The Final Nail is In The Coffin, Bye Bye to Greater Dallas

July 27, 2012

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SuperMedia, the formerly bankrupt publisher of the Verizon Yellow Pages, will announce what will likely be another double digit revenue decline in print advertising during the company’s quarterly earnings call today July 27th.

What the company will likely not be sharing is the decision to discontinue what was once the most profitable directory in the company’s publishing footprint. The Greater Dallas Yellow Pages will not have a 2013 edition. Rumor is that the company is no longer making money printing the once ginormous brick of recycled paper waste material, which was once the most used local search tool in North Texas.

Am I heart broken? No! Besides today being my birthday, I am overjoyed that they finally came to their senses.

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Who still uses the yellow pages?
Since phone companies no longer have a monopoly on printing books and thanks to Google, smart phone technologies, and the advancement of online search and online content, Dallas area consumers no longer need a bulky yellow pages to find information. The phone books that still receive ad impressions are likely hyper local books in more rural non-urban markets, like the ones “Idearc Media” (the former pre-bankruptcy name of SuperMedia) bailed on.

Word is the company will continue to push digital offerings and more failed attempts to sell advertising via channel partners while failing to create digital assets of its own. They have repeatedly outsourced all attempts at “quality online marketing” not limited to even include the advertising for the yellow pages brand itself. Don’t expect the company to hire hundreds of copywriters and begin offering content marketing like my company SMB SEO.

Back in 2009, I had a meeting scheduled with Dave Bethea, former Executive Vice President of Sales for SuperMedia, to discuss ways to improve the company’s online offerings. I had been helping clients with online marketing and SEO for almost an entire decade. Dave was a good friend of the company’s CEO at the time Scott Klein. Dave and Scott both came from a background of selling materials and fasteners for the building industry. Nails, fasteners, and whatnot. In my opinion Dave should not have been put in charge of running an organization like the Verizon Yellow Pages. He had zero experience with a consultative sales approach and it showed. I cancelled my meeting with Dave and shortly thereafter left the company.

The discontinuation of the Dallas Book represents an official changing of the guard and further proves that my concerns were justified back in 2009.

The reasons why consumers don’t use the yellow pages has little to do with the fact that the yellow pages abused the power and influence it had on small to medium-sized businesses. Constant annual rate hikes. Penalties for decreasing budgets. While other companies protected the customer base with affordable ads that brought a rate of return, the yellow pages disregarded the rules of the marketplace and repeatedly found ways to manipulate earnings. From selling customers ads they clearly could not afford, to 13 month long life publications and new double double truck seniority ads, and countless other gimmicks and tricks squeezing more revenue while providing less and less value to clients.

I have always maintained that it was wiser to keep a client then be forced to replace one. When a publisher loses a customer due to overselling or errors a publisher might miss revenue from that particular enterprise permanently, sooner or later your new business opportunity dries up and you have managed alienate your potential customer base.

What the yellow pages did was simply getting a significant stake in the SMB profit margin. Today business owners are not extorted out of revenue by a local directional search monopoly.
Google offers affordable pay per click (PPC) ads that fit most budgets and combined with analytics and dynamic call tracking offers an awesome value to businesses. Organic search marketing also concentrates on content contribution, brand authority, and share of voice vs “who has the deepest pockets” to buy the biggest ad.

RIP Greater Dallas, you will not be missed. Businesses thank you for helping them grow over the years… Now GO AWAY!!!

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Dallas SEO Expert Testifies as Expert Witness in Federal Court

April 18, 2012

Dallas, TX (PRWEB) April 10, 2012 Search engine optimization expert Mike Stewart testified in late March before a United States Federal Judge during a hearing on motions in an international trademark case. Stewart, who operates Dallas-based SMBSEO, was an expert witness in the case regarding the impact of similar business names in the geotargeting environment of today’s search engines.

