Being a small business is tough. Many businesses fail in the first year, and many more will not make it to the five-year mark. But even established businesses can fail if they are unable to adapt to changing times. Marketing is difficult — digital marketing even more so. And the black-box nature of SEO can make it the most difficult form of marketing your business. Yet when done well, there is little that can compete with strong, organic search engine visibility to promote your small business. Organic listings build trust with local customers, and all the best business relationships are built on a foundation of trust. In this article, I want to look at SEO as a marketing tactic specifically for small businesses. I will share everything we have learned working on hundreds of small business SEO projects. My intention is to arm you, as a business owner, with the knowledge and power to make the right decisions when implementing an SEO strategy — whether … [Read more...] about Small business SEO: Your questions answered
Answer your question
If you don't know much about your customers, progressive profiling is an excellent way to gather it directly from the source - your customers themselves - without driving them away with endless questions about their interests, likes and dislikes. Why progressive profiling is a win for everyone Progressive profiling is rolling out a series of questions at strategically timed intervals across the relationship. This way, you can build up a reservoir of data about your customers over time. And you don't scare away newcomers by asking for too much information up front. What's in it for you? The answers your customers give you make you - and your marketing - smarter, and your customers' experience with you more valuable. That's why it's a win for everybody. To be successful with progressive profiling, think about the relationship you have with your customers, the questions you want to ask them and the value you offer them in exchange for answering your questions. This value exchange is … [Read more...] about Progressive profiling: Why its a win for you and your customers
Here we are again. Google’s in hot water because of what I call its “One True Answer” feature, where it especially highlights one search listing over all others as if that’s the very best answer. It’s a problem because sometimes these answers are terribly wrong. At the end of last month, it was spotted that Google was listing several US presidents as being members of the Ku Klux Klan, even though there’s no conclusive evidence of any of this. This week, Google has featured answers saying that former President Barack Obama is plotting a coup and that Republicans are the same as Nazis What’s happening in these cases involves a “featured snippet,” where Google has taken on of the 10 web listings it normally displays and put it into a special box, to highlight it as seemingly the best of all the answers, the listing that may fully answer your question. I’ve taken to calling this Google’s “One True Answer” … [Read more...] about Google’s “One True Answer” problem — when featured snippets go bad
SMX West is every SEO and SEM’s dream. Join us March 21–23 for a tactic-packed agenda with more than 100 dynamic and authoritative speakers, keynotes, exceptional networking and more. If you’re involved in SEO, SEM, PR, social media or any other customer-facing activity, you owe it to yourself (and your company or client’s bottom line) to attend. SMX West features multiple tracks filled with sessions that cover: search marketing topics including search advertising, SEO, technical SEO, analytics and more. the latest actionable tactics you can immediately use to improve your campaigns. all experience levels, from beginner to advanced. There’s something for everyone, all the time. You’ll get actionable tactics and techniques you can put to work immediately to drive the success of your search marketing campaigns. SMX West is the ultimate survival guide to the dynamic and tumultuous world of search marketing. If this sounds up your alley, read my … [Read more...] about What to expect when you attend SMX West. Here’s your special preview!
In February of 2010, Google purchased a social Q&A site, Aardvark. It seems like a great match, for a couple of reasons. One is that a paper from Aardvark that attracted a lot of attention, The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Social Search Engine (pdf), written by Damon Horowitz and former Googler Sepandar D. Kamvar, was admitted by its authors to be inspired by one of the early Google papers, The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. Another is that Aardvark’s founders and senior team members include a number of former Google (and Yahoo) employees. Instead of looking for web pages that might answer your questions, Aardvark enables you to ask questions of people in your expanded social network (and beyond), and to identify topics that you might be interested in answering. While there are a number of Question and Answer type sites on the Web, such as Yahoo Answers, those don’t send out questions quickly to people who might be able to provide an answer, but … [Read more...] about Yahoo’s Social Search Answer to Google’s Aardvark?
