Search Smart Marketing News
Recent Search Engine Marketing & Social Media News
Kate Hamilton-Miller to Guest Speak at 341 Studios
Kate Hamilton-Miller will be the guest speaker at this Friday's 341 Studios Fresh Intelligence Roundtable in Darien, CT. Check out her guest blog on Search Marketing Integration in 2013. The search landscape and SERP layout continue to evolve and the Search Smart Marketing team is dedicated to providing comprehensive strategy and campaign management to keep our clients ahead of the curve.
Search Smart Marketing Accepted into Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative
Search Smart Marketing is honored and excited to announce our acceptance into the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative at LaGuardia Community College. Companies who apply to the program are evaluated on a range of criteria and the selection process was competitive, as we were up against a strong pool of candidates from throughout the tri-state area. Program participants dedicate hours both in and outside the classroom to developing a growth plan that will benefit their business and help create new jobs. More details to follow next week's orientation. Read more about the 10,000 Small Business Initiative and previous participants here.
Google Announces "Enhanced Campaigns" for AdWords
Earlier this week Google announced 'enhanced campaigns' for AdWords. Highlights include location based bidding, sitelink level reporting and ad group level ad extensions. Some changes, (ex. the loss of tablet bidding and mobile only campaigns) are less welcome. We're investigating the impact/opportunity of these enhancements and will be incorporating them into our paid search strategy. Read more about Google Enhanced Campaigns here.
Westchester County Association Announces First Participant
The Westchester County Association has announced PlanGuru as the first participant in BLUEPRINT Accelerator. Search Smart joins in welcoming PlanGuru to Westchester and will be contributing SEO services to the BLUEPRINT program. Read more about PlanGuru and BLUEPRINT Accelerator here.
Bing Product Manager Speaks with Search Engine Watch
Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager - Webmaster Outreach at Bing, recently sat down with Mark Jackson at Search Engine Watch. The interview is an interesting read and touches on the SEO importance of fresh content, social engagement and article placement within Bing news. The full article is available here.
Search Smart Co-Sponsors Annual Breakfast
As an active member of the Westchester County business community, Search Smart Marketing is proud to be co-sponsoring The Westchester County Association's Annual Breakfast, where County Executive Rob Astorino will address the economic challenges facing Westchester. The breakfast is scheduled to run from 8am - 10am. Information about the event is available on the WCA web site.
Facebook Releases Graph Search
Facebook has rolled out a new search functionality called Graph Search. Clickz has put together a great article outlining Graph Search's capabilities, possible impact on Bing PPC campaigns and outstanding questions for marketers. Search Smart will be testing the new search functionality in the coming weeks and determining how best to incorporate it with existing client paid search strategies.
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year from the Search Smart team! Wishing you all the best in 2013.
December 28, 2012
Pepsi has launched a Super Bowl fan photo contest with Beyonce. One of the most prominent marketing attempts to crowd-source images, the contest will allow fans to submit photos of themselves in various music related poses (think head bopping or toe tapping). The pictures will be used in a TV ad introducing Beyonce's halftime performance. Fifty people will also be selected to bring a friend and join Beyonce onstage during the show.
December 21, 2012
Happy holidays! The Search Smart offices will be closed Monday 12/24 through Tuesday 1/1/13. However, we are available to clients in case of emergency. Please use the main number and your call will be routed accordingly.
December 15, 2012
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Newtown, CT following yesterday's senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.
December 10, 2012
The BIA/Kelsey ILM West Conference was recently held in Los Angeles and there were several key takeaways for small and mid-sized businesses.
1. SMBs are diversifying their advertising spending across social media and mobile platforms. Average annual spending has remained about the same compared to 2011, however a greater portion of those dollars are being allocated to online properties (up 36% from Q4 2011).
2. The BIA/Kelsey report found that nearly two-thirds of SMBs use social media as a marketing tool for their business. The study showed that 46% of SMBs have a Facebook page and another 15% will likely create one within the next year. According to Facebook data shared during the conference, the number of local business pages advertising on the social network has doubled since January.
3. SMBs see customer loyalty programs as a growth opportunity. Enthusiastic consumers not only buy more, but tend to carry out high value activities that help improve a company's online visibility. Loyal customers may check-in on Foursquare, tweet about a business or purchase, like a company's Facebook page or write a positive review.
4. SMBs are taking mobile more seriously. Smartphone usage continues to grow and according to Google Mobile data cited during the conference, 50% of mobile searchers are local. That's a huge opportunity and SMBs are responding. According to the BIA/Kelsey survey, only 15% of SMBs currently have a mobile website but a whopping 52% plan to add one in the next 12 months.
