Google “God in Houston” and you won’t find a church

In the process of explaining  SEO (search engine optimization) over the years I frequently demonstrate that if you Google “God in Houston” the top results are  not churches. Now I’m not talking about the local results that show the churches, but the actual search results below that that lists  KSBJ as the top result for “God in Houston” when searched on Google. And the only paid search result is for “Houston Gold” – like the shiny stuff you make jewelry out of. Here is a screen shot:

From a technical perspective, this makes perfect sense. Because the  largest churches in  Houston do not mention the word “God” on their web sites. Yes really. Using a  search engine keyword analyzer, a test of shows the following.

Note the title is “Second Baptist Church, Houston, TX.” Thus they will likely rank for “Churches in Houston” but not for “God in Houston.” A simple fix would be to update the title to “Second Baptist Church, Serving God in Houston TX”.

I mention this because  exactness of speech matters. It means that some of our largest churches have zero (0) possibility of being returned if a downtrodden person googles for them in the middle of the night. It means missed connections when a bible study group at a particular church might be the perfect connection for a fellow Houstonian. But we will never know because of a failure of exactness of speech.

On the flip side, a tip of the hat to  Braeswood Assembly of God church which comes up for both the physical location and second natural ranking after KSBJ in the search results. And all because they mention the word “God” in their title.

So be specific. Be exact. And I’ll leave it to you to search for the ministers’ names – they rank a bit higher than God.

John Sturtevant defines us – and that clarity of speech is scary

Sturtevantbeclear_1We have a client who runs where you can learn to write with clarity and purpose (I haven’t completed the course yet so forgive the current author).  John Sturtevant emphasizes the importance of BEING CLEAR

He is truly a dynamic speaker and even lets you thrown things at him in class.  I thought we had a good relationship going.  And then this email starts circulating the office.  I think I feel the love, but I am not quite sure.  So to quote John:



v: To make to strict specifications in order to produce desired results. Example: "My business was going nowhere, until I had my website Schipulized. Now I’m getting more new customers than ever!"


n: An enthusiastic and prosperous person whose life is characterized by profound happiness, exceptional creativity, reassuring common sense, and a deep measure of morality. Example: "Sure, I used to think I was successful and happy, but now that I’m a Schipulite, I’ve found a true meaning in life ““ plus I’m getting filthy rich!"


n: A thorough investigation of the nature, causes, and principles of web-based reality, knowledge, technology, and values based on logical reasoning combined with empirical methods and wry skepticism of all accepted assumptions or beliefs, tempered by a system of admirable values. Example: "Some people shun true Schipulosophy for more pedantic approaches to web marketing ““ the wretched fools. "


n: The science of web-based life and of entities relying on the web for their subsistence, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution. Includes Schipulotany and all its subdivisions. Example: "As soon as I heard the logic and rationale behind Schipulology, I threw all my Netelligent Design books in the Dumpster."


Of course after reading this I must *immediately* point out that it was 8 years ago that I really couldn’t come up with a better name for the *company*  so that is the COMPANY name and what John is referring to above is the result of a COMPANY EFFORT.  It is most definitely NOT my individual efforts that produce results for our clients although I would like to think I am a positive force in that direction.

SturtevantbeclearunclearWhat John does, playfully, emphasize is that we take our ideas behind web marketing and search engine optimization seriously.  We actually do require employees to read the book Positioning for advancement and we train them on everything from collective action to marketing fundamentals.  So there is more to it than design or code or PPC campaigns.  We love this stuff.

Thanks for the kind words John.

Donaton on Verklin Contradicts Measurable Branding Results Online

Scott Donaton, the editor of Advertising Age just wrote an article gushing over what a visionary leader David Verklin is.

Will someone other than David Verklin please stand up?

I mean, really, is there a single other human being who has been as much of a leader, visionary, a force for change and a voice of optimism industries over the last 15 years? The answer is no, and that’s remarkable, as a statement on Verklin’s talents and as shameful commentary on the leadership vacuum.

So, being a student of leadership and branding both, I wanted to check out Mr. Verklin’s company to see how a visionary’s company presents the brand online. While I have no doubt Mr. Verklin is indeed an amazing visionary leader, I also have no doubt that he has NOT held his people accountable for baseline branding on the web. Why do I say this? Because I can’t find the site in google BY NAME, which to most of us is a completely fair measure of half-hearted-capabilities.

Specifically I wanted to find the Carat America site. I googled it as "Carat America". By brand name no less.
I get a portfolio listing but not one on their site or even a listing for their company.

Then I tried "Carat Verklin"
I get a media week listing but not the company site. Ironically the article is about eyes shifting to media dollars.

After numerous searches and finding the Carat Group site (not Americas but the main group – I realize that) I ran a keyword density analyzer on the site trying to figure out how it was possible that they did not come up at all. First, they have a redirect on the home page which gave even the density analyzer an error. Then I tried the redirected subpage and got this:

Single Words
Occurrence: 4
keyword count density score
carat 1 25.00 1
enter 1 25.00 3
global 1 25.00 3
site 1 25.00 3

That is the complete report. All of it.

BY clicking "services" I got a long URL which at least had some content.
Note that it does not say the word advertising at all and only says "media" once on the page. Television, brand and interactive are also missing.  Who wrote this stuff?

I am glad Mr. Verklin is getting some nice press. But the arrogance of big media assuming everyone will find them, that people will jump through hoops to track them down, smacks of cluetrain type big business arrogance and nothing less than brand foolishness.

Ad Agencies need to hold their people accountable for online branding results, and that includes making sure your site is found in the search engines. To hire creative people who count on you, and to ignore the media landscape, to ignore online branding and then lay everyone off and say "hey, I guess there was a slow down" like so many agencies do, is irresponsible. It is bad for the brand, and definitely bad for the people. It is arrogance and arrogance doesn’t play.