All posts by Wil Martindale

Googles Relentless Profit Motive

It’s getting harder and harder to ignore Google’s profit motive in paid search. And the constant harassment from Google’s offshore enforcers of “automatically generated opportunities” (AGOs) is becoming tiresome. Let me explain.

If you’ve been doing search marketing as long as I have, you’ve been called and emailed at least a dozen times by an “AdWords expert”. Let’s call them the AGO enforcers. AGO enforcers operate in an environment devoid of real world marketplace competition, competitive nuance, business client interaction and unique value proposition.

From this vacuum, thousands of miles away from both you and your clients (and the competitive landscape) they relentlessly attempt to convince you to conform to the best practice standards of Google’s artificial intelligence. It seems their sole purpose is to enforce the application of Google’s automatically generated opportunities.

The problem with this, is that these automatically generated opportunities (like their human enforcers) DO NOT guarantee better campaign performance (as clearly stated at the bottom of every AdWords web page).

AGOs are proof positive of Googles profit motive
Google’s Profit Motive: The A.G.O. and its Paid Enforcers

And they always seem to come with increased budget recommendations. In the rare cases in which I agree to apply them, they never work as expected.

How could they, when you consider the lack of human interaction and understanding of an effective paid search analyst? After all, AGO’s use the same “machine intelligence” that pushes horribly irrelevant keyword recommendations almost non-stop. Keywords that will get more clicks, but not more conversions – because they are all wrong for the client’s particular competitive situation.

If, as the disclaimer states, WEare always responsible for the changes” we make, then:

1) Why is Google hiring AGO enforcers to push higher spend so hard upon us?
2) Why is Google’s AGO using automated reminder terms like “Last Chance” to keep up with the competition?
3) Why is Google constantly pushing CPA bidding, which ALWAYS includes an increased budget as part of the process?
4) Why is Google’s system trying to incite bidding wars at the keyword bid level?

It would take far too long to explain in detail the evidence that Googles profit motive is dangerously close to overshadowing the golden goose of SEARCH RELEVANCE, but … we are headed in that direction.

Googles Profit Motive – Search Relevance or Search Revenue?

The role that HUMANS play in a search marketing landscape where SEARCH RELEVANCE is the core value of search – is vital. It’s why we take the certification tests, and it’s why “search relevance” is the key take away from professional certification (or at least it was).

Human search marketing strategists meet with clients to discuss unique value propositions and competitive nuance in relevant, real world markets where humans buy and sell products and services. Conversely artificial intelligence operates within marketplace models that are theoretical and behave according to the logic of completely level and artificial playing fields.

Artificial intelligence works perfectly well in a theoretical construct where intelligent machines produce goods and services to be consumed by other intelligent machines. I’m here to tell you what should be obvious – we’re not there yet.

Case in point. We had a client whose conversions suddenly flat-lined. Suspecting this was systemic, we began troubleshooting possible causes. But at the very same time, Google had  implemented one of it’s infamous bi-weekly changes – we’ll call them “improved  visual bid estimates“. This is where one of our client’s top keywords rose from $3.27 per click to over $71.00 (estimated) per click for the same relative ad-serving-position in the span of a week.

Frankly, we’ve been getting good position for ALL of our clients at well below “first page bid” estimates for many months, but the new visual bid estimates, with recommended “first page” and “above all organic results” bid estimates have clearly convinced competing businesses to bid higher. So … as we’re troubleshooting the abrupt decline in conversions, amidst these automated suggestions to bid massively higher, here  comes the call from Google’s AGO enforcer of the week for this account.

I managed to “stall the call” long enough to establish the systemic cause for the drop-off in conversions: broken linkage between Google Analytics and Adwords (where Analytics conversions were being imported into Adwords).

When I emailed her back with my findings and agreed to a call appointment only if she had recommendations for how to re-link Adwords to Analytics, there was no response (as expected). We were able to determine the cause and re-link, but there were no further recommendations from this “AdWords Expert”.  Obviously, since our solution didn’t serve Googles profit motive, Google’s AGO enforcer was no longer interested.  We definitely learned a lot from the experience.

This is just one example, and actually a fairly simple one. Overall, Google is clearly driving it’s paid search customer accounts toward a standardized “best practice” baseline where all competitors within a certain market are operating on equal terms on a level playing field. The perfect situation where a price bidding war is the only way to “get ahead”.

When Google’s system constantly makes (direct and indirect) recommendations for me to increase my client budgets to “keep up with the competition” do they really expect me to think they’re not doing the exact same thing with “the competition”? I wouldn’t give the username and password to my Adwords client center to the competition, so they could analyze my strategy. And yet Google is contacting my competition armed with that knowledge (whether they use it or not) and inviting them to “beat me” at my game.

Besides the bad taste that obvious conflict of interest leaves me with, if inciting bidding wars is the strategy, it reminds me of a pricing game where an agency keeps telling clients to lower their prices to be competitive – and both competitors are their client. Where does that lead?

Google will ultimately win the “profit” battle, but will they win the “best search engine” war? There will always be a better search engine to be built if search revenue becomes the new focal point over search relevance. Just search “Google profit motive” in Google, and then in Bing.  I think you’ll see what I mean.

The “Problem” with Facebook

I just read another short article about how online advertising is destroying planet earth. This time it’s focusing on Facebook. The article posits that “Facebook Can’t Be Fixed” without “completely gutting its advertising-driven business model”.  The premise sounds good, but it just doesn’t make sense.

Facebook’s Problem is not Monetization

It sounds good because it’s easy to scapegoat advertising in general, and it’s even easier to connect with readers who think the web should be advertising-free.

But the author never bothers to explain why Facebook’s advertising-driven business model is a deal breaker. He just banks on the premise that everyone hates advertising enough to agree.

So the statement’s validity is a given with no further explanation, and no apparent need for justification.

In my opinion, Facebook does have problems (don’t we all?). But it’s advertising format is probably one of the least of them. At least with Facebook there’s a reasonable use of data gathering to show relevant ads (and not too many). So I strongly suspect that most users won’t find ads to be the most bothersome thing about it.

Here’s a short list of the real problems that Zuckerberg may be facing (in my opinion) that can be addressed to improve Facebook. Teaser alert: committing existential suicide by gutting its ad-driven revenue model isn’t one of them.

1) Facebook is getting creepy. When synthetic programmed responses try to have an interpersonal relationship with me, it’s annoying. When “Facebook” talks to me, saying: “Hi (firstname). We care about you and we want you to … ”

STOP! … Please …. I’m not 9 years old, and I don’t need my social media platform anthropomorphized into my personal, platonic  digital friend … who “genuinely cares about me”.

We all know that Facebook wants to monetize our personal data and relationship activity, and that’s a given among mature adults (the people with money to spend from ads). So please tone down the idea that we actually feel nurtured by programmed responses. If Facebook’s data assumptions are telling Zuckerberg that more than 51% of ad-revenue-producing users feel good about being nurtured by A.I., I stand corrected. But I still think the majority find this creepy.

2) User content is downright frightening. We all know the feeling. Moderate, tolerant people who thought they knew and liked other moderate, tolerant people are finding out that their friends are emotionally challenged, completely illiterate, class discrimination extremists, racists, extreme left socialists, right wing nationalists, narcissists, obsessive-compulsive – you name it.

Facebook as a social “shock therapy” platform can’t be sustainable long term. I’ve noticed the “changes” in posts. Maybe having topical versions of Facebook could help. One for “the beautiful people”, one for stalkers, one for political activists, etc…

3) Facebook is getting a bad rep. It’s reputation as a “dopamine-driven engagement trap” is getting increased awareness and this does not bode well for users who eventually read about (and can understand) the psychology of Facebook addiction. This is a tough one and may require a serious PR effort to combat. I see a lot of reduced usage by friends who are more likely to be exposed to this material (myself included) but I don’t think addictive personalities can break the habit just by acknowledging “step one” (admission). If Facebook just admits to reality, in the right format, it will do wonders for this roadblock.

And there you have it. Details aside, these three problems are what I see as the toughest to resolve and most damaging to the long term sustainability of its engagement model. They have nothing to do with advertising. There’s a bunch of little things like irrelevant notifications (why notify me every time a friend joins messenger?) that could amount to “death by a thousand cuts” but they are either a subset of the big three, or too few (or too minor) to matter. I think those will be addressed accordingly.

But again, the charge that “You cannot fix Facebook without completely gutting its advertising-driven business model.” is just another broad indictment of capitalism on the web. If Facebook is guilty, so is Google. Neither of these companies has a bottom line in revenue growth or stock price (with Google more time-tested) to justify such a baseless claim.

Finally, when you consider the incredible amount of business you can potentially generate through Facebook without spending a dime, a paid ad here or there is a very small price to pay.  As revenue models in advanced economies continue to shift, the opportunity to create targeted audience groups and sell to them (the right way) is a huge free opportunity that is so inherent to the platform, Facebook would probably never charge for it (only to boost it).

Since most people don’t “get it” (inherently understand the power of audience segmentation / relevance) they will pay for these “boosts” – in essence letting Facebook broaden their reach beyond their friend network. And that’s a sustainable model for now, and probably for a while. Though it’s surprising how a friend network can expand through “similar interest” groups. Now the glue is “common interest” more so than acquaintanceship.

Facebook’s big threat is greed (isn’t everyone’s?). If they in fact eventually find a way to charge for what is free today – if they somehow manage to monetize groups for example, it will be the beginning of the end, a.k.a. “move over MySpace. Hello, whatever’s next”.

The Power of an Integrated Web Presence – Part I

Optimization = Integrated Web Presence

What is an Integrated Web Presence and why is it important? That’s a question we’ll attempt to answer in the next series of posts. But first, we’ll take a step back and look at how the answer came about.

Our approach to organic search has been evolving over the past three years. Without even realizing it, we’ve been involved in a natural selection process. As we slowly recognized that process, we realized we needed to label its outcome in order to effectively market it.

We now call that outcome the Integrated Web Presence. Here’s a simple overview of that evolution.

In the past, web designers built nice looking web sites. In the early 90’s that was good enough. Today, people want a web site that’s search engine friendly. A decade ago that was pretty easy – these days, not so much. As more and more businesses sought top positions for the most lucrative search queries, more and more web designers learned about organic search optimization.

As this process evolved, web designers executed more tasks at a higher level to gain search position. Some of them became Search Engine Strategists.

We’ve always focused on organic search at, but the integrated web presence takes SEO to a whole new level.

Search Friendly Design

First and foremost, we execute a search friendly design structure on a responsive server.

Design that takes advantage of product and service categorization is critical. One of our favorite developers produces page and post widgets that allow us to drag and drop snippets of optimized pages onto their category page. We found that search engines love this almost as much as we do.

For example, Company X offers 5 services and 6 products. We’ll build a well optimized page for each service and each product. Then we’ll build a broader Product category page which delineates each of the 6 products. Next, we build a Service category page which delineates each of the 5 services. This is the type of design structure that optimizes your site for organic search. Naturally, this lays the foundation for paid search as well.

Specific is Terrific

The biggest mistake we see in poorly optimized websites is the tendency to lump too many items on a single page. This breaks the cardinal rule of “singularity“.  Sure, it saves time and costs less, but how can you expect your expert transmission repair service to be found if it’s on a page with your brake service, your tune up service, your engine rebuild service and your oil change service? Now, if people typed “brake, tune-up, engine rebuild and oil change service” into Google, there’s a chance that page might show up. But people don’t search like that. They search for specific things, one at a time.

Not to belabor the issue, but it’s so important (and so often overlooked) it bears repeating. Search engine algorithms are logical, and they respond favorably to categorization and specifics. So when your content is properly categorized from broad to specific, it’s easy to find. That structure gives you the added bonus of acceptable repetition.

Gone are the “old days” of SEO tactics defined by keywords repeated over and over in multiple blog posts, pages, paragraphs and footers. That form of repetition earns an immediate DOWN-RANK by today’s advanced search engine algorithms. But a broad category page (of products or services for example) leading to more specific detail pages gives you the kind of repetition search engines love.

The immense popularity of the WordPress platform owes much of its early success to the structure of its search friendly blogging format utilizing categorized posts. We leverage that same functionality in our page development.

Server Response Time

An Integrated Web Presence
Integration is Great. But 2367 Tenants in the Same House is Too Much!

Let’s get responsive. And we’re not talking just mobile responsive, we’re talking about server response time. Having a slow site is the kiss of death on any device: mobile, tablet or desktop. So make sure your hosting company is “up to speed” like

While certain “big box” hosting companies (and site builder platforms) boast that they can host thousands of responsive sites on a single server, our speed tests using the link above tend to prove otherwise. You can go to and enter your domain to see how many other sites are hosted on the same server as yours.

When your site is hosted along with 2367 other sites, is it any wonder you fail the Google speed test for mobile and desktop? When “server response time” is the only big red X in your “fix it” report, you need a new host.  The client’s site referenced in the image above failed pretty spectacularly. Their new site will be hosted with us.

So … as another 15 hour work day draws to a close at, it’s time to finish this post and hit the sack. In Part II we’ll cover the second most important series of tasks to “execute well” in the pursuit of a fully integrated web presence – one that outranks the competition with many little things done well … and fully integrated.

Tallahassee SEO

A Tallahassee SEO Company Located in Tallahassee

Tallahassee SEO Local
You may have a Google Listing, but is it properly configured and verified?

When people search for “Tallahassee SEO” on Google, the top results don’t necessarily reflect Tallahassee based providers.  We like that most of our clients are Tallahassee businesses who would like to sit down with us in an onsite consultation.

This is where we get to meet business owners and talk to them about their unique value propositions.  and the important “3 Questions“.   As a local Tallahassee business, practicing organic search marketing since the mid 90’s, we know the Tallahassee marketplace.

We Don’t Follow – We Lead

Not to be brazen, but those who “follow” the self proclaimed SEO experts will never rise above that crowd. There’s great info to consider, but our own testing and results are our final guide. We use our tools and expertise to develop a fully integrated web presence – one which combines a search friendly design structure with targeted content, on a responsive server.  Combine these attributes with properly configured social integration, and exceptional results are inevitable.

Search engine algorithms are evolving and adapting. Search engine companies want to give searchers a relevant search experience. So do we. So we take advantage of categorization, content keywords, readability, image tags and just the right amount of repetition.  When we manage and integrate those critical details (and many others) you get optimal results. That means the right searchers that convert from prospects to customers.

It’s not that hard to optimize when you know what you’re doing. We don’t make excuses about Google’s “changing algorithms”. Sure, they change – often – but those changes don’t affect good SEO, they usually reinforce it.

Contact us to find out more about the possibilities of web based marketing you can rely on.


Display Network Advertising

I often talk about, and write about Search Network Marketing. Today I want to give a little time to Display Network Marketing. Let’s start with the key difference between the two.

The Search Network is mostly a TEXT based format. You enter a query into a search engine and receive textual links to websites which relate to that search. Yes there are a few visual elements that display in blocks here and there, but for the most part, the search network has always been (and remains) a text based network, where advertising is text based, hence the name Ad WORDS.

The display network is a VISUAL format. It is the realm of “banner ads” though certainly not in the old school sense of buying a banner on a single website. There are thousands of websites in the Google Display Network, grouped by topical categories (and other elements).

Google Display Network
Google Display Network Partner Sites – Just a few of many thousands!

While search marketing is a powerful advertising means, some products or services do well in a visual format vs, just plain text. Both text and display ads will send you to an advertiser’s website when clicked, but visual ads that have motion and color and other forms of visual appeal, could get your attention, and may entice you to click where text alone does not.