5. Amazon merchant accounts and Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) have emerged as popular ways to offset the impact of show-rooming. The show-rooming phenomenon refers to the practice of consumers testing a product in store and receiving advice from a salesperson, then taking that information to search out the cheapest price online.
6. SMBs need to maximize their local online opportunity by claiming their online directory listings. According to the BIA/Kelsey survey, only 14% of SMBs have claimed their listings on one of the major online directory sites and only 18% plan to do so in the next year. While claiming and updating listings can be laborious for SMBs trying to do it on their own, many agencies including Search Smart offer local maps optimization services and the effort is well worth it. Research has shown that consumers are increasingly looking for basic business information online.
November 28, 2012
Monday exceeded expectations and became the biggest day of online shopping in history. According to comScore, e-commerce transactions reached $1.5 billion this year, up from $1.25 billion on Cyber Monday 2011. While Cyber Monday has recorded phenomenal year-to-year growth since 2009 ($887 million), online sales still represent a small portion of overall spending during the Black Friday - Cyber Monday four day shopping juggernaut. Brick-and-mortar shopping isn't going anywhere, but Cyber Monday helps to illustrate that flexibility is key when it comes to attracting customers. IBM Smart Commerce's Jay Henderson summed it up well in USA Today, "the implication for retailers is that the winning strategy this weekend was retailers who made it easy for consumers to buy however they want."
November 26, 2012
Did you hear the news? It was widely reported earlier today that Google had announced the acquisition of WiFi provider ICOA for $400 million. Unfortunately for ICOA stock holders, the story was a fake. It all started with a fraudulent press release distributed by PR Web. Fact checking took a backseat as many news outlets and bloggers rushed to be the first to share the news. Journalist requests for interviews and additional details belatedly determined the news was untrue. While news outlets worked to issue retractions, Danny Sullivan took to Twitter to poke fun at the situation and stoke the Bing vs. Google competitive fires.
November 26, 2012
Happy Cyber Monday! This year's predictions for total spending are up in the $1.4 billion range. Social media continues to play a big role in Cyber Monday activity with consumers planning to use Facebook, Twitter and others to find discounts (57%), read reviews (51%) and find gift ideas (49%).
November 21, 2012
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving weekend. Search Smart will be closed Thursday November 22nd and Friday November 23rd in observance of the holiday. We'll be taking time to give thanks for all of our wonderful clients and partners. See you on Cyber Monday!
November 15, 2012
David Hoffman had the opportunity to speak to Fordham University's Professional Studies in New Media program today about SEO and the importance of organic, social and local search integration. Special thanks to Robin Colner for the invitation to present.
November 13, 2012
The New York Times recently published an article in their Small Business section highlighting the challenges of running an effective Google AdWords program and managing your business at the same time. "Mistakes in a Pay-Per-Click Campaign Leaves a Business Puzzled" is an interesting read and a story we've seen repeated many times here at Search Smart Marketing. Google AdWords is a wonderful tool for companies big and small. However, there are so many updates and nuances to the AdWords system - it's difficult for the typical business owner to remain on top of it all. If Paul Downs story sounds familiar, feel free to contact us. We offer 1x paid search audits for business owners who wish to continue handling their own marketing but know their program could use a tune-up.
November 12, 2012
Today, America honors the men and women of the armed forces whose profound acts of
citizenship and bravery have safeguarded our country for over 200 years and guaranteed our
rights as Americans. We salute those who have served, those on activity duty and the military families who sacrifice so much on our behalf.
November 8, 2012
Both Google and Bing have updated their paid search targeting
capabilities in recent months. Metro targeting on both platforms is now
mapped to match Nielsen DMAs. While there will continue to be a large
volume difference between the two engines, greater consistency in targeting will allow of more streamlined campaign setup, program analysis and performance optimization.
November 5, 2012
During Google's recent Q3 earnings call, Larry Page shared that Google plans to combine mobile and desktop
ads - a move that would take away an agency or individual business's ability to bid for
and manage mobile search traffic separately. Google believes the change will help create a seamless user experience. Segmented bid strategies, ad messaging and landing page testing for mobile and desktop campaigns have allowed us to maximize the efficiency of client campaigns. Search Smart will monitor these developments closely and determine a transition strategy for clients who currently has separate mobile and desktop paid search campaigns.
November 1, 2012
We hope that you and those close to you have come through Sandy safe and well. To keep you up-to-date; we now have power in our office but we remain without Internet access. Luckily, Internet service has been returned to our homes and we are working remotely. The office phone system remains down but incoming calls are being directed to our individual cell phones. As a result, we are now up and running, with limited interruption. Like most others, this week's events put us behind the eight ball at times but we're catching up and feel fortunate to have come through intact. If there is any way we can be of help as you return to normalcy, please be sure to let us know.
