Local SEO Guide – What Matters To Google For Your Small Business

Local SEO Guide – What Matters To Google For Your Small Business

You might already know how Google works.  Did you know that there are basically two ways to rank on google?  Keywords and Local SEO

The first is for keywords.  For those that don’t know keywords rank on google, it’s pretty straight forward.  Say you have a site about purple elephants.  When other sites link to your site, Google takes that as those sites are “vouching” for your site.  If they use the word “purple elephants” then all the better.   Now Google is much smarter than this simple description, it weighs the “vouching” sites to determine if they have authority or not.  So a link from Mashable.com would be worth more than a link from my own website at Gahomesdigest.com.  In addition, it evaluates your page and how “good” the content (you can get an idea of what google is looking for by using the free service on the sidebar).  Finally, google also takes into account a list of other harder to manipulate things such as how long people stay on your site, how many social shares are out there and how updated the site is (and how long the domain is registered for).  All told it’s a lot for a business owner to master.

Luckily there’s an easier way for local business owners.


Is Coca-Cola A Mission Driven Business?

Is Coca-Cola A Mission Driven Business?

I believe that businesses can change the world.

I believe this because, we are stronger together and when we’re united under a common vision that there’s nothing we cannot do.

The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!Genesis 11:6

You may look at the world around you and see that this is not the case anymore.  This is why I believe business can change the world.  Businesses have the one thing that is missing from our social endeavors, unity resources.  Now some businesses catch this better than others, while others vision may only monetary.  A friend of mine has a statement about businesses that goes like this, “A business has one purpose, profit.”  I can agree in part because clearly a business that does not turn a profit will not last very long.   That view in my opinion is short sighted at best and (word that sounds bad here) at worst.

What I’m talking about is a Mission Driven business.

Instead of a rant about social justice followed by a Pollyanna view of a world where rainbows and unicorns thrive, let’s take a look at what’s currently possible, and where there is huge potential.   Every single case here is either real world happening right now or could.   Also, in every single case moving toward a mission driven business (vs profit driven) would likely elevate profits, enhance what they are already doing and increase brand awareness.  This isn’t a call to spend money, this is a call to be intentional with the power of unity behind a vision.


Coca ColaIn my home town of Atlanta there’s a few of the businesses that already have the recipe for a mission driven business.  Coca-Cola is one such company.  Are they mission driven?  No not yet, maybe someone will read this and they’ll “get it.”  However, Coca-Cola Company has all the ingredients for this particular recipe (see what I did there?).  Let’s take a look at these ingredients:

When you look at a company you really need to see if they have a written mission and vision…

Coca Cola’s Mission

  • To refresh the world…
  • To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…
  • To create value and make a difference.

Let’s stop and pause.  Right now, there’s nothing about Coke’s marketing to me that says anything about these three.  I bet you didn’t even know they had these three things written down.  If they call me I’ll tell them, “Hey, delete the bottom two” – Refresh the world… That just gets me excited.  Unfortunately, for the average Coke employee there’s nothing refreshing about what they are doing.  I won’t go into their product but it’s just a business, a profitable business.  Let’s keep going.


Coca Cola's Vision Statement

(blah, blah) this is where it breaks down.  You can read it for yourself.

If I had to pinpoint where Coca-Cola lost it, it’s in their vision.  Their entire Mission page reads like a textbook leadership manual but there’s no heart.  Outside Refresh the world, it lacks the real clarity needed to change the world.

What if we helped them a tad.  If I had to keep the “P” motif, I’d say.

People – Our people are our secret ingredients.  They refresh and energize each other and create a rejuvenating environment in which to accomplish our Mission.

I could do this to each one.  However, I don’t think you want to read it, and frankly without knowing why Portfolio is in there or why is Productivity separate from People, I can’t really offer any insight.

The rest of this page needs a redo as well.

So  what’s the point?

Coca-Cola’s New Business As A Mission as Defined by Joshua

Mission: To refresh the world..

