Welcome to the New Upstate Synergy!

Welcome to the New Upstate Synergy!

As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve fully overhauled our website and switched our brand name to Upstate Synergy.  Hopefully you like the new look and feel!  It was truly a labor of love that we spent entirely too much time on.  We’re still polishing up some final features here and there so “please excuse the mess” if you come across an old landing page or blog that isn’t formatted correctly. 

Although “Web Synergy of the Upstate” served us well for over five years, the name was too long and our website no longer represented what we really did.  Our first thought was to buy the domain web synergy dot com, but we spent two months trying to contact the domain owner overseas and finally gave up.

Our next thought was to rebrand to a different name completely since all of our larger clients don’t reside in the Upstate of South Carolina.  Tons of potential names were thrown around as we redeveloped this site, but ultimately we decided to stick to our Upstate roots.  

Living in the foothills of SC is a big part of who we are- it just didn’t feel right abandoning that.  So the Upstate Synergy domain name ultimately stayed.

So what’s next for Upstate Synergy?  With a new year and a new brand, we decided to change up our content strategies a little bit.  Our founder Keith Koons has had thousands of followers for many years now in the content marketing niche, and you fine folks represent close to 40% of our total web traffic each month.  It seemed a little silly for us to be giving advice to clients about catering to their visitors while not doing so ourselves.  


This was a unique problem for us though since almost half of our traffic comes fron people that will never be our clients.  But then again, they’re our people- writers and digital marketers just like us wo are always searching for new insights.  So do we just chase the all-mighty dollar or focus on giving back?

Blogging for Clients & Our Fans


Ultimately, we decided that we have to really ramp up blogging efforts in 2017 with two different series- one that focuses on small businesses looking for web design or branding help, plus another blog catering to novice digital marketers and writers.  Keith will also continue to share client success stories and his own insights as well, so we’re setting the bar pretty high to produce a tremendous amount of content moving forward.


Part of that strategy is going to be opening our blog to some great writers that we’ve worked with over the years, so you will start to see a little bit of guest posting moving forward.  If you’d like to be a part of that, shoot an email over to Friends@UpstateSynergy.com with a story pitch and a brief outline.  


Just know up front that our content standards are very high and we don’t publish fluff pieces.  If you’re going to get a byline on our site, then it has to be something with actionable advice that directly helps our readers.



A New Video Blog Series

Additionally, we plan on starting a video series later this year with simple, straightforward advice on topics like creating a powerful digital brand, writing content that converts, building awesome websites and sales funnels, and all sorts of topics on learning about everyday customer engagement.  

We are extremely excited about the video series and we hope that you are too!

Look for this series to start around March or April of 2017.


A Kick-Butt Community Forum

Finally, we are also debating whether or not we should add a community forum where our friends and clients can talk about digital marketing.  We’ve always loved sites like Warrior Forum and Digital Point for sharing strategies and just getting to know our peers, but the problem with those places is that they become overrun with big egos.  The solid advice tends to get lost in the cracks far too easily.

So if we did do a forum, we would want to keep it small…maybe even invite only.  We would also have the community moderate to keep the trash talking to a minimum, and just make it a place where folks can share ideas, ask marketing questions or get some quick help.  But to do that, we’d need people like you to share that same vision.

This is one topic where we’d really like to hear your input, so please share some feedback in the comments section below.  

Also, what do you think of the new site?  Did we nail it or not?  We can’t wait to hear your opinion! 

Web Synergy’s “Lunch with Friends” Campaign

Web Synergy’s “Lunch with Friends” Campaign

Lunch with Friends CampaignDo you ever get the feeling that if you could only talk to some of your ideal customers and show them that you’re the real deal; that it could really change things in a dramatic way?

I was thinking about that today when I realized that I have more clients in Los Angeles, Detroit, or Chicago lately than I do in Spartanburg County.  Sadly, my local networking has really been lacking in recent years because I stay so busy with larger national clients.  At the same time though, I started Web Synergy years ago because I wanted to impact local businesses right here in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Asheville…so it’s time for some serious changes.

I decided to start a new “Lunch with Friends” campaign for Spartanburg County and the surrounding cities, and it basically works like this-

  • Visit my online calendar and choose a date to sit down for lunch together
  • When we meet I’ll answer each and every one of your online marketing questions
  • I’ll help you create an action plan to optimize your website and fix any issues
  • We will also look at the fastest way for you to start gaining new customers online
  • I’ll waive 100% of my consulting fees as well…just pick up the check

What am I looking to gain from this?

