Get Listed University has presented to nearly 2,000 business owners and marketing professionals since our innagural event in Spokane in February of 2010. It’s been amazing to be part of such an A-List team. It’s a priveledge (and absolute blast) to get to spend time with these wonderful people five or six times a year at these events. But what’s been even more incredible is talking with business owners over the years and being in a position to help. I’ve been thinking about Get Listed University a lot recently and wanted to put together a quick summary of why I think Get Listed University is so valued by business owners.
1) No Pitches. Ever.
I go to a lot of conferences. Nothing makes mad like traveling to a conference, paying the price of admission, and then getting pitched by a presenter. At Get Listed there are no “back of the room” sales, no pitching of our services in any way, and no uttering the cardinal sin of the conference upsell world,… “We’ll be covering that at the follow-up conference for just X dollars. Register today!” Nope. That just ain’t our style.
2) We Don’t Hold Back Any Content.
Not only do we not hold back content, we continue to find ways to provide even more content for business owners to use to their advantage. For example, this year we have created a more formal structure for our site clinics to really maximize it so you’ll have more time to ask any of our experts 1-on-1 questions about YOUR website.
3) We Provide Actionable Information & Real Case Studies
This information is not collegiate theory. You will literally be able to take these insights and apply them immediatelly to your business the following day. We use examples highlighting how real businesses use these strategies to improve their business. In fact, David is unveiling a new presentation in Spokane called “Prioritizing Your S*!t” that provides a roadmap of actions that will guide you along your way to online greatness.
4) The Faculty are Amazing!
I’m not kidding when I say how fortunate I feel to be part of this team. At times I feel like snuck in the back of the pickup when they left for town – and now they’re stuck with me These folks are the best in the business! We are so fortunate to have them back in Spokane again.
5) We Know & Respect Business.
We know running a business is hard. I believe all us have either owned a business in the past or are current business owners. We know it’s tough to committ a day to learn about online marketing and we work very hard to make every second count. We keep finding new ways to improve the events for our attendees. For example, for the Spokane event this year we added social media and paid search as well as expanded our site clinics.
Bonus) We Do Our Best to Make it a Dang Good Time!
We know your brains will be full by the end of the day. But we balance your efforts with a good dose of humor, enough food and snacks to keep you fueled up, personalized Q&A, and an awesome networking happy hour to close the event out right! It’s also important to note that our speakers don’t take themselves too seriously and are approachable the entire day with any questions you have for them.
We look forward to seeing you at Get Listed this year! If you have any questions about the event please feel free to call the Sixth Man Marketing office at 509-624-5580 or going directly to the Get Listed University website.
Get Listed University – April 27th, 2012
Location: Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Time: Friday, April 27th from 8am to 5pm
Cost: $199 (Save $50 by entering “SIXTHMAN” as your discount code at checkout.)
Agenda: Complete Get Listed Spokane Agenda
Capacity: The event is limited to 100 people and will likely sell-out. Register now!
Registration: Call (509) 624-5580 with any questions about registration or register on the Get Listed Website today!
We’re really looking to this year’s Get Listed Event. I’m excited knowing that I’ll get to hang out with the Get Listed Crew again soon. And so can you! These are some really amazing people, folks.
A big thank you to The Spokane Club and everyone that attended my presentation earlier this week at their Networking Breakfast! I really appreciated your questions, engagement, and enthusiasm. As I mentioned during our session, I want to provide additional resources for you to continue your education in the ways of analytics, SEO, local search, social media, and conversion rate testing. We covered a lot of topics in a short period of time and as a follow-up I wanted to create an awesome resource library for you. Now it’s time for you to choose your own Internet marketing adventure and learn from the best and brightest in the industry.
