Monday, December 14, 2015

Google's New 'Smart Goals' for AdWords and Analytics

Setting up goals in Google Analytics can be a pain. Many companies just do not do it, yet using goals enables conversion tracking in AdWords. Why pay for useless clicks, when you can pay for clicks that actually convert?

Enter 'smart goals' in Google Analytics and AdWords.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Link Sculpting and Keyword Cannibalism

Which page should rank for which keyword? That is the question. It's your question, and it's Google's question. What you need to do is a) build a spreadsheet that matches ONE (and ONLY ONE) major landing page for a keyword phrase, and b) as you create content, use INTERNAL LINKS to link to that ONE and ONLY ONE page as you mention that keyword across blog content.

For extra credit, make sure your HOME PAGE and KEYWORD FOOTER also focus you "link juice" to those keyword-specific landing pages.

Read more, here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Google+ Local Review Links: How to Find / Generate them for Customers

Reviews are a critical component to local SEO and local social media marketing.  Google has - in typical fashion - made a mess of it. Here's how to generate review links for customers:

Google Killed Google+: Here's an Update

Google has killed Google+ local, moving reviews to the Google search results and the social aspects to Google+. To make it more confusing, as a business, you update or manage your Google+ local information inside of Google+.

And it's harder than ever to explain to "mere mortals" how to write a review on Google+.

To read a nice update, click here.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Google Reviews: Formerly Google+ Reviews

Google is clearly "up to something" with Google Local reviews. You can no longer "see" a business's reviews in the "new" format of Google+. You can only see them on Google maps via a Google search result.

For potential reviewers, the new instructions to write a review on your business are to go FIRST to Google maps, find your company, and then write a review. So bye-bye Google+ for reviews.

For the official Google instructions on how to write a review, go here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Automated AdWords: Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Many vendors use what is called "dynamic keyword insertion" on AdWords. You gotta love it when it goes awry.

Here's an example:

Here's a link to their landing page. It's obviously TOY Brahman Cattle. But if you're a rancher, looking to find some Brahman cattle (which weigh, on average, 2000 lbs), free shipping is definitely going to be a Christmas bargain!

As for those of us who do AdWords, be careful with "Dynamic Keyword Insertion" as you could get some pretty weird clicks!

Here's another one. Did you know you can buy "Smelly cats" on Amazon?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Neuromarketing and the Pepsi Challenge

I have just concluded my Personal Branding class at Stanford.  The students - as usual - were fantastic.  I gain so much from my students at Stanford - I should PAY them for the privilege of teaching the course!

Neuromarketing and the Pepsi Challenge
Any way, one of my students (Sonia Lopez Sanchez), shared her project on Neuromarketing (of which) I am only vaguely aware.  So I looked it up on (where else?) Wikipedia.

Here's some food for thought.

In a study from the group of Read Montague published in 2004 in Neuron,[9] 67 people had their brains scanned while being given the "Pepsi Challenge", a blind taste test of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Half the subjects chose Pepsi, since Pepsi tended to produce a stronger response than Coke in their brain's ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a region thought to process feelings of reward. But when the subjects were told they were drinking Coke three-quarters said that Coke tasted better. Their brain activity had also changed. The lateral prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that scientists say governs high-level cognitive powers, and the hippocampus, an area related to memory, were now being used, indicating that the consumers were thinking about Coke and relating it to memories and other impressions. The results demonstrated that Pepsi should have half the market share, but in reality consumers are buying Coke for reasons related less to their taste preferences and more to their experience with the Coke brand.

Source: (emphasis added).

And people say "marketing doesn't matter" ha ha.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

AdWords Preview Tool: Great for Mobile SEO Checkups!

If you are doing "Mobile SEO," you'd want to see whether your company shows up in mobile, and be able to vary things like your physical location and/or the type of device (iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, etc.).

