iPhone + Book equal great Children’s Christmas Gift Ideas

November 30, 2009

Thanks to Dick Larkin for pointing me to this video.  And as he said in his blog here:

I really don’t think this has an application outside of children’s entertainment.  For example, I can’t see cutting a hole in a Yellow Pages directory for an iPhone to be inserted.

But I’ve been wrong before.

I agree. But I also think that a talented artist + iPhone + Children’s Book with a hole = Great Fun with the Kiddos!

I find it interesting that often the most meaningful memories cost the least amount to produce.

Cheers,
Mike Stewart

P.S. Thanks Dick. I always enjoy your blog!


What Could Save The Yellow Pages? 10 Ideas

November 29, 2009

What Could Save The Yellow Pages? 10 Ideas

https://i2.wp.com/nettoolkits.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/yellow-pages-dead.jpgI noticed that not many have re-Tweeted or shared this article. Great suggestions from Chris Smith, another former employee of Verizon/Idearc Media, who is highly regarded as one of the country’s top 10 masterminds in Local Search Marketing. He is a true expert. He is one of the reasons Superpages.com was ranked higher than YellowPages.com and RealPages.com for so many years.

In this article he suggests 10 things the print yellow page industry can do to evolve into a media company of the future.

I strongly agree with the sentiments on saturation distribution, unwanted phone books, and improving diversity and product offering in the internet space.

Posted using ShareThis


Are you having problems with your “SMLocal” advertising?

November 28, 2009

SMLocal + Your Own AdWords Campaign = No Phone Calls

I have a “former client” who I helped setup a Google AdWords campaign. He also signed up with Idearc to have listings on Superpages.com. He specifically instructed Idearc’s PPC managers not to put him in Google distribution. The reason for this was because he had a great performing campaign on Adwords already. After a few months, Idearc asked him to raise his budget. He agreed to do so. Apparently without his permission they also overlayed his existing Adwords campaign with his “SMLocal” campaign. For the past few weeks he has been wondering why his calls dropped to his office.

Go figure! And to boot….. they don’t offer customer service on Saturdays!

This PPC campaign manager also seems to be really good at copying other companies ad messages and campaign settings!  lol

The other day I searched for pics of Gina Carano (the talented female cage fighter who I think is extremely “HOT”) and found another “former” client, John Teakell (one of Dallas’ top criminal defense attorneys) on a page result. Now that is some impressive talent at wasting a clients click budget with “content network” folks! Only a company that specializes in print advertising can do this kind of think for you with the internet.

Here is a pic:

How does Idearc Media waste your click budget with content network?

I am guilty of taking the results or “lackthereof” personal. I really want my clients to succeed and make money. I am passionate about Search Engine Marketing. When I earned the trust of a client to represent his business and provide a return on this investment, yet the company does not have the desire or tools to fulfill his expectations, I take it personal.

Take a look at the website Idearc and Superpages.com did for Robert at All Action Water Extraction & Carpet Cleaning Fort Worth Tx

http://allactionftworthcarpetcleaning.com/

Pretty bad if you ask me! They could have at least taken the time to make sure the page titles were setup for search!!

I am going to build a site for him. He did a great job cleaning my carpets a month ago! He is a really nice guy to boot!

He charged me $145.00 to clean all of my carpets and even went as far as wiping the window sills when he moved my furniture, two other well known carpet cleaning companies in Dallas-Fort Worth charged me $220.00 and $310.00 for the same quality service.

Fort Worth Carpet Cleaning by Robert at All Action

Picture of Robert's truck in front of my home while cleaning my carpets.


What is Search Engine Optimization?

November 25, 2009

What is Search Engine Optimization? Why would you ask an SEO? I think the best person to ask is Google!

SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization” or “search engine optimizer.” Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site. Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:

  • Review of your site content or structure
  • Technical advice on website development: for example, hosting, redirects, error pages, use of JavaScript
  • Content development
  • Management of online business development campaigns
  • Keyword research
  • SEO training
  • Expertise in specific markets and geographies.

Keep in mind that the Google search results page includes organic search results and often paid advertisement (denoted by the heading “Sponsored Links”) as well. Advertising with Google won’t have any effect on your site’s presence in our search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results. Free resources such as Webmaster Tools, the official Webmaster Central blog, and our discussion forum can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search. Many of these free sources, as well as information on paid search, can be found on Google Webmaster Central.

Before beginning your search for an SEO, it’s a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work. We recommend starting here:

If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.

Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:

  • Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
  • Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
  • Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
  • What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
  • What’s your experience in my industry?
  • What’s your experience in my country/city?
  • What’s your experience developing international sites?
  • What are your most important SEO techniques?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?