As I said, I would prefer to have all of my clients locally within the next few years.  I would rather help you out today for free and make a new local contact to network with, or possibly even gain your business.  But either way, you’ll receive my expertise and we both walk away big winners.

So if you’ve been wondering how to significantly boost your online presence, this is the perfect time to learn about search optimization and online marketing from the top authority in the southeast.  I’m looking forward to meeting you soon!

How to Land Almost Any Job on Upwork

How to Land Almost Any Job on Upwork

For the past decade, I have consistently been one of the highest grossing freelance writers on Upwork (formerly Elance and oDesk), the largest freelance job site around. In four of those years, I was the #1 individual in the world for the writing category, and I can...

Use Content to Build Links & Your Brand in 2018

Use Content to Build Links & Your Brand in 2018

Content isn’t just something nice to have – it’s one of your most tangible brand assets. Use content to build effective backlinks that are going to stick, and actually benefit your business and brand. Content-oriented link building is some of the most effective link...

Does Modern Design Destroy Your Content Flow?

Does Modern Design Destroy Your Content Flow?

When a person visits a website, they are almost always searching for a very specific piece of information.   As writers and domain owners,we are always quick to assume that we know what that one thing is- people are here because they want to buy our products and...

Twenty-Seven Reasons to Never Hire a Website Designer

Twenty-Seven Reasons to Never Hire a Website Designer

Never hire a website designer?  What kind of idiot would actually say that out loud?  Before you start throwing rotten tomatoes at your screen, just hear me out… After all, if you want a great cup of coffee, then you would visit the best coffee shop in your town.  If...

Web Synergy’s “Lunch with Friends” Campaign

Web Synergy’s “Lunch with Friends” Campaign

Do you ever get the feeling that if you could only talk to some of your ideal customers and show them that you’re the real deal; that it could really change things in a dramatic way? I was thinking about that today when I realized that I have more clients in Los...

The Death of Keywords in 2018

The Death of Keywords in 2018

I need to ask you an important question here- and be honest.  How much do you really focus on keywords these days? Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, and you have to promise not to tell anyone about this.  Not even those self-proclaimed SEO gurus that...

A Very Merry Christmas to All

A Very Merry Christmas to All

As a child, I can remember feeling sick with anticipation and excitement on Christmas Eve waiting for the morning to arrive; those were easily the longest nights of my life.  Just the thought of Santa somehow appearing in our South Florida home with a sleigh full of presents was more than my small mind could bear…especially since homes in tropical areas don’t have chimneys.  I never could figure that one out.

As an adult, Christmas has a completely different meaning to me.  After all, it is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and for that we have countless reasons to give thanks.  I believe that I am a sinner saved by grace and I have no problem sharing that with the world; even if it is no longer “politically correct” to express my appreciation of God in a public place.  Because let’s face it…this is definitely not the world that was described in the Bible thousands of years ago.

Then again, don’t think that I’m bitter because the birth of our Lord has been transformed into a month-long eCommerce bonanza.  As long as non-believers get into the giving spirit and treat their fellow man just a hair better during the winter holidays, then I can’t help but think that the world is a better place for it regardless.  That’s what Christmas is really about anyway…the act of giving cheerfully…and the Biblical implications can’t be lost there no matter how hard you try.

That’s one of your last marketing lessons of the year- do not be afraid to show the world your religious beliefs during this important holiday season.  It is never in poor taste to say, “Merry Christmas” with a smile and a warm handshake, because you’re relaying exactly what the angels cried out from Heaven in Luke chapter two verse 14- “Glory to God in the highest; have peace on Earth and good will towards men.”  And for those of us who attribute our success to our religious beliefs, it’s the very least we can do to express our religious convictions.

So I’ll say once again, Merry Christmas my friends; and I look forward to working with you again in 2016.  In the meantime, I hope that you have some amazing time off with your family and make lots of cherished memories that will inspire future generations.

Unveiling Google’s Latest Algorithm Change- The Phantom Update

Unveiling Google’s Latest Algorithm Change- The Phantom Update

Google Phamtom UpdateShortly after Google’s Mobilegeddon update last month that rewarded mobile friendly websites in smartphone searches, a small portion of domain owners began to report unexpected changes in their core Google rankings.  Some of them almost instantly experienced increased visibility site-wide while others witnessed the exact opposite.  Something had obviously changed behind the scenes- but what?


These speculations eventually became known as the “Google Phantom Update”.

And although actual proof of an update was virtually non-existent, one thing was for certain- it made the search optimization community extremely nervous.  Google remained completely silent on the matter and outright denied any changes; some would say too silent.  That has become standard operating procedure for the search engine giant, however, to prevent those who try to artificially manipulate SEO from gaining unfair advantages.