Vision: To quench the world’s thirst. 

Statement: Imagine a world where the beverage companies end world thirst.  Every Coca-Cola product sold at retailers serves not only to excite the taste buds of those drinking but also provides drinking water to those that do not have access.  Together Coca-Cola’s secret ingredient (it’s employees) and non-profit organizations (like Charity:Water) work hand in hand in creating new innovative ways to solve this World problem while innovating new flavors and refreshment for retail partners.

Is this far-fetched… uh, no.  You can read it here, but Coca-Cola already does this.  So why does the above excite you and I so much more than what they have.  They’ve kept these things separate.  It’s only through raising awareness of what they do at the Coca-Cola foundation that they’ll actually tie these together.  Coca-Cola Foundation is doing some GREAT things worldwide.  If they could simply UNIFY their entire company under this mission, they could end a World Problem.


What do you think?  Am I pushing Coke too hard on this?  Are they doing a great job and don’t deserve my critique?  Are they on the cusp of something even greater?  Would you like to see more of these kind of posts?

You Might Be A Blocker

You Might Be A Blocker

I love the game of football.  Not so much for the action or the violence or anything quite as masculine as that.  I’m a fan of strategy.  What the average Sunday watcher doesn’t see is the block that gets made which opens up a hole for the running back to run through. Everyone on the field is important, even a wide receiver on a running play!

When I reflect on my own life I think we can learn a lot from football in this aspect.

There are very few moments when I can claim I heard God clearly.  I will tell you boldly that we have a relationship but the clarity of His voice isn’t always there.  One time a few years ago I asked (ok pleaded) that God would use me.  He said,

“If you want to be used, you need to be usable.”  

At the time I had a bad attitude, I was selfish and although to the outsider it looked as if I was doing the right things, it was a show.

Later that year I felt led to start a non-profit called Heroic Event (currently being re-designed) and throw an event or conference designed to highlight businesses and non-profits that were making a difference.  The event was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and if judged by attendance, it was a huge failure.  Dejected, I cleaned up after the event and headed home.  On the way there I prayed, “Why Lord?  Why would you lead me to do this only to have it fail?

“If you want to be used, you do not get to choose how you are used.”

I was rocked.  I knew that was Him and not me.   So I’m asking,
ok, so how was I being used there?!

The conference we had set up was able to see 300 and it was at an arena.  In addition, the speakers we had lined up were CEOs and Non-profits of some of the most successful in the Atlanta area.  Unfortunately, we only had about 45 or so people show up, including my Mom and the speakers themselves.

There was one woman in tears at the event. She would later say it was the inspiration she needed to get on with her life.

I was reminded of this when I prayed and God showed me something, “what does it matter to me if I (HE) loved her so much He caused me to act?

 That settled it.  The event was a success.  Maybe not in the world’s eyes, but if I was moved somehow to allow God to touch someone then it was a touchdown for me.

I think we often compare ourselves to the players scoring the touchdowns.    I don’t think we’re prideful in this comparison in terms of we want their greatness.  I think more often it’s a comparison of adequacy.  I don’t want the fame, I want to bring fame to the name of Jesus.  Without the measure of success (wins, touchdowns, stats) it’s hard to tell how we’re doing.

What I’ve come to understand is that in the Body of Christ most of us are blockers.

In many ways, the blockers are more important than the runners or the quarterback.  Without the blocking, the throw doesn’t get made, the run stops in the backfield.  In my lifetime, the only running back that made it without a great offensive line was Barry Sanders.  Consider this, no one blocker is more important than the rest, yet when one single blocker misses the play is over, it’s a sack, a tackle for a loss or worse.

In this video you can see the most important person on the field isn’t Devonta, it could be Mohammed Sanu as he blocks the very person that should have made this tackle, or it could be Alex Mack the center who snapped the ball and blocked his person, …

When you’re questioning your purpose or your impact, remember that you might be a blocker.