October 29, 2012
Congratulations to our client, Dr. Laurie Hess of the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics, on her inclusion in 914 Inc magazine's Rising Westchester Professionals to Watch in 2013 article. Dr. Hess's willingness to test new advertising opportunities and actively engage the exotic pet community via social media is a wonderful example for other area businesses looking to reach their target audience online.
October 26, 2012
Search Smart Marketing is honored to be included in 914 Inc magazine's Rising Westchester Professionals to Watch. Congratulations to our colleagues included in the "Names You'll Need to Know in 2013" piece. Westchester's dynamic and growing business community has provided us with a unique opportunity to help local/regional businesses increase their online visibility and to partner with PR firms, web designers and ad agencies to ensure messaging consistency for our clients. As one of the nine Westchester workers profiled, read more about Search Smart's founder, David Hoffman here.
October 25, 2012
Yesterday, Twitter's CEO confirmed that the company is testing new
"light-weight" engagement options and plans to move away from their
Favorite button. Users will begin to see the new Star or Like options over the next few days. The Favorite button has been an available feature for
years, but had gained prominence on Twitter over the past 6 months.
There is no specific timeline for the switch or definitive information as
to whether the Star or Like icon will be used. With testing going on
right now, we believe a decision will likely be made by the end of the
October 16, 2012
As promised, the Google unnatural link warnings story has continued to evolve. Matt Cutts announced the launch of a new "Disavow Links" tool within Webmaster Tools during today's keynote at the PubCon conference. Google still encourages site owners to try to remove unnatural or unwanted inbound links. However, if a site owner is unable to have the 3rd party link removed - the Disavow tool can be used. The announcement has helped to ease concerns that sites would be penalized for poor quality or spam links the site owners had no control over.
Bing launched its own Disavow Links tool earlier this year, so site owners and web masters now have similar functionality across both search engines.
The SMX East Conference will be held in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Center October 2nd - 4th. Conference attendees can choose from over 50 sessions on internet marketing topics including search engine optimization (SEO), paid search advertising, local/mobile search, social media marketing and semantic SEO.
Google recently launched an update to their AdWords geotargeting capabilities. These improved targeting settings have added the ability to:
- Expand zip code targeting to Canada
- Match U.S. metro targets to Nielsen Designated Market Area (DMA)
- Increase the number of countries with city level targeting to 43
These improvements will help local advertisers align TV and online marketing efforts via standard target areas. Large brands and international businesses will gain the advantage of more refined targeting options that were previously unavailable outside the U.S.
Notice anything different about your search engine results page (SERP) lately? Google has moved away from its standard 10 organic results per page layout, limiting results to 7 listings for many search queries. It appears Google is still in the process of rolling out these changes, but early industry reports estimate approximately 20% of keywords are now serving just 7 results per SERP. SEO reporting and analysis will be adjusted to reflect these changes as top 10 positioning no longer guarantees 1st page visibility on Google.
Google Webmaster Tools has sent out another wave of unnatural link warnings to website owners. However, these new warnings may not represent a serious problem. Following the 1st wave of notifications in March, it is still unclear whether these messages mean that a site will be penalized for having these links pointing at them or whether Google is just informing sites at this point and not really taking any negative action. Search Smart will continue to monitor client accounts and any industry response. We'll post more information as it becomes available.
June continues to be the month of local search updates. Bing and Yelp have announced a deal in which Yelp's reviews and content will be integrated into Bing Local pages. The new content on Bing Local will be branded as "powered by Yelp" and will include review snippets, photos and business attributes.
Google Places pages were completely replaced by new Google+ Local pages on May 30th. The full migration of Google Places and Local Business Center will roll out over the next few months with changes in display ad functionality for business owners.
Beyond the new "look & feel" of the Google+ Local pages, here is what we know so far:
- A verified Places listing will not currently display the business owner verified check mark on Google+ Local
- Google is encouraging business owners to continue managing their listing through LBC, however you can no longer upload video or use the Post to Places feature
- Google has adopted the x/30 Zagat scoring system. Star ratings will no longer appear.
Following Google's roll-out of Knowledge Graph, Bing has launched Snapshot. Snapshot panels appear along the right side of the SERP and focus on searchers being able to take actions like "buy tickets or "make a reservation" where applicable.
May 16, 2012
Google has started rolling out "Knowledge Graph", a SERP integrated display panel that provides supplemental information about certain people, places and things. These knowledge panels are part of Google's push towards semantic search. Right now a search for Taj Mahal will display one of the new panels. The supplemental information provided seeks to clarify a searcher's interest/intent. A searcher who queries Taj Mahal might be looking for the Indian landmark or the award-winning musician.
On their official search blog, Google had this to say about Knowledge Graph:
"The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places
that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams,
buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of
art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your
query. This is a critical first step towards building the next
generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the
web and understands the world a bit more like people do."
