Why Paying a Monthly Retainer for Local SEO and PPC Makes Good Business Sense

November 16, 2011

In the old days you bought a display ad in the yellow pages to get calls from customers ready to buy.

These days you purchase a yellow pages ad so your established brand doesn’t lose potential phone calls to unknown and lesser quality brands who can afford the financing that the yellow pages offer. The bottom end churn for print YP is constant. Google doesn’t offer financing on pay-per-clicks and writers don’t finance content writing.

In 2002, 80% used the yellow pages to perform a local search. Today that number is less than 15% and phone book fragmentation (a way of looking at print competition) is at an all-time high.

Marketing dollar resource allocation has flipped over the years. The days of me giving Internet marketing advice to sell ads in phone books has been over for sometime.


Businesses are struggling to dominate search the same way they dominated local search in the 90’s with big full-page and eventually double truck 2-page ads. The same style duopoly exists were you have a telco or main provider and second incumbent choice (AT&T + GTE/Verizon = Google + Bing/Yahoo Search Alliance.)

In the earlier days of search the businesses with names and domains that contained the product or service being offered including the city they served, such as “Dallas Auto Transmission LLC” naturally had an upper hand. It was easy to make a title tag match your business name. Optimization of a website required the efforts of a website coder and FTP access to the sites backend. SEO was all about meta-tags and links that were hard to come-by.

Today you will see:

  • 60,000 new websites will be added to the web
  • 2 million new videos added to YouTube
  • 1.6 million blog posts will be created (out of 150 million blogs)
  • 1.5 billion pieces of content will be added to Facebook
  • 200 million tweets will be tweeted on Twitter

Paid search ads with Google use to only costs pennies per click. Volume was low. Again things have changed. Paid search offers so much more than the past.

Things have gotten a bit more complex:
– mobile extensions
– local extensions
– site links
– retargeting
– promoted videos
– product feeds
– demographic targeting
– new channels of distribution
– new match types like modified broad match

It is easy to mistakenly dump hundreds of suggested keywords in a campaign and see quality scores never rise above a 4. Google makes it easy to spend your money or daily budget and target keyword searches via broad match types with non relevant ads. Buyer beware: You need an agency or consultant!

Great SEO starts with keyword research. Those keywords need to be put in a report and measures with rankings on search engines. You then need to create content, pages for the various keywords, both on your site and pointing to your site with anchor text. Social signals are also important. LoMoSo or local mobile social is the new Internet. NAP, or name address and number, mentions of your business are the key to local. This begins with data-center directory submission (the only real form of directory submission) which is not something you get from Outsourced India SEO providers.

Next, you must begin eating the elephant so-to-speak. Start with the low hanging fruit or keywords that have less competition and in many cases less volume. Quick rankings measured via Google Analytics as clicks. The short-tail competitive keywords take more offsite backlinks, more onsite content strategy, great NAP data, and the help of an experienced Internet marketer to reach success.

To build a successful Internet marketing campaign you need to have your SEO content strategy and PPC campaigns work together. PPC tells us what keywords drive impressions. Content marketing helps you rank for correlating keywords that you can add to your PPC Campaign and both help you test landing pages to perfection.

A SEO & PPC Monthly Retainer will allow you to gradually scale your efforts, rank for more keywords, and create great authoritative onsite content for your visitors. Mix in high volume with low competition keywords and you will monetize your efforts from the start.

Smb SEO’s retainer includes conversion optimization consulting, domain registration, quality hosting (not that slow GoDaddy hosting) and all the transparent reporting you need to make sure that you are not on a road that leads to nowhere. It also does not require a contract and the service is based on real-time and materials vs paying for the concept of SEO. You can only optimize a single page a couple of times before you must add new ones.

If this doesn’t sound like the services your “SEO company” provides, don’t walk…. RUN AWAY.

Call me at 214-267-9553 for a free ranking report and let’s see what is keeping you from making good business sense of your internet marketing.

