Maximize Sales This Holiday Season


Most businesses partake the spirit of the season with improved sales, with some businesses doing as much as 30% of their sales in the final two months of the year.

Here is a sneak peek on what these businesses are doing right.With this handy guide you can maximize your sales this holiday season.Read on….

Focus on your best selling products – Identify your high selling items in the previous few months and ensure that you stock them adequately.In identifying these products it is also important to study customer needs closely.It is also important to promote these items in any advertising and marketing plans.Similarly it may be a good idea to identify the slow moving products and offer a discount to help them move off the shelves.

Inventory Planning – It is important to plan your inventory in such a manner that on the one hand you do not run out of products of interest in the crucial period, while on the other you are not left with excess inventory at the end of the season.

Announce offers and contests – In keeping with the holiday spirit makingsome theme based offers and contests will help you build a customer connect.Improved engagement with customers is likely to result in increased sales.

Focus on customer service- Given the time bound nature of sales in this period it is important that you ensure timely deliveries from your vendors and in turn make timely deliveries to your customers.An irate customer, in today’s age of social media, can negatively impact not just your immediate business butalso erode your brand equity.

Have a plan for gift card redemptions – Gift cards are increasingly becoming popular gifting options.For a retailer though, the timing of redemption of the gift cards is an element outside of their control. This in turn has implications on inventory planning.It is advisable to plan for gift card redemptions post the holiday season.

Advertising and Promotions – The holiday buying season is a great time for businesses to promote their offerings.While mass media advertising may turn out to be too costly for small businesses, this may be a good time to resort to online marketing.

E-mail Marketing – If you have been consistently investing in building a customer list and engaging with themnow is the time to capitalize on it.It is beneficial to send out e-mailers with details of new products, trends and offers.


Online Advertising- Other than e-mailers this is also the time for broad basing your marketing efforts through online advertisements which enable you to segment your audiences closely and target them.Other than online ads, social media marketing may be a great way to reach out to potential consumers.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

Reasons Why Websites Still Matter to Local Search in Year


Surveys from as recently as October 2016 find that close to half of all small businesses don’t have a website, and it’s not just solo work-from-home moonlighters, either.Further, there is a fair argument that websites are no longer as effective in the local market.Technology and cost certainly are no longer barriers given the availability of subscription options for even the least sophisticated users and slick DIY platforms for those who don’t want to hire a freelancer or agency.Instead, the challenge is that websites must compete for relevance in a market with many other media platforms — social media sites,directories and review sites — that are often viewed as proxies for the face of the franchise.While these reasons are seemingly enough to persuade some that third-party-owned pages are a sufficient and simpler alternative to maintaining a business website, other data reveal a different story.

Below are few reasons why every business needs a company website for local search marketing.

1.Consumers use websites to find or engage with businesses
Consumers use websites to find or engage with businesses percent of the time.And while the perception is that the variety of media available to consumers would decrease website use, LSA’s numbers showsomething different — 2016’s weekly website usage rate of 63 percent was an increase over 2015’s 60 percent rate. These numbers show that despite the growth of other media, the value of websites has not diminished – in fact, it continues to grow.While Wordstream’s study showed a decline in CTR from Google SERPs (search engine results pages), consumers are finding and clicking through to business websites from othersources such as Yelp, and Google My Business listings.

2.The top 10 local organic factors for SEO are related to websites
Only 5 percent of consumers surveyed by Bright Local in 2016 never used search engines to find local businesses — which means 95 percent have.And 69 percent reported searching for a local business at least six times per year. So SEO is a big deal.According to Moz’s 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors, the top 10 factors for appearing in organic Google search results are related to a business’s website or domain. These factors include how authoritative your website is, based on who is linking to your site, how many third parties are linking to you and the quality and relevance of your content, to name afew.Maintaining a website that has quality and relevant content that is consistently referenced and linked by other reputable third-party directories,sites,articles and posts is critical to being found when customers conduct research online and are looking for products and services to buy.

3.Local snack-pack and Google map results are influenced by websites, too
According to Moz, the biggest impact on local pack ranking factors is your Google My Business (GMB) profile and the proximity of your business to the searcher.Yet having a complete and rich GMB profile does not guarantee you will show up in Google local finder or map results.Businesses often make the mistake of assuming that you’ll automatically show up in searches for your business category (as listed in your GMB profile) in your geographic area.Some of the factors that affect organic SEO rankings — such as backlinks, domain authority and clicks — are also essential to ranking and appearing in Google local finder and map results.Also, I’ve found that having location-based information on your website and linking to that source from your GMB profile can help boost local search results.

