SEO does not always mean the same thing

April 28, 2012

A wise man once said that “all marketers are liars.”

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This couldn’t be further from the truth. It surprises me that business owners are still not savvy about online marketing. Many don’t see the need for a local search marketing strategy because they think, “only the big companies with huge pocketbooks” advertise aggressively online. They are the companies always at the top dominating search results. Sure this can be done to some extent by sinking yourself deeper into credit card debt with Google Adwords, but why keep going back to the World’s Largest Auction (bigger than Ebay!)

Organic search results get over 1/2 of the click volume.

Most small businesses don’t understand the concepts and strategies of content marketing. Then again, most SEO services and agencies tend to focus on the on-page website changes, business may or may not deploy a blog strategy depending on whether the website is built in a blog style CMS like WordPress. Unfortunately for businesses, they often can only afford a cheap SEO agency who typically fails to use content for building backlinks. I say you can’t afford not to. Stop going back to the auction! Organic and local complements PPC domination and also stretches a budget with recurring revenues from search engine result page share of voice and real estate.

I once SEO’d a “bookie service” website that took up 5 of the first 7 results with multiple websites and different business names

Some SEO firms optimize for Google Places and setup local listings, but do they include accounts with the data centers UBL and Localeze listings? Do they provide manual local listing optimization that focuses on creating as many local citations (mentions of your business name, address, and number?)

I recommend finding a transparent and holistic firm that focuses on a diverse approach to SEO, not just moving things around on a page and changing a few settings (how often you gonna change a Page Title?)

If someone calls and offers you SEO service you have every right to be skeptical. After all, “all marketers are liars” and SEOs are the biggest out there.

I have always said the minute you change a page title you are “gaming” Google.

Just stay away from link builders who use non transparent or blackhat SEO methods. While the potential short term business may be good for your wallet, getting kicked out of the search results or worse de-indexed is not something you can easily overcome.

I do recommend considering separate IPs and crazy aggressive tactics for local search niche domains though.

Hiring an outsourcing company or yellow pages type company for your online marketing is just crazy. Everything is proprietary and you won’t own a thing.

They should stick to what they do best…

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DFWSEM and Social Media Club Dallas Join Together to Bring an Entreproducer Copyblogger Event

April 19, 2012

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We had a packed house at the combined mega DFW Search and Social Marketing meetup event at the Angelika Theater in Dallas with Brian Clark the CEO of the #1 online marketing and content marketing website Copyblogger.

Never before has DFWSEM and the Social Media Club of Dallas combined forces for one mega packed presentation.

Here are the noteworthy tweets from the night’s hash tags #DFWSEM and #SMCDallas:

@dfwsem: RT @copyblogger: Give a shout out to @RavenTools @ContentAuthrity for sponsoring the big #DFWSEM #SMCDallas @copyblogger meeting this week.

@ContentAuthrity: Excited to sponsor this event! #DFWSEM They have brought in a great speaker @copyblogger!

@SarahBoswell: “first ya gotta get turned on” – @seanthinks to @copyblogger

@jloomstein: getting my @copyblogger on at the #dfwsem event. Wait #SMCDallas event. Wait #DFWSEM event. Nevermind.

@YoungbloodJoe: notice Mike is wearing a blazer. First time… #dfwsem

@aprilewilson: lol – “can i pretend i’m hiring so i can get free drinks?” #DFWSEM #SMCDallas

@mikedmerrill: Just donated $10 to @RedCross tonight by texting REDCROSS to 90999 #smcdallas #dfwsem

@aprilewilson: “here’s my asshole boss!” @seanthinks #DFWSEM #SMCDallas

@GregGifford: The audio delay on the big screen makes me think a Kung fu fight will break out any second #smcdallas #DFWSEM

@dfwsem: .@copyblogger built an audience first before trying to sell a product. #DFWSEM #SMCDallas

@SarahBoswell: Wow @seanthinks is even sexier when he’s 100 ft tall 😉 #dfwsem #smcdallas #dfwtweetoff http://t.co/WfoztzwS

@CC_Creative: By serving [your readers’] educational needs you find out the products they need – Copyblogger #dfwsem #smcDallas

@tonynwright: What @copyblogger is saying, as we say at @wrightimc, is YOUR website should be the center of your marketing universe! #dfwsem #dfwtweetoff

@dfwsem: The soap opera was invented by Procter and Gamble to reach depression-era wives. True content marketing. @copyblogger #dfwsem

@dfwsem: The soap opera was invented by Procter and Gamble to reach depression-era wives. True content marketing. @copyblogger #DFWSEM

@wrightimc: The internet has always been social. @smcdallas may have to change their name to the internet club. #SMCDallas #dfwtweetoff #DFWSEM

@tonynwright: Here comes the “sharecropper on a digital plantation” line. Love that line…#dfwsem #dfwtweetoff #smcdallas

@YoungbloodJoe: Please say smart things so I can be lazy and retweet you. #dfwsem #smcdallas

@TheEverNovice: Whoever just took an upclose picture of @seanthinks and @copyblogger on their iPhone, tweet it out. #dfwtweetoff #smcdallas #dfwsem

@TheEverNovice: Whoever just took an upclose picture of @seanthinks and @copyblogger on their iPhone, tweet it out. #dfwtweetoff #smcdallas #dfwsem

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@si1very: “Don’t focus on Facebook – it’s ‘digital sharecropping’ – U’re just lining Zuckerberg’s pockets.” @Copyblogger at #DFWSEM / #SMCDallas

@ChrisChurchill: RT @LaurieShook: Brian clark @copyblogger has turned content creation into a $5 m a year business #smcdallas #dfwsem

@wrightimc: The data says that people value content rather than random conversation @copyblogger #dfwtweetoff #smcdallas #dfwsem

