SEO and Small Business – How Small Tactics Can Help Your Business

Members of True’s analytics team got the opportunity to speak to small business owners at LaunchHouse, a local co-working space and community for business owners, about paid and organic search to help their business goals. The presentation was about the basics of organic and paid search and how to execute properly. Until we create or talk through one of these presentations, we often forget that when done correctly, small (but not always simple) tactics can make a big impact for small and local business owners. So, what are some of these tactics?

Get Your Website in Order

It’s important that your website showcases what you do and the answer to what problem you solve for your audience (more on that later…) is easily available. Be sure that keyword use is consistent and strategic on all site pages including: title tag, header tag, body text, link text, alt tags and file names. Also, continuing to create fresh content that talks about your services is important for showing up in organic searches.

Pinpoint Your Audience

When done strategically, paid and organic search can drive traffic to your website, increasing business and exposure. But before you begin sending your key messages out through paid search, the first step is to realize who your audience is. Sure, we would all love to think the entire world is our audience – but it’s not. To get the best leads and results, figure out who the right audience or client is that your business needs to target.

Ask yourself “who is my client?” Then, start to narrow it down by demographics: How old are they? What gender? Where are they located? Write down all the qualifiers you know about them and their interests. These questions are all vital to finding the right target audience to bring in the correct qualified people.

Solving a Problem

After figuring out your key demographic, get into more qualitative questions. This can be as easy or difficult as asking, “what problem is my client trying to solve?” Once you find out what problem they are trying to solve, think through how your audience would search to solve the problem. From there, you can position your product or service as the solution to that problem or issue. It’s also important to understand where they are in the process and what words they will be using to search.

Know Your Customer’s Habits

Pay attention to your audience’s purchasing behavior. Do they do a lot of research prior to buying? Are they impulse buyers? Are they one-time buyers or will they make another purchase? When will they do their purchasing? Will they purchase online, or is a phone call or meeting needed? Your target is the group that is ready to buy RIGHT now. Have a leaky pipe? They need a plumber now. Not in a month. They want this and need that, and they don’t want to wait.

Create an Ultimate Strategy

After determining the answers to all those questions, your business can begin to develop a strategy to reach your target audience or client through paid and organic search. A/B testing headlines and copy on ads is important, as well as adjusting your artwork. Using a strong strategy and call to action can create a successful paid ad campaign.

If you get all your ducks in a row and continue understanding how your audience is evolving, it will help you get the help you need from Google!





SEO, SEM or Both?

At SMX Advanced last week there was a lot of discussion about SEO and SEM best practices. The two topics were divided into separate session tracks; casual conversations with other attendees showed most agencies and in-house departments handled one discipline or the other, but not both. One attendee commented that they always concentrate on SEM rather than SEO because it gives their clients a “quick win.”

While organic optimization efforts take time and often show results over a period of weeks or even months, SEM can boost a site’s visibility immediately. But we believe there’s merit to approaching paid and organic search as complementing rather than competing strategies.

SEO research can establish what keywords already rank and convert well, providing valuable insight into where paid search budgets should be concentrated to fill in the gaps or further capitalize on high-value terms.

Likewise, a site audit for organic search can identify which pages contribute to visitor conversion and uncover areas that need to be adjusted for better performance. Optimizing a site for organic search ensures the content and code are well-focused and eliminates barriers to navigation and conversion. Those same activities ensure paid search visitors as well as organic search visitors move easily through the site. A better landing page experience contributes to better quality scores from Google, which in turn lowers overall costs for Adwords.

And while paid search’s impact ends as soon as campaigns are turned off, insights gained from those campaigns can feed back into a long-term SEO strategy that will deliver results for months or even years to come.


Digital Nomads – A new approach to mobile marketing strategy

It’s no secret that mobile is the future of marketing. So I won’t restate that truth. However, I will beg you not to underestimate the statement. It’s easy to do. Marketing is all about connecting an audience with products and services. We do this by knowing and understanding the audience.

That audience is changing. All of it. Not just 18 to 25 year olds or affluent professionals. All of it. We are now perpetually in motion and it’s all thanks to our phones.

We aren’t embracing mobile

The concept of mobile is unnatural to us. Thousands of years ago, people learned life was easier if they stayed in one place, harvested crops and domesticated livestock. Since then, we’ve evolved the concept to the point of infallibility. We’ve swapped trade for a monetary system, commercialized food production and engineered endless technological advances to make stationary life simpler. The idea is so baked into our ethos that it’s become a core tenant of marketing: place. The physical location of a good or service.

But we made one mistake. We got too good at developing and refining agricultural, industrialized society. You can get in your car and drive as far as you’d like in any direction. As long as you have a wallet and credit card, you’ll find food and shelter. Add a smartphone, and suddenly you have a traveling stationary life – a new form of nomadic living.

Overcoming instinct

People aren’t just looking for your product or service from their computer chair in a home office. This is no surprise. But look a step further and you can see nomadic living in everything about how audiences interact with your product or service. Are your mobile users at work, on the couch watching TV, sitting in traffic or in a hotel room? What do they want to know in those times and places?

We’ve heard marketing teams talk about responsive redesigns as failures because mobile bounce rates don’t change. But mobile users are often only looking for a name or address. They will go to a page, get the info they need, leave the site and register as a bounce.

Sometimes marketers miss opportunities in lead generation because a site doesn’t cater to customers on the move. This can mean a lot of things. Maybe you’re asking for information that’s too cumbersome on a mobile device. Even if you think your mobile strategy is buttoned up, consider this scenario. True was recently at SMX Advanced (a search marketing conference for SEOs and search engine advertisers) where Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team and overall Google guru, asked a room full of top digital marketers if they felt they had outstanding mobile strategies. Every hand in the room shot up. Then he asked if their lead-gen forms were coded to autofill on mobile devices. The majority of hands slowly receded and everyone looked kind of embarrassed.

Now what?

This post isn’t a roadmap to a better mobile strategy. It isn’t even a lesson in mobile marketing. It’s a strong recommendation to re-evaluate your audience and learn how and why they move. Because they are going somewhere. If you can’t help them get there faster, then someone else will.

Author: Tyler Norris [Google+]

Conversations With a Hummingbird?

google-hummingbird 2

You’re driving home from work, you have your smart phone in your hand and you don’t feel like cooking. What do you do? Do you take the time to pull over (because no one types while they drive, right?) and type a disjointed string of keywords like, “Chinese restaurants east suburbs Cleveland open Monday?” Or do you hit that handy little mic icon and say, “I want Chinese tonight. What’s nearby?”

Google’s betting you do the latter, and those question-based mobile searches are beginning to influence how you search on a desktop or tablet. They’re so sure, in fact, they rolled out an entirely new search algorithm – the first in 12 years – to turn search into more of a conversation and less of a guessing game.  Hummingbird, introduced sometime in August 2013, is designed to help Google understand and answer questions more like a person and less like, well, Google.

Take your hypothetical dinner search, for example. You didn’t include the word “restaurants” in that voice search, you didn’t specify a location and “tonight” wouldn’t mean much in a traditional keyword-based search.  Based just on the words you used, you might be more likely to get results for where to MEET someone Chinese than where to EAT Chinese food in the next two hours. That’s where Hummingbird comes in. Hummingbird combines the words in your query with the billions of facts it’s gathered about search semantics to fill in the blanks. That’s good news if you’re hungry, but what does it mean for SEO efforts?

Depending on your audience, Hummingbird can be problematic in the short term. Say your company provides professional house painting services and all of your site content focuses on your reputation, your expertise and a description of your services. If Google’s historical data tells its searchers who enter “house painting” means “house painting companies,” you’re in luck. But if Google determines searchers are actually looking for “house painting tips,” your site may not be the best match. If you’ve seen a loss in organic search traffic over the past few months, it may be time to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What questions do they typically ask before they make a purchase decision? Are they likely to ask HOW to tackle a project or problem before they ask WHO can tackle it? Companies may be hesitant to answer the first question and give away information, but doing so now could put you in a great position to answer that second question and gain a long-term customer in the future.


What’s so “Super” about the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl 46 LogoFor football fans, it’s a holy day. For others, it’s just an excuse to pig out and down some brewskies. But, no matter the age, gender or motive, the Super Bowl represents a profound experience that makes it an “unofficial” holiday in our American culture. As each year passes, it seems as if the brains behind the Super Bowl operations look for the next big idea to take fans’ experience to the next level.

This year, the land of Peyton Manning, Touchdown Jesus and Bobby Knight is the new home of the Super Bowl and the first-ever social media command center created by the Indianapolis Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee to provide visitors with a whole new type of game-day experience. (It’s in Indiana if you’re still in the dark with those sport references.)

The Game Plan

The new social media experience angle of this year’s big game is spearheaded by a group of individuals from Raidious, an Indiana-based social media company, who are committed to giving “Hoosier hospitality” to fans and visitors of Indianapolis by monitoring social media outlets and answering questions about local attractions, parking and other Super Bowl-related topics.

Raidious Super Bowl social media command center

Raidious Super Bowl social media command center

The social media platforms which will be monitored include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Foursquare. The command center is giving others the play-by-play now through Super Bowl Sunday.

The Drive

But, there’s more to this social media-savvy event. The command center goes for a two-point conversion with its SEO efforts, and in my eyes, really puts those extra points up on the board. Not only will the individuals manning (No pun intended, but go Giants) the center monitor conversations occurring on various outlets, they will also use SEO to highlight keywords and phrases people are searching with to obtain certain information.  According to, a list of about 300 keywords will be used to monitor all social media outlets as well as the Twitter hashtag, #Social46.

The End Zone

Here’s the bottom line: it’s all about customer satisfaction, which directly relates to the individuals’ experience. No matter what business you’re in or which event you’re preparing for, you want outsiders or customers to walk away with the “wow” factor. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner when your mom seems as if her head is going to pop off faster than the cork on a champagne bottle just because she wants everyone to have a great time full of memories.

This social media command center accomplishes that same goal because it reaches out and makes a connection with Super Bowl attendees and tourists visiting Indianapolis. By serving as the scouting team, individuals are left feeling valued and taken care of because the command center has the ultimate Super Bowl playbook. The best offense is a good defense, and by being a step ahead of the game, you are almost always guaranteed to cross the goal line. So whether you’re tuning in for entertaining commercials or watching to see which team will clinch the Vince Lombardi Trophy, remember it’s all about your experience and the memories you take away.