AdWords Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

Guess what?  Google AdWords ( has a tool called the Ad Preview Tool, and it does just that.  Here's how to get to it:

  1. Login to your AdWords account at  You MUST have an account to use the tool - just set one up with a credit card (you do NOT have to spend money, you just have to have an account).
  1. On the top menu, click on the far right pull-down: Tools > Ad Preview & Diagnosis.  Here's a screenshot:

Next, enter your target keyword phrase, and on the far left, select the mobile device you want to use.  Here's a screenshot:

Now Even Better: a Realistic-Looking Phone Simulation!

It gets better: Google is upgrading the phone interface so you get a really good-looking and realistic view as to what your ad and/or organic result looks like on the phone.  Here's a screenshot:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Revlon Love Test: What Goes Viral, and Why?

Deconstructing Love (and Viral Videos)

I woke up this morning, checked something on YouTube and saw the big, bold red banner by Revlon the LOVE TEST:

Revlon Love Test: What Goes Viral and Why?

Watch the video - it's inspirational, moving, funny, provocative, and sexy. Read the comments on YouTube: the video is clearing touching people's hearts, not surprisingly as it speaks to the greatest enigma of the human experience: love.

Here it is:

Revlon Love Test: Choose Love

Deconstructing ~

"Revlon: Love Test: Choose Love"

OK, stop crying. 

Let's be cynical marketers and deconstruct the video (which as of 6 am Pacific time / October 22, 2015 has 467,440 views - yes, it's "going viral"). What's going on here in terms of marketing? 

What are Revlon's objectives? 
And what are Revlon's methods?

#1 - Revlon wants to sell more cosmetics. The subtext of the video is that if women take a little time each day, and use Revlon cosmetics, they will not only look better, they'll feel better. They'll have better self-esteem and (subtext), they'll be more loving, more sexy, and more sexual to their partners.

  • The video has a marketing purpose: build the Revlon brand. It links up to a special Revlon "love test" page at Guess what, the key "todo" relates to using cosmetics.
#2 - The subject (LOVE), or is it SEX? It's an emotional, hot-button issue. The "masses" love to talk about love (and sex), and the enigmatic relationship between men and women... this is a subject of never-ending speculation and interest.

  • The video is about a "hot topic," and it's an "emotional" topic (and therefore encourages social sharing).
#2b - The subject (SEX) is still somewhat forbidden, so the video is somewhat "titillating," a little "taboo"

  • A "forbidden" or "taboo" topic, creating a "gosh-they-can't-be-talking-about-that" lends some "shock" value to the video (and therefore encourages social sharing). 

#3 - People. The video is shot against a stark white background, making the people stand out, and most of the people are quite good-looking.

  • People like people, and even more so, people like to look at good-looking people talking about intimate (forbidden?) topics.
#4 - Promotion. The video has a massive advertising budget behind it! It's being promoted on the FRONT PAGE of YouTube.

  • "You can't start a fire without a spark" (Bruce Springsteen). To "go viral" a video needs fuel, and that initial fuel is advertising, influencer marketing, and other behind-the-scenes efforts to get it "going."
In addition, if you visit the "Love Test" page on Revlon, it asks you to share your results on Instagram and Twitter. So - 

Spark > Fuel > Fire > Spread
Advertising > Provocative, Emotional Content > Social Shares > Spread

Enjoy the video. Ponder what you might do that would have the same viral uptake. For extra credit, ponder how you might make some viral or heavily shared content without the big budget of Revlon.

Oh, and stop being so cynical. Love someone today. Be kind to each other.

~ Jason McDonald

Monday, October 19, 2015

Google vs. Apple on the Open Web

Google: Penalize sites that promote apps.
Apple: Encourage growth of apps to overwhelm the open Web
Us: Caught in the middles

Says the New York Times - 

Google vs. Apple
That situation has been made even harder by some recent moves by Apple and Google. Last month, Apple enabled ads to be blocked on mobile websites on iPhones and iPads, which threatened to hurt publishers that relied on such ads for revenue. And next month, Google will start penalizing websites that use pop-up screens to promote their apps by placing them lower in search engine results, a move that some have called “app blocking.”

Friday, September 18, 2015

Google Local Guides: Who Knew?

Google+ Local, formerly called Google Local or Google My Business (Who really knows what the official name of Google's local service is?)... launched a service in February called "Google Local Guides." 

