This just might be one of the greatest ad agency videos ever!

January 7, 2010

This is who I want to be when I “grow up”…… to heck with beinga ToysRUs Kid!

BooneOakley.com – Home Page – A different kind of ad agency

I want to grow up and be more like Boone Oakley!

  • Creativity is a vital component to any marketing plan. Dare to be different. Dare to step outside of the box.
  • If I learned anything from the failures of others….. don’t be afraid to FAIL!
  • The more often you fail….. the more often you succeed. Great Ideas start with Volume!

BTW, if you know of someone who builds Apps for iPhones or Android mobile browsers….. have them call me a.s.a.p.!


Multi-Level Marketing (MLMs) to Enter Search Marketing – Yellow Pages Publishers Beware!

December 30, 2009

Yesterday a former “advertising and multi media marketing coworker” asked me to join a AdzZoo Webinar.

I am forewarning and reminding folks that this blog is about myself and whatever else I feel motivated enough to share.

So on to my weak “uneducated” attempt at an AdzZoo Review:

First and foremost, the folks bringing you AdzZoo, all appear to each have many years of experience in Sales, Network Marketing, and Venture Capital/Investments.

As someone else put it here:

If you take at look at the executive team at Adzoo, they are primarily made up of old-school sales and marketing people. Which begs the question, what does someone over the age of 60 who came from marketing know about an industry that is realistically less than 10 years old and which changes by the month? The answer is obvious- very little.

AdzZoo’s team has sales experience. The folks at the Online and Print Yellow Pages seem to have more “Internet Marketing” (cough** ADVERTISING SALES **) experience and are a bit more grounded vs the pump you up and send you out nature of an MLM. Although if you have ever seen a ridiculous attempt at pumping folks up, you should see Scott Klein’s Tomorrow Show Today broadcasts or Idearc’s local sales meetings! lol
The level of search engine marketing training coming out of Idearc is very basic at best. Don’t expect advice from Idearc’s “trained media consultants” to be any better than an AdzZoo rep.


AdzZoo Offers PPC
:  So do the Yellow Pages. Although AdzZoo says it focuses on PPC initially until organic rankings can take effect and produce the results as promised. Boy are they making a promise with AdzZooClientLeave Behind

Is this guarantee doable? Sure, give me $300 cash and I can also guarantee that I can get you on the first page of Google…. but at what cost and for how long? This is were accountability and service come into play folks!

They Offer Landing Pages: Well, the Yellow Pages sorta does this…… (AT&T more so than Idearc.) To be honest with you AdzZoo seems to be kicking yellow page website designers asses. This is horrific!

They Offer Google LBL (Google MAPS): So does Idearc/SuperMedia via Google crawling and indexing Superpages.com results, but Idearc does not recommend or offer support to claim listings which is what Google recommends.
Now some will argue that they are charging clients for what is FREE, as is the case with Google Maps, is a scam. But, if you consider the amount of listings that are unclaimed of folks who do not even have the basic understanding of local search, it maybe argued that AdzZoo is providing better service than that of IYP companies such as Local.com, CitySearch, and Superpages.com. Part of the Google Map listings are based on Google Maps Local Ranking Factors and another component is the Local Business Sponsored Link Ads which is a pay-per-click Adwords option to get in the maps. Now this is a strategy I always recommend for PPC clients

For years, I’ve recommended to clients to claim the businesses local business listings on Google. It is FREE and just takes a few minutes. Claimed listings are ranked higher than listings that are not claimed. Google Maps has taken a big hit to the Internet Yellow Pages companies like Idearc/SuperMedia’s www.Superpages.com Here is a video from Google on claiming your listing for FREE. David Mihm has a list of the local search ranking factors here:

Yellow Page sites traffic on decline due to Google Map display on SERPs

AdzZoo doesn’t have a website ranked in the top 25 of all sites, but if you have looked at SuperPages.com or other online Yellow Pages site traffic, you can see that Google has cut a big chunk. As well as the fact that keyword searches for “Super Pages” or “Yellow Pages” on Google are down significantly. This was caused not by the Yellow Pages consumers adapting or going directly to the sites directly (approx. 30% of SuperPages.com’s users visit the site directly vs clicking from Google Search Results,) but Google done a better job over the years of catching and surpassing to the folks at the Yellow Pages after the early days of the internet. The maps has made huge dents in the Internet Yellow Pages industry revenues.