ANALYTICS, ANALYTICS, ANALYTICS
As I’m sure you recall from my presentation, I hammered home the importance of understanding analytics. I’m not talking about “reporting” or “monthly reports” for your boss. I’m talkin’ about kick-butt, actionable analytics that teach, provide valuable insight, and inspire action. What’s workin,’ baby? What does the data tell us today? This higher level of attention to your data is not optional… if you want your business to succeed. You must “know thy data.” Here’s how:
Occam’s Razor – Awesome analyics blog from Avinash Kaushik
Web Analytics an Hour a Day – Great introduction to actionable analytics (also from Avinash)
Google Analytics Blog - Resource for understanding Google Analytics (beginner & advanced)
Google Analytics Videos - Educational videos that show how to use Google Analytics
Conversion University – A curriculum of analytics video tutorals
Analytics 2.0 [The Art of Online Accountability & Science of Customer Centricity] (Thanks Avinash!)
MAKE SURE YOUR WEB SITE CONVERTS TRAFFIC
I think it’s great when companies embrace new technologies and ways of thinking. Social media has taken the Internet marketing world by storm and generated all kinds of buzz (much of it well deserved) this year. However, I’m always wary of what I call the “Shiny Penny Syndrome.” It’s a condition where companies throw resources at the latest and greatest marketing techniques without testing and tracking what the shiny penny actually does. I’ve also seen companies completely stop doing what works (like email marketing) just because it doesn’t have that new marketing smell.
Don’t Make Me Think – Great read (really fast, too) about web site usability
Conversion Rate Experts – UK company focused solely on conversion rate optimization
108 Ways to Improve Conversion Rates (from Conversion Rate Experts)
Google Web Site Optimizer Blog (The Official Optimizer Blog)
Always Be Testing - Great book for learning A/B & Multivariate testing
Marketing Experiments – I love these guys. Their webcasts rock!
LOCAL SEARCH = LOW HANGING FRUIT
As an Internet marketer I’m always looking for the low-hanging fruit–”the best bang-for-the-buck in the shortest period of time. And for most small and medium businesses that’s Local Search. Like I mentioned before, this doesn’t mean you stop doing everything else and go local only. It means that it’s time for a dedicated local search strategy to compliment your existing marketing efforts. Learn more from these experts:
David Mihm – Portland, OR Local Search expert & designer
2009 Local Search Ranking Factors – I’m proud to be a contributor to this research project
Mary Bowling – Denver, CO Local Search expert
Understanding Google Maps & Local Search – For those that want details, details, details.
Small Business SEM – Local Search + SMB Advice = Awesome!
Miriam Ellis – San Francisco, CA Local Search expert & designer
Chris Silver Smith – Cartographer & Local Search expert. Again, for folks that want the technical details.
ORGANIC SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
There is a lot of information out there about SEO. In fact, there is so much information that it’s tough to know where you should even begin. These folks provide the best information and their content is always up to date.
SEOmoz - Free and premium levels of membership – Both are great!
SEO Book – Again, free and premium levels of membership – Great as well
Search Engine Journal - Free SEO content from a variety of SEO experts – including me starting next month
Search Engine Land - Center of the universe for all things search – Look through the categories
Vanessa Fox – She has an uncanny ability to explain complex details in very simple terms
Rand Fishkin’s HostingCon Preso – Awesome SEO explanation (and motivation for my art project)
BUT WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA?
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about social media. Remember, this socia media stuff is new for everybody so the importance of testing and learning from data is paramount. I think this bit of reading will provide good insight for you.
Outspoken Media - More than social media, but they cover it very well. Many good social media posts here.
Copyblogger – Read Copyblogger now! Writing is so freakin’ important. This is one of my favorite blogs!
7 Harsh Realities of Social Media Marketing – Great new post from Copyblogger
Trackur - Cool way to track social media mentions & reputation
Samepoint – See all mentions of your name or company online. A very cool social media monitoring tool.
5 Facebook Case Studies – Yes, 5 real case studies about marketing with FB.
Twitter, Tacos, & Trucks – The Story of Kogi Bar-B-Que
LIKE I SAID,… WHAT MATTERS IS HOW IT HELPS YOUR BUSINESS
Here’s an example from the presentation. I know it’s hard to believe,… but I didn’t even go to art school!