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The hearing, Civil Action number 3:10-CV-0165 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, involved a Canadian owned company operating under the name Cash Store Financial Services, or CSFS, and a Dallas-based company operating as Cottonwood Financial. Cottonwood Financial operates short-term lending stores in several states under the trademarked name Cash Store. CSFS also operates similar stores in Canada under the name The Cash Store. Until recently, the similar names did not cause a problem because of the vast difference in geography and customer base.

However, CSFS is now a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange and has several million US investors. They distribute information online and through hardcopy to US locations, often under the names CSF, CSFS, Cash Store Financial Services and The Cash Store. As US information distribution brings the CSFS branding across international borders, a trademark issue and brand dilution may be occurring. Cottonwood Financial is bringing legal action against CSFS in an attempt to prevent the Canadian company from using the Cash Store name.

During Mike Stewart’s expert testimony, he presented screenshots showing location-based search results pertinent to the case. He was able to show that searching from a computer with a Dallas-based IP address for terms like “cash store financial” or “cash store financial services” returned results indicating that the company had physical locations nearby. Canadian company CSFS does not have Cash Store locations in Dallas, but Cottonwood does. Google’s geotargeting logic, which attempts to align search terms with top results in the geographic area surrounding the user, causes the issue.

According to court documents, Cottonwood’s pleadings attempted to prove that the Dallas-based company would be harmed by the dilution of the trademark. Possible harm could include loss of business, negative brand connotations and dilution of online marketing efforts. They filed a preliminary injunction to prohibit CSFS from using the Cash Store name within US communications. CSFS filed a motion to dismiss the case.

According to court documents, dated March of 2011, Judge David C. Godbey stated that “Cottonwood does have a strong likelihood of making a case for dilution.” However, according to the most recent court documents, he has not determined whether Cottonwood made it’s case for all legal action requested. Last year, he granted a partial motion from CSFS to dismiss certain aspects of the case. At the same time, he also granted Cottonwood’s motion for preliminary injunction. CSFS will not be allowed to use the name The Cash Store in US communications until the case is fully decided. According to Mike Stewart, with his recent expert witness testimony, the pending final ruling from the court case may indeed go in Cottonwood’s favor.

Businesses that rely on search engine marketing or online branding should keep an eye on the outcome of this case. The implications already seen provide compelling reasons for businesses to take proactive actions like keyword research to ensure their trademark and online brand is not threatened.

About SMB SEO LLC SMB SEO LLC, a Dallas-based advertising agency, helps small and medium-sized businesses grow in revenue by dominating online, mobile and social media marketing channels. SMB SEO offers a cost effect, transparent, and holistic search engine marketing service solutions that includes Organic Search Optimization, Local Search Optimization, Paid Search Optimization, Link Buiding, Content Marketing, Listing Optimization, Video and Website Development services. SMB SEO recently relocated to the Urban Towers Offices in Las Colinas at 222 W. Las Colinas Blvd. Ste 1650 Irving, Tx 75039. SMB SEO is proud to be a corporate member of the Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, the oldest and largest search marketing meetup group in the US. For more information, visit http://www.smbSEO.com.

About Cash Store The Cash Store is a trusted financial lending company with more than 270 locations across the country. The Cash Store specializes in providing customers with a fast and convenient way to meet unexpected financial expenses. The Cash Store is not the average lending company and prides itself on providing a stress free environment and simple approval process. For more information on services, visit The Cash Store on the web at http://www.cashstore.com.


How Much Has Yellow Pages Usage Really Decreased?

November 21, 2011

News is that SuperMedia, the company that prints the Verizon Yellow Pages, is planning to discontinue publishing the Greater Dallas Yellow Pages after 2012. The reason for doing so is declined usage and very high costs to print and distribute.

The decline of yellow pages is not news to consumers, but tell that to the folks buying and selling the ads and you will get mixed opinions.

The companies are laying off headcount to save expenses, while investors are seeing -20% year over year decline in ad sales and little results since Google moved Marissa Mayer to Local Search User Experence years ago.

The big companies that are buying the big ads want you the smaller business to think that it generates a nice profit.

It only helps them squeeze you more, just like big PPC bids.

One of my clients actually said that he believes he breaks even on his ads but hoped they made his competitors keep spending to keep up.

For most small companies generating a profit is a challenge. The smallest margin is significant. Money wasted on ads that do not perform have a bigger impact on the smaller operations than the companies with the double double truck plus size ads.

So, how much has usage if the yellow pages really declined?

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More than 55%. The costs of the ads just took a little bit longer to come down the same. They still haven’t.

Might be why big banks and hedge fund guys like Paulson own stake in them, shorting the stock and playing the same game they did with home mortgages and derivatives.

The decrease in print distribution has even taken longer. In urban areas less than 20% of people will use the yellow pages for a local search. Mobile search via Google is the new phone book. You will see less and less big bulky books soon. SuperMedia and AT&T will begin focusing on rural market books once again. Day late if you ask me.

I expect SuperMedia to discontinue publishing other Metro area books as well as decrease distribution.

I do not expect them to share these new distribution or opt out of delivery numbers any time soon.

Btw, we are offering mobile sites that include a nice commission for my former media consultant coworkers.

Take a look at Lewisville Divorce Lawyers Mobile Website that my Dallas Internet Marketing Firm built.

Hammerle Finley used to spend big bucks on phone book ads. They are the small town general practice firm who made others spend big bucks. Hammerle probably doesn’t feel the same about what became of GTE Yellow Pages from the 90’s.

They are David to Goliath if you ask me.

Who uses the yellow pages?

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7 ways to get an internet marketing job

September 19, 2011

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Unemployment has hit an all time high. Businesses are not hiring. Those that are highering are paying lower wages. The world economy has not recovered from the economic collapse of 2007/2008, especially the job market. In the US nearly 1 out of 9 are unemployed and 1 in 7 live in poverty. Just 5 short years ago only 1 in 4 were unemployed. Now more people than ever are looking for work. Despite all this doom and gloom news, digital marketing agencies are sprouting out of the woodwork. There is one industry that continues to grow at a rapid pace, this industry is the internet marketing business.

The internet provides many career opportunities for folks who otherwise might not have a job. This has been the case since the internet .com bubble.

Internet marketing related jobs in high demand include the following areas of skill:

° web design
° content writing and content management
° paid search analyst
° internet marketing sales and business development
° social media marketing managers
° SEO experts
° videographers

These positions maybe in-house for a big brand or with an internet marketing agency that works on behalf of a brand or company.
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What skills do some of these positions require?

Web content writers must understand the importance of authoritative quality content on a company’s website. Businesses will pay money for unique content that can be added to the company’s website. Great content is also used to create links that point back to the company’s website from other sites, this is referred to as “backlinks” and this is an important factor in high search engine results rankings. If you are a decent writer or copywriter, there may be many opportunities for you to get a job as a web content manager.

SEO Experts may have a lot of different roles depending on the company. They may focus on linkbuilding from various websites to client or company websites, they may strategize an SEO budget and schedule for a client, and also be responsible for submitting content to blogs, article sites, and press releases. Some SEO skills might also include forum posting and website commenting. Social media marketing and content distribution is also an important area for an SEO strategist to understand. A strong knowledge of how the web works, how content management systems are used, and how automation tools can be used to improve a websites visibility are crucial to the success of an internet marketing SEO specialist. One thing is for sure, SEO strategy requires you to have an A.D.D. type approach, a short term memory (so you do not dwell on your failures and keep moving forward,) and plenty of time to attend conferences and training sessions or meetings like the Dallas Search Engine Marketing Association or http://www.dfwsem.org.

Paid search marketing experts manage PPC ad budgets on Google AdWords, Bing AdCenter, and other contextual ad networks including display and retargeting ads. This skill is especially suited for analytical data crunchers who have a knack for testing, analyzing, and filtering paid search ads and campaigns. These sort of skills and traits are not the same as SEO specialists. For most businesses, over 40% of internet marketing budgets should go towards paid search marketing.