New Slogan

In the early years, the yellow pages got ahead of Google by leveraging the print data and phone company listing information on its internet brands, such as http://www.SmartPages.com, YellowPages.com, http://www.Superpages.com etc.  (Currently they are getting beat in innovating subscriber’ship’ by YELP, AngiesList.com, and other hyper-local directories. I believe a good measurement of success for any directory is the number of subscribers.)  When you own the listing data (like Verizon or GTE or Southwestern Bell) it makes it easy to have more than a startup company like Google. This is no longer an advantage as Google has improved the ability to find and collect the listings data. What hurt the print yellow pages telephone company publisher before, competition from independent publishers who now have telephone company listing data without the huge costs associated with it,  is now impacting the future success of the industry. One of the reasons Idearc is the land of discontent to some degree. Hard to sell clients on SuperPages.com when it is less than 10% of local internet advertising.

I would have thought that a local directory would have already joined the Google Content Network and work-out a better and stronger relationship with Google. One that benefits advertisers and the publishers. Givin’ the cash that Idearc CEO Scott Klein is bragging about being in the bank, one would think that he could bring that to the table with Google. Stop trying to beat Google Scott…. this is not Coke vs Pepsi…. this is Coke vs Hansens.

As you can see by the chart above, less and less folks are looking for Yellow Pages.  All of this has resulted in a shift away from traditional print publishers for the internet space. I am not terribly optimistic about multi-level marketing (MLMs), but I will say that AdzZoo seems to have an edge on my previous employer Idearc Media.

Multi-Level Marketing offers low start-up costs, low overhead, strength in commitment, an endless supply of sellers. For a product that can be simplified such as AdzZoo is attempting to do here, I have a feeling that if the “Campaign Managers” can become educated and accountable, this may be a legitimate entrance of MLM’s in the traditional local small business advertising market.

AdzZoo will have more sales reps than Yellow Pages. AdzZoo’s sales reps will have individual websites. AdzZoo will have more “sales and promotion” websites than phone book publishers. I was one of the few that recommended Idearc adapt personal blogs and pages for Media Consultants. Idearc doesn’t seem to want folks selling internet marketing to utilize more than 20% of his or her brain apparently! lol

AdzZoo Offers SEO: WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER. Traditional phone book publishers have yet to figure out a means of monetizing search engine optimization. The fact that AdzZoo is entering the market with an SEO offering is why I feel they are going to have a strong impact on local search sales. For years I, MIKE STEWART, have bitched, moaned, and groaned about my previous employer, Idearc Media, lack of focus on organic search beyond focusing on ranking Superpages.com. I had a few recommendations on how to do it, but Bill Brewer the new guy in charge of Idearc’s National Sales and Local Texas Sales Office decided to let me go vs. allowing me to opportunity to change the course and influence the direction of Idearc. But hey, I only put 9 years into the organization. What did I know about selling and servicing advertising for local businesses? Idearc wants telemarketers. They should have just became AdzZoo if you ask me! lol

Simply put, SEO & Social Media Marketing is where local internet small business marketers need to be. Paid Search marketing costs will continue to increase as the volume of searches increases. Although conversion rates and clicks per user are dependent on landing page optimization, paid search will continue to become more expensive vs less. Equity deals will also become the norm.

I am somewhat concerned about AdzZoos use of a subdomain for clients page. I don’t think Google will rank multiple AdzZoo pages for the same keyword on the first page. I agree with AdzZoo that seldom do consumers see more than the 1st or second page. Those other “gazillion” results mean very little. Google’s talent in indexing those is almost a waste if you ask me! The use of subdomain is very similar to what I recommended to Idearc as a Media Consultant for SEO, www.Ecordia.com ‘s Content Hub.