Also, FYI, Tonight Google and Bing Representatives will Speak on “State of Search” at Dallas / Ft Worth Search Marketing Group…

Register at DFWSEM.org


Why you should rank for longtail keyword terms – Case Study

August 21, 2011

I recently blogged about information regarding the death of an executive at the company I once worked for. My blog typically shows up in searches (SERPS) for keywords related to the company I once worked for, including the company name.

My web analytics show me how many searches from Google and with what keywords related to this tragedy ultimately resulted in clicks to my site. I thought that if I shared a post on the site I could help folks find the information they where looking for. This would also be an opportunity to understand how people search for information.

In my opinion this is often not the best of situations  to conduct research, but I guess internet marketers can sometimes learn a few SEO tips from these weird, unusual, or even tragic situations. Case in point, Michael Jackson searches and the QDF algorithm.

Query Deserves Freshness

 What do BP and Michael Jackson have in common? Michael Jackson’s death was one of the big events which brought the “Query Deserves Freshness” concept to the forefront.  If a news event is big enough you will see the search engine Google struggle to figure out what results to display for the widely searched fresh topic.

Great keyword research can quickly be learned from search phrases that are seeing rapid growth in query volume related to fresh topics.

Unfortunately for us the comment section of my blog was attacked by a disgruntled former employee of SuperMedia, someone named “Bob” who felt the need to use my site as a platform, grandstand, or podium soapbox to share his utter disgust towards the company this executive (and I once) worked for. I decided to hide the comments from Bob out of respect.

So first I would like to say that if you would like to pay your respects to John Hillrich, please visit the John Hillrich Memorial Guestbook here.

A recent comment on the post summarizes my thoughts on what happened, and subsequently what took place on my blog, and how the vast majority of us all feel about it.

To all who have expressed such kind words for our dear John Hillrich, please take the time to visit http://www.JohnHillrich.com where you’ll find his online obituary and guestbook which is the appropriate resource to express our condolences.

This current forum is stained with comments that should’ve never been allowed to publish, nor been  they hgiven attentionave. John’s friends / family should not have to read such filth, so let’s move these well wishes to http://www.JohnHillrich.com where his family can read them in peace.

Love you John Hillrich. My heart aches for your family, parents, and children. God’s peace be with you all.

I want to apologize for the rude comments. I have since removed them out of my respect for John’s friends and family.  My deepest condolences.

With that being said, I would like to share what people searched Google for to find my original blog post.

You will see some of the keywords have been removed below. This is not a complete list. I want you to pay attention to the “value” of the long-tail and how “unique” most people search. It is obvious that most people search a few widely used keywords and then the real “SEO value” is in the long-tail terms.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dallas PPC Advertising Expert Will Speak at the DFWSEM Association on June 15th

June 15, 2011


Dallas PPC Advertising Expert Will Speak at the DFWSEM Association on June 15th.

Come join our sponsor smbSEO and yours truly at tonight’s meeting. If you need a pass to tonight’s event you can email me for one.

Dallas, TX (PRWEB) June 15, 2011

Pay Per Click –Some Super PPC Advertising Tips and Secrets

With all the buzz about social media dominating the discussion over the past year or so, a person might think PPC was a lost art, but nothing could be farther from the truth. PPC remains a viable form of search engine marketing, and for many businesses it’s still the cornerstone of their online marketing strategy.

Join DFWSEM on June 15th as Jim Gilbert presents “Pay Per Click –Some Super PPC Advertising Tips!”

About Jim Gilbert:

Jim is vice president of KeyRelevance and one of the co-founders of the DFWSEM. He has been involved in both organic and paid search engine marketing since the early ‘90s and spent his early years working with a number of iconic organizations, including Sabre and EDS. As a highly sought after speaker, and author of numerous articles and published studies on the industry, Jim is uniquely qualified to share insights learned through years of critical analysis and real-world experience creating and managing PPC campaigns for some of the largest and most high-profile names in business.

