When I started my career in marketing and advertising in 1985, the world I operated in—and the rules for success– were clear. The smartest brands spent loads of money on advertising, and then spent more loads on high-priced media to blast their message to consumers (those loads paid for our expensive agency TV Shoots and our nifty client dinners at Montrachet- the ones with the $250 bottles of wine). The media companies—like TV Networks- functioned as the “connective tissue” between brand advertisers like Sony and Coke and the “target audience” (because what passed for “targeting” in those days was declaring that you wanted to reach the “18-34 demographic”). If you wanted to tell a whole lot of people that Wendy’s had more beef and the competition only had a big fluffy bun (like my former boss Cliff Freeman did in his epic “Where’s the beef” TV spot), you needed ABC, NBC, CBS and the cable networks to get that message to your potential customers. And all of it unfolded under the controlled, measured pace of our production timetables, planned campaign launches (because getting all of this done took at least 6 months) and the slow build of reach and frequency shown in our media flow charts.
And then came that darn invention of the Internet and the ensuing (and continuously unfolding) chaos created by the digital media revolution (putting a serious crimp in all those nice client dinners). Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
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.
This week on Webmaster Radio’s SEO 101, John Carcutt and Ross Dunn did a great job interviewing Google Places and local search expert Mike Blumenthal, who talked all about recent changes in local SEO as well some of the top things local businesses need to know about local online visibility. I definitely recommend you listen to the full interview here, but if you’re time challenged, below are some key nuggets taken from Mike’s comments…..