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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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December 18, 2014

Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (3rd Edition) by Bill Hunt and Mike Moran: Book Review of the Week-ish

December 18, 2014 | By | 3 Comments

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You know why Google names all its search engine updates — Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, etc. — after animals? Because keeping up with search engine marketing is a frickin’ zoo. Just when you think you’ve figured out how it all works, Google goes and changes the rules. Again.

Happily, Bill Hunt and Mike Moran’s newly updated “Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company’s Website (3rd Edition)” can really help you stay on top of not just the latest changes, but also the underlying logic behind what really makes pages perform well in search. This updated classic provides the right mix of search engine marketing fundamentals, strategic insights, and practical knowledge to help you think about how to make search work for your business no matter what changes Google makes.

If you’re just starting out with search engine marketing, you’ll appreciate the easy, conversational style and clear explanations Hunt and Moran offer, laying out a straightforward, yet scalable framework you can apply to your marketing activities. At the same time, those of you who’ve been around the block a time or two will find new insights into how to increase the value of your search marketing efforts for your business.

I’ve known Mike Moran for a number of years and consider him both a friend and mentor. The same traits that make him a great guy to know — intelligent, funny, and genuinely interested in helping people grow — shine through in this latest edition of “Search Engine Marketing, Inc.”

You can expect Google to continue to change its algorithms and enhance the features of its signature search engine all throughout 2015. But with knowledge as valuable as what’s offered in “Search Engine Marketing, Inc.” in your hands and in your head, you’ll be able to handle Google’s zoo next year and beyond. Grab a copy today.

Interested in learning more about search engine marketing, e-commerce, and digital marketing overall? Check out some of our past posts on those topics, including:

Plus, don’t miss these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

Finally, if you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an 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.

Tim Peter

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November 26, 2014

What Google Fears – Thinks Out Loud Episode 100

November 26, 2014 | By | No Comments

Iphone search app homescreen

What Google Fears – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy the slides from my recent webinar, Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 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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August 21, 2014

The Big Problem with Paid Search on Mobile

August 21, 2014 | By | No Comments

Paid search on mobileI hear from lots of people that they’re not seeing the benefits they’re accustomed to when using paid search on mobile. So much so, that it’s caused a number of businesses to ask, “Does mobile search work?” The answer, as you might imagine, is complicated. But you can essentially assume that, yes, mobile search does work for many (if not all) businesses.

Why’s it so complicated then? If it’s really working, shouldn’t you be able to see the answer clearly? Well… yes and no. As I point out in my latest post for Mike Moran’s Biznology blog:

“…analytics for tracking mobile search aren’t as robust as desktop search. Put more simply, mobile search doesn’t suffer from a performance problem; it suffers from an attribution problem.”

I’d mentioned in yesterday’s podcast that marketing doesn’t have to be hard, noting in particular the need to focus your energies around what works best. But, it’s important to note that without the right measures in place, you might not easily know what’s working. And, today, most of the measures around mobile conversion — for instance, tracking phone orders, measuring mobile-driven in-store traffic, etc. — either undercount the effectiveness of mobile, or don’t work at all.

This isn’t a problem that’s going away immediately, but we’re beginning to see some progress. Soon, with iBeacon, NFC, location-tracking, or other services, expect to see Google and Apple provide information on when customers carry their phones into your restaurants, retail outlets, real estate offices, auto dealerships, hotels, and more for more detailed, end-to-end tracking of customer behavior. And, expect similar details on phone tracking.

Even better, you don’t have to wait for these more futuristic tools. Start looking at more advanced attribution models to track your marketing’s effectiveness. Again, as I noted over on Biznology:

“…start moving away from last-click attribution and begin exploring more robust attribution models within your favorite analytics tool. I’m particularly partial to time-decay attribution as a starting point, which gives more credit to each action closer to the final conversion.”

Because of the rise of millennials in the marketplace, and mobile use across all demographic segments, your business will increasingly depend on the effectiveness of your mobile paid search marketing, to say nothing of social and local services, too. Recognize for now that mobile search works. It’s likely just not getting enough credit for what it delivers. Work on developing the skills and finding the partners who can help you measure its effectiveness. Mobile search is here to stay. Now it’s time to make sure it gets credit.

You can learn more about how customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing by registering 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 may also want to attend a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16. You can read all the details here.

Finally, whether you work with Millennials, Boomers, Gen X, or the Silent Generation, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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July 30, 2014

The State of Search Marketing – Thinks Out Loud Episode 83

July 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

What's the state of search

The State of Search Marketing Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy this look at what your customers expect from e-commerce in 2014 and my slides from the “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing” talk I gave recently:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 19s

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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May 8, 2014

Why Search and Social Aren’t What They Claim to Be

May 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

Social and search don't play by the rulesMost of my clients use a combination of paid media, earned media, and owned media to reach their customers. My latest post for Biznology, “What’s wrong with search and social media marketing?” looks at what those mean:

“Historically, media has been broken into three categories:

  • Paid
  • Earned
  • Owned

Paid media is exactly what it sounds like: You pay someone to share your brand’s message. Paid media also powered broadcast and print’s business models for decades, with broadcasters/publishers enjoying a comfortable living from fees charged to advertisers.

Earned media, by contrast, focused on getting others to tell your story without giving them anything (tangible) in return. Traditionally, PR reflected the most common form of earned media.

Owned media, of course, are media channels that businesses controlled. That would include things like your website and mailing list (both email and snail mail).”

Search and social, however, don’t easily fit into these categories. Sure, you think you pay for search and promotions on social, and that you earn “Likes” and “Shares” and “Follows” and “Friends” across various social channels. But, in fact, you don’t. You don’t own the customers. You don’t even buy access to them. Not really. Because Google and Facebook and Twitter and others can change the rules at any time regarding how and where and when you can talk to your customers. In fact, they do — all the time.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use search or social. Nor does it mean they can’t be valuable channels for reaching the right customer at the right time. What it does mean is that how you use search and social matters.

A lot.

And if you want to know how to use search and social most effectively to reach those customers, check out the full post over on Biznology, “What’s wrong with search and social media marketing?”

And if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, you might want to 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 may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing:

Finally, 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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April 21, 2014

Why You Should Care Where Google’s Search Volume Comes From

April 21, 2014 | By | No Comments

Shopping on mobileMarketing Charts offers some fascinating data that shows mobile is now one-third of Google’s organic search volume, up roughly 22% year-on-year.

Um… damn.

Clearly, we shouldn’t be surprised by this growth. I talk about how big mobile’s getting fairly often. Most of my clients see mobile contributing between 12% to about 35% of their traffic these days, up 20% or more from a year ago.

I don’t see these numbers shifting anytime soon. It’s possible we’ll see some movement towards wearables in the coming months, but for right now, mobile’s where it’s at.

What’s more important than the numbers, of course, is how you respond to this trend. Last week I challenged the notion that retailers lose 32% of shoppers to in-store mobile, noting,

“Customers choose strong brands — Apple, Google, Pepsi, Coke, Harley-Davidson, Fischer Travel, and countless others — because those brands tell an effective story that connects with their customers. Full stop.”

eMarketer offers data that supports that position, showing consumers often choose “…small businesses because of the personalized experiences they provide compared with larger businesses.” These customers also like supporting the local economy, the ease with which they can conduct business, and the sense of accountability they enjoy when interacting with business owners.

Sure, customers can and will shop around for the best price on many items. The ease with which customers can check prices guarantees that behavior (they do, after all, carry the Internet in their pocket). And if your prices don’t align with common sense pricing, yes, you probably will lose the sale. But those same customers define value based on a variety of factors, price being only one of them. You don’t have to be the cheapest game in town (or on the Internet), if your total brand value proposition makes you worth the additional cost.

The Internet has long created and reinforced price transparency. Increasingly, user-generated content like ratings and review sites, creates transparency around product and service quality. And all of those items put together helps your customers define value.

