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.

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SEO Crooks, Yellow Crooks, and Snake Oil Salesmen – Are all the same!

January 2, 2011

In the early days of modern medicine, men went around selling various unproven and untested concoctions to people with claims of amazing cures and an instant relief of whatever ails them. Greed and fraud is why our Government decided to step in and end this predatory business practice by creating the FDA.

Greed is the word that best defines crony capitalism. Greed and gluttony are traits that seldom gain attention amongst the executive culture on Wall Street. The average surgeon makes just around 2 million $ per year, the average Hedge Fund manager earns well over 800 million $ per year. Why? Greed. That money should be shared with investors in an equal proportion to the amount invested.

Over these last few months, I’ve been paying close attention to the solicitations from so-called SEO scam artists (aka: professionals) who make false claims and guarantees to improve client rankings or get them on the first page of Google. It seems that little thought or focus on the sales call goes into how they intend to accomplish the actual task. Is it because want to avoid giving away the secret? Or is it because they have no real PLAN?. In many cases the client already ranks, but it seems as though some SEO companies think that every small business or website needs their help with web rankings, so they feel the need to continue to spam website contact forms and scrape email addresses off of websites to solicit new business with these statements.

It is said that 50% of advertising wasted. It should also be said that “50% of contact form emails are solicitations.” Thanks for creating a crappy user experience spammers!

Beware of so-called SEOs that Guarantee to Improve Your Rankings. There’re a number of what I call SEO Snake’s Oil salesmen out there who will claim to help you rank for 1,000 keywords. There are many instances in which some dubious SEOs will help you rank for terms like “divorce lawyer outrageous settlement Dallas”. But seriously, what’s the likelihood of someone typing something like that?

The worst old sales tactic in sleazy yellow pages sales was the “I want to update your listing” phone call. This is total lie and complete BULLSHIT! They don’t give a rats butt about the business FREE listing. The purpose for the call is to sell an ad in the “most used/distributed/awesome phone book.”

Fast forward to the days of the internet, Search Engine Marketing companies have are using the same tactics to sell internet marketing solutions. They begin with “We want to LIST or SUBMIT your site to Google or major search engines. We can help you make sure that you are listed with local online directories. BLAH BLAH BLAH BULLSHIT BULLSHIT. It never stops.

I had an interesting call with a fella from ReachLocal recently that actually made me somewhat proud to be a holistic search engine marketing practitioner. With the new ReachCast product they are actually discussing techniques that I employ for my clients, such as content strategy and social media bookmarking. I have never been fond of the companies automated PPC bid management system, but minus the lack of focus on the clients website compared to the focus on the “Cast” page, I think ReachLocal has managed to standout as the ethical standard for large internet marketing firms. If they had the focus on 100% pricing transparency as it pertains to clicks they would see a huge drop in client complaints.

Another large internet marketing firm is Local.com. Local.com recently purchased the web design and content writing approach from Octane360. If you compare ReachLocal’s Reachcast service and Local.com’s Octane 360 offering, you will see that they are similar and equally overpriced compared to what a small agency like mine offers, but considering the offerings from the Yellow Pages companies, not a bad at all! Local.com has pushier sales people though.

I have seen way too many SEO firms claiming to be able to help my clients rank on Google, yet when you ask them about on-site and off-page content with links they go blank.  My company SMB SEO provides every client with Google or Woopra Analytics, Google AdWords PPC reports, and customized keyword Web Ranking Reports. Why? To create transparency by ensuring to the client that we are making progress on our commitment to achieving the desired result for the client. We also provide call tracking from CallMeasurement.com.

Search Engine Marketing is not like the yellow pages. It is not a commodity. SEOs must schedule activities such as articles, press releases, social media message distribution, and video content in order to maintain a results focused approach. Without a schedule ( insert transparency on what you are paying for ) they are just scanners who are charging you for the idea of the result, much like how yellow pages publishers continue to sell their antiquated products.

Don’t be a scammer.

There are only three reasons that folks call my company:

  • They need help because they don’t have the time to do SEO themselves.
  • They do no know how to fulfill the requirements for proper local SEO and PPC.
  • They want me to help teach them how to do it themselves.

Pretty simple, right?

Unfortunately for you, shady and sleazy companies ( typically those who are not socially responsible while often overpaying executives ) are the ones with resources to hire sales reps to solicit search marketing services. They often use industry lingo and confusing contracts and then back these iron clad contracts up with legal teams. Don’t get me wrong, pursuing profit is not a bad thing, so long as it allows the business to invest in paying more American workers and donating to American charities. You know, social responsible companies.

I am praying that business owners are smart enough to know better, but considering the type of companies that fall victim to the “$850.00/month” credit offered by some media companies like the yellow pages, these predatory practices will continue. For big companies the act of repairing reputations just takes a lil $.

Check out the bbb.org, ripoff report.com, or jobvent for examples.

If your SEO Company does not offer a planned schedule that includes a content strategy and measurement of successes, you are likely not going to get either of them. I recommend staying away from such a firm. A good start in finding a good search engine marketing expert is to search Google!


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

September 7, 2010

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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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Local Small Business Internet Advertising Options are Changing

January 13, 2010

WOW… things are heating up in the local advertising search space.

In December, ReachLocal.com, one of the largest pay-per-click lead generators, filed for an IPO. On January 4th SuperMedia, formerly IdearcMedia, emerged from Bankruptcy and essentially wiping away billions and billions of dollars worth of debt built up by Verizon Telecommunications (Corporate Fraud at its best if you ask me!)

Yahoo! and Microsoft Finalize Search Agreement

SUNNYVALE, Calif. & REDMOND, Wash., Dec 04, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corporation today announced that the companies have finalized and executed the definitive Search and Advertising Services and Sales Agreement and License Agreement in accordance with the letter agreement announced in July.

The companies released the following joint statement:

“Microsoft and Yahoo! believe that this deal will create a sustainable and more compelling alternative in search that can provide consumers, advertisers and publishers real choice, better value, and more innovation.

“Yahoo! and Microsoft welcome the broad support the deal has received from key players in the advertising industry and remain hopeful that the closing of the transaction can occur in early 2010.”

I have not heard any recent news from AT&T recently, but I wanted to reach out and give them a pat on the back. Why you may ask? AT&T partnered with WebVisible. Why is this such a big deal? $$ What do peanuts bring? $$

Unlike SuperMedia’s persistance on offering PPC management with very little if any focus on “Website Ads,” (Some folks call this landing pages…. PPC landing pages etc) Example of AT&T PPC WebVisible Landing Pagewhich is what I like to call the pages on a small business website that are similar to ads in a phone book. WebVisible’s product also help clients convert traffic from the clicks into phone calls, an area that SuperMedia completely disregards (just like analytics.) Outsourcing website development will not help the cause either. SuperMedia sends leads to your current website or one that they create. Such as this one. AT&T (like AdzZoo) is creating landing pages. This is a big advantage considering that many advertisers have zero clue on how to convert clicks into phone calls. It is obvious to me that SuperMedia also has no clue. ReachLocal is the same if you ask me, since the majority of PPC campaigns are built around proxy sites (mirrored websites with phone number replaced for call tracking.)

Here is the best website I have seen from a Yellow Pages company www.TheTransmissionShop.com by AT&T Yellow Pages. Jeff Swope at Webformance Inc. asked Dalana, a new Webformance developer, to redesign the companies Yellow Pages built website. Here is what she was able to produce in less than 5 days: www.WebformanceInc.com/Dalana

Pretty impressive if you ask me? How much did it cost compared to the one the Yellow Pages company took 6 months to produce? Peanuts!

What also impresses me most about WebVisible is the fact that they are willing to try new ideas and methods.

Peanuts bring you Elephants.

Such as:   http://directory.leadmaverick.com/WebVisible/Los-AngelesLong-BeachSanta-Ana/CA/10/8174/index.aspx

Recently, WebVisible partnered with Ecordia. Smart move. I was impressed with what Sean Jackson and the folks at Ecordia have created with the Ecordia Content Hub. WebVisible understands content.

Content is:

http://spiritualdeepdish.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/elephant_money_origami.jpg

Although many sites offer a Subdomain SEO strategy, (Ecordia) takes it further with limitless content, and easy landing page creation (via CSS style sheets) and quick content SEO via the Ecordia Content Optimizer tool. The content hub also helps get rid of the noise created when sending paid search links to home pages. It is not only an effective SEO strategy (utilizing the LeadMaverick subdomain) but also has potential for PPC.

Here is an example of an organic result for Ecordia’s LeadMaverick subdomain.

Ford Owner Loyalty Search Results

Other Great Ideas: Mobile Search beyond apps. PPC management for the client via Google and not using proprietary bid management systems. Open source website development. Working for the client (they can’t afford to hire a search marketer, web developer, and content writer, hence why outsourcing the work to a local boutique internet marketing agency is so vital. When a directory publisher creates an account for you on Google, do you own it? If they fail to provide quality work, are you able to take the work elsewhere? Do they leave you options beyond a 12 month contract and big commissions and collections attorneys? Stop buying advertising from Sales people. Start getting your internet advertising from Internet Marketing Consultants!

When it comes to marketing online, sometimes Peanuts brings you Elephants!