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…

20120503-195149.jpgpolluting door steps!


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.)


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


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.


Greatest Call Count Research Statistics on YellowPages Ever…

June 12, 2011

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Imagine if I could use the power of this blog, with all the wonderful targeted keywords that it ranks for, to produce the greatest collection of yellow pages call tracking and call count results ever?

According to Gregg Stewart with TMP Directional Marketing:

Telephone tracking can be accomplished by setting up a dedicated call-tracking line, whereby a unique phone number (local or toll-free) is placed on a Web site or local search advertisement. The ad is suppressed from directory assistance databases, as well as other advertising sources such as Yellow Pages and White Pages. This enables the marketer to cleanly track the exact calls coming from the specific ad campaign.

To gather and then share great stats I would ask for the following data points from over the last decade from small to medium-sized business owners:

Year:
Number of calls per day, week, or month:
Directory:
Monthly Ad Cost:
Estimated Cost Per Lead:

I would then compare the years and see if the cost decreases while print usage gives way to digital local searches.

Can you share some call count information?

–——————————–

Let’s go Mavs!

With the Dallas Mavericks winning the NBA Championship today, I want to do something extra nice…

How about giving away a FREE Call Tracking service for your print or ppc ad via CenturyInteractive.com and CallMeasurement.com? This is valued at over $1200.00 each! I have got 3 to give. Just give me some great call count data on your print yellowpages or ppc ads!

If you want to be anonymous, just let me know that too!


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!


“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

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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.”


Tired of Managing Complex IT Solutions? Costs Always Going Up? Want Marketing Collaboration and Social Media?

February 14, 2011

Are you a CIO, IT Professional, or Marketing Manager for a corporation or small business?

Having trouble with IT solutions, bandwidth, or social collaboration?

I am working with a new cloud based application service delivery platform that is perfect for any organization. It is a professional virtual desktop that works with all devices, on any platform, and any enterprise or application.

This new solution will allow you to:

  • Cut Costs and Reduce Downtime
  • Increase Employee Productivity
  • Handle Web and Information Security & Backup Peace of Mind
  • Single point of contact for all your IT needs

and includes:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Web2.0 Applications
  • Administrative Console
  • 3G-10G Storate
  • Web Conferencing
  • SEO Management Dashboard
  • Business Continuance
  • Collaboration Tools

with

  • Access from Anywhere and Any Broadband Enabled Device!!!!!!

 

Email me to share the real scoop!

mike (at) smbseo (dot) com

 

Cheers!


Brian Clark, creator of the #1 Marketing Blog, Copyblogger.com is Presenting At DFW Search Marketing Association on Feb 16th

February 10, 2011

Brian Clark of Copyblogger Presenting At DFW Search Marketing Association on February 16 at 6:30PM at the Renaissance Hotel In Richardson. According to AdAge Magazine CopyBlogger.com ranks as the #1 marketing related blog.

If you would like a FREE pass to the upcoming meeting, valued at over $35.oo, just send an email request to { mike (at) smbseo (dot) com }. I really look forward to seeing you.

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a Press Release from:

Press Release Submission Service by SMBSEO.com


Google Analytics Results for SMB Websites – Jan to Feb 2011

February 4, 2011

Check out the latest Google Analytics traffic information from just a few of my clients:

Comparing back to November for 2011 looks even better! 🙂


Dallas SEO Consultant Explains SEO Targeting and Scheduling

January 16, 2011

Targeting. All marketers say they do it… few really do.

Targeting saves money. Targeting puts your ad message in front of the right eyeballs. I have said before that if you focus on marketing you don’t have to advertise as much. If your business focused on differentiating your brand from your competitors better, you wouldn’t need to use as many methods of advertising to promote your marketing messages.

Targeting is about putting your business in front of those consumers ready to buy your product of service.

Targeting has been the key advantage of directional marketing efforts over creative ones. Directional marketing, a term that was first coined by TMP in 2001, is when buyers are looking for sellers vs the other way around, like creative marketing.