We Are Breaking All Of The Commandments

We Are Breaking All Of The Commandments

I was reading a post on FB about Islam and there was so much hatred from every side.  Not just Muslims or Christians but Athiest, Agnostics and everything in between.  If you consume any sort of media whether it’s radio, tv or internet you’re likely to break the commandments.

You say, “But Josh, I am not committing adultery/theft/killing, etc.

While we could unpack that one, I want to focus on what Jesus said.   Jesus was asked about the commandments and His exchange was not unlike what we see playing out from supposed “good people.”

And a certain lawyer stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?


Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”


And he replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.


Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this habitually and you will live.

So love God and put him first (how we doing out there?) and then … wait for it.  Love others.

I can sense even myself tuning this out but something hit me yesterday when I was reading, there’s a second part to this famous scripture that just got me when I read it.

But he, wishing to justify and vindicate himself, asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?

and WHO is my Neighbor? (I hope it’s not THEM).

This starts the parable of the Good Samaritan.  It’s easy to jump to the great parable and start imagining helping that wounded person but we don’t struggle with the Samaritan, we struggle just as the lawyer did.  It’s that question that makes me think, “I’m breaking the commandments.”  Who is my neighbor?   Jesus told the is story because He knew that this lawyer was one who was just hoping Jesus would give the Jewish answer.  The answer that says, “All Jews are your neighbor,” and at the same time the unspoken answer, “Samaritans are not your neighbor.”    The answer was the one you call vile and talk about with your friends… THAT’s your neighbor.    You know, “THOSE” people.

So the real question is who is “THEY” in your life. 

Who are you thinking about?  Is it someone that might identify with the LBGT crowd?  How about someone who’s got a different ethnicity than you?  When I asked myself this question I jumped immediately to the terrorists.    It’d be easy to think of extreme evil like I did, but I think if the events have anything to speak to us this year, it’s that our challenge isn’t with the obvious evil out there, it’s with our neighbors.

“Yeah, but I tell them, ‘I don’t agree with you but I love you.'”

Right now, for most of the “theys” in your life if you were to say, “I love you, I just don’t agree…” your response will be received with disdain.   The reason is clear.  The time for TALKING is over.  Talk is cheap, anyone and everyone has opinions and words are used so fleetingly they’ve lost the heavy weight that they carry.  Don’t mistake my writing, words still have the power to lift up and tear down.  A trip to FB will leave you less happy simply from reading it.

We’ve abused our ability to speak so much that our good intentions are no longer taken at face value.  Our constructive criticism is just deconstruction.

So what’s the solution?  ACTION.

Find your “THEY” and befriend them.   Don’t critique how … anything.  That does not mean stand by and support any behavior that you don’t agree with.

Do what Jesus did.   He ate with the known sinners.  Matthew was a tax collector at the time, paramount to our modern day mafia.   He didn’t condone what Matthew did but He loved him.   SHOW YOUR LOVE.

You’ve heard this before, but, “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”   I think we could rewrite that for 2016, it’d be no one cares what you say, until they see how much you care.

As we write our goals for 2017, let’s make a difference in one of “them’s” life.   Pick someone you’re thinking about (I know you are), you likely might need to apologize, perhaps repent to them, buy them lunch/coffee and dig in deep.  Get to know the person.  See them for the masterpiece they are that God handcrafted as your brother or sister.   Don’t get hung up on whether they see the world differently than you.  See the potential that God see that can use their fresh perspective to change the world.


The 2 Keys To Servant Leadership

The 2 Keys To Servant Leadership

If you’ve read any Christian leadership books you’ve likely encountered several definitions for this term before. In all my research I found that Servant Leadership was referred to often, yet the definitions and expositions never resonated with me. Examples of CEOs cleaning up spills in the conference room or upside down pyramids might make a leader appear more authentic or that they care it – rarely captures what a true servant leader is.

As it turns out this surprisingly simple yet incredibly difficult “trait” was written about so long ago it’s almost silly that there’s very few who get it.  (more…)