Unlike Yelp, Google has never successfully built a community around its local service, and the fact that Google+ is pretty much a flop hasn't help. That said, it looks like a major shake-up is in motion at Google with respect to both Google+ and local.

And - today - I actually received some spam from Google asking me to join and be a guide. So they're maybe kinda sortta trying to promote Google+ Local and build it into a viable social media, competitor to Yelp.

One can hope.

Here's the spam they sent me:

Google Local Guides - Who Knew?

The idea is like Yelp Elites to motivate and reward a bunch of do-it-yourself, passionate local reviewers. 

Resources on Google Local Guides

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ad Blocker Software: I'm Going to the Dark Side

I am going to the dark side: blocking ads. I've been in business since 1994 on the Internet, making my first money off of an advertising-supported site, Generally speaking, I recognize that ads support the "free" content on the Internet, and I am decidely NOT against ads.

I am Not Against Ads. I am Against Slowness

But... we're reaching the tipping point.

Ad Blocking Software
My Web browsing is getting slower and slower and slower. I was recently at Content Marketing World in Cleveland, and at one of the presentations (on advertising), the jolly presenter talked about ad-serving software, and all the wonderful data it gave advertisers (on me and my habits). I'm not opposed to that: I recognize that "personally non-identifiable" information isn't bad - I'd like to get relevant ads.

I don't mind ads.

Ads Slow Down Your Browsing

What I DO mind is slowness. As I watched the presenter, I realized that it was the ad serving - the remarketing, the lookups to ad networks, the "slow waiting till they figure out who I am, what demographic and what I am" that is SLOWING DOWN MY WEB BROWSER.

So here I am: going to the dark side.

I simply Googled "ad blocker for chrome" and installed the #1 result from the Chrome store (rather ironic, no?).  AdBlock.

Note to all Internet advertisers: you gotta increase the SPEED of advertising if you want us to play nice. Until then, I'm blocking ads.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Google Wants to Hire an SEO (And It Reveals Some Things About Google)

Google SEO
Search Engine Land found something quite funny: Google has a hiring post out that it's looking to hire an "SEO expert."  Ha, ha, ha. This has been picked up by the media, ironically, as if Google doesn't understand its own algorithm, and need someone to "game the system" to get to the top of Google.

Read the Google SEO Job Posting

You can read it -

Google (Still) Believes in Technical SEO!

Humor, aside, if you read the job posting it tells you some interesting things about Google, or at least about the mindset about the person who brainstormed the job offer.

First and foremost, the job offer is all about "technical SEO." Despite what Google has been telling the world (for years now), that you "just need to write good content" and "write for humans" and "not for search engines," to get this job at Google you need -

  • BA/BS degree in Computer Science, Engineering or equivalent practical experience.
  • 4 years of experience developing websites and applications with SQL, HTML5, and XML.
  • 2 years of SEO experience.Experience with Google App Engine, Google Custom Search, Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics and experience creating and maintaining project schedules using project management systems.

And preferred skills -

  • Experience working with back-end SEO elements such as .htaccess, robots.txt, metadata and site speed optimization to optimize website performance.
  • Experience in quantifying marketing impact and SEO performance and strong understanding of technical SEO (sitemaps, crawl budget, canonicalization, etc.).
  • Knowledge of one or more of the following: Java, C/C++, or Python.
  • Excellent problem solving and analytical skills with the ability to dig extensively into metrics and analytics.

No Marketing Skills Required

So, you don't need to know anything about content, much about marketing, next to nothing about how humans think or dream or feel or brainstorm their needs for new products or services. You just need to be a computer science expert, and be able to code. Because if you can code, you can do SEO: 4 years of experience in SQL, HTML5, and XML, to be precise, is what you "need" to "do SEO."

Not a word about link-building or traditional outreach to get other sites to link back to, and mention your own.

And not a word about social (Google+ anyone? Twitter anyone?). Not only do you need to know next to nothing about how to produce interesting, lively content but you also don't need to bother with how and why people might share or interact with that content on social media.