4.Consumers won’t consider a business without a website
Just because someone looks at your Facebook page or reads reviews on Yelp doesn’t mean they don’t also want to see your website.In fact, consumers typically rely on multiple sources to gather information before making a purchase decision.Research by YP and LSA found that, on average, consumers use approximately three sources before making an individual purchase decision.And 30 percent automatically strike a business from consideration if they don’t have a website.

5.Website is the biggest determinant of whether they trust a company
Consumers may find you on Facebook, Google Maps or Yelp, but one big part of your online reputation comes from your website.Listings may provide business details, and reviews give other customers’ opinions, but on a website,prospective customers hear directly from you about you.Facebook and other social media provide a partial view of your business, but the ability to personalize the design is extremely limited, and your information is presented in a format that’s the same for everyone.A website is a storefront that reflects your identity and allows your consumers to form opinions on the quality of your products or services, the trustworthiness of your business and whether you are someone they want to buy from.It is especially important for services.

Closing thoughts
It may seem easy as marketers and agencies to just do what our clients want.Yet marketing decisions that SMBs make may be based on incomplete or out-ofcontext information.I’m not bashing social media as a marketing tool.However, it behooves us as marketers to educate our clients and make sure they understand the context of data they use to make decisions.We should help our clients look deeper into consumer trends and come away with better insights to make good decisions.One of those is to avoid sacrificing websites in favor of social media or other media in local search marketing.Websites remain a critical part of local search and are essential for attracting the customers necessary for business growth.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

Are You Advertising on Bing, Yet?


If you are looking at getting more bang out of your buck and yet haven’t considered advertising on Bing, it is time to take a closer look at your Media Plans.Even though Google owns a lion’s share of the search market, Bing’s growing numbers as well as its demographic distribution makes it a much better bet for advertising especially in verticals like Business and Finance.The latest comScore data released in June 2014, which while placing Google at the top of the search market with an undisputed lead of 67.6%, also shows Yahoo and Microsoft combined accounting for a good 29% of the market, enough to be considered seriously by advertisers.Ask Network with 2.4% of the search market and AOL Inc.with 1.3% of the market remains the industry laggards.

Ad Impressions
A study titled“Yahoo! Bing PPC Performance Metrics”, released by AdGooroo,goes on to show Bing Ads overtaking Google Adwords in categories such as Financial Services with an edge of over a million ad impressions ad While Ad words continue to enjoy a lead in some other categories, the gap is certainly closing.

Cost per Click
When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of online advertising, ROI metrics are known to include parameters like lower cost per click or CPC,higher order value and higher rate of conversion.It is in the cost per clicks that Bing Ads is significantly more effective with a gap of 30-60% with Google AdWords, as the data below from AdGooroo so clearly highlights.

Higher Ad Rank
On the other hand, with fewer advertisers bidding for keywords on Bing the chances of lower price points on targeted key words as well as higher ad ranks are much enhanced.As an advertiser you stand to gain even more if your competitors are not on Bing at present, as it gives you an opportunity to occupy top position without paying a premium for it.But if you are not advertising on Bing Ads and your competitors are, you might already be losing out on precious business.

Exclusive Audience
A startling data, which has come to light with the release of the latest comScore data, is the number of unique searchers on Yahoo and Bing, who are not using Google at all to conduct their searches.In fact in a few verticals like Automotive and Financial services, Yahoo and Bing accounts for the lion’s share of searches, with a majority of them being unique searchers.This is a huge fact and explodes the oft repeated myth that search equals Google.Yahoo Bing is not only popular among automotive searchers but also scores high in sectors like financial services and Telecom with the travel industry not too far behind.With 21 million unique searchers out of a total population of 29 million, advertisers from the financial services industry are sure to benefit a great deal more by advertising on Bing.