April 26, 2012
David Hoffman will be participating in a panel discussion at the April meeting of the Southern CT chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association entitled Let’s Get Social: Social Media and Online Essentials for Today’s Business. The event will take place on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at noon at The Waters Edge at Giovanni's, 2748 Post Road Darien, CT.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Stacey Cohen, President, Co-Communications, Inc.. Panel members include:
- Holly Alexander, Top Spin Communications
- Ellen DePasquale, Constant Contact, Regional Development Director
Google continually refines their search algorithm and rolls out a variety of updates throughout the year. Some are considered "major" while others may be a laundry list of minor changes. Two of Google's more recent algorithm updates, Panda and Penguin, have received widespread media attention. The Panda update targets low quality and duplicate content while Penguin focuses on web spam. Search Smart keeps track of all algorithm updates and their impact on the SERP - adjusting client strategies as needed. However, companies who continue to employ SEO best practices and pursue a high quality content strategy have little to worry about.
March promises to be a busy month in our industry with the Search Engine Strategies conference at the New York Hilton running from March 19 - 23 followed the next week by the Kelsey Local Interactive Media conference in Boston. Search Smart Marketing will be attending both events to get the latest insight from industry thought leaders as well as meet with partners and vendors on new product offerings.
February 10, 2012
Kate Hamilton-Miller, Search Smart Marketing's Manager of Campaign Strategy, will be the featured speaker at the 341 Studios Roundtable event entitled Google Trends. The event will provide a detailed look at the latest Google ranking considerations as well as Analytics and Places updates.
Google has announced Search + Your World. This new level of personalization aggressively pushes Google+ social data into search results. Search engine results pages (SERPs) will now feature personal results, Google+ posts and photos that have been shared and Google+ profiles of people you know or individuals you are searching for. More general search queries for music, sports or national brands will return Google+ pages along the right side of the SERP as well.
Read more about Search+ Your World on the Official Google Search Blog
Search Smart Marketing is happy to announce our move to brand new office space in Valhalla, NY (Westchester County) and Stamford, CT (Fairfield County). Info is as follows:
400 Columbus Avenue, Suite 10, South Valhalla, NY 10595, 914-432-3083
243 Tresser Blvd., Stamford, CT 06901, 203-883-1506
July 21, 2011
Enjoy a great summer evening meeting other local business
leaders as Search Smart Marketing sponsors the Westchester County
Association's Connecting Westchester event at the Mansion@Renaissance Hotel.
David Hoffman participated on the panel discussion sponsored by the Westchester County Association
June 3, 2011
Kate Hamilton-Miller provided an in-depth tour of Google Analytics as part of 341 Studios Roundtable Series covering “Web Site Technology & Design”.
May 17, 2011
David Hoffman was the featured presenter discussing “Search Engine Marketing for Small Business” at the Hudson Fusion “eMarketing DeGeeked” small business series.
March 10, 2011
Visit us at the MegaMixer Business Expo, Westchester's premier business event, at the Rye Town Hilton
Read Kate Hamilton-Miller's review of Google Places in the Westchester County Association's March EConnections newsletter.
February 15, 2011
David Hoffman will be speaking to participants at the Westchester Community College Academy of Entrepreneurial Excellence.
Learn what local businesses are doing to reinvent themselves in the new economy. David Hoffman will be on the Westchester County Associations panel discussion “You've Survived, Now What?”
Search Smart Marketing to Sponsor WCA Event
Search Smart Marketing is proud to sponsor the Westchester County Association's Summer Networking Evening.
2010 Digital Media Panel: Utilizing New Technology to Achieve Your Marketing Goals.
Search Smart Marketing's David Hoffman will be a panelist at Pamal Broadcasting's Digital Media Seminars on June 2nd and June 3rd.
Come join us at the 2010 Business Council of Westchester MegaMixer Business Expo on March 18th. Search Smart Marketing is proud to participate on the 2010 and 2011 Event Committees.
June 29, 2009
As a regular contributor to the Westchester County Business Journal, David's latest article, entitled The Tweet Smell of Success: New Technologies Offer Great Online Marketing Opportunities, covers social media and the ways in which small businesses can utilize points of interaction like Twitter and Facebook to connect with potential clients.
Have you “Binged” any information today? Sent a “Tweet” to your “followers”? Or “friended” someone new on “Facebook”?
If you can answer “yes” to at least two of these questions, you probably have a good sense of where the Internet is today and the communications opportunities the latest technologies offer to marketers. But if you’re still getting comfortable with the idea of “Googling” someone in public, it’s probably time to become acquainted with the apps your kids grew tired of months ago when businesses began discovering ways to use them to speak to their audiences.
Read the Full Article