@dfwsem: If you feel like you’ve given too much, you’re on the right track. #smcdallas #dfwsem

@aprilewilson: all sites need to publish content on a regular basis, whether you call it a blog or not #SMCDallas #DFWSEM @seanthinks

@tonynwright: Copyblogger realized he gets more ROI from writing than conferences! #dfwsem #smcdallas

@dfwsem: RT @YoungbloodJoe: @seanthinks question for @copyblogger any advice for ad supported websites? | Change your model. #DFWSEM #SMCDallas

@ContentAuthrity: @dfwsem @copyblogger Content should move past “Google proof” and focus on it being consumer proof content. Great Content! #dfwsem #smcdallas

@YoungbloodJoe: “A rising tide raises all ships”, that’s the quote he was looking for. #dfwsem #smcdallas cc @seanthinks

@SocialMediaDFW: Close up pic of @Copyblogger CEO (left) being interviewed by his CFO @SeanThinks (right) at #smcdallas #dfwsem event http://t.co/XEgjUY09


Why Paying a Monthly Retainer for Local SEO and PPC Makes Good Business Sense

November 16, 2011

In the old days you bought a display ad in the yellow pages to get calls from customers ready to buy.

These days you purchase a yellow pages ad so your established brand doesn’t lose potential phone calls to unknown and lesser quality brands who can afford the financing that the yellow pages offer. The bottom end churn for print YP is constant. Google doesn’t offer financing on pay-per-clicks and writers don’t finance content writing.

In 2002, 80% used the yellow pages to perform a local search. Today that number is less than 15% and phone book fragmentation (a way of looking at print competition) is at an all-time high.

Marketing dollar resource allocation has flipped over the years. The days of me giving Internet marketing advice to sell ads in phone books has been over for sometime.

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Businesses are struggling to dominate search the same way they dominated local search in the 90’s with big full-page and eventually double truck 2-page ads. The same style duopoly exists were you have a telco or main provider and second incumbent choice (AT&T + GTE/Verizon = Google + Bing/Yahoo Search Alliance.)

In the earlier days of search the businesses with names and domains that contained the product or service being offered including the city they served, such as “Dallas Auto Transmission LLC” naturally had an upper hand. It was easy to make a title tag match your business name. Optimization of a website required the efforts of a website coder and FTP access to the sites backend. SEO was all about meta-tags and links that were hard to come-by.

Today you will see:

  • 60,000 new websites will be added to the web
  • 2 million new videos added to YouTube
  • 1.6 million blog posts will be created (out of 150 million blogs)
  • 1.5 billion pieces of content will be added to Facebook
  • 200 million tweets will be tweeted on Twitter

Paid search ads with Google use to only costs pennies per click. Volume was low. Again things have changed. Paid search offers so much more than the past.

Things have gotten a bit more complex:
– mobile extensions
– local extensions
– site links
– retargeting
– promoted videos
– product feeds
– demographic targeting
– new channels of distribution
– new match types like modified broad match

It is easy to mistakenly dump hundreds of suggested keywords in a campaign and see quality scores never rise above a 4. Google makes it easy to spend your money or daily budget and target keyword searches via broad match types with non relevant ads. Buyer beware: You need an agency or consultant!

Great SEO starts with keyword research. Those keywords need to be put in a report and measures with rankings on search engines. You then need to create content, pages for the various keywords, both on your site and pointing to your site with anchor text. Social signals are also important. LoMoSo or local mobile social is the new Internet. NAP, or name address and number, mentions of your business are the key to local. This begins with data-center directory submission (the only real form of directory submission) which is not something you get from Outsourced India SEO providers.

Next, you must begin eating the elephant so-to-speak. Start with the low hanging fruit or keywords that have less competition and in many cases less volume. Quick rankings measured via Google Analytics as clicks. The short-tail competitive keywords take more offsite backlinks, more onsite content strategy, great NAP data, and the help of an experienced Internet marketer to reach success.

To build a successful Internet marketing campaign you need to have your SEO content strategy and PPC campaigns work together. PPC tells us what keywords drive impressions. Content marketing helps you rank for correlating keywords that you can add to your PPC Campaign and both help you test landing pages to perfection.

A SEO & PPC Monthly Retainer will allow you to gradually scale your efforts, rank for more keywords, and create great authoritative onsite content for your visitors. Mix in high volume with low competition keywords and you will monetize your efforts from the start.

Smb SEO’s retainer includes conversion optimization consulting, domain registration, quality hosting (not that slow GoDaddy hosting) and all the transparent reporting you need to make sure that you are not on a road that leads to nowhere. It also does not require a contract and the service is based on real-time and materials vs paying for the concept of SEO. You can only optimize a single page a couple of times before you must add new ones.

If this doesn’t sound like the services your “SEO company” provides, don’t walk…. RUN AWAY.

Call me at 214-267-9553 for a free ranking report and let’s see what is keeping you from making good business sense of your internet marketing.

Also, FYI, Tonight Google and Bing Representatives will Speak on “State of Search” at Dallas / Ft Worth Search Marketing Group…

Register at DFWSEM.org

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How to really screw up a pay-per-click campaign the easy way….

August 31, 2011

Let an AdWords reseller create a broad match campaign for your Air Conditioning company with the keyword “services” and actually pay them for the clicks.

In the old days people bought yellow pages. In the new days they purchased digital ads. Today and in the future they will buy conversions, or atleast expect to manage by conversions instead of just getting “traffic” to a website.

Checkout this search result for said A/C company for the search term “black at SEO services” on Google, notice how I wasn’t looking for air conditioning?

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This is a prime example why you don’t want a national ppc reseller to manage your campaign. Instead, hire an agency that is partnered with Google’s Engage program like smbSEO.