User Experience
Yahoo Bing’s growing popularity can also be attributed to the fact that it has done away with inherent flaws and now includes almost all the functionalities that are available on Google AdWords, in some cases with an enhanced user experience.For instance Bing allows display of top 4 ad positions unlike Google, which only allows the display of top 3 ad positions.This means that advertisers have a greater chance of appearing in search ads with Yahoo at significantly lower cost.Another feature that finds favor with advertisers is the ability to include upto 40 characters in your headline unlike Google, which allows for only 25 characters.All this is not to suggest that advertisers can choose to advertise on Bing by doing away with Google Ads altogether.Google is the dominating force in the search market and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

Local SEO Power Pack: Set the Stage for Local SEO for Year


Local search results are seeing a dramatic change with each passing year as search engines introduce new updates every year in their bid to make search more relevant and effective for the users.The very first MozLocal Search Rankings Factor 2014 survey brought sharp focus on the then newly released New Google Maps as well as the incorporation of local carousels to SERPs.

The survey results clearly bring to light that the best Local SEO involves building organic search for “location+keyword” and employing the right techniques to gain visibility for these.Location infact is \coming out as a major factor in local search ranking.What it means is that instead of looking at short term measures focused only on improving search ranking with Google, it might be more rewarding to focus on improving organic search ranking through improving your overall website by adding a location criteria as well as improving the external links.Important Highlights of the MozLocal Search Ranking Factors year Survey

As per the Moz year survey the top localized organic factors affecting search engine ranking are:
*City, State in Landing Page Title
*Domain Authority of Website
*Page Authority of Landing Page URL
*Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
*Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
*Physical Address in City of Search
*Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
*Product / Service Keyword in Website URL
*Click-Through Rate from Search Results
*City, State in Landing Page H1/H2 Tags

5 Factors That Have Increased in Importance since Pigeon
*Domain Authority of Website
*Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance)
*Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
*Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
*Physical Address in City of Search

5 Factors That Have Decreased in Importance since the Pigeon Update:
*Proximity of Address to Centroid
*Physical Address in City of Search
*Individually Owner-verified My Business Page
*Quantity of Structured Citations (IYPs, Data Aggregators)
*Proximity of Address to Centroid of Other Businesses in Industry

The Way forward for Local Search for year
What this means for local search for year is that there are no short cuts to building organic search rankings.The best way to increase your search ranking is to go the traditional way by having content on your website and by linking yourself with other similar sites with good relevant content.Any SEO done for the purpose of simply improving rankings is ultimately not going to achieve the desired results unless backed by good content.Creating a great website is all about how you distinguish yourself from your competitors and build a distinctive brand image in the minds of your online audience through the website.Having a great website means ensuring an unforgettable user experience for your site visitors through easy navigation and engaging content.Many websites tend to overlook optimizing for local search with the result that the site does not rank high in local search rankings leading to potential loss of local business.

Having a great website also means avoiding some common errors that often cause a site to lose local search rankings even while having great content.These include

*Having very little content on the home page:- Many websites do the mistake of including just a banner and couple of sentence on the home page in their bid to entice the visitor to delve deeper into the site.However search engines algorithms scroll home pages for relevance and not having enough relevant content on the home page can cause your site to rank lower.

*Keyword spamming on the site does not serve any real purpose and can infact cause the site to lose authority.Ensuring good content optimized for local search is enough to get your site a good ranking, there is no need to overcrowd content with keywords.

*Including very little content on your website pages can be detrimental for both search results rankings as well as customer experience.Ensure that the website pages contain all relevant information that a visitor might find useful to deliver a better user experience which will automatically make a site rank higher.

*Displaying Inappropriate irrelevant Title Tags can also serve to be counterproductive as too much keyword stuffing can lead search algorithms to reduce your site rankings.A title tag should basically be a short summary of what the webpage is about as well as contain the right keywords which will help it get located for relevant searches.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

Few Web Design Trends That Will Dominate In Year


If the incredible trends in 2016 are an indication of what to expect in 2017,then web design platform should brace for an exciting ride.Some of the developments that dominated 2016 including split screens, wearables, pop-out menus and hidden navigations could be expected to continue dominating.

1.Pop-out Menus and Hidden Navigation
Mobile devices have overtaken desktops as the most popular browsing gadgets.This means that screen space is more valuable than ever.This is why it is necessary to hide screen and windows until they are needed. This allows you to enjoy such elements as images, videos, and text before returning to the original one.

2.Inspiration From Wearables
The latest trend is the use of wearables which are bound to have an incredible impact going forward.2016 witnessed the sale of millions of wearables.Web users appreciate the place of UI in other devices.While wearables are designed to maximize space, work faster, and use less effort, they are operating on the ideology of ‘Less is More’ which will be transferred to all other devices and platforms.Loading time will be highly reduced with less distraction and confusion.Wearables are also helping to increase penetration of scanning technology and information transfer to other platforms and devices.

3.Material Design Lite
MDL or Material Design Lite works by optimizing the paper-like design language for the internet.Asimilar physics-based principle applies during design.It allows the use of shading, motions, and layers to indicate usability and reflect how the devices interact with the rest of the world.The elements attainboth consistent weight and thickness.The platforms are also easy to customize to meet personal needs.

4.Split Screen
The idea of a split screen may be compared to opening a website with two self-contained and separate cards.In fact, one of these cards may be the traditional smaller version.With a split screen, you have the capability of diversifying your content.For instance, one-half may include photos that grab the attention of a visitor while the other has a navigation menu.This layout creates an impressive and beautiful view that has a natural hierarchy.This method of design is used to suggest a relationship between the two categories of content.They could be of equal importance, of opposing significance, or even present options.This approach helps the web design company to develop a vibrantly visual site.The screens must indicate a connection or relationship.

5.More Videos
Videos continue to steal the thunder as content drivers and as backgrounds for content.The change to expect with internet videos in 2017 is their quantity.The style of production is likely to remain similar, but the same clip will be used several times on different platforms.Other than being a surprise element on website, videos will be the basic expectation.The quality of the video will remain important as well as use of advanced cinematic techniques.They will be more rampant where storytelling isrequired.Auto-mute feature will get more sophisticated.

6.Virtual Reality
Modern web development is embracing the element of virtual reality.The devices already in the market will be enabled to experience virtual reality.This is meant to make the images more visually impressive. The scale must be appropriate and the element of distance respected.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

Google Search Network Isn’t Working for Your B2B Business


We hear from B2B businesses that have grown frustrated with the Google Search Network.Their marketing teams have been running Search Network campaigns for a while, but they’ve seen little return on their investment.And so they conclude that, as an ad network, the Search Network simply doesn’t work for them. I can’t immediately dismiss the notion that the Search Network isn’t a good fit for some B2B companies. But at the same time, we’ve turned around enough B2B Search Network campaigns to not give up so easily.

1.The problem of landing page creep
As a PPC agency, our clients take an active interest in our PPC landing pages.We know this because our email correspondence is often forwarded and/or copied to seven or more people and departments.And inevitably, each person on that email distribution list has his/her own ideas about what data to collect from prospects.As a result, the number of fields on these landing pages tends to grow.A form thatstarted with “name” and “email address” grows to include fields such as “title,” “city,” “ZIP code,” “industry” and more.And once they tightened up the form, the client’s lead numbers jumped back up —surpassingwhere they were before.

2.Where did you put that phone number?
Given the more complex and protracted nature of the B2B sales process, potential customers prefer to initiate contact through a form rather than “pick up the phone.” No one, they argue, is going to order a million-dollar computer system over the phone.There is some truth to that argument.But that doesn’t mean that some customers won’t want to initiate contact by calling.Maybe they want to ask a couple of questions.Maybe they want to know a little more about your product or service before giving you their email address.Regardless of the reason, shouldn’t you make it as easy for them as possible?But back to our client.In addition to the hard-to-find number, we faced another problem: a vanity phone number. You’re already familiar with vanity numbers.They’re those phone numbers where letters are substituted for numbers to make the number more memorable.But, upon further investigation, we discovered that not all of the client’s website pages displayed the vanity number.Some inner pages displayed the old-style numeric number.So we added website call tracking anyway.We started tracking one lead per business day from these numbers.This may not sound like much, but considering we were generating these calls from a few random inner pages, imagine what we could generate from the entire site!When we raise this issue with clients, they counter with, “We always ask where people found us.” But when they ask, customers usually respond “Google.” Okay, but does that mean organic search Google or PPC Google? We don’t know. Without good lead attribution, it’s easy for PPC success to masquerade as PPC failure.So before you decide to shut down your “unsuccessful”Search Network campaign, you need to find out what’s really going on.

3.How expensive is too expensive?
When a marketing team or business owner concludes that “PPC doesn’t work for us,” what they often mean is that it’s too expensive.They look at the price of clicks for their keywords in the Search Network, and they simply feel they can’t get in the game.But that’s a conclusion that warrants closer scrutiny.Sometimes, more substantial budgets bring more substantial results.Bigger budgets allow us to explore more strategies and tactics.And, as any PPC pro will tell you, behind every hugely successful PPC campaign is a lot of experimentation.In contrast, some of our clients do run in high-cost-per-click circles.Taken out of context, the price tag does look expensive.But for them, the lucrative returns more than outweigh the cost of the clicks.But if a larger PPC budget allows for more experimentation — which can allow for more success — then the effort is well worth it. And it puts the costs of PPC into perspective.

4.Consider alternative approaches
That said, there are some B2B businesses where the Google Search Network may not make sense.There, I said it!For example, if you’re a new tech company,and your Search Network keywords are priced at $100-plus per click, and you’re competing with mega brands, then maybe you need to take a different, more creative approach.Then, you can dip your toe into the Search Network, but limit your keywords to branded terms and long-tail search terms that are unique to your business and offerings.Underlying this alternative strategy is a shift in mindset.Instead of asking, “What are our customers searching for?” you ask, “Who is our target customer?” and “What specific questions do they ask about our solutions?”

And you use the answers to direct your strategy

Don’t give up too early
It’s easy to conclude that the Search Network doesn’t work for your B2B business when you don’t get the results you want.But that doesn’t mean you and your marketing team should give up.Sometimes, small changes can make a big difference.Sometimes, you can justify a larger PPC spend with lucrative returns.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

Content and Links:It Really Does Take a Village

teamwork-meeting-collaboration-ss-1920I’m one of those people who thinks I can usually handle things by myself — I don’t need or want anyone’s help.It’s been tough for me to let go of that attitude when it comes to link building, but I’ve been doing much better lately after realizing that it really is beneficial to have more involvement from various people.Sometimes that extra involvement has been kind of forced on me.Sometimes I’ve had to beg for it.But all in all, I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that the best links we get these days come from working together with the client, their own internal teams and webmasters.


The who and the why
First of all, let’s think about who should be involved in a link campaign and why.PR:They’re (hopefully) naturally good at getting the word out about the business, but they also canteach you a lot about how to pitch an idea to someone.I’ve also found that in many cases, PR people can find some great opportunities that I’ve missed because we just go about things in a different way.

SEOs:While any good link builder can analyze a link profile and keep the link momentum going, SEOs are needed to do all sorts of things (to overgeneralize).They’re needed to do redirects for old pages, to make sure there are no major technical issues, to figure out how to deal with duplicate content and more.I started out as an SEO generalist and did technical SEO for a bit before getting so involved with link building, and I can tell you something:it takes a lot of time and effort to build links, and there is no time left for doing much else.

Outreach specialists:Link builders, in other words, but this sounds less controversial.Finding a great place for a link is only the very beginning of the link process.Outreach specialists are a lot like PR people in that they know how to pitch, they know how to connect with webmasters, and they know how to build relationships that lead to links.We’ve had dozens of outreach specialists over the past few years, and it was obvious when one was really, really good.

Content creators:We do create content ourselves for a few clients, but after working with a fewcompanies who gave us content that their own teams created, I realized how much better it was.No one writes as well as someone devoted to a business or a topic.Content that took very little effort is not going to lead to good links.

Business owners:You have to respect the input of the business owner, as they’re the ones concerned with the bottom line.I’m a business owner, so I always appreciate that the work I’m doing affects another business.I want them to know what I’m doing, to understand the process and to feel comfortable coming to me with ideas or information.

Developers:As a former developer, I have the utmost respect for programmers.I’ll be succinct here and just say that it is never,ever, a bad thing to know the developers of a site and be on their good side.

The how
How should you all try to work together to best benefit the link campaign?Nothing creates an unnatural backlink profile quite like having one person, and one person only,building links for a site.As far as I know, all of my current clients are building links in various ways, and my company is only part of the overall link dev campaign.I don’t mean that I’m happy when a client isbuying 1,000 PBN links a month, of course, but I do like it when other teams, both inside and outside the client’s company, are at least thinking about link building.Even with members of my own team, they do things completely differently as they think very differently from each other.

Even a team is biased and unable to see potential issues:I love it when clients are so clued in about link building that they can spot something we’re missing.I spend a lot of time making sure that my team are considering all of the guidelines when building links, and when that gets really busy, it’s great to have the client point out something that we failed to consider.Maybe we’re focusing too heavily on one part of the site.

Maybe we’re overtargeting a certain niche in our outreach.Run things past someone else, and argue the points.I always ask, “What were you thinking of doing?” when I say “no” to something with my team, if I think it’s clearly a bad fit.Many times, when they fight me back, I realize they are correct.Sometimes they back down and realize that I’m right.Run things past someone else, and argue the points.I always ask,“What were you thinking of doing?” when I say “no” to something with my team, if I think it’s clearly a bad fit.Many times,when they fight me back, I realize they are correct.

