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Jennifer Laycock

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Using Micro Goals to Fine Tune Your Social Media Campaigns

Earlier this week, I explained the concept of micro goals in regards to social media and why it's so important to track such a large collection of seemingly insignificant numbers. I walked you through both the universal micro goals and how to establish campaign specific micro goals. Today, it's time to look at how those numbers can be of value to us over the span of a social media campaign.

Understanding and Establishing Micro Goals for Your Social Media Campaigns

A few weeks ago I wrote a handful of articles on how to develop a proper social media strategy by developing goals, breaking those goals into supportive goals and matching goals to appropriate tactics. Those three articles outline the foundation that needs to be laid for any good social media plan, but your job doesn't stop there. In fact, if you want to do things properly, your job is just getting started.

How to Know When Your Site Needs Social Media Before SEO

Every now and then Search Engine Guide's Associate Editor Stoney deGeyter finds himself on the phone with a potential client trying to talk them into putting their conversation on hold and giving me a call. Why? Because they're in a position where they need to focus on both social media and search engine optimization to build a successful site, but they only have the budget to do one at a time...and at this time, they need to put search engine optimization on hold and focus on social media

How to Know When Your Site Needs SEO Before Social Media

Every now and then I find myself on the phone with a potential client trying to talk them into putting our conversation on hold and giving my Search Engine Guide's Associate Editor Stoney deGeyter a call. Why? Because they're in a position where they need to focus on both search engine optimization and social media to build a successful site, but they only have the budget to do one at a time...and at this time, they need to put social media on hold and focus on search engine optimization.

Matching Tactics to Goals Enables a Stronger Social Media Plan

The past few days, I've been talking about the need to establish solid goals around which to build you social media efforts. We've looked at why you need to have goals, we've explored the three categories of goals to help set the foundation for your efforts and we've talked about breaking your primary goals into supportive goals.

Break Your Goals into Supportive Goals to Make Them Achievable

Here's the thing about goals. They're well intentioned and broad in focus and we wave them around as if we're really proud of these lofty ideas we hope to achieve. But unless we take the time to create a plan of action to reach them, they rarely amount to more than warm-fuzzy inducing line items.

Understanding the Three Primary Goals of Social Media

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about the need to build a social media strategy around specific goals instead of simply launching a presence because "everyone else is doing it." Today, I'm going to map out the three primary goals most social media outreach campaigns fall into. If you're still trying to figure out how and why to get involved in social media outreach, consider these three categories and ask yourself how they might apply to your business....

Are You Planning Your Social Media Backwards?

When it comes time to put together a social media strategy for your company, there are a few key steps you need to consider before getting started. Unfortunately, most companies bypass these steps and do everything in exactly the wrong order....

Six Reasons Marketers Love Blogs

The last year or so has seen a mad rush of marketers heading into the world of social media to set up Twitter accounts, gather Facebook fans, produce YouTube content and drive people to offer reviews on sites like Yelp and FourSquare. Unfortunately, that mad rush has also caused a lot of companies to neglect or even abandon their blogs. This is a big mistake. In the world of marketing, blogs are an absolutely integral part of any company's online marketing.

Six Reasons SEOs Love Blogs

With so much social media focus on sites like Twitter, FourSquare and Facebook these days, it's easy for companies to neglect one of the single most powerful social media tools available: their blog. In fact, for companies who are looking to increase their search engine optimization efforts, a well-crafted blog can make a dramatic difference.

Win a $3500 Online Marketing Scholarship from MarketMotive (and Help a Non-Profit to Boot)

If you're looking to further your education in online marketing or know of a non-profit that could use an educational boost of their own, you're going to be interested in hearing about MarketMotive's spring scholarship contest. The team at MarketMotive is generously allowing each faculty member to award a scholarship to one of their readers.

Getting Started on Twitter with a Realistic Timeline

While millions of people and tens of thousands of businesses have flocked to Twitter over the past few years, many companies are still standing in the doorway wondering if they should step inside. Their biggest concern? How much time will they spend and how much benefit will they reap.

The World Does Not Begin and End With SEO

Ever notice how when someone finds a solution to a problem they're having, it suddenly becomes the solution to everyone else's problem as well? People who love their chiropractor tell you how much seeing one would help your sore back/sinus problem/shin splints/etc. People who have lost and kept weight off with a specific diet suggest how well it will work for you. People who experience success trying a marketing tactic tell you what a difference it will make for your company if you do it too.

New Data on Twitter Usage Can Strengthen Your Twitter Outreach

HubSpot has released their Third Annual State of the Twittersphere report and for those of us who keep tabs on Twitter from both the marketing and social interaction perspective the results are interesting.

Google Local Business Listings are Being Hijacked Again

It's happened before and it will probably happen again. Nearly a year after local search gurus reported on a major hijacking problem with Google Local Business listings, reports are popping up all over again about a fresh crop of hijacked listings.

The Upcoming Battle of the Social Media Industry

While I'm a social media strategist for small businesses, my background is in organic search engine optimization. In other words, I come from the "original" snake oil of online marketing. Social media, for all it's hype and loyalists STILL hasn't broken through the mainstream marketing barrier. It's where SEO was half a dozen or more years ago. It's fighting to define itself, to justify itself and to legitimize itself.

Four (ok twelve) Reasons to Build a Social Media Strategy

Here are four key reasons why your company needs to consider planning and launching a social media campaign this year....

The Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page Without Blowing a Gasket - Part Three

Today we're going to take a look at how to make use of the Photos and Video applications. These are your chances to really add some content to your Facebook Page. Sure, you can (and probably should) have this content set up on other areas of the web designed for it (Photos could be shared over at Flickr and videos find homes on sites like YouTube), but there is an advantage in housing this content on Facebook.

Striking Out On My Own All While Staying Put

Regular readers of Search Engine Guide probably noticed I've been less than active as an author and Twitter voice this past year. All of that's about to change. Over the next few months you'll all see me getting back into the swing of things here on Search Engine Guide and hopefully back to my chatty self on Twitter and other social media sites.

The Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page Without Blowing a Gasket - Part Two

Tons of companies come in to Facebook, set up their page, throw a few photos and status updates on it and leave. Doing this is akin to building a web site without bothering to optimize it for search engines and create a content strategy.

Join Me at PubCon Vegas in November

If you're looking to attend a search conference this year, it's not too late to leave behind the cold weather and head to Vegas next month to join me at PubCon. Programmed by the team over at Webmaster World, PubCon has been one of the top search engine marketing related conferences for the last half a dozen years. It's your chance to mix and mingle with some of the best and brightest in the SEO, Affiliate and Social Media worlds and at less than $900 per person, it's one of the most affordable large-scale shows you'll find.

The Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page Without Blowing a Gasket - Part One

There's amazing viral potential involved with Facebook pages and it provides companies an easy way to reap the benefits of photos, videos, discussion forums, micro-blogging and pretty much every other form of social media in one neat little package.

Friday Fun - The SEO Song

Had an email this morning from Oliver Blake over at The Creare Group pointing me to a video on YouTube that stars Creare Group web designer Michael Angrave. Now normally, I wouldn't bother to click a link to a random video, but since Oliver claimed this video featured "The SEO Song," I thought I'd give it a try.

Sparking Viral Spread - Make it Easy For Them

With more and more people signing on to social sites like Twitter and Facebook, companies are working overtime to figure out how to make the companies, products and offerings go viral. While I've written quite a few article about the theories behind preparing a campaign that's likely to go viral, the truth is that some of the most effective viral campaigns are also the simplest. Sometimes it's less about creating a great idea and more about enabling the spread.

Mixing Business with Pleasure: The Potential Peril of Social Media

One of the questions I hear most often when I'm teaching a social media seminar is how to balance their professional social media presence with their personal one. People ask me if they should blog and Tweet as themselves or as their business. They ask if they should mix business contacts with friends on Facebook and LinkedIn. They want to know if they can talk about their hobbies on their business profiles. Basically, they want to know the pros and cons of mixing business with pleasure in the blurry-lined landscape of social media.

Website Sales Slow? It's Time for the Mom Test

What if you built a site and all the right people showed up, but none of them bought anything? What if you looked at your traffic reports and analytics and you saw traffic streaming in in droves for all the keywords that perfectly describe what you do? What if you had killer content and tens of thousands of links, but sales were flat? What if you knew you had the best prices or the most unique offerings in town and STILL no one was buying?

Six Key Tactics for Organic Success

Every time I come home from a conference, I'm reminded of just how many new people are streaming into the industry every day. While many of us have been optimizing web sites for a decade or longer, the greatest majority of site owners are just now finding their way into the world of organic optimization.

SEO Bootcamp: Bring in the SEO Before You Build Your Site

Last week on the SEO 101 WebmasterRadio.FM show I host with Ross Dunn, we talked about some of the pet peeves we have about working with SEO clients. One of the things that came up in the discussion was companies that hire out their web development and THEN call an SEO once the new site is live. Ross and I talked about the frustration of having to tell a potential client the site they just paid oodles of dollars for doesn't have a shot in the engines, and how nice it would be if companies would call in an SEO consultant up front.

What My Kids Taught Me About Blogging

So far this week I've written about the Search Engine Optimization and Social Media lessons I've learned from watching my kids grow up. Today I'll be looking at what my two year old and four year old have taught me about creating content, building a community and increasing engagement rates for your blog.

Cast Your Vote for the Best Online Marketing Articles

It's that time of year again. Matt McGee and a team of volunteer judges have put together one of the most comprehensive lists of great online marketing articles around. Matt divided the articles up into topical categories earlier this month and the judges have just finished narrowing them down to the final contenders. Now it's up to the online community to cast their vote and determine who goes home with a 2009 SEMMY award.

What My Kids Taught Me About Search Engine Optimization

Yesterday I wrote about the Social Media lessons I've learned from watching my kids grow up. Today, I'm going to put the search engine optimization spin on it. After all, no matter how well we learn the basics of good search engine optimization, there's always something to be said for a reminder of why those basics are so important.

What My Kids Taught Me About Social Media

I was sitting around this afternoon thinking about how we approach so many areas of our lives and how many things I'm having to teach my four year old and two year old on a daily basis. In the spirit of "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," I'm offering up the first in a series of posts for online marketing. Leading off is the most obvious comparison to life as a media.

Check Out Market Motive's Live Graduation Ceremony

Remember back in the day when graduation was all about sitting in a stuffy auditorium while some Ben Stein clone in a robe read off a list of a few hundred (or worse, a few thousand) names? Booooooooooooring. These days, Web 2.0 has kicked it up a bit and made things more interesting. At least that's what the team over at Market Motive is telling me in regards to the upcoming graduation ceremonies for their first class of Master Level Consultants.

12 Marketing Minds, One Free eBook

If you're trying to kick off your 2009 marketing plans with some new ideas, you may want to check out a new (free) ebook put together by Valeria Maltoni over at Conversation Agent. The book is a compilation of the thoughts of twelve online marketers from a variety of backgrounds and skips the usual start of the year prediction model in favor of sharing thoughts on tactics and strategy.

Social Media Reminder: Think Before You Speak...

I ran across several interesting posts yesterday on the social media conversation front. Some of them made me nod my head in agreement, but one of them made me absolutely cringe. Once again, watching someone's mistakes reminds us all of the need to listen to our mothers when it comes to how we interact with social media.

A Content Case Study: Kraft Plays to Their Audience

Every now and then it's fun to take a company who is doing things right and make an example of them. This week, that company is Kraft foods. I've been meaning to write about a content idea of theirs for awhile now, one that does an excellent job of serving their target audience and also opening the door to draw a new audience.

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Lesson Six: It's All in the Attitude

Perhaps this lesson comes more from Geppatto than it does from Pinocchio, but since the two are so closely related, I'm going to use it to wrap up the series. See, Geppetto makes a great analogy for small businesses who haven't quite reached their potential. He had skills and abilities, but he hadn't yet enjoyed the fruits of his labor. He worked hard, but he often fell short.

Puppy's Picks - 01/12/09

I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From insight into building trust online to local marketing to a roundup of Twitter posts, find out which articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

How to Kill a Blog in Ten Days...

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but anyone who has taken an extended break from their blog without scheduling a slew of guest writers to fill in knows just how quickly traffic and comments can drop off.

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Lesson Five: The Conversion is the Goal

When you watch the story of Pinocchio, it's easy to get caught up in the drama of the moment. Whether he's skipping school and getting captured by a man who wants to put him in a sideshow, running off to Pleasure Island or getting swallowed by a whale...everything about Pinocchio screams "get me out of this jam right now." It's easy enough to get in the same cycle with your web site; facing down each individual area of marketing without seeing the bigger picture.

Puppy's Picks - January 9th, 2009

I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From Rachel's first true "Twitter rocks!" moment to the death of the blogroll to great tips on local blogging and paid search, find out which articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Lesson Four: Listen to Trusted Advice

You don't need to get very far into the story of Pinocchio to realize that little wooden boy didn't have much sense of judgement rattling around in that hollow head of his. Trouble not only followed him, he turned around and became its friend every chance he got. That's why the blue fairy appointed Jiminy Cricket to help Pinocchio make good choices. When it comes to your online marketing plan, you'd be wise to find a Jiminy Cricket of your own.

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Lesson Three: Don't be a Social Media Jackass

There's just something about the anonymity of sitting behind a computer screen that makes people do stupid things. Few but the boldest sales person would walk into a class reunion and try to close a sale with the alumni at their table, even fewer would walk up to a stranger's table at a restaurant to start shilling their offerings. Nonetheless this very thing happens every single day in the realm of social media. People walk smack dab into the middle of conversations and start hocking their wares without a second thought....

Puppy's Picks - January 5th, 2009

I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From a great year end compliation of posts to simple reminders of the need to focus on the basics, find out which articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

Search Engine Marketing Glossary

Definitions for terms commonly used on this site....

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Part Two: Online Reputation Means Straight Talk

For as long as there have been web sites, people have posted their thoughts, opinions and rants about people and companies and for as long as there have been search engines, consumers have found and read those thoughts. While it's been several years since companies began to realize the value of tracking and managing their reputations online, the explosion of social media has made online reputation management more complex and necessary than it's ever been before.

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Part One: Search Engines Want to be Real Boys

It's been more than two and a half years since I first wrote about the "Pinocchio Effect" as a way to explain the ever changing nature of search engine algorithms. Earlier this month, while preparing for the new small business panel at SES Chicago, I read through that old article and realized just how many areas of the Pinocchio story can be applied to online marketing.

Six Keys to a Viral Message that Sticks - Part Six: Tell a Story

I've spent the last month offering up a series of posts based on Chip and Dan Heath's book about viral marketing. In the last article of the series I'll be examining the craft of telling a story. The idea of using a story to make a point stick is an ancient one, going back to Biblical times when parables were used to explain spiritual principles.

Puppy's Picks - SES Coverage 12/15/08

I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From building a slow and natural link profile to the ethics of sponsored blog posts, find out which articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

Six Keys to a Viral Message that Sticks - Part Five: Tap into Emotions

We all do it. We fight the battle between our hearts and our minds as we try to decide which one is right. Some days we try to bury our emotions and think with logic, other days we cast aside reason in favor of following our hearts. It should come as no surprise then that consumers are the same way about making buying decisions. Logic and data has it's place in marketing, but ultimately consumers tend to spend more when they let their emotions lead them.

Puppy's Picks - SES Coverage 12/03/08

I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From an influx of new search marketing business to a comprehensive guide to non-profit search marketing, find out which articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

Knowing Your SEO Certification Options

On a fairly regular basis, I get emails from readers asking me about SEO Training and SEO certification. While there's no shortage of options out there for in-person training, (including our own SBMU conferences) it can be difficult to get yourself or your team to the right place at the right time. Thankfully, quite a few options are springing up for people who are looking to expand their knowledge without leaving their office.

Puppy's Picks - SES Coverage 12/01/08

I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From focusing on the keys to a good community to cheap ways to catch a customer's eye, find out which articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

Six Keys to a Viral Message that Sticks - Part Four: Carry Credibility

Anyone who knows anything about viral marketing knows one of the primary reasons it's so effective is because the message carries the credibility of those who share it. While we may not be willing to listen to a message from an advertiser, we're nearly always willing to listen to a message from friends and family. Of course there's a challenge in getting your viral campaign to pick up the credibility that comes with being passed from one person to another. You have to get that first person to pass it along.

Puppy's Picks - 11/25/08

I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From the new "Twitter-bite" to small businesses turning to the web for cheap marketing, find out which articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

All Links Are Not Equal: Why Twitter Links Grow Conversation

This morning I found myself in the middle of an interesting chat with Mack Collier on Twitter. It started when I joined in a conversation Mack was having about the metrics he measures when estimating the value of blogs. We kicked around the common ones like traffic, subscribers, links and number of comments. Then Mack made mention of how high his comments jump when he Tweets one of his own posts.

Maximize Your Paid Search Budget with Better Ads

With the holiday shopping season already in full gear online, paid search prices are going to be going up. After all, more competition equals higher prices. That means you'll need to make sure every ad you create has the best shot at landing you a conversion. To do that, you really need to understand how to write great ads.

Online or Off, it's All About Follow Through

Anyone with a brick and mortar presence who has tried to calculate the true ROI of organic and paid search knows how hard it can be to tie an offline sale with online research. We know shoppers end up conducting multiple searches and visiting multiple sites before they end up buying and that they usually end up buying offline and yet we fail to tie our marketing efforts together with any type of consistency.

The Choice of a Social Media Generation

I've been watching with interest as some of my blogging buddies posted their reactions to the blogger outreach campaign Edelman is running for Pepsi. The crew behind the outreach program picked twenty five social media and marketer influencers and sent them a preview of the new Pepsi cans. They also opened up a room in Friendfeed to foster discussion about the brand changes.

Getting Your SEO Campaign Off to a Great Start

Whether you're getting ready to overhaul your site in-house to improve your organic search rankings, or you're planning on hiring the process out to a consultant or agency, you need to have a grasp on the fundamental steps of a search engine optimization campaign. Otherwise, you're bound to get most of the way through the process only to find you are missing vital information. Worse, you could end up with a projected that is completed, but severely lacking.

LinkedIn Gets even More Useful with the Addition of Apps

If you're anything like me, you like to be able to customize things. You like a little extra juice on top of the standard options. You like to let your personality show through and you like to see a little personality from others. It's one of the reasons I reluctantly joined Facebook, though LinkedIn is the social network I find to be more practical. That's why I was so happy to hear the news about LinkedIn applications.

Leverage Information from Google to Lower the Cost of Your PPC Bids

One of the nice things about Google's somewhat complicated paid search advertising system is that as time passes, they give advertisers more and more information about their campaigns. While it takes time to learn how to read and interpret this information, doing so can go a long way toward helping you maximize your campaign performance while minimizing the amount of money you spend on it.

Six Keys to a Viral Message that Sticks - Part Three: Be Concrete

When it comes to getting your point across in a marketing or viral message, there's no room to be vague. You have to focus in on your message and deliver it in a way that's crystal clear. Unfortunately, many companies fall into the trap of speaking in generalities. Why? Because it's easy. Companies tout lines like "we do the right thing" or "we have the lowest prices" and fail to get specific enough to differentiate themselves from the dozens (or hundreds) of other companies touting the exact same thing.

Pictures Catch the Eye and Allow Your Words to Catch the Mind

One of my biggest struggle as a writer is finding a way to spin a tale or present an idea that captivates the mind long enough to keep someone reading to the end of my piece. A great way to do this is to captivate the eyes with images. It gives readers a break from all those words and it gives their mind a pleasant distraction that's brief enough to make them happy without getting them off track.

Six Keys to a Viral Message that Sticks - Part Two: Deliver the Unexpected

If there's one thing people are used to doing today, it's ignoring advertising messages. We switch the radio station when songs give way to commercials, we TIVO our favorite shows and play them back later without the commercials. We surf the web with "banner blindness" and we flip past the first twenty pages of a thick magazine because we know it's all ads.

Social Media is Not an Excuse to Stay Home

Here's the funny thing about social media. It's all talk. It's a wonderful, amazing, effective way to get to know people...but it's all about the talk and not the action. It's a great starting point, but you really need to "seal the deal" with offline interaction as well. It's a point Mack Collier did a nice job of making over The Viral Garden this past weekend.

Stick and Stones May Break Your Bones, and What You Say CAN Hurt You

I've written about the need to understand how "public" our thoughts, ideas and conversations are these days. Hundreds, no thousands of others have issued the same warnings. I think most people still figure we're talking about what you post online, but if you think about it, it's really not the case.

Dear Miss Social Media Manners...

If you've ever read a Miss Manners column (or stepped foot outside your house) you're well aware of the sheer number of people who simply have no concept of proper etiquette. If you've set foot on a social network like Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, you've probably learned this lesson a second time. While there is no Miss Social Media Manners to turn to with your questions on the best way to interact with folks online, you can rely on good old fashioned common sense to guide you.

Trio of Internet Marketers Launch New Video Portal

Everyone learns in different ways. Some of us embrace articles, some adore podcasts. Some prefer to learn by doing and some prefer to learn by watching. It's this last group of people that's been targeted by a new site called Launched by Search & Social's Dave Snyder, Jordan Kasteler and Search Engine Journal's Loren Baker, the site aims to pool internet videos put together by online marketers into an easy to access social community.

Key Relevance Reviews Keeping Your Relevance with a DNS Move

One of the most annoying tasks you might face as a web site owner is moving your site to a new host or domain. I've done this a couple of times and am actually going through a site review and revision again as I shift one of my hobby sites to a new domain. Since I've never been a big fan of the "technical stuff" I always appreciate it when a good post goes up explaining how things work. That's exactly what Mike Churchill did on the Key Relevance team blog last week.

When is Hiring an SEO a Bad Idea?

I've been reading a lot of posts lately from small business owners and search engine optimization companies talking about the push toward organic search during a bad economy. After all, good organic search campaigns tend to deliver some of the most effective (and least expensive) traffic your site is likely to see. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. In fact, there are some instances in which you'd do best to focus your limited marketing dollars elsewhere.