Is SEO Technical or is it Content or is it Social?

SEO, historically, has been the domain of computer science nerds. Definitely, being good with HTML code (in particular) and good with some basic "best practices" in terms of tag structure, and website architecture, still helps a great deal. But today - more than ever - good SEO is not only about those technical skills. It is also about content marketing, about the human factor, and about social media.

I am always reminding people it's not content marketing OR technical SEO. It's content marketing AND SEO. It's social media marketing AND SEO...

The fact that this job posting says next to nothing about those skillsets tells us a lot about the mentality at Google, and about how still - today - it remains quite feasible to "game the Google system" through technical SEO. As well as about how people still perceive SEO largely as a technical skill, when in reality it is a marketing skill with technical aspects (not a technical skill with marketing aspects). But that tirade is the subject of a different blog post.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Google+ Bashing: Yelp Has It Right (But It's Google's World)

Today's New York Times has a very provocative article about a study conducted by Tim Wu of Columbia University on local search results. Essentially, Wu presented people with local search results in two ways - 

  • With the Google+ "snack pack" of local search results
  • Without these results, showing the older "traditional" search results, excluding the "snack pack" of local.
It's Google's World; we just live in it.
According to Wu and the study (financed by Google competitor Yelp), consumers strongly preferred the second set of results. Essentially the study argues that Google is systematically giving preferences to Google+ local results OVER the "better" Google organic results.

Yelp also financed an infomercial website called Focus on the User and a YouTube video explaining it.  All of this argues that Google is using its monopoly search power to give preference to its own local system, Google+ Local (now renamed Google My Business) over Yelp's competitive local system.

As Consumers and Citizens

As consumers and citizens, we should care a lot about this problem. Generally speaking, I agree with Yelp: Google is indeed systematically favoring its own Google+ network, and in fact, often shows us "worse" results than we'd get if we just scrolled down and ignored the Google+ results. It's an open secret among SEO experts that just a few reviews, some good citations on other local cites, and some on page cross-linking and content around local search words can easily propel a vendor "up" (quite dramatically) on local search results.

Is that good for consumers? Probably not, but it just speaks to the very competitive nature of local SEO. If local search matters to your business, and you're not playing the local SEO / influence Google+ local game, you are losing out to competitors in a big, big way.

As consumers and citizens, we should care about this dispute, and probably lobby our elected representatives to regulate Google (or at least investigate it) to make results more accurate and less biased towards Google properties.

As Marketers: It's Google's World, We Just Live In It

As marketers, however, we are "takers" and not "makers" of this world. It's a fact that many searches (Yelp says 1/3) are local. And it's a fact that Google+ results often dominate the positions high on the page.

And it's fact that if local matters to your business, you had better take Google+ seriously and work hard at local SEO, which means work hard at Google+ local, especially soliciting Google+ reviews from customers.

It's Google's world.  We just live in it.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Keyword Example of Why The Google Monopoly is Bad

It's late Friday afternoon, and I'm checking in on my Feedly. Feedly is one of my favorite news aggregators, and I came across 'Through the Google Lense,' which is an official column by Google on trends in search queries.

Google as a Monopoly
Through the Google Lense is pretty sad when you drill into it. Why? Because the tool its actually based on - Google Trends - is in and of itself a sad little tool. Google Trends gives you only the most basic access to search query trends on Google: you can compare two words to each other, but you can't really drill into words (phrases, synonyms, related words, etc.) and you can't really do much with the data, quantity or value of search terms.

You can't really customize Google Trends to any significant degree.  So it's a more a temptation than a tool.

Why is that? The reason, I submit to you - dear reader - is that Google is a monopoly, and like all monopolies, Google stifles innovation.

If It Walks Like a Duck, It Stifles Innovation

For all intents and purposes, Google is a monopoly. Do you use Bing? Yahoo? I thought so. Ask your friends, family, business colleagues, mom, dad... does anyone willingly use Bing or Yahoo? Not really, and so Google is a monopoly when it comes to search. 

(According to the latest public data, Google has about a 75% market share (here), although people like me who work in search and who have access to client data would estimate it more