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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

Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


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 16, 2014

Search, Mobile, and Responsive Design: MediaShower Interviews Tim Peter

November 16, 2014 | By | No Comments

Tim Peter Digital Marketing DirectionsMediaShower recently interviewed our own Tim Peter about the growth of the mobile web, responsive design, and its overall impact on customer behavior. Here’s an excerpt:

Which do you prefer, a totally different mobile site or a responsive design?

Typically a responsive site will provide the most bang for the buck for most businesses. Yes, there are exceptions, but responsive sites generally rank better for SEO, as they tend to have more content and are updated more frequently, which Google tends to like. They’re also usually easier to update since they’re not managed separately. They also generally cost less in the longer term.

For instance, every time you update content on your main site, you’d typically need to update that separately on a standalone mobile site, increasing time-to-market and cost. On a responsive site, the content usually appears automatically once created. Finally, responsive sites can usually work, or be made to work, across multiple devices more easily.

You really need to think about how many content updates you tend to make in a given period, whether there’s a specific goal for mobile users that’s different from desktop users and when you plan your next overall redesign. In some cases, a standalone site might be a better option. But failing that, look towards a responsive site to give you the best return on your spend.

I don’t know about you, maybe it’s my age, but I don’t like responsive sites; I’d rather look at the desktop version or a minimized version. What are you advising your clients to do with mobile?

I’d argue that’s more a function of a poorly designed responsive site than of your age. A well-designed responsive site responds not simply to the device but more fully to the needs of the customer in a given context.

For example, a well-designed responsive site puts key information like your business’s address, phone number or directions clearly visible at the top of the page where customers holding a phone in their hands might actually want to see them. The simple fact is that mobile is becoming the primary use case for customers, not a secondary one.

Think clearly about when and where your customers will access your site and what they’ll want to know or do. A customer sitting on her couch at home holding a mobile phone has very different needs from one running through an airport or sitting in a parking lot, waiting to pick up her daughter from soccer practice. A truly well-designed responsive site will make it easy for each of those customers to accomplish her goals.”

You can read the whole interview here.

If you’d like to learn more about these topics, check out this list of “8 Crucial Marketing and E-commerce Posts: The Top Posts from September” and “9 Must-Read Marketing and E-commerce Gems: The Top Posts from October.”

And if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and 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.

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

Finally, you might also want to check out 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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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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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 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

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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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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

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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:

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 26, 2013

FTC Will Review Google's Pending Waze Acquisition

June 26, 2013 | By | No Comments

Google maps flight search smallA couple of weeks ago, the news broke that Google was buying social-mapping service Waze, which I also talked about at length in the weekly podcast.

Well, not so fast…

According to AllThingsD, the FTC plans to investigate whether the deal violates antitrust. Money quote:

“Google Maps is a leading mapping and navigation service. Waze was a rising rival. In fact, back in April, Waze CEO Noam Bardin was talking up his company as the search behemoth’s only viable competitor in that space.”

I may owe John Pope an apology

Interested in learning more about the future of marketing in a multiscreen world? 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 or use the form below to receive yours today.


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