Featured Posts

DSC00064Marketing Misfire Photo of the Week I couldn't resist taking this photo while walking around in Manhattan. I'll leave the company name out of it but this was their main marketing message on the front of the building. They may want to consider...

Read more

video-300x300Beginner's Guide to Video Marketing Disclaimer: I'm am not a professional video producer. If you've read my blog for a few years you'll know I typically embrace the latest mediums in marketing, learn them, and implement them in my teams'...

Read more

Clean ShirtsHome Delivery Dry Cleaning Case Study: How Performance... Many of my readers are marketing professionals so stick with me on this post until the end. Although it looks like a post reviewing local dry cleaners it was actually inspired out of seeing first hand...

Read more

Hotel Video Marketing - Good Tool or Not? I recently wrote about an experience I had in Europe staying at Ibis hotels. I was impressed with their marketing of their services and the backing of that brand marketing by hotel staff. The post was...

Read more

Yoda.sized5 Steps To Analyzing That New Marketing Effort I was recently watching the original Star Wars movies with my kids. An absolute timeless series, but it's amazing how much more suspenseful that was when I was much younger. Graphics and special affects...

Read more

  • Prev
  • Next

Twitter Updates...

  •  

AdWords Local PlusBox A Great Addition

Category : paid search, search engine marketing

12

The announcement of the new Local PlusBox by Google Adwords which places geographical information in the top paid search location changes the PPC strategy for those using more local targeting. The new expandable feature allows advertisers to bid to the top spot in an effort to have the opportunity to display such valuable information as a map, address, driving instructions, and phone number, in addition to the location name that appears beneath the last line of the paid search ad.

You can read the rest of my thoughts on this new feature in my article – AdWords Local PlusBox A Great Addition – over at Search Engine Guide.


Tony Bennett and Search Engines?

Category : general marketing, search engine marketing

1

With all the “advice” we’ve been receiving from search engines on how to manage our sites and provide the right user experience, I was thrilled to happen upon a little experiment. I recently created for myself the opportunity to do some user experience testing on the various search engines. I was surprised by the result and surprised by the advanced universal search experience on some engines while others really lagged behind.

You can read my full How Tony Bennett Inspired a User Experience Experiment article over on Search Engine Guide!


StumbleUpon Icon In My Google Result?

Category : search engine marketing

8

This is probably one of those things that’s been written about that I completely missed, but I just did a search in Google for my friend Matt’s site, Small Business SEM and noticed the StumbleUpon icon and a star next to the result for Matt’s site. It’s actually a reference to a StumbleUpon review for his site. On further research it looks like the option is now available to add in your friend’s reviews of pages in your Google search results. It looks like this:

StumbleUpon Reviews in Google

Wow, as a StumblUpon user I think I like this feature, but that could dramatically alter people’s searching habits if they’re active users of StumbleUpon.

Wouldn’t you be more swayed if your friends indicated they liked or didn’t like a page or site?


IndexRank: Measure The Indexing Rate Of Your Site

Category : search engine marketing

8

Michael Jenson over at SoloSEO introduced a new index ranking tool his company has developed called IndexRank that allows you to measure the rate at which your site is indexed. On a scale of 0-10 you’re given an indication of how often Google (or any search engine for that matter) is coming to index your site.

The main factor is content. The more often you add content, the more your site will be indexed while site owners who only periodically add content will see a lower rate of indexing. The age of your site plays a factor as well.

What a wake up call! I wasn’t real concerned with the Lonely Marketer because I add content often and am not real concerned with how I’m indexed. BUT, checking on the site for the company at which I work was a different story. We have some work to do. We have a fairly sophisticated site with alot of content, but unfortunately we’re not adding new content often enough.

So, why does this matter? Why should a small business marketing department be concerned with their rate of indexing?

Well, for one, this is an indication of how much content you’re adding and how fast you’re doing it. The more relevant content your site produces the more hooks you have to keep visitors around and hopefully turn them into leads or buying customers.

The other side of this is how often the search engines come through, crawl your site, and add your content to their indexes. The last thing you want is to create and post a piece of relevant, current content and not have the search engines crawl it for a month afterwards.

Check out their tool – it’s quick and easy and provides useful information!


Important Steps In 2008 Paid Search Planning

Category : paid search, search engine marketing, strategy

6

I know what you’re thinking. It’s Halloween. Christmas lights aren’t even up yet and I’m suggesting you start thinking about your 2008 paid search campaign. Well, paid search is more than just ad copy tweaks and keyword research. Paid search is a component of your overall small business marketing plan. Now is the time to learn from your 2007 results and make sure that your 2008 paid search strategy is in line with your overall product marketing goals!

Head on over to Search Engine Guide and read my full post – Important Steps In 2008 Paid Search Planning.

Let me know your thoughts! How do you make sure your strategies are aligned?


A Universal Search Success Story

Category : search engine marketing

2

I’ve written on this site more than a few times about Universal Search and all of its potential, but it wasn’t until just recently that I discovered a real-life small business success story. My Universal Search Success Story post over on Search Engine Guide today tells the story of Michael Dorausch of ADIO chiropractic who posted a simple, home-made video that got indexed by search engines and drove thousands of people to view the video as well as a few paying clients to his doorstep.

I love this success story because we actually get to talk about ROI on a current marketing trend. Michael’s investment was minimal – both in budget and time – yet the results yielded paying, long-term clients. It’s a true testament to the power of search engine marketing for small businesses. Check out his success story

If you have a success story of your own, I’d love to hear about it.


Google Street View And Virtual Marketing?

Category : search engine marketing

0

Google MapsI was using Google Maps recently to map out my trek from my hotel in Manhattan to the site of an upcoming conference I’m attending. It’s about 8 blocks and Google Maps pinpointed the exact streets I should take. Perfect! But wait, could Google Street View offer even more detail about what I might see on my walk?

My hotel is in a part of Midtown Manhattan in which I have not stayed before so I was curious to see what was around my hotel. So, I click on street view, grab the little Google Street View person icon and drag it to my hotel. Bingo, I have a 360 degree of what is around my hotel. In fact, I decided to take a virtual stroll of the immediate neighborhood. Ah, perfect – a local pub that might be nice after a long conference day. Oooh…a couple restaurants on the block…I’ll have to check those out.

Wait! What is happening here? Have I already picked out some destinations in which to visit based on my virtual map view? Absolutely. So, what does this mean for local businesses? Is there opportunity in Google Street View to market your local storefront?

To get more background Google has a nice, creative page and video up describing Google Street View. But, here is a screen shot from my virtual stroll:

Google Street View

Wow, that is fantastic! I’m standing in the middle of a Manhattan street and not getting run down by taxis! I just click on the arrows and I can walk right up the street or even turn onto another street. I can spin all around to see what is around me.

Okay, now that I’m over that new toy feeling, let’s ponder for a second what this means for store fronts in Google street view or even office space in high rises. In my virtual walk, I tended to zoom in on store fronts that were brighter, unique and grabbed my attention. That’s how I found my pub. I even zoomed in on an office building window that looked like it had something written on it – but, the zoom in got blurry and I couldn’t read it.

What I’m getting at is that the optimizing for search engines just got – sort of – physical. Are we to the point where you not only have to optimize your site for local search but also optimize your store front for virtual map results? If this becomes common, there is a good chance you could affect your business positively by grabbing the attention of people like me who are planning trips and will soon be walking down your street.

Now, before you go and paint bright colors on your windows know that I have no idea how often Google updates these images. I’m not 100% sure of this, but I believe they are taken by trucks with cameras mounted on them that drive the streets to gather images. I’m sure that will not be an occurence that happens often.

But, you can make sure you’ve taken the necessary steps to show up in local results for people that search for such things as restaurants near a geographical location. I did that search as well. Google found the restaurants within a few blocks and I virtually walked right up and looked in the window. I have some very appealing places to check out!


Google vs. Yahoo: Search Suggestions

Category : search engine marketing

4

I’ve seen multiple news stories and blog reports from around the web discussing Yahoo’s upgrade to their search experience. From all early reports, it looks like they’ve done a pretty good job. Greg Sterling has a great Yahoo Upgrade post on Search Engine Land. Yahoo has implemented Universal Search which incorporates more shortcuts, video (viewed right on the SERP), news, images, blog posts, etc. into the search engine results page (SERP). The main feature they’re highlighting in their release is a new Search Assistant which helps auto-complete your search query and offers suggestions.

The Search Assistant looks better and seems to have some additional features, but how do the suggestions compare to Google’s? I had to give it a try. With my post Monday about Verizon trying to create buzz, I thought that would be a good test case.

So, I brought up Yahoo and typed in “Verizon Cell”. I then went up to my Google toolbar and typed in the same query. I was interested to see what results would be suggested to me based on the incomplete query. Here’s how it looked:

Google vs. Yahoo Search Suggestion Screen Shot

Here are the results in case the screen shot is tough to see.

Google:
verizon cell phones
verizon cellular
verizon cell phone plans
verizon cell phone service
verizon cell phone reviews
verizon cellular phones
verizon call plans
verizon cell phone directory

Yahoo:
verizon cell phones
verizon cell phone
verizon prepaid plans cell phone
verizon envy cell phone
verizon cellular

I gravitated towards the Google results because of the wider variety of results. I could choose from plans, service, reviews, and phones while Yahoo directed me mainly to phones and prepaid plans.

But, is this a fair comparison? I do most of my searching on Google so they’re probably using my search history to compile the results while Yahoo, who gets minimal searches from me, has nothing to go on.

I’d be curious to know from you if you think Yahoo’s results are as quality as the interface they’ve developed?


Why Universal Search Is Important For Small Business Marketing

Category : search engine marketing

13

I came across an example of why I think it’s important that small business marketing departments pay close attention to the new trend of Blended and Universal Search. Blended and Universal search is an effort by search engines to include relevant news, blog posts, videos, images and other rich media content results into the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). To make my point, I want to highlight a recent, real-world example.

The day after I had written a post about Google Mobile Search appearing in my Adwords account, I wanted to get a little more information on the topic so I headed to Google and did a search on “Google Mobile”. I just tried the same search as I was writing this and the results have all changed which is a bit odd. But, nonetheless, the blended results caught my attention on the SERP. About midway down page one was a news result featuring some information about Google and their new search tool.

Screen shot of Google Mobile Search Result 1

Towards the bottom, were three results from Blogs that had posted on Google Mobile – including my post.

Screen shot of Google Mobile search result 2

So, what does this all mean for small business marketing? Google isn’t a “small business”, but the results on the SERP for this search highlight the opportunities small businesses have to compete for results on page one of relevant keyword searches. The game has changed and by starting now with rich media content, small business marketers have the opportunity to grab some of that valuable real estate on page one of search results. Here are a couple ways you can take advantage:

  • Optimizing images for search
  • Start blogging and writing relevant blog material
  • Be more diligent about press releases and making sure news outlets know your news is out there.
  • If it makes sense for your business, try some video production (keeping in mind that popular video is still mainly entertainment based).

What other suggestions do you have to take advantage of this new trend?


Google Adwords Launches Gadget Ads

Category : paid search, search engine marketing

7

Google Adwords LogoIt was only a matter of time before the Google team found a way to get in on the rapidly growing trend of interactive advertising. They recently announced the launch of Google Gadget Ads and I’m betting this is going to be big. Running on the Google content network, the ads will utilize the cost-per-click (CPC) and the cost-per-impression (CPM) pricing models.

This launches a whole new set of options for Adwords advertisers! These new ad types will incorporate data feeds, maps, images, audio, video, Flash, HTML or JavaScript in a single creative. Basically, the possibilities are endless. Before you run out and buy a book on Flash, know this is a limited release so you might not be able to try it out just yet.

Check out the gallery of examples. I’ll admit, I spent the last 10 minutes playing the Intel MobileTasker game – and I bet I’m not the only one today saying that. This shows you the power of this medium. Yes, we’ve talked on this site about banner blindness and ignoring video ads, but there are always going to be exceptions. For those advertisers that find those exceptions, the sky is the limit.

Here are some features describing the new service from the Google Gadget Ad site that I liked:

  • Target by site, category, demographic, geographic location, and much more.
  • Extend your campaign on iGoogle with free inclusion of your gadget in the directory
  • Serve your gadget ad on thousands of sites with absolutely no serving or hosting fees.
  • Dedicated engineering and customer support are available to answer your questions free of charge on our Google Group.
  • Detailed reporting of interactions are available in the Reports Center.

Creativity and quality will really be the key with this medium. Poorly developed and poorly planned out campaigns will get ignored easily. But, a well-done, quality development could mean very high CPC and ROI.

I’d keep an eye on this. Your thoughts?