Will Hanke - Saint Louis SEO Professional


...now browsing by author


About Will Hanke

Will Hanke is the Chief Search Marketing Strategist at Red Canoe Media, a top St. Louis Search Marketing & SEO firm. In addition to helping some of the city's most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

How Adjectives Affect Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

I live in a relatively small town about 30 miles from a relatively large city, and I’ve come to love adjectives.

Adjectives? Yes, and as a business owner, you too should fall in love with them.

You see, there are vast differences between good content and outstanding content. There’s a vast difference between having a list and having a quality list. And there’s a vast difference between getting links and getting quality links.

In fact, getting one over the other can liteally destroy your chances of ever ranking well in the search engines.

In the nearby large city, it has been reported that there was at one time (and may still be) 24 “digital agencies” in a four block area in downtown.

Twenty four? Really?

Unfortunately most of these “aencies” are one client loss away from going out of business. In fact, this number was short-lived, and continues to fluctuate. Luckily it is trending downward, albeit slowly.

You see, you can’t just read a few books and get a client or two and suddenly call yourself a digital marketing expert. It doesn’t work that way. Sure, you’ll fool a few folks, get a few clients, make a few dollars, but when they figure out that you don’t really have a clue what you’re doing, they’ll call your bluff and you’ll close shop.

And that’s why the number of shops continues to fluctuate. Eventually the wheat and chaff will be separated, but until then business owners have the unfortunate task of sifting through this minefield to find a company that can actually boost their profits and expand their audience.

good digital agency isn’t a great digital agency.

Be careful who you hire – they may not be around a year from now!


Friday, January 13th, 2017

Today I’m sitting in a Starbucks, streaming Pandora and writing, well, this.

While for many people this is no big deal, to me it is. For 17 years I worked in one capacity or another for the US government. Between my military service and then subsequent contractor roles, I always had a job.

And I hated it. Click to continue »

12 WordPress Plugins That Make Your Business Website Even More Badass

Friday, October 21st, 2016

One of the best things about WordPress is that you can easily and effortlessly add functionality to your website in a matter of minutes by using plugins. But they are both a blessing and curse. Some people get so addicted to installing plugins that their website suffers and doesn’t load as quickly as it could (which can irritate visitors and decrease organic rankings). Page load times are critical in today’s fast paced and data driven world, and most website visitors expect instant gratification.

For those reasons, it’s best to not overdo things with too many plugins unless you really know how to optimize your site. However, this presents a bit of a problem. How do you know which plugins are the best or most appropriate for your small business? There are thousands upon thousands of plugins, making it hard to find the best ones. The following is a short roundup of the best WordPress plugins for small businesses in 2016. Click to continue »

Hey SEO Guy: Why Aren’t You Following Up On Back-Link Requests?

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Though many small businesses don’t have the time or motivation to digitally market their business and website, there are a fair few website administrators that are the complete opposite. For years it has been common for websites administrators to reach out to other websites and network with them in an attempt to garner more back-links.

If you didn’t already know, back-links from quality sites are a great way to improve your organic rankings, since they are one of the Google algorithm’s ranking signals. But having a gung-ho attitude might be too much of a good thing. There is a fine line between being proactive about your back-link profile and coming across as a spammer. So how do you know if you’re doing things right, or just irritating back-link prospects? Click to continue »

Mobile Search Reaches 60%

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Mobile searches have overtaken Google searches on traditional devices like laptops and desktop computers. In fact, according to Google, more than half of all Google search queries are sent from mobile devices, which includes smartphones, tablets, and similar devices. In fact, a Hitwise report concluded that mobile searches in the US account for roughly 58% of all queries.

This has been a long time coming, and mobile searches have continued to increase month after month – and they don’t show any sign of slowing down. As mobile technology advances, mobile searches crowd out traditional queries. Internet statisticians have theorized for months that mobile searches would eventually become the norm, but it’s now official.

Naturally, this leads to an obvious conclusion. If you’re small business doesn’t have a website that accommodates mobile users, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle. Click to continue »

Amazon Removes Phone Numbers from Seller Central Orders

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016
Today many Amazon vendors have awaken to find out their orders no longer include a phone number. While this one small change seems insignificant, if you call your customers to verify orders (and keep returns to a minimum), this one small change can be devastating.
At first glance, I see this to be a move to squeeze 3rd party sellers towards Fulfillment by Amazon – aka FBA. Most people know this as Amazon Prime.
Amazon wants vendors to use their distribution system to sell product nationwide.  That way they’ll control more of the product flow.  They’ll package it (with their labelled box, of course), they’ll ship it and they’ll track it the entire way.
And think about this – if they can control your entire process, and the only thing left you have to do is buy it and ship it to them, what do you think their next move could be? Buy it themselves, ship it to their warehouses, and cut you out? Don’t think this is far-fetched.  They’ve already done this with batteries, SIM cards and several other industries.
Google has done similar things, taking away keyword reports from Analytics, unless you pay to play. And they can do this, no problem. It’s their platform, they can do whatever they like.
As if you didn’t already know this, putting all your eggs in one basket can kill your business.  Posting your products on Amazon is like sleeping with the devil.  Sure, it’s good for a while, but eventually it will probably come back to bite you in the ass.
What other options are there? My recommendation is just what I’ve done for businesses for years. SEO.  Yeah, it sounds like I’m using this as a way to scare you into SEO, and that’s not the case.  But the only way to beat the system is to go around it.  Flank the enemy.  Go around them and hit them in the traffic heart.  Start finding keywords that you can rank for, and get that traffic.