Display Network advertising also works well for new technologies and new or unique ideas. A business may have a really cool offering that would excite you once you saw it. Yet it’s not something you’d ever search for (because you don’t know it exists). That’s where Display Network advertising outperforms search marketing. Where the Search Network delivers ads in response to a search, the Display Network delivers ads in response to prospect affinity.

Case in Point

Let’s say you’re a business that sells a product that really appeals to sports car enthusiasts. You have your ads appear in sports car blogs, forums and in sports car sections of Display Network sites. Your prospect clicks your ad, visits your site and finds the product interesting. He may purchase then and there, but let’s say he moves on … then, the following morning he visits his favorite news site.  If the site is a Display Network partner, he may see your same (or a similar) ad there.

The news site has nothing to do with sports cars, but he clicked your ad yesterday and visited your site, a cookie was accepted in his browser, and that partner site read his cookie and served up another of the your ads today. That’s how the ad “followed him” from his prior visit. This is an example of re-targeting. You are targeting site visitors to see your display ads elsewhere. The repetition helps your message to sink in, or remind your prospect of that great offering.

This is just the tip of the Display Network iceberg, but it’s enough to give you an idea of what lies beneath the surface. To learn more, call or email us, and … don’t forget to spread the love below if you found this post interesting.

Has Facebook been TRUMPED?

You know how this post is going to start right? You’re either ONE OF THEM, or ONE OF US!

Well … this may not be quite what you expect. I recently read this article at the HUFFINGTON POST written by Derek Powell nearly a year ago. He then made the claim that people who complain about political postings on Facebook are “part of a problem”. And the problem, he infers, is “complacency”. That’s right, back in February of 2016 he made the argument that people who criticize political postings are just too invested in the status quo.

Has Facebook been Trumped?

I can’t help but to wonder how Derek feels about the subject today.

Less than a month after the election of a new President and newly forming cabinet, the tone and frequency of political posts (in my feed at least) have changed quite markedly since a year ago.

It has really been surprising to see certain people making some very strong accusations and insulting remarks about political opinions or policy decisions that are very heated and oppositional right now. Probably a good deal more so than in 2016.

Maybe it’s a sign of Constitutional freedom and Democracy that political debate is alive and well, uncensored and quite vigorous in America, even if it is a little bit messy.

But … I have to say … folks who post really mean and nasty things, almost daily, are a bit annoying whether you’re invested in the status quo or not.

To turn down the volume a bit, and think logically for a moment, it’s hard not to conclude that either these folks are 1) absolutely sure that every friend in their feed agrees with their political views, or 2) anybody that doesn’t agree deserves to hear the opposition to their beliefs. I mean …  I’m trying hard to escape from that conclusion, but … there it is.

Politics does involve beliefs and values – just like religious, or cultural beliefs. And different people have different beliefs. And one would think people could respect each others beliefs within their own social network. Otherwise, I’m back to the paragraph above this one, scratching my head again.

We all know that people with like beliefs feel comfortable being together in a group. That’s why there are churches, synagogues, clubs, political groups, business associations, alumni organizations and so on. We know from the name and type of group we join what the group stands for, and what it does not.

I think it’s also quite important and socially beneficial if these groups can get along and respect each other (or if they can’t, at least stay out of each others way).  Otherwise, we’ll have open confrontations between them – which we sometimes do. And when that happens, I don’t really condone the violence – which by the way usually starts with accusations. It escalates from there.

There ARE political forums on the web. They are a natural fit for political discussion. The audience there knows what to expect just like a person joining an organization does. A person joining Greenpeace does not expect to attend a meeting dominated by board members of British Petroleum. If that were to happen, I suspect the membership would quickly be canceled.

Likewise, when I joined Facebook, I did not plan to be bombarded with confrontational political rhetoric.  If friends within our social networks cannot tolerate opposing views or beliefs, then I would suggest that they are limiting they’re social interaction to people who only think like they do.

We may be comfortable having only like-minded friends, but debate which reveals opposing points of view and different beliefs can be interesting and even enlightening. It certainly deserves to be approached respectfully and considerately on Facebook.

After all this IS our social network. I leave you with this quote:

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
Audre Lorde

A Yuletide Story

I recently picked up a few items at the Bradfordville TARGET, and while at the checkout stand, a surly looking woman began inching her cart in front of me. “I’m with him,” she said, nodding to the empty handed fellow in line in front of me.

A Yuletide TaleI yielded my basket of 4 items to her overflowing shopping cart, then proceeded to another, slightly longer line, where the patron just ahead of me seemed annoyed by the crowds. The poor young girl behind the counter had the most pathetic look on her face as she wished her customer a “Happy Holiday,” then turned to greet me with that same sad smile …

Unfortunately, the episode above seems pretty typical of this year’s holiday season. Maybe it’s the divisiveness of recent political events. Maybe it’s something else. In my case, I’ve had a miserable, lingering flu. I was shopping for a Christmas tree a few days earlier, and trying to decide on one – but I just couldn’t find anyone who seemed interested in helping me.

Later, as I continued shopping for presents, people looked so sullen and  distracted. Common courtesies and holiday cheer seemed absent. “Nyquil must be a powerful depressant,” I thought. But really, things can’t be this bad all around.

Determined to get that tree, I went to another place on a different day. A fellow there greeted me – a little shyly at first – but it was a start. And then something clicked. I realized that no matter how lousy I felt, the only one who can really change the mood around me is ME. And I hadn’t forgotten how to do that. By the time I bought that tree, I had three people laughing and smiling about the simple act of buying a Christmas tree. I left there with high spirits and happy people who felt better for having met me.

So back to that TARGET incident in the beginning of our tale, which took place the day after we trimmed that wonderful tree. When that cashier turned to greet me with that sad smile and asked, “Did you find everything you needed?”

“I certainly did,” I replied boisterously, “and thank you for asking!” I beamed out my biggest smile as I made a brief but whimsical remark about my purchases – then wished her a heartfelt “Merry Christmas!”

On another shopping trip, as I neared the checkout line with my buggy full of gifts, a fellow with only two items in hand stopped as we approached together, expecting me to whirl ahead, and instead I smiled and made a broad gesture, inviting him to go first. He thanked me, twice, and the cashier wished us both a Merry Christmas.

There’s something about being cheerful during the holidays that lifts the spirits, above and beyond all else. It doesn’t take much to make a real life Dickens Christmas Carol come true.

I hope you’ll spread merriment and good cheer this holiday season, especially when others around you seem to have a heavy heart. I know that if you do, you’ll feel magnificent. Together, let’s spread tidings of Peace on Earth and Good Will to All.

Merry Christmas!

Why is Search Engine Marketing So Successful?

Why is Search Engine Marketing So Successful?Well I just HAD to write this blog post because I felt that some of the top ranked articles for the query “why is search engine marketing so successful?” were clearly missing the mark.

The main reason that “search”  (organic or paid) is so successful boils down to two key differentiators:

  • You are reaching prospects who are specifically searching for what you offer, and …
  • You are reaching them at the moment of peak relevance and interest

No other form of advertising truly excels in both of these two critical areas like search marketing. And when you think about it, it’s clear that these two advantages are inherent by design.

The Shotgun Approach Versus Focused Targeting

With billboard, radio, direct mail, email, cable, and even social media, you are pushing out your message to a somewhat random audience. They may be interested in what you have to say, but it’s more likely they are not. It’s true that there are means by which demographic targeting can narrow your audience in the above formats. But despite great improvements in targeting over the years, none of these mediums hits the target squarely on the mark for these two bullet points above.

Let’s take an example business type: roofing. We can try to narrow our audience to certain age groups, certain income levels and even certain neighborhoods. But we cannot target “homes with roofs struck by trees in the last 12 hours”. We’d really need a team of “spotters” driving around the entire geographic territory looking for recent roof damage, say, after a major storm. That’s not a bad idea actually, but a bit costly.

We still wouldn’t capture the homeowner who has been saving up for a new roof and is just ready to do it. Maybe he’s ready because the roof is old, there are a few minor leaks and the timing is right. The only way we can truly target homeowners (or business owners) who are ready to replace their roof and are open to advertised offers is by creating and advertising an offer to be shown only to prospects searching for a roofer or a roofing contractor.

It’s NOT Just a Game Of Impressions

What’s even better, you don’t pay a dime to show that ad to that targeted searcher. You only pay when they actually click on your offer. Compare that with those extremely expensive display ads of years gone by in the “yellow pages” (yes, some of us still remember those days). Yellow page display ads were able to generate significant revenues for directory companies for many years prior to the newer more efficient means of “search marketing”. That’s because directories (phone books) were the original “search marketing” form of marketing.

But even back then (and still today) with directory ads, like every other form of advertising previously mentioned, you are paying for impressions. You don’t do a direct mail campaign, and only pay for people who contact you from the flyer or card. You pay for delivery and hope that there is an “impression” left (though many people will simply throw away the piece).  When you spent $2500 on a nice display ad, or $15,000 for a “back cover”, you were paying for a year’s worth of impressions – until next year’s phone book came out.

Now, to be fair, it is true that people will search online for the purpose of long term research, including “do-it-yourselfers”. This is especially true when the need is not dire or emergency event-driven (note to businesses that provide emergency event-driven services – you better be doing search marketing because your competitors definitely are).

But again, to be objective, you are marketing to the same proportion of researchers as any other form of advertising. So there’s no real disadvantage to search marketing other than the ease with which to compare other advertisers within the same search related category.

Search Marketing: Then and NOW

Search engine marketing is successful for many of the same reasons that directory advertising was so successful in years past. It has the same main drawback (many competitors in the same search category) but search engine marketing has several awesome advantages.

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) costs a fraction of the price
  • YOU create the ads so there is a real creative advantage
  • you can turn SEM up, down, on or off as business conditions warrant
  • you can test, tweak or change your SEM message in real time, at any time
  • SEM supplies valuable metrics that help you gauge your ROI
  • SEM still hasn’t caught on to the degree of directory advertising when the Yellow Pages were still “King” in the  marketplace
  • The most widely used search engine in the world derives most of it’s revenue from SEM – so success is more or less “baked in”

Let’s take this last advantage seriously, because Google is a serious company, and ultimately it wants SEM to work well (so it can make money). And there’s no doubt it can more than help to bring this about.

We have quite a few website clients who are VERY well positioned organically (and have been for years) and they continue to get about 10 to 20 relevant clicks per month organically. These same companies have easily gotten 40 to 60 additional clicks when we create SEM campaigns for them.

Remember SEM is a marketing format (within search) whereas search in general is more of an information gathering format. Clearly it makes more sense to achieve better marketing results in a marketing format on a platform that makes the platform provider money. And without a doubt, a greater share of marketing success has been driven to SEM from SEO over the last 15 years as the marketing capabilities within search engines has improved. I saved this one for last since it is the most compelling, obvious and persuasive reason as to why search engine marketing is so successful. Google’s share price should be a good indicator of that success.

There’s still time to take advantage of the relative “newness” of search marketing, especially for small local businesses in smaller to medium sized cities.

In many cases, there is little search marketing competition, and what does exist can be outranked and outperformed by a good search marketing strategist. These are some of the most compelling answers to the question: “Why is search engine marketing is so successful?”

SEM is likely to remain the most successful means of advertising for years to come in terms of ROI, but the advantages of “first to market” are still available in some markets, which gives advertisers an amazing ROI boost.

To learn more about the advantages of a well run search marketing campaign, gives us a call or shoot us a message.

Share below to spread the love <3.

Small Business Website Promotion

Whether you’ve launched a new business, want a new look or have a new product /service launch that would benefit from online promotion, our small business website option may be just right for you.

Being a local small business ourselves, we understand how to help other small businesses establish their brand and promote their value proposition in the competitive online marketplace.  And because we run lean, we can do this well at a surprisingly low price …

Small Business Website Promotion

Our Entry Point of $429 Includes:

  • 20% savings over our already low price of $536
  • mobile responsive design (your site adapts from desktop to tablet to smartphone seamlessly)
  • a smart domain for your business or product launch
  • a valid license for your site design
  • up to 7 pages of content, including a contact page
  • domain based email / forwarders to your existing mail accounts
  • consistent design with your existing logo / brand
  • the first year of web hosting, included FREE

Need to establish your identity or design a new logo? How about search engine and content marketing? Do you need custom applications like e-commerce, online learning or member registration?

Of course we can handle all that, immediately or down the road, and not at some exorbitant price. We believe that small business owners should be able to benefit from web technologies without having to be web experts themselves. We discuss those things critical to your success when we meet with you and then choose the right platform for your objectives.

No matter what your immediate or long term needs are, our small business website promotion is affordable enough to lay the groundwork, with no monthly fees or long term contracts.

Small Business Website “Code 20” Call In Promotion

You must call 850-766-2711 by October 20th, 2016 to claim your 20% savings. If the call-in number is busy, leave a message mentioning “Code 20 Promo” and we will call you back within 1 business day. We will reserve your discount as long as you begin the site launch process with us by November 20, 2016.

(use the social links below to refer this promotion to other small businesses that you think may benefit. Contact for quotes or requests not related to this promo)

Your UVP from a Competitive Viewpoint

What is your Unique Value Proposition? Why should your business have one? How can you develop your UVP?

These are basic questions that every successful business should be able to answer. But beyond the basics, what is the best way to review, refine and market your UVP over time and through change?

How Do You “Look” Online?

Probably the most interesting exercise I can recommend is to search for your UVP online and gauge the results. Do you see your business in the results? Do you see your competitors? Do you see opportunity?

Walk A Mile In Your Prospects Shoes

As you refine your searches to get the results you expect, do you look at your competitor’s home pages? What is your first impression? What is their core message? Do they all sound alike? Are they all making the same common error?

As you review your competitors, consider your customer perspective. Take this opportunity to view your competitors as your prospects see them, and then apply this perspective to learn how they see your company as well.

In one revealing test of this technique, I tried to research specific UVP information online for this article. And I found a disturbing trend. Eight out of ten search results served up pages which:

  1. didn’t offer anything useful about UVPs beyond what a typical business owner would already know, and ..
  2. interrupted my experience before I could get to the third sentence with an annoying pop-up

Needless to say, I gave up on the prospect of finding really useful information. But the one memorable search result was from a page that offered a short and fairly useful insight – then just left me hanging. This online version of the famous “walk away close” may or may not have been intentional, but it earned my respect for the author.

The point here is that many competitors were obviously operating from the same “playbook” of offering some information and then asking for a commitment in return.  Where they all failed was that what they offered did not have enough value to earn that commitment.

If you can capitalize on a mistake that almost all your competitors are making – well … that’s kind of like being handed the keys to the city. This should be rare, but it happens.

More likely, your apt to notice a less annoying trend, which we could call a “Common Value Proposition” (CVP). CVPs aren’t remarkably creative, nor do they appeal to a specific market niche or customer segment – they are strictly a mass appeal approach.

When a CVP gets worn out because all your competitors are using it, branding it, selling it and just generally beating it to death, there may be an opportunity to differentiate simply by NOT sounding like every other “X” in town (where X = your business type).

Use this opportunity to really stand out with a value proposition that isn’t so unique that it only appeals to a tiny market segment – just unique enough that you don’t sound exactly like the rest of the herd.

There are other ways to refine and articulate your company’s value proposition, both internally through it’s culture, and externally through marketing. But this online competitive review tip can be revealing and useful. And it’s easy enough to explain in a blog post  (with no annoying popups).

For more information about how we can develop and market your UVP online, give us a call at 850-766-2711.