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.