What an SEO Professional Actually Does

Monday, August 29th, 2016

A lot of small business owners have similar questions regarding SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But this term has been overused and abused to the point it has started to lose the purity of its meaning. And some people that refer to themselves as “SEO professionals” can’t genuinely help small businesses market their products and services. Some of these “professionals” are little more than upjumped web junkies who feel that because they spend most of their waking hours on social media, that they have become a guru. But these self proclaimed geniuses give many genuine SEO professionals a bad rap.

Good grief, give me a break. Some of these scam artists take advantage of small businesses, diverting critical marketing dollars that would otherwise be used to grow the business and inject life into a startup. Contrary to what you may have heard, there’s no marketing magic, digital wizardry, or silver bullets that are going to make you skyrocket to the number one Google ranking overnight. The truth is that it takes a fair amount of hard work and elbow grease to experience measurable results.

But how do you know the difference between a putz and a digital marketing and SEO professional that will help your business thrive? Well, first you need to know what the role of and SEO is, what questions you need to be asking, and the general skill set of an SEO. You see, there’s a lot more to SEO these days than including keywords in content and generating legitimate backlinks. Click to continue »

What You Need to Know About Keywords, Density, and Cannibalization

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Keywords are frequently the first thing anyone new to the world of SEO is concerned with. But even though they are one of the most fundamental concepts and factors regarding why pages rank well, there are a lot of website administrators and SEO professionals that need a refresher course to make sure they are still on the right track towards pleasing the Google algorithm with their content. You see, we need to constantly readjust our strategy to reflect changes made to the Google algorithm, such as the introduction of the Hummingbird update.

To start off, check out this video from Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz. Click to continue »

Google News and Updates on Accelerated Mobile Pages

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Staying current with the latest search engine updates is the only way to survive in the constantly changing world of SEO and SEM. And late in 2015, Google released news that accelerated mobile pages would become a ranking signal that, in part, determine a website’s overall ranking in the SERPs. However, there are many benefits of AMP’s past the immediate SEO value. Internet users all around the world want instant gratification, and your website needs to respond and deliver information as fast as technologically possible. Let’s take a closer look at what AMP’s are, how they work, and what they do. Click to continue »

The Lottery Bandwagon and Your Business’ Impending Doom

Monday, January 11th, 2016


This week’s biggest news (besides the unfortunate passing of David Bowie) is the PowerBall lottery. With it’s biggest estimated jackpot ever at $1.3 billion dollars, everyone is excited about the insane amount of wealth it may bring.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen some people (business owners and social media idiots) doing some things that may end up hurting them in the long run.

Check this out:


You’ve probably seen some of these floating around Facebook, and you’ll probably see more until the jackpot is won. It sounds exciting – share and win! But I see a really bad downside to doing this for your business.

Like Timestamps

First of all, the entire idea of asking people to share, like and post in order to win creates a problem – there are no timestamps on likes, so how will you pay it out if you win?  The post won’t go away (and you certainly wouldn’t be able to delete it after your newfound noteriety) – so what’s to stop 1.3 billion people liking, sharing and commenting on your post? Now you owe each of them $1.  Considering that you’ll only get what, two-thirds of the actual jackpot, you’ll be bankrupt!


Secondly, you aren’t really building your list of potential customers that are interested in your product – you’re building a list of people interested in winning the lottery.  Is this your target market?

If you get thousands of likes from this ruse, do you intend to then pay the crazy fees to market to them?  I doubt it – they’re not interested anyway!

Is it an ego thing? You just want to see the more likes you can get, no matter how uninterested they actually are in your business?

Bad idea.

Legal Issues

Take the example above.  Just for starters, there’s no mention of a date when the likes/shares have to be in by, so technically you’d be paying out forever.  I’m sure there are hundreds of other legal issues that can arise from this silly idea, too.

Or maybe you’ll just keep the money and say the post was a joke.  How do you think that’ll go over?

Or maybe you’ll delete it and play dumb.  Afterall, the Internet doesn’t remember things, right?

What if your social media guru told you this was a great idea and you win – then what? You’re screwed.

Are you ready to go bankrupt?

Think Before You Post

This is a really bad idea waiting to happen.  And if you have a social media ‘guru’ that’s giving you ideas like this, fire them now. No telling how wreckless they’re being with your brand.

What's Your SEO Score?

Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.