Search Engine Guide
Search Engine Marketing News

Week of 2008-08-07

Hi Everyone,

The last few weeks of summer are winding down and we're busy getting ready for SES San Jose and our own Small Business Marketing Unleashed shows.

If you're attending either one, be sure to let us know, we'd love the chance to meet you in person!

Rachel Phillips
Check out the Small Business Newsletter

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From Our Writers
Jennifer Laycock Stoney de Geyter Diane Aull Debra Mastaler Paul Jahn Manoj Jasra David Wallace Sage Lewis Mack Collier Karri Flatla Jackie Baker Ross Dunn Scott Allen Diana Adams Mike Moran Miriam Ellis

Featuring: Jennifer Laycock, Stoney deGeyter, Diane Aull, Debra Mastaler, Paul Jahn, Manoj Jasra, David Wallace, Sage Lewis, Mack Collier, Karri Flatla, Jackie Baker, Ross Dunn, Scott Allen, Diana Adams, Mike Moran and Miriam Ellis

Why Local Search Is Where It's At

by Miriam Ellis

If David Mihm's Local Search Ranking Factors left you longing for more local fare, Mike Blumenthal takes the cake by Cracking Google's Local Algo. Visit Mike's site for the presentation he just gave at SMX Local, and stay tuned there for a more in-depth report on our findings....

Puppy's Picks - 08/6/08

by Jennifer Laycock

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.

Flash and SEO: Like Oil and Water

by Scott Buresh

We often deal with clients that are planning to "revamp" their sites with Flash, with SEO having already generated tremendous gains in their sales. The thing that we most dread to hear is that they've hired an experienced "Flash designer" that will be taking their websites to the "next level." Unfortunately, that "next level" is often the basement - at least in terms of SEO results.

Surprising Branding Benefits of Search

by Stacy Williams

One of the great benefits of search engine marketing is that it's more measurable than most other forms of advertising and marketing. But are we missing half the picture by focusing on conversions? Just because we can easily measure conversions, does that cause us to focus solely on this single metric and ignore other, harder-to-track benefits of search engine marketing?

Puppy's Picks - 08/05/08

by Jennifer Laycock

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.

Why Destination Search Engine Marketing Is So Essential

by Stoney deGeyter

Its important to answer the question "why?" Why go through the hassle of of building a Destination Website? Obviously, there are thousands of successful online businesses that don't operate anything that could be considered a "Destination". If they are successful, should you really go through the extra effort yourself?

Site Clinic: No Good Web Design Idea is Original, So Use It!

by Jackie Baker

Today we're taking a look at a stock photography website selling the rights to gorgeous photos in a niche topic. The website has a great product to sell, and a decent process for doing it. However, the site design and usability could use a little work prior to taking the next step in online marketing. When you are offering a niche product in a common area, IE stock photography, it's helpful to take some cues from other successful industry websites....

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #7 Trust and Credibility

by Stoney deGeyter

While we cannot make a few tweaks here or there to our websites and suddenly expect to be deemed as credible, there are things that we an do to help build the perception of trust in the minds of our visitors.

If you're not careful, Twitter could be your next newsreader!

by Craig Sutton

Many people use the Twitter service to meet other interesting people, both with similar likes or just to hear what others have to say. This method of online socialization has become quite commonplace in the online world. However, after following almost 400 people, which for some is but a fraction of the people they are listening to, I had discovered that for the small amount of time I could dedicate to Twitter, this was more information than I knew what to do with....

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

by Jennifer Laycock

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.

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Video Cast

Sage Lewis

Sage will be back next week.

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Readers Respond

In response to... Has The Better Business Bureau Outlived Their Usefulness?

Glad to see that this is a hot topic of interest here. I just wanted to comment again and put some more of my 2 cents in responding to some of the comments since my earlier comment.

Scott wrote: "In defense of the BBB, they do research their client companies with their secretary of state and do track business complaints and resolutions -- similar to a Bizrate or other service."

I believe that the BBB does more to research their companies than does Bizrate, in my opinion, Bizrate (Shopzilla's review service) is just ridiculous. Plus, the BBB is complaint service set up to resolve issues and Bizrate is supposed to be a review service. I do not like it at all. Anyone can post a review regardless of whether they have even placed an order with your company or not. And it is highly skewed towards the negative simply because upset people are more likely to leave a review or complaint. So an 85% positive review is not an accurate approval % of any given company and I am not sure if the public realizes this. In addition, it is possible to get a negative review due to user error, in a recent Bizrate rating the customer comment said something to the effect of " I had a positive experience and had no problems as all" yet checked us on a negative for customer support - most likely because they didn't have any reason to call our customer support and didn't know what n/a meant. Ok, sorry to go on a rant off topic, but that is a while other can of worms.

Back to the BBB issue:

Ed wrote: "There is no longer a BBB Online Reliability program; use of the BBB logo for your website is now included free with a basic membership."

I was just contacted a couple months ago for renewal and it was certainly not free. If something has changed, please let me know because I need to decide whether or not to renew next month! This article has definitely influenced my opinion, however, must of us marketers and SEO people are not "average internet users" so it is hard to try and gather their opinions.

The problems that I am still upset with our local BBB isn't because we did not win disputes, after my answers they were marked as "resolved" but I am upset that they did not move a few complaints from our file completely. These complaints happened back in October 2005 when Hurricane Wilma hit us and completely demolished South Florida exactly one week before Halloween. We could not get online to answer emails, phone lines were down, cell towers were down, the entire Fed Ex ramp at the Ft. Lauderdale airport was destroyed, so we had no way of shipping our orders out. We immediately had a note put up on our website from out of state and refunded all our customers as fast as possible, yet the BBB accepted complaints and forwarded them to us!

Another ridiculous complaint from quite a few years ago, is another one, I can't belive they bothered to forward onto us. A customer complained about our Star Trek Uniform costume, which is listed on our site as the shirt, the dickie (which is the white turtle neck under collar) and the pips, which are the little gold round stickers that you apply to the collar, the amount you choose determines your rank.(I know, it is a Trekkie thing.) Well someone actually complained to the BBB that we didn't say that "some assembly was required". What? Really? This is a complaint that I now have to sit down a right a response letter? You've gotta be kidding me, right?

Ok, I guess I have taken up enough of your time and page with my bitterness on company reviews. It just hits me personally since we are family owned and operated and do everything we can to try and represent our products properly and get them to our customers quickly and offer the best customer service possible. As the saying goes, I am self employed, so I get to choose the 80 or so hours I work a week!

Shari McConahay
Annies Costumes
Costumes and Costume Accessories for Any Occasion in All Sizes



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

Jennifer,

Thanks so much for coming to our event last week and for your thoughtful post.

Your feedback, as well as the subsequent comments in your blog, is very helpful as we go forward with the campaign. We couldn't have afforded enough focus groups to garner the input we've received!

One of the benefits of how the campaign is structured is that the elements allow for flexibility.

In fact, we have temporarily removed the videos so that we can rework the ending with a more positive spin. Stay tuned.

We recognize the role of social media in our marketing mix. We are learning. As you know, we are not launching the NotinColumbus.com Web site at this time. We shared it to ask for the precise kind of input that we've received from you. That will only make us better going forward.

Thanks again,

Pete McGinty



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ppcsummit
  • Learn Expert PPC Strategies During 20+ Educational Sessions:

  • - Higher Customer Conversions, Better Quality Score, Improved Site Rank
  • - Targeted Keyword Development, Profitable Web Site & Landing Pages
  • - SEO Strategies, Effective Analytic Reporting, Click Fraud Tactics
  • - Powerful Copywriting, B2B & B2C Ad Methods

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PPC Summit LA at The Omni Hotel (Sept. 25-26, 2008)
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