Three years ago, on January 15th, 2013, I announced here that HIPPO Internet Marketing was closing. After ten years, I decided to stop taking clients and focus on my e-commerce sites. Shortly after that, I went to Ephricon as their Director of Client Services for about a year.
Two years ago, after Ephricon became Straight North, I took some Internet marketing clients, but mostly just those that I already had a relationship with already. I never opened up Hippo Internet Marketing in the sense that I started taking clients. But now, after three years of being “closed”…
HIPPO Internet Marketing is Open again!
In fact, I’ve started to redesign our website at www.HippoIM.com!
(I love the fact that my office is the main picture on the home page.)
What happens when you spend most of your time on one business? The other business may start to notice and feel neglected or sad. Well, probably not. But it does seem that way.
For the past six months, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time building up our Amazon business. I’ve been working hard not only on the business itself, but also trying to build up the training needed for a couple of our students and our new sub-business which is run by a partner, but co-owned by our business. If that sounds confusing, it is. It involves lawyers, accountants, and all that fun stuff.
But in the meantime, my fantastic sales people have been very active with my e-commerce business of over 12 years now which sells bellman carts online. But the more you focus on Amazon, the easier it becomes to take your eye off of Google.
But the truth is, Amazon is now as much of an opportunity for online marketers as Google is. So we’re focused on both. The trick is spending the right amount of time on both. Both businesses and both platforms, Google and Amazon.
I’m mostly working with my Amazon business these days. But because I’m still consulting on SEO, several times this past year I have trained Keyword Research to several groups of people.
Keyword Research is difficult to teach. There are tools and principles. But to do deeper keyword research, experience and a thorough understanding of the nuances is important. Below are the tools and principles I’ve been teaching. I’m posting it so that I have it handy in the future and so that any readers can benefit. (more…)
I’m currently on the plane flying home from Social Fresh East held in Tampa on April 18, 19. This is my first conference since being hired on as the Director of Client Services at Ephricon. It’s my first conference I’ve attended as an “agency guy” instead of a “consultant” or “entrepreneur”.
Jason Keath always puts on an incredible conference. I’ve worked with him quite a bit the last few years and it always amazes me how skilled he is as a content curator. (more…)
As a marketer, one of my favorite expressions is “It’s Worth Testing”. I sincerely believe that it is the one answer to every good marketing question. Granted, there are lots of “bad” marketing questions, such as “Should I spend most my time in MySpace promoting my products?”
However, there are lots of good marketing questions out there, such as “Is Pinterest a good option for my business” or “Is Google AdWords worth it?”
But some are confusing the concepts of “testing” with “studies”.
For example, you can perform a study of 10,000 websites to determine if sites that have active Facebook Pages rank better or worse than sites that do not have active Facebook pages. But that’s not a test. It’s a study. (more…)
In the never-ending battle of Google vs Apple vs Amazon vs Facebook/Microsoft, the next wave is coming soon. It’s just a matter of time before Facebook tries to make some sort of major surge toward search.
It’s not just because Google Plus is jumping into the social media game. (Which no doubt bugs them.) It’s because Facebook’s IPO will demand that they start thinking more and more about money. Search is where money is. Every marketer knows that search referrals convert better than social and therefore, they are willing to pay more money for those clicks.
On Friday, March 16 I launched a new project. It has to do with my new favorite site, Google Plus. In particular, I want to start learning how it affects Search Engine Optimization. So, to get started, I made a new website, named The Google Plus SEO Testing Network.
The response has been incredible. Over 50 people joined in just 24 hours!
Please watch this video and you’ll see how passionate I am about this.
Google just released a “new feature” that has search marketers freaking out. Danny Sullivan explains it on his blog (Search Engine Land) here. But I’ll give you the short story and how we may use it to our benefit, especially for those involved in Social Media.
I’m currently on my plane ride home from Vegas. Unfortunately, this plane does not have Internet access like my last one did. So this is a good time to write out a bunch of my observations and thoughts from the conference I just attended.
WARNING: This post is going to be long. Feel free to just scan over the Bolded/capitalized headings and just read what you are interested in.
(You can also just read the very brief points at the end.)
1. PUBCON HAS A DIFFERENT FEEL The style of Pubcon is different than any other conference in my opinion. Brett Tabke is a genuine nice guy that does this conference year after year. Many of the speakers and attendees know him personally and speak positively of him. The conference has an overall feeling of individuals helping individuals. Everyone is not just friendly, but genuinely helpful.
Guys like Jerry West, Greg Boser, Brad Geddes, Christine Churchill, and countless others all rally together to learn from each other and to help newbies at Pubcon. The whole event is very welcoming to newcomers. This is evident not only in the presentations, but in the constant conversations between sessions. Pubcon is mostly about search, but like most conferences, they delve into other areas such as social media, new media, etc.
2. SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING TOOLS For keyword research, several marketers are complaining about the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. They are not showing all data as of just a few weeks ago. It looks like many are going back to using WordTracker and Keyword Discovery for inventory data. Another incredible tool to mine new keyword phrases is Scrapebox. It’s amazing.
For Link Building and other SEO tools, it seems as if SEOmoz and SEOBook are the clear leaders.
For SEO reporting, Raven Tools is quickly becoming the industry favorite.
3. PAY PER CLICK SEARCH MARKETING I was surprised that more people were not excited about jumping head first into Microsoft AdCenter now that it is powering both Bing and Yahoo. Rather, most everyone still focuses their energy on Google AdWords and simply copy what works into Microsoft AdCenter.