Get feedback from other teams first…and get them to provide it after links are built.We have really changed how we do things over the past year.Our previous process usually involved a “just let us handle it please” approach.Now, we’re in touch with clients constantly about links.What do they think about this site?How would they feel about this page linking to that page?Sometimes the clients don’t want that level of involvement, so when they don’t, we do like to get feedback.

Always do analysis.We do it sometimes, other teams do it other times,depending on what the client wants.I don’t care who performs it, as long as someone’s looking at the full picture and running numbers on the link profile.

Include webmasters.They know their site better than you do, and they know what their audience wants.If you’re set on specific anchor text, and they don’t think it would fit the content, ask what they’d use instead.We’ve gotten some fantastic links when we asked for webmaster feedback.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

That Will Make Your Content More Engaging


Content marketing.We hear about it. We talk about it.But then, we actually have to do it.If you’re in a business-to-consumer industry with attractive or interesting products or services, coming up with topics might not be that big of a challenge.However, for the rest of us who are trying to create engagingcontent for lawyers, plumbers, business software providers, and property maintenance companies, it isn’t as easy.After years of writing for various industries and later managing large content teams, I have gathered a few tools that I keep in my toolbox.

These are techniques that will make it easier for you to create content that engages your audience, no matter the subject. It all boils down to three things:storytelling, inspiration, and practicality (or S.I.P.).

A story can be told by written words, videos, or even images.The goal is to put people into the character’s shoes, as they will project themselves into the story.They might empathize with the character and/or experience the same emotions.Focus on developing stories of how past customers or clients have used your product or service.Think of it as a testimonial, but more in-depth with details and feelings.I was contracted to write content for a company selling LED billboards.During the initial conversations, I was instructed to describe the types of bulbs used, including the wattage and specs. High schools and colleges were among the market segments this company targeted because their billboards could be used to project game scores and announcements.That gave me an idea — instead of focusing on the specs and features of the lightbulbs only, what if we highlighted the experience?With the client’s permission, I told the story from the school’s perspective of what it was like to see the billboard flashing the winning score of the football game and fans cheering.That article —and later others like it — had much better results than the pages that were solely focused on the actual lightbulbs.The conversion rate was higher, along with the time spent on the page.

You’ll create more engaging content when you aren’t scrambling to think of a topic at the last minute. Taking a proactive approach to content topics will save you and your team countless hours of time and frustration.We are exposed to thousands of marketing messages each day, not to mention the amount of headlines we hear or see.Pay attention to what’s around you and determine if there is an angle you can take with that topic or message that would apply to your target audience.Ask yourself: “How can I translate this information into something useful for my audience?”Warby Parker is a great example.Many magazines will feature a section showing what celebrities have in their bags.Warby Parker took a fun spin on it with a series of blog posts.

Practicality is one of the many keys to engaging content.Consumers are inundated with content online.How can you make it personal and practical to them?Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”, provides a great illustration of the power of practicality.In the book, he shares a story about a college that was trying to encourage students to get their tetanus shot. Initially, the college put out flyers that used fear as an approach. It didn’t work.So the college took a different approach with its next flyer.They provided the location and time to get vaccinated.Suddenly the information became practical and it worked.Practicality is crucial to engaging content.Content becomes practical when you can show your audience how they can apply the information.Explain how your store is located right off the freeway, making it an easy stop on the way home from work.Describe how you can answer someone’s questions by simply clicking/tapping a link.Practical and personal go hand-in-hand.Your content needs to speak to people on a personal level.What questions does your target audience have? What concerns should you address?I’ve worked with a lot of personal injury attorneys and this concept is something we had to always keep at the forefront.We would spend a great deal of time thinking and researching what people went through after an accident.Our focus would then be on their worries and questions.

S.I.P. Your Way to More Engaging Content
Whether you’re a writer or manage writers, don’t be discouraged when you’re tasked with writing content for an industry that you might not find exciting.Your job is to ensure that when your target audience finds your content, it engages them, whether that is through storytelling or being practical andpersonal.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

Quickly Compare Your Website with Your Competitors


Comparing your site to your biggest competitors is useful for a variety of reasons.First, it helps you find missed opportunities.It also clues you into shifts in your industry which could help you stay ahead of the curve.It also gives you a benchmark for growth goals.Reaching the top of the SERPs and staying there is more challenging now than ever.Although Google webmaster guidelines haven’t changed much over the years, the core algorithm has.

