What is the future of local small business advertising?

February 5, 2012

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With search marketing officially taking over traditional media marketing channels it is no surprise sleazy sales tactics still work for some Internet marketing providers.

check out what I got from ReachLocal recently:

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I will be sure to add some of the stats.

I just want you to understand that there is a difference between a backlink building content marketing SEO agency like SMB SEO and the product or platform specific Google Adwords reseller agencies and yellow pages.

In the month of July we created over 550 pages of content for less than 25 clients. This past January I had te responsibility for scheduling over 1,000 pages worth of offsite and onsite content marketing articles, blog posts, and pages for around 35 different businesses. Let’s see the yellow pages or ReachLocal folks provide that kind of Internet marketing strategy and schedules!

Just because my agency saves clients a boatload of money in PPC up charges by not paying anyone other than Google or Bing direct for clicks, doesn’t mean we are less effective or inferior to these larger marketing organizations. What they fail to offer:

Google Analytics
You own all the PPC campaign work
You own the PPC campaign account
CallMeasurement.com Call Tracking
woopra analytics
Custom Video Production
Web Ranking Reports Weekly
Niche Site Domain Development
Mobile Ads
Mobile Sites
PRWeb.com Press Releases
Local listing optimization
UBL Listing (universal business listing)
Localeze Data Center Listing

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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.

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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

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Dallas SEO Guru Mike Stewart Speaks on Local Search At Dallas SEO Internet Marketers Meetup

May 11, 2011

Last night I presented at the Dallas Interactive Marketing and Internet SEO SEM Meetup on Meetup.com. I spoke on the topic of local search marketing.

It was a great group of folks. I had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Dumas of OptimizedLocalSearch.com, someone who has performed over 2500 Google Places listing setups and optimizations in the last year. Paul is a real Google Places Expert.

I made a presentation and added a bunch of silliness for shits and giggles. You can find the slideshare for my Local Search SEO for the Less Informed here.

I felt it was best to give folks the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation, since the pace of the presentation was very fast. I know what it is like to have to wait to make a comment or question only to bang your head later at the end of the meeting when you forget. We also answered questions after the meeting, had great feedback from the audience, and even continued conversations into the parking lot!

I left out allot of information, such as Conversion Optimization, Usability, and tons of other areas of small business internet marketing improvement.

Thanks for a great meeting.

I hope to see the attendees at the next DFWSEM.org meeting next Wednesday. We will be having Rob Garner, another DFWSEM.org Board of Directors Member, Chief at renowned marketing firm iCrossing, and Board of Directors Member for SEMPO speaking on Search and Social.


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.


Local Dallas SEO Expert Explains Blended Organic Place Search Results

December 14, 2010

What is Google Place Search?

Google Place Search is the new blended results for local business searches that combines Google Places and Organic search ranking factors.

How has Google changed the results pages for searches with local intent?

Dallas Local Search Advertising Expert Explains Google’s Blended Place Search Results….

(CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO CONTINUE READING)

Dallas SEO Consultant Explains Blended Organic Place Search.


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….

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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

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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:
214-267-9553.