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!



In Google WE Trust…..

November 23, 2009

CitySearch & Yelp have a higher percentage of traffic from Search Engines

What Percent of Traffic to IYP Sites Come From Search Engines?

In Google WE Trust……In Google We Trust

and in Internet Yellow Pages sites you don’t.

A question many business marketers ask me is:   Should I advertise in the online yellow pages sites? And what budget should I allocate?

Local Search traffic details year over year

Online Yellow Page directory sites such as Superpages.com, Yellowpages.com, CitySearch.com, Yelp.com, and YellowBook.com accounted for approximately 1/3 of all local search traffic in 2008. Since then Google, who has approx. 77% of all internet searches, has made big changes to the way it displays local search results. This change to the “10-Pack” of listings, Google Local Business Listings or LBL results, has made a huge dent into the overall traffic to IYP sites.  So considering that IYP sites account for less than 30% of overall local search traffic, why would you give an IYP company more than 30% of your online advertising budget?

My answer to the question of How much money should I allocate to sites like Superpages.com and Yellow Pages.com for my internet advertising budget would be no more than 30% divided up according to ComScore data.

Now the next question: Which online yellow pages sites should get the larger share of my local search budget? In my professional opinion it is best to see which sites have a higher ranking under your targeted keywords. For instance, Let’s say you have a local Dallas Divorce Attorney website, if you conduct a search on Google for “Dallas Divorce Attorney” you will see FindLaw as the only directory in the first page results on Google. I would advise this client to list with FindLaw to be listed on this:  http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/Divorce/Dallas/Texas page result.  You always want to be listed where the traffic is going to from the major search engines like Google and Yahoo, and the other even more significant reason to be listed is that it will help your SEO efforts. Your ranking on Google is dependent upon being linked to from other popular results. You want to create an authority with Google and you cannot become an authority without links that build this authority. Who is the authority on Google for “Dallas Divorce Attorney”? Google ranks your website based on authority.

If you online budget for pay per click is $2,000.00 per month, I would allocate around $400-$600 per month to the online Yellow Pages sites.  A suggested budget allocation would be as follows:

$250 to Superpages.com

$250 to Yellowpages.com

$100 to other high Google ranking IYP’s for your keyword search phrases

To achieve high organic web page rankings on Google you must first understand that SEO or Search Engine Optimization is 40% your website keywords, articles, and content and 60% depends on links, social media, and overall off-page authority of your website. Local IYP sites are great tools to build authority. Most local directory sites offer a “FREE Listing” or profile page that you can “optimize”. This profile or listing is very important to your organic rankings. A large percentage of the traffic to local search sites is from people looking for “white pages” type information. It is very important to take this into account and avoid paying a premium for leads and traffic from existing clients who are looking for your business contact information. This is easily accomplished with Google AdWords with bid management strategies. I have seen IYP sites charge clients for business name searches the same fees it charges for new client leads (around $2.50 per click or more).

You Don’t Want Traffic, You Don’t Even Really Want Clicks……. YOU WANT CONVERSIONS!

CONVERSIONS = CONVERSATIONS

If your Google Adwords Reseller is only giving you Clicks and Call Reports without discussing your website converting visitors into conversations, it is time for you to stop giving them money for HORRIBLE advice, or lack thereof.

As far a concerns about click fraud, I would not participate in ANY online marketing without detailed analytics. One of my former managers at Idearc Media once told me years ago that “treatment without diagnosis is malpractice” and I have been telling my clients for years that you can’t manage what you can’t measure (“management without measurement” is an Internet Marketing malpractice“.)

Be cautious of a company that offers a bid system on top of Google’s perfected bid system. It is not as challenging to manage PPC ads as many Google resellers and PPC lead companies may lead you to think. Paying for phone calls has always been the most effective means of tracking ROI to advertising. Phone calls is only a measurement of ROI, not a very good measurement of what is going on with your potential clients thoughts and whether they saw your ad, read your message, and felt about your website. The combination of Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Landing Page creation, Ad Testing, and Google Voice is an extremely strong offer to local small and medium-sized businesses.

You Know Your PPC Company is Doing It All Wrong When They Charge You The Same Fee Per Click for Traffic Regardless of Conversions & Quality!

My agency offers affordable PPC management for a flat fee with no contract.

Why buy the cow when the milk is free? If you want to buy the cow…….. I can “sell” Daisy to you as well!

No agency should own the PPC work that you pay for… that includes the ReachLocal and Yellow Pages companies.

Give me a call! 214-267-9553.

I look forward to serving your Dallas Search Engine Marketing needs soon!

Cheers,

Mike Stewart