According to Wiki:

Directional Marketing is a type of marketing, a measurable form of direct response advertising, whose primary role is to point a potential consumer toward the completion of the sales process or service selection. Unlike traditional direct marketing which typically communicates to unsolicited consumers, directional marketing is primarily consumer initiated where consumers seek out advertising to aid in their purchase decision, e.g., to identify potential vendors with which to do business. Examples of known forms of Directional Marketing media are the Yellow Pages, Internet, or Electronic Yellow Pages and Local search (Internet).[1]

For most small businesses, every dollar is precious. Small businesses do not advertise for the sake of advertising, they can’t afford it.  Small businesses, to the most extent,  do not have the financial resources necessary to invest in brand recognition. Branding requires repetition of the brand message.  Which takes a lot of money to become the most effective. There are many forms of creative branding media, such as the radio, television, magazines, and direct mail.

The most effective form of advertising for small businesses has been and always will be the one that has the highest usage and frequency. Selecting the right media to advertise has commonly been an easy choice for SMBs, since this used to be the yellow pages. It is now Local Search.

Local search is Easy.

Oops. I said it.

Local search is not as fragmented as the industry wants you to believe. Everyone in the space is fighting for a piece of the pie. Internet yellow pages sites (like SuperPages.com, YP.com, Local.com etc) are fighting for traffic just like the local vertical directory sites (AttorneysListed.com, Lawyers.com, Elocalplumbers.com, Restaurant.com etc) and they all want a piece of the location-based social networks (FourSquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places etc.) With all these different options to advertise, why did I say that local search is easy? It all begins with Google (and 25% Bing.) All of these sites must get traffic from Google in order to provide value to advertisers. Traffic from Google brings eyeballs which turns into leads and phone calls. If you can master Google, you master local search.

Since Google is where consumers begin researching for local product and service providers, it only makes sense that the first thing a business do is optimize for Google Places. This does not mean paying some odd $150.00 per month fee to some company to “manage listings.” Google Places Optimization is a holistic effort that requires scheduling multiple activities, such as local listing optimization and blog content strategy.  It also requires positive reputation management and a well planned ratings and review aggregation process that incorporates leveraging your positive reputation online. All this sounds like some sort of mumbo jumbo, and likely the reason why so many are experiencing SEO scams.

Local SEO in a nutshell:

  • Schedule listing optimization to create Google Places citations
  • Schedule on-site content for your website pages and posts
  • Schedule off-site content for mass articles, niche directories, press releases, and industry vertical sites.

In “The Death and Rebirth of Editorial Citation on the Web,” Rand Fishkin suggests that as much as 20% of the links on the web exist solely for the purpose of influencing search rankings. Keep in mind that Holistic SEO tells us to consider the value of content, not just spammy article links with synonym swapping techniques that the search engine algorithm has accounted for.

  • Collect ratings and reviews from your clients and create a process to promote them in local search

Don’t be fooled by anyone telling you your local rank is dictated by a specific signal, especially if that signal is the number of reviews your business has. You do not need to go wild with reviews to rank. Reviews are game-able, and thus not a good long-term local search signal.

  • Become involved in your online community. Become an advocate and curator of online discussion…. this builds links too!
  • Learn how to use Advanced Search Operators to improve research on Google
  • Create an account with StepRep for Reputation Management and awareness for just $19 per month
  • Leverage the social signals and PageRank of sites like Facebook and Twitter, but don’t expect to receive the traffic needed to monetize the effort unless these pages rank on Google.  Social sites are great for influencing Google rankings, but they are more about marketing and reputation than new customer opportunities.

Social sites are great tools of creating a positive brand and increasing your authority online. I often recommend including social sites in your link building efforts. Social Media Optimization strategies can be scheduled and automated, such as social media bookmarking and social media posting. The main thing to keep in mind when looking to incorporate social media in your online marketing strategy is to focus on interacting with discussion amongst your online community.

Take a look at the strategies that Metro Tickets in Dallas has implemented. With my help, Metro Tickets offers FREE TICKETS to events around Dallas – Fort Worth with new FREE TICKET TUESDAY promotion. This once a week promotion on Facebook offers the chance for the companies FACEBOOK FANS to win tickets for answering simple trivia questions.

  • Don’t fall for the product pushers. Holistic search marketing methods require us to consider all opportunities, but this also means that you need to be careful where you invest your ad dollars. You will get calls everyday from some local website or person offering to list your business. One would think that the first thing you would do is conduct a search on Google for what it is that you do and where you do it. The results on Google should help you decide which product-centric pushers you should do business with and which ones are not on the radar. Keep in mind that most local web traffic starts with Google (and 25% Bing/Yahoo.)
  • Last but not least: Don’t participate in the SEO vs PPC debate. You need both! Holistic search marketing helps you rank all over Google, not just at the top. Everyone says they can get you to the top, but the clicks and conversions depend upon the message title and description in the SERP (search engine results page.)

