Dallas SEO Expert Testifies as Expert Witness in Federal Court

April 18, 2012

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dallas SEO Expert at Google Places Search Optimization Consultant Helps Companies Advertise

March 5, 2011

Like everything else in Texas, Dallas is big. With a population of around 2 million, it is pretty big even by Texas standards! Since Dallas is so big, it is one of those places where businesses are wise to seek out help with the optimization of their on-line advertising. Google is still the most popular search engine out there, and it does not look like that is going to change anytime soon.  For anyone who has ‘Googled’ lately, it is apparent that things have changed in the world of on-line marketing. One can no longer just put up a web page and sit back.  No longer is it true that “if you build it they will come”. They will not come if your web page gets stuck down at the bottom of the search results!

Television advertisers have learned in the past few years that they no longer have a captive audience who will patiently sit through commercials while they wait for their favorite show to come back on. Instead of relying solely upon the advertisements during the commercial break that people can now simply skip over, they have had to come up with ways to get their products in front of potential customers using creative new methods that allow marketing to break through the ‘commercial break’ barrier and into the entertainment that customers will voluntarily view.  Staying in front of the fickle target demographic has never been more challenging or required more expertise than it does now.

On-line marketers now face the same kind of challenge. As internet users become more tech savvy and their on-line time is spent on more specific websites such as Facebook, the task of getting an ad to show up on a page that they actually want to view and not skip over becomes increasingly more difficult. There are specific things that can be incorporated into the design and the text of a web page that will help push it closer to the top of a search result or on to the sidebar of a social networking page. One of the most important is of course keywords. Including relevant keywords on the very beginning or the very end of the text is one of the easiest and most obvious ways for a web advertiser to get bumped closer to the top spot. However, for businesses that are located in places with large populations like the Dallas metro area with its 2 million plus, carefully arranged text might not be enough to get that search engine edge.

That is why a completely new industry has emerged around this very issue; search engine optimization services, otherwise known as SEOs are popping up nation-wide.  Search ‘Dallas SEO Expert”  and a Dallas Google places optimization consultant is within reach for businesses that have to compete in this large metro area with a diverse demographic. A search engine optimization service specializes in keeping up with the latest trends and techniques for the most effective on-line marketing so that busy business owners can focus on running a business instead of trying to keep up. They specialize specifically upon how the Google search algorithm works for or against getting an ad to show up among the top ten results of a query.  SEOs can even help an ad get better results than advertisers who pay big bucks to Google to get the ‘premium’ spots!  This is just the kind of marketing edge that can end up making or breaking the success of firms located in heavily populated places like Dallas.

What is wrong with buying internet advertising from Yellow Pages companies?

May 22, 2010

Have you ever wondered why so many small business owners complain about results and advertising from internet yellow pages companies? Here is an article on SMB SEO that discusses the problems with internet yellow page advertising for small business owners.

Here is a plea to corporate America to get out IT of the SEO business on Search Engine Land. Great article if you ask me, but I think Corporate America needs to stop trying to service small businesses. That is like buying advertising from the Government or from a foreign country. Search engine marketing such as SEO, PPC, Web Design, and Video production is not something you can simply outsource. It requires a boutique approach that consists of attention to detail and customization. You can’t put search engine marketing in a box, and search engine marketing is a service.. not a product. Search is a verb, not a noun. It is action repeated over a period of time. Seriously, what where they thinking? Stick to your http://www.YellowCrooks.com online directory site and stay out of the service business. If you want service, I would first begin educating your sales reps on search engine marketing!

What exactly does a local Dallas SEO Firm offer its clients?

April 9, 2010

Someone asked me recently: As a local SEO consultant or local Dallas SEO firm or company, what is it exactly that you offer your search engine marketing clients around Dallas – Fort Worth?

Pretty difficult question to answer. The answer, although somewhat simple, is also heavy in  small details. A simple summary or description does not really describe the level of complex strategizing needed to achieve results.

For years I have been promoting a holistic search engine marketing strategy. One that encompasses all the different aspects of both search engine optimization and local search. This is what the industry calls “Local Search Engine Optimization.” National agencies consider local search marketing Google Maps or online directory listings. Many forget the growing amount of competitive efforts in the local space. Although not as challenging as high query national branded terms, local search is beginning to become much more fragmented, thus also increasing the need for “local search marketing intelligence.”

