Increasing Lead Generation By Improving Marketing Integration

Spending more money on lead generation & marketing is not always the right answer – spending your money smarter is
by Karl Hindle – Founder of Wellspring Search

My marketing strength is SEO, Content Marketing, and PPC (especially Google AdWords), so I have a digital bias, but with that admission out of the way, let me get to the meat here.

How can you increase your lead flow right now without increasing your marketing spend?

This is going to apply to 99.99% of businesses right now – you have multiple marketing efforts in flight, both online and in the real world, and your metrics may look good or bad compared to prior year or prior period results.

If down – do you need to spend more money?

Possibly – impossible to say right now.

If up – can you readily explain why you are up – especially so you can do more of the good stuff?

Maybe, but probably not.

Irrespective, you haven’t worked out makes for a good marketing balance across all the channels you are active in right now, and this is something I see almost every time I sit down with a prospective client – even at enterprise-level.

balancing marketing activities to optimize lead generation

What do I mean by a good marketing balance?

By this I mean, have you coordinated your paid search with seasonal promotions being advertised in the local press, radio, or TV?

Are your SEO strategies working in conjunction with your PPC/Paid Search campaigns?

Do you have a logical schedule of promotional events and strategies, with collateral prepared in advance, and direct marketing supported by your digital presence and vice versa?

If I visit your website, navigate through to your Facebook page, catch your TV ad on cable, will I see a continuity and uniformity of the message you are pushing to me?

In other words, have you looked at how different marketing and promotional channels work in unison, not as standalone campaigns?

For the vast majority of readers, you are going to say “No!”

But how different marketing channels work together can make the difference between making and breaking your business.

Drawing from personal experience, I find Social Media campaigns to be great ways to improve awareness and branding, for acting as a sound board with potential prospects and the market generally, and for getting in front of a potential train wreck when it comes to dealing with customer complaints.

But, I do not find Social Media to be a goldmine for lead generation for most businesses (unless you are selling something that lends itself to social sharing).

I see a lot of ROI from lead generation campaigns using Social Media – most of it is negative!

So, on the face of it, we should can Social Media for not delivering ROI – right?


What I also find with Social Media is that it is used a great deal by prospects who do become leads, but come in from another marketing channel, e.g. SEO or PPC, touch Social Media profiles as part of the “can I trust this business” process they make, and then come back to the website for more research before hitting the CTA.

Prospects are checking you out on Social Media as a ‘trust’ validation exercise, so while I do not credit Social Media with the actual lead generation, it deserves credit for helping to move prospects through the funnel, to the point where they follow your Call to Action and turn from prospect into a lead.

This issue applies to every marketing channel you are using – how do specific activities contribute to your lead generation, as opposed to which activities are getting the credit.

Working with Google Analytics and Google AdWords, we can see the interaction across digital channels much more clearly than when TV, radio, and direct marketing is in the mix. It is possible to gauge the value of marketing activities that look like lead generation dogs in terms of creating leads, but are in fact lead gen stars as they assist prospects to make the leap in contacting you.

Your challenge is to unlock the data you already have (and you have a lot you may not realize) and see how channels are interacting and helping each other (or not).

Spending more money is not always the right answer, and optimizing your marketing balance will not only cost you less, but give you visibility into what is actually working well for you and why.

Karl Hindle is the founder of Wellspring Search, and a Google Analytics & Google AdWords certified individual.



t: (717) 658-8683



twitter @wellspringseo


Why Isn’t Your Website Ranking #1 in Google Search?

Common SEO reasons for why your website does not rank highly

There are lots of reasons why a website ranks the way it does, but not getting to #1 means you are missing out on a whopping 33% of the clicks available for that search term. Being ranked #1, #2, or #3, means you get to participate in the lion’s share of clicks, and the higher your website rankings, the more relevant traffic you’ll attract to your website. Being anywhere but on page one for search results, puts you in the desert where business websites die of thirst for search traffic. But, no matter the fact you have a brand new website that looks shiny and all, you cannot find your site in the search results, even though the web developer said they used all the best SEO practices for the coding.

What is going on?

The common reasons I see for why a website is not ranking well are:

Your Website is Not Indexed

When a search engine, such as Google, analyzes and ranks web pages which it is going to then display to whoever searches on it, it has already ‘seen’ the website and captured a snapshot of it in its data storage, and we call this the Index. If you are not in the data store aka Index, then you do not get to compete for a ranking spot.

One of the first things I look at when I am conducting a website audit is whether your site’s code and setup encourage being Indexed (you may hear webmasters talk of being ‘crawled’). Sometimes code is included which tells search engines not to look at your website or include it in the Index, and this is a common developer technique to stop a search engine from Indexing the site while it is being built (you don’t want people looking at a partially constructed site thinking this is the best you can be).

Sadly, this ‘no-index” or “nofollow” code is frequently left in there by mistake, leaving website owners scratching their heads as to why they cannot get the website to rank. A quick check is to try googling your website address in the search box itself (not the browser navigation), e.g. “” – your home page should show up in 1st position, and if not, there is a problem.

Google check Frederick SEO Company

Poor Content

“Content is King” is a popular SEO refrain, and you must have good content on your website, both for search engines, and more importantly, real people. Search engines will look at your content to determine what the site is about, and especially what keywords you are relevant for.

If you are selling children’s clothing on Market Street in Frederick, then your content should reflect this, or you will find it very difficult to rank for “children’s clothing Frederick MD” as a search term. Your content needs to include keywords that will help you gain higher ranking for search terms, and this is where you need to perform keyword research to identify popular search terms which are commonly used. (Your SEO should be able to do this for you, and they should have access to keyword tools to identify the search terms, the traffic potential, and how difficult it will be to compete for the ranking spots).

Once you have keywords, you incorporate them into your content, but don’t just think of words; you also should include content that delivers value using other media, such as images and graphics, audio, and video. All of these can be optimized on your target keywords, and having multimedia does help your human users and will help you gain higher ranking in search engines too.

Video in particular is a relatively quick way to yourself ranked highly, but you cannot take just one approach, and always remember that ultimately, you need content created for people, not search engines.

Keyword Tool screenshot of PI lawyers in Frederick MD

Inbound Links or Backlinks

This is a big one: when a website links to your website, then generally this is taken as a vote of confidence that you are a relevant, quality website. The more backlinks you have from other, different websites, the more trust and authority you create for yourself.

I frequently find that backlinks are either non-existent or low in number, because there is no formal SEO strategy in place, or lots of backlinks, but of the wrong type (which can be very damaging).

I am not going into technical issues here, this is for business people and marketing-types trying to come to grips with the problem, not qualify as a technical expert!

The bottom line is that if you have few backlinks, or backlinks of the wrong type, you are going nowhere fast (except down!)

Google backlink profile

Cut & Paste Content

Originality is crucial for ranking in search engines – if you are simply cutting and pasting content from somewhere else, either someone else’s website, or another site you own, then this is duplicate content.

Duplicate content will not rank!

Your website content must be original, and you should check to make sure it is – you can use a free tool such as Copyscape to help you check on this for yourself.


Now here I make a distinction between the regular competition you face in the ‘real’ world, and online competition for rankings in search engines. Your biggest competitor may be the company down the street, but for ranking in Google, the competition may be someone on the other side of the world.

What counts here is who are you competing against to get ranked for your keyword terms.

Personal injury law firms tend to be a very competitive arena, as do car dealers, so if you are new or just recently started a push for SEO rankings, you may find you are making very slow progress. Your progress is slow not because you are doing something wrong, you’re just not doing enough to make a dent in the competitive advantage those above you have created with their SEO – you need to do more.

Conversely, you can have very little competition for rankings, and with relatively little effort, you can find yourself rocketing to the top if you get your SEO right. Remember, SEO is played out in a dynamic environment where Google makes continuous changes to how it ranks web pages, and your competition is not standing still either, plus how your target market behaves will also have an impact too.

SEMRush competition screenshot

Budget & Know How

You need to know what you are doing.

It is not enough to blog, use original content, or create backlinks (of the right type) – there is a lot more to SEO, and it is easy to do more harm than good.

A commercial website should not be entrusted to amateurs, no matter how gifted.

That throws you into the hands of the professional SEO, either in-house or an external firm such as ours.

Either way, this also means budget.

Too little budget means not enough work is going to get done to get you moving up the rankings. You must also be prepared to commit to SEO as a discipline and process which will continue for some time, and certainly I recommend you should test it over 6 months as a minimum and then assess the results. If you are not in this in a serious fashion, and for the long haul, then save your money and get out of trying to gain high rankings in search engines (but lose the tried and proven opportunity for great results we all know are there).

I recently had a conversation with a company marketing shelters (such as the shelter you stand under if you are waiting for a bus or a cab at the airport). They could not understand why they did not rank for shelter-related keywords, so I took a look and had a consult. They had had an SEO firm in to do some work, but after 6 months there was little to show for it, so I asked, how much were you spending because my concern was, I couldn’t see any progress on SEO factors I would normally expect to see.