I have a feeling folks would be more inclined to purchase “ambiguously priced search marketing programs from friends and family with the latest get rich quick scheme to make money leveraging a business owners network vs a 12 month contract for only Google Pay Per Click Management that is irreversible and backed by credit and collections attorneys in the event something go wrong. You see, if Idearc / SuperMedia ‘s SMLOCAL does not produce results, which happens often, since they offer very little (if anything) as far as landing page optimization (unlike AT&T Yellow Pages.com who recently partnered with WebVisible to create landing pages,) you still get stuck with the management fee. In most cases they charge clients 12 months at $700-800.00 per month to “manage” basic pay per click campaigns on Google and Superpages.com with a targeted monthly spend of around 2000.00 per month. So total fees are around 2700.00 per month for only Pay Per Click advertising. Not a very good value if you ask me considering the churn in consultants and clients not getting to own the work they paid Idearc / SuperMedia to produce, but hey… they are in it for the profit folks! If it wasn’t for the Executives at the Unions, very few folks would be able to live like Idearc’s CEO Scott Klein. Let’s say you get behind on your bill due to the lack of true calls from Idearc’s lack of management of Google dangerous content network and decide to cancel your account with Idearc / SuperMedia, now you get to start building your own Google campaign from from scratch.

The one simple reason’s my business plan will succeed…. there is only one method of doing local correctly:

Partner a Website Developer with a talented Search Engine Optimizer who both specialize in Social Media. Build that around a team of talented Pay Per Click Paid Search Professionals, add an honors graduate Video Developer from the Dallas Art Institute, and you have the ultimate offer in local internet marketing.

Call SMB SEO.  214-267-9553

Now…. duplicating this process over and over? That takes money. Something I am not so fortunate to have enough of, unlike Idearc & Scott Klein or the folks at AdzZoo!

For only $300.00 to join AdzZoo, I think I might just try it. Seems to have potential to work well for folks in lesser populated and internet savvy areas outside of Dallas. Heck, AdzZoo and my knowledge of local search marketing might be a heck of a combination! Although, I am skeptical about AdzZoo’s ability to achieve high Google rankings in urban and suburban markets that have above average computer usage, I feel they may be a better offer than traditional print Yellow Pages internet marketing offerings.

Please feel free to discuss this! If you want to remain private just let me know and I will edit your comments before approving them!

I hope everyone has a prosperous and memorable 2010! Happy New Year!

Cheers,

Mike Stewart

The Local Dallas Google Guru

P.S. Don’t forget to comment. I can’t wait to finish http://www.YellowCrooks.com. Thanks to Scott Klein for the great idea! Look for it to launch in 2010! Look for Internet Yellow Pages companies to IP block it in 2010! LOL

Accountability and Fulfillment….. who will win? The MLM or the IYP?

Here is another video review of AdzZoo:



Entrepreneurs Can Change the World – A Must See Short Clip

December 22, 2009

You can change the world. Remember when you were a kid?


I can now sleep at nite. Can a real car do a loop to loop?

December 5, 2009

Simply amazing feat. I have always wondered if this is possible! I remember the matchbox toys as a kid!


New Data on Social Media Marketing from BIA Kelsey

December 4, 2009

Social Media Marketing on the Rise by Mike Boland at Kelsey

UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research has released its annual study of social media marketing, showing that a whopping 91 percent of firms use at least one social media tool. This is up from 57 percent two years ago.

One caveat here: This is among the “INC. 500″ fastest growing private companies in the U.S. Though the figures show sharp growth, the sample would tend to include more technically savvy companies and thus skew results in favor of higher adoption. There’s nothing wrong with this — the figures are directionally relevant — but it shouldn’t be seen as representative of the overall market.

Consider the small businesses, for example: They’re known to be at the lower end of the technology adoption scale — not to mention their lack of dedicated digital marketing resources. In our small-business marketing survey (LCM Wave 13), 32 percent of respondents report intention to use social media marketing in the next year but only 9 percent reported they currently use Twitter.

This will be a key topic discussed in a panel about social media and local marketing on Day 1 of next week’s Interactive Local Media conference. In the meantime, here are some other data points from the UMass study, as reported by eMarketer.


What is Search Engine Optimization?

November 25, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:

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

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

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

    “Dear google.com,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Federal Trade Commission

    CRC-240

    Washington, D.C. 20580

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

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

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

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

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


10 Steps to help your Dallas area business survive and thrive during the Economic Recession from Dallas Google Guru…

October 28, 2009

10 Steps to help your Dallas area business survive and thrive during the Economic Recession…

10 Steps to Help Your Dallas Area Business Survive & Thrive During the Economic Recession

Mike Stewart the Dallas Google Guru is here to help!