WANT MORE INFORMATION? HAVE QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? JUST LET ME KNOW.
Please feel from to leave a comment below, send an email, or contact me at my office (509-456-4350).
June 14, 2009 by Ed Reese · Comments Off
I was proud to participate in David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors project this year. It has quickly become one of the most anticipated articles in the Local Search industry each year.
David asked 27 Local Search experts to rate the importance of 49 criteria with respect to their influence on rankings in the Google and Yahoo Local “Universal” search algorithms. These are the factors that trigger a local map result from perceived local search queries. Since early 2008 all the major search engines now display a map for locally-focused keywords.
Gain insight into local search drivers and understand how your business can get found in Maps and increase online exposure.
June 11, 2009 by Ed Reese · Comments Off
Yesterday I posted a re-cap of steps small business owners can take to engage in social media. It was half re-cap and half articles/tips I’ve found useful. While I’ve heard positive feedback, I feel that it didn’t quite live up to my promise of free tools & tips for business owners, so I wanted to also provide a 100% pure tools & tips post that will provide the ammo small business owners need to get started.
SEO Tools, Tips, & Articles
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO (SEOmoz) OK, I’ll be the first to admit that this is not a quick-and-easy guide to SEO. However, it is the most thorough, detailed, and effective introduction to search engine optimization that I’ve seen. If you’ve got the time to read it and are motivated to learn SEO, this is a great place to start.
The Ten Commandments of Online Marketing for Small Business (David Mihm) This is a fabulous ten step process small businesses can follow to achieve success online. It covers the basics, yet includes all the necessary details you’ll need to know to get started. As David is an SEO like myself, it’s focused on search, but has quite a bit of information on real world strategies, tips, and marketing insight. It’s a must read!
Small Business SEM (Matt McGee) Matt continually provides great content for small businesses. His focus (though technical at times) always caters to small businesses and their needs. He provides great overviews of Internet Marketing as it pertains to business owners. I’d also like to call out his May round-up of the best search & online marketing posts. It’s a great collection of very useful posts in one place.
SEOmoz Blog This blog might be a bit deeper than most folks might want to go into the waters of SEO, but I’ve always been a fan of reaching beyond ones comfort zone. For those that want to go into the deep end of search, consider SEOmoz the tan, smiling, chisled lifeguard there to make sure you stay safe and get out of the ocean alive. They also have a paid section, but there is HUGE value in the free stuff they offer. Their most valuable blog posts (in my opinion) are their White Board Friday Videos. Definitely check them out!
SEOmoz Free SEO Tools If you can’t tell already, I’m a HUGE fan of SEOmoz. They have a great selection of free and paid tools. For small business owners, there are plenty of free tools to get you started.
SEO Book (Aaron Wall) Aaron has a great blog, collection of videos & tools, as well as insight to the industry. He has a paid level as well as eBooks you can purchase. But like SEOmoz, he has plenty of valuable free information and is a great resource. Like SEOmoz, his blog is a daily read of mine.
Claim Your Local Listing (Mike Blumenthal) It’s absolutely imperative for small businesses to claim their local listing. In this post, Mike explains what a local listing is and how to claim it. He also talks about how this prevents someone else from hijacking your local listing. I have seen this happen in Spokane on several occasions, so don’t think this is just a big city thing.
2009 Local Search Ranking Factors (David Mihm) David has quickly established himself as a leader in the local search arena. His yearly ranking factors study has been the local search reference of choice for the past two years. I was honored to have been asked to be one of the 27 SEO’s worldwide to participate in this years study. Much like the SEOmoz Guide, consider this the deep end of the pool. However, it contains some incredibly detailed local search information for those so inclined to dive right in.
Social Media Tips & Articles
Harness the Power of Twitter for Local Marketing (Chris Silver Smith) This article provides a great roadmap (and more importantly, examples) on how to use Twitter to engage with your prospective customers on a local basis.
Leveraging Social Media for Local SEO (Steve Espinosa) Steve provides a great guide and chart to incorporate your social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) for greater reach and local SEO power.
13 Things I’ve learned about Blogging (Darren Rowse’s 500th Post) This is a great supplimental guide to our discussion yesterday. Darren goes over many of the things we discussed and provides more details and insight from his experience and rapid rise in the blogosphere.
ROI and Social Media: Focus on Impressions! (Marketing Sherpa) This quick read reinforces the talk yesterday of the difficulty of correlating ROI to social media efforts while calling out the value of doing so.
How to Manage Your Socia Media Profiles (Social Media Rockstar) This quick guide is a reinforcement of Bethany’s advice from yesterday and will help make your online social life much easier to manage.
11 Ways to Lose Friends & Followers Online (Social Media Rockstar) I really like this post. It points out failings that we have all seen online. I have unfolled many people making these mistakes. It’s a must read!
27 Twitter Applications Your Small Business Can Use Today (Small Business CEO) A great list of useful Twitter tools. Again, Bethany mentioned several of these yesterday, but this list is quite helpful. They don’t include a few I like (Tweetdeck, Twitpic, etc.) but it’s still a good list.
Well, I think that is plenty to get you started. Please let me know if there are other tools, tips, or articles you’ve found useful. Happy to include those as well. Cheers!
March 12, 2009 by Ed Reese · Comments Off
In my best Joey Lawrence voice,… “Whoa!” Talk about a great search engine marketing conference. Big props to the SEMPDX crew for putting together such a top quality event. Though it’s a six hour drive from Spokane to Portland, I’m going to join so that I can go to their monthly meetings and talk with the very talented search folks in P-Town (and check out a Blazer game or two). If you are an SEO anywhere near Portland, it’s a no-brainer to join SEMPDX. OK, now for my brief recap. I’m keeping this one short as I’ll be writing more detailed posts on topics over the next few days.
Keynote: Danny Sullivan
Danny was entertaining as always, with a great blend of technical insight, industry experience, and humor. The format of his presentation was largely driven by audience questions generated prior to the event. The majority seemed to come from Cecily Stout, a great SEO out of Fort Collins, Colorado. I always enjoy talking with her at conferences. One of his more interesting points, in my opinion, was the way he broke out social media into several different categories. I’ve personally felt that there are so many different types of social media that it never really made sense to lump them all together. However, this was the first time I’d seen someone really break them apart into more logical categories. It will really help in my discussions with clients.
David really did a great job in putting this session together. In fact, I found out later that day that he had a big part in getting the A-List SEO line-up for the conference in general. Nice work! I found the local search session to be one of the most valuable of the day. It provided great content and balance for both agency search marketers and in-house folks. Here are a few high notes:
Matt McGee really got me thinking about, neigh,… planning to join his hyperlocal blogger army. His presentation included the only true case study-esque data of the day, which I appreciate. The crux of his hyperlocal blogging presentation is that if we can believe all the news articles about traditional media dying off, there is a huge opportunity for marketers to present valuable local information to the community and benefit from the additional traffic. He provided some really great data and insight. I’m planning on writing more about his presentation in the next few days.
Then Mary Bowling rocked the house. I’ve seen her present three times now. Every time she presents I can’t help but think “What could possibly be left to talk about?” She just lays it out there. Examples, tactics, strategies, specific advice, etc… Her session convinced me to finally look into using hcards. It also showed my how to better use GLBC attributes to better rank outside of your geographic area (but within your service area). This has been a problem for quite some time for clients. I’m looking forward to implementing her suggestions. Thanks, Mary!
I went into the session looking to get three technical questions answered. Not only did I get them answered, I learned a few other details in the process. Here are my three take-aways from this session.
1) Use webmaster tools more than you do. There’s always a tendency (at least for me) to use other tools first. Their demonstration of questions that can be solved within Google Webmaster Tools quickly reminded me that I should be using it more.
2) Submit both XML and HTML sitemaps to Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Many people (myself included) are a bit too Google-focused. Sure, it’s by far the dominant player, but do you really want to ignore 20%-30% of the remaining search traffic out there.