I often recommend a 50/50 budget distribution between everything SEO (content, web design, video, listings, and images) and everything PPC (paid search, content network, promoted video, local tags.)

For further advice on local search marketing, visit my website.

 

Here are a few tips from Google on finding a local search engine optimization professional for your business:

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.

 


ReachLocal.com is launching new product called ReachCast for SEO and Social Media.

September 7, 2010

image

ReachLocal.com, one of the nation’s largest paid search marketing resellers, is rumored to be launching a new offering to compliment its platform based paid search ( pay-per-click ) advertising offering called ReachCast.

Prices for ReachCast will begin at $400.00 per month. I am anxious to see more details of the offering.

I believe it will consist of:

-OnPage SEO
-Content Writing
-Social Media Management Tools

Not sure how “holistic” in nature the offering will be. Hopefully ReachLocal will release details soon.

I have more faith in ReachLocal than the offering by yellowpages, as I don’t feel ReachLocal has the same sales focused, churn and burn, anti-management/pro-sales approach, like SuperMedia’s SuperPages.com SMLocal offering.

Reporting is better by ReachLocal, so is rep retention and access to midlevel campaign optimization and rep training on SEM.

What I am concerned about is whether or not ReachLocal realizes that search engine marketing is not a product, it is a service. You can’t put this kind of holistic search engine marketing and social media interaction in a box. I have to admit that ReachLocal does invest heavily in building the best possible box and toolset in the search engine marketing space.  Regardless of whether to tool set is sharp and precise, you still need a coach to work with local small and medium-sized businesses to help them grow the skills to take offline social interactions and promote them in the proper channels online.

I wish ReachLocal much success wtih the Reach Cast  (  or ReachCast ) offering. I can’t wait for a tour of the product.

I reach local every single day, I reach local businesses to share my ideas, offerings, and suggestions to impact the bottom line while measuring it with 100% transparency, whether it be paid, organic, local, social, or otherwise.

That’s my .02

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Guest Post: SEM Scams from Big Media Yellow Page Companies Like SuperMedia

July 7, 2010

Super Media Search Engine Marketing programs are a scam because they over promise and under deliver, and the company is motivated by making money, not making YOU money.

Could this be one of the reasons the stock is at an all-time low Today?

Super Media receives the honor of being the first company on my SEM Scam list. Next on the hit list is Reach Local. They have many of the same problems as Super Media.

We have all heard “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.” Why then do we not listen to our guts when some smooth talking salesman from Super Media, or Yellow Pages, or Dex talks us into an appointment, and then delivers a perfect speech, with just the right amount of pressure to get us to sign a long term (12 month) contract for an internet marketing program?

I will preface this list by telling all of you that I am a former employee of Idearc Media, now Super Media. That is how I know some of the things I know. Before anyone decides that I am disgruntled, let me say that I am only upset, because Idearc Media made a liar out of me. I wanted to believe in this company, and from day one in training, I saw signs posted all around the training room that spoke of Integrity, and always doing the right thing. The trainers even spoke of NEVER selling a client anything they don’t need, and even implied that you could be terminated for such behavior. Then I got out of training, and stepped into the real world. That is when things went sour. Not because of a boss, or fellow employee, but because when I smell B.S. I ask questions, and that is not perceived very well in the corporate world.

Long story short – I was excited about the “new” SEM packages that Idearc was offering, and I bought in 100%. I hit the streets running, and sold a good amount of these programs, in addition to selling their other products, Yellowpages, and Direct Mail. I was a top 5 sales rep (top 3 for a while and tops on my team for a few months) and made over $75,000 my 1st year. Then the reports for my clients SEM program started rolling in, and let’s just say that the news was not good. There was red flag, after red flag.

Now you reap the rewards of what I learned about Super Media Programs, as well as their competitors. Listed below are the reasons I can think of why you should run from this SEM program, FAST, and don’t look back. These are just he one’s I can think of – there are more.

