Ashley Zeckman

Hello Local, Meet Social – Learning the Basics at SES Chicago

Proper execution of a local and social media strategy is still a head scratcher for many internet marketers.  The session on “Local + Social: the Future of Promotion” featuring Gregg Stewart and Benu Aggarwal at SES Chicago was a must see to answer several important questions.

A Best Practices Approach with Gregg Stewart

Did you know that roughly 20% of all Google searches have local intent?  When you look at mobile data that number is even higher.  These statistics alone should show us as marketers how important a online local strategy is for improving engagement.

Checking the Box Won’t Work

While website All Facebook says that 96% of small businesses are on Facebook, Mashable.com says that 64% of small businesses think that social media is unnecessary.  Part of what this data tells us that many companies are simply checking the box, but aren’t sure how to properly utilize social media marketing channels.

Ashley Zeckman

7 Principles for User Generated Content: Michael DeHaven SES Chicago 2011

SES-Chicago-Michael-DeHavenMichael DeHaven’s presentation at SES Chicago on “User Generated SEO” started with some actual user generated content from the audience. Before the session DeHaven gave 5 volunteers a bite sized Ghirardelli chocolate bar. In exchange for the treat he asked that each of the volunteers write a review of the chocolate and then share it with the rest of the audience.

What Was the Response?
The chocolate was called everything from waxy, to too sweet, messy, and melt in your mouth goodness. In contrast the packaging created by the Ghirardelli marketers was quite different, “take time to slow down and feel yourself melt with each bite.” As you can see the professional marketers took a much different approach than the consumers.

Ashley Zeckman

Is it Time to Make Google+ Your Plus One? 5 Key Problems Solved by Google+ Pages @adtech NY Keynote with Christian Oestlien

Christian OestlienThe closing keynote on Wednesday at ad:tech New York was presented by Christian Oestlien the Head of Social Advertising Products at Google.  The opening of Oestlien’s presentation featured an example of Google+’s new Hangout feature shot live at a Black Eyed Peas Concert.  Fans were given an opportunity to interact with the music sensations in real time.  Black Eyed Pea’s frontman will.i.am is noted as saying “This isn’t behind the music, this will become the music.”

Since launching in June, Google+ has already acquired over 40 million active users.  Users have also uploaded over 3.5 billion photos in those short months.  According to Oestlien the goal of Google+ for enable marketers to interact with their fan base in a way that they never have before.  When developing Google+ the team set out to see how they could influence and impact as well as improve that way that marketers are utilizing Online Marketing today.

Ashley Zeckman

#MIMASummit: Avinash Kaushik Keynote on Improving Engagement Through Innovation

Avinash Kaushik

Photo from our interview with Avinash at SES Hong Kong

The morning keynote speaker for the 2011 MIMA Summit was none other than Avinash Kaushik co-Founder of Market Motive Inc and the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google.  Avinash was a very funny and engaging speaker.  Nothing was off limits during his keynote.  Caught in the crosshairs of Avinash’s presentations were what he called “small” local companies (General Mills, 3M, etc) that dared to provide a “less than ideal” user experience.

Innovation was the topic of the morning’s keynote, ranging from which companies are a good (and bad) example of implementing innovation to proper metrics to show success.

What Are the 3 Definitions of Innovation?

Jolina Pettice

5 Cheat Sheet Basics for International SEO

Jolina Pettice     Online Marketing, Search Engines, SEO

International SEO 5 TipsThe growing Global Economy has significantly increased the number of companies seeking search marketing strategies to connect with target audiences all over the world. Many clients we work with at TopRank Marketing are either already global organizations or aspiring to deliver products and services in different countries. As a result, we routinely field questions as clients begin their journey into International Search.

Many companies don’t know where to start with International SEO, so here are 5 basic and tactical SEO considerations for companies looking at expanding into International Search:

1. Domain Name
3 common domain setups include Country-specific, Subdomain and Subfolder.

Whenever possible, a country-specific domain name is preferred. i.e. companyname.co.uk

Pros
The country-specific domain is a strong signal to the search engine and may provide better visibility for country-specific searches.

Jolina Pettice

SEO Considerations in a Connected Consumer World

Mike Grehan On a sunny, warm day in Minneapolis, marketers gathered near one of the city’s best attractions – LakeCalhoun – to learn about “Search and the Connected Consumer”, a view of how people retrieve information online and what that means for the future online and search engine marketing.