SEO Prices: Why some SEO companies charge by how much you can afford vs time and materials.

August 22, 2011

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How much can someone charge for SEO.

For some SEO companies it depends on how  big your company or wallet can afford. Does the owner drive a Mercedes out front? Do you have a fancy office?

For us it comes down to our onsite and offsite seo schedule, where you currently rank on a ranking report, and how competitive your target market keywords.

We also charge for the meta tag and title work for existing pages inside the schedule, but have a limit to the number of pages per month.

We charge extra for posting content not going into a CMS (content management system like WordPress.)

We also charge extra for AdWords invoices, etc. Standard reporting is included in the schedule and everything we do our clients own.

We also charge for each additional niche site.

The real crooks charge by keyword. I would steer clear of those folks.

Also stay away from the $100-$200 per page folks.

Do they offer topical blog, one-way site, news, video, and article link building? Real SEO includes link building, afterall 60% of your ranking is offsite SEO and 40% is onpage!

If the company doesn’t include content, call metrics, or conversion optimization, don’t walk…. RUN!!!!

P.S. You can signup to resell our services at http://www.smbseo.com/new-sales-person or signup for service at http://www.smbseo.com/store


Why you should rank for longtail keyword terms – Case Study

August 21, 2011


I recently blogged about information regarding the death of an executive at the company I once worked for. My blog typically shows up in searches (SERPS) for keywords related to the company I once worked for, including the company name.

My web analytics show me how many searches from Google and with what keywords related to this tragedy ultimately resulted in clicks to my site. I thought that if I shared a post on the site I could help folks find the information they where looking for. This would also be an opportunity to understand how people search for information.

In my opinion this is often not the best of situations  to conduct research, but I guess internet marketers can sometimes learn a few SEO tips from these weird, unusual, or even tragic situations. Case in point, Michael Jackson searches and the QDF algorithm.

Query Deserves Freshness

 What do BP and Michael Jackson have in common? Michael Jackson’s death was one of the big events which brought the “Query Deserves Freshness” concept to the forefront.  If a news event is big enough you will see the search engine Google struggle to figure out what results to display for the widely searched fresh topic.

Great keyword research can quickly be learned from search phrases that are seeing rapid growth in query volume related to fresh topics.

Unfortunately for us the comment section of my blog was attacked by a disgruntled former employee of SuperMedia, someone named “Bob” who felt the need to use my site as a platform, grandstand, or podium soapbox to share his utter disgust towards the company this executive (and I once) worked for. I decided to hide the comments from Bob out of respect.

So first I would like to say that if you would like to pay your respects to John Hillrich, please visit the John Hillrich Memorial Guestbook here.

A recent comment on the post summarizes my thoughts on what happened, and subsequently what took place on my blog, and how the vast majority of us all feel about it.

To all who have expressed such kind words for our dear John Hillrich, please take the time to visit http://www.JohnHillrich.com where you’ll find his online obituary and guestbook which is the appropriate resource to express our condolences.

This current forum is stained with comments that should’ve never been allowed to publish, nor been  they hgiven attentionave. John’s friends / family should not have to read such filth, so let’s move these well wishes to http://www.JohnHillrich.com where his family can read them in peace.

Love you John Hillrich. My heart aches for your family, parents, and children. God’s peace be with you all.

I want to apologize for the rude comments. I have since removed them out of my respect for John’s friends and family.  My deepest condolences.

With that being said, I would like to share what people searched Google for to find my original blog post.

You will see some of the keywords have been removed below. This is not a complete list. I want you to pay attention to the “value” of the long-tail and how “unique” most people search. It is obvious that most people search a few widely used keywords and then the real “SEO value” is in the long-tail terms.

Read the rest of this entry »


Cool WordPress Plugins and Site Management Tools

August 17, 2011

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I firmly believe that small business websites should almost always be built on a holistic, transparent, and cost effective website management system like WordPress.

Why?

When you build a site with WordPress you own the sites backbone and won’t lose your site should you have a fallout with your website developer or manager. Proprietary CMS tools are seldom expanded or updated (including security and hacking prevention) by thier creators. WordPress does not have this problem.

What I like most about WordPress are the plugins.

My favorite WordPress plugins:

All-In-One-SEO

XML and HTML sitemaps

Broken Link Checker

Facepress II

Related Posts

Thank me later – sends an email

Popularity Contest

WordPress Backup Buddy

Optimization for Speed

Automatic SEO Links

Contact Form 7

Gravity Forms

WordPress Shopping Cart (WPSC)

My all-time favorite WordPress Themes are:

StudioPress
Thesis

Why is WordPress the best web content management system available?

WordPress originally began as a blog platform. There are now over 54 million sites using the WordPress CMS. Site developers once recommended Joomla or Drupal for enterprise sites or sites with multiple users. Today WordPress supports massive scaleability. In fact, both CNN and Jay-Z use wordpress.

WordPress is an open-sourced content management system ans has thousands of contributors who offer resources, tips, tools, and plugins for free. WordPress has tons of support. Plugins allow you to add customized functionalities that expand what you can do with your site without having to hire the resources of a developer or coder.

WordPress is FREE.

With WordPress you have a SEO friendly site that you can upload new content to just as you would a simple blog. Much of the.content can be added to the site without a coder who knows .html.

If you want more information in WordPress just shoot me a message via my www.smbSEO.com contact page.


Dallas PPC Advertising Expert Will Speak at the DFWSEM Association on June 15th

June 15, 2011

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Dallas PPC Advertising Expert Will Speak at the DFWSEM Association on June 15th.

Come join our sponsor smbSEO and yours truly at tonight’s meeting. If you need a pass to tonight’s event you can email me for one.

Dallas, TX (PRWEB) June 15, 2011

Pay Per Click –Some Super PPC Advertising Tips and Secrets

With all the buzz about social media dominating the discussion over the past year or so, a person might think PPC was a lost art, but nothing could be farther from the truth. PPC remains a viable form of search engine marketing, and for many businesses it’s still the cornerstone of their online marketing strategy.

Join DFWSEM on June 15th as Jim Gilbert presents “Pay Per Click –Some Super PPC Advertising Tips!”

About Jim Gilbert:

Jim is vice president of KeyRelevance and one of the co-founders of the DFWSEM. He has been involved in both organic and paid search engine marketing since the early ‘90s and spent his early years working with a number of iconic organizations, including Sabre and EDS. As a highly sought after speaker, and author of numerous articles and published studies on the industry, Jim is uniquely qualified to share insights learned through years of critical analysis and real-world experience creating and managing PPC campaigns for some of the largest and most high-profile names in business.

The Presentation:
As the title implies, this presentation will focus on what the search engines don’t tell people about PPC, and will include:
■Some Super PPC Tips (for Google & MSN/Yahoo)
■Knowing what your company plans to do with PPC and the experience required to do it
■Measuring success and conversions
■Understanding and using the various keyword match types
■Understanding and using the various “negative” keyword match types
■Understanding and managing Quality Scores
■Managing Ad creative Rotations
■Understanding and utilizing “filters”
■Understanding and using Google Ad Extensions
■Brief introduction to Google’s “Product Listing Ads”

Top 10 Worst PPC Practices –

Jim will also give his list of the top 10 worst PPC practices to avoid.
PPC Account Reviews -Have Your Actual PPC Account Critiqued by an Expert Have specific concerns about an actual PPC campaign, or just want to show off PPC chops before the group? For the last 30 minutes of the meeting, Jim will be conducting live reviews of our members’ PPC accounts. If you would like to be considered for this PPC account review, please send an email to info (at) dfwsem.org with the URL of the site that you are using in your current PPC efforts (we will NOT need your account login information).
As is the case when DFWSEM does site reviews, the PPC account reviews will not be a collective “beat down” of the examples, but a way to find out what the audience is doing right and what someone might want to consider doing differently in order to deliver the best results for clients. Whether a PPC newbie or AdWords certified, folks will leave this meeting with a greater understanding of how to successfully create and manage highly effective PPC campaigns.

This month’s meeting is sponsored by smbSEO, a holistic Dallas area based local internet marketing agency dedicated to helping small businesses advertise on Google.

Where:
Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel
900 E. Lookout Drive Richardson, TX 75082
(972) 367-2000

When: June 15, 2011 –Mixer 6:30 –7:00 p.m., Meeting 7-8:30 p.m., Social 8:30-?

Join DFWSEM or Renew
Membership Membership Types:

Individual -$150 per Year
There is no Charge for Individual members to attend monthly meetings.

Corporate Memberships -$300 per Year

Three people from the company can attend each meeting.

Additional seats can be purchased for $50 per year.

There is no charge to attend monthly meetings.

Nonmembers -Nonmembers can attend monthly meetings for $35.

About the DFW Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM):

The Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Organization (DFWSEM) is dedicated to education and promotion of the Dallas/Fort Worth search engine marketing industry, conversing various topics related to search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click search (PPC), as well as other emerging media. The group meets monthly at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson, Texas, and is open to anyone interested in search engine marketing, including in-house marketers, independent consultants, and agencies.


Dallas Video Production for Small Businesses by Local Internet Marketing Experts

June 1, 2011

Take a look out our great video production work. I have been working with Jodi from Video Slim recently and have been extremely pleased with the quality of work and professionalism. They are even working on a video for DFWSEM.org.

What do you think?


Join Me Wednesday In Dallas at DFW SEM- Promoting Search Engine Marketing in the Dallas Ft Worth Area

May 16, 2011

The DFW SEM- Promoting Search Engine Marketing in the Dallas Ft Worth Area.

Please join me this week at the DFWSEM meeting:

“The Intersection of Search Marketing and Social Media”

For too long businesses have believed that Social Media and SEO are two separate things, when in fact they are very much intertwined. A bigger problem is that many companies know that they need both, but only invest in one or the other. You may have a Facebook Page for your business, a YouTube channel and you even a Twitter account, but are you effectively tying your SEO goals in with your Social Media strategy?

Join us for a panel discussion on the relationship between social media and search engine visibility. We will discuss how the two interrelate, which kinds of social media are more visible than others, and many other things including:

Social Monitoring Tools
The Impact of Social on SEO and Rankings
How to promote content socially
KPIs and Measuring ROI for Social activity
The impact of Tweets and Likes
The differences in online communities

Our panel will feature marketing experts Mike Merrill, Rob Garner and Jerod Morris.

Rob Garner
Rob Garner creates search marketing strategies for iCrossing clients throughout the US and Europe. Garner has been a speaker at a number of industry conferences since 2004, including ad:tech Chicago and NYC; SES in San Jose, NYC, and Chicago; Search Engine Watch LIVE in Dallas 2007; Rackspace Customer Event; and the VeriSign Executive Conference in Dulles. Additionally, he writes a bi-monthly column for MediaPost Publications’ Search Insider that provides insight into search campaign management experience and best practices. Rob is also a co-founder of the Dallas / Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, and served as its president from 2006-August 2008. Rob is also a Board Member for SEMPO.

Mike Merrill
Mike D. Merrill serves as Director of Marketing for ReachLocal. He is a community builder, speaker, and author. Mike’s an experienced sales and marketing professional with over 14 years experience in Fortune 500 companies and venture backed startups. Mike is often sought out for his ability to drive results, command an audience, and improve overall corporate performance. Mike is passionate about developing a community of social media and word of mouth professionals and serves as President of the Social Media Club of Dallas. Furthermore, his love of speaking sparked his interest in organizing Ignite Dallas. Mike pursued his MBA at the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan and holds undergrad degrees in Finance and Accounting from New Mexico State University. Mike has completed three athletic feats off his bucket list: a marathon, triathlon and a century bike ride. Mike is married with two children and resides in Plano, TX…. And he has a thing for bacon.

Jerod Morris
Jerod Morris is an SEO consultant, blog strategist, and professional blogger who joined Orangecast in 2008. In his first month on the job, Jerod started a blog to serve as a sandbox for SEO and social media strategy. Being a diehard sports fan born in Indiana, it was no surpise that the blog he created was called Midwest Sports Fans. Since its inception, MidwestSportsFans.Com has seen an average of 5,000 unique daily visitors, broke the 3 million pageview mark in less than two years, and has gained over 40,000 links from sources such as The New York Post, the Chicago Sun Times, and ESPN. In June of 2009, Jerod published a post called “The Curious Case of Raul Ibanez…” which ended up being the catalyst for a huge debate on bloggers versus the mainstream media. In addition to several radio and podcast appearances, Jerod was a guest on ESPN’s Outside the Lines to discuss his post and the blogger/MSM debate.

Where:
Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel
900 E. Lookout Drive
Richardson, TX 75082

When:
May 18, 2011 – Mixer 6:30 –7:00PM, Meeting 7-8:30PM, Social 8:30-?

Register today at http://www.dfwsem.org


Why the Internet and Google Kills The Yellow Pages

May 15, 2011

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On the most recent SuperMedia Verizon Yellow Pages earnings call the company’s CEO Peter McDonald, the 3rd CEO in 4 years for Idearc/SuperMedia, was asked a question:

“Okay. And then last question. I was wondering if you could comment on —

Google recently changed their algorithm for searches, if that’s affected small business? And if you’ve seen any impact from that?

SuperMedia CEO Peter McDonald replied:

“I really don’t –I don’t keep up with Google changing their algorithm. I think they do it every day.”

He also probably doesn’t consider Google or Bing Local competitors. This is a sad reality. You see, back when folks like Chris Silver Smith and his team of SEO experts ran SuperPages.com, the site was the #1 local search destination and was the site that Google used most for citations or references to local listings. The site had tremendous authority. Client content in the form of business profiles ranked high on Google for terms like “painting service Denver” and other category/geography keyword combinations.

The yellow pages are facing continued decline of use, which is attributed to a shift in local search from printed books to cell phones etc. People once needed the book to order a pizza, now they turn to a mobile application or simple search for “pizza” on Google for local results.

Peter is an old school print YP dinosaur who doesn’t get it. He probably thinks that half of Americans prefer the printed yellow pages local search product over the internet local search. This is only true in small rural areas. Peter is a yellow pages preacher. He preaches his faith regardless whether science and academia state otherwise. Peter will hire lobbyist to prevent municipalities from creating opt-out programs that circumvent his industry’s attempt to collect consumer data with opt-outs. When homeowners associations begin to put restrictions on yellow pages delivery it will be too late..

SuperMedia just announced plans to layoff 267 employees because businesses no longer need listings in the phone book to be found….. Why not? People don’t use the yellow pages or white pages to research local business information such as addresses and phone numbers. The call center they are closing once handled a bulk of the company’s business, including all the low-cost mailout renewal accounts. These accounts consisted of multi-heading and bold fonts etc. The demand for such a thing is non-existent.

Google’s algorythm change and the inability of Peter McDonald and his team to invest the time to “keep up with it” is exactly why SuperPages doesn’t get the traffic to client websites that it once did.

Another potential area of focus or failure for local search websites is the Social check-in, group buying and engagement sites. These sites are great response tools for measuring subscribers or the online social user-base. Unfortunately the yellow pages again have failed to adapt. They don’t seem to understand the word “subscription”. People don’t subscribe to the yellow pages. You must unsubscribe to get them to stop polluting your front porch or lawn with the once bulky books. If you continue to solicit your products to people that do not want them, fail to offer them a clear and easy means of opting out, your industry will fail by not respecting and appreciating consumer demand. Time to close up shop.

Check-in ratings are real. Use FourSquare or Gowalla and see how competitive it is to become a “mayor” of your local school or Starbucks. This is a great way to see the level of social engagement in your area. Something measurable vs drinking the company mantra and Kool-Aid.

Google loves a well optimized small business website. Which is better, a SMB website or Internet Yellow Pages listing? The answer is the SMB website.

I have also found that link-building from niche blog sites works well, just like topical content link-building from regional news sites and press releases.


Dallas SEO Guru Mike Stewart Speaks on Local Search At Dallas SEO Internet Marketers Meetup

May 11, 2011

Last night I presented at the Dallas Interactive Marketing and Internet SEO SEM Meetup on Meetup.com. I spoke on the topic of local search marketing.

It was a great group of folks. I had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Dumas of OptimizedLocalSearch.com, someone who has performed over 2500 Google Places listing setups and optimizations in the last year. Paul is a real Google Places Expert.

I made a presentation and added a bunch of silliness for shits and giggles. You can find the slideshare for my Local Search SEO for the Less Informed here.

I felt it was best to give folks the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation, since the pace of the presentation was very fast. I know what it is like to have to wait to make a comment or question only to bang your head later at the end of the meeting when you forget. We also answered questions after the meeting, had great feedback from the audience, and even continued conversations into the parking lot!

I left out allot of information, such as Conversion Optimization, Usability, and tons of other areas of small business internet marketing improvement.

Thanks for a great meeting.

I hope to see the attendees at the next DFWSEM.org meeting next Wednesday. We will be having Rob Garner, another DFWSEM.org Board of Directors Member, Chief at renowned marketing firm iCrossing, and Board of Directors Member for SEMPO speaking on Search and Social.


Google will be charging for some calls from PC ads according to Search Engine Land

April 28, 2011

This is awesome news for search marketers and internet advertisers.

http://searchengineland.com/google-begins-charging-for-some-calls-from-pc-ads-74935?utm_source=sel&utm_medium=scap&utm_campaign=email

Real question is “when do they cease to allow you to advertise your own number?” to make more money. All in the name of better conversion tracking, call quality attribution by keyword etc,right? I am sure a boat-load of other questions will come out over the next few months…. And changes!

Potential game-changer for small business local internet marketing. Google is already dominating local search share over local search directories.

Google already owns over 70% of total search volume and a commanding position in both mobile browser and local geo-location search results.

Google rocks!


6 Easy Ways to Waste Your Money On Advertising

April 27, 2011

So much advice on the internet on how to advertise. It is almost annoying if you ask me. Everyone claims that they know where you need to put your money.

How about saving some money for once?

Consider:

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned.

How about sharing a few ideas on how you can quickly waste your money?

1. Pay someone a fee to build a website that is intended to drive traffic to your phone or email without focusing on writing fresh new content for readers and search engine web crawlers.

2. Pay someone to advertise you on Google AdWords and don’t ask them how much of your hard-earned money they are spending on clicks vs management fees.

3.  Advertise where your competition advertises, because your competition seems to generate business. (this is a common tactic for sales reps to convince you that advertising with them is a great investment.)

4. Advertise without a logo or brand. Considering that most advertising reaches folks in all areas of the buying process, from awareness to intent, it only makes sense to have a professional logo and brand tagline in your ad messages or pages. A professional look to your small business will go a long way to creating trust with your potential customers.

5. Relying strictly on “outbound marketing” vs a comprehensive approach to marketing that includes both outbound and inbound marketing methods.

“Old Marketing” methods include:

  • Outside sales
  • Telemarketing
  • Tradeshows
  • Print Advertising
  • Direct mail/email

“New Marketing” methods include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Pay per click (PPC) advertising
  • Blogging
  • Content Marketing and Strategy
  • Conversion Science
  • Analytics
  • Video Marketing

6.  Spend your advertising dollars on advertising to gain traffic or generate leads, then fail to focus on conversions. For every $100 spent on advertising, only $8 is spend on converting traffic and leads to customers. I have always said:

“If you focus on converting people to customers, you don’t have to spend money finding more people to convert.”

If I were a pastor at a church and knew someone who is currently handling  the challenges of a life changing and traumatic event, I would share with this person how my religion can help them deal with the problem, avoid it in the future, and learn from the experience. Another option is to tell them about my ministry and why I we are so great. I am sure that by explaining how we can help this person in his or her unique situation with our services we would be much more successful at converting them than by simply talking about myself. Do they really care that much about me? Or is the real question, “How can WE help you?

The most common mistakes in advertising are caused by poor planning, horrible advice, or simply seizing an opportunity just because it happens to present itself. When the only options you have are those being forced upon you by good timing, you are much more likely to make a decision based on reaction vs thoughtful consideration that includes weighing the options. One thing to consider is how much money is required or how long you must invest in order to be successful. Advertising investments, like other forms of investing, have both short and long-term rewards.


What the best SEO does for clients that your web developer can’t?

April 6, 2011

Everybody knows someone who knows something about web design and SEO. Either that or everyone gets a phone call from someone selling some sort of internet marketing product or service. That’s why most people either get suckered into a website by some salesman or your brother’s friend’s sister’s kid built your small business website.

Most great SEOs are just masters at a few things, but a jack of almost all things web related.

To be the best SEO you need to know how websites work. How they are constructed and designed, as well as how to sell things from them. They must understand how to create content and what sites to publish it to and the how’s, why’s, and whatnot’s of building links to pages. It also helps to understand how people use websites and ways to convert more customers. What about an ability to offer cost-effective niche microsites that are extremely keyword relevant to the search engines? What about video production and using video to drive traffic and promote your business.

After all this… guess what? He or She still doesn’t have what it takes to be considered one of the best SEOs.

What do they need to be considered the best? Is it in detail of the work? Do they write ad copy that is so compelling it makes you want to jump into whatever it is the website is selling? Or what about the guy who never asks a client for content. He doesn’t let a client slow him down. Maybe he knows how to discover link opportunities or how social and search work together in the new ranking methodologies? Do they understand how image search can also impact rankings? I am sure a great SEO also has the ability to prevent a client from wasting money chasing something that they can’t achieve for the amount of money they have to invest? Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to spend a very little amount on something that may take years to payoff with such a small initial investment or pennies on the dollar of what needs to be invested monthly. Does your internet marketing person know this? Will they lead you down a path that ultimately bears no fruit? So much to consider.

What does the Best SEO do for his clients that your so-called web guru doesn’t?

  • Transparency
  • Reporting
  • Measurement
  • Strategy

These 4 things are what separates a good search engine optimization consultant from the best SEOs.

A client needs 100% transparency on everything. Do they see how much each and every click from Google AdWords or BING/MSN AdCenter? The best SEOs don’t offer questionable limited view reports from companies like ReachLocal.com who cover up huge PPC click markups or those that hide content network clicks and label them as “search clicks?” These clients end up paying for low quality traffic without knowing it.

The best SEOs setup reporting in a fashion that doesn’t eat into the clients billable hours. Most SEO firms charge 1/4 hour for just reporting. The best SEOs know how to automate this and put that billable time back in the SEO strategy. The best SEOs also know how  to take data and use it. Wash, rinse, and repeat is a process that they have mastered and that keeps them moving to the next keyword phrase to rank for. They are able to measure success. The best SEOs provide tools such as backlink analysis and web ranking reports.

The best SEOs also provide a holistic strategy. A holistic SEO recognizes that there are several important factors that go into creating a successful website and web presence, not just any single one.

Holistic search marketing does not combat SEO vs PPC for ones marketing budget, but realizes that they must work together to achieve a great return on investment.

Holistic search marketing approaches also consider the value of being represented in the paid search (PPC) results, the local listing results, Google organic results, and other web properties that rank on Google such as Facebook pages and videos from YouTube. The best SEO finds many methods of generating traffic and also helps you spend your budget effectively. Don’t confuse PPC resellers as SEOs. Don’t hire an SEO firm that tells you not to do pay-per-click. This is a great sign that they are not holistic in approach.

If you need the best SEO money can buy… ask me to help you find one. As a Board of Directors Member of the Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, I have the privilege of working with the Best SEO Companies and Consultants in Dallas. Ask me for a FREE Pass to one of our monthly meetings, and you will be connected to some of the best SEO experts in the country.

Or… just call me! 214-267-9553


NEW: Free Phone Support For Google AdWords Advertisers

April 5, 2011

Check this article from Search Engine Land about Google PPC help and support for SMBs.

NEW: Free Phone Support For Google AdWords Advertisers


Humanatic: The Future of Lead Generation and Call Tracking for PPC etc.

March 29, 2011


My favorite two quotes:

“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.”

and….

“He who runs with the flock follows assholes”

Recently Chris Silver Smith, the former head of search engine optimization for SuperPages.com and probably 10 times out of 10 the smartest man in the room when it comes to local search marketing, wrote an excellent blog post on the use of Call Tracking lines in local search on Search Engine Land. He also made some suggestions on how Google and call tracking services could possibly work together to solve the issues that result from the use of tracking lines.

as Chris said in the post:

I’ve investigated cases where a company used tracking numbers in one yellow pages site and didn’t realize the numbers had spread to other local sites — utterly ruining their ability to detect how many calls came from which channels and obviating the entire point of using the numbers for non-paid campaigns.

The need to ensure that clicks, calls, and leads are real has been a challenge for small business marketers since even before the yellow pages. I often recommend the use of tracking lines for my clients only after using Google Analytics, Woopra Analytics, and asking customers “how they found your business.” Tracking lines are not as necessary in organic search engine optimization or local search, but become vital when working with pay per click marketing providers, especially with providers like the yellow pages and ReachLocal.

enter Humanatic, a call categorization service in which U.S. based live human reviewers listen to your calls and determine whether those leads represented a new businesses opportunity. This would be a great fit for sales agents that spend alot of time listening to calls trying to validate leads for their advertisers or companies like Yext.com who offer leadgen or a cost per lead.  Many failed attempts at cost per call could have been avoided with this kind of technology.

The idea of filtering inbound and outbound calls for the purpose of reporting opportunities as well as ensuring that your advertising is working to bring real leads is brilliant.

 


What should you include in your 2011 internet marketing strategy?

March 25, 2011

Here is a video from Google’s Matt Cutts:

What should you include in your 2011 internet marketing strategy?


One Dozen Different SEO Link Building Ideas for Small Businesses

March 20, 2011

Don’t put all the eggs in one basket, unless that basket is the one you are holding.

Authority Links

Links you can sometimes buy. Content bait can get links pointing back to you. These links are a must and normally come from begging, pleading, asking, and praying for the link. These are the ones that take the most effort to obtain, but give the best results. No need to anchor text, the topic of the site and its keywords are the juice!


Local Directory Links

Manual directory submission is the best. We recommend starting out with a list of 21 of the top sites that provide citations from Google and working down the list. This takes a bit of time to setup. The best directories will be relevant on topic or niche directories. Industry specific is always another plus. (Real Estate Directory vs Online Yellow Pages Directory listing for Real Estate Section)

Comment and Profile Links

Don’t comment spam. Contribute to the conversation. Most bloggers hate when you use anchor text instead of a real name. Find industry related blogs and start commenting. But don’t become a content spammer, or I will hate you.

Most blog comment links are tagged rel=nofollow and most think that Google and search engines don’t give as much juice to them. I beg to differ. I just think that they can tell when you are a spammer. Don’t SPAM!

Social Media Links

Create Content. Build Social Accounts for your business. Build accounts for your person. Build accounts for your employees. Start using them. Share content. Wash. Rinse. Repeat the sharing and creating content. Social signals are the new trust. Google loves to trust your content, trust your site, and loves interaction. This can be faked, but why bother?

Note: Don’t be fooled. Social Media signals are the latest and most authoritative Google ranking factors.

Reciprocal Links

These are link exchanges. Pretty easy to obtain. They no longer are as effective as they used to be for SEO and are considered blackhat. A few doesn’t hurt. Don’t make this your SEO strategy folks!

Note: The technique of using other links in your site and asking them to put the link to your store on their site. This will not work out very well if they are your direct competitor but if it a link from a home improvement tool sales and you are a construction company or sub contractor the sites would be relevant to each other. In this way both of you get an extra boost at the same time.

One way links

Articles are a great way to obtain niche site one-way links.

Cost is around $35 to $50 per link and article.

Blog Roll Links are another good example of a one-way link. Some Blog Roll Exchange programs exist that help obtain these types of links.

3-way Links

Site A links to Site B which Links to Site C and so on….. considered more of a grey area for SEO, be cautious when building these kinds of links. But they do work.

Talented Blackhat SEO Experts use 3-way and 4-way linkbuilding techniques by having many sites. Oftentimes this is considered blackhat as content farms are the main source of linkbuilding efforts.

.Edu and .Gov Links

Use the Google Search Operator: “inurl:.edu or .gov” to find these link opportunities. The “trust” that these sites offer your website is great. Offline techniques, cash donations, and gifts of time or sponsorships are great ways to obtain these links. Some other ideas might require you to shop up the the school and meet some of the web administrators.

Radio station, TV, Magazine or Newspaper links

These links are obtained by contextual advertising. Links are seldom on topic. Pay to play here folks!

Press Release Links

My favorite link building. This is all about great content. Interesting news. Or just pulling something out of your tail for the sake of gaining some links.

Avoid free press release sites as your only link strategy. Stay away from mom and pop press release sites. I prefer to use PRWeb by Vocus. I have a license. Licenses cost money. These links are good for traffic and with the way search engines are distributing news content in search results and allowing you to search by news, another great source of solid link building.

You must write a solid press release. Cost is around $50-$100.00 for a great one! PRWeb Submissions start at $500.

Mass Article Link Building and Bio Links

Create a unique article and send it out to hundreds of article submission sites. With Google’s recent content quality algorithm update called Panda (aka The Farmer update which was geared towards “content farms”) you shouldn’t expect to see the article ranking on search results like they used to. Article sites often monetize effort of managing the site with AdSense revenue, Google’s AdWords Publisher Program that includes Network Distribution vs Search.

Note: Bio links are obtained by the bio that is submitted to the article sites with the article.


RSS/Blog syndicated link
:

This is all about Syndication of your content. If you are not doing it, why not? WordPress as a content management system makes creating an RSS feed easy. This is really easy, you just need to create great quality content and folks will put your content feed inside their site.

Some More Thoughts on Link Building:

There are many different strategies in effective link building and the people at a Dallas SEO Link Building Strategy Consultant firm SMB SEO can help you with many of them. These men and women can help point you in the right direction to build a link network with your site. This helps with how much traffic you get but also how much business is brought in as well. The advice received from these kinds of firms is priceless.

A good consultant will be able to help you optimize link building efforts so that the bottom line will improve for your business. The ones that you should be looking for are links that will impact your business in a positive way. Those that have wishy washy service and products are not going to get your business up that high. You want to look into each one carefully. Once you know who you are dealing with, go to your SEO link building consultant and talk it over. He will be able to look at the numbers and tell you if his site is popular enough to bring you up a notch.

Another benefit of link building is that it can take your newly imported site up in rankings by being on their high ranking site. The sites on the Internet are graded by their links. They take into consideration the amount of traffic a website receives a month, the number of views it has, references from other sites, and the links that it has endorsed and that have worked out well for both of them. This raises your rank. When linking to a higher site than yours, it is like taking an SEO piggy back ride. You are essentially riding on their popularity.

There are courses you can take to learn the strategies for web page manicuring. They run approximately thirty to sixty days and cost about seven thousand dollars for the course from beginning to end. Or you can call a consulting firm so that your time can be spent making money instead of linkbuilding, using them as your right hand man to get the job done and your site ranking high.


“Gravity Doesn’t Suck Customers Down the Internet Funnel”

March 17, 2011

According to Wikipedia:  sales process, also known as a sales tunnel or a sales funnel is a systematic approach to selling a product or service

image

One of the great things about being involved in an industry group or association is the opportunity to learn new ways of saying some of the same things.  Ask any expert and they will tell you that they didn’t become an expert overnight and most likely paid a hefty price to be one. Time is money. Research only gets you so far. Listening to those that have “been there, done that” puts a big shortcut in the learning curve. Learning from mistakes helps take you the rest of the way.

In December 2009, I became a Board of Directors Member of the first local professional search engine marketing association, the Dallas / Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association or www.DFWSEM.org.  DFWSEM was founded by a group of blackhat SEOs back around 2001. Bill Hartzer, who I tremendously respect as an authority in search marketing, was one of the original founding members of DFWSEM. DFWSEM is the largest local meetup for search professionals in the country.  We meet once a month in Dallas to share insights, tips, tricks, and tools related to all things SEO, PPC, and Social Media.

I have invited many clients to attend these meetings and have found that not only do many learn more about what I do for them (this works so much better than those tacky one call closes folks!), some of my clients have actually joined the association and attend regularly.

Tonight was one of those nights. It just clicked. While on a panel discussion of the lessons from PubCon Austin 2011 and SMX West, two of the biggest conferences for search geeks, Tony Wright, the witty CEO of WrightIMC, a reputable reputation management and SEO firm, said something that will forever stick with me:

“Gravity doesn’t work in the sales funnel”

He was referring back to a comment from a PubCon keynote speaker who stated that if you have an authoritative site with great content you won’t need to pay for advertising. Sorta like Amazon or Wikipedia, right? Tony said that this really is more of a fallacy in theory. Those with strong brands become strong from authoritative content and paid promotion.

Moving a potential customer from research and awareness to buying intent doesn’t just happen. As marketers, we must make it happen. Moving people from one step in the buying process to another requires many different types of marketing methodologies, such as conversion optimization and testing, unique value propositions, identifying key differentiators, and incorporating solid calls to action. Building trust is also important. Sharing features and benefits also helps move them down the funnel.

Lastly, you must advertise. Advertising can be both creative (for building your brand) and directional (helping people find your brand.) Advertising is what brings people to your funnel. Gravity pulls us all down, but not down the funnel. That takes expert strategy and creativity.

Sorry to contradict the great lyrics of John Mayer, but gravity isn’t always working against us. Sometimes it doesn’t bring us down. Especially when it pertains to the buying process, contrary to what most business owners and even some experts seem to think.

Another great quote from PubCon:

“$92 out of every $100 invested in marketing goes to advertising. Only $8 is spent on making ads convert.”