Read the rest of this entry »


Corporate Ethics and High Pressure Sales Environments

April 11, 2010

“an ethical company will in the short run and in the long term be a better institution. . . . Ethical behavior is simply good business.”

You can create a Company Code of Conduct and have all your employees sign it. Does not mean that your company is ethical. You can also create a Code of Ethics, this also does not mean your company is an ethical one.

Ethics begin at a corporations mid-level management team. If your management team has been corrupted and pressured to pressure the “system”, this is when ethics challenges will begin to impact the future of your organization.

Some industries don’t have honest ethical leadership at the top of the organization. Remember the mortgage fraud from Countrywide Mortgage and the CEO? What about Enron? Or Toyota for hiding information related to faulty gas pedals? Greedy CEOs and Executives may make it hard for managers to follow “a good conscience”.  The future of any organization and industry is not in the appearance of an ethical corporate culture, but in the philosophy and acceptance of a ethical corporate culture. Ethics catch up with you (unless you bailout before they have been discovered, as is the case with SuperMedia’s corporate fraud to investors and executive compensation fraud.)

Having been an employee of an organization that was ethical, GTE/Verizon Directories, and then seeing the company move the opposite direction from ethics as IdearcMedia/SuperMedia, I can tell you that it is a relief to no longer be associated with a business that has a horrible reputation.

Idearc/SuperMedia has by far the worst reputation on JobVent, RipOffReport.com,  ComplaintsBoard.com, BBB.org (see below), and countless other websites. Customer service is a cost center. Product fulfillment is outsourced for margins. Talented and ethical consultants are being fired for activities and not forcing clients into products that are overpriced and fail to meet expectations. The actions from the leadership team demonstrate the worst in corporate ethics. An unethical leadership team rewards itself with bonuses, raises, and short and longterm stock rewards not based on results, earnings, or growth, but based on the opportunity for a buyout or change in control for what is a dying business model.

So with all the new pressure from Scott Klein as CEO from SuperMedia and coercion to sell clients on misguided and unachievable results from a dying product that has prices higher than ever and competition like never before do to SuperMedia in just a few short years?

Well, SuperMedia’s BBB.org rating was revoked for the company nationwide due to the sales fraud and lack of results in October of 2009!

hey…. that was the month that I left the company!

SuperMedia Review at BBB.org YellowCrooks.com

Regarding cancelling advertising contracts SuperMedia’s Terms and Conditions states the following:

“SECTION 28 REVISIONS AND CANCELLATIONS – If I wish to revise or cancel my advertising in the issue(s) specified on the cover section of this Application, I must do so by giving written notice to Publisher at Idearc Media Corp., P.O. Box 610609, D/FW Airport, TX 75261 or by fax to (972) 453-6764 no later than 14 days from the Date of the Application or by the applicable close date, whichever is earlier. For subsequent issues,I must give written notice of revisions or cancellation to Publisher at the address or fax number set forth in this Section 28 by the close date for such issues, which date may be obtained by calling Publisher’s Customer Service Office at (800) 555-4833.

“SECTION 29 AUTOMATIC RENEWAL – If Publisher does not receive written notice of cancellation in accordance with Section 28 and Publisher elects to publish my advertising in subsequent issues of the Directory,I agree to pay Publisher as provided in Section 25 and that the then current version of the terms and conditions will apply to such advertising. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Publisher will have no obligation to automatically renew my advertising or to notify me that my advertising will not be renewed. Limited inventory advertising will not be automatically renewed and requires a new Application and applicable addendum.”

If you choose to cancel your contract, the procedures above must be followed.

It might be a good idea to include this in the SuperMedia Perfect Sales Pitch?

Instead of going back to the drawing board to recreate a business model that leverages the best local small business advertising sales team and discovering a means of evolving the organization into a lower margin service business model, they chose to permit a culture of sleezy sales.

I remember listening to a discussion by my executive team at Idearc regarding the collapse of Polaroid.  They discussed the fact that consumers no longer wanted instant Polaroid pictures and rather preferred the quality of digital pictures that required a trip to a photo shop.  Even today instant cameras are losing market share to cell phones with cameras.  Technology evolves, so do industries. Your cheese gets moved, you evolve and go find new cheese or move with it. All the while you maintain ethics and retain ethical employees and loyal customers. Do you practice what you preach? Sounds more like Washington and less like Main Street if you ask me. Cheating on your wife while asking to be re-elected. Paying for high dollar hookers on the company petty cash account? Bankers being rewarded for fraud and bankrupting companies and investors.