3) Bookmark Vanessa Fox’s Jane and Robot web site and go there often. After nearly every technical question that she answered, Vanessa followed the answer with “There’s an example/code/case study/etc. on www.janeandrobot.com.” I checked it out when I got home. It’s awesome! Take a look for yourself.
The big downside of attending at multi-track conference is that you are bound to miss some great presentations. Fortunately, Rebecca from SEOmoz was on the other side of the divider wall and put together an amazing summary of the presentations I missed.
Well, that’s probably enough for one post. I’ll separate my re-cap into three posts and then delve into a few more details. All in all, a great event. For those who missed, I’d definitely check it out next year.
November 3, 2008 by Ed Reese · Comments Off
One of the factors that influences the Local Search algorithm is called the proximity to the centroid. That is, how far whatever you’re searching for from the center of the city as defined by Google. In the case of Spokane, it has a most fitting location:
That’s right, the intersection of 3rd & Division is not only the home of the “Whammie” and the best fries in town, but is also the geographic center of Spokane in the eyes of Google.
This is so damn fitting I took the family down for lunch. I love Dick’s Drive-in! Not only do they have some of the best burgers and fries around (OK, Hudson’s in CDA actually has the best burgers in the Inland Empire), but I’m pretty sure they haven’t changed prices since I unsuccessfully tried to pick-up girls there in high school. Here’s the thing I love most about Dick’s Drive-in, though. You see all walks of life in the ten minutes under those amazing heat lamps waiting for your burgers (they are pure salvation in the Winter). It’s actually a pretty representative cross section of Spokane as far as I can tell. At least at lunch.
So what does that mean for your company in terms of Local Search?
While it may sound odd, the closer you are to Dick’s Drive-in, the easier it will be to rank in Local Search (Google Maps) in Spokane. This is expecially true for non-competitive terms. There are many other variables that are part of the local algorithm, but distance from the centroid is one of them. For those interested in additional details, I’d recommend checking out a recap of David Mihm’s SEMpdx hotseat presentation as well as the SMX Local Search interview wrap-up. In the meantime, I recommend ordering a couple of Whammies, some fries, and a chocolate malt.
I originally posted this article to Mihmorandum: The Small Business Web Design + Local SEO Blog by Local Search Guru David Mihm. I met David at SMX Advanced this Summer and talked with him briefly about some very curious data that I believed was being driven by status changes in my SuperPages account. I saw him again at The SEOmoz Expert Seminar in Seattle and talked about it in detail. He thought my data was interesting enough to warrant an article and gave it a platform on his blog. This is a re-post of that article. David wrote a reaction to my analysis the following week.
Fluctuating SERPs: The Reason for My Curiosity
In late 2007/early 2008 I noticed something very interesting. When I upgraded our free Superpages listing to a featured listing, our organic traffic immediately increased for nearly all of our desired keywords + location. We ranked on page one in organic search as well as in the blended, 10-pack results for our desired keywords + location. Then I stopped the featured listing to see what would happen (though I kept the free listing intact). Sure enough, the rankings, as well as traffic, dropped. After seeing low traffic for a while I upgraded again and the SERP’s jumped back to life.
I brought this up at the Q&A session at SMX in Santa Clara. It seemed that my featured Superpages listing was getting priority and I asked the Local Search Panel if that was the case. The consensus of the panel was that it didn’t have much effect, and that it was likely other factors causing the spikes in rank.
The person sitting next to me happened to be a reporter from Wired. The next day she published a quick blog post about my observations. Had I taken some time to think about it a bit more that day rather than rant, I might not have looked like such an idiot. However, it did start amplify the discussion. A very good take on her article can be found on Greg Sterling’s Screenwerk blog. It includes some great comments from Chris Silver Smith, Mike Blumenthal, and others. While many of the original comments to the article were negative in tone (can’t say I blame them), a few people emailed directly to say they had experienced similar results.