The Presentation:
As the title implies, this presentation will focus on what the search engines don’t tell people about PPC, and will include:
■Some Super PPC Tips (for Google & MSN/Yahoo)
■Knowing what your company plans to do with PPC and the experience required to do it
■Measuring success and conversions
■Understanding and using the various keyword match types
■Understanding and using the various “negative” keyword match types
■Understanding and managing Quality Scores
■Managing Ad creative Rotations
■Understanding and utilizing “filters”
■Understanding and using Google Ad Extensions
■Brief introduction to Google’s “Product Listing Ads”

Top 10 Worst PPC Practices –

Jim will also give his list of the top 10 worst PPC practices to avoid.
PPC Account Reviews -Have Your Actual PPC Account Critiqued by an Expert Have specific concerns about an actual PPC campaign, or just want to show off PPC chops before the group? For the last 30 minutes of the meeting, Jim will be conducting live reviews of our members’ PPC accounts. If you would like to be considered for this PPC account review, please send an email to info (at) dfwsem.org with the URL of the site that you are using in your current PPC efforts (we will NOT need your account login information).
As is the case when DFWSEM does site reviews, the PPC account reviews will not be a collective “beat down” of the examples, but a way to find out what the audience is doing right and what someone might want to consider doing differently in order to deliver the best results for clients. Whether a PPC newbie or AdWords certified, folks will leave this meeting with a greater understanding of how to successfully create and manage highly effective PPC campaigns.

This month’s meeting is sponsored by smbSEO, a holistic Dallas area based local internet marketing agency dedicated to helping small businesses advertise on Google.

Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel
900 E. Lookout Drive Richardson, TX 75082
(972) 367-2000

When: June 15, 2011 –Mixer 6:30 –7:00 p.m., Meeting 7-8:30 p.m., Social 8:30-?

Join DFWSEM or Renew
Membership Membership Types:

Individual -$150 per Year
There is no Charge for Individual members to attend monthly meetings.

Corporate Memberships -$300 per Year

Three people from the company can attend each meeting.

Additional seats can be purchased for $50 per year.

There is no charge to attend monthly meetings.

Nonmembers -Nonmembers can attend monthly meetings for $35.

About the DFW Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM):

The Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Organization (DFWSEM) is dedicated to education and promotion of the Dallas/Fort Worth search engine marketing industry, conversing various topics related to search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click search (PPC), as well as other emerging media. The group meets monthly at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson, Texas, and is open to anyone interested in search engine marketing, including in-house marketers, independent consultants, and agencies.

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.

Power 150Blogs

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Dallas Internet Marketing Experts Have a Proven Plan for Business Success Through Search Engine Marketing

January 26, 2011

Press Release:

Dallas Internet Marketing Experts Have a Proven Plan for Business Success Through Search Engine Marketing.

Blogs and Blogging: Social Media Today and SEO for Local Search Tomorrow.

November 30, 2010

Google is better than you

Just a prediction folks. It is common sense really.

Content takes all different kinds of forms: Social content, Blog content, Video Content, etc….


When folks at the Yellow Pages company I worked for found out that I enjoyed forums and blogging, they said I was a geek. Many of the people involved in marketing functions of the company laughed.

A GEEK? Sure, call me that. I don’t mind. In my opinion, they just don’t get it. They can’t. They seem to earn friends by influence and business success. Not so much with social skills and communication.

Some executives and marketing managers earn their stripes. Most get them because of who they know… kinda like a club. As I stated before, when you reach the pinnacle of power in Corporate America you have typically had your ego stroked to the point of no return. You become unapproachable and unwilling to adapt to a changing environment. Heck, most CMOs don’t even comprehend how to manage based on objectives and results vs features/benefits/activity. Folks in many marketing channels are not compensated on a budget or objective, but by numbers.

This reminds me of how the Government measures the direction and success of the economy based on the number of people unemployed vs the productivity of a particular industry, or for instance, the rise in Government jobs that pay people to do busy work vs productivity or ROI.

So, who is it that drives the innovation and success of a businesses marketing channels? It is the product creators and problem solvers that create future business opportunities. In my opinion, it is the SEO and computer geeks that can understand what is coming next or what the next big problem that needs to be solved, thus creating opportunities for innovation and investment.

It is the ideas that originate from solving simple problems, improving communication and making decisions.

Simple concerns like: Imagine how great it would be if a contractor or home service company could really define his/her service area…. like pins on a map. Now consider that Google has recently being rumored to be interested in buying Groupon.com, the strongest player in a fragmented online coupon market and group buying site, for a price tag rumored at $6 Billion, do you think FourSquare or Gowalla are next on the local buyout? Considering the opportunities and growth of local search…… I wouldn’t count it out.

You would never see Google pay that kind of money for a Yellow Pages company, although YP sales professionals will continue to pray. Lol.

Content is King. You here this all the time.

LOCAL SEARCH will become {more} content based.

What kind of content? Blog content, price content, news content. What about image and video content? You need to understand what makes sites like Yelp.com (who apparently just recently fell out of the love and admiration of Google) and MerchantCircle.com so favorable for local citations. In my opinion the challenge for MerchantCircle is just horrible usability and an outdated Aol-esque look and feel.

If your small business directory and online yellow pages site ( or smb website for that matter) does not have a platform for blogging, a forum,community online, or social media interaction model for advocates, you will lose any opportunity for SEO tomorrow.

SEO is no longer meta-titles and descriptions folks.

Social media is 50% SEO, and 50% marketing and customer service. All of this requires strategic processes too complex for the yellow pages industries new rep every year bi-annual sales cycle.

Get a clue corporate America. Sometimes sharing how you really feel, think, and what you love can be a beautiful thing. Businesses will be forced to participate or take a back seat. Previously local search was about who could afford the fattest phonebook ad, had the most resources and the biggest phone bill.

It is amazing how folks with the most resources at their disposal have no clue how to use them. Your old way of doing business is dead. The old way of local advertising without sharing details beyond the page or broshure wont work. Businesses need to share authority to rank online.

SEO = Blogging

Tell your clients. Tell your SMBs. Tell your investors. Then go tell your real advocates and lobbyists.

Read the rest of this entry »

Google Pay Per Click Bidding Goes Up Due to Google Places

November 12, 2010


These past few weeks have been very busy to say the least if you are in search marketing. Google recently shifted in favor of SEOs with not just instant search, but also the new dominating presence of the local Google Places results. The big change has impacted most queries with “local intent”. This shift in the display of the results for Google organic rankings has created alot of fuss amongst the small business community. I consider it a blessing for those with brick and mortar locations, or those that know how to capitalize on the changes.

Recently, Yahoo Search Marketing, also known as Panama, was folded into MSN after getting final approval from regulators. Advertisers that had great rankings from Yahoo organic search results have suffered huge setbacks. I have seen very few circumstances where high ranked Yahoo listings also ranking well on Bing, MSN’s search engine. The combination of losing the organic rankings and having to transfer or convert Yahoo Search Marketing campaigns to MSN AdCenter has impacted call volumes of most advertisers without a dedicated SEO/SEM consultant.

Google Places local listing results has made an algorithmic shift towards traditional SEO. If you previously have hired the services of a holistic search engine optimized who does local listing optimization, local link building, content strategy, and review aggregation you were not impacted as heavily with the recent shifts in local search.

With all the recent changes in the local search marketing landscape these past few weeks, I have seen business categories across the broad spectrum increase Google AdWords bids per targeted keyword. This obviously is a result of a decrease in phone calls, not as likely to be contributed by a change in Google AdWords, but likely the result of a decrease in calls to advertisers struggling to keep up with all the shifts in search. Good news for my clients is that I stay vigilant and on top of whats to come.

If you need help with your small business search marketing or online reputation management (reverse ranking SEO) give me a call: