Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization

4 Reasons Why Local U Will Rock Your Web Marketing World

In honor of the Local University seminar series coming to Syracuse next week presented by and The Post-Standard (the 5th Local U that Advance and our local affiliated sites and newspapers have helped present), I thought I’d take a few minutes to outline the top four reasons why local businesses within a 250 mile radius have scored a winning Lotto ticket to have this event come to town.

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How Do Consumers Find Sites? Natural Search Still Rules…

So what resources do consumers use to help them find websites? It’s a good question to answer as you’re thinking about how to prioritize your marketing efforts. I often talk about the importance of natural search visibility as a foundation to a 360 degree marketing program (surrounding your prospects and customers via many touch points- search, social, online and offline channels), and there’s a good reason for that. Forrester took a look at their 2011 consumer survey data on how US adults get to sites and found that by far the largest percentage—50%– find sites through organic search. As Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk reported: “natural search still beats the second-most common site-traffic driver — links from another site — by 19% (it also beats paid search by a whopping 42%- as navigation via paid links comes in at 8%).

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Excerpts From ILM East: Paid vs Organic Search

One of the questions I often hear from both sales folks and businesses I talk to is-  what are the differences between paid and organic search and how are they most effectively used? There seems to be a whole lot of confusion out there on the whole PPC vs SEO question- even down to the basics of understanding how they operate (and I find a whole lot of people won’t even ask for fear the other kids in class will think they’re slow…). The reality is it can be very confusing, but to effectively harness one of the most powerful marketing channels today (search), you need to know the basics (I touched on this subject as well in an earlier blog post where I discuss the power of combining paid and organic search strategies together). In the video below from my talk at the ILM East conference in Boston this spring, you’ll see the basic analogy I like to use to help people to understand differences between the two.

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ILM East Conference View: Ad Spending Shifting To “Services” Like Content, SEO

John Denny speaking at ILM East Boston on SEO for CEO's

ILM East Boston: "SEO for CEO's"

This week I had a great experience traveling to Boston to speak at the Kelsey Interactive Local Marketing East Conference. My overall talk was on the basics of SEO for CEO’s and building an in-house SEO department, but I also touched on the wider trends happening in search related marketing spend and how they impact local markets. Afterwards we had a panel discussion with two of the people I view as among the top experts in search (and local SEO): Will Scott and Andrew Shotland  (you can find a recap of the session on the Kelsey blog here).

One of the themes I touched on during my talk was the growing importance of “Services” in the world of marketing priorities for businesses. That money is now shifting from what has always been viewed as “Advertising” (whether traditional or digital media) to a whole host of growing priorities including Search Engine Optimization,  Social Media Optimization, blogs and Content Marketing.

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To The Marketers Confused By Twitter: Time To Get Over It

Forrester Research just came out with a new report this week on how marketers should be using Twitter right now to drive real business results. The report points out that marketers don’t get Twitter, and because they don’t get Twitter they are missing out on harnessing one of the world’s most powerful marketing channels.  As the report’s author Melissa Parrish describes- “because Twitter is so different, marketers struggle with it…..most marketers don’t really understand Twitter- neither it’s tricky challenges nor its unique possibilities”.

So here is a dose of reality for all of you confused marketers.  You need to get over it.  You need to decide tomorrow that you are going to master Twitter, and the only way you are going to do that is to personally join the Twitter community  and start living it.  And I don’t mean posting what you have for breakfast every 3 weeks.  I mean making it a part of your daily life, sharing useful content (otherwise known as Content Marketing in it’s most basic form), and engaging with other people on Twitter. I’ve written in past posts that any marketer – or anyone interested in finding customers today—needs to join the 21st century and get personally involved with social media NOW.  This is not a drill.  Things are not going back to the way they were in the safe, predictable mass media world we all knew. To remain relevant in this new world you are going to either need to speak its language or be marginalized.  Your choice.

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The Power of The Search and Social Combo Meal

When we talk to clients, we often find they think about search and social media programs as completely separate efforts.  They’re either very focused on search (either PPC or SEO), or they’re highly motivated to get Facebook working for them (since most people believe Facebook equals social these days).  Thinking this way—that search and social are distinct and separate efforts—is a shame, because the true power for your business is having both programs in place working in perfect sync.  As Jay Baer has eloquently
described, “search and social are PB&J”– and there are a whole bunch of good
reasons why you should thinking about them as your next combo meal.

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The SMX East Local Panel View: NAP is Fundamental To Rankings

Yesterday in New York City I was invited to join the SMX East Conference Panel “Hardcore Local Search Tactics” for the Q&A discussion of local ranking factors along with three of the people I respect most as true experts on local search: Matt McGee, Will Scott and Mike Ramsey. There were some great local ranking tips discussed during the session, yet probably the most fundamental single concept that everyone on the panel talked about was how vital it is to have a consistent name, address and phone number (“NAP”) across all the places your business data can be found on the web.  The reality is that among all the cool,  highly technical factors that impact search visibility (concepts that only the “guru’s” of SEO can understand—from canonicalization issues to strategies for microformats) the idea that something as basic as whether your phone number or your name appears exactly the same way across the web —just doesn’t sound sexy.  It’s an incredibly simple concept, and I find that once you explain it to a local business- the bell goes off.  You don’t need 10 years of enterprise SEO experience to get it.  The challenge of course (which all of us on the panel talked about yesterday) is in the execution of this simple concept.

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Social Media and the Marketer: You Need To Do It To Know How To Use It

Recently Forrester Research came out with a report focusing on the fact that today’s Chief Marketing Officers are woefully inexperienced personally with social media, and that this is a huge problem.  As author Chris Stutzman argues, you need to become deeply involved with social media on a personal level in order to know how to take advantage of it for your business.   And if you aren’t, there is no way you truly can.  He goes on to point out that so few CMOs are using social tools that they can’t possibly orchestrate the brand experience and understand the social impact on the customer, the competition, and the company.

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If You’re Running PPC but Not SEO, You’re Missing The Boat

Clearly the power of paid search is no secret anymore.  Google is making
billions as the world’s most valuable media brand, and marketers everywhere
now have woken up to the fact that a well managed paid search campaign can
often blow away any other advertising form in terms of its return on your  investment.  But what a whole lot of people have not woken up to is, if paid search is giving them a good return, it is almost guaranteed that organic search will deliver even more for their investment over the long term.  And, both strategies used in combination creates greater results then either used alone.

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Review Management: Going On Offense With A Proactive Plan

Yesterday I recapped a great Webmaster Radio  interview John Carcutt and Ross Dunn did with Google Places expert Mike Blumenthal, where he specifically talked about his philosophy about reviews.  It’s worth calling out one specific point he made during that interview that’s significant:

To me, a review is effective when a customer see’s it-  and the impact on the algorithm is secondary.  The value of a review is in the credibility it provides and the call to action on the part of  somebody seeing your  listing.

The key idea is that you shouldn’t be chasing reviews to increase your rank in the search engines, or have a knee-jerk reaction to every change in Google’s algorithm.

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