As a local search engine marketing firm here a few of the areas of practice related to holistic search engine optimization and internet marketing:

  1. Website Design
  2. Market Research Including Competitive Rankings etc.
  3. Your Business Product/Service Research
  4. Keyword Focus and Use of Local Geography Words
  5. On-page Website Content Optimization, Design, Link Structure
  6. Creating New or Claiming Existing Local Business Listings
  7. Directory Submission
  8. Optimizing Local Business Directory Listings
  9. Building Citations and Links to Enhance Listing Rankings
  10. Creating User Generated Content
  11. External Link Building
  12. Encouraging Customer Testimonials and Reviews
  13. Image Search Optimization such as Google Images etc.
  14. Video Search (YouTube) Optimization
  15. Website Landing Page Conversion Optimization
  16. Pay Per Click Campaign Management for Google, Yahoo, & Bing
  17. FREE Google Analytics Setup, Reporting, and Management <—— I offer this FOR FREE!
  18. Reputation/Review Management
  19. Social Media Set-up Such as Twitter, Facebook etc.
  20. Ghost Writing
  21. Social Media Commentary
  22. Content Network Campaign Management
  23. IT Support
  24. Email Marketing
  25. Call Metrics / Call Tracking
  26. Media Buying including Radio, Internet, and Print
  27. Yellow Pages Ad Design and Layout Strategies
  28. Content Writing Strategies
  29. Content Writing
  30. Blogging
  31. Jingles and Voice Mail Greetings
  32. PPC Campaign Builds
  33. Small Business Video Production
  34. Staying Up to Date with Changes in Local Search

Just off the top of my head and a few minutes after 1:30 a.m….. that is all I can give you for now!

If you would like to know more about why Local Search Engine Marketing for Dallas area businesses, which is a service and not so much a focus on “products” (other than Google and Yahoo search engines), just make a call to 214-267-9553 for additional details and the retainer cost for the service.

You can also join me at the next DFWSEM.org Search Engine Marketing meeting on May 19th at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson. The topic will be “Local Search.”

Just got off a long conversation with a potential “new” SEO client…

November 25, 2009

First question is always the same, “What do you charge for SEO on my http://www.InsertHere.com Dallas local website?” The answer is always going to be the same too!

“If I had 10-15 clients paying me $1000.00 per month for SEO, Content, Web Design, PPC, Social Media (gotta love HootSuite for Twitter!) and Link Building, I think that is all I would have to make to sustain my “standard of living.”  That is just about all it would take in order for me to replace the career and “6-figure” income I EARNED as a successful Media Consultant and SEO Strategist at Idearc Media (the antiquated bankrupt publisher of the Verizon Yellow Pages and Superpages.com.)”

Sounds like a plan to me………..  Let’s do the math:

I worked 50-60 hours per week while at Verizon/Idearc Yellow Pages for 9 years and 3 months.

Making my clients a good return on investment in the process (up until the Internet started killing the yellow pages) with my suggestions and implementation of ideas related to online marketing strategies, concepts, innovations, and ad messages. For years I have been promoting my holistic  approach and understanding of Search Engine Marketing (another plug for multi-verticle web marketing folks!)

10 affordable steps to effective local internet advertising

So if you do the math…….  that comes to around $35.00 per hour. Not a bad living, huh? Add in a little bit for the (at one time) great Health Benefits, 401K,  and you have a really great income. Now if you subtract the huge amount of stress due to the companies inability to actually become “America’s Small Business Local Advertising Agency” that they so claim to be, as well as subtracting the profit margins and end with accountability, you have a very rewarding career!

10-15 clients a month for 50-60 hours per week at around $40.00 per hour for work performed on the clients online brand.

That is just about 250-300 hours per year for each client.

Add that up and I just replaced my “corporate job” with one that does more to help local Dallas business owners get good advice on Google and Local Search Marketing.

That is the plan at least. Let me know what YOU think!

I hope all the other thousands of educated “Yellow Pages Media” Consultants can adapt to changing consumer behaviors due to the “INVENTION of the INTERNET”. We all can agree that America doesn’t need more unemployed workers!

Feel free to give me a call folks!


Mike Stewart


P.S. No Contracts…. No Big Collection Agencies….. and Excellent Client Focused Service and you have a win-win for everyone!