While it's easy to get overwhelmed about going up against big businesses in marketing realms like search engine optimization, blogging, viral marketing, community building and analytics, a good dose of common sense can really level the playing field.
This panel which features Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide serving as moderator and speakers Matt Bailey of Site Logic Marketing, Stoney deGeyter of Pole Position Marketing and Matt McGee of Small Business Search Marketing aims to set the stage for the rest of the show by helping you change your perspective on competing with the big boys.
Matt McGee is up first and will discuss his SEO Success Pyramid. There are 15 blocks in the success pyramid. Rather than look at it block by block, Matt suggest we look at it by levels.
The first block is devoted to commitment. Your team must be fully engaged and devoted to executing your plan. The second block deals with planning. What are your goals, what is needed to reach them? How will you determine success? These are all questions you will need to be able to answer in your planning. The third block deals with product/ service. Keep in mind that great search marketing won't hide the fact that you have a lousy product and or service. The fourth block is education. Having access to current, intelligent information is a must in the constant-changing industry. The fifth block on the bottom level deals with patience. Search marketing is a long term process. Overnight success is extremely rare unless you happen to get on the Oprah show or something like it.
Moving on the the second level. Block one in second level is related to design and usability. Providing a great user experience should be part of your marketing plan. Second block here deals with keyword research. You need to know and use the terms searchers are actually using. Third block is related to analytics. Without good analytics, how are you supposed to know what is working and what is not? Last block on second level deals with tools. Having the right tools can give you an advantage over competitors.
First block on third level is crawlability. Bottom line is search engines cannot rank pages they cannot find. Second block deals with content. Users want it, search engines need it. Search marketing success demands it. Finally on third level is links. These tell search engines how popular your content is. Keep in mind that anchor text is key.
Moving on the the fourth level. First block is social/local findability. Engage with your customers on local and social sites. Second block on fourth level deals with reputation management. What others are saying about you online matters a lot!
Finally, at the top of the heap is trust. Trust from users and search engines is imperative for long terms success.
Here is a picture of the SEO Success Pyramid.
Next up is Matt Bailey. He will talk about what attendees to the conference will get out of it. He points out that information on the Internet about SEO is not completely credible. Any monkey can put something online so there is a lot of mis-information online. That is why conferences such as SBMU are so beneficial.
Matt points out the simplicity of his 1964 Volkswagen Beetle compared to professional race car builders who focus on very intrinsic details of things. A lot of conferences are built around generating more traffic to web sites. However Matt questions whether more traffic is always better. Maybe if you are a portal that seeks the highest number of eyeballs possible. However, if you are a business, qualified traffic is always better - quality over quantity.
Matt relates some of the improvements he has experience in SEO, usability and analytics. He has in fact seens anywhere from 140% - 4000% with SEO, 180% - 400% with usability and 900% - 1,200% with the use of analytics.
Finally in this opening keynote, Stoney deGeyter is up. He is going to talk about "destination search marketing." The idea is to build a web site that will become a premier destination for seekers. Obtaining this kind of exposure will allow you to get more traffic and sales but even more important, repeat customers and lots of word of mouth referrals. Don't be one in a million but rather be one of a million.
Stoney advises us not to underestimate the power of good content. Good content provides expert knowledge, opportunities to persuade and provide more pertinent information to actually make a sale. Content has to be balanced so that good info is provided without being overbearing on the user. Types of expert info include sales and marketing copy but also non-marketing information such as product comparisons, reviews, tutorials, helpful opinions, etc.
Stoney then talks about usability. Don't make people think when they visit your site. Good usability helps ease the process of people navigating your sites. Poor navigation, no call to action and confusing site layout all add to a bad usability experience.
Along with usability, good web site design is crucial. Stoney jokes that you want to at the very least make sure your site design is better than the worst. The overall appearance of your site is going to reflect on you as a business.
What is the unique value your business offers? In other words, what makes your business stand out from the others? You have to have a unique value proposition. Find a niche, something you can do better, etc. to make yourself stand out among your competitors. Keep in mind that low prices and good customer service are not always good UVPs.
He talks about time and presence. You cannot become an authority overnight. That is why time and presence is something that has to be worked on over time. Figure out what your unique voice is. Create a unique personality and resonate with your target audience. Be consistent with how you use your voice.
All these things will build trust and credibility. being a destination web site is essential for long term success.
Note: These are raw notes taken while live-blogging sessions at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Columbus, Ohio. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors.
September 22, 2008

David Wallace is CEO and founder of SearchRank, an original search engine optimization and marketing firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is experienced in search engine optimization and marketing, pay per click and pay for inclusion management, directory submissions and web site design usability. David is a frequent contributor to various search engine related forums, an active editor of popular directories such as GoGuides.org, Joe Ant and Zeal and has had several articles published on industry related sites. Since 1997, David along with his company have helped hundreds of businesses both large and small increase their search engine visibility and customer acquisitions.


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Search Engine Guide > David Wallace > A Common Sense Approach to Online Marketing - SBM Unleashed