The Importance of Categories
I was advised to delete my Google Local Business Center categories, instead relying on Google to index and incorporate the more detailed Superpages categories and sub-categories. Within six weeks of this change, my search results for all relevant keywords + location (San Francisco) increased 40%.
My first assumption was that this was mostly category-based, as Superpages (and other IYP’s) category list is much more robust than Google’s. While I’m not sure if this is the case for all industries, only a few of GLBC’s categories are related to our industry (film and video production). In the Google Local Business Center category list, only three make sense. Meanwhile, for Superpages, the related category list is extensive.
Sharing, Caring, and Matt Cutts
A few months later I shared this tip at SMX Advanced in Seattle during the final Q&A session. I talked with several SEO’s after the show (including David Mihm) that had ideas as to why this might be happening.
On my way out the door, Matt Cutts stopped me and mentioned that Google took a look at the site after they read the article in Wired. He mentioned that it was possible my recent results were as much due to the work of their engineers as my category change. I thought it was pretty cool of him to let me know they had been working on the relevancy for Local Search. It isn’t every day that you hear that you helped influence a search algorithm (at least not for me).
(n.b. from David, Google undertook a massive adjustment in their determination of category around the time of SMX Santa Clara. Mike Blumenthal has a great write-up on this, including a quote from a Superpages resource saying, “Perhaps they only accept categorizations from partners which have taxonomic processes which they believe to be of higher quality.”)
I decided to test the two variables that I hypothesized were affecting Hotbed’s search results. I dropped my Superpages listing from featured to free and added my categories back to my GLBC.
My keyword + location results in both organic and blended search dropped almost immediately. My organic traffic dropped 70% in one month!
Thank God for SMX Local. Armed with this data I was determined to find out why this was happening. My citation with Superpages was still there (though no longer a featured listing). I was trying to wrap my head around the drop in rankings. Do featured listings in the IYP’s receive more link juice? Are they somehow circulated through a wider network of distribution partners? Are they somehow perceived as more relevant?
The content and discussions at SMX Local in San Francisco got me back on track. Definitely check out David Mihm’s great SMX Local recap for a summary of content.
During one of the breaks I had an opportunity to talk with a group of ten local SEO’s to figure out why I was receiving these dramatic results. What follows is are the assumptions of that group as well as continued discussions with David for this post.
- While Superpages is a strong, relevant, and authoritative site, it shouldn’t have that much power in determining rank.
- An authoritative citation shouldn’t have any more or less power at the search engines whether it’s a featured listing/citation or not.
- As business for Hotbed is mostly local/regional traffic, keyword + location specific searches will dominate both local and organic search traffic.
David and I took a close look at my Superpages listing. No matter how we searched for Hotbed, it always came up on page four or five of the results within Superpages. It’s a good possibility that the citation is not being indexed by Google that deep in the Superpages results.
As a featured listing, the citation is guaranteed page one visibility. The default results are generally listed in alphabetical order. So, if you happened to be Abe’s House of Video Production you’d be just fine. Hotbed Media less than fine, and Zeekâ’s Zany Film Studio would be absolutely screwed.
I just checked the results again on Superpages and noticed that default is no longer alphabetical but standard search results. This could explain my recent increase in rank. However, many other factors are now in play that I believe are having a very positive impact on the web site ranking and overall exposure. There were many great take-a-ways from SMX Local that I have since implemented.
- Addition of a citation and video on eLocal Listing. Steve Espinosa from eLocalListing had a great presentation and I really wanted to try their services.
- Addition of BOTW local listing per David Mihm’s suggestion.
- Addition of MetaCafe citation and video as another authoritative citation/video source
- Created an account on Universal Business Listing to ease submission process.
I was relying too heavily on a single featured listing for local authority. Per Mike Blumenthal and others at the conference, addition of many authoritative citations is very important in local search. A featured listing in the IYP’s is probably a good way to kick-start your local listing. However, the same effect can be accomplished for less money with a little bit of effort. I have still not re-activated my Superpages featured listing and have seen great gains in the past several weeks.