Web Development and design, like SEO, is a skilled profession. Some corporations hire in-house website developers and others hire agencies to build websites for them. Web developers redesign or maintain existing sites as well as building new ones. Website design requires experience with Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop. Designers create .psd design comprehensives and covers convert these graphic files into PHP/html/CSS. This is sorta lime taking a scalpel to a graphic file and making all the elements work and respond to the website visitors mouse and actions on the site. Great website designers understand SEO and website usability. Having SEO knowledge will give a web developer a huge advantage on the competition.

The number of SEO and internet marketing related jobs will continue increasing over the next few years. More and more businesses are looking for ways to make money online. Even if you have a modest knowledge of internet marketing topics, you have a great shot at landing a job in SEO work.

Of course probably the easiest and fastest way to make the most money in internet marketing is sales and business development.

I spent years making over SIX FIGURES a year selling, designing, and strategizing with small and medium-sized local businesses on print yellow pages advertising solutions for Verizon Directories. Sales reps almost always received more money from a sale than the fulfillment department made from processing the order. Of course it didn’t hurt that yellow pages companies had profit margins in the 60+% range and could afford big commission rates.

Internet marketing sales consultants can make more money than the yellow pages sales reps of yesterday. Yellow pages reps typically earn 7 to 15% of the total sale. Internet marketing sales consultants at my agency, smbSEO, earn upwards of 20% residual commission and unlike yellow pages sale reps they do receive continuity on accounts they sell. If an agency has a $1,200 minimum retainer, after just 30 total clients a sales rep is making over $6,000 in residual income. What is required from a sales rep? Facilitating SEO schedules including graphics and content strategy, communicating with clients, and working with members of an internet marketing team to discuss KPIs (key performance indicators) results and client expectations.

In my opinion the best internet marketing job is the sales consultant one. How many businesses need help strategizing internet marketing efforts? How much money is being wasted? Are they using analytics and call measurement services? Do they have a holistic approach that ultimately means they rank multiple times on the search engines? The odds of you knowing a business owner or manager who needs help with internet marketing are very high. Due to the complex nature of an effective internet marketing strategy, most companies are dissatisfied or looking to improve their internet marketing strategy.

If you would like more information or to sign up for an internet marketing job in your area, visit my website at http://www.smbseo.com/new-sales-person and I will send you a referral link to have your clients sign up for my internet marketing solutions at http://www.smbseo.com/store. When they sign up for services from the link provided to you on the /new-sales-person page you will get paid residual commission. You don’t even have to quit your current job (although you are likely going to after you see how much money you can make.)


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 »


SuperMedia executive murdered in Ontario California

August 17, 2011

I was just notified by a friend that a longtime Verizon Yellow Pages employee, John Hillrich, was shot and killed at the company’s Ontario California office by individuals in a black SUV.

Do you know what happened? Many people are searching for more information.

My condolences to his friends and family. Everybody stay safe.

More info:

Ontario police arrest 3 in slaying
Will Bigham, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/17/2011 02:09:04 PM PDT

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with a man’s fatal shooting Tuesday at a parking structure in Ontario, police said today. John Hillrich, 39, of Fontana was shot at about 2 p.m. at 3401 E. Centrelake Drive, and later died at a hospital. He was leaving his workplace at the time of the shooting, police said. His wife, 38-year-old Amy Hillrich of Yucaipa, was arrested at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Ontario Police Department, booking records show. Late Tuesday evening detectives arrested two of Amy Hillrich’s former co-workers: David Olvera, 24, of Yucaipa, and Emilio Saldana, 22, of Calamesa. The three suspects previously worked together at a care facility in Yucaipa, according to a news release.

Police said John and Amy Hillrich were estranged, and Hillrich had a relationship with Olvera. Investigators determined that Olvera and Saldana were in a vehicle that left the scene after the shooting, according to the news release. Investigators also recovered bullet casings and other evidence at the scene, police said. The three suspects remained jailed without bail today at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, according to booking records.

Police encourage anyone with information on the shooting to call Detective Gary Naranjo at 909-395-2764.
Information can also be submitted anonymously by calling We Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME.


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.