Hosted by MIMA, the event featured Mike Grehan, Global VP Content, Search Engine Watch, ClickZ & Search Engine Strategies.

Mike started by educating the audience on the history of the World Wide Web and the Internet (note: they are not one in the same).

Jolina Pettice

SES New York 2011 Roundup

The SES New York 2011 conference wrapped up last week on the heels of one of the biggest Google updates in recent years.

And although there was enough Panda talk to make a passerby think we might all be zookeepers, there were other themes running through the conference as well including content, paid strategies and tools, tools, tools.

Here’s a quick recap:

Panda: The Aftermath, as it was called essentially recapped what TopRank and other content advocates have been saying along.

Create unique, quality content that is written first for the target audience and second for the search engines. It’s those who have been living dangerously – or maybe just naively – creating what’s now referred to as shallow content who likely got hit the worst.

Lee Odden

5 Instant Search Engines & the Mash-up

instant searchImitation is the sincerest form of flattery and on the social web, that flattery goes one step further, often in the form of a mash-up. Google has launched a variety of services to much fanfare by the media and yawns from the masses (Google Wave, Buzz).

However, the recent implementation of Google Instant has resulted in a number of “instant” implementations on other types of search. Twitter has tempted us with the promise of real-time, all the time and Google’s effort at real-time results has resonated with a number of developers. How much it has resonated with the searching public at large, is not yet being disclosed.

Check out the following Instant Search applications and see which you like best:

Lee Odden

Interview: Mel Carson of Microsoft Advertising on Social Media


Spotlight on Search Interview: Mel Carson of Microsoft Advertising on How Microsoft Does Social Media and the Yahoo Bing Search Alliance

mel carson microsoft advertisingIf you attend Search Marketing industry conferences, you’ve no doubt run into the ever optimistic and charming Mel Carson from Microsoft.  When I was last in London, Mel connected me with an excellent Fish n Chips that the pubs around Trafalgar Square couldn’t get close to.  Mel is active as an advocate of Microsoft Advertising , especially via social media channels and at conferences to the Webmaster and search marketing community. His work is global and very interesting. With the Bing and Yahoo convergence, I thought it was time we did an interview – and he agreed.

TopRank Marketing Editor

10 Reasons Why Your Analytics Are Failing & 13 Tools To Help

Fail Whale AnalyticsWeb Analytics are a key indicator to the health and performance of any website, but online marketers often get lost in the complexities and details, forgetting how important analytics actually are and why.

Analytics can provide a wealth of information but marketers often look at high level indicators such as: top content, bounce rates, entrance sources and keywords without tying it all together. In most cases, there is a tremendous amount of insight that can be used to make smarter marketing decisions, but most companies barley scratch the surface. At the OMS Minneapolis event last week  Adam Proehl gave an excellent presentation on analytics failures and successes. I’ve taken my notes from that presentation and combined them with my own opinions to create this list.

Lee Odden

Major Social Media & Search Engine Relationships

Adding real-time search and social search to the mix in the search engine world has created a number of new opportunities for marketers that want to do a better job of reaching customers. With new data sharing announcements happening fairly regularly, it can paint an interesting picture when you lay out the relationships between major social networks and search engines. It’s not unlike the search engine relationship chart from Bruce Clay I remember from several years ago documenting the relationships between Inktomi, Yahoo, Lycos, Alta Vista, Excite, HotBot, Direct Hit/Teoma, Northern Light and even Google. Not many of those are still around.

As the diagram above illustrates, the major data sharing for real-time search is between the social sites Twitter and Facebook and the major search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing. To be more specific:

TopRank Marketing Editor

10 Easy Local SEO & Online Marketing Tips

TopRank Marketing Editor     Google, Local SEO, Microsoft Bing, Online Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Yahoo

Google Places Pin There are currently 29.6 million small businesses in the U.S. (SCORE). 63% of consumers and small business owners use the Internet to find information about local companies and 82% use search engines (Webvisible & Nielsen).  That means there’s a lot of opportunity for local SEO.

Recently I attended GetListed.org’s Local University in Minneapolis which focused on how to optimize web sites for local search.  Out of all the good information that came out of the event, here are 10 easy things you can do today to optimize sites and content to attract local customers.

1. Claim your profile.
It’s as simple as logging into Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local and walking through the verification steps which include a phone call or post card to verify your address.