The company I spend over 9 years at chose not to evolve. In 2000, I joined Verizon Yellow Pages 2 months out of high school at the Texas Call Center (TCC) in Irving Texas. I won a my first Prestige Award and was on my way to earning a second (would have been the first to achieve such a feat) when I was promoted to local sales at 4500 Fuller Drive in Irving Tx. I began my career with Janet Bro and Scott Laver. I was the guy who could not be promoted to an outside sales position because I was too young to be insured to drive a company car. I won 3 President’s Awards as an ethical sales consultant for Verizon/Idearc over the course of my 9 year career. I was the only person to accomplish this in Texas Sales. In 2006 Kathy Harless changed the tune of the company. Employees feared change. I embraced change. The next big change was Scott Klein. After just a few months at the helm of the company, it was quickly discovered by employees that the company had taken many steps back and none forward.

The failure of SuperMedia begins with new crony corporate leadership and horrible ethics combined with a high pressure sales environment among a rapidly declining industry.

Supervisors

What this discussion of rewards and objectives ultimately points to is the critical role that supervisors play in determining the ethical character of a company. In a survey of more than 300 managers by the National Institute of Business Management, the behavior of an employee’s superiors was ranked as the second most important factor in influencing decision making. This was surpassed only by a personal code, and outstripped the behavior of one’s peers, formal company policy and the ethical climate in the industry.

As a result, another major challenge in institutionalizing ethics in a business is to be particularly sensitive to the danger of supervisors exerting the wrong kind of pressure. TI’s Skooglund observes that “If you’re going to have the kind of pressure that’ll make decent people go wrong, you’ll find it in the employee-supervisor relationship.” Relating this issue directly to other major challenges just mentioned, Skooglund notes that “there are two ways that the employee-supervisor relationship can really go wrong: 1) if you set goals that realistically cannot be met, and 2) if you have an environment where the employee is made to feel that failure is totally unacceptable.” When the cost of failure is too high, people feel enormous pressure to compromise both their own values and the company’s stated standards. And for all practical purposes, it’s an employee’s supervisor who determines the cost of failure.

Corporate objectives

The matter of rewards, however, brings us full circle and back to the issue of “cheating for the company” which opened this article. After all, what employees are rewarded for is one of the main factors that determines how strong the temptation will be for them to bend or break the rules–or even the law. The more that employees are rewarded simply for meeting quarterly objectives, the stronger that temptation will be. “Employees learn very quickly what they really get stroked for,” points out TI’s Skooglund, “and if the rewards come solely from shipping product or making financial forecasts, then that’s the drumbeat they’re going to march to. And that’s a tough problem for any company’s ethics.”

However, the greatest ethical danger occurs when raises, bonuses and promotions depend on unrealistic objectives. As Gary Edwards of the Ethics Resource Center explains, “When objectives are set improperly–too aggressively or without respect for a particular unit’s inability to meet a goal that may be reasonable for the corporation overall–all kinds of unethical conduct can be generated.” Another major challenge in incorporating ethical values into an organization, then, is to set objectives which stretch employees to the full extent of their capacities but do not push them to the point where they’ll be tempted to meet them by wrongdoing.

* Source:http://www.ethicsandbusiness.org/corpeth.htm

I have said before that to next logical step for SuperMedia was for sales to become local search engine marketing consultants. Scott Klein could not have done a better job of accomplishing the opposite. Corporate decisions that are based on the SPMD Stock Price and not a focus on training, fulfillment, and return on investments to clients. Instead of the stock being a good purchase longterm, the company changes name, declares bankruptcy, lies about fraud, and uses sales fraud and collections as a means of pumping up the value only for executives to jump off a sinking ship. Sounds like a great business plan if you are Bernie Madoff.

Meanwhile, if you are a media rep and looking for the next logical step to feeding your family, earning a living that you can be proud of, and working with the best small business owners in Dallas Fort Worth give me a call. I am working with a few investors on a creating a business model that rewards consultants for learning, then providing holistic search engine marketing services to small businesses. You won’t be able to take the time to make 80 appointments in a day. You don’t have to log fake activities to keep your job. It begins with working for yourself and not corporate America. It begins with transparency for the client. It begins with ethics.

Just to give you a hint:

Aside from Local SEO services that require years of study, there is a component to local search engine marketing that does not take brains. It is an effort. Something very basic, but is typically returned in value to the client in less than a few weeks.

This is a global search:
Branded Term or National Search vs Local Search

This is a local search:

Local Search vs National Search Optimization Dallas

When people search Google for local information, you can help small businesses across America show up in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) . I am offering you the opportunity to open up an office in your area providing these services. You will have a fulfillment department, access to a talented web development team, and get the best local SEO advice from the Dallas SEO Guru.

Webformance is working hard to provide the best value in Internet marketing for local Dallas area businesses. Who does the same in your area? Will you?

Imagine charging a client $300.00 one time and it impacting his or her business for years! Imagine being paid a 30-50% commission on these “sales” but never having to worry about the value for the client? Imagine a clean conscience.


SuperPages.com ad distribution blogs, I wonder who is responsible?

April 10, 2010


Take a look at the links and blog posts below, who do you think is responsible for distributing this content?

A & S Whitestone Nursery, Whitestone, NY : bird baths
A & S Whitestone Nursery, www.superpages.com Whitestone, NY, supermedia, African Violets, Animal Traps, Aquatic Plants, Baskets & Planters, Bedding Plants, Bird Baths, Bird Food & Supplies, Blooming Plants, Bonsai, Bonsai Trees, Books, 
bird baths – http://bird-bath.net/
Kleen Kars Inc, Springfield, MA | Cars and Trucks Blog
By admin
Kleen Kars Inc www.superpages.com Springfield, MA Supermedia, Auto Financing & Loans, Truck Dealers, Auto Dealers, Used Cars,
Cars and Trucks Blog – http://carsandtrucksblog.com/
mcgowan’s Construction , Memphis, TN | Clothes Hangers
By admin
mcgowan’s Construction www.superpages.com Memphis, TN Supermedia * Additions , Architectural Services , Attics , Basements ,
Clothes Hangers – http://hangerscenter.com/
Lara Van Derschelden DDS Bothell, WA | Endodontics
By nunum
Van Derschelden Lara – Gentle Touch Dental Grp www.superpages.com Super Media, bond Treatments Braces Bridge Work Bridges cancer screening check-up Caps Clear.
Endodontics – http://endodontics.myblogtrade.com/
Zarria’s Cleaning Service, Atlanta, GA | carpet cleaning atlanta
By ronaldkonruff
Zarria’s Cleaning Service, www.superpages.com Atlanta, GA, supermedia, Accident Cleanup, Apartment Cleaning, Apartments & Condominiums, Area Rug Cleaning, Attics, Baseboards, Basements, Bathrooms, Bathrooms & Kitchens, Bedrooms, Blinds, 
carpet cleaning atlanta – http://cleaningatlantacarpet.blogspot.com/
Capital Insurance Agency Trenton, NJ « Motor Insurance
Capital Insurance Agency www.superpages.com Supermedia, Personal & Commercial Automobile Insurance, Accident Insurance Annuities Auto Insurance Claims Processing Collision Insurance Combination Policies Commercial Vehicle Insurance 
Motor Insurance – http://motorinsurance.tk/

I wonder whether the folks at “SkunkWorks” (or whatever they call the creative department at the poor company these days) know what is going on here? The massive amount of keyword rich domains taking advantage of this SuperPages.com created content is insane. Just setup a Google Alert for “SuperMedia” and you can see for yourself.

I know that they are getting a good amount of links from this activity, so maybe it is a trade-off they have no control over…. Kinda reminds me of Google using Yellow Pages for citations, but telling Yellow Pages to buy AdWords for traffic. Pretty funny post from a Local SEO about it.

I guess a link is a good link. Unless it has a malicious “links” intent. (BlackHat SEO Discussion in Dallas October 15th)

Dallas Search Engine Marketing

Although, I have always been known to say, “BlackHat, WhiteHat, Grey Head SEO.” Don’t believe all the ramblings about black and white folks. If you practice a holistic approach you consider all the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Black Hat simply refers to not being a strict follower of “Google’s Guidelines, Terms, and Conditions” related to websites, content, etc.

Now, back to the blog posts with SuperPages.com content:

I am sure this was not outsourced to India as well? Considering they still think SEO is all about PageRank like it is some sort of SEO measurement worth discussing. They are not much worse than Yellow Pages organizations who fail to offer it because it takes time and isn’t something you can send to India or have 1 person “attempt” to manage 100+ accounts. When do they have time for ad testing,  content writing, link building, conversion and strategy? How many clients spend more than 500 per month and just getting over priced PPC management using outdated S.A.A.S like BidCenter, a tool originally built by this company they purchased named Inceptor years ago, …. which btw was not custom built for the level of true software as a service scale-ability needed to properly manage campaigns. Google’s MyClientCenter along with Editor are the best tools for massive scale-ability of paid search campaigns.  Longtail keyword build-outs are not something AdWords Resellers know how to “service,” just like actually doing customized bidding for broad, phrase, and exact match bids. Hey, atleast for clients that want to pay even more they still have the Inceptor.com website up!

Time to insert a random plug:

If you want expert Google AdWords PPC training, I recommend you attend the Google AdWords Seminars for Success2-Day AdWords PPC Training Course in Dallas

When: October 26th & 27th, 2010
Time: 9am – 5pm (registration starts at 8:30)

Where:
Embassy Suites Dallas – Market Center
2727 Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, Texas, 75207

*for future Dallas Search Marketing Training and Networking events near Dallas, just visit www.DFWSEM.org regularly.

OK, now sorry for that brief ADD/ADHD induced promotional plug…. where was I?

Oh yeah… I forgot.

We should not be forced to accept crappy PPC advertising service for a outragious price!

Here are the options on how to price pay per click ppc advertising management services from most providers.

 

FYI, this was originally a blog post that I never posted but decided today to modify and include a plug for Brad… why? When you attend training courses by experts like him, you really learn things that corporate trainers and wet behind the ears college grads making $12.00 per hour just don’t get!  Big PPC resellers tend to start shrinking the number of people, outsourcing to India, or forcing hundreds of accounts per “expert” to manage. How do you build an account properly dedicating it to someone? Corporate Crooks and big CEO pay doesn’t improve the situation. END RANT.

I myself, and folks in my organization, have attended Brad Geddes Google AdWords Seminars for Success and strongly recommend it for any of you folks working at SuperMedia expecting to continue a career in Search Engine Marketing.

Give me a call for details on a discount or promo code for the training!

v7ndotcom elursrebmem Just a few more days fellas. Glad I could lend a hand just too bad I was late to the party. Someone needs to build a directory of “internet challenge archives or something!?

I really am a nice guy…

aren’t I?


My Rant……..The Next Bubble.

February 16, 2010

After reading a new article regarding the internet SEM investments and recent venture capital funding to WebVisible (another $20M), Reach Local (original $55M back in Oct 2007), and Yodle (recently funded with another $38M) I wanted to comment about The Next Bubble. Let’s discuss the what where and why investors are hot for SEM, Search, and what I see is still  groundbreaking opportunity in local search marketing consulting, as Greg Sterling’s blog pointed out here in his blog titled Screenwerk.

The thing about this topic is that it is both political, thoughtful, and very personal to me.

If you look at the success of Google (information from Wiki:) over the “somewhat” recent years-

Google Inc. (NASDAQGOOG, FWB: GGQ1) is a multinational public cloud computing and Internet search technologies corporation that hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, generating profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while the two were attending Stanford University as Ph.D. candidates. It was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998, with its initial public offering to follow on August 19, 2004. Its headquarters, located in Mountain View, California, is often referred to as the Googleplex, which is derived from the number googolplex. The company’s stated mission from the outset was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, and the company’s unofficial slogan, coined by Google engineer Paul Buchheit, was Don’t be evil. It runs over one million servers in data centers around the world, processing over one billion search requests every day and about one petabyte of user-generated data each hour. Even the company’s name, Google, was a play on the large number googol to represent the large amount of information the company set out to organize.

From this house:

Google Started Here

to multi-million dollar complex in Mountain View California:

https://i2.wp.com/www.propertyinvesting.net/cgi-script/csNews/image_upload/default_2edb.googleplex.jpg

GooglePlex

Google is set to become the largest company in America.

Google Stock History

Google stock compared to GE and Exxon

Read the rest of this entry »


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: