St. Louis SEO Blog

I Finally Got My Financial Education at Age 46

Written by Will Hanke on April 8th, 2019

Three weeks ago I had an epiphany, and I’m totally embarrassed by it.

At 46 years old, I’ve always heard that credit cards are bad, bad, bad. Because of that, I’ve avoided them like the plague. I’ve had one or two over the years, but didn’t manage them well, and they damaged my credit. So I’ve always avoided them, and probably for the right reasons – they can be a great way to get into more debt, and never get out.

And until a mere three weeks ago, that’s what I’ve always thought. The finance gurus tell you to pay them off and cut them up, so I just figured they were best avoided altogether.

About a month ago, though, I decided to take a more proactive approach to my finances.  I’ve always been really bad at finance. I can program computers, rank websites high on Google using really technical algorithms and techniques, but when it came to finances my brain shut down. I told myself I just couldn’t (and wouldn’t ever) understand it.

But enough of the excuses. Like it or not, you have to know what your money is doing.

And for me, it was really doing very little. You could even say it was unemployed.

Luckily I started watching videos on financial freedom and education. In particular, I’ve learned a lot about debt weapons from Matt Pillmore at VIP Financial Education, and a few others. It seems like most of these gurus like real estate, but I’m no where near thinking about that.

I just want to pay my bills on time and have money at the end of the month.

Ok, back to credit cards.

The ‘trick’ I learned a few weeks ago is to use your credit cards as a way to pay your bills AND increase your credit at the same time. It’s so simple, I can’t believe I never knew it.

I literally sat in my front room, mouth open, as I watched Laura Pitko explain the how I can pay my mortgage off in 5-7 years, and difference between revolving and static accounts.

Moving money, debt weapons, etc. It blew my mind.

How can a guy, at 46 years old, not know this? That was the most embarrassing part. All these years and I’ve never heard of this. It’s so simple. Can finances really be that simple? (well, no, but since it was dumbed down I finally got it)

And how do people that know this not share it? Or did I just not hear it until I decided to? My friend told me last week that he’s known this since his 20’s. He’s never paid a cent in interest on a credit card and has a great credit score, I’m sure.

As an aside, he told me that the banks call people that pay their credit cards each month deadbeats. Interesting how they use mind games to make you feel bad for doing what’s right (and bad for them).

The other thing about being this age and just learning it is that I may have missed my opportunity to teach it to my kids. They’re in their 20s, have established credit, and are playing the same game we did all those years. It’s my hope that I can continue to learn the real game and teach them, so if nothing else they don’t have to struggle for as many years as we have.


Make it to 46

Written by Will Hanke on January 19th, 2018
Today is a critical day for me in my life. You see, when my Dad was a mere five months from his 46th birthday he received the worst news possible: lung cancer.
Well, I’m that age today.
It’s funny, for the longest time I’ve always told Carol I just wanted to “make it to 46” because that’s when Dad died. But the day I turned 45 I had a sudden realization that that wasn’t the goal. The goal was actually 5 months before 46. I never told Carol that.
Well Carol, I guess I’ve made it. No diagnosis of impending doom, yet.
Now Dad wasn’t exactly surprised. Smoking since he was young (I think he told me age 12 once) had caught up to him. Treating your body like that is just going to take its toll. Dammit Dad, why did you do that?
And while I don’t smoke, only occasionally drink, and have never put an illegal drug in my body, I do know I’m overweight. I honestly do fear it doing me in, yet “getting off my ass and doing something about it” just doesn’t sound like fun. The internal voices tell me to get up, they say don’t go down early like your dad did, but the motivation just isn’t there. What more motivation is there than the thing you fear the most? Life is weird like that, I guess.
I know many people fight many battles at the same time, I don’t. I’m terribly happy most of the time, optimistic, and generally just glad to be above ground another day. I’m rarely depressed or down.
But the weight? It troubles me.
This isn’t a post to draw your kind words, “you can do it’s” or even pity. It’s really just me putting down words that have been inside me for 7 months now, waiting for the day they can claim victory.
I miss you, Dad. I’m not going down like you did. Heck, I’m only halfway there.
Oh and sorry kids, looks like there will be more Dad jokes and goofy Facebook posts to come.

Happiness is the Goal

Written by Will Hanke on June 17th, 2017

As a parent there is nothing you want more in life than for your child(ren) to be happy.


No, I mean it. Nuh-thing.

You see, there’s something that happens inside when you become a parent. I wouldn’t call it strange, or weird, it’s just…well, different.

In an instant, whether you feel it or not, everything changes.

No matter what your plans were before, how many mountains you were going to climb, those promotions you were going to seek, or those salaries you were going to make, they all fall to a distant second behind making your child happy.

And for the most part, in most homes, I’d say as they grow up they’re happy.

As a toddler they cry for ice cream or a cookie and you get it. Happiness accomplished.

When they hit middle school and someone breaks their heart for the first time, you want nothing more than to restore happiness with a hug and a “it’ll be ok”.

Restoring happiness is always the goal.

Yeah, there are other goals along the way. Soccer championship. Saving enough for a car. Meeting the right mate. Buying a home.

But if you look at those, their core driver is still happiness.

When they turn into young adults, and life kicks them in the ass, you still want to step in. Its what good parents do.

Or want to do.

At some point, they’ll have to start choosing their own happiness.

They’ll be making decisions that affect their happiness, and you’ll just be an observer.

What a crock.

This position between letting them grow up and you stepping in to restore happiness is one no parent desires.

Do they really have to learn these lessons? Do they really have to go through this?

Yes, of course they do.

And they’ll be better for it.

But it hurts.

It hurts because their happiness is your fuel. It’s your reason for being. Its the only thing that makes the universe right.

Without it, things are askew. Your life is off kilter.

Even our last moments on earth are yet another point in their life when unhappiness could abound.

They’ll be unhappy because their lifelong defender will have gone away.

Is there anything we can do about that?

Not at that moment, no. Its too late.

But if we do it right, I think we can leave them in a way that also makes them happy. We can teach them truths that give them freedom from fear, their future, and even death.

And if we teach them those things, I believe they’ll always be happy.

And that means our mission will have been accomplished.


How Adjectives Affect Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Written by Will Hanke on 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!



Written by Will Hanke on 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

Written by Will Hanke on 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?

Written by Will Hanke on 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%

Written by Will Hanke on 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

Written by Will Hanke on 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

Written by Will Hanke on 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 »


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