Don’t assume the big boys hold all the cards in this new world. You have the ability to tell a convincing, credible brand story. You have the ability to differentiate yourself from larger competition, using your size as a strength, not a liability. You have the ability to offer your customers personal service and individual attention. And, most importantly, in an age when brands may be struggling to deliver consistently on their promise due to ratings and reviews, you have the ability to win.

Interested in more info about how it’s all e-commerce? Then you might want to check out these slides from a recent speaking engagement “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results”. Check them out here:

And, 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.

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

By

October 9, 2013

Search's Continued Evolution – Thinks Out Loud Episode 45

October 9, 2013 | By | No Comments

SEO

Search’s Continued Evolution 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: 13m 01s

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

By

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

By

August 19, 2013

Say What? Computers May Stop Using Screens and What That Means for Your Business

August 19, 2013 | By | No Comments

Predicting the futureQuartz has a good look at how Google is preparing for screenless computers. Key quote:

“The future of Google’s voice interfaces isn’t just accurate interpretation of commands, but real interaction—hence the ‘conversation’ part of Huffman’s Conversation Search group. One trick Google’s voice interface can already do is understand pronouns like he, she and it. ‘You can ask yourself why in language do things like pronouns exist—well, they exist because it lets us communicate faster than we do without them,’ says Huffman.

To demonstrate, Huffman follows up his question about how far it is to Hearst Castle with the sentence ‘give me directions,’ which doesn’t even include the pronoun ‘it,’ but his phone begins rattling off directions in its tinny computerized voice, anyway.”

I’ve been talking about this trend for a while, (most notably in a Travel Tuesday post called
“What Watson, Xbox, and Google Are Telling You Right Now”). But regardless of the industry, this scenario describes where we’re headed:

“Imagine your customer driving his family to Disney for summer vacation, leaving New York early in the day.

Now imagine 8 hours later, the kids are getting restless and the parents want to find a place to stay somewhere near, say, Nashville, NC.

They’ve got a voice-responsive mobile computer sitting in their center console and the power of Google, or Bing, or Watson on the other end of the line to help them find a hotel that meets their needs and, when they’re ready, book it.”

The key point is that the 10 blue links that make up search results pages are increasingly rare—I recently heard one observer claim those now make up fewer than 15% of all search results (though I’ve been unable to verify that stat).

In any case, your marketing must adapt as your customers adopt new technologies and as their behavior shifts. Google’s doing it today. The real question as you head into planning for next year is what you need to do to get ready.

If you’re interested in learning more about the future of marketing on 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

By

August 7, 2013

Why Search Isn't About Search Any Longer

August 7, 2013 | By | One Comment

Have you seen this?

Google Now local restaurant suggestions

These are “cards” in Google Now, suggestions of restaurants I (or you) might want to check out. Google offered me these cards the other day on my phone.

For no particular reason.

Well, except that these were nearby restaurants. And it was lunchtime.

None of this would be that impressive if not for the fact that I didn’t search for nearby restaurants at lunchtime.

Nope. Google did it for me.

I’d opened the Google app on my phone to search for something else and these cards happened to be right up top, ready when I needed them.

I’ve been talking about the future of search for some time, noting the growth of the channel and shifts in user interface to voice. I’ve even noted the how maps/location-based services continue to change search and the effect these various shifts will have on your overall distribution strategy.

But until you’ve experienced what it’s like to not search and have relevant answers find you, you don’t realize how massive a shift this will really be. As I’ve said before, we’re entering an era where search results will find customers instead of customers finding search results.

And, of course, these shifts depend heavily on Google and its competitors understanding their customers—your customers—deeply. If only there were ways for the AGFAM giants to learn what your customers do. Something that gave them insights into your customers’ social, local, and mobile behaviors.

Oh, right…

Because mobile isn’t just an output device, a place for Google to show its recommended results. It’s also a data-collection device (though, you probably knew that thanks to recent headlines).

The real point here is that because of this data—and the shifts in search it enables—search marketing is changing. Significantly.

The key question is whether you’re changing your search marketing along with it.

If you’re interested in learning more about the future of marketing on 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: