Category Archives: Search Engine Marketing

Information pertaining to search engines and the optimization of pages for search engines.

Google Premium SMB Partner in Canada and my LifeinYellow.ca Guest Blog Post on Partnerships

2013 has been a great start for YPG again and my role as head of business development. We closed off 2012 with a landmark deal with Yahoo to power their local search, “[FIRST LOOK] Yahoo! Canada Integrates YellowAPI.com for Local Search” and have started off 2013 expanding that relationship along with a number of new deals that are at various stages of completion.

One such deal is our recent announcement to become Canada’s largest Premium SMB Partner of Google in Canada. We are now the only partner of Google who services businesses in every province in Canada and in both official languages which is pretty cool. You can read the official press release, “Yellow Pages Group Selected by Google as an AdWords Premier Partner for Small Businesses“.

As part of this announcement I have done a guest post on LifeInYellow.ca titled; Investing in Partnerships That Benefit Our Small Business Clients. In this post I talk about the importance of a robust partner eco-system to ensure that we get SMB information in front of as many consumers as possible.

Click on the link about or the image below to read my latest post.

The YPG Canada partner eco-system to ensure that Canadian SMB's get as much exposure to consumers as possible.

The YPG Canada partner eco-system to ensure that Canadian SMB’s get as much exposure to consumers as possible.

Yellow Pages Group Employees Speak Out on SEO and SEM [VIDEOS]

Here are some recent videos from some team members at Yellow Pages Group talking about SEO and SEM.

First up, In this clip we sit down with John Fanous and Bill Aver of the Yellow Pages Group to chat about Local SEO. We caught up with John and Bill at SES Toronto 2010.

John discusses how the Yellow Pages is in the business of helping businesses be found, and their new Local SEO offering is designed to help businesses be found online. Bill and John also touch on why this offering doesn’t represent a coflict of interest vis a vis their print directory. NOTE: this was originally posted on the NVI Blog.

Second, Sean Ballard, product manager who launched Yellow Pages Group’s SES Solutions in February of this year speaks about Acquiso, one of the leading PPC management tools for agencies and clients who manage lots of SEM campaigns.

FInally, this is a repost on my blog, but here is the video for Yellow Pages Group Search Engine Solutions product, featuring our VP of Performance Marketing, Tracy Smith.

Blast From the Past

To prove that SEM and SEO is not a new topic at Yellow Pages Group, here is my interview with Greg Jarboe at SES Toronto back in 2008 explaining why YPG invaded the conference:

Why Really Smart Advertisers Look Beyond The Big Shiny Numbers

Big numbers, seems the entire world wants to see them, even those in the local advertiser space in Canada. Big numbers are good, but what about results and do these always correspond? This article will take a look at a couple of older web posts and some updated data from my favorite small business in Canada – The Bra Lady.

I want to reference a post that I made a few years back titled, Putting Numbers into Perspective, in which I look very closely at the value of advertising from a Calgary Realtor perspective. Here is an excerpt making reference to the search volumes for Google and YellowPages.ca at that time:

While some of the skeptical business owners might say, “well, that’s not a lot”, most likely the top performers within the industry would look at those numbers and be very excited about what they represent.

The first thing to consider is this; the search numbers above represent qualified prospects. These are directive searches; somebody is specifically typing in those keywords or searches. I believe that if somebody logs on YellowPages.ca and does a category search for real estate agent in Calgary, they are most likely seeking a professional to provide those services. The same goes for Google, if a prospect types in Calgary realtor, clearly they are looking for a realtor in Calgary.

The point of the entire article is specifically around how top realtors look at numbers very differently to measure return on investment.

Second, I want to reference an article by Tom Tsinas titled “Google vs Yellow Pages” in which he provides some specific details on dissecting traffic numbers and examines very closely YellowPages.ca as part of the media mix. Here is an except from this posting:

Google vs Yellow Pages – This battle is a lot closer than most of you can imagine. I’m constantly hearing about how the Yellow Pages are dying and there’s no value in them. While most may say that I’m biased because of the number of years I spent in the industry, the same cannot be said for Google Analytics.

Google Analytics cannot lie, it has no biases and, thank goodness for the Yellow Pages, paints a much different picture than many so called experts. You just have to know what to look for.

Read the full article for the detailed analysis that Tom did on the numbers from one of his clients. This is a great article that is worth taking a read. I will use a couple of key measurements he spoke of, namely referral traffic, bounce rate and listing the multiple referral list for YellowPages.ca.

So what about the TheBraLady? Below are some stats from The Bra Lady, Custom Bras in Calgary. For disclosure sake, as many of my readers know, she is my mom and yes I do all of her online marketing in Calgary.

Let’s examine what Google Analytics is telling us about her stats. From January 1 to September 30 here is the traffic from different sources along with the bounce rate, the lower the number the better:

Google Organic – 1576 (bounce rate – 27.98%) – NOTE: this includes traffic from Google Search and Google Images as well as Google.com and Google.ca. Further discussion below about the local value of this traffic – which is about 50% of the number listed above.

YellowPages.ca – 495 (bounce rate – 21.02%)

Yahoo – 60 (bounce rate – 33.33%)

Microsoft Live – 56 (bounce rate – 37.50%)

NOTE: With Google Analytics, Google has done a very good job of pre-aggregating all their sources of traffic in the Google bucket, this would include traffic from Google.com and Google.ca and includes traffic from Google Search, Images, etc. My only complaint with Google Analytics, unlike log analysis, is the breakdown of traffic by time of day. In the case of The Bra Lady when I look at the log files, I see a very high percentage of traffic from Google coming after midnight, usually between 1am and 3am. If I correspond this to keywords, what I notice is that late at night, we are getting lots of “junk” traffic, people looking for pictures of women in lingerie, most coming from US or International based IP addresses. If I remove all the easy to identify “junk” traffic, I notice that the good traffic from Google drops by almost 50% in this particular case.

In the YellowPages.ca bucket was sources of traffic from the following sites which are all part of the network and these to be added together to get the true picture of traffic from this source. This is important to note when calculating return on investment to ensure that you have all the data.


YellowPages.ca Business Directory

CalgaryPlus.ca

Canada411.ca Phone Book

MyTelus Business Finder

SuperPages.ca – purchased by Yellow Pages Group in 2005

Sympatico MSN YellowPages.ca

YellowPages.ca Facebook Application

For her specific business, as you can see Google and YellowPages.ca are both very good drivers of traffic to her website. In terms of bounce rate, YellowPages.ca is showing as the strongest. So if we were only interested in the “Big Shiny Numbers” we might stop here, make our conclusions and call it a good day at the office.

The real question is which one is converting into sales? Although at this point I can’t get into specific financial conversion, I can tell you that the order of the top 2 from web traffic is opposite in terms of conversions to sales. This does not come as any surprise to us when we consider at what stage a user in their buying decision. People don’t go to YellowPages.ca to “surf”, they go their to conduct a specific local action, unlike search engines whose user motivation tends to be higher up in the purchase funnel.

Lastly, I would suggest that you take a look at another older post from January 1 of this year called – Word of Mouth Needs Support – A Deeper Look at Web Referral Traffic – in which I examine specific tactics for a small business to dig deeper with their customers to fully understand conversion of traffic so that a business owner can make business decisions not based on hype, but based on fact.

The bottom line decision for any local business is not who drives more traffic to their website, rather who drives more sales conversions.

Interview with Jeff Quipp the CEO of Search Engine People

Today Paul Steven at NorthSouthMedia posted their interview with Jeff Quipp, CEO of Search Engine People. Here is the link to entire interview.

I have had the pleasure and opportunity of working with Jeff and his company since I started working at Yellow Pages Group as an employee in 2006. He is one of the most intelligent, level headed, and forward thinking experts in the field. I suggest checking out his corporate blog for insights from field.

There was a question in the interview that was asked of Jeff specifically about Social Marketing.

“I have recently become addicted to social bookmarking, esp. StumbleUpon. What words of advice can you give to anyone looking to become a power user in any of the social guises?”

To that Jeff answered:

Jeff: Don’t loseWeight Exercise perspective, and always track results against objectives. Social media can become all consuming, but the actual traffic is very difficult to convert. Its very easy to have spent a great deal of time and effort, with no real returns. So, begin by setting objectives (Benefits to Engaging in Social Media Marketing). Its not for every business … its merely a tool in our toolkit. So make sure the effort can satisfy specific goals.

2) Then; focus on getting really really good at blogging and content generation that people love. This content is the foundation! The key to making it work for clients is their content, and you’ll likely have to help create it.

3) Network … participate in these communities. Vote, comment, submit … in that order. Establish friendships in various social media, and migrate them to other platforms. Be loyal to your friends … follow their submissions religiously. Tip … use RSS to follow their submissions pages, and check every few hours. THIS WILL TAKE TIME … and continue to take time! If you really want to be a power social media user … its takes a lot of time and effort.

Could not have answered that question any better.

Jeff answered many more questions from Paul – so make sure that you check out the entire interview.

Google’s Mobile Ad Distribution – Free Until November 18 – Opt-Out Afterwards

Is your website enabled to be seen on a cellular phone? Are you using Google Adwords to promote your business? If you answered yes to both questions your business may already be displayed as part of Google’s Mobile Ad strategy. I came across a posting by Michael Blumenthal called Google Intros Search Ads on Google Mobile Search in which a letter was sent from Google indicating their short-term strategy for mobile ads and the criteria to be displayed. Here is a copy of that letter:

We are happy to announce a new feature that will allow you to easily reach additional qualified customers who are searching
Google from their mobile phones.

In the next few days, your search ads will be eligible to run on Google Mobile Search pages (like they currently do on Google.com).
We are offering this feature – and any resulting clicks – for free through November 18, so you can experiment with the rapidly growing mobile platform while still reaching qualified customers.

Each ad’s eligibility will be determined by its landing page and only ads with landing pages that can be adapted for viewing on mobile browsers will be shown. You can monitor each ad’s performance via a special performance tracking page within your account called “Performance Data: Search Ads on Google Mobile Search.”

Again, you will not be charged for clicks on these ads until November 19, at which time we will begin charging the usual CPC prices. And as always, you may opt-out of this feature at any time.

We hope you find this new feature helpful and profitable, and we urge you to learn more about it at our AdWords Help Center:

http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=72226

Thank you for advertising with Google AdWords.

Sincerely,

The Google AdWords Team

If you fit the current criteria that you may already be taking advantage of this medium. Considering the growth of mobile and the mobile applications it is probably a good time to consider ensuring that your business can be viewed on a mobile phone. Not sure where to start – two suggestions; 1) find a design company that specializes in WAP, WML, and XHTML MP or 2) if you want to consider the process yourself, I suggest that you start by reading, Creating Web Content for Mobile Phone Browsers.

Here are some highlights from an article in January of this year titled – Putting 2.7 billion in context: Mobile phone users – which explores how large this industry has already become. The point to these stats, if you are a local business, is that your customers are either using or will be using mobile as a means to learn and connect with your business. Ensure that you are ready to take advantage of this opportunity.

* Worldwide there are about 800 million registered automobiles
* Today there are 1.3 billion fixed landline phones in the world
* Today there are about 1.5 billion TV sets in use in the world . (TV is often shared, especially in Asia where families are also large. So you might easily have 6 or even 10 watching the same TV show. The reach of TV is much beyond the 1.5 billion sets in use.)
* Today 1.4 Billion people carry at least one credit card.
* In most countries it is illegal for under 18 year olds to have credit cards
* There are about 850 million PCs
* In total over 750 million people access internet content via a mobile phone today
* About the total PC population or about 850 million people, access the web via a computer.
* During 2007 the first cross-over from PC to Mobile phones will happen, with more users accessing via phone than PC.
* The total shipped PDA population is about 85 million, most which are replacements.
* Thre are 85 Million iPod in use
* DVD recorders/ PVR shipments are under 100 million.
* Camcorders, are under 100 million total shipped (many as replacements).
* Gaming consoles have shipped near 200 million units, out of which 150 million are second generation (PS2/Xbox) or newer.
* The (stand-alone) digital camera has achieved shipments of near 300 million.
* There are 2.7 billion Mobile phones shipped (technically 2.7 billion in January, not December). They sold 950 million phones last year and the total worldwide mobile subscriber base grew from 2.1 billion to 2.7 billion.
* Phones are replaced every 18 months (and this is still shrinking)
* USA has reached 75% penetration for mobile phones
* The Western European average per capita penetration for mobile phones is already 110%
* Italy, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Israel have penetration rates at about 140%
* China adds 6 million phones every month, India adds 7 million phones every month.
* Finland, Norway, Denmark and Portugal – each countries with 120% or more penetration rates – Mobilephones are less than 6 million units total.
* SMS Messaging Is Biggest Data App On Planet
* On the internet there are about 1.5 billion e-mail boxes, maintained by about 800 million people.
* 1.8 billion people are doing SMS texting.
* Last year over 42% of Americans were active in SMS already
* E-mail is opened in 24 hours and replied to in 48 hours.
* SMS is read within 15 minutes on average and responded within 60 minutes.
* 65% of e-mail is spam, less than 10% of SMS is spam.
* In South Korea five separate credit card services are available on the three mobile networks
* In South Korea almost 100% of credit card based point-of-purchase sites accept payment via mobile phone credit (and charge) cards
* Two years from launch almost 10% of South Korean phone users watch digital broadcast TV on their phones
* The Pop Idol formats have earned a windfall of over 700 million dollars out of text messaging votes
* In 2005 already half of all phones sold were cameraphones so cameraphones outsell digital cameras by more than 4 to 1 .
* There are 3.2 Billion to 3.8 Billion radio users.
* 73% of the population now uses the mobile phone as their portable clock.
* 2.7 Billion phones in active use. There is a subscription for 40% of the planet’s population.
* The mobile telecoms industry earned 725 Billion dollars last year.
* Global music industry earns 16% of its revenues from mobile phones (mostly ringing tones);
* Videogaming earns 14% of its global revenues from mobile.
* Mobile telecom growth in dollar terms, from 2005 to 2006, was 105 billion dollars.

Link Building Guide – Useful Tips and Strategies

One of the more common questions I get from small businesses is how can I get more links to my site? The first question I ask is what types of links are you looking for? The myth that any random links to yoursite will help you get higher ranking in search engines is simply false. The key is links from trusted sources and links that make sense.

For example, creating links to your supplies and having them link back to you as a reseller would be considered a very good strategy. Having links from other websites, blogs, etc. to your news articles or specific products can also be beneficial. In some cases, it is very worth purchasing links on sites such as directories as well.

Anyway, for starters I would read Jim Westergren’s Link Building Guide – this is probably one of the best on the web and is a good starting point for any business.

If you have any questions after reading his article, drop me a line.