some of the most successful case studies in the industry. It’s as close as you can get to instant return-on-investment (ROI) in marketing. SEO plays a role here too though.  Even in paid ads. In the Online Marketing Manual, we outline the 8-Step Product set-up page that looks at the SEO-related on-page best practices for people to build into the design of a, say, Shopify or WooCommerce website.  We blend SEO, landing pages and paid ads in different ways for different campaigns.

Me: Is social media important?

JK: Depends.  You mean, do you need social media to make money as a business?

Me: Yes, that’s what I mean.  Does it matter what a business does on social media?

JK: Of course, but on social media, you need to pay to play.   It’s a major pitfall if a company relies on just organic marketing on social media.  In the OMM and across the industry we call unpaid marketing “organic”. So, SEO is organic and Google Ads is paid marketing.  Over the summer I went to an auto-industry convention and heard an executive from Facebook admit that their algorithm restricts even the hottest organic posts from corporate pages from getting more than 5% of followers wall impressions.  That’s a small share when you compare it to the potential of paid social advertising.

Me:   The book goes into detail about how tailored you can get with regards to demographics.  Is there a privacy issue with advertising to social media followers?

JK: Privacy issues are huge in the industry now.  Businesses need to be careful and that’s another area where hiring experts like OptFirst are essential for certain types of campaigns.   Reputation Management is a perfect example…

Me: Review App, our app for managing online reviews across different platforms for example.

JK: Right!  We spend the first week as you know setting up the app for a client and making sure that compliance with CAN, SPAM, TCPA, and the special statutes in their areas is looked at before we launch the campaign.  Who you text, how, when and whether they’ve opted-in or not and what other agreements they’ve made with the company is important to look at.  It can be tricky, but the upside of a good review management strategy is important.

Me: Reviews are important, 79% of users consider online reviews as important as personal recommendations.

JK: That’s right.  Because people know they are crowdsourced.  They rightly trust Google and Yelp to properly curate reviews and prevent “astroturfing”. Astroturfing is when businesses and competitors make fake reviews to maliciously boost or harm a business.  We help our reputation management clients avoid those traps.

Me: And what happens if someone’s business gets victimized by malicious reviews?

JK: It can get worse than just reviews.  We’ve seen people’s Google My Business profiles hijacked and sabotaged by unscrupulous competitors.  In one case, a client came to us after they were effectively slandered in a popular movie about them that was produced without their permission.  In both cases, reviews are not the issue – it’s what happens when people search your name and find what others are writing about you. Or pretending to be you.  They ended up successfully rewriting several key parts of that individual’s Wikipedia page. In another case, I personally sat at the stand as an expert witness.

Me: I remember that one. Our client won.

JK: Yes, the judge saw the overwhelming evidence and ruled in our favor. A civil judgment and we won’t go into the details here – but that competitor really messed-up and the law recognized that.  As a Google Premier Partner, we had the internal knowledge of how to get the GMB account back under our client’s control.

By the way, you forgot one last section of the book…

Me: Tracking?

JK: [laughs] Yes, tracking.

Me: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” *

JK: … and if you don’t measure it, you won’t know how to improve it.  So, we measure full-time here.

Me: All day every day.

[We both instinctively look at our watches and notice that the interview has gone over the 15 minutes we set aside to chat.  I have some ad campaign measuring to do and John is due across town for a talk he’s giving on the perils of using industry vertical-specific marketing agencies].

Me: John, thanks for your time.

JK: You’re welcome Parker.   See you this afternoon.

…and we’re off.

The Online Marketing Manual by John Kriney 2018 Falcor Publishing is at by clicking here. Buy it today and help your business gain the results its been looking for.

Parker Lake is an Account Manager at OptFirst Internet Marketing – a Google Premier Partner.  Coming from a development agency and a corporate sales background, he has a laser-like focus on improving his clients’ bottom line.  The team of content experts, programmers and marketing analysts at OptFirst help organizations make more money through better use of internet advertising, better websites and better mobile apps.   

Looking to level-up your company’s internet game? Reach out to OptFirst here.