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February 23, 2014

Tim Peter Moderates “Is Search Still Search as We Know It?” for the HSMAI Digital Strategy Marketing Conference

February 23, 2014 | By | No Comments

Tim Peter will moderate a panel, “Is Search Still Search as We Know It?” as part of the 2014 HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference. Featuring a distinguished panel that includes representatives from Google and two veteran search marketers, Tim will walk the panelists through a look at where search is today, where it’s going, and how hotel marketers can benefit from these changes in the future.

The event program describes the panel as follows:

“As user behaviors shift, demographics change, and search channels expand and converge, it’s important to understand what’s changed and how best to capitalize on the speed and direction of this change. During this session, experts will help guide you through the tangled web of ‘Search 2014’ and leave you with tips to help you stay ahead of the game.”

You can still register for this year’s conference onsite at the NY Marriott Marquis, Broadway Ballroom, 6th Floor and learn more about having Tim speak at your conferences here.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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February 3, 2014

Is Guest Blogging Dead?

February 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

Is it time to give up on guest blogging?Matt Cutts sure knows how to get the SEO community worked up, doesn’t he? Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, told the community recently that guest blogging is dead, due to its overuse by search marketing companies for link-building. Money quote:

‘Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking “guest post outsourcing” and writing articles about “how to automate guest blogging.”’ [Editor's Note: The deluge of requests like these that I receive on a daily basis is one of the reasons I'm no longer accepting unsolicited guest posts]

Anyway, no one would blame you if you said, “OK. That’s good enough for me. I’ll never guest post again.” After all, when Google (in the form of Matt Cutts) says something’s toast, well, that’s usually good enough for most people.

It’s also wrong.

The reality is much more complex than that. Guest blogging, when done well, isn’t only about links. In theory, anyway, guest blogging is supposed to be about raising awareness of and traffic to your brand’s web presence (and both of those comprise a huge part of a solid e-commerce and Internet marketing strategy). Given that that’s the case, why would throw away years of work building relationships with publishers and bloggers? And why would you abandon a tactic that offers you brand awareness and traffic? 

Done well, guest blogging can (and often should) continue to be part of your brand’s Internet marketing efforts. In fact, Cutts suggested the same in the comments to his original post (Search Engine Land offers a solid round-up in the “Postscript” of this article).

Among the ways you can make it work for your brand include:

  • Focusing on quality sites in your market, emphasizing quality over quantity.
  • Building the right content for your site first. 
  • Writing and commenting regularly on a small set of external sites to build a relationship.
  • Tracking traffic and conversions from your selected sites.

My latest Biznology post explores each of these tactics (and several others) in more detail. Check out the whole post, “Should Guest Blogging Still Be Part of Your SEO Strategy?” when you get a chance for more tips on how to make guest blogging work for your brand. Because guest blogging is not dead. Not by a long shot. (And, no, it’s not a zombie, either). Like much of Internet marketing, it’s evolving and changing as your customers change. The question is whether you’re changing along with it.

Do yourself a favor and read the whole post over on Biznology.

I’d also recommend you look at this presentation, “Today and Tomorrow: The Changing Customer Journey,” which looks at how your customers are changing… and how you can change with them:

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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October 2, 2013

Google's SEO Shutdown?

October 2, 2013 | By | No Comments

Google's SEO Shutdown

Google’s SEO Shutdown Headlines

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using a Shure SM57 microphone
through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 19m 59s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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July 19, 2013

Local Search is More than Meets the Eye

July 19, 2013 | By | No Comments

20130719-162343.jpgWhen is local not local? It’s not meant as a riddle, but instead as a thought-starter, something to get you thinking about what local really means for your customers.

Oh, and for your brand.

Because, as I write in my latest piece for Mike Moran’s Biznology blog, “Why Local Search is Just Like Politics,” local is about more than just geography (or, more correctly, proximity).

It’s also about those things your customers think about when they really need an answer, when they’re really in the market, when they’re ready to buy. Because local is more than just geography. It’s more than just proximity.

In the immortal words from Jaws: The Revenge, “This time, it’s personal.”

Local search, largely driven by mobile and the “always connected” nature of your customers, is all about personal response.

And my Biznology post explores how you can use that to your advantage in more detail. Check it out if you get the chance.

Interested in learning more about e-commerce and digital marketing? Register to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals. And, if that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of strategy, digital marketing, and e-commerce, including:

Tim Peter

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July 15, 2013

3 Reasons Why Blogging Still Works for Marketing

July 15, 2013 | By | No Comments

Blogging still works as a marketing techniqueIt’s no secret I’ve long been a fan of blogging for business. And, for the most part, I still am [*].

But in prep for announcing this year’s Blogging All-Star Lineup (you can see last year’s list here), I thought I’d give you three reasons why blogging still makes sense for your business:

  1. Your customers have questions that need answering. Customers, regardless of what they’re looking for, continue to begin their journey with search. And those that ask their friends (either IRL folks, or those they know only through social networks), typically rely on well-informed individuals. Guess where those well-informed folks get their information.
  2. You have answers for those questions. I’m sure you do. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be world-class (though, it helps). What you do have to do is a.) know more than your customers do and, b.) don’t overstate what you do know. A big part of your brand story is based on what’s true about you. Your customers are smart. They’ll see through BS. Just tell the truth about where you’re able to help and the people who need that help will find you.
  3. You want to rank well in search engines when people ask those questions. Not much to say about this one.

Blogging isn’t a panacea. It isn’t a silver bullet. It isn’t the Holy Grail. But in an era when many happily flit from technique to technique in hopes of finding a panacea/silver bullet/Holy Grail, it’s amazing how effective a well-structured blog that focuses on answering your customers’ needs works for many, many businesses.

Now, check back tomorrow when I announce this year’s Marketing and E-commerce Blogging All-Stars, the folks who share what they know to help your business grow.

Interested in learning more about e-commerce and digital marketing? Register to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals. And, if that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of strategy, digital marketing, and e-commerce, including:

[*] – Of course exceptions exist. But, for many businesses, I think you should probably blog for your business. (I’m open to hearing about edge cases; let me know your reasons against in the comments).

Tim Peter

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June 24, 2013

Understanding the Big Picture: Why Visuals Matter to Your Digital Marketing

June 24, 2013 | By | No Comments

Picture thisMany people know that the World Wide Web came from a need to share information stored in documents, with emphasis on text. The http placed in front of every Web address stands for “hyper-text transfer protocol,” HTML stands for “hyper-text markup language,” and, in fact, the creator of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, objected to including a special tag for images in the early HTML specification.

Oh, what a long way we’ve come.

Today, I’d argue the Web is as much about visuals as it is about words. In fact, I argue that precisely in my latest Biznology post, “Why a Picture is Worth a Thousand Clicks: Visuals Boost Your SEO”. Noting Twitter’s acquisition of Vine, Instagram’s addition of video tools, and Facebook allowing images in comments as several examples, I point out:

“Now, those items might not look like much of a trend to you. But, then consider two recent announcements from Google:

  1. The search giant just introduced Local Carousel, including a stream of images to the top of local search results—above the first paid listing and the first organic result, pushing additional organic results well below the fold.
  2. AdWords has launched an AdWords Images Extension beta, including images as part of advertisers’ paid listings.

When Google starts to put its money—and its search engine results pages—behind something, you know it’s a trend worth watching. What Google seems to have learned is that consumers click on items with images more frequently than those without.”

Visual content plays a huge role in driving your customers’ purchase decisions and the clicks that start them down that path. Plenty of studies support that notion. Images and videos are no longer optional in delivering the right experience for your customers. If you’ll pardon the cliché, your pictures really are worth a thousand words.

So, if you want your web presence to really work for your business, I strongly recommend you pay more attention to the visuals you offer. And if you want to make those visuals work for you, take a minute and check out my post over on Biznology. If you’ll pardon the pun, it’s well worth a look.


Interested in learning more about the future of marketing? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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May 23, 2013

Tim Peter

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January 25, 2013

Tim Peter

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January 23, 2013

The One Thing You Don't Want to Change in 2013

January 23, 2013 | By | One Comment

What not to changeHere’s a tip you won’t often get: Don’t change what you’re doing.

You’re probably asking, “What is he talking about? Isn’t trying new things, learning from your mistakes, and moving from test to test a core part of digital marketing?”

Yes, it is.

And you should do that.

But you should focus your attention on the biggest areas of growth for your business. So forget Facebook’s Graph Search for a moment (if you’ve even started to think about it). Don’t worry about “what’s next.” At least not yet.

It’s more important that you pay attention first to the biggest opportunities out there. And until you’ve mastered those, don’t get distracted by items that won’t move the needle much.

So what’s the biggest area of focus? Search, generally, and Google specifically.

I’ve mentioned before that more people own mobile phones than own toothbrushes. Well, Google is feeling the pinch from that change. The company has noted that it thinks of itself as a mobile first company (I think you should do the same). They’re moving that way because, as they acknowledge, their search advertising business has taken a hit due to the growth of mobile search.

That would scare the hell out of most companies. I know it would scare me.

Of course, Google’s not most companies.

For one thing, let’s not forget that Google owns a mobile operating system (which, in itself should tell you something about where Big G thinks the market is moving). They also make a popular browser (Chrome) available for desktop and most mobile platforms (I’m running it on my iPhone, for example).

For another, no one’s better positioned to take the lead from Google in mobile search. At least not yet, anyway. The big players to watch are, for the moment, Apple (Siri), Facebook (Graph Search), and Yelp. Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, and scores of small app providers lurk just over the horizon, potentially stealing search share from Google and threatening their business model. But Chrome is available (and very popular) on competing mobile platforms. And their new voice search is extraordinary, putting Siri to shame.

Finally, Google+ continues to pick up share, particularly among thought-leaders and influencers. Facebook’s Graph Search, by contrast, isn’t available to most users yet and remains an unknown. While it’s no secret I haven’t been the biggest fan of Google+, there’s no question Google+ benefits your content marketing and that you likely should use it, whether you want to or not.

In content marketing, mobile, and social, Big G remains at the center of the universe. Which means Google should remain at the center of your digital marketing strategy for 2013, too. Changes are coming in the marketplace. There’s no doubt about it. But most of those changes will continue to depend on your content, linked to and shared by your potential customers and the people who influence them. And while it’s still true that Google worries about its brand first, the customers it attracts help you grow yours.

So, do the right thing for your brand and your business:

But while you do that, remember that it’s Google’s world and we just live in it. And until that changes, don’t change what you’re doing to work well in that world.

Interested in more? Sign up for our free newsletter and get more information on how to build your social, local, mobile marketing strategy.


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Tim Peter

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January 18, 2013

E-commerce Wrap-up (Small Business E-commerce Digest)

January 18, 2013 | By | No Comments

No big lead-in this week folks. Just a quick roundup of our latest e-commerce coverage for you to enjoy. So, um… enjoy!

Finally, I gave a webinar this past week called It’s All E-commerce: How Social, Local, and Mobile Affects Sales Online and Offline”. You can review the slides below or watch the whole thing here.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


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