Six Keys to a Viral Message that Sticks - Part One

I've written quite a few articles about building and launching a viral marketing campaign over the past couple of years. In general, I write about the brainstorming process or how to put your pitches together. In this new series, I'll be looking at the six key components that make people remember a message and therefore, make it more likely they'll pass it on.

Understanding Site Wide Links and Social Media Links

Debra Mastaler has a great post over at Search Engine Land today that follows up on some questions posed at the Link Building Bootcamp at last week's SMX East conference. Debra fielded questions about both side wide links and the "quick links" that sometimes come with exposure on social media sites like Digg.

Where to Go for Keyword Ideas?

If you've been enjoying Stoney's series of articles on keyword research and organization, you may have found yourself rethinking your own keyword strategy. If so, you might be looking for some more ideas on how to start building out those lists.

Embracing the Failure Metric

With fears about the economy impacting everyone's bottom line, small business owners who don't already obsess about ROI are likely to find themselves digging deeper into their data in the coming months. Chances are good they'll start with metrics like conversion rate, cost per lead, time on site and pass along rates. Those are all good, but I can't help but think they're overlooking one that's absolutely essential.

Come Join Stoney, Matt, Mack and I in Washington Next Month

If you've been wanting to attend a conference to learn more about online marketing, you've got another great shot coming up next month out west. Matt McGee, Mack Collier, Stoney deGeyter and I will be joining several other speakers at the Tri-Cities Convention Center on November 7th for the one day "Learn About Web" conference. If you've balked at conferences recently because you're tightening your belt, you might be happy to hear the show costs just $129, making it an absolute steal!

The Easiest Links You'll Ever Get for Your Link Building Campaign

Anyone who has ever spent time on a link building campaign knows how much work it is to create content, build a pitch list and contact people to see about getting the link. Nonetheless, links are essential currency in the land of search engine optimization. I'm willing to bet if you had a chance to pick up links without much more than a friendly email you'd jump on it, right?

Still Trying to Understand Twitter? Think of Post-it Notes...

Last month at fall SBMU here in Columbus, I was trying to explain Twitter to some folks in my social media session who weren't familiar with it. Since I'm a big fan of analogies, I spent the week before the show trying to come up with a quick and easy way to explain Twitter. The thing that kept popping into my head was the idea of a wall of Post-it notes. If you're still having a hard time understanding Twitter, hear me out for one more explanation.

Blogs Help Search, Search Helps Blogs

One of the biggest benefits of building a blog for your company is the increased traffic that comes from new content and new search listings in the search results. In fact, extra listings in the search results is one of the best selling points if you are trying to convince your company to launch a blog. Especially if you're dealing with someone who thinks people don't read blogs.

A Little Primer on Latent Semantic Indexing

Ever heard of Latent Semantic Indexing? If you're a search marketer, the answer is probably yes. If you're a small business owner, there's a good chance the answer is no. That's's not a magic term that will turn your optimization efforts upside down, but it is a concept you need to know a little something about.

Yahoo! Analytics Rolling Out

Spotted a post by Michael Stebbins over at Market Motive about the roll out of Yahoo! Web Analytics to some Yahoo! store owners, developers and advertisers. While I'm still not a huge fan of analytics from the search engines, I (and most small business owners) are still pretty big fans of "free."

Why Social Media Outreach is the Key to Marketing in a Recession

If you aren't already barricaded in your basement with a wing stove, a supply of food and water and a small arsenal, chances are good you're wracking your brain trying to figure out how your small business will weather the economic storm. The talking heads have been telling us the bottom is about to drop out for months and with eleventy billion dollars about to get dumped into a mysterious "bailout" package, the rest of us are picking up our buckets so we can start bailing out ourselves and our businesses.

Tweaking Your Copy for SEO Purposes? Tweak it for Message too!

One of the things you should be doing on a fairly regular basis for your web site is running a quick check on your keyword phrases so you can make tweaks to your copy. Just because a word or phrase was popular when you first optimized your site doesn't mean it is now and regular keyword research can help you spot "holes" in the search results that you can fill by creating new content.

Dig Deep With Your Research When Building Pitch Lists

One of my favorite tips when I'm talking about bloggers is sending folks off to Technorati to do a topical search in an attempt to build a new pitch list. It's easy for marketers to focus in on finding the topical bloggers who focus on our vertical. Unfortunately, this can lead us down too narrow of a path and causes us to miss opportunities to expand our reach. That's why it's essential to look beyond the most common stops when building your pitch list.

Bloggers Really ARE Talking About Everything...

I've been having a grand time reading through Technorati's 2008 State of the Blogosphere. I absolutely love their annual release of information because as both a marketer and a communicator, I love to find out what sends people scrambling for their blog to share their thoughts. This year's report is pretty thorough and has a lot of juicy bits of info that give us insight into the communicators of the web. In this post though, I want to dive into the section that talks about what gets people blogging.

A Great Little Tutorial on How to Search

We spend a lot of time here on Search Engine Guide talking about how to reach your target audience via the web. We talk about search engine marketing, paid search advertising, social media, link building and everything else that's likely to help customers find their way to your web site. What we don't often do is give you a reminder of how to find information yourselves.

The Shortest, Simplest, Most Effective SEO Book You Can Buy for $25

There are a million and one books and ebooks out there claiming to teach you the secrets of search engine marketing these days. Some are excellent, some are passable and some are downright bad. The best of these books are the short and sweet ones. The books that help you get moving instead of trying to teach you each and every bit of information you could ever care to know about SEO. My friend Matt McGee just launched his ebook this week and at $25, it's an absolute steal.

Recapping Fall Small Business Marketing Unleashed

Just when you think something can't get any better, something sneaks in to surprise you. Back in April when we hosted our first ever Small Business Marketing Unleashed (SBMU) conference, we were astonished at how great the response was. The show was small, but the attendees ranted and raved about the quality of the speakers, the content and the networking.

Turning the Gears in the Viral Machine

I've written a lot about the thought process that goes into creating a viral marketing campaign. I've also written quite a bit about how to form your actual pitch when you get ready to seed the message. What I probably haven't focused on near enough is the need to understand the concept of interlocking gears and how it relates to viral marketing.

Four Good Reasons to Use the Alt Attribute

The ALT attribute is one of those bits of code that's been abused since day one. People can't remember it's name, they stuff it full of keywords or they ignore it entirely. So with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, I thought it might be fun to create a graphic that tells you what you need to know about using the ALT attribute....

Puppy's Picks - SES Coverage 08/29/08

I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From hyperlocal blogging to Google AdWords "Automatic Match" to new ways to use Twitter and LinkedIn, find out the six articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

The Fourth Commandment of Viral Marketing - Thou Shalt Tie in Your Message

Everyone wants to celebrate a viral success at some point in their marketing life. After all, who wouldn't be thrilled to have their message take off like a streak around the web? The problem comes when you get so focused on the spreadability of an idea you miss the marketing ability of an idea.

The Third Commandment of Viral Marketing - Thou Shalt Try, Try Again

My mother always said "nothing worth doing is easy." Generally good words to live by, but especially practical when it comes to viral marketing. While some of the most talked about viral marketing successes appear to have happened effortlessly, chances are high you'll need to put a lot of time and effort into yours. That's why it's absolutely essential to understand the adage "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

Puppy's Picks - SES Coverage 08/26/08

I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From changes to Google AdWords' Quality Score to hyperlocal search to back to school viral videos, find out the six articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

The Second Commandment of Viral Marketing - Thou Shalt Be Remarkable

We all know the viral campaigns that travel the furthest and carry the most impact tend to be the ones that leave the greatest impressions. Viral campaigns are, by their very nature, remarkable. Otherwise they wouldn't carry the emotional impact required to make us pass them on.

The First Commandment of Viral Marketing - Thou Shalt Know Thy Customer

Perhaps the biggest misconception about viral marketing is that it's a style of pushing your message. Companies convince themselves it's like launching a blog or running a paid search's simply something you decide to do. In this three part series I'll dig beyond the hype of Viral Marketing and look at three key lessons companies need to learn before diving into this style of outreach.

Puppy's Picks - SES Coverage 08/18/08

Rachel, Stoney and I are out here in sunny San Jose at Search Engine Strategies this week. While we're soaking up the info and crafting new content to send your way when we get back, I thought I'd provide a daily summary of the best posts recapping yesterday's show.

Small Business Can Step Back from the Bleeding Edge of Social Media

Yesterday at BarCamp Ohio I sat listening to a conversation among people who were trying to balance the need to be involved in social media outreach with the need to run their businesses. Their frustration was based on the fear that as they finally embraced a social network or site, the masses would move some place new. For a company focused running a business instead of playing in the social media sphere, it's a valid concern.

One Pet Peeve Viral Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Have in Common

While my roots rest firmly in the camp of search engine optimization and search engine marketing, I've spent the last year or two leaning more heavily toward the blogging, social media, viral marketing side of things. I'm often struck at the similarities between these methods. For instance, knowing your audience and creating content that makes them happy is generally the key in all four areas. Yesterday, I also realized the similarities in terms of pet peeves.

Puppy's Picks - 08/6/08

I scan a few hundred feeds and read dozens of articles a day so you don't have to. From the difference between building links and building content to principles of influence to a quick and easy keyword research tip, check out a roundup of five posts I classify as "must-read" for the day.

Puppy's Picks - 08/05/08

I scan a few hundred feeds and read dozens of articles a day so you don't have to. From understanding the Google AdWords system to getting your entire team involved in social media efforts, check out a roundup of five posts I classify as "must-read" for the day.

Social Media Marketing? Not in Columbus (or Social Media Isn't a Free Pass to a Good Campaign)

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting up with a couple dozen other Columbus bloggers for a preview of the new Experience Columbus marketing campaign. The campaign was touted as having a heavy social media component and since I'm in the process of promoting Columbus myself with our upcoming Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference, I was excited to see what they had put together. Unfortunately, the night featured quite a few classic social media marketing mistakes.

Don't Forget to Bring Your Business Cards to the Social Media Party

It's been said the devil is in the details. Unfortunately, I'm not really a details kind of person. I'd like to write it off and say my mental energy goes into creativity; but the truth is, I'm just really forgetful. It's why we have insanely organized people like Rachel and Vickie on staff to keep us organized. That's why yesterday's Columbus Tweetup served as a great reminder of one of the common mistakes small businesses make when it comes to social media.

Puppy's Picks - 07/29/08

I scan a few hundred feeds and read dozens of articles a day so you don't have to. From made up social media profiles to online reputation management to shifting paid search campaigns from Google to Yahoo, check out a roundup of seven posts I classify as "must-read" for the day.

Puppy's Picks - 07/28/08

I scan a few hundred feeds and read dozens of articles a day so you don't have to. From suprise social media usage to keyword copywriting to an ongoing debate around how to be the best company you can be online...check out half a dozen posts I classify as "must-read" for the day.

A Full Hour of Viral Marketing Video

If you've been thinking about joining us at Small Business Marketing Unleashed this fall, but aren't sure if the content is going to be a good fit for you, here's your chance to find out. I'm about to completely revamp my viral marketing talk, so I've released my old one into the public domain by speaking at Podcamp Ohio. That means you've now got the chance to hear my one hour Viral Marketing talk (and test drive our SBMU content) for free.

SEM Bootcamp: How Search Engines See Keywords

One of the questions I hear over and over again when I teach a search marketing boot camp is "How do search engines know which of my words are my keywords." These folks believe Google has a "list" of keywords and they come to your site hunting for them. While I can understand their line of thinking, the idea that search engines dub certain words on your site as your keywords isn't really true.

Puppy's Picks - 07/21/08

I scan a few hundred feeds and read dozens of articles a day so you don't have to. From egommunication to controlling the message online to a great recap of the fundamentals of paid search advertising, check out a roundup of five posts I classify as "must-read" for the day.

Puppy's Picks - 07/16/08

I scan a few hundred feeds and read dozens of articles a day so you don't have to. From more insight into Google's algorithm to the value of links to a reminder of how well Twitter works as a networking tool, check out a roundup of half a dozen posts I classify as "must-read" for the day.

Hard (but Important) Lessons About Viral Marketing

Viral marketing may be one of the most misunderstood forms of marketing. This gets proven to me over and over when some company calls (or emails) and tells me "we've just created X and we need you to make it go viral." While it's flattering to have people think I'm THAT good at what I do, each and every one of these companies tends to get the same response. "Thanks, but next time you need to call me before you create X." Not long after, I find myself thinking about what makes up a good viral campaign and just how much of that is misunderstood by companies.

What Saturday Afternoon at the Mall Taught Me About Web Sites

As the kids splashed around and I sat on a park bench in the shade with my husband and in-laws, I found myself thinking. We'd come for the free fountains, but had already dropped $75 on lunch at the mall. As I took in the environment and noticed the little "extras" the team at Easton had added to make the fountains more appealing for families, I couldn't help but draw an analogy between what Easton Towne Center was doing and what Web 2.0 allows online businesses to do.

Puppy's Picks - 07/11/08

I scan a few hundred feeds and read dozens of articles a day so you don't have to. From measuring the effectiveness of social media to hiring a search engine optimization firm to getting in the video game, check out a roundup of half a dozen posts I classify as "must-read" for the day.

SEM Bootcamp: Five Steps to Organic Success

If you're just getting started with search engine optimization, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information and all the details getting thrown around on blogs and discussion forums around the web. While good optimization skills take time to build, it's quite simple to get started.

Puppy's Picks - 07/10/08

A round up of what Jennifer read and found interesting today on the web. From how questions about Yahoo and Google's algorithms to dropping Technorati rankings to an impressive roundup of thoughts on what makes a social media marketer, check out five posts Jen thought you need to read.

Puppy's Picks - 07/09/08

A round up of what Jennifer read and found interesting today on the web. From how Google ranks sites to writing effective blog posts to Twitter Zombie attacks, check out half a dozen posts Jen thought you need to read.

Why the Social Media World NEEDS to Understand SEO

As I find myself drifting further and further from my search engine optimization roots to focus more time and effort on exploring the worlds of social media, blogging and viral marketing, I'm sometimes astonished at the misunderstandings between these two worlds. Search engine marketers look to social media as a vast expanse of link opportunities, almost completely missing the true potential of social media. On the other hand, social media types tend to look at SEO as some type of dirty game of tricks and scams that would tarnish the pure image they hope to build in their social media utopia.

Puppy's Picks for 07/02/08

A round up of what Jennifer read and found interesting today on the web. From new data on offline conversion rates to social media via newspapers, check out four posts Jen thought you need to read.

More People Share WOM Offline, But Does That Make Offline Stronger?

Almost anytime I talk about viral marketing, the subject of offline word of mouth verses online word of mouth comes up. People ask questions like which is more powerful, which has more potential and which leads to higher conversions and purchases. The truth is, it depends on the campaign and the product. Still, two new sets of data have been released about word of mouth marketing that are worth looking at.

Puppy's Picks for 07/01/08

A round up of what Jennifer thought was worth sharing today. From the latest numbers on how much businesses spend on search marketing each year to the need to dig deep in analytics to simple reminders of why social media matters, Jen offers up half a dozen articles worth your time.

Don't Miss the Post Conference Twitter Networking Effect

I think more people are beginning to understand the value of using Twitter during conferences to keep up with the conversation around the event and for meeting people at the show, but I think a lot of people are still failing to grasp the benefits of tying every day Twitter use to post-show networking. After attending Podcamp Ohio this past weekend, I'm reminded of just how useful Twitter is AFTER the show.

Puppy's Picks 06/30/08

A round up of what Jennifer thought was worth sharing today. From her first "Plurkshop" to social media espionage to a couple different viewpoints of creating online content, Jen offers up half a dozen articles worth your time.

Why LinkedIn Is One Social Network I Couldn't Work Without

When I teach Social Media classes to small businesses, I can always count on someone in the audience to ask a question that goes a little something like this: "I've got limited time to invest in social media, but there seem to be a million sites out there. How do I know which one is worth my time? If I only have time for one, which one should it be?" Well I generally try to weasel out of that question by telling them I'd use both LinkedIn AND Twitter, the truth is if I had to pick just one, LinkedIn would win, hands down. Let me tell you why.

Puppy's Picks - 06/18/08

A round-up of interesting posts, resources and articles from around the web today. From a common marketing missteps to the paid search content network to a fantastically creative post on Twitter, find out what stories I thought were interesting enough to share with you today.

There's No Shortcut for Link Building: A Case for Relationship Building

When it comes to building links and generating coverage of your web site and products online, there's a skill that often gets overlooked. Relationship building gets a lot of lip service these days, but I sometimes wonder how many small businesses really, truly understand how much work goes into it. Relationships go beyond reading a single blog post or scanning a Facebook means investing time in someone.

Puppy's Picks - 06/17/08

A round-up of interesting posts, resources and articles from around the web today. From a super comprehensive post on local search tactics to some common sense copywriting advice, find out what stories I thought were interesting enough to share with you today.

Puppy's Picks for 06/16/08

A round-up of interesting posts, resources and articles from around the web today. From site maps to link bait to the Google/Yahoo deal, find out what stories I thought were interesting enough to share with you today.

Puppy's Picks for 06/13/08

A round-up of posts, resources and articles from around the web. From a monster list of webmaster blogs for and by women to a satirical warning about misusing social media to a David and Goliath story that will make your blood boil, find out what Jen is reading today and why.

Cross Sell to Build Links and Increase Rankings

Good search engine optimization has always been about delivering great content to both readers and search engine spiders. Really good search engine optimization is about learning to balance who to keep happy at any point in time and understanding how one change to your site can impact multiple things. Excellent search engine optimization is when you find the "sweet spot." That's when you make a change to your site that results in increased rankings AND increased sales.

Is the Goal of Your Copy To Rank or to Convert?

Obviously the goal of your copy is to do a little bit of both, but when it comes right down to it, which ones is more important? We all know you need to consider your rankings because they can be a fantastic source of traffic, but it's also true that traffic that doesn't (or won't) convert means almost nothing to the average site owner.

Google Clarifies Some Things...

Kudos to Matt Cutts and the team at Google for finally getting around to adding nofollow documentation (and a few other updates) to the Google Webmaster Help Center.

Announcing the SBMU Keynote: Anita Campbell

I'm pleased to announce that Anita Campbell, CEO and editor of Small Business Trends will be joining us in Columbus, Ohio this fall to serve as keynote at the second Small Business Marketing Unleashed Conference. If you aren't familiar with Anita, you should be. When it comes to small business, she's one of the most respected sources on the web.

How Social Media (Didn't) Change Business

I'm continually amazed at how people go barreling into social media sites like a bull in a china shop and then wonder why they aren't well received. They hear social media is changing the way people do business and they make the mistake of thinking it's changing it to something "new" instead of simply changing it back to the way things used to be. (Yes, I know Twitter is new, I mean in spirit.)

Still Confused by Social Media?

While we're starting to see a shift toward more and more people understanding and embracing the idea of social media, there are still quite a few folks out there that simply don't get it. That's not to say they don't understand what it is, it's that they don't understand why it's so important and how it can impact their business.

Simple Advice, Better Local Search

Sometimes it's the really simple advice that can have the most impact on how you do business. That's the basis of Tim's advice over at Convert Offline this week. Tim harkens back to his Yellow Pages days and offers up some great suggestions on building a better local search presence. Now some people might find it odd to learn SEO lessons from something as old school as the Yellow Pages, but Tim offers up some good advice on improving your site.

Bloggers Need to Accept Responsibility Too

I've read a lot of posts lately tearing down the public relations industry for what a poor job they do when pitching bloggers. I've also read (and written) quite a few posts about what a terrible job companies do relating to bloggers and having conversations with them. While there's no doubt companies and PR firms have a long way to go, a blast from my past reminded me that bloggers need to share some responsibility in all this.

Small Business Marketing Unleashed Part Deux: Fall in Columbus

If you missed the first Small Business Marketing Unleashed event in Columbus and have spent the last month kicking yourself, it's ok! We wouldn't be us if we didn't try to do everything we could to take care of you! So, Jen, Rachel, Robert and Vickie have spent the last three weeks with our nose to the grindstone to line up a second, BONUS edition of Small Business Marketing Unleashed this fall in Columbus, Ohio.

Deep Links: Web Users Want What They Want and They Want it Now!

One of the most common mistakes I see being made by folks who are new to search engine optimization is a lack of focus on attracting deep links. These people will work hard to gain new links to their sites by submitting to directories, joining organizations and filling out profiles on social networks, but they often fail to focus on getting good quality links to the inner pages of their web sites. But new data released by Jacob Nielsen shows just how important those deep links are.

What Nutella (and I) Can Teach You About Blog Marketing

Yesterday I spent the day at a small conference here in Columbus put on by Ohio Web Leaders. They'd asked me to come and speak about blogging for business and blog marketing to a mix of small business, PR types and in-house marketers. Now I always try to break things down into every day life examples, but thanks to an off handed comment about Nutella, I had a chance for a great object lesson.

Social Networking Holds True Value for Small Business

When you do what I do for a living, it's a constant battle to remind yourself that not everyone lives and breathes online marketing. The true challenge of small business education isn't really in teaching people what they need to's in convincing them they need to know it. That's why I couldn't resist writing a rebuttal to an article over at Anita Campbell's Small Business Trends site by John Mariotti called "Ten Reasons I Won't Use Social Media Sites."

Two Handfuls of Tips for Picking Keywords

If you've been reading about search engine marketing for more than, oh...about five minutes, you know you need to pick and target keywords and phrases as part of your campaign. You might even be familiar with some of the popular keyword tools and know about concepts like the keyword long tail. Heck, you might have already picked your phrases, optimized your site and moved along to other projects. No matter what point you're at, you need to read Christine Churchill's latest article over at Search Engine Land about selecting your keywords.

Shopping for a Viral Video at YouTube

It's no secret consumer generated content is hot. Both McDonald's an Apple have bought the rights to content found on YouTube and turned them into commercials in recent months. Consumer generated content has a "real" feeling to it and can often be purchased for far less than the cost of custom created ads. So I'm wondering, why haven't more small businesses thought of exploring this option?

Google Offers Stronger Conversion Tracking via AdWords

If you are a Google AdWords advertiser and rely on Google's conversion feature to help you figure out your campaign budgets, you'll be interested to learn more about some conversion tracking features they put into place last month. John over at PPC Hero has a nice write up on the features and how you can apply them.

Reaching Women via Word of Mouth Marketing

As a hobby blogger in the "mom" realm, I often get swamped at conferences by companies looking to market their products to women. These companies have figured out that women are online en masse and they're communicating their likes, dislikes and daily lives with friends and strangers. I applaud their initiative in trying to reach out to women on the web, but sometimes I wish they'd take a step back and think a little harder about how they approach these women.

How to Grow a Community by Leaving it Alone

With so much focus on social media and fostering conversation these days, companies both big and small are trying to figure out the best way to grow communities. Looking around at the number of blogs dedicated to the topic, you'd think there was some complex formula you needed to follow to get one going. Of course George Oates from Flickr would tell you you're wrong.

Who is the Latest Mind to Join the Search Engine Guide Team?

Two weeks ago, I came home from Small Business Marketing Unleashed to find a note on my laptop. It said "Hey Jen! We need more content! The masses are circling and you're not giving them enough to read!!" Now as someone who used to regularly churn out 6000 words of content a day, I found I could do nothing more than hang my head in shame. After all, what good is Search Engine Guide if we aren't feeding our readers a steady diet of small business marketing articles to keep them happy?

MarketMotive and Search Engine Strategies Pair up for Online Training

If you've been wanting to get to a Search Engine Strategies event, but haven't been able to escape from your office, you'll be glad to hear that Search Engine Strategies has teamed up with MarketMotive to offer in-depth online training seminars featuring members of the Market Motive staff and popular SES speakers. The sessions are designed to marketers a chance to receive high level training at a lower price and with a small time commitment than attending an entire show.

It's a Toilet not a "Biological Waste Aquatic Removal System"

Ben McConnell has a short little post over at Church of the Customer this week that serves as a perfect example of why keyword research is so essential. McConnell is talking about companies that rely too heavily on jargon in their marketing materials. In the world of search engine optimization, we call that "PR speak."

Targeting Conversions and Traffic with Long Tail Writing

As personalized search and universal search continue shaking up an industry that used to be dominated by "top ten results," more and more small businesses are learning the value of focusing on the keyword long tail. While there's no doubting the value of bringing in highly targeted traffic, many companies still don't quite get how to target the long tail in their copy. They also don't know that long tail friendly copy is also user friendly copy.

SEM Bootcamp: Three Steps to Creating New Content

With all the talk about blogging and social media lately, you'd think there was nothing left to do in the world of search engine optimization. I'm guilty of tunnel vision myself. After all, social media is far more fun to talk about than title tags, keyword selection and canonical issues. That said, sometimes the best way to give your site a boost is to go back to basics. Whether it's a refresher or your first shot at optimizing your site, here's a trip down content revitalization lane.

Win a Free Pass to PPC Summit

If you've been looking for a way to improve your paid search campaigns, it might not be a bad idea to check out the upcoming PPC Summit events in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In fact, if you're willing to submit your favorite SEO tip by May 8th, you'll have a shot at winning a free pass to one of the shows.

Who's Robert Clough? Hint: He's Not a Cartoon Dog

If you're new around here, you've probably never heard of Robert Clough. If you've been around here for years, you've probably decided Robert Clough is my imaginary friend...someone I made up to pin the blame on when things go south. The truth is he's a real person. The folks who attended SBM Unleashed last week know this and thanks to Anita Campbell, the whole world now knows it.

Small Business Marketing Unleashed, We Miss You

The first ever Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference has come and gone and I've had a full week to unwind and decompress. When we first announced our conference last fall, I had more than one person drop me an email asking if I knew what I was getting us into. I didn't, but I'm glad. If I had, we never would have done it. For those who joined us in Houston, thank you! It was a true pleasure getting to know you last week. For those who didn't make it, read on for a recap of the show.

Focus on Ranking Improvement, Not Domination

Last week at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference, small business owners (and a handful of marketers) came from around the world (literally) to learn more about marketing themselves online. We decided to open the show with a tag-team panel approach aimed at helping attendees go into the show sessions with the right perspective. Search engine marketing, blogging and social media are wonderful; but if you're a small business doing it all yourself, you need to approach things from a unique angle.

Last Call for Small Business Marketing Unleashed

There's just a handful of days left before the Search Engine Guide team takes to the stage in Houston, Texas for our first ever Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference. Our staff and speakers have been busy finishing up last minute details, putting the finishing touches on presentations and getting ready to load tons of great worksheets and guides onto the flash drives we'll be sending attendees home with. If you haven't signed up yet, it's not too late.

Great Examples of Corporate Twitter Use

I (along with the rest of the marketing world) have been writing more and more about Twitter in the last few months. How to use it, how to leverage it, and why you need to be part of the conversation. While there are now plenty of examples of why Twitter is valuable in terms of networking and driving traffic, David Armano has a great post this week exploring how two companies are using Twitter to interact with customers and to build their brand.

Trying to Get a Handle on Building Links?

If so, Adam Audette has you covered. He has put together an exceptional (and incredibly comprehensive) post called "The Fundamentals of Link Building" over at his blog. The post is about a month old, but if you haven't already spotted it, it's well worth a read. Adam breaks link building down by topic and includes dozens of links to tools and resources aimed at helping you through the process.

Paid Search Advice That's 75 Years Old

Yes, you read that right. Seventy-five years ago a team of brilliant marketing professionals offered up the type of advice you can use to get more out of your paid search campaigns. They may not have known sites like Google and Yahoo would pop up decades later, but the concepts and techniques they used and taught are timeless. Alan Rimm-Kaufman takes a look at this advice and how you can apply it in his Paid Search column at Search Engine Land today.

Spite is Not a Marketing Strategy

Over the past few weeks, I've seen multiple instances of companies using spite and or attacks to try and push themselves ahead of their competitors. I imagine in their minds, painting the competition in a poor light makes their own products and services look that much better. Unfortunately for them, they've missed a key lesson in both life and marketing. If you have to make someone else look bad in order to make yourself look or feel good, you've got a long way to go.

Use Custom Tags to Track Your MSN and Yahoo PPC Campaigns

If you're using the free Google Analytics as your stats solution, you probably already know that AdWords integrates into Google Analytics pretty seamlessly. If you're running campaigns on Yahoo or MSN, it takes a little more effort. Lucky for you, the folks at The Adventures of PPC Hero have created handy primers on how to get things rolling.

Five Reasons Twitter is an Essential Social Media Tool

I've been using Twitter for roughly five months now and I'm finding more and more reasons to include it on my must-use list of social media sites. I go to thinking about my little love affair this week when Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends asked fifteen small business owners what their favorite social media site was and why. I was interviewed for the piece, as were Unleashed speakers Matt McGee and Wendy Piersall. The more I thought about it, the more I realized Twitter just might be the best all-around social network for small business owners.

Social Media + Humanity = Embarrassment (But That's Ok!)

On the heels of this morning's article about the need to inject a little humanity into your small business marketing, I ran across a great post by Mike Moran over at Biznology that asks if you can handle a little professional embarrassment. After all, if you're going to inject humanity via social media experimentation, there's a good chance you're going to make a fool of yourself.

Sixty Cent Branding: How One Minute of Effort Sparked This Post

One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses on the web is how to differentiate themselves from the competition. Yes, a unique domain name or site design can help. Great products and good prices makes a difference as well. But sometimes, it really is the little things that can push you over the top. In fact, for just sixty cents (give or take a nickel), one small business in DeKalb, Illinois cemented it's brand in my "gift shopping" bookmarks and sparked a post on this blog that will reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers.

Is the Influence of Bloggers Overrated? Umm....No.

If someone told you only there was a place where people might talk about your product and 23 percent of the people who saw that conversation would be more likely to buy your product...would you think that was a good thing? I would. In fact, I'd very much want to find a way to get in front of that audience. That's why, I'm a little confused to hear some people claiming the 23% number isn't significant.

Jennifer Slegg Makes the Case for Prices in Your PPC Ads

If you run an ecommerce site selling products that can also be found elsewhere, putting your price in your paid search ad could go a long way toward improving your conversion rates. That's the point Jennifer Slegg makes in a post on pay per click conversion rates and ROI at her blog today. Jennifer reminds readers that while many companies spend their time focusing on driving clicks, they would be better served looking at ROI and considering how the information in their ad impacts both click through rates and conversion rates.

Search Engine Marketing Bootcamp: Make Sure the Search Engines Can Read Your Site

While search engines are pretty good at finding web sites and getting their content indexed, many site owners have no idea their web sites can be created in a way that looks good to people, but can't be read by search engines. If your site is built entirely in Flash, relies too heavily on Javascript or uses drop down boxes and forms to let people find your content, the search engines may be missing out on your content.

How Doing a Little Thesaurus Surfing Attracts the People Who are Article Surfing

Sean D'Souza at Copyblogger calls them "a few measly words." I like to refer to it as "Thesaurus surfing." Either way, Sean offers up a couple of fantastic examples of how adding a target and some adjectives to your article titles can go a long way toward tightening up your content and enticing readers to click through and follow you along for the literary ride.

Boost Your Blog with Static Content

Earlier this week I wrote a post reminding small businesses why it's so important to consider launching a blog to go with their web site. At the time, I pointed out the benefit of ever-changing content. Today, i ran across a great post over at ProBlogger exploring nearly two dozen types of static pages you should consider building into your blog. While the idea of creating static pages on a blog may sound counterintuitive, it's actually an important part of blog creation many people miss.

YouTube Gets in on the Stats Game

If you're a marketer and you put content want data. Data is what tells us our ideas our working. Data is also what tells us our ideas are falling short. It's what tells us who came, where they came from, how long they hung around and if they actually did anything during their visit. The problem data loving marketers are facing these days is how to reconcile new sources of traffic and exposure with an extreme lack of insight into how people are interacting with our content.

A Simple Reminder of Why Alexa is Useless

While catching up on my RSS feeds today, I came across a post at Matt McGee's Small Business SEM that's a few days old, but well worth mentioning. The post dives into the issue of Alexa rankings and explains why they should not be used as a gauge of how successful a web site is.

Missed the Early Bird Price on Unleashed? No Worries!

No doubt some of you looked at your calendars last week and realized you'd missed the $850 early bird price for our upcoming Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Houston. Don't sweat it, we've got you covered. We've spent the last six months building the perfect conference for you. We know how busy you are. Do you think we'd let you miss out on this great show just because you forget to set an alert on your calendar?

A Dozen Reasons to Have a Blog for Your Business

While social media is still the topic du jour at major search conferences, I'm still hearing a lot of buzz about blogs. While Technorati is tracking more than 121 million blogs these days, we're still no where near the saturation point. The issue now is convincing small businesses of the need to consider launching a blog. That's what Grant Griffiths is aiming to do over at Home Office Warrior with his great list of 12 Ways a Blog Can Benefit Your Business.

Google AdWords Opens up Demographic Bidding

If you've been looking for more control over who sees the ads you run via Google AdWords, here's your chance. Google began beta testing demographic bidding back in January and opened the program up to all AdWords advertisers last Friday. Granted, when they say all AdWords advertisers, they mean all the ones utilizing the content network, but this new feature still gives small business owners far more control than they've ever had over who sees their AdWords ads.

Four Social Media Lessons from SXSW's Mark Zuckerberg Interview

If you read technology and marketing blogs or follow Twitter, chances are good you've heard some of the fuss about Sarah Lacy's interview of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at yesterday's South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin. I spent the afternoon watching Twitter users unleash an absolute tirade against Lacy during the interview, which left me wondering what was going on. After having read numerous blog posts, news stories and watching several video clips, I realized what the fuss was all about. As always, there's something to be learned from failure.

What Do An English Pub and Social Media Have in Common?

Quite a bit! After a trek across the pond and some time spent in a pub in Northeastern England, Site Logic Marketing's Matt Bailey offers up an excellent article this week that draws a poignant analogy between social media marketing and the traditional English Pub.

Practicing What We Preach: A Social Media Marketing Lesson

We've always been pretty open here at Search Engine Guide about how we do things. Partly because that's just who we are, but mostly because we like the challenge of doing things on a budget (like our readers) and ending up with examples that can help inspire them in their own marketing goals.

Need Your Votes for Charity Fundraiser at SES NY

If you haven't heard, the teams from Best of the Web and the Internet Marketers of New York are throwing their third charity party later this month during Search Engine Strategies New York. This time around, they've decided to let the Internet marketing community decide which charity the event should benefit. They asked four industry folks to back a charity and they're asking YOU to cast your vote. I'm one of the four and as you can imagine, I'm pushing for the event to benefit the HMBANA Milk Banks.

Tis the Conference Season

I remember when there was this nice lull between December and April where I didn't have to book flights, write presentations or find someone to watch my kids. These days, it feels like one conference blends into the next. On the plus side, that means you have tons of options to choose from if you're looking to attend a search marketing or online marketing conference.

Part Five: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

Up until now, the series has mostly focused on how you can use Twitter to directly communicate with other members. I've shared insight into how you can expand your networking skills, use Twitter to meet up with people in person and set links on the viral path with "retweets." While each and every one of those uses adds value to the Twitter service, it was the use of Twitter as a news source for that first caught my interest.

Part Four: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

By now I'm hoping you've either signed up for Twitter and started playing around to see what you can learn or are at least giving it some thought. Of course if you already have enough friends or never leave your house, I probably haven't convinced you to give it a go yet. I'll aim to change that today by convincing you of the power of Twitter in terms of driving traffic and launching viral buzz.

Search Marketing Bootcamp: What's a Keyword?

To some, it sounds incredibly simple. To others, it's somewhat mind boggling. Search marketers toss around lingo like "keywords" and "keyword phrases" as if they're part of everyone's vocabulary. While it's true the words are nothing special, the concept can be foreign to someone new to the industry. This article offers up a quick and simple primer on the concept of keywords and keyword phrases in regards to organic search engine optimization.

As Google Maps Grows, is Your Business Being Left Behind?

Matt McGee offers up a post over at Small Business SEM that makes it pretty clear Google Maps is on the way up in terms of usage. Despite my love of Yelp for local reviews, I find myself turning to Google Maps more and more often for brick and mortar business info. It's the integrated option on my iPhone and the simple navigation on the web version of the site let's me find specific types of stores near certain locations.

The "Middleman" of Social Media is Your Friend

Listen to any commercial from a warehouse style store and they'll tell you all about how you have to "cut out the middleman." The middleman is bad, bad, bad. He mucks things up, he makes them more expensive and he keeps you from getting the absolute best deal on your appliances, mattresses and even your insurance. In the world of social media marketing however, the middleman is your friend. In fact, he or she could become one of your most valuable assets.

Part Three: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

Ok, so chances are good quite a few of you have Twitter accounts already. At some point, you wondered what the hype was all about, went and signed up and followed a few people. Then you got bored, asked yourself why you were wasting your time on this "crazy Twitter stuff" and left your account for greener pastures. For some of you, it was a good choice. After all, you DO have a business to run. For others...well, maybe you just need a little perspective on when and how Twitter comes in handy.

Part Two: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

There's no denying that opening up a Twitter account is easy stuff. Five minutes out of your day and you're ready to be up and running. There's also no denying that Twitter is a lonely, lonely place if you don't have any friends. Today, we'll dive into the Twitter "followers/following" system and learn how you can really use Twitter to communicate with people.

SEOs Fight Fat - A Different Kind of SEO Contest

SEO contests are nothing new. Every few months someone pops up with some randomly generated phrase and a pile of prizes so aspiring search engine optimizers can go head to head in a race for top rankings. But when Donna Fontenot (DazzlinDonna) approached me about her latest idea for an SEO contest, I couldn't resist. This time around, Donna has recruited about a dozen search marketers to go head to head in a two-month, live blogged weight loss competition a la' "The Biggest Loser." The cool part? It's all about raising money for charities.

Part One: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

I've spent the last month playing around with Twitter. Now that I've had time to really dive into the service, experiement with it and learn some of the finer details, I figured it's about time I wrote a Seach Engine Guide style guide to the service. This multi-part series will cover everything from how to get an account and get people following you to the finer points of twitter marketing and networking. It's not a service that will be worth the time to everyone, but it's certainly proven itself to have practical application for me.

How Advanta is Leveraging Social Media for B2B

How does a big stodgy business with a fairly boring product leverage social media? Easy. They create a new and growing social community of entrepreneurs. Ideablob is that community. Launched byAdvanta, one of the largest providers of business credit cards to small businesses, Ideablob is a great example of how B2B companies are leveraging social media to build a vibrant community of followers all while boosting the Advanta brands to their target audience.

Social Media Can Be a Great Way to Stretch Your Ad Budget

Word is out that 30 second spots during this year's SuperBowl are going for a cool $3 million. That's unattainable cash for most small businesses. Even still, I have to wonder if it's a worthwhile investment for the companies that CAN afford it. Surely there's a better way to leverage $3 million to deliver a solid return and ongoing return.

You Don't Have to be Groundbreaking to Be Successful

I've spent years working with small businesses to help them improve their online marketing efforts. In that time, I've seeing companies falling into one of two traps. They either begin to obsessively focus on the latest and greatest or they go into panic mode and avoid trying anything new for fear of making a mistake. That's a point Mike Moran addresses beautifully in his latest post over at Biznology.

PPC Tip: Search Terms Tell You Loads About Intent

The folks over at PPC Hero are doing a new series this week on paid search advertising called "Learn to Think and Search Like Your Customers." Their goal is to break down the different areas of paid search campaigns and to help you learn how taking the time to really consider your customer can help you position your product to be THE answer to their search.

Target Buries Its Head in the Sand

You would think that in 2008, it would be hard for a mainstream retail outlet to ignore the potential impact of blogs. You would think that, but you would be wrong. I caught Jim Tobin's tweet about Target's decision not to interact with "non-traditional media" and found myself just shaking my head at the news.

Is There Any Real Value to Twitter?

Maki thinks so. He's put together a great post sharing seventeen different uses he's found for Twitter. It's a good post for those of you who have looked at Twitter with (justifiable) skepticism and wondered what it had to offer you. Some of you will find your skepticism confirmed, but others will spot some practical application that makes a little experimenting with Twitter worthwhile. Thus far, I fall into the latter group.

Three Key Points for SEM Success

Every now and then you have to get back to the basics. You may be learning the ropes and turning in some pretty good results with your search engine marketing efforts. You might be seeing higher rankings, more traffic and tons of links. Of course you might not be seeing an increase in sales. If that's the case, there's a good chance you've made one of three common mistakes with your search marketing campaign.

Which is a Better Use of Your Time, a Blog or Email Newsletter?

If you've spent any time reading online marketing blogs or sites like this one, you're probably either blogging or thinking about blogging. Of course you also might be wondering about more traditional online marketing options like the ever popular email newsletter. But if your time is limited, which one should you get your focus? That's the question being answered by Rich Brooks at the Flyte Blog today.

Understanding the Value of a Link

With all the talk about link these days, it's no wonder folks get confused about what types of links they should go after. From reciprocal links to directories to the Google nofollow controversy, it's getting tough for the average web site owners to know what makes up a solid link building plan. With that in mind, Debra Mastaler offers up a great post at Search Engine Land called "There's No Such Thing as a Worthless Link."

2008 SEMMY Nominees Announce

If the writer's strike has left you feeling like you're missing the best of awards season, Matt McGee is here to rescue you. He's announced the launch of the SEMMYs, a new award that aims to honor the best online marketing posts of the year in more than a dozen categories. The initial list of nominees was compiled by Matt, but more than two dozen industry types (myself included) will be working to narrow the field before Matt opens it up to votes.

I Said Empower Your Fans, Not Enrage Them!

I've written quite a few articles about companies who have trouble dealing with the way social media has changed conversation. Big, old school companies and organizations who are used to "controlling the message" tend to have a hard time letting go of that control. Unfortunately for them, social media is pushing the conversation forward whether they want it to or not. That's why I was surprised, but really not surprised at the NCAA's new blogging policies.

A Great Round-up of Blog Ad Networks

Wendy Piersall offers up an excellent post about blog ad networks this week over at eMoms at Home. Whether you're looking for a network to join or one to buy ads through, this post is a worthwhile read.

Five Link Building Challenges to Overcome

Last year brought about quite shake-up to the way many sites were used to building links. Google's decision to take on link buyers left quite a few folks feeling a little paranoid about both seeking links and linking out. With that in mind, Justilien Gaspard tackles the Top 5 SEO and Link Building Challenges for 2008 in a column at Search Engine Watch today.

Search Marketing Bootcamp: Robots.txt File

Robots.txt files are often mentioned as being an important foundation of a search friendly web site. To site owners and small businesses who are new to search marketing, the robots.txt file can sound daunting. In reality, it's one of the fastest, simplest ways to make your site just a little more search engine friendly.

The Building Blocks of SEM

Everyone knows that if you want to build something big, you have to have a strong foundation. That holds true whether you're putting up a skyscraper or creating an online marketing plan. While you may think it's all about links and keywords, solid search and online marketing encompasses so much more. That's why anyone looking to start marketing their business online should print out and study Matt McGee's new SEO Success Pyramid.

Join Us in Houston for Small Business Marketing Unleashed

It's the new year and registrations are starting to roll in for Search Engine Guide's upcoming Small Business Marketing Unleashed event. If you've been thinking about joining us in Houston this April, you may want to think about reserving your spot son. Registration is limited and there aren't many on site rooms left.

Making the Most of Your Social Media Time

On the heels of my own post about the social media time sink, I ran across one by Chris Winfield over at Search Engine Land offering up some advice on the best use of your time when it comes to social media.

Avoiding Information and Conversation Overload from Social Media

Here's the problem with social media: it takes a lot of time. There are only so many hours in the day and if you're a small business owner, you need to spend most of them working. The challenge for any small business owner when it comes to social media is figuring out how to leverage it without letting it destroy your productivity. That's why it's essential to stop worrying so much about missing something and start focusing more on using what works for you.

Do You Know if You're Ticking Off Your Best Customers?

Every now and then, your company makes a decision that has a pretty big impact on your customers. Sometimes that impact is positive, sometimes it does a pretty good job of ticking those customers off. How that decision is received can make a big difference in the ongoing success of your business. If you aren't watching the Internet to gauge the reaction to these decisions, you're making a big mistake.

New Online Marketing Blog for Global Marketing

Search Engine Guide blogger Manoj Jasra just dropped me a note to let me know about the launch of a new "global marketing" blog that aims to offer up some specific advice for marketers reaching out in ten different countries. Knowing we have quite a few non-U.S. readers, I thought this was something worth passing along.

Search Marketing Bootcamp: How To Tell if a Link is NoFollowed

We've seen a couple of posts popping up in our Small Business Ideas forums asking if links from a specific site are being nofollowed or not. With that in mind, I thought a quick tutorial on how to find out if a link is nofollowed might be handy for some of our readers.

How to Set Yourself up as a Viral Success

As we head into the new year, small businesses across the web will be looking to boost their presence by sparking conversation, attracting links and driving new sales. If you're looking for to walk the path to viral success, consider two statements made by popular marketing bloggers this week.

What if Search Engines Could Read Images?

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for many small business sites (well, any site, really) when it comes to search engine optimization is the lack of text on their web sites. After all, it's well known among SEO's that search engines cannot read the text in an image. Or can they? Bill Slawski walks us through a few new Google patent filings today that may point to a change in this long standing rule of SEO.

Small Biz Turns to Social Networks for Referrals

While many small business owners are flocking to social media and social networking sites, others are scratching their heads and wondering why they should waste their time. Those head scratchers might want to take a look at an article out today over at eWeek that explores the trend of small businesses using social networks as sounding boards and referral services.

Considering Becoming an AdSense Partner?

If you've been wondering about adding AdSense to your blog or web site to boost your revenue, but haven't been quite sure how to get started, you might want to check out "Newbie Central." Designed to help site owners get a better understanding of how the AdSense publishing system works, Newbie Central was introduced yesterday on the Inside AdSense blog.

Get Up to Speed on the Paid Links Debate

Last fall, the paid links debate was raging across the Internet as nearly every industry blog and forum focused in on what Google was demanding and how it would impact everyone's bottom line. I wrote a five part series on the nofollow controversy to bring small business owners up to speed. There's been even more news since then, so you may want to check out an excellent recap by Vanessa Fox over at Search Engine Land.

Are Your Social Networking Connections Hurting YOUR Reputation?

It's been well over a year since I first wrote about how the social networking frenzy is impacting the personal and professional reputations of Internet users. Since then, we've continued to see stories about how many companies are now running Google searches before hiring applicants. In fact, it's becoming more and more common for companies to decide not to hire someone based on what they've found in a potential hire's online profile.

Another Boring Product Made Fun With Social Media

Back before the holidays I made two posts about how a church and a bank put a new spin on an old idea and created something with great viral potential. Today, I want offer up another example of how a company that creates a pretty boring product (a blender) put a David Letterman style thinking cap and created a viral video sensation.

Old Idea + Creative Thinking + New Media = Viral Marketing Potential Part 2

If you read part one of this post, you've already caught a great example of a church getting a little creative with their welcome message and ending up with a great viral video. In part two, we're going to take a look at how a company in Fargo, South Dakota put a twist on the typical "donate a bunch of money at the end of the year" idea to score a viral hit of their own.

Old Idea + Creative Thinking + New Media = Viral Marketing Potential Part 1

Earlier this week, Debra had a great post about creating viral videos as a way to drive links to your site. Now there's no doubting the power of video (just ask the founders of YouTube) for driving traffic and sparking interest, but I do still hear quite a bit of chatter about how hard it is to create a good viral video. Then I ran across a video this morning that reminded me you just need a sense of humor and a slightly varied take on something you're doing anyway.

When Social Networks Go Senile

With social media sites coming online at a rate of eleventy billion a minute, it's only a matter of time before we start to see some...well, interesting communities popping up. So what would happen if you not only got a bunch of senior citizens together (and I don't mean the "just turned 60 club," I mean the 80+ club) and built a Facebook type social networking site? And what if those seniors had a great sense of humor?

Discount Subscription to Search Marketing Standard

It's hard to believe it's been two years since Boris Mordkovich and his team launched the print Search Marketing Standard magazine to help educate folks about the search marketing industry. I remember back when I first posted about the magazine's launch. At the time, I was pretty skeptical. After all, the industry moves at a blogger's pace, not a publisher's pace. It just didn't seem like a print magazine had a chance. I'm happy to say I was wrong.

You Can't Compete With the Big Guys? You Sure About That?

I've spent the better part of my adult life (I know, I know, that still isn't that many years) working with small businesses to help them leverage the Internet in creative ways so they could compete with much larger competitors. One of the points I try to pound home again and again is you don't need more money, you just need to do it better. While it isn't an Internet marketing story per say, John Jantsch has an excellent post today that shares the story of a little company outlasting a global brand most small businesses would run in fear from.

Changing What You Want to Get Out of Social Media

Earlier this week I summarized my Hide and Speak article series with a wrap-up post outlining four key lessons on social media marketing. The post tried to get companies to realize social media marketing was an ongoing process that requires time, committment and a passion for your product. What I should have included was the need to see social media marketing as a way to tear down the walls that separate your business from your customers. That wall called "marketing." Thankfully Mack Collier steps up to the plate today with an excellent post on this very topic.

Is That Picture Worth a Thousand Views?

Barry over at Search Engine Land reports Flickr has launched stats for Flickr Pro account holders. As a Flickr lover, I was pretty pumped to read this news. One of the most frustrating things about using Flickr for someone who lives and breathes marketing was the lack of access to traffic stats. I must not have been the only person who felt this way because Flickr has finally delivered a fairly nice statistics report to their users.

Linking Out: What's In It For Me?

I've had a few conversations in the last few weeks from folks who want to build more incoming links but seem to be having trouble getting a positive response to link requests. While I'm a big fan of linking out and encourage site owners to link out generously to relevant resources, it's important to understand few sites will link simply because you ask them to. Wiep Knol calls this type of link building "push link marketing" and offers up a very simple piece of advice on how to turn those requests into links.

Will 2008 Be The Year of Mobile Media?

There's no doubt 2007 will be remembered as the year social media exploded. Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Flickr and quite a few other social media sites entered the mainstream as companies scrambled to figure out how to approach this new form of marketing. There's no doubt 2008 will see continued growth of social media, but you have to wonder what the "big" explosion for 2008 will be. Logic + Emotion's David Armano thinks 2008 may be the year of mobile media.

Don't Give Up on the Newspaper Yet...

It's no secret bloggers are the hot new target of new media savvy public relations professionals. Everyone wants to get coverage on the hot blog in their industry. What may be overlooked, however, is the continued power of newspapers when it comes to sparking a trickle-down conversation through the most popular blogs. Joe Mandese at MediaPost shares data on a new Millward Brown study showing that individuals who read online newspapers are more likely to be top "influencers" in the blogosphere than non-newspaper readers.

Hide and Speak: Letting the Spiders Back in to Bento Yum

Had an email this week from Kalena Jordan asking me for an update on the Bento Yum "blocking Google" series I started earlier this year. I'd launched the project back in May as a new series about a building a business without the benefit of search traffic. The goal of the series was to rely on word of mouth, blogging and social media to build a successful web site. While the project had serious potential, I only managed to get five or six articles out of it before I had to call it quits. That doesn't mean there weren't valuable lessons learned though.

Be Nice - You Never Know Who That Email is From

Last week at Search Engine Strategies I finally had the pleasure of meeting up with Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home. Wendy and I have been emailing since last April when she first contacted me to interview me for a feature she was running on her site. As we sat and chatted about some of the things we've worked on together and some things that are coming up, it reminded me of just how important it is to take the time to reply to your emails.

Santa Claus Isn't the Only One Watching...

Around this time of year millions of children around the world start behaving just a little bit better. Why? Because they have parents who remind them on a regular basis that "Santa Claus is watching..." The not-so-subtle threat is to behave, or risk not getting any Christmas presents. Drew McClellan points out the same holds true for business owners. He uses an example of his own trip to a local Jiffy Lube to remind companies of the need to act as if someone is always watching.

Search Engine Spam - What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

If you are a small business owner, you may have spent a fair amount of time learning about the generally accepted ways to improve your search rankings. What you probably glossed over or skipped all together was reading about the tactics used to game or "cheat" your way up the search engines. You may be thinking "but I'm not planning to spam the search engines!" That's great, but are you absolutely positive the SEM firm you're thinking about hiring feels the same way? If you know nothing about those tactics, how can you be certain your company or your SEM firm aren't using them.

Are Outdated Policies Squashing Your Brand Evangelists?

This past week I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of business professionals at Search Engine Strategies Chicago about Flickr and the ways it can be used to create, build and leverage brand evangelism. Based on conversations I had with audience members after the show, it seems quite a few companies are interested in learning more about how sites like Flickr fit into the conversation taking place online. That's why a post by John Moore of Brand Autopsy has me scratching my head at the short-sightedness displayed by one of the top niche food retailers in the country.

Around the Industry in 50 Posts

The year is coming to a close and it's time for "best of 2007" lists to start popping up in your feed reader. While there are some great ones out there, I wanted to make sure to draw your attention to Evan Carmichael's "Top 50 SEO Posts of the Year." Evan has put together one of the most comprehensive lists of great posts you'll see this year. In fact, he's done it without any writer overlap. That means he's offering up fifty articles from fifty different writers.

Google Finally Spells Out Their Paid Link Policy Crystal Clear

I'm just returning from a well-earned, extra-long holiday weekend away from the computer, so I managed to miss Google's sneaky little update to their webmaster guidelines late last week. Thankfully, Search Rank's David Wallace was on the ball as usual and got a great post up noting the change. While the new guidelines did include mention of the nofollow tag if you went hunting for it, the new ones do a pretty good job of explaining exactly what Google expects from site owners who buy or sell links.

Blogging Isn't Losing Steam, It's Just Getting Easier

I've seen quite a few posts this past week from popular marketing bloggers asking if blogging is finally losing steam. They note a number of popular bloggers have been taking long breaks and others are simply abandoning their blogs completely. With the growth of social networking sites like Facebook, marketers are asking if the day of the blog is coming to a close. I found myself asking the same question last week and I've realized blogging is only just getting started.

What the Heck is Reputation Link Bait?

Debra Mastaler knows and she's more than happy to tell you. Her latest column on link building over at Search Engine Land is a gold mine of information for anyone having a hard time building links a really competitive niche. Always ahead of the curve, Debra looks beyond the standard link bait and aims to help site owners learn the value of using a public relations style campaign as a link driver.

The Accidental Lessons of Life in the Search Industry

I missed a great post last week by Matt McGee, so I'm blogging it now. Titled "Eight Things the Search Industry Can Teach Small Businesses," the post offers up several great examples of how to market yourself online from people in the industry who were simply going about their business. From networking to staying visible to finding your niche, it's a great little set of tips and examples worth reading through.

Mark Your Calendars for SMX West

If you've been thinking about attending one of the major search marketing conferences, you might want to check out the newly posted agenda for SMX West. Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman will be offering up more than 50 sessions on February 26-28, 2008 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I won't be able to make it, as I'll be at another conference in London, but so far, it's shaping up to be a great looking show.

Ultimate Online Copywriting Cheat Sheet

Anyone with an ounce of knowledge about online marketing knows traffic is worthless if you can't deliver compelling copy. Good copy earns search rankings. Good copy earns links. Good copy convinces visitors to stop shopping and start buying. Unfortunately, good copy isn't easy to write. That's why the Eisenberg brothers have put together a fantastic list of more than one hundred copywriting articles divided by topic and spread out over two lengthy posts.

Are You Integrating Multimedia into Your Site Yet?

The great thing about the Internet in 2007 is the ability to integrate several different types of media into your site. Faster internet connections, cheap bandwidth and free third party multimedia hosting services have made it easy for even the smallest of small businesses to work multi-media into their sites. Since it's well known that different people absorb information in different ways, smart small businesses are looking at the best ways to leverage social media and Web 2.0 technologies to better serve their customers.

How Do You Value Social Media?

Social media is about the hottest topic there is right now in the online marketing world. Search marketers and traditional marketers are both obsessed with finding ways to drive interest and traffic using this new medium. But how many of them are actually investing in social media marketing and how many are simply offering up half hearted efforts? And how many of them have any idea how to justify their investments?

Designing the Perfect Small Business Marketing Conference (Houston, Texas 2008)

In the last five years, I've attended dozens of marketing conferences, events and seminars. During each of those shows, I've spent time talking to the small business owners who've come to try and learn a little more about how to market their business online. Time and time again, the message I hear is the same. "The information is incredible, but I have no idea where to start!" It was that line that caused Robert and I to sit down several months ago and brainstorm all the things we'd do if we were planning a marketing conference for small business owners. It was Stoney deGeyter who said "so why don't you do it?"

Does Registering Your Domain for Longer Periods Help You Rank Better?

There's a conversation going on in our Small Business Ideas forum about domain registration and the impact it has on search engine rankings. Generally, when I hear small business owners ask about this, they want to know if the age of a domain has any impact on their rankings. In the case of this thread, the original poster is asking if the length of domain registration has anything to do with rankings. I've heard this question pop up more often in the last few months, so I thought it might be worth throwing down a few thoughts on the issue.

See How Landing Page Tweaks Can Double Your Conversions

If you've done any reading about paid search campaigns at all, you know good landing pages are essential to conversions. Of course you may be asking yourself what actually makes a "good" landing page. You're not alone. That's why the team at Marketing Experiments offers up two great case studies this week.

Deliver the Goods to Sway "Social Researchers"

According to new data released by the e-tailing group and PowerReviews, nearly two-thirds of online shoppers now spend a significant amount of time reading consumer reviews before making a purchase. Dubbed "social researchers," these shoppers rely on advice and feedback from others to help them decide which products or services to buy. 86% claim these reviews are "extremely important" to their buying decisions.

You Don't Have to Build Your Own Tools to go Web 2.0

As businesses get more and more obsessed with building community and leveraging Web 2.0 techniques, a lot of small businesses are finding themselves wondering if they can afford to get into the game. What these small businesses often miss is the fact that they don't need to invest a ton of time and money into fancy new technologies. Sometimes, it's about finding what already exists and leveraging it for your brand. That's something I've noticed more and more companies doing with Flickr, my favorite social media site.

Five Common Paid Search Mistakes That Can Sink Your Campaign

While learning how to effectively manage a paid search advertising campaign can take quite a bit of time, there are plenty of quick and easy ways to increase your chances at success. This article aims to outline five common mistakes that end up keeping small businesses and in-house marketers from maximizing the potential of their pay per click campaigns.

Floundering in Blog Obscurity? Join the Conversation!

One of the most common complaints I hear from small businesses who have launched blogs is how difficult it can be to get on the radar. After all, it doesn't matter how great your content is if no one can find it. One of the best ways to build up your reputation in this situation is to leave quality comments on other blogs. Caroline Middlebrook offers up another fantastic post this week discussing this very topic.

Fighting Back Against Bad Pitches

It's no secret that blogs and social media sites are a great way to get coverage of your web site or your products and services. In fact, teaching small businesses how to approach and pitch bloggers is one of the things I most enjoy writing about. The archives here are full of suggestions and blog posts pointing out the right way to approach people and the wrong way to approach people. That's why I thought it was worth mentioning Wired Editor Chris Anderson's controversial post outing bad PR pitchers.

Four Tips to Maximize Your Spend on the Google Content Network

If you've been thinking about giving the Google Content Network another try, you aren't alone. John Ellis is testing things as well and offers up some helpful tips on maximizing your ad spend on the content network.

Is Your Blog Riddled With Errors?

The shift from static web site content to sites powered by blogs has been a blessing and a curse to many businesses. All that fresh content does wonderful things for rankings, repeat traffic and link generation. On the other hand, giving people who aren't trained writers access to post on your company blog can spell disaster in terms of punctuation and grammatical errors. It's with this problem in mind that Daniel Scocco writes an excellent post outlining bloggers' most common punctuation errors.

Still Intimidated by Online Marketing?

Something I hear now and then from small business owners and small business in-house marketers is that they aren't afraid of marketing. They're just afraid of internet marketing. After all, most people have a general understanding of how things like the yellow pages and newspaper spots work. Even if they don't run good campaigns, they probably can't end up doing a lot of damage. To them, the internet moves at lightening speed and a bad campaign can turn into a true disaster. While these are valid concerns, they shouldn't be enough to scare you off.

Protecting Your Space in the Google Results

One of the most common questions small businesses have when dealing with online reputation management is "how do I make bad results go away?" The bad news is you usually can't. The good news is you can often push them far enough down the search results they don't get looked at. That's why it's essential to capture as many of the top listings on your own as possible. Andy Beal over at Marketing Pilgrim offers up a great post today with information about protecting your brand and your name in Google.

adCenter Upgrade Offers New Features

Microsoft's adCenter announced several new features over the weekend giving advertisers more control over their campaigns. Changes were made on the editorial side, to the campaign management interface and to reporting options. All of the changes are designed to give advertisers even more control over where and how they spend their ad dollars.

4 Lessons in Online Reputation Management from a Small Town Grocer

It's funny how once you get in the mind set of online marketing, you find examples in the least likely places. A few weeks ago while visiting my small hometown in Northeast Ohio I was surprised to find a great example of reputation management from a small company. While the example takes place offline, the four steps they took to manage their reputation could easily (and inexpensively) be reproduced online by any small business.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Twitter

Up until last week, I had never had much use for Twitter. To me, it was just another inane example of people sharing far more than anyone wants to know about them. Then I stumbled across a fantastic use of Twitter and started having second thoughts. I still can't see the sense in letting the world know who is hanging out in your hotel room, but I am thinking there could be some unique applications for it.

A Little Ditty on the Google Fiasco

No matter how hard I try, I couldn't get the first two lines of this song out of my head this past week. Figuring it was easier to give in than to fight it (how ironic) I had to sit down long enough to finish it off. Guess this will date me as a child of the eighties.

Anyone Have Some Boots I Could Borrow?

I spent the morning gingerly picking my way through a minefield of guk. The mess was everywhere. It was unavoidable. It was gross. Then the family and I came home from the pumpkin patch and I logged on to find the exact same type of mess waiting for me online. I'll say one thing for Google...they sure manage to keep folks talking about them.

Twitter CAN be Useful! Who Knew?

I've never been a Twitter fan. I haven't blogged about it or even mentioned it much because quite honestly, I found it to be an incredibly silly concept. (As if blogging hasn't allowed us to share far more about ourselves than anyone ever cared to know already.) I knew there was probably some really great use for Twitter, but I'd yet to see an example of it. Until today.

Who Says it's Wrong to Monopolize Search Results?

David Wallace writes up a great case study today that shows how he's used social media sites and blogs to monopolize the majority of the top 30 search results at Google for his business name.

One Wrong Way to Approach Bloggers

It seems like the type of advice you really shouldn't have to offer, but apparently companies still don't get it. Each week I sort through link requests, PR pitches and requests from small companies to blog about or write about their product. Sometimes these pitches are exceptionally well thought out, sometimes they're simple, but engaging. Other times, they leave me shaking my head.

4 Ways to Beat Your Google AdWords Competition

While some small business owners lament the ever growing complexity of the Google AdWords Quality Score, others are thanking their lucky stars for a system that no longer requires them to simply outspend the competition. In the new AdWords game, a good marketer can often pass up a big spender. John at The Adventures of PPC Hero wraps up their five part series on pay per click management with a great article offering four ways to out rank and under spend your Google Adwords competitors.

Good or Bad, Words Spreads Fast on the Web

It's no secret that blogs have given people an unprecedented voice in terms of sharing stories of corporate blunders. Anyone who has been online for any length of time has seen their fair share of posts about bad customer service experiences or arrogant CEO's. Thankfully, there are also plenty of examples of great service. Stories of the company employee that went the extra mile can actually spread pretty fast as well. Mack Collier covers both ends of the spectrum today in a post about how companies deal with their online reputations.

Viral Marketing is NOT the Same as Word of Mouth

I can't tell you how many times I've heard an old school marketer say viral marketing is just the fancy new name for word of mouth marketing. In their mind, the two work exactly the same way. The only difference is that word of mouth marketing takes place offline and viral marketing takes place online. They're wrong.

Not Quite a Dozen Social Media Guidelines

While more and more small businesses are experimenting with social media marketing, many remain hesitant about wading into what they see as a public relations minefield. Social media marketing isn't near as scary as it can sound. Like anything else in life where you interact with other people, it simply takes some common sense, decorum and respect for those around you.

14 Days to a Better Website Seminar in Cleveland

If you've been looking to attend an online marketing seminar and live within driving distance of Cleveland, Ohio, you might want to check out the 14 Days to a Better Website Seminar being put on by Site Logic Marketing's Matt Bailey next month. I'll be joining Matt for the seminar and we're looking forward to the chance to help some small businesses get their marketing plans off on the right foot.

Part Five - NoFollow is for Blog Paid Text Links, wait...Paid Ads...Aww Heck, Just Stop Linking and Let Calacanis Decide the Rankings

After four pretty lengthy articles covering the history of nofollow and the issues at play in Google's paid link crusade, I'll be wrapping the series up today. In part five, I'll take a look at what's likely to happen if Google continues on their current course and why I believe it could make the Internet a worse place for small business owners.

AdWords Expanded Broad Match Warning

Google AdWords advertisers who closely track their campaigns may have noticed traffic coming in for a wide variety of phrases that might seem like an odd fit for their campaigns. While bloggers have been speculating about problems with the AdWords Broad Match system since late summer, Mike Churchill at SEOClubHouse explains the system is working just as Google wants it to.

Part Four - NoFollow is for Blog Paid Text Links, wait...Paid Ads...Aww Heck, Just Stop Linking and Let Calacanis Decide the Rankings

In the first article in this series I outlined the history of the nofollow tag. In the second article, I took a look at some of the complex issues in the "are paid links ok or are they evil?" argument. In part three I explored the options Google has in dealing with this problem and why I disagree with the route they've chosen. Today, I'm going to look at why I'm opposed to putting nofollow in place, why "opinions" are fair game for marketing and what I think Google may be after with this whole crusade.

Part Three - NoFollow is for Blog Paid Text Links, wait...Paid Ads...Aww Heck, Just Stop Linking and Let Calacanis Decide the Rankings

In the first article in this series I outlined the history of the nofollow tag. In the second article, I took a look at some of the complex issues in the "are paid links ok or are they evil?" argument. Today I'll explore the options Google has in dealing with this problem and will explain why I think they're taking the wrong route.

Google is the Most Popular Search Engine in the World

According to new numbers from a global search survey conducted by comScore, Google is the most popular search engine in the world. In fact, Google handles roughly 60% of world wide search. (37 billion) That number is even higher than the 50% of searches it handles here in the United States. The study looked at global numbers for other engines as well and listed Yahoo (8.5 billion), Baidu (3.3 billion), Microsoft (2.2 billion) and NHN (2 billion) as rounding out the top five.

NoFollow is for Blog Paid Text Links, wait...Paid Ads...Aww Heck, Just Stop Linking and Let Calacanis Decide the Rankings - Part Two

In the first article in this series I outlined the history of the nofollow tag and it's progression from spam fighting tactic to the new "necessity" if you'd like to stay in Google's good graces. In this article, I'll take a look at whether or not Google's new policies will be enforced across the board or why the fact that they "warned us" doesn't matter in the slightest.

Building Relationships Works for the Media Too!

More than a year ago I started pushing the idea that link building is relationship building. It's since become a cornerstone of my small business marketing advice. After all, small business has almost always been about networking and word of mouth marketing. It only makes sense to carry those concepts over to the web. Unfortunately, many small businesses limit their relationship building to business associates and social networking communities. Duct Tape Marketing's John Jantsch explained over the weekend why relationship building should also extend to the media.

Spend Your Money on Intent, Not Traffic

Anyone who has played around in the paid search realm for any length of time quickly learns that paying for traffic is a great way to go broke. It's a far better idea to focus on paying for targeted traffic by getting in front of the folks who not only have an interest in what you have to offer, but have actually gone looking for it. That's the point John Marshall makes today in a post called "Never, Ever Pay for Traffic" at Market Motive.

Michael Gray on Link Baiting, Digg and the Paid Search Debate

If you aren't already reading Graywolf's SEO Blog, you need to add it to your feed reader. One of the smartest (and most quotable) folks in the search marketing industry, Michael Gray has been offering up a ton of excellent insight lately. In fact, there's a great interview with Michael covering a range of advanced linking strategies over at Link Juicy right now.

NoFollow is for Blog Paid Text Links, wait...Paid Ads...Aww Heck, Just Stop Linking and Let Calacanis Decide the Rankings - Part One

My daughter has a shirt that read "it seemed like a good idea at the time." I sort of wish they made it in larger sizes. I can't help but think it'd be a nice Christmas gift for the team at Google. After all, I'm hard pressed to believe that phrase hasn't popped into the conversation at least once or twice in the last year as their engineers sit around debating their algorithm and the impact of paid links.

Green is the New Black (We Said Go Niche, Right?)

With everyone jumping on the bandwagon of niche marketing, finding the topics folks are most interested in BEFORE the rest of the world knows it is key. Matt McGee over at Small Business SEM points out what many social media marketers are already learning. Green (environmentally friendly) is the new black.

A Round-up of SEO Copywriting Resources

Michelle, one of the new bloggers over at E-Marketing Performance blog, has put together a great little collection of SEO copywriting resources. She lists eight books and nine copywriting blogs that every aspiring online copywriter should take the time to check out. Not a copywriter? That's ok, you should still check out the list. Anyone that's involved in the online marketing world needs to have a solid understanding of how to communicate with Internet users.

Consumers Consider Online Reviews Far More Trustworthy Than Search Ads

Marketing is a tricky game. Walking the line between selling your product and maintaining the trust and respect of your audience can be tough. That's part of why word of mouth and viral marketing are so attractive. When it comes to common forms of online marketing, it's interesting to note that for the money companies being poured into paid search advertising may be better spent elsewhere.

You! With the Link! Quit Being so Darn Stingy!

I honestly thought the internet was moving past this, but I guess I'm wrong. Wendy Piersall blogs this week about web site owners who refuse to link out to any site with a low Google PageRank. Apart from the silliness of trying to hoard your link power for yourself, Wendy points out that a site's current PageRank isn't reflective of it's future PageRank. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Excellent Round-up of Social Bookmarking Lists

Yesterday, I linked to a post by Chris Winfield that offered up some advice on finding the best social bookmarking and social news sites for your small business. In the comments, a reader asked where they could find a list of social media sites. As it turns out, there's a great post over at Cornwall SEO that includes more than a dozen social media lists, ordered by how recently they were updated.

The Small Business Guide to a Google Free Ride

Earlier this week I made a blog post about the potential pitfalls of Small Businesses relying on Google Analytics. Of course Google Analytics is far from the only free (or potentially valuable) resource being offered up by Google these days. Which ones are worth using? Which ones aren't worth your time? Matt McGee walks small business owners through several of their options and offers up his own opinion on what's worth your time in a column called "Which Google Products Should a Small Business Use?" at Search Engine Land.

Finding the Right Social News and Bookmarking Sites

More and more small business owners are beginning to realize sites like Digg and StumbleUpon are not the only (or even best) game in town when it comes to social bookmarking and social news sites. In fact, I've written post after post after post about how overrated Digg is when it comes to marketing options for the average small business owner. That's why I was pleased to see Chris Winfield's social media column at Search Engine Land today.

A Link Building Checklist

While it can be a great idea to hire your link building out to someone who understands this type of marketing, the fact remains that most small businesses can do quite a bit of good quality link building on their own. In fact, link guru Debra Mastaler has put together a fantastic blog post that includes a monster list of link building tactics you can do on your own.

Picking the Size of Your Pond

Whether you're talking about search marketing, blog marketing or any other form of online marketing, small businesses often find themselves competing as a little fish in a big pond. That can be frustrating when your time and your finances are limited. Sometimes those limitations mean you need to start looking for a pond that better fits the size of your marketing budget. I ran across a small business marketing column in the Roseville and Rocklin Today asking "How Big is Your Pond?"

Don't Just Manage Your Reputation, Respond to Your Competitor's

I've done a fair amount of speaking and teaching about online reputation management in the last two years. After all, you can't effectively play in the social media and search engine optimization fields without an understanding of how to respond to negative mentions. Most of the time, businesses seem to want to learn about the best way to address (or avoid) negative press. Often, I find myself reminding them they should also be focusing on how to address or respond to their competitor's negative press.

You Get What You Pay for With Analytics

Pretty much everyone loves to get something for nothing, especially when it's something you're used to paying for. That's probably why Google Analytics has gotten so popular with both SEOs and small business owners. After all, why pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for analytics programs when Google Analytic seems to give you everything you need. There are a few reasons, actually. Eric Lander explains why he thinks you should avoid Google Analytics over at Search Engine Journal.

A Great Primer on Using Images to Drive Traffic

While vertical search is still in its infancy, the integration of vertical results through Google Universal and Ask 3D are allowing sites to draw more and more visitors from specialty indexes. One of the vertical search indexed that is becoming more and more popular is image search. Unfortunately, many small businesses are overlooking traffic opportunities by not optimizing the images on their sites. Pat B. Doyle has a great post on using images to drive traffic at her blog.

Can't Get the (Great) Content Without the Community

Stoney has offered up a few articles here in the past week that aim to remind folks of the importance of community when it comes to building and establishing solid content. He took a lot of heat for the first one from the industry. Mostly, from folks who felt you couldn't have community without content. I've been thinking this concept over for the last week and I've got to say, I agree with Stoney.

5 Tips for Seasonal Search Marketing Success

The Yahoo Search Marketing team has a post up this week reminding site owners that online holiday shopping increases pretty much every year. In fact, more than 80% of shoppers bought at least one thing online last holiday season. With the holiday sales cycle already gearing up, it's a good idea to start fine tuning your site and campaigns to drive more business. While most of the five tips Yahoo has to offer are a recap of the fundamentals of good online marketing, they're still worth reading and putting into action.

To Score a Link, Offer Something of Value

Despite years and years of writing and blogging about the need to offer something of value in return for a link, people still don't get it. In the past week, my inbox has been absolutely slammed with link exchange requests and link schemes. Not a single one of the has offered me anything in return, not even good content. They all just want me to link to them. On the other hand, Stoney deGeyter scored himself a link to his online marketing blog by getting creative.

Is Universal Search a Small Business's Ticket to Google Success?

There's been a lot of talk lately about what the shift toward blended and universal search means for small business owners. On the one hand, those increased opportunities to snag listings allow one company to snag even more real estate on the first page. On the other hand, those increased opportunities to snag listings allow one company to snag even more real estate on the first page. It's all good if you're the company scoring more listings, it's not so good if your competitor does it and pushes you off the front page.

Hide and Speak: Recovering from a Social Media Disaster

The challenge left to me at the end of part six of this series was how to gracefully recover from a social media attack that left Bento Yum (and me) reeling. Standing up and walking back in the door when you feel like you've been tossed out on your rear can be difficult, but it's all part of community life on the Internet.

Boost Your Local Search Presence

With small brick and mortar businesses starting to see the value in shifting some of their massive yellow page budgets over to online marketing, local search has become a hot topic. Unfortunately, many small businesses find themselves confused in terms of how to target those local visitors when they move their searches online. Ironically, this often leads them right back to the yellow pages...the online yellow pages. While there's something to be said for maintaining a presence there, it's important that these businesses learn how to better target the growing usage of the local search tools on popular search engines.

Google Gadget Ads Launches in Beta

Andy Beal reports that Google Gadget Ads have launched in Beta to select advertisers through the Google Content network. The new ads will be available on a CPM or CPC basis and will run through Google's auction model. According to the information page for Google Gadget Ads, the new system aims to give advertisers new ways to engage the audience of their content networks. I've taken a look at some of them, and I see some interesting potential.

Search Engines are PEOPLE!

Most of you read that headline and either thought "I really don't want to hear about Mahalo again" or "No they're not! They're algorithms!!" Well I'm with you on the first one, but you couldn't be more wrong on the second. Algorithms are programmed by the people, for the people and umm...of the people. In other words, every day that passes us by, search engines do a better and better job of replicating human judgement about the quality and authority of web pages. So why do some companies still think you can automate the process?

The Value of Social Media is Often in Listening

Companies have been rushing to embrace social media in droves over the last year. While it's great to see companies embracing Web 2.0, I worry sometimes about the number of companies rushing in to talk rather than listen. After all, one of the greatest benefits of social media is having the ability to find out what your customers are talking about. Bill Balderaz points this out today over at The Buzz Saw.

Social Bookmarking: Skip Digg and Go Niche

Aaron over at AjaxNinja has a great post this week exploring why niche social media sites are better than Digg when it comes to driving traffic and conversions to most web sites. While I've never been much of a Digg fan myself, (it's like news for the angry ADHD techie) I see true value in niche, topical social bookmarking sites. The trick is, finding the audience that best fits your content.

Interview with Search Engine Guide's Diane Aull

Ok, so she's not "our" Diane Aull as much as she's Acroprint and Nine Yards' Diane Aull, but she is a regular writer and forum moderator here. Liana Evans has an entertaining (and information packed) interview with Diane over at Search Marketing Gurus this week as part of her Women of Internet Marketing Wednesday series.

If At First You Don't Convert, Try, Try Again

Earlier this week in my article about aiming for less competitive phrases in the early days of your SEO attempts, I mentioned the fact that most searchers conduct several queries and visit several sites before making a purchase. This action mimics offline sales patterns as well. Research has shown over and over again that it takes multiple exposures to a product before a consumer is ready to buy. Yesterday, Patrick Schaber over at The Lonely Marketer drew a simple, but pointed analogy on this concept.

Make One Blogger Happy and You'll Often Make a LOT of Bloggers Happy

With so many companies trying to figure out how to leverage social media and blogs to their marketing advantage, one key point often gets missed. "Just talk to them!" If more companies would spend half the time reading blog posts and responding to them that they spend obsessing about how to get more people to blog about them, they'd be way ahead of the game. In fact, Mack Collier points to a great example of a big company doing exactly that and taking the time to engage their customer evangelists in conversation.

Did You Know You Could Optimize Your PDF Files for Search?

A long time ago in an office far away, I spent weeks and weeks optimizing nearly 2000 PDF files for the company where I worked. That was more than five years ago and I'm surprised to hear how many small business owners have no idea that you can optimize a PDF file for search. If you're one of the many, you'd be well served by reading Galen DeYoung's "Eleven Tips for Optimizing PDFs For Search Engines" at Search Engine Land today.

Five Reasons to Aim Low When You're Just Learning SEO

One of the first bits of advice I give to those who are new to search engine optimization is to stop trying to rank for highly competitive phrases and to focus on the long tail of search. Hamlet Batista disagrees. In fact, he wrote a post yesterday explaining exactly why he feels the suggestion to aim for less competitive phrases is a bad one. I understand what he's trying to say, but he's missing the point.

Yahoo! Makes Using Site Explorer Even Easier

The team at Yahoo! announced yesterday that they've taken steps to make it even easier for small businesses to authenticate their site and setup full access with Yahoo!'s Site Explorer.

Another Perspective on the Google Paid Link Controversy

Yesterday, I wrote about my frustration with Google's crusade against paid links. While I pointed out some of the problems I see with Google's plans, I didn't go into near as much detail as I would have liked to. Thankfully, Dan Thies also put together an article on this topic yesterday and he does an excellent job of examining the FTC related issues at play in the paid link debate on his SEO Fast Start blog.

Want to Experiment with Google Mobile Ads?

Now's your chance. Google has announced plans to run search ads on Google Mobile Search pages. In fact, they also announced they'll be letting advertisers test drive the program for free over the next couple of months. Sounds like a good reason to get some solid analytics in place and take the new program for a test spin.

SEOs Hate Generalizations and Yet...We Genearalize

How many times have you seen a search engine marketer cringe at a business talking about how our industry is nothing but smoke and mirrors run by slimey practioners? I know I've seen it (and done the cringing) more than a few times in my life. What many in the industry seem to forget is that we often do the same type of generalizations and mud-slinging at other industries. That's exactly the line of thinking Miriam Ellis at SEO Igloo Blog explored yesterday.

The Idiocy of Google's Paid Link Crusade

While the talk about paid links has been going on for quite a while now, it started reaching a fevered pitch during Search Engine Strategies San Jose last month. The show featured a heated session titled "Are Paid Links Evil?" that has generated a ton of new discussion and speculation about how Google might crack down on paid links and how site owners should (or shouldn't) respond.

Debra Mastaler Serves up Some Appetizing Link Advice

Link building is one of the least understood areas of search engine marketing for small businesses. Site owners know they need to build links, but they often don't know how. Many turn to reciprocal links or article writing because it seems like an easy (yet annoying) way to build links. In reality, building links doesn't need to be difficult. It's often simply another creative form of marketing. That's the message Debra Mastaler aims to get across in an excellent interview with Aaron Wall of SEO Book.

Beginners Guide to Launching a Blog

Thinking about finally launching that blog, but still not quite sure how to go about it? Patrick Schaber over at The Lonely Marketer has put together a great post offering some tips on the best way to get things up and running. He even includes a nice list of plug-ins that can make your blog work even better.

Pay Per Click Ads are the Elevator Pitch of the Web

Paid search ads provide one of the toughest challenges for online marketers. You've got a very small space to pitch your product, but since you're paying per click you also need to use that space to pre-qualify visitors. Basically, you've got a handful of seconds to get the buyer before they move on to other listings. So how do you make it work?

The Coolest Laptop Bag Ever (err...a shameless self promotion post)

Meet the Search Engine Guide Timbuk2 Blogger bag...

Was Stephen Covey a Link Builder at Heart?

Probably not, but he sure seems to know the basic principles of solid link building. At least according to Debra Mastaler's latest "Link Week" column. Debra breaks down Covey's popular book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and explains how each habit can be applied to a solid link building strategy.

Why You Should Embrace the New Social Media News Release

The Social Media News Release is designed to encourage a new format for the online press release that does a better job of speaking to media, bloggers and consumers by offering up information in a variety of formats.

Yo Gabba Gabba Fans Storm the Web (or at least my blog)

What's Yo Gabba Gabba you ask? It's a new kids show on Nick Jr. that combines 80's style animation with oddly costumed "monsters," pop media guests and annoyingly catchy songs that will have you waking up at night to the internal sounds of "snacky snack snack snack snack, snacky snack snack SNACK SNACK!" It's apparently also the type of thing that sparks passion on both the "love it" and "hate it" side, as demonstrated by the blog storm generated by a simple post.

When Social Media Attacks the Wrong Person

It's no secret that the pack mentality that often powers social media success can also turn into an angry mob complete with virtual pitchforks at the drop of a hat. That's great when the mob is helping to bring social injustice to light, but it's a nightmare when the mob attacks the victim. Unfortunately, the murky waters of Internet gossip and the fuzzy ethics that seem to rule online behavior can make it difficult to know who the victim actually is.

A Successful Viral Campaign Relies on Knowing Your Audience

Last week in San Jose I found myself reminding people over and over that a good social media campaign focused more on reaching your target audience than it did on reaching "a lot of people." Sites like Digg, Facebook and YouTube get a lot of press, but they may not be the best outlet for your company's viral campaign....

The Customer Experience is Not a Commodity

Studies show that online shoppers conduct more than half a dozen searches before making a purchase. That means a shopper may visit your site once, twice, or even six times using various search terms before deciding what (and where) they want to buy. If you're the type of web site that sells a product stocked on dozens or even thousands of other sites, how can you compete? Well, price is a factor, but customer experience plays an important role as well....

Hide and Speak: Develop Very Thick Skin

One of the biggest concerns I've heard from businesses that are considering exploring social media and viral marketing is the fear of negative feedback. The bad news is, no matter how carefully you tread, no matter how genuine your involvement is, you may find yourself getting slammed by the very audience you are trying to reach. The good news is, if you go into a social media campaign with honest interest in engaging in a dialogue with your customers, you'll be able to weather the storm....

Which Opportunity Are You Missing?

There's a rush to launch a corporate blog these days. There's also a rush to dive into viral marketing. Companies both large and small are working on communicating with their customers through these interesting new marketing tactics. The problem is many of them go after these things with good intentions, but fail to follow through. It's bad enough when a company's blog fails because they simply can't come up with anything interesting to write about. It's worse when a company completely ignores the blogging and viral marketing opportunities that fall right into their laps....

Hide and Speak - Becoming Part of the Community

It's long been understood that people trust the advice and opinions of their friends more than they trust the word of a marketer. The interesting thing about online communities and social media is that they've allowed people to create those "friend" connections with people they've never met in real life....

Can Yelp Help Your Small Business?

Chance are high that you've never heard of Yelp, so you probably have no idea what it says about you. This is a mistake. More than 1.8 million users turn to it for information each month. It also ranks incredibly well on Google for a wide range of local search phrases. That's why I'll ask you again, what does Yelp say about you?...

Google Print Ads Now Open to All AdWords Advertisers

More than two years after first testing the sale of magazine ads, Google's print ad program has left beta and now allows AdWords advertisers to place ads in more than 200 newspapers across the United States. Google began testing the newspaper ad auction for a small group of advertisers last November with just over 50 newspaper partners, including The Washington Post and The New York Times....

Corporate Blogging - Alli "Oops?"

There's a lot of talk about blogs being wonderful marketing tools lately. In fact, many big businesses are quickly working on plans to launch their own corporate blogs to serve as communication channels for their customers. When it comes to corporate blogging, some companies have stumbled, some have soared and others are facing serious start-up challenges....

3 Lessons I Learned from Sugardaddy's

No...not THAT kind of sugardaddys...I'm talking about Sugardaddy's the makers of mouth-watering gourmet brownies and blondies. The company that seems to have nailed three keys to marketing success, both online and offline, and impressed me enough I'm sitting here writing an article about them just two hours after visiting their factory outlet and tasting their brownies....

Hide and Speak: WordPress for Content Management

Once Abigail had decided to pair up with me to offer bento sets for sale on my bento blog, we needed to move into development mode. One of the biggest challenges facing Bento Yum in this regard was the fact that Abigail does not have a web development background. As I spent more time looking through information about WordPress I became convinced that this was actually the perfect system for our little business....

Updating Your Google Maps Business Listing

Now that I've told you how to use Google Coupons to market your small business, I realize that I haven't bothered to tell you how to update your business listings on Google Maps and Google Local. Since it's hard to get the egg without the chicken (and vice versa) here's a quick tutorial on customizing your information on your Google Maps listing....

Are You Using Google Coupons?

What's that, you say? Google offers a coupon option? Why yes they do. Google announced the service last summer but hasn't done much in the way of promoting it since then. So if you'd like a way to differentiate your business on Google Maps listings, here you go....

Hide and Speak: Have a Unique Selling Proposition

In the last article before we move into site development and marketing mode, I'm going to give you the final bit of background on how we decided to set up the business. After all, the basis of your business is often the basis of your marketing's not the type of thing that can serve as an after thought....

Hide and Speak: Stumbling Into Opportunity

While I know that most readers are just itching for me to get to the "good stuff" known as marketing, the first few articles in this series are going to focus on the creation of the business with some explanation of why we've set things up the way we have.Just as you can't optimize a web site that lacks a search engine friendly design, you can't successfully market a bad idea....

Hide and Speak: Google, We Don't Need No Stinkin' Google!

One point that I continue to hear over and over (and OVER) from businesses? That they are "forced" to rely too heavily on Google. Well, to address that issue I'm going to be writing a new article series in the style of the 30 Day Series that follows the creation of a new business. The difference is that this time, I'm kicking Google (and Yahoo and Windows Live and Ask) to the curb and telling the world that you CAN build a business, increase traffic and drive sales all without the major search engines....

Ask Does Integration Right

The new version of Ask, dubbed "Ask3D" not only LOOKS better, but it functions better as well. In fact, Ask's media kit explains that the term Ask3D stems from the fact that this new release "synthesizes the best of our technologies across the three dimensions of search: Expression, Results and Content. This is vertical search integration the way it should be....

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part Ten

In this ten part series, I'll be covering many of the things that you need to take into consideration when planning a link baiting or viral marketing campaign. Today, in the last part of this series, I'll look at the idea of capitalizing off of your competitor's failures....

A Rebuttal to Neil Patel's Social Media Landing Page Article

While I've always found Neil Patel's insight into the Social Media landscape to be pretty insightful, I think his latest Search Engine Land article about social media landing pages completely misses the mark. While Neil's proposed social media style landing pages may go a long way toward making social media visitors happy, I have to ask... at what cost to your business?...

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part Nine

In this ten part series, I'll be covering many of the things that you need to take into consideration when planning a link baiting or viral marketing campaign. Today we'll take a look marketing the unexpected....

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part Eight

In this ten part series, I'll be covering many of the things that you need to take into consideration when planning a link baiting or viral marketing campaign. Today we'll take a look at the need to be able to act quickly when it comes to link bait and viral marketing campaigns....

SEO Basics: "Click Here" is Evil

There is no denying the power of link text when it comes to search engine optimization. Whether it's your internal link structure, your outgoing links or your incoming links, the anchor text that gets used can have a strong impact on your search engine rankings. That's why if you are new to search engine optimization and you can fit just ONE thing on to your "linking to do" list this week, it should be banning the text "click here" from your web site....

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part Seven

In this ten part series, I'll be covering many of the things that you need to take into consideration when planning a link baiting or viral marketing campaign. Today, we'll look at the need for scalability....

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part Six

In this ten part series, I'll be covering many of the things that you need to take into consideration when planning a link baiting or viral marketing campaign. Today I'll explore the idea of using other people's resources to help you spread the word about your product or your web site....

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part Five

In this ten part series, I'll be covering many of the things that you need to take into consideration when planning a link baiting or viral marketing campaign. Today, I'm going to look at the issue of building relationships and why relationships are necessary to launching viral marketing and link baiting campaigns....

Creators, Critics and Collectors - Creating Social Content

When it comes to viral marketing and social media, there's often talk of a group of people known as "key influencers." These are the people that serve as a sort of ambassador to the people online when it comes to marketing campaigns. What's often overlooked though, is an understanding of the sub-groups of people within the overall key influencer category....

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part Four

In this ten part series, I'll be covering many of the things that you need to take into consideration when planning a link baiting or viral marketing campaign. Today we'll find out how to use existing networks to make sure the word spreads to the right audience quickly....

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part Three

In this ten part series, I'll be covering many of the things that you need to take into consideration when planning a link baiting or viral marketing campaign. Today, I'll be helping you understand how to find and exploit motivating factors in order to get more people interested in your product or service....

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part Two

Today, I'll be talking about the need to make your campaign easy to spread. While the benefit of both viral and link baiting campaigns is that they tend to take off and spread on their own, it's still essential to make sure that you've put plans in place to help things spread....

A Glance at Trellian's Keyword Discovery Tool

If you're new to the search engine optimization game, you've probably heard a bit about the paid subscription keyword research tools, but you might not have had a chance to play with all of them. While Wordtracker is probably still the most popular tool, Trellian's Keyword Discovery tool offers up quite a few options that make it a must-try service for any business that is serious about their search engine marketing....

Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work - Part One

Two of the most popular buzz words in the online marketing realm right now are link baiting and viral marketing. These two tactics are a great way to build links and to build branding when constrained by small marketing budgets, but there are several things you need to remember when planning these types of campaigns....

Ask Goes on the Attack

It's tough being the little guy...especially when you know you have a strong product that could likely compete with other companies, if only consumers would give you a chance. has been playing catch-up to Google and Yahoo for most of the eleven years that it's been answering search queries and apparently, it's had enough. No more taking pot shots at Google via the blog, this time it's all out war....

Inside Google's New Pay Per Action for Advertisers

While many bloggers are focusing on the publisher side of Google's new pay-per-action program, I thought it might be a good idea to dive into the act of setting up a campaign. It's pretty straight forward if you've ever used the Google AdWords system, but here's a step-by-step walk-through of the process....

YouTube Looks to Further Engage Users

One of the darlings of social media, Google owned YouTube is allowing users to play around with some beta features that have been added to their experimental "TestTube" area. The features are designed to further engage users, which is sort of funny when you think about it. (YouTube already has an average visit length of 28 minutes.) The question becomes, how will creative marketers manage to use these new tools to further promote their brands?...

Using Blog Search Engines to Build Links

One of the questions that often pops up when I teach small businesses about link building is where to go to find sites to request links from. While most businesses understand the idea of going to directories and search engines and finding sites that way, many don't yet understand the power of using blog search engines to seek out blogs to target with your link building campaign....

Why Links Matter - Part 3

Today, in the final installment of this series, I'll explain how search engines use links to determine the popularity and authority of a web site. We're used to listening to friends, family and authorities to help us shape our opinion about people, places, products and services...why wouldn't search engines try to do the same?...

Why Links Matter - Part 2

In part one of the series, I explored the idea of links as the threads of the web, helping both search engines and humans find their way from one site to another. In part two I'll explain why search engines look to links as part of their attempt to replicate human judgement so that they can determine the content of the web site or web page....

Why Links Matter - Part 1

Since it's hard to build a good link strategy if you don't actually understand why links are so important, I thought that I'd put together a new series of articles that examines why it is that links matter so much to both search engines and to Internet users....

Can You Trust a Blogger's Advice?

Here's the conundrum. Search engine marketing requires links. Links can be hard to come by. Blog reviews are a great way to get links. Blog reviews have the added bonus of carrying the power of word-of-mouth recommendations. That said, it can be hard to catch the eye of a blogger and to get them to write about your products. The solution? Buy your blog reviews. At least that's how some people see it....

Understanding the Search Buying Cycle

While it's easy enough to envision a potential customer heading off to Yahoo or Google, conducting a search, clicking through and making a purchase, the reality is that the online sales process is more complicated than that. This is because online shoppers tend to take some time doing research and following the "search buying cycle" before settling on a product and a web site to purchase it from....

Is Effective SEO Always Good SEO?

One of the nice things about the search world over the last few years was that we were starting to see less focus on "get rankings quick" style methods and more focus on what some have dubbed "holistic" search marketing. The idea was to stop focusing on finding the holes in the algorithm that would help push your site to the top of the rankings quickly and to focus on building sites that will rank well in the long term and that will attract qualified visitors that will convert to buyers....

What if Your Reputation Determined Your Rankings?

I've been reading a bit about the new concept of Google's "Agent Rank" and their patent application while pondering how it might impact search. The basic idea here is that Google may be working on a way to tie content on the web to an individual and that Google might also establish a way to judge the reputation of the individual, and by extension, their content....

No Need to Fear Hiring a Search Marketer

Are there shiesters in the search marketing world? Yep. Are their shiesters in EVERY businesses? Yep. Thus, you have to do what you'd do for any big project hire you're about to make. Research. Use common sense....

Stop Putting the Cart Before the Horse with Social Media

As best I can figure it, the search marketing world has gotten so internally focused that they're losing the ability to look at things from the traditional business perspective. They're finding things that work (and work extraordinarily well) within the realm of their own businesses and they're having a hard time understanding why those same tactics aren't going to translate to success for most of the folks looking to them for advice....

When Your Online Reputation Management Firm Needs Online Reputation Management...

What people say about you online can make or break you in the business world. Companies realize this and some firms are starting to offer online reputation management services. But what happens when an online reputation management service puts itself in a position for a little criticism of it's own?...

Simple and Affordable Viral Marketing - Refer a Friend

A good business knows their customer acquisition cost (CAC). Based on that, it wouldn't be hard to come up with a financial incentive that puts you ahead of the game and to offer it to your customers so that they can do your marketing for you....

Don't Miss Opportunities - Act Quickly on Big Time Links

Find out why you sometimes need to act fast to take advantage of "big time" incoming links. You know the ones I mean...when you score a front page listing on Digg, or when Yahoo! features you as an "expert" link next to a story or when the Washington Post gives you a little link loving....

What Happens When Blog Posts Become a Commodity

Advertisers are realizing that there's good money to be made from the blog reading public. The problem is, they've also realized that that same public is learning to tune out the ads that run along side good content. The solution? Pay the bloggers to write the ads into the text of their blog posts....

The Elephant and the Gecko, Why Small Business Can Win the PPC Battle

I often try to explain to small business owners that although it may seem like big business has the advantage when it comes to marketing online, sometimes, the advantage lies with the little guy. Small businesses with limited budgets have to make every dollar count. In a weird way, that gives them an advantage over their larger competitors....

Link Baiting: Great Idea or Passing Fad?

It's hard to read a search engine marketing blog these days without spotting the term "link bait" somewhere. It's even harder to have a conversation with a search marketing professional without hearing it. In fact, link bait was one of the phrases I heard most often among speakers and attendees at the last Search Engine Strategies conference. That leaves many marketers and many site owners scratching their heads asking themselves if they need to start focusing on link baiting or if this is just another passing fad....

Why Blog Reviews Can Bite You in the Butt

The blog world isn't fair. While bloggers have a wonderful way of ferreting out the truth when someone's being less than honest, they also have a way of occasionally placing blame where blame doesn't belong. Case in point? This week's fuss over Microsoft and Edelman, their public relations firm....

Zipatoni and Sony Slammed for "Flogging"

Wondering what "flogging" is? No, it's not when you take a big old strap and beat yourself senseless with it... (though Sony may be considering the idea right now) it's when you set up a "fake blog" in order to promote a product or service. Internet users are a savvy bunch and they have a way of ferreting out the companies that try to scam them. That's what happened to Sony and the reactions haven't been pretty....

Is Social Bookmarking the Next Big Thing?

Social Bookmarking is a hot topic in the online marketing world right now. That's a good thing, because there's quite a bit to be learned from social bookmarking...namely, that people tend to gather together in groups to share the things that interests them. The problem is that just because something works for one site, it's not guarenteed to work for ALL sites....

Should Writers Be Held Accountable for Web Page Performance?

I certainly make myself accountable for the quality of my writing. But when it comes to final conversion rates, I also know there are other factors over which I have little or no control....

Real Small Business, Real Big Ideas - The Carrie D. Mader Project Part 4

Today, I'll be focusing in on the start of keyword research and on the changes that we needed to make to Carrie's Google AdWords account. I'll also touch a bit on the ongoing difficulties of getting good ROI tracking in place when you're working with an out-of-the-box shopping cart system like MIVA....

Windows Live QnA Launches

It's a relay race that never ends. The baton passes from one player to the next as the search engines vie to put up the best of the best in all areas of search and search utilities. The latest runner into the game is Windows Live QnA, a combination search engine, answering service and social media site. The beta version of the site is Microsoft's attempt to combine "applied human knowledge" with a "dynamic, social community."...

The Politicos Still Don't Get It

I've written in the past about the potential to use paid search advertising as part of a political campaign, though at the time, the major parties were still pretty much ignoring the search engine marketing landscape. Times are changing though...and with another presidential election just two years away, many political consultants are trying to figure out how to best make use of the web for their candidates campaigns....

Why Do You Ask? Why Does Anyone Ask? It Depends on Your Needs

Ask is pretty far ahead of the curve in terms of supplemental features and search-assisting functionality, but it's still got a long way to go in the algorithm department. That may not be a bad thing though....

Real Small Business, Real Big Ideas - The Carrie D. Mader Project Part 3

In parts one and two of this series, I gave readers some background on upscale jewelry designer Carrie D Mader and the challenges being faced by both her and our team of volunteer marketing consultants. Today we'll be looking at one of the biggest obstacles to face small business owners, delving into plans for updating and upgrading Carrie's web site content and exploring the crashing reality that often comes with these types of projects....

How to Win Links and Influence People - Part 3

The last in a three part series that focuses on taking the common sense tenets found in Dale Carnegie's best-seller "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and applying them to various forms of online marketing. This week it's online reputation management and once again, we'll be looking at some of Carnegie's tenets and how they can be applied with common sense to keeping your online reputation intact....

Real Small Business, Real Big Ideas - The Carrie D. Mader Project Part 2

In part one of this series, I introduced readers to custom jewelry designer Carrie D Mader and our crack team of online marketing consultants. In today's article I'll be talking about some of the challenges facing Carrie and our team and some of the software solutions that we're going to be putting in place to take care of them....

Real Small Business, Real Big Ideas - The Carrie D. Mader Project Part 1

Through hundreds of emails with Search Engine Guide readers, I can see that there are plenty of businesses out there ready and willing to invest the money that it takes to improve their online marketing. The problem that most of them have is that they simply don't know how to get started. That's where Search Engine Guide comes in. Once again, it's time for us to share the ups and downs, the good decisions and the bad, and the every day realities that come with promoting a business online....

How to Win Links and Influence People - Part 2

Viral marketing is one of the most difficult, yet cost effective methods of marketing available to the modern small business owner. However, as with many forms of online marketing, it's sometimes necessary to take a step back and realize that common sense is one of the most powerful weapons in your creative arsenal....

How to Win Links and Influence People - Part 1

While there's no argument about the value of building quality links to your web site in order to help increase both traffic and search engine rankings, there is often some confusion about the best way to go about doing that link building. What would happen if small business owners started to think about link building in another way?...

Real Small Businesses, Real Big Ideas (This Time, It's Personal)

Last week I alluded to the next big project that I'll be launching here at Search Engine Guide. I'll be working with a team of volunteers from different areas of the industry in order to help an existing small business figure out the next steps that they need to take in order to get their online business moving....

How to Avoid a Bad Client and How Not to Be One...

Clients that want everything done as "cheaply" as possible will push and push to get you to cut corners. A good search marketer will always turn up more in ultimate profits than it cost to hire them, so for forward thinking businesses, the issue shouldn't be about keeping prices down, it should be about your track record of ROI and what your plan of action is to maximize it....

Google Testing Pay for Performance Ads

What would happen if the largest online advertising network in the world decided to skip past issues like click fraud by integrating an affiliate style advertising program straight into their already popular network? Apparently, Google is ready to ask that question and everyone else is awaiting the answer....

Ask Us! We'll Give You the Answer...Eventually...

There's been some buzzing so far this week about the premier of "Treasure Hunters," NBC's over-hyped version of The Amazing Race and the giant promotional tie-in with #4 search engine, I haven't watched the show, but apparently, is pretty well integrated with contestants heading to the search engine to look up information, research clues and generally find the information that they need to get to the next step of the game....

Google Launches Ad Scheduling (Dayparting)

It wasn't but a few weeks ago that I wrote about Google's plans to add dayparting to their AdWords management system. The system is now up and running and for small business owners that are able to track their conversion rates down to the day or time of day, this new Ad Scheduling system offers up a world of opportunity....

Does the Google Sandbox Really Exist?

Anyone that's spent some time in a search related discussion forum knows what a popular topic the sandbox is for debate and a great deal of the search community accepts the concept as fact. Guess what? They're wrong....

Focusing on the Short Tail...Yes, You Read That Right

When it comes to internal site search engines, companies need to focus on the "short tail" of search rather than the more commonly evangelized "long tail." Now I realize this may sound like I'm about to tell you to go against everything you know about the power of the long tail, but it's essential to keep in mind that with this article, we're talking about internal site search, not search conducted on a search engine like Yahoo! or Google....

AdWords to Integrate Dayparting and Ad Scheduling

Last week, the Google team announced plans to integrate dayparting and ad scheduling into the AdWords advertiser panel. With Microsoft's adCenter already offering limited dayparting options, it was only a matter of time until Google was forced to do the same. Even so, most small businesses will be looking forward to this feature launch with great anticipation....

Is Google Dropping Conservative Sites They Disagree With?

There's some buzz moving around the blogosphere that speculates on whether the left-leaning ideology behind one of the most popular search sites on the Internet may be tainting their ability to provide unbiased results through the Google News search engine and through the actual Google Web search....

Keeping SEM Costs Reasonable for a Small Business

With quality search marketing consultants now charging anywhere from $100 to $500 an hour and some companies requiring at least $10K to even start working on your site, search marketing seems to be leaping out of reach for most small business owners. It doesn't have to be that way....

Yahoo! Introduces New Home Page

More than a year and a half after last updating their home page, Yahoo! has introduced another overhaul designed at helping them maintain their position as the most popular site on the web....

Google Unveils a Slew of New Services

Yesterday in their annual Press Day, the team at Google brought the world up to date on their latest and greatest, including the launch of one update and three brand new products....

Yahoo Shares Specs on Planned Pay Per Click Upgrade

Coming right on the heels of Microsoft's adCenter launch, the team at Yahoo has finally decided to publicly release some details of the updates they plan to launch this fall to their own pay per click advertising platform....

Why SEO Formulas Don't Work

I'm sure I'm not the only one that has read article after article and blog post after blog post announcing the death of traditional search engine optimization. I've even written a few myself that talk about the need to shift our focus from things like keyword density, PageRank and even rankings themselves....

Plenty of Potential for Small Business in Online Local Ads

Search engines still face a daunting challenge when it comes to matching searchers up with local companies and small businesses. The problem, is how make advertising easy enough to entice the 23 million small businesses that could be advertising....

Just How Important Are Top Rankings?

While much has been said recently (by myself and others) about the over-emphasis placed on search engine rankings, it is still important to keep track of how placement impacts things like branding, searcher impressions and even overall search usage. That's why a recent study put together by iProspect caught my eye....

SEM 101: What is a Directory?

Often mistaken for search engines, directories are actually collections of human reviewed web sites that have been arranged into topical categories. Popular directories can serve as excellent starting points for navigating the Internet. They can also serve as a valuable resource for small business owners looking for ways to drive more traffic to their web sites....

ClickTracks Appetizer Serves Up Free Site Analytics

One of the biggest challenges facing small business owners today is figuring out how well their web site is working without spending tons of money on high-priced consultants or expensive software....

Yahoo! Adds Satellite Imagery to Maps

Yahoo! announced yesterday on their corporate blog that they had added satellite imagery to their mapping service. The new feature is also available through Yahoo!'s API and the Yahoo! Developer Network so that mashup creators can being hacking together Yahoo! powered features....

Should SEO Be Part of Journalism 101?

There's an article in today's New York Times that talks about the growing interest in search engine optimization among journalists, editors and newspaper staff. The obvious point of the article is that in a world that increasingly turns to the Internet and search engines to search for news coverage, newspapers can no longer afford to ignore search engine friendly tactics like keywords in story headlines and text....

Local Search Still Not Cutting the Mustard

What's disappointing is that despite the investments poured into local search by top engines like Yahoo! and Google, the Internet search engine satisfaction rate of 39% is the same that it was last year, meaning that despite the new offerings, users aren't finding it any easier to get what they want....

Google Base Being Integrated into Google Results

Just four months after announcing the Google Base project, Google is already working to integrate the content into it's traditional search results. Just recently, reports have started to show up in blogs about searches that lead to a results page with a Google Base search prompt for refining the original search....

Entitlement Mentality on the Web

It happens every now and then, in a forum, on a blog, and sometimes, even in court. What happens? Some web site owned by someone with an entitlement mentality experiences a drop in rankings and suddenly rambles on and on about the evils of Google and how Google has destroyed their business....

Google Serves Up "Starter Edition" of AdWords

I've heard time and time again from small business owners that pay per click marketing is simply too confusing, too expensive and too difficult for them to dive in to. Starter Edition is based off this premise....

Considering a Career Change? Get in Before the Boom Subsides

So my question the industry spoiled? Is the fact that an experienced SEM scoffs at a salary that's not equal to those paid out by top law firms, or earned by experienced surgeons a sign that something is wrong?...

AdWords Offers Demographic Selections

AdWords' demographic option is designed to let advertisers select specific sites to advertise on based on the demographics of that site. Advertisers will be able to specify a preference in up to three categories....

Online Reputation Management for a New Generation

Most adults are now well aware that anything they say or write online can come back to haunt them, but most of the school-age population isn't quite as familiar with the idea of "consequences for your actions," especially in the realm of the online world....

Search Engine Algorithms - Understanding the Pinocchio Effect

Originally, search engines focused on mathematical formulas. That often meant that you could meet all the criteria without having a very "good" site. Search engines realized this and they've been working ever since to find better ways to make these judgement calls....

Google Offers Up Page Creator Program

Google Page Creator is available for free to anyone with a Gmail account, though new registrations are closed right now due to "heavy demand." The system works off of a "What You See is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) editor that will allow even those unfamiliar with HTML to create their own web sites....

AOL Updates Video Search, Truveo Comes Into Play

With the lines between traditional forms of entertainment and the Internet slowly blurring, the ability to make an early capture of the video search audience is likely to play a key role in the future success of any of the major engines....

Local Search to Continues to Show Promise for Small Businesses

While online classified ads are expected to grow about 8% a year, pay-per-call is expected to grow more than 130% annually, reaching $3.7 billion in spending by 2010. That's up from just $57 million last year....

A Little Q&A With Google

Brin, Page and Schmidt, the trio that runs Google, are the cover boys of this week's Time Magazine. The article includes some interesting insight. For example, the decision not to run ads on Google's image search results because the estimated $80 million that it would produce in revenue each year isn't "worth it."...

The Danger of Effective Viral Marketing

Before you take on a new search marketing campaign, or a new viral marketing or link building campaign, consider the implications. Are you ready for the influx in traffic, in visitors, in sales?...

Giving Up Google Maps

I never thought it would come to this. As fascinated as I've been with Google Maps and their fantastic satellite views, I've found a new love. Windows Live Local, the beta version of Microsoft's own aerial photo maps is powered by Virtual Earth and smashes Google to tiny bits when it comes to impact and imagery....

Advertising Into the Void

Are you running radio ads, yellow page ads or newspaper ads that don't feature your URL? Do your ads promote a product name or product keyword that you don't rank well for? Are you sparking interest in a product or service and then leaving your competitors to pick up those potential buyers when they conduct a search?...

The Poor Man's Version of Dayparting

For many small business owners, PPC management is just another hat that the company owner has to wear, making it near impossible for them to remember to set their daily updates and changes....

Yet Another SEM Contest - So Let's Raise Money for Charity!

While I stayed out of the last seo contest, I've decided to go ahead and enter this one in the hopes that I can use carcasherdotcom seocontest as a fundraiser for the milk bank that I highlighted in the 30 day article series....

Google Launches Toolbar Update

The Google Toolbar is testing some new toys. In a beta launch available only to IE users, Google is offering several new features aimed at making the Google toolbar a more personal and more powerful browsing companion. From the addition of quick launch buttons to Google based bookmarking to closer integration with Gmail and Blogger, the toolbar upgrades look promising....

Link Building is Relationship Building

Many web site owners find link requests to be perplexing. The web is simply full of articles telling site owners how NOT to link build, but with all those lists of "don'ts" floating around, it's still tough to figure out what the "do's" are....

How Offline Actions Impact Online Reputation Management

I've written several articles now talking about the need for companies to practice online reputation manage as part of their search marketing campaigns. What I've not yet covered is the fact that your offline actions can also go a long way toward impacting your online reputation....

Google and the Department of Justice

If you've not been living under a rock the past week or so, you've likely heard one or two (or a thousand) people comment on the battle that is raging between Google and the Department of Justice....

Why Viral Marketing Is Essential To Low-Cost Search Marketing

Think about the last time that a friend told you about a great movie that they saw over the weekend, or how much they loved a new restaurant that just opened up. Online viral marketing works the same way, though the results are much easier to track....

v7ndotcom elursrebmem ... come again?

Years after Nigratude Ultramarine made news, v7ndotcom elursrebmem is storming the net with a slew of new pages by SEMs entering a new contest. This difference this time is that there are two competing factions aiming to attract contest entrants....

How the Search Marketing Industry Shot Itself in the Foot

While top five or even top ten rankings could be achieved by skilled SEMs for almost any keyword phrase, the day is coming when the industry will grow to levels that make phrases so competitive that even the most skilled search marketers will have difficulty attaining top rankings....

Are You Making Too Much of Your Money From Search Engines?

There are two problems that tend to happen when companies first start exploring search engine marketing. The first is that they get caught up in pay-per-click adversities and ignore organic search. The second is that they start relying on free search engine traffic and use that as an excuse to cut their budget for other forms of marketing....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 30 - Launching the Press Release, Adding Up the Till and Offering Up a Little More...

As day thirty hit I spent some time wavering between relief and sadness. The relief at finally being finished with such an enormous task was fairly overwhelming. At the same time, the sadness that I felt bringing the project to a close was a bit more palpable than I would have expected. The good news, that day thirty wasn't really an ending, it was more of a milestone....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 29 - Preparing for the Pitch, Spreading Goodwill and Earning from Amazon

On the second to the last day of the project I found myself buried in quite a few different projects. From reviewing pitch ideas to offering up advocacy help to sending the press release, I was still focusing on the public relations angle. I was also surprised to see a sudden flux of affiliate income from an unlikely source....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 28 - Finishing up the Press Release, Making My Mark in Froogle and Learning to Squidoo

The last few days of the Lactivist project were going to be all about wrapping up plans for my press release and solidifying my ongoing marketing plans. That meant day twenty-eight was spent reviewing the final press release copy, making plans for distribution, and exploring a new marketing outlet that might have potential....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 27 - Buzzing and Building the Blogosphere and a Plan for Long-Term Revenue Success

With just a few days left to go in the Lactivist project and my media plan shaping up nicely, I spent day twenty-seven catching up on blog posts that I'd missed, making a few of my own and exchanging some emails with a friend that had a suggestion for long-term revenue generation with The Lactivist....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 26 - Planning a Media Push, More Forums and I Start Recruiting Affiliates

On day twenty-six with just a few days left to go I was focused on wrapping up plans for some of the marketing methods I'd been working on throughout the project. I needed to finalize plans for our media push, start working out how to recruit some affiliates for The Lactivist store and dive back into the world of online parenting discussion forums....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 25 - Stats Confusion is Worked Out, Great Blog Discussions and MSN AdCenter Gets a Look

By day twenty-five I was well on my way to sliding out of start-up mode and into maintenance and growth mode for the Lactivist project. I spent some more time digging around in ClickTracks and made a realization about why I seemed to be losing traffic at the CafePress Store. I also spent some more time finding out what bloggers were saying about the project and looked into MSN's new adCenter program....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 24 - Public Relations Continues to Go Well and The Lactivist Project Decides to Share the Love

On day twenty-four my public relations campaign was still going full steam ahead, even though we technically hadn't made any pitches or released the story on the wire. It was also the day that it dawned on me that this project had the potential to be greater than just a site to promote breastfeeding or even a project to help people learn about marketing....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 23 - Stats and Research, Yahoo! Ads Start Running and a Big Press Mention

Day twenty-three was full of a little bit of action on a lot of different levels. From digging through my stats to doing another round of keyword research to finally getting my Yahoo! ads online I stayed busy on the search marketing front....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 22 - It's All About the Networking, but Not The Way You Think...

While day twenty-two didn't involve a lot of actual work on The Lactivist site, it did keep me hopping with discussions via forums, email and blogs. I'd been trying to stay on top of things for online reputation management purposes, but on day twenty-two, I realized that things might be going a bit further than that....

Zero Dollars a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 21 - Getting CafePress Integrated with My Site, Reviewing Media Lists and Loads of New Shirts

The bulk of day twenty-one was spent looking at code and admin pages and trying to get my CafePress content to look just right on the Lactivist web site. Along with that, I spent some time reviewing media lists for our upcoming public relations blitz, did a little more work with ClickTracks and uploaded half a dozen new shirts....

Zero Dollars a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 20 - Blog Comments Roll in, New Milk Bank Shirts and Analytics Get Fun

Day twenty saw a rush of activity on the Lactivist Blog; comments from readers simply poured in. At the same time, I put up two new milk bank shirts and received not only a generous offer to solve my site analytics problem, but also personalized help getting the solution in place....

Zero Dollars a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 19 - Moms Add the Lactivist to Their Christmas Lists, Press Releases Take Work and I Discover a Solution to My Top Problem

After the emotional ups and downs of day eighteen, it was great to get back to doing actual work on The Lactivist project. I was still finding some great incoming links as moms started spreading the word about my shirts and I had some great news come in regarding my press releases, my analytics program and my ongoing frustration with integrating my CafePress content into the Lactivist web site....

Zero Dollars a Little Talent and 30 days - Day 18 - Another Round of Shirt Ideas, Building Credibility in the Community and a Reader Lends a Hand

While I didn't have a lot of free time to spend on The Lactivist project on day eighteen, I was still running on some adrenaline from my visit to the milk bank the day before. That seemed to be just what I needed to spark some creativity for new shirt ideas. It also gave me cause to spend some time networking on one of the popular parenting sites. The biggest boon on day eighteen though came from a note from a Search Engine Guide reader....

Zero Dollars a Little Talent and 30 days - Day 17 - A Trip the Milk Bank, An Entrepreneur's Fear and a Renewed Determination

I've always believed that God knows exactly when you've reached your breaking point and will find some way to send someone or something into your life to help you get over that hump and get moving again. Day seventeen of the Lactivist project was the day that saw that belief tested...and proven....

Zero Dollars a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 16 - Yahoo! Search Marketing Enters the Game, I Debate About Self Promotion and Amazon Gets a Chance

More than week weeks into The Lactivist experiment things were running pretty smoothly. That said, there was still plenty of room for improvement. To that end, I got down to business trying to come up with a plan for a public relations move, launched a new pay-per-click campaign with Yahoo! Search Marketing and decided to give Amazon's notoriously low-paying affiliate program a chance....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 15 - Blogging Away, Customer Service Part Two and Giving it a Go on Ebay

Day fifteen saw me putting a lot of focus toward The Lactivist Blog. From adding new entries, to guest blogging on other sites to finally integrating the blog content as a live feed into The Lactivist web site, blogging was the focus of the day. I also ended up having another conversation with CafePress customer service, made some more changes to my AdWords campaign and decided to give eBay a shot....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 14 - Jagger is Not My Friend, CSSAnnoys and I Experience CafePress as a Customer

I don't suppose I can really complain. After two solid weeks of surprising productivity, day fourteen actually delivered a fair share of frustration to make up for the supposed ease with which things had launched. That said, I still managed to get quite a bit done and I was encouraged to see that the search marketing world had finally started to buzz about the project as well....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 13 - First Sale for the Milk Banks, Set up an Affiliate Program and a Day to Focus on Search Marketing

Almost two full weeks into the project and just after the Thanksgiving holiday, I finally gave myself a chance to relax a little bit with a slow day that focused mostly on search engine marketing. I also had a chance to contemplate where I wanted to start reinvesting the dollars that were finally starting to add up for The Lactivist project....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 12 - Google Bypasses MSN, CafePress Gives the Site a Boost and Offers of Help From Readers Pour In

Day twelve saw the start of a sudden rush of traffic from a few solid links, gave me a true appreciation for just how generous Search Engine Guide readers can be and showed just how powerful Google rankings are. If I was learning anything from this experience it was the importance of creating a business that sparks people's interest....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 11 - Google Shares the Love, DNS Issues Resolve and CafePress Lets Me Down

Day eleven was a happy day. Google rankings kicked in, making it clear that Jagger was still a fan of CafePress sites and that you can work around the sandbox if you make use of someone else's domain. I also finally figured out what was going on with the DNS issues that were holding up the launch of and ran into the first real reason to be unhappy with the CafePress system....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 10 - Search Engine Marketing Goes to Work and Affiliate Sales Pay Off

Day ten was finally the day that I got to put some of my own experience to work on the site. After more than a week of trudging through things like graphics, style sheets and actually running a business, I finally had access to a keyword research tool....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 9 - Keyword Research, Chitika Mini Malls and Writing Content

After the craziness that was day eight, day nine seemed a bit tamer. I still got plenty done, from integrating Chitika Mini Malls into the Blogger site to writing new content for the soon to be live Lactivist web site. I also answered plenty of email from helpful folks who picked up on my no Wordtracker mention in day eight and spent some time adding my domain name to the majority of the products in The Lactivist store....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 8 - Viral Marketing Works, A New Site is Born and Sales Pick Up

Day eight was all about progress. Viral marketing finally started to spread into the non-business world, two PR opportunities started to move forward, I got a complete site design put together for the new domain, selected a host, added several new products and had my first day of multiple sales. Overall, it turned out to be the best day of the project thus far....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 7 - MSN Plays Nice, Hosting is Confusing and an Interesting Email Shows Up...

Day seven wasn't one of my more productive days, but I did get to do a little bit of looking into my hosting options, found that traffic was starting to get a little stronger and received a very interesting email....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 6 - New Products, a Lesson or Two on AdSense and Investing Back in the Biz

Almost a full week into the project, I'd made about $12 and was trying to figure out how best to reinvest it back into the business. Day six was a Sunday, which meant I didn't have but a couple of hours to put toward the site. Those few hours went toward new product development, another blog post and tons of time spent trying to get AdSense to work properly....

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 5 - Blogs on the Brain, Reputation Management and AdSense Ups and Downs

Day five saw me putting most of my time toward handling blog issues, another quick round of online reputation management and further experiences with the joy and frustration of AdSense....

Zero Cash, A Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 4 - Life as a Mompreteneur, Blogging, AdSense and the First Sale!

While Day four ended up being my most successful one yet, it also served as yet another reminder of what it's like to be a mom, work a job, live your life and still try to setup a business....

Zero Cash, A Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 3 - Spreading the Word and Fixing Mistakes

The third day of my shoe-string entrepreneur project started off fairly calm and wrapped up in a whirlwind of craziness. I also learned that for every brilliant moment you have, you're likely also going to have some that are duller than dirt....

Zero Cash, A Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 2 - This Business Stuff is Hard!

Day two is when I really started to appreciate the amount of work that goes into starting up a business as a side project. In the "real world," I'm used to having a budget for things like web analytics, site designers, copywriters and search marketing campaigns....

Zero Cash, A Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 1 - Formulating a Plan

I've decided to set up a little challenge for myself and to both blog and write articles on it over the next month. The idea is to try to setup some type of business in my free time and see if I can start to turn a profit in a 30 day period....

Keyword Advertising Expands Through Advario

Last week performance marketing network and interactive agency AdValient released a new suite of contextual advertising tools dubbed Advario. The new program is designed to give publishers a new way to place advertising contextual advertising on their web sites....

Are You Missing New Opportunities?

Finding out how your visitors work their way around your site can help tell you what usability changes might be needed, what specific information your visitors are looking for, and even how they make their buying decisions....

PPC: If You Aren't Number One...You Still Get Customers...

Many want to be able to run advertising campaigns, but feel that they can't justify the cost because their conversion rates don't result in a profit. This often happens because so many advertisers are still living with the false idea that they simply have to bid their site to the number one listing....

Yahoo!'s Trip Planner Boosts Personalized Search to a New Level

Yahoo!'s new trip planning tool does a great job of mixing personalized search with community and has a lot of potential. But it also has some serious usability issues that they need to address before they see massive adoption rates....

Taking Advantage of Brand Blogs for Online Reputation Management

Savvy companies that are putting time and effort toward online reputation management shouldn't simply smile at fan sites and then move on to deal with the "problem" sites or posters, they should be figuring out how to work these sites into their marketing campaigns....

News on the Video Search From Google, AOL

With media search and video search in particular becoming a hot new property in the search wars, news has been launched this week about a couple new products that show the major search engines are taking video search seriously....

Should Engines Manipulate Results In Certain Circumstances?

At what point does it become ok for a search engine to taint the results with their own prevailing morals? Undoubtedly, some search engines are already playing this game....

Yahoo! Buys Whereonearth to Boost Local Search Offering

Whereonearth's localized search products will benefit Yahoo! beyond simple business listings. Yahoo! hopes to use the Whereonearth technology to improve the performance of their mobile and local search services....

Starting Small with Pay-Per-Click will Pay Off

Smart business owners take the time to learn more about how pay-per-click advertising works before getting started, but even thorough research into pay-per-click techniques can leave a company without the knowledge they need to make good decisions....

Rethinking Who You Market To

While the 18-49 crowd has long served as the key demographic for agencies, attitudes are starting to change. There are now 77 million boomers out there and they have more than $1 trillion in spending power....

New Mashup Maps Your Group

The name Frapper is a combination of the words "friend mapper" and aims to let users "see the zip code where your friends live or work, letting you find out who works in the office building next door and who lives in the apartment complex across the street."...

Godin Announces Squidoo

Almost anyone that has been around the web for awhile has heard of and Wikipedia. One relies on hired experts to generate content about a variety of topics while the other one relies on volunteers to do the same. Online marketing guru Seth Godin announced plans for a new site dubbed Squidoo at Web 2.0 last week....

ClickTracks Wows Site Owners with Version 6.0

ClickTracks has worked to put high end analytics and campaign analysis into an easy to use package thats actually has a reasonable price tag. Small business owners rarely have access to this level of information in a format that they can actually understand...and afford!...

AOL Search Adds New Features

Although AOL's search technology is currently powered by Google, AOL has always worked to put their own spin on search. They've introduced several new features after conducting extensive consumer testing that are available as of this morning....

Are Your Competitors Making Better Use of the Web Than You?

Small businesses are understanding what the big firms are missing...that while it takes more time to implement, organic search engine optimization will outperform pay-per-click when it comes to drawing long-term leads at reasonable costs....

New Conference Aims to Bring the Show to You

In a field as fast-paced as search engine marketing, there aren't very many options for learning other than reading articles and visiting discussion forums. eComXpo is one of the first virtual conferences that brings the show to your personal computer....

New Study Explores Click Rates for Search Results

A new study released this year by a team of researches at Cornell University aims to examine the actions of searchers when it comes to both viewing search results and deciding which result to select. The studies findings were not unexpected, though they do back up anecdotal experience for most marketers....

MSN adCenter Launches in France, Coming Soon to U.S.

While the new adCenter has some outstanding features that advertisers are sure to find handy, other options being touted as "powerful campaign management tools" are likely going to be less than useful for small business owners....

Online Local Advertising Poised for Solid Growth

If you've been putting off search marketing as a line item on your budget because your competitors aren't doing it, you need to get past that line of thinking and start coming up with a plan of action....

There's Something to Learn from Googlebombing

While the concept of Googlebombing has been around for quite some time, many of those that are new to the industry, or that are trying to get a grasp on it before hiring a professional search marketer are still trying to wrap their head around the idea....

What's All This Talk About AOL and MSN?

If you've visited any of the popular technology news sites, or discussion forums in the last day or two, you've likely heard the rumblings about a possible AOL/MSN or Google/AOL or even Yahoo!/AOL pairing that may be in the works....

Google Blog Search Debuts in Beta

Google's new Blog Search isn't limited to blogs published through Google-owned Blogger. Instead, it works to index all blog content that is published via RSS or Atom feeds....

The Purpose of Pay-per-Click - Part Two: Long Term Campaigns

While the reality is that most pay-per-click advertisers are already running long-term campaigns, many of them haven't really thought through what the purpose of their campaign is....

The Purpose of Pay-per-Click - Part One: Short Term Campaigns

Pay-per-click marketing isn't just about setting up a campaign and letting it go, it's about understanding the many ways that you can use PPC to your advantage and then launching the type of campaign that makes the most sense for your business....

BidHero Brings Bid Management to the Masses

I had a chance to chat with John Marshall earlier this week to take a guided tour of BidHero and to ask some questions about how the program will benefit the often over-looked small business market....

A Few Questions with iKarma CEO Paul Williams

As a follow-up to an article that I wrote earlier this week about online reputation management, I decided to sit down with Outlook and have a conversation with Paul Williams, the CEO of a new reputation management community known as iKarma....

Google Launches Google Talk

In a move that likely marks the company's first forray into online communication tools, Google launched its new Google Talk tool just after midnight last night....

Online Reputation Management, Are You Doing It?

As the world shifts more and more focus toward online research, the importance of knowing what other people are saying about your company increases exponentially....

Google Updates Desktop Search

Google unveiled version two of its desktop search software this morning. Google Desktop 2 featured an updated look and a suite of new tools designed to improve a users' overall search experience....

Yahoo! Local Gets an Overhaul

Drawing traffic from a local search site like Yahoo! Local isn't just going to be about buying the right directory listing or bidding on the right PPC term. It's going to be about making your customers happy enough that they want to tell other people about you....

Froogle Mobile Might Shake Up Your Business

Those innovative engineers over at Google are at it again. This time they are bringing the power of Froogle to the palm of your hand. Froogle Mobile launched yesterday and is now available on phones that support WML (WAP 1.2). How does this launch impact you?... Offers CPC Discount to Merchants

During the month of August, the team is providing merchants with a 50% discount on sales leads that come through the engine....

Ask Jeeves Launches New Paid Search Advertising Program to the Public

Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings will allow both large and small advertisers to purchase and manage their ads through a self-serve style system like those used by Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing....

Search Engine Strategies San Jose Coverage

This year's show is one of the largest Search Engine Strategies events ever and for those attending, or looking to keep up with the show from home, there are several great resources worth bookmarking....

Search Engine Caching Once Again Under Fire

Canadian Bill C-60, which aims to amend the Canadian Copyright Act is generating quite a bit of buzz in the search industry this week.... Launches Comparison Shopping

A late-comer to an already cluttered field of comparison shopping search engines,'s founders are hoping that past experience will help them pave the way toward future innovations....

Saving Your Business from an Algorithm Shift - Part 2: Paid Search Advertising

Even among the companies that are already using paid search, there are often many things that can be done to improve performance....

Saving Your Business from an Algorithm Shift - Part 1: Press Releases

In this series of articles I'll focus on giving you a few ideas that you can try to implement immediately in order to keep your business afloat after losing rankings in a sudden algorithm shift....

The God of Search (and I Don't Mean Google)

Looking for God? Google just might be able to point you in the right direction, and not just using their new local search listings....

Hitwise Offers Online Intelligence for the Small Business

Hitwise has announced the launch of Keyword Intelligence, an online tool designed to help marketers discover the best keywords and keyword phrases to use in their search marketing campaigns....

Help Set Your Budget with Pay-Per-Click Calculator

A mismanaged pay-per-click campaign can quickly leave a business owner with no more sales than they had before and an empty bank account. That's why it is essential to figure out what you can afford to spend before you launch your campaign....

ClickTracks Wins Yet Another ClickZ Award

ClickZ has tallied reader votes and ClickTracks has won their third straight ClickZ Excellence Award in the Research and Analytics category.... Adds News Search announced earlier this week that they had added a news search feature to the site in order to help consumers locate the latest information about new product offerings, recalls and safety warnings....

Expand Your SEM Campaign with GoogSpy

A new tool offered by Velocityscape allows you to do a little bit of competitive research to make certain that your competitors aren't leaving you behind....

Broadband Growth Expected to Drive Search Engine Usage

A new report issued by Merrill Lynch this morning predicts that thanks, in part, to the rise on broadband adoption, sponsored search will increase by 47% this year....

Slow and Steady SEM can Still Win the Race

While there's no arguing that both time and money are involved in proper search engine marketing, many companies overlook the fact that a little bit of time and a lot of perseverance can have just as much of an impact as a lot of work up front....

The Simple Pay Per Click Change That Could Earn You More

Chances are high that if you are a small business owner running your own pay-per-click campaign, you are overlooking a small change that could double your conversions....

MSN Launches Local Search

MSN pushed into the local search market yesterday with a beta version of its new local search engine. While the new feature is a start, it still leaves a lot to be desired....

Search Engine Spammers...Unite?

Roger Wehbe had a dream. He wanted to organize a group of ethical SEM professionals that could band together as the Association of Search Engine Professionals....

Yahoo! to Search Subscription Sites

Yahoo! announced yesterday evening that they were planning to launch a new search tool that would work to index the content behind the passwords of subscription based sites like LexisNexis and

Bloglines Doubles Index in Six Months

Demonstrating the amazing rate at which bloggers are expanding the content of the Internet, Ask Jeeves' Bloglines has announced that they have doubled the size of their index since the beginning of the year....

AOL's Singingfish Adds New Video Feeds

Seattle, Washington based Singingfish announced early this morning that they will begin featuring video content feeds from nearly a dozen new partners....

Blogger Doesn't *Get* Search Marketing

I read a post at a blog site earlier today by someone that was contacted by a company about search marketing. He asked a few questions, did a few searches and decided that he didn't need search marketing. Here's why he's wrong....

New Study Shows Lack of SEO for Manufacturers

A new study released by Fathom SEO finds that the majority of manufacturer web sites miss the boat when it comes to even the most basic search optimization techniques....

Search Engine Usage on the Rise in Europe

European use of search engines has grown 11% over the past year - up to 88 million users as opposed to the 79 million users in 2004....

Quixtar Caught in Search Engine PR Battle

The idea of manipulating search results is nothing new, but there is a recent trend toward using search engine results as part of online public relations campaigns designed to both promote and criticize businesses....

Are Google and Yahoo! Fund Suckers?

The phenomenal success of search engine leaders Google and Yahoo! is creating a sucking void in the bank accounts of other leading information companies....

Searching for Lost

It seems appropriate that a TV show called "Lost" would spark a surge in online searches....

Women Lead Surge in Online Shopping

A recent Forrester Research study stated that online shopping by women is expected to show a surge in growth this year, with more women heading online to both research and make purchases....

New Search Marketing Journal to Launch

The publishing house responsible for LinuxWorld Magazine and .NET Developer's Journal has announced plans to introduce a search marketing journal later this year....

AOL Watches Star Wars Searches Soar

It's no surprise that Internet users flocked to the search engines this week to look up information on Star Wars. According to recently released information by America Online, it's a good week to be Natalie Portman....

Google Maps Bloopers and Hacks

Google Maps has become yet another ride to tackle in the playground that is Google hacking. A few new hacks and Google's own blooper make for some interesting searching....

Singingfish to Index Reuters' Video

Following the heels of Google's announcement that they will be indexing video feeds from several popular TV channels, AOL's Singingfish announced yesterday that they have partnered with popular news source Reuters....

The Number One Rule of Organic Search Marketing

Ask these folks what the number one rule of organic search marketing is, and you're probably going to hear about how you need to add content, or how links are essential....

The Number One Rule of Pay-Per-Click

Many small business owners don't understand that while they know how to set up a campaign, manage bids, and have even been able to see a rise in sales or leads, they are still breaking the number one rule of pay-per-click....

Deciding Where to Spend Your SEM Dollars

How can a company decide where their search marketing dollars should go? How do you know if you should split your budget 50/50, 40/60 or even 80/20 between PPC and organic search?...

Google Expands Video Index

So how does video search work? Video search engines, like the one offered by Google, work by scanning the closed captioning text for keywords....

How to Hire a Professional SEM - Part 4

Once you've selected a few SEM firms to consider, you'll need to decide if you want to work with an individual consultant, an SEM-only firm, or a marketing or web design firm that also offers SEO services....

How to Hire a Professional SEM - Part 3

The easiest way to find someone that knows what they are doing and how to work well with others to accomplish those tasks is to ask around....

Google Maps Allows for Virtual Tourism

Two Scottish brothers and one of their co-workers have banded together to launch a Blog devoted to all the fun places you can "visit" via Google Maps....

How to Hire a Professional SEM - Part 2

It's important to take a look at exactly what services are being offered to you by a professional SEO before you give serious consideration to hiring them....

Google Extends AdWords Program

Google announced earlier today that they would begin beta testing a radical change in services to their popular auction-style keyword-based advertising program....

How to Hire a Professional SEM Part 1

As with most other major purchases or contracts, a basic understanding of what SEO entails can provide you with a solid stepping stone to build a great relationship with a professional search engine marketing specialist...

Cool Search Tools

Although Internet users have been visiting search engines and directories for years in an attempt to find useful information online, a few creative programmers have started coming up with some unique ways to make searching more effective, or at least more fun....

High Gas Prices Fuel Search Engine Usage

Now accustomed to being able to find almost anything with the help of a search engine, drivers are flocking to the Web in order to find the cheapest place to fill up....

Beta Version of Yahoo! News Goes Live

Yahoo! News has released a new beta version of their popular news site to the public this week that features a slick new layout and some handy customization options....

AP Takes Their Turn Challenging Google

On the heels of a lawsuit from French news agency AFP, Google is now facing a similar complaint from the Associated Press....

Google Targets Cell Phone Users

Mountain View, California based Google announced a new search tool aimed at mobile phone users earlier today. Services are currently limited to users in the United States and Canada....

Google Maps Integrates Keyhole Satellite View

Not long after making a round of updates to the Google Map feature, Google has gone a step further and integrated the Keyhole satellite image technology with their local maps....

WiFi Search Sites Offer Spring Freedom

With warm spring weather and sunny days coming into season across the U.S., savvy small business owners are taking advantage of the freedom that free WiFi hot spots have to offer....

Ixquick Metasearch Engine Introduces New Features

Dutch metasearch engine Ixquick introduced a range of new features this week designed to generate more comprehensive and accurate search results....

Web Analytics is Google's Latest Acquisition

Google announced plans this week to purchase San Diego, California based Urchin, a popular web analytics software program, for an undisclosed sum of money....

Lawsuit Against Google May Prove Costly for AFP

AFP is going to court to keep their customer's Web sites from being listed in Google news. One wonders how their customers feel about this, after all, a victory could result in less traffic to customers' Web sites....

Amazon's A9 Offers Unique Local Search Experience

Rather than simply offering a standard phone number and map enabled address listing, A9 is able to rely on Amazon's massive community of users and existing content platform to generate unique localized information....

MSN Introduces New adCenter Paid Search Solution

One of the potentially unique aspects of Microsoft's paid search program is its ability to offer more specific targeting of the ads. Through the use of IP data and its own database of personal user information, Microsoft could take keyword based advertising to the next level....

Popular Search Marketing Myths Debunked

There are a few myths that seem to continue to be spread and that often pop up among small business owners that are trying to get enough of a grasp on search marketing to hire a professional to help them with their site....

ClickTracks Optimizer Offers Must Have Reporting for Small Businesses

Overall, ClickTracks Optimizer is a winner, offering a variety of reports and tools that were present in past releases as well as introducing a few new options to the mix as well....

Yellow Pages Introduces Local Search Guide

In response to the growing interest in local search, the Yellow Pages Association (YPA) introduced a new column this month called "Viewpoints" that features commentary and articles relating to the growth and development of the local search market....

Google Maps Offers New Take on Local Search Mapping

Always looking to expand their hold on the online information market, Google introduced the new beta version of their Google Maps program to the public earlier this month. Users can zoom out as far as to the national level, or in close enough to see even a small cul-de-sac down the street from their chosen address....

AOL Searchers Show Interest in American Idol

With twenty contestants left and only a few weeks until the twelve finalists are selected, AOL has released data on which contests appear to be most popular with AOL search users....

AOL Expands Search Offering with Local Search Tool

Following up on a recent revamping of the search interface, AOL announced this morning that they have also added a new local search service to their stable of search engine tools....

Dating Search Engine is Latest Offering from Lycos

Lycos announced this morning that they were launching a new beta "dating search engine" that is designed to search and index popular dating sites and provide a comprehensive database of personal profiles....

Image Search for New MSN Search Engine to be Provided by Picsearch

An agreement was reached yesterday between MSN and Picsearch that would see the integration of Picsearch technology into the image search portion of the new MSN search engine. The move marks yet another step toward full competition with Google and Yahoo's expansive slew of search tools....

Incoming Links Aren't Hard to Come By With the Right Content

There's been a lot of talk over the past six months about the dropping value of reciprocal links and the increased value of one-way links. Finding a way to gain those one-way incoming links can be tough, unless you put your imagination to work....

Getting an Education in Search Engine Marketing

The search marketing industry changes at such a fast pace that even if a university were to offer a degree in search marketing, the information they taught would be out of date before the graduate could even put it into practice....

Can Searchers Predict Oscar Gold?

If online search activity is any indicator of who will take home the Oscar later this month, then a little bit of online research can give you a heads up on the winners....

Google Introduces New Toolbar Features

Google released a new beta version of its popular toolbar software this morning that adds some handy new features including a translation tool, an autolink feature and an integrated spell checker....

New Study Explores how Search Engine Use Impacts Purchases

Half of online purchases are preceded by product related searches according to a study released this week by DoubleClick and comScore Networks....

French Lawsuit Against Yahoo! May Be Ruled Meaningless

In what could be a victory for both Yahoo! and free speech activists in the United States, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to rehear arguments in a lawsuit leveled against Yahoo! by two French human rights groups....

A Little Search Engine Fun, SnoopDog Style

Before it gets Z-to-tha-izzapped from the Web, you might want to take a few moments to Gizoogle yourself on a new parody search engine that's the talk of blogs and forums everywhere....

Study Demonstrates Impact of Ranking on Search Engine Traffic

It's important for businesses to realize that long term organic optimization isn't simply about buying traffic, it's about building an online presence.... Introduces Auction Style PPC Bidding

Canadian based engine announced today that they plan to add an auction style component to their pay-per-click advertising program. The move will allow advertisers to have more control over how and where their contextual ads are placed in the network....

Paid Search Market Maturing

A newly issued report from eMarketer examines the impressive number that have been driving the paid search industry for the past few years and estimates the increases that we will likely see through the end of 2006....

Microsoft Releases New MSN Search Engine

Although the MSN Beta search engine has been available for quite some time, Microsoft has finally unleashed its new proprietary search technology on search engine users in twenty-four countries....

ClickTracks Releases Mid-Range Web Analytics Package

Bridging the price and feature gap between ClickTracks Analyzer and ClickTracks Professional, Optimizer has been designed for use by consultants and mid-range search engine marketers....

Going Where the Searchers Are

One of the problems of traditional search marketing is that by targeting keywords and keyword phrases for products that you can easily sell, you may be passing up the chance to draw tons of traffic and and create new revenue from so called "trivial" searches....

Search Engine Users Head Offline to Shop

While search engine marketing has long been touted for its ability to deliver targeted traffic and generate high conversion rates, the reality is that most searchers research products online, but purchase them from brick and mortar stores....

Most Search Engine Users Still Naive

A new study released by PEW/Internet reveals that most consumers know very little about how search engines work and where the results they publish come from....

AOL Expands Advertising Opportunities for Local Businesses

A new advertising format soon to be offered by AOL opens up a world of opportunities for small businesses that have not yet had a chance to build a Web site, or that have difficulty tracking the ROI of a traditional PPC campaign....

AOL Search Introduces New Search Features

AOL announced the addition of a variety of new search features to its site this morning designed to lead to a more directed search experience....

New No Follow Attribute Could Impact Link Campaigns

There are some pros and cons to this new attribute and search engine marketers need to think about how it might impact their marketing efforts....

Businesses Must Target More Than Just Google

The days of simply worrying about gaining a strong ranking in Google, sometimes at the expense of rankings in other engines, are long gone. Companies need to focus on building a strong organic and PPC presence on all of the top engines, or risk alienating a large portion of their potential audience....

Will MSN Use PPC to Challenge Google?

How will a PPC product help Microsoft challenge Google and Yahoo! in the search wars? After all, no one selects a search engine based on their PPC offerings. That said, search engines rely on earnings from the PPC programs to help fund improvements to their organic search products....

Small Businesses May Benefit from Ego Surfing

An article in USA Today this past weekend explored the growing trend of CEO's looking up their own names on search engines. The practice may sound vain, but for small and large businesses, it can be a vital to public relations....

Powered by Search, Online Advertising Continues to Grow

Jupiter Research estimates that a total of $7.6 billion will have been spent on various forms of online advertising by the end of 2004, a twenty percent increase over online spending in 2003. Europe will see a growth of thirty-five percent over 2003 numbers by reaching $2.8 billion....

Latest Version of ClickTracks Includes E-mail Marketing and Geographical Data

ClickTracks Version 5.2 integrates e-mail marketing metrics, exit tracking and geographical data to the list of features currently tracked by ClickTracks....

The Instant Gratification Factor of Search

As consumers come to rely on the ability to have information at their fingertips, the importance of quality search will increase dramatically....

Yahoo! Enters Desktop Search Realm

Never one to let Google get too far ahead in the search wars, Yahoo! has announced plans to team with X1 Technologies Inc. to release a desktop search tool of its own after the first of the year....

Is Google PageRank for Real?

Discussions have been taking place via forums and blogs this week debating the legitimacy of statements made by a variety of unofficial Google spokesmen and their comments on the accuracy of PageRank scores in the Google toolbar....

Yahoo! Gets a Holiday Makeover

Yahoo! introduced several changes to its front page this week that increases promotion of some features while downplaying the popular Yahoo! directory....

Google Partners with BellSouth for Local Search

Google is looking to expand their local paid search advertising program by partnering with BellSouth's 2,000 person sales force....

Presidential Debates: Searching for Facts

With the last of the presidential debates over, Internet users are turning to the Web in droves in search of more information....

Google Print Aims to Aid Book Publishers

Although Google Print has been around for almost a year, a recent announcement about plans to dramatically expand the program has left many in the industry talking.... Adds European Content to PPC Feed Adds European Content to PPC Feed...

Could Paid Search Influence Elections?

Although political campaigns are increasingly embracing the marketing power of the Internet, paid search remains an area that few campaign managers have explored....

Is Google Entering the Browser War?

Although Microsoft's entry into the search engine wars is simply a matter of time, some are now speculating that Google may be preparing to reignite the browser wars with their own offering....

Google News - Rewarding the Rehash?

The Independent has an interesting article today that explores the ways that Google News rewards not the sites that break news, but the sites that repeat and rehash someone else's story....

Ask Jeeves Butler Returns

After a week long absence, the Ask Jeeves butler has returned to the Web site and brought several new features with him....

Hurricane Ivan Still Dominates Search

As the U.S. Gulf coast braces itself for the impact of Hurricane Ivan, Internet users are flocking to search engines looking for Hurricane Ivan related information....

Observing Real Time Search

While tools like Wordtracker and Overture's search term suggestion tool let you find aggregated data on what people search for, a few engines allow you a real-time view into their searcher's minds....

New Analysis Tool Helps Compare Top Ten Search Results

A new tool offered by the folks at We Build Pages offers a quick and easy way to compare the top ten listings for a particular search phrase....

Reflections on SEMPO

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch provides some excellent commentary on SEMPO's activities for the past year....

Google Turns Six

Six years ago today, Google opened up shop in Menlo Park, California....

Trademark Suit Against Overture, Google Allowed to Move Forward

A U.S. District Court judge ruled this week that a trademark infringement suit brought against Google and Overture by GEICO insurance company may proceed....

Yahoo! Store Owners Can Make Quick Work of Froogle

A new web-based service being offered by Somacon allows Yahoo! store owners to make quick work of Froogle feeds....

Could Google be Broken?

That's what Anthony Federico is proposing over at According to Federico, Google may have hit the ceiling in terms of how many Web pages it can store....

The Ego Shot that can come with Googling Yourself...

I ran across an interesting column today that shares some of the ego-shattering pitfalls that can come with Googling yourself....

More Google Shares to be Released...

Wall Street watchers have warned that an influx of Google shares on the NASAQ could cause share prices to drop....

Making Yahoo! Search Work for You

Yahoo! has long featured a variety of shortcuts meant to make finding information easier, but many don't take the time to learn what those shortcuts are. Find out what you're missing....

Google Tops in Customer Satisfaction

Google reigns supreme as the top search destination on the Internet, and a recent survey compiled by the University of Michigan Business School and other organizations likely reveals why....

Search Ranks as Second Most Popular Online Activity

A recent telephone survey conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and comScore Networks reveals that 84% of American Internet users use search engines....

Yahoo! Still Facing Issues over Nazi Memorabilia and France

A recent federal appeals court ruling has left Yahoo! without a definitive answer on how it needs to deal with the sales of Nazi memorabilia and French users on its Web site....

Google IPO Price Drops by Over 25%

Google announced today that they would be ammending their prospectus to reflect a new share price of $85-$95, a drop of over 25% from the original target price....

Google Refuses to Run Ad from Christian Group

Google removed an ad from a Christian group that was running as part of the AdWords program earlier this week, citing Google's right to remove ads to content that it deems to "hate speech."...

Google IPO Set to Trade this Week

After nearly a month of ups and downs, Google finally appears to be ready to begin trading stock on the Nasdaq....

Is Google Cache a Gossiper's Dream?

As search engines become more skilled and finding and indexing content, what was once considered private might not always stay private....

Trademark Woes: Is Gmail in Jeopardy

With Google's IPO quickly approaching and any bad news sure to stir up interest, a possible trademark issue may cause problems for Google's popular new Gmail service....

The Problems with Local Search

Nate Elliot, an associate editor for Jupiter Research, has some interesting commentary on local search over at ClickZ today....

MSN, AOL, and Yahoo! Speculate on Search

This morning, at SES San Jose, representatives from four of the top search properties spoke about the state of search today and where they think it's going....

SEMPO Holds Annual Meeting, Addresses Concerns

After a week of online firestorms, SEMPO held their annual meeting last night in San Jose to address member concerns and update them on the events of the past year....

Microsoft Issues Challenge to Google

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made it clear this week that Microsoft plans to compete head to head with Google in the world of search....

Can Microsoft Beat Google?

With their upcoming IPO, Google makes a pretty obvious target for competitors aiming to take over the search wars. Does Microsoft have what it takes to topple Google?...

SEMPO - A Year Later

SEMPO, the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization will be celebrating its one year anniversary next week in San Jose, but some wonder what they'll have to show for a year of work....

Google Encounters More Trademark Problems with Froogle Name

On the heels of a trademark dispute with children's Web site, search giant Google is now dealing with another lawsuit involving the use of the name Froogle....

Age Discrimination Suit Filed Against Google

A 54 year old former executive has filed an age discrimination suit against Google, claiming that he was fired because of his age....

Google IPO Prices Announced

With an opening price of over $100 a share, Google has set the ticket prices high for would-be owners of a little piece of the search engine pie....

Google and Yahoo! Hit with Virus Attack

Both Google and Yahoo! suffered slow downs in their search indexes on Monday as a new virus unleashed a search worm on the popular engines....

Yahoo! gains on Google...or does it?

Although Google still reigns supreme in the minds of the media, many believe that rival search engine Yahoo! is making a strong play for the search engine throne....

Study Proves: Brand Lift Associated with Paid Search Ads

Kevin Lee has an interesting article over at ClickZ this week that explores the results of a recently released IAB study on the impact of paid search ads on brand awareness....

Google Toolbar Introduces Browse By Name Feature

Google announced an update to the functionality of their popular toolbar this week that it claims will allow users to go directly to a Web site by simply typing in its name....

When AdSense Doesn't Make Sense

Christopher Knight over at has a useful article this week that outlines some of the reasons why running AdSense may not make the most sense for your Web site....

Local Search vs. Yellow Pages

As the search industry experiences an explosion in interest for local search, the yellow pages look to stay in the game....

New Report Explores how PPC Rank Affects Traffic

A study released by the Atlas Institute explores the drop in traffic that takes place when Web site owners bid on lower positions in their pay-per-click campaigns....

Is Yahoo! Becoming a Hollywood Player?

Google may be the talk of the town when it comes to Internet search buzz, but top search rival Yahoo! is quietly growing potentially lucrative advertising relationships with top Hollywood studios....

Is Microsoft Aiming to Clone Google?

David Pogue of The New York Times had an interesting article last week that explored Microsoft's pattern of finding and cloning successful business models. Pongue speculates that Google is Microsoft's latest target....

Yahoo! Tests New Look for Search Results

Following on the heels of an updated look from rival Microsoft, popular search engine Yahoo! is also testing some updates to their search results....

Man Charged with Fraud in Google Scheme

A would be extortionist was charged with fraud this week by a federal grand jury after attempting to blackmail Google into buying a software product that generated fraudulent clicks on PPC advertisements....

Google Updates AdWords Targeting

Google announced an upgrade to the relevancy features of their AdWords advertising system this week....

Learning Lessons from the Inktomi Crash

The online search industry has really only existed for about a decade, but veterans of the rise and fall of search companies are already learning from the past....

Google under fire from Googles

Google may be one of the best known names on the Web, but a small Web site featuring the "Googles from Goo" is claiming they were here first.... Gets a Makeover

Canadian tech company IT Interactive Services announced an overhaul to their search engine this morning....

Microsoft Unveils Trial Run of New Search Engine

In a move this morning that surprised many industry watchers, Microsoft announced a sneak peak at their new, in-house algorithmic search engine in order to gather user feedback and comments....

Terror Victims Dominate Search

With the Internet providing quick access to news sources all over the world, search engine users are stepping up their searches for the names of terror victims....

Google Cracks Down

Quite a few webmasters are reporting the removal of a certain species of Web site from the Google database this past week. The days of using keyword stuffed "onmouseover" pages might be coming to an end....

Microsoft Search on the Horizon

With Google still riding high and Yahoo! attempting to gain ground with their new search engine, another competitor appears poised on the horizon to join the race....

Overture Launches Local Match

In a marketplace quickly shifting emphasis toward local search and online yellow page style advertising abilities, pay-per-click advertising giant Overture has announced plans to launch their new Local Match program....

Is SEM Worthless Without Usability Analysis?

All the traffic in the world isn't going to get you the sale if your site isn't able to convert visitors into buyers. That's the logic being used by Cre8asiteForums owner Kim Krause as she launches her latest Web site project....

Gmail for the Troops

Gmail, still an invitation only affair, has the potential to offer something unique to troops serving overseas...the ability to receive and store large image and video files that might not otherwise make it through the free services that the military often relies on. Find out how you can help....

Search as Art?

Two artists from Northwestern University have setup an interactive display that shows the results of image searches generated by randomly selected phrases from the closed caption text of a live news broadcast....

Quigo Launching Text Ad Network

Quigo Technologies announced the introduction of AdSonar Exchange, their content-targeted advertising network. The program aims to match up advertisers with sites in a variety of content verticals and to compete with similar contextual ad programs offered by Google, Overture and Kanoodle....

Gmail Limits AdSense Matches

Google claims that no ads relating to sex, guns, drugs or a variety of other topics will be matched with emails containing those phrases. Additionally, no dating sites will be shown in the advertisements that appear next to the content of email messages....

Google Invests in Chinese Search

Not simply content to rule the roost of search in the United States, Google has joined with six other companies to invest a reported $10 million in, a Chinese search engine. The move could help give Google a strong foothold in one of the fastest growing Internet markets in the world....

About the Author

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.