The strongest tips that came out of PPC were to focus more intently on negative keywords. Several presenters encouraged using thousands of negative keywords. Use tools such as Scrapebox to find as many as possible.
Some other good tips were to focus on Quality Score. Improving your QS can have a dramatic effect on your spending.
4. FACEBOOK MARKETING Between the sessions I attended and the conversations I had, it’s becoming more obvious that using Facebook for marketing is really in its infancy. Very few marketers are just STARTING to even try this, let alone see the potential.
The technique that many are using is to use targeted ads to drive traffic to custom built pages that engage and reward “liking” the page. Hopefully, the viral effect kicks in. If your audience engages, their friends see them and may join too.
The concept is that you then “own the audience” and can try to engage them on the page over and over. You may choose to push them toward an offer on your website or just keep engaging them to the benefit of the brand.
Interestingly, if it doesn’t work, it’s easy to start over, give up, and try something different on a Facebook page. So the general idea is to keep trying something until it starts clicking with your target audience. Very little harm is done if you fail at first. Just reiterate and move on.
5. E-COMMERCE It works. People make very good money at it. Search engine placement for the right keywords is money in the bank. In fact, it is reoccurring money that keeps on coming in.
This is so true that those that are involved in successful e-commerce can’t help but laugh at those that are trying to make money in social media. Both e-commerce and affiliate marketers look at social media and just smile, as if they know something the others don’t. (It’s kind of amusing to watch, actually.)
Several of the attendees of Pubcon are clearly making good money and are happy to just pick up a few tidbits here and there and get to know the others that are doing the same. There is much less effort into trying to “look cool” and “be in the forefront”, as is seen in the other conferences.
Search engine marketing combined with e-commerce and/or affiliate marketing is not a hobby. It’s an income stream. And it works. It really does. (But please don’t tell anyone. Smile.)
6. THE FUTURE OF SEARCH ENGINES In many ways, the future of how search engines will work is already here. When you type something into Google or Bing, you don’t just get 10 links anymore. Those days are mostly over.
You get what is called “universal search”, which means the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) shows videos, news, realtime (twitter), images, local info, and other things. You need to take all this into consideration.
SERPS are also taking more “unstated signals” into account. They try to determine where you are, what else you are already interested in or like, who your friends are, and what device you are using (PC, mobile phone, tablet, or even television).
7. WHAT GOOGLE THINKS Matt Cutts (the voice of Google) gave a presentation, but others spoke about Google as well. Overall, I get the impression that Google is scared of Facebook because of the data they own and won’t share. (What you like and who your friends are – often referred to as your social graph.)
Google also is very aggressively pursuing mobile and television. (Duh. It’s where the true growth and money is.)
Google is also admitting that spam is starting to increase within their SERPS. Therefore they are soon going to start taking an even stronger attack against spam, buying links, and other inappropriate activities that they feel promotes the wrong sites. They are already rewarding the larger brands over smaller ones. Several noted this.
Matt specifically encouraged all webmasters and site owners to claim their site in Google Webmaster Tools and turn on the flag that allows Google to email them when they note something of concern.
8. SOCIAL MEDIA vs SEARCH ENGINES This is a topic that I brought up to some very interesting people in my conversations. It seems as if several in the “social media” camp believe that the two may eventually combine and/or social may start taking away from search engines.
In my conversations with several very smart people that know both industries well, there seemed to be agreement that this just plain is not true. It won’t happen.
Social is good for hearing from and learning from your friends. Ask your followers on Twitter what they recommend. Check Facebook to see what your “social graph” likes, etc. But when you want to do the research yourself and/or follow up to determine how you feel, you almost always end up back at Google.
I had this very conversation with Tim Mayer after his keynote on the future of search. I also had a roundtable discussion (at a literal roundtable at lunch) with Brett Tabke, Warren Whitlock, Brian Carter, and a few others on this.
After thinking a lot about this, I firmly believe that search engines are here to stay. Social media is here to stay, too. And although they may assist each other a little, they are never going to combine. Nor are they ever going to cannibalize the other. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it – for now.
9. VIDEO AND MOBILE ONLINE These are by far the two biggest and hottest topics in all of the Internet right now. Period. Both of these are much greater opportunities, easier, and more powerful online than anything else, including social media.
How’s that for a bold statement?
If you are not starting to create videos and are not at least staying informed of what is happening with smart phones, you are totally missing the bus. The time is RIGHT NOW to get involved. The wave is coming and it’s time to get in front of it. No joke.
10. LOCAL MARKETING For the past six years, local marketing online has always been the next big thing and right around the corner. I feel that it’s actually true this year. The growth of mobile phones, combined with the effort both Facebook and Google are putting into this makes the claim more believable this year than ever before.
Then again, we said that last year, and the year before that, and the year before that… You get the picture. We’ll just have to wait and see.
IN CONCLUSION… (Sorry for the long post.)
1. Pubcon is great. 2. Go buy Scrapebox for keyword research 3. Use more negative keywords in AdWords 4. Don’t be afraid of marketing in Facebook 5. Don’t let people know that e-commerce makes real money 6. Realize that search engines show more than just websites 7. Don’t bother trying to spam Google 8. Learn how to market in both search & social 9. Start jumping into Video and Mobile right now 10. Local marketing is about to take off (maybe)
PS: I have another post ready to come out of me about the true state of Search Engine Optimization and those that practice it. More about that later. Stay tuned.