Category Archives: SEO

Yellow Pages Advertising is Still Good Advertising

I guess the Ad Guru knows a thing or two.

Reading the findings of a recent study on MarketingCharts.com, I was surprised to see just how successful YellowBook advertising still is in a world supposedly driven by the almighty web.

Some other morsels from the study:

  • 82% of online local searchers follow up offline, via an in-store visit, phone call, or purchase; of these searchers, 61% went on to make purchases.
  • Traditional advertising triggers branded online searches:
    • Between 60% and 90% of searches for heavily advertised categories such as pizza, insurance, banks and financial institutions were branded
    • 30-50% of keyword searches were general in nature for low-branded categories, including Auto Service and Home Services.
  • A majority of local searchers – 60% – first go online for conducting a local search:
    • 30% of searchers use general search engines, such as Yahoo or Google.
    • 17% use internet yellow pages (IYPs)
    • 13% use local search sites, such as Citysearch.

What does it mean? There are all kinds of takes. For one, it only fortifies the popular belief that it’s small, local business that can actually grow the most due to “New” Marketing. Secondly, it gives new value to traditional advertising. If an ad leads to a branded search, and 60% of the time that leads to a purchase, then that’s saying something.

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Image Tags Matter

I’ve recently had a bit of a spike in my blog traffic lately, and much of it has to do with the images I’ve used in recent posts.

Image Results on Google

As you can see, I was at first confused as to why I was all of a sudden receiving so many searches for the keyword “geek.” Many thought it had somethng to do with the TV Show “Beauty and the Geek,” but as the Geek Google Searchee posted in the comments, it was just a matter of Google ranking me highly for geek images.

The trend with other images has continued, as you can see below. I’m on the first page of Google Images search results for the bolded keywords.

Granted, most of this traffic amounts to nothing. The person looking for the image never reads a word on my blog. But it helps boost traffic, all the same.

Are you tagging your images properly? Are you naming them according to a certain keyword on your page? It’s the little things like this that make all the difference.

7 Great Designers I Know

Since design has been a popular topic on this blog for the past week or two, it hit me that I’ve had the privilege of working with quite a few great designers myself, and then I know many other great designers that I haven’t worked with. And with the onset of online portfolios and blogs, it makes checking out and admiring someone’s work very accessible.

When you understand how important a piece design is to your job as a marketer, and then you realize your role in it personally, and then you realize you can’t personally design, and then you meet someone who can, then you really, really, really appreciate these guys and what they do. And they appreciate you, if you’re doing your job.

Without further rambling, here are 7 designers you should check out:

  1. DennisCheatham.com: I’ve never actually done a project with Dennis, but my wife does on a regular basis. Be sure to check out his blog, too – he’s a great writer on top of being a great artist. I really like his logo design.
  2. Frogers.net: Again, I’ve never done a design project with Jeff Rogers, but I think his site speaks for itself. I have, however, played in a band with him – he’s a great drummer on top of being a great designer. And I’ve helped him move, and that’s always endearing, right? I don’t know how to explain his work – you just need to see it for yourself. I just know it’s good. Extremely original, refreshing, sketchy and organic. And good, again. I love this album cover.
  3. Raesea.com: Raesea aren’t just designers, but cover the whole ‘using the web to help your business’ thing. Design is part of that, but so is navigation, search engine optimization, email marketing, back-end architecture and programming and e-commerce. And they do all of that, and do it well.
  4. Brian Larney: I worked with Brian at AdvoCare. His designs are great, and the best thing about Brian is he always wanted to dig deeper, ask questions about the project, and pull information out of you that would help him. Which I loved. So many designers think they should just take the direction that’s given to them make due, but Brian knows when to ask for more. And it made everything easier for both of us. Here’s a product of one such conversation that I feel really hit the nail on the head (scroll down to the Alaskan Adventure pages).
  5. Hypnoweb.com: Darren Chorley and I worked on countless web projects. He’s a wonderfully gifted designer, and he knows how to work in a time crunch (and trust me, he was tested on that front more than once). I can’t sing his praises enough, and I can’t be more impressed with the work at this site.
  6. DanielPitner.com: Worked with Daniel for a brief time at AdvoCare. I can remember checking out his original work from his resume, and it blew me away. Daniel takes a lot of pride in what he produces, and it is always something you simply can’t simply glance at. It captures you. And his work with animation is unbelievable.
  7. BusyNoggin.com: Like Dennis above, I’ve never worked on a project with Ron, but my wife works with him all the time. I have played poker and eaten fondue with the man, so that should count for something. I love how he lays out his approach on his site. If you’re interested in content management, particularly TYPO3, Ron seems to be the local guru.

So, for the other great designers I know that aren’t on the list, like Josh and Benny and many others – Sorry, but I don’t have your portfolio address. Send it along if I worked with you before – just leave it in the comments. That goes for anyone, for that matter.

Weekend Reading, May 18-20

Kind of a slow weekend, as far as reading goes. But here are some good ones:

How are you at hide and seek?

Great post here at S.M.O.G. showing the power of search engines and how it’s evening the playing field for small business.

Search engines are the real estate of this generation. What are you doing about it?

9 Ways to Generate Blog Traffic Now

This is lesson 3 of my 90 Days of Blogging series, highlighting the lessons I’ve learned in my first 90 days of blogging.

So, here’s the big question: what does it matter what you write if nobody reads it?

If you’re blogging, you’re obviously interested in getting people to read what you have to write. Otherwise, a traditional diary would do just fine (or at least you’d have a blog that’s password protected). So how do you generate traffic?

The key question you need to answer is just how much do you want lots of traffic, and how much are you willing to give up to get it. I think there are three major types of traffic-hounds in the blogosphere:

  1. More traffic = good traffic: Lots of bloggers are traffic addicts. And its understandable. Maybe it’s cuz traffic is measurable with the reports you get with your blog, but there’s just something exhilarating about writing something or doing something that drives people to your blog. For some people, that’s all they want. This group usually falls into the category of affiliate marketers who have Google ads and affiliate ads all over their blog. Most of these ads pay out on a per click basis, so it makes sense to want more traffic. More traffic means a higher likelihood of those ads getting clicked. The problem (at least to me) is that I’ve found most people who are generating income via their blog aren’t really giving the reader great content. So I rarely return.
  2. The right traffic = good traffic: This is the category I fall into most of the time. Don’t get me wrong; I want lots of traffic. But I want the right kind of traffic, not just random people who come to the site and find out they couldn’t care less about what I have to say. To me, it’s more important to talk to 50 people a day who are vaguely interested in what I’m talking about and can carry on an educated conversation about than 500 people a day who couldn’t care less about what I have to say and just happened upon it cuz they searched a certain key word. So, my approach to traffic in most cases is to get the right people to read.
  3. Any traffic = good traffic: There are lots of bloggers who are just fascinated that anyone would read what they have to say in the first place. So they’ll take what they can get. God bless ’em.

With mindset of driving the right kind of traffic, here are some tips I’ve either put to use or learned in 90 days that have helped drive some decent traffic (in April, I averaged 61 view a day + 17 feed readers). I’m no expert, so I’ve also left some links below on some really good posts about driving traffic from guys that know a lot more than me.

  1. Write very, very, very consistently. Blogs might not cost money, but they do cost a little time. If you want traffic, the best thing you can do is write often and on point. If you can’t commit to at least 4 times a week, don’t expect much traffic.
  2. Commenting is the catalyst. Commenting on other blogs and responding to comments on your blog is so important that I’m gonna save the details for the next post in the series, so check back later this week for that. In the meantime, know that the best way to generate traffic is to find blogs like yours, make relevant and appreciated comments, and be sure readers can somehow link back to your blog from your comment.
  3. Links are the key. Remember this is the web – treat it like one. Don’t be satisfied with people just staying on your site. Point them to other great stuff on the web – they’ll remember you for it. Plus, the author of whomever you’re linking to will see that people are getting to his site from your site (it’s in the stats) and will then check out your site.
  4. Don’t forget the trackbacks. I personally like trackbacks more than comments. What’s a trackback? Basically, when I link to someone’s blog from my blog (see #3), I can also copy and paste their trackback link into my administrative tools. When I do that, not only is their link live on my blog, but my blog entry is now live in their comments section on their blog. Which then means people reading their blog will click over to my blog to see what they thought about it. As an example, here’s a great explanation of trackbacks. Within a day, you should see a mention of this blog post in the comments as a trackback.
  5. It’s the feeds that matter. If the right kind of traffic is the goal, then it’s your returning viewers that really matter. Which means your feed stats (your subscribers) should be held in much higher esteem than other traffic. Do everything you can to make it easy to subscribe, and give various ways of doing it. At the very least, I suggest using FeedBurner for RSS and FeedBlitz for email feeds – they’ve done me right. Interestingly enough, since starting my series on blogging, my subscriptions have grown by 50% . . .
  6. Can you Digg it? There are lots of sites out there today that allow users to determine what news is important. Digg.com is one of them. I’m no expert at all in leveraging Digg on your site, but I have gotten a little traffic from it, and I know I could get lots more. By the way, if you’re reading this and think it’s halfway decent, just click on the Digg icon here and help a brother out.
  7. Remember your search engines. My top post so far on this blog has been this one. Which is odd, because it’s unlike any other topic on my blog. But, I did it to gain search engine traffic. Here’s the story: Dr. Preuss was featured in USA Today a few months back and mentioned an AdvoCare product, Carb-Ease. Accept it was spelled CarbEase (no dash). Obviously, the AdvoCare website had the correctly spelled version, but if I read that article and wanted some of it, I would type in CarbEase, not Carb-Ease. So I misspelled it on my blog post on purpose with the intent of finding some of that traffic. It worked. To date, that post has been viewed 483 times, and there have maybe been 5 days since February that it hasn’t been viewed at all. Point is, figure out how to leverage search engines. There are tons of sites out there that can help with that.
  8. Tag it Like It’s Hot. Tags your posts so people can find you. Tags (at least on this blog) are the same as categories. But they’re much more useful and noticeable on keyword searches on Google and Technorati, which means more traffic. So, tag enough to make a difference, but don’t overdo it.
  9. Use Catchy Headlines. It’s amazing to see how many hot blog posts are provocative in nature, only to present something that is completely irrelevant to the headline. I’m not advocating that, but you do need to make your headlines stand out (esp. since most people will see your posts through an RSS Feed). Having a list in your headline (like in this post) or a “How to . . .” is always successful. Outrageous headlines like this one and this one and pretty handy, too. And, of course, if you’re fishing for some search engine traffic, then be sure to put your keyword in your headline.

Congrats to the Jack Bauer . . .

. . . of Search Engine Optimization.

If you read through this thread, you can catch up on the full story.

And if you Google “The Jack Bauer of Search Engine Optimization,” you’ll see that he lives up to his name.

Seriously, if you need someone to make what you’ve got easy to find, then the J.B. of SEO is your guy.

Now, let the “millions” of my readers sing his praises . . . .