I’m not suggesting that you can “reverse engineer” Google’s algorithm.It’s far too complex.Still, a review of top ranking websites can be a good starting point for determining best practices.At the most basic level, a website can be broken down into these components:


Here are three ways to compare your site to your competitors to see where your SEO could be doing better.

Website Architecture
Knowing your competitors’ website architecture can be useful in terms of establishing parent and child page hierarchy as well as discovering potential product or content gaps.The best and easiest way to determine this is by creating a sitemap.

Page Speed
Mobile devices being the most popular access point to the web, page speed is incredibly important.Google has specifically mentioned it as a ranking factor.If you find your site is underperforming, head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights for specific recommendations on how to speed up performance.In fact,even if you are best in class,you should still run the PageSpeed test and address any problems cited by Google.

2.Website Content

Organic Keyword Research
Developing the right list of keywords is still important.Chances are, your competitors have already invested a lot of time in developing a killer keyword strategy.Don’t let all that hard work go to waste. Use this competitive intelligence to drive traffic to your site.My tool of choice for competitor organic keyword research is Ahrefs. They have a large database of search rankings by website.It fairly common to find a single page, like the one highlighted above,ranking for hundreds (even thousands) of related keywords.It can often be much more efficient to concentrate on creating a better version of a top-performing page than to focus on a single keyword or phrase.One question in the back of nearly every webmaster’s mind is, “What opportunities are being missed?” What are competitors ranking for that you
are missing out on?

That doesn’t need to remain a mystery.Just plug your competitors into the Content Gap Tool, as shown below:

On-page Optimization
Google may not be as dependent on meta tags since the introduction of Knowledge Graph, but having a clear roadmap for both users and search engines is still important.The most effective way to use this tool is to look for patterns.In this case, each title tag leads with the brand and includes mentions of SEO and search marketing in at least two of the three pages with optimized title tags.Some would argue this makes you the same as everybody else.

There was a time when SEOs would chase after every backlink a competitor had to neutralize the advantage that link might provide.Links that once held zero value suddenly had a negative value.All the garbage links acquired through indiscriminate backlink mining became dangerous to have in a link profile.That doesn’t mean competitor backlink mining is a bad idea.It just means you need to use your head and “score” prospective links to determine if they are worth the necessary effort to acquire.(Pro tip: If no effort is necessary,it’s almost never worth getting.)

Final Takeaways on Competitor Analysis
Content and links will continue to be the backbone of Google’s algorithm for some time.Understandingwhat you are up against and neutralizing any competitor advantages is an important step when developing an effective marketing campaign.Follow that up with the development of unique and useful content andnothing can stop you from ruling the SERPs.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

The Yext IPO and the Triumph of Local SEO


Yext’s successful IPO several weeks ago represents a kind of triumph for local SEO.The company’s growth and evolution is a product of some smart decisions by CEO Howard Lerman and his management team.It also speaks to the power of marketing and branding.There are numerous companies that do what Yext does, yet it has been able to rise above the competition with some savvy marketing and heavy spending.But more broadly, the Yext IPO stands in for the importance of presence or listings management as a foundational tenet of digital marketing for omnichannel brands and businesses.

For roughly 20 years, various digital marketing pundits have been predicting the death of SEO.Anddespite a dramatic migration away from traditional SERPs to more “answers” and structured data, SEO (especially local SEO) has not only remained relevant but grown in importance.Local SEO was often a sideshow in the search world.But with the rise of mobile (post-iPhone), the increasingly clear link between digital research and offline buying, the value of local listings management has become obvious to brands and marketers.Enterprises that never paid much attention to location or local search are directing more effort and resources toward trying to “rank.”

There are people who believe that this 100 million locations figure underestimates the globalopportunity — that it’s conservative.But using this number and some modest annual spending projections, we quickly arrive at a roughly $50 billion global opportunity.So the potential value of the local listings market is $10 to $50 billion.Beyond this, analyst firm Borrell Associates has projected that companies (large and small) will spend roughly $19 billion in the US on listings management by 2020.

But more broadly, the Yext IPO stands in for the importance of presence or listings management as a foundational tenet of digital marketing for omnichannel brands and businesses.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.