My surprise quickly turned to understanding when the marketing lady advised me that the monthly budget was $200….

You can hire a company in India or the Philippines for that, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Poor Website Rankings Takeaways

  • Check your site is indexed in Google – if it isn’t, you will never rank for anything;
  • Put relevant content on your website, backed by the best keyword research you can find;
  • Backlinking is important, but it must be of the right type, quality, and quantity – never hire an amateur to do this, or you’ll be paying my children’s college fees to unblock the mess!
  • No duplicate or copied content – your website must use unique content;
  • Competitors are not standing still and they are running SEO too – you have to do enough SEO to overcome and rank past them; and
  • Budget – SEO is not the cheapest nor the most expensive, but you will get what you pay for.


If you would like to discuss your own situation, or you are looking to engage an SEO, PPC company, or digital marketing agency, then call me, Karl Hindle, on (240) 415-6191 or email me at



Google Certified in Google Analytics and Google AdWords

Top 5 Local SEO Ranking Factors for Frederick MD

Karl Hindle of Wellspring Search Shows How Frederick Businesses Can Optimize their Local SEO

In this post I’m going to outline the organic ranking factors for local SEO – these are the actual ranking results (SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages) you see when you perform a search. These are not the factors to get you listed in the Snack Pack or Local Stack listing, and I’ll cover these off in my next post.

For now, we’re dealing with straight forward, local SEO ranking factors, and I’m only handling the top 5 (there are plenty more).

Local SEO Factor #1 – Domain Authority

Moz logo domain authority

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz, and is a popular measure of how well a website is likely to rank in the SERPs. Factors taken into account include the number and quality of linking root domains and various backlink measures, as well as quantified measures of trust and predictive ranking capability.

DA is measured on a scale of 1 to 100, and it uses over 40 weighted metrics on website health to come out with a number. This is a logarithmic scale, so it is easier to go from 10 to 20 than it is to go from 70 to 80, i.e. the higher you go, the harder it is to advance again. DA values are updated once a month on average, and while I don’t personally put a lot of weight into this metric on its own, it is very useful when comparing against other competing websites.

If this sounds like gobbledygook, don’t worry as even experienced SEOs have their mind boggled over what is going on with this. The bottom line is it’s important to gain some measure of what Domain Authority is for Local SEO in a competitive environment, and understand what the level of effort is going to be to get your business ranked.

Local SEO Factor #2 – Quality of Backlinks


I keep hearing about how backlinking is dead, or even worse, bad for SEO rankings. I’d like to dispel that myth completely: if you have online competing websites, then backlinks are a major part of what will cause one site to rank over others. You need backlinks, but it is not a case of sheer volume of links, but rather the quality of them that are inbound to your website.

Earlier this year, there was a Q&A talking heads session with Google’s Andrey Lipattsev who flat-out confirmed backlinks are one of the top 3 ranking factors for SEO (not just Local SEO). For the tech heads reading this, here is a link where you can find Ammon Johns, Bill Slawski, Rand Fishkin, and Andrey Lipattsev discussing this: click here for Search Engine Watch article.

Quality backlinks will come from relevant websites, from sources which are local to your area of service and operation, and from websites which themselves have a good level of DA.

The problem for many business owners is how to generate these links, and sadly, many providers claiming to understand and offer local search optimization services don’t know how to do it either. Backlinking is a disciplined and labor-intensive exercise, and you really need to know what you’re doing to generate results, but ultimately you need them to compete in search engine rankings.

Local SEO Factor #3 – Google My Business

Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is a Google-owned property which requires you to go through a physical verification process (you register and a postcard with a verification code is sent to you at that address). This demonstrates you are a legit business, and that the address you provide is real and you’re there, and with that address you boost your local credentials for Google.

Make sure you claim your GMB listing and go through the verification process, but be ultra-careful that you use the exact spelling of your business name as you do for everything else, and ensure that you use a local telephone number instead of a toll-free one (the area code is a further check on your location).

Local SEO Factor #4 – Click Through Rate (CTR) from Search Engine Visitors


No matter where you are currently ranking in the search engine results, the rate at which users click through to your website compared to others listed is a measure of how relevant your site is. Google published an article on their blog about this, and then very quickly took it down because it was giving too much of the Google algorithm away, but fortunately Barry Schwarz over at Rusty Brick managed to capture a copy of it.

You want to optimize this not just to grab the optimization benefit, but because this means real people looking for your products and services are going to be visiting your website in greater numbers.

Ensure you have well-written meta descriptions, which provide a succinct explanation about the web page being listed, and are usually displayed by Google in the search results. You have 160 characters to do this, and you need to include Calls to Action (CTAs) to entice the user to click on your listing rather than the competition.

Local SEO Factor #5 – Topical Keyword Relevance of Website Content

Local SEO for Mobile

If you want to rank for “Frederick Family Dentist”, then it makes good sense to include the keyword phrase on your web page, and talk about what this means – assuming you are in fact, a family dentist based in Frederick MD!

If you are selling banking services, it would make no sense to talk about dentistry on a ranking web page – you would be talking about banking services!

There is also more to ranking than simply focusing on a keyword or phrase. Google in particular, is very good at identifying synonyms and semantics. Taking our Frederick dentist example, we could also ensure terms associated with a dental practice are included on the website too: “sedation dentistry”, “oral surgery”, “dental hygiene”, “children’s dental services”, and so on.

Again for the tech heads who like to get into this, here is a great piece from Search Metrics on topical relevance.


My top 5 local SEO factors are:

  • Domain Authority (DA) – how well your website is likely to rank
  • Quality of Backlinks – quality over quantity, make them local too
  • Claim Google My Business listing and verify it with Google
  • Optimize Click Through Rate for Search Visitors – optimize meta description
  • Topical Relevance of Keywords – if you’re a lawyer, talk about law, if you’re a baker, talk about bread and cakes

About Karl Hindle

Local SEO Karl HindleKarl is a British import and has been practicing SEO and digital marketing for over 15 years.

He is the founder of Wellspring Search, serving clients in the Central Maryland area, across the US and overseas.

In addition, he is a Google AdWords and Google Analytics certified individual.


Tel: (240) 415-6191

Google Certified in Google Analytics and Google AdWords

The Top 5 Local SEO Factors
Wellspring Search
e: t: (240) 415-6191

The #1 Frederick Local SEO Company

Karl Hindle’s Big 3 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Agency

Ask SEO Agencies These Three Must Ask Questions Before Hiring Them

SEO is a powerful digital marketing technique, and one for which many businesses will pay a premium to be able to leverage. There are also no qualifications to start up in business as a digital marketer, or optimization specialist, and certainly none as an SEO agency or practitioner. So with almost no barriers to entry, almost every business you can see a lucrative prospect, and with a lot of money to be made, it is no surprise that there are a lot of SEOs who will happily pitch like a champion, but can barely find Google online.

How do you know you are getting a search optimization specialist that really knows what they are doing, and will actually properly execute on the work, and deliver results?

Ask questions.

Questions to ask SEO firms

I’ve been on the agency side of the table for over 15 years and also acted as the in-house expert helping select vendors, and I’ve heard some good questions and some really bad ones. I’m drawing on my experience working for clients, the challenges I faced when choosing vendors myself, and my own opinion based on knowing what I do about SEO.

So, I’m going to suggest you include these 3 questions for prospective SEO partners, and see what they come up with.

Question #1 – Do You Offer a Guarantee for Rankings?

This separates out the vendors after money from those who have a deeper understanding of SEO, the purpose in asking this question is to help you create your vendor shortlist.

If you are told by anyone that they will get you to #1 in the search engines, or even guarantee you will get to the first page, then shut that conversation down fast!

Guaranteed seo ranking scam

The reason I am so emphatic about this is that the only person who can guarantee you will get to #1 on Google is Google – and they don’t do SEO.

SEOs, even the most experienced ones, may have some understanding of what factors are taken into account for search engine rankings, but they do not know all of them, and in any event they change constantly. Also, where you rank is also determined by how well your competitors are doing with SEO too, and that can also come down to size of budget, experience of their SEO practitioner, and things such as how old is your website. None of which makes it possible to guarantee you will get ranked, nor how long you will stay there if you do.

Any SEO or agency claiming you are guaranteed to get to #1 is either (a) flat-out lying to you, or (b) they are so ignorant about SEO you cannot trust them to actually do what they claim they can do.

Wellspring Search has a high rate of success at generating high rankings and increasing website visitors, but we can never guarantee you a #1 ranking, and neither can anyone else.


Question #2 – What Experience Do You Have with SEO and With My Type of Business?

Really, this is two questions – how much experience have you got with SEO, and how much with my own niche.

Let’s take the first one first: how much experience as an SEO do you have?

SEO is a strange brew of creativity, technical expertise, current knowledge of search engines and behavior, and the ability, discipline, and resources to execute and to be effective with SEO.

Someone who has spent a year reading about SEO may know enough to put their foot on the gas and go faster, but they will not be able to steer, nor will they be able to brake if they are doing something that is adversely affecting the website health.


I think a good yardstick is that you are looking for someone with at least 5 years as a practitioner, and ideally with multiple disciplines under their belt in addition to SEO.

My reasoning is that firstly, they need to have a good grasp of the SEO fundamentals in action, and also have encountered situations where things do not go according to the original game plan. Secondly, they need multiple disciplines and skills because SEO is about combining a multitude of tactics and strategies to get to the desired outcome, and you need the ability to look up and see the bigger picture. It’s no use getting to #1 for a keyword term, but overall you have ignored all the other rankings and now see a drop in visitors and ROI.

The second question is experience in your particular niche, and I personally love being asked this question because, (a) chances are very high I do have experience working in their niche, and (b) this tends to be a buying signal from the potential client that they are moving to hiring me.

If you ask this question, be aware of the buying signal you are sending out, but that said, you ought to dig into where the SEO firm has gained their experience. If you are in a highly competitive environment, having someone who already knows and understands the general environment within which you are operating is invaluable. For instance, personal injury law SEO is helped enormously if you understand things such as “TBI”, that railroad workers are not covered by worker’s compensation (they have their own federal scheme), or can spell “mesothelioma” correctly without looking it up in a dictionary.

Question #3 – Do You Practice Black Hat SEO?

There are 2 types of SEO – White Hat and Black Hat (and I suppose it is fair to say there are an infinite number of shades of grey in between).

White Hat is ‘good’ SEO and uses techniques that are unlikely to result in you being penalized or punished by the search engines, and they are also unlikely to damage or harm the long-term health of your website and business.

Black hat seo versus white hat seo

Black Hat is ‘bad’ SEO and uses techniques that are associated with spammers and criminals. While Black Hat can generate very impressive results very quickly, they are almost always short-lived and the benefit disappears very quickly. A frequent results with Black Hat SEO is that your website is penalized causing a massive loss of rankings, and in extreme cases, your website can even be banned.

One word of caution here: Black Hat SEOs will typically deny they are doing the ‘bad’ stuff, while White Hat SEOs will probably know quite a lot about Black Hat simply because they know the rules. Be on the lookout for the former, but don’t discount the latter: at this point you may want to get some technical support in to help you identify who the good guys are and eliminate the questionable from further consideration.


Before hiring an SEO agency, ask questions and lots of them.

The Big 3 for me are:

  1. do you offer a ranking guarantee – a trick question to be sure, but it eliminates the dishonest and incompetent;
  2. what is your SEO experience in my industry – dig into this, you’re looking for broad and deep, including handling things that went wrong; and
  3. Black Hat-v-White Hat – you’ll be looking for a White Hat SEO agency in all likelihood, but dig in to this, there is a lot of Black Hat stuff that goes on under the White Hat banner.

About Karl Hindle – Wellspring Search founder

cropped-Karl-Hindle-512-px-for-Search-website-1.jpgKarl Hindle has practiced SEO and digital marketing for over 15 years both as an external consultant, and as an in-house resource, working with clients such as Colfax Industries, Adidas, Barclays Bank, and Childfund International (formerly Christian Childrens Fund), and a very long list of small and medium-sized businesses, including clients here in Frederick MD who will provide references.

He has direct, hands-on experience working with small, medium, and enterprise-class clients in a wide variety of niches, at home and internationally. Karl is also certified Google for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords (including AdWords Video and Search Advertising).

LinkedIn Profile and Google Partners Profile

Looking to Hire an SEO Firm?

You’re looking for an SEO company to help you, and we certainly have the skills and experience to do that, but we also like to make sure we’re a good fit for the long haul, so if you answer “Yes” to these 3 questions, please call us:

1. Is your business established?

(We do not take on start-up clients for SEO except in very rare circumstances, but we can help you in other ways so call us)

2. Are you selling great products and services, and have a strong commitment to providing fantastic customer service?

(We have a very strong customer service ethos, and we will not work with clients who don’t care about their own customers or their own reputation)

3. You are a B2B or B2C business in the mainstream, i.e. you do not sell porn or adult-related services?

(We’re asked enough times about this that we want to make it clear, we do not provide SEO or digital marketing services to porn providers, get rich quick schemes, or escort services, so ‘regular’ businesses only please)

If you answered “Yes” to all 3 questions, call us – (240) 415-6191 – because we would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Google Certified in Google Analytics and Google AdWords