While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index. Here are some things to consider:

  • Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:

    “Dear google.com,

    I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”

    Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night”
    diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.

  • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
  • Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.
  • You should never have to link to an SEO.Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of “free-for-all” links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don’t affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines — at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.
  • Choose wisely.While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. You might also seek out a few of the cautionary tales that have appeared in the press, including this article on one particularly aggressive SEO: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002002970_nwbizbriefs12.html.
    While Google doesn’t comment on specific companies, we’ve encountered firms calling themselves SEOs who follow practices that are clearly beyond the pale of accepted business behavior. Be careful.
  • Be sure to understand where the money goes.While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they “control” other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn’t work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results,
    but be sure to ask any SEO you’re considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.
  • What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter?
  • One common scam is the creation of “shadow” domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client’s behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor’s domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.

    Another illicit practice is to place “doorway” pages loaded with keywords on the client’s site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO’s other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.

  • What are some other things to look out for?
    • owns shadow domains
    • puts links to their other clients on doorway pages
    • offers to sell keywords in the address bar
    • doesn’t distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on search results pages
    • guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway
    • operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
    • gets traffic from “fake” search engines, spyware, or scumware
    • has had domains removed from Google’s index or is not itself listed in Google
  • There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO. It’s far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO:

    If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.

    In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/ and click on “File a Complaint Online,” call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:

    Federal Trade Commission

    CRC-240

    Washington, D.C. 20580

    If your complaint is against a company in a country other than the United States, please file it at http://www.econsumer.gov/.

An SEO is a person who can help your website become an authority on Google. They can do the things necessary to get your site ranked, help your potential customers become conversations, and the conversations turn into dollars.

An SEO helps you make money on the internet. Some SEOs over promise and under deliver. Some SEOs have a good reputation. Some SEOs have a bad reputation. I think that what decides whether a SEO firm is worth his muster is what kind of ideas do they have. What are they going to do beyond “optimizing your website” that is what dictates whether Google sees your site as a local authority on your subject.

Give me a call to discuss this further or feel free to comment in this blog.

Cheers,
Mike Stewart
http://www.DallasSEOguru.com <—— new site coming soon…. stay tuned!


Just got off a long conversation with a potential “new” SEO client…

November 25, 2009

First question is always the same, “What do you charge for SEO on my http://www.InsertHere.com Dallas local website?” The answer is always going to be the same too!

“If I had 10-15 clients paying me $1000.00 per month for SEO, Content, Web Design, PPC, Social Media (gotta love HootSuite for Twitter!) and Link Building, I think that is all I would have to make to sustain my “standard of living.”  That is just about all it would take in order for me to replace the career and “6-figure” income I EARNED as a successful Media Consultant and SEO Strategist at Idearc Media (the antiquated bankrupt publisher of the Verizon Yellow Pages and Superpages.com.)”

Sounds like a plan to me………..  Let’s do the math:

I worked 50-60 hours per week while at Verizon/Idearc Yellow Pages for 9 years and 3 months.

Making my clients a good return on investment in the process (up until the Internet started killing the yellow pages) with my suggestions and implementation of ideas related to online marketing strategies, concepts, innovations, and ad messages. For years I have been promoting my holistic  approach and understanding of Search Engine Marketing (another plug for multi-verticle web marketing folks!)

10 affordable steps to effective local internet advertising

So if you do the math…….  that comes to around $35.00 per hour. Not a bad living, huh? Add in a little bit for the (at one time) great Health Benefits, 401K,  and you have a really great income. Now if you subtract the huge amount of stress due to the companies inability to actually become “America’s Small Business Local Advertising Agency” that they so claim to be, as well as subtracting the profit margins and end with accountability, you have a very rewarding career!

10-15 clients a month for 50-60 hours per week at around $40.00 per hour for work performed on the clients online brand.

That is just about 250-300 hours per year for each client.

Add that up and I just replaced my “corporate job” with one that does more to help local Dallas business owners get good advice on Google and Local Search Marketing.

That is the plan at least. Let me know what YOU think!

I hope all the other thousands of educated “Yellow Pages Media” Consultants can adapt to changing consumer behaviors due to the “INVENTION of the INTERNET”. We all can agree that America doesn’t need more unemployed workers!

Feel free to give me a call folks!

Cheers,

Mike Stewart

http://www.DallasSEOguru.com

P.S. No Contracts…. No Big Collection Agencies….. and Excellent Client Focused Service and you have a win-win for everyone!


Socialism 101 – Why Welfare is Only Temporary

November 25, 2009

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that. What a profound short little paragraph that says it all:

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.

What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for,that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”


Google.com – Making Life a bit Easier.

November 25, 2009

Great video of how Google can help make life a little bit easier!