If you were to search for [Ronald Reagan Movies] at Google or Yahoo or Bing, would you expect to see a list of movies that the former President and actor appeared in? It’s more likely that you would see a set of web pages that contain the words “Ronald” and “Reagan” and “Movies,” which might contain the names of films starring the former politician and thespian. A patent application from Yahoo published last week explores ways to return information directly to searchers, based upon building taxonomies of information about specific people, places, and things, gathered from information found on web pages, rather than having searchers look through multiple web pages to find answers to queries such as “Ronald Reagan movies.” Both Yahoo and Google do some question answering when faced with certain queries that involve “named entities,” or the names of well-known people, places, and things. For example, search at either … [Read more...] about Search Taxonomies and Search Engines: Answering Questions vs. Indexing Webpages
In an earlier post, I solicited questions for Google about local search. My intention had been to present them at the What’s New in Local Search panel at SMX East this morning. But I didn’t get my act together to distribute them at the session. Google’s Eric Stein, who was on the panel, coordinated the response to the questions. Here are the unedited, verbatim questions and answers: Q: Are there any techniques for tracking clickthroughs from the 10-pack, 3-pack, or authoritative OneBox in Google Analytics (or other tracking programs)? The current URL strings only seem to show them as organic clickthroughs. Google:: Local Universal results are organic results and there is no plan to separate them. Q: It is considered a best practice in all of Google’s other properties (Adwords, Organic Results, News, Blogs, Images) to include keywords in titles. Why does Google consider local results to be an outlier in this ecosystem? Does Google have plans to stop bolding … [Read more...] about Google Provides Answers Your Local Search Questions
Google is leveraging the knowledge graph brilliantly, while others have their own version of knowledge graph search. As the knowledge graph changes the SERPs, Google is pushing adoption of semantic technology, gradually replacing its traditional SERPs based on links. The search giant’s innovations are setting the pace for the future of search. For example, Google Now. Google Now is everything that Siri was purported to have been, and closer to the intention of the DARPA PAL program from which Siri arose. Apple is now stepping up its efforts in this arena, announcing at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference last week that Siri now has new male and female voices, Twitter search integration, Wikipedia integration and Bing Web search within the app. Where Google goes, others follow. Knowledge Carousel Recently, Google has engaged in many experiments in terms of visual display formats testing user engagement, such as the Knowledge Carousel, associated and related searches, … [Read more...] about Search, Answers & Knowledge Graphs Galore
SMX Advanced offers you several digital marketing “master class” workshops to sharpen your skills on specific search marketing topics. Register for a pre-conference workshop today and get a full day of in-depth learnings in SEO, PPC, international search, in-house search or local search — all taught by real-life search marketing ninjas! This year’s topics include: Advanced AdWords Training: Paid search optimization hasn’t reached a stalemate! Boost your PPC campaigns with best practices and advanced strategies, taught by AdWords expert Brad Geddes. Learn all the latest strategies and concepts in keyword research, writing compelling ad copy, targeting methods and landing page testing to ensure your PPC campaigns are running efficiently. International Search Summit (ISS): Broaden your international presence with tactics from a panel of global search experts. ISS, orchestrated by international SEO authority Andy Atkins-Krüger, is your place to obtain … [Read more...] about Sharpen your SEO, SEM and social media marketing skills with a SMX Advanced workshop
Part one of our series on Why Companies Create Content we looked at changing customer perception and part two focused on making use of public opinion. This next instalment explores how companies can best construct content to respond to the frequent (and not so frequent) queries that come from their audience. Part three: To answer customer questions As consumers we're a demanding bunch - we don't just expect excellent customer service, we insist on it and shout from the rooftops when companies aren't doing what we ask of them. With the ability to browse shops or do our banking 24/7, it's only natural that you imagine there'd be someone there to answer your queries during the same time period. With our favourite social apps at our fingertips, it's only natural that instead of listening to Greensleeves on never-ending repeat with a call centre or sending an email into a virtual black hole, we target our questions (or ire) at companies directly, and publicly. Studies vary in the actual … [Read more...] about Why companies create content – part three: to answer customer questions