At first, it was believe to be a stealth form of a Penguin or Panda update, but dozens of Google executives quickly dispelled the notion.  Neither Panda nor Penguin had changed…all of their search animals are still in the barn and behaving normally.

Gary Illyes of the Google Webmaster Trends Team finally broke the silence earlier this week at a marketing expo in Sydney.  He claimed that the core algorithm had been updated to better identify quality websites, although he would not specify what those changes actually were.  Since Google uses over 200 distinct signals to determine website rank, it is very difficult to pinpoint this type of “across the board” update when you’re on the outside looking in.

So what actually changed in the Google Phantom update?

That is still speculative at this time since it requires study of the websites hit hardest in the latest algorithm change.  For example, Paul Edmondson, the founder of HubPages, reported seeing a 22% decrease in search traffic literally overnight.  Popular tutorial sites like WikiHow, Answers.com and eHow also saw dramatic changes in their natural traffic patterns, making search experts believe that the latest algorithm update was designed to discredit informational websites.

Rest assured though, this is certainly not true…sort of.

Instead of focusing on a particular type of industry, the latest algorithm change is simply taking into consideration the content provided at the sub-domain level across a website.  It appears that the companies seeing the hardest hits are the ones with a wide range of content stemming from numerous sources, with many of the pages falling below what would be considered professional standards.

For example, HubPages has tens of thousands of contributors worldwide that discuss almost every imaginable topic.  And with any large organization that focuses on mass production of content, quality assurance often takes a backseat to quality.  Since HubPages obviously misinterpreted Google’s intentions when it harshly penalized their weaker content in other recent updates, it appears the search engine giant is now delivering site-wide penalties to make their requirements perfectly clear.  They do not appreciate spammy content- if you have it on your website, get rid of it quickly.

What can we learn from the Phantom Update?  That’s a good question…but also one that you should already know the answer to-

  • Clean up all of your site’s content
  • Either replace or delete under-performing pages
  • Give your visitors a great user experience
  • Focus on providing quality information
  • Do not be over-promotional in your content
  • Avoid generic content at all costs

If any of this seems to sound familiar, it’s because Google has been saying it for over two decades now.  Only this time around, it appears that they’re no longer playing- either clean up all the bad content or risk having the good stuff penalized too.

And just to be perfectly clear, this latest algorithm change was essentially announced by Matt Cutts over a year ago when he talked about low-quality content in general.  While the above video mainly focuses on guest blogging, he also stipulates numerous times that future penalties would relate to any form of spammy content.  He also mentions that those penalties would eventually have effects site-wide…which is exactly what we are now seeing begin to happen.

The intention here is pretty apparent.  If you have low quality content on your website that does not directly lead visitors to take action, then your entire domain is now subject to scrutiny.  It really is that simple, so I suggest that you take an extremely close look at your directories and make the appropriate changes as quickly as possible.

Support Spartanburg County is All about Giving Back

Support Spartanburg County is All about Giving Back

Support Spartanburg CountyYou may have caught on your local news this morning that May 5th, 2015 is officially “Support Spartanburg County Day”, which may just sound like some type of nifty marketing angle to get your patronage into our downtown shops.  That’s not what today is about at all though, and our local area could really use your support in both awareness and donations for this special campaign.

Support Spartanburg County is a twelve hour online event that began at 8 AM this morning to raise donations for our area’s various nonprofit organizations.   As of 11 AM, just a hair under $150,000 has been raised by all of our local business leaders and citizens, so I highly recommend that you click on the above link and support your favorite local cause.

This includes helping local Spartanburg non-profit organizations like-

  • The Cancer Foundation of Spartanburg County
  • Ballet Spartanburg
  • The Palmetto Conservation Foundation
  • The Spartanburg Art Museum
  • Urban League of the Upstate
  • Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve
  • The Adult Learning Center, Inc
  • Coalition For Active Youth
  • 60+ other worthwhile non-profits

Additionally, all donations are 100% tax deductible and 100% of the money raised (minus credit card processing fees) will go directly to your charities of choice.  This annual event will continue running until 8 PM this evening so you are highly encouraged to participate before time runs out.  You can view the Support Spartanburg County FAQ page for additional information.


The donations raised today are critical in keeping dozens of local arts and advocacy programs operational here in the Upstate, and most of these organizations function almost entirely on outside funding through events such as these.  With the minimum donation at just $10, hopefully you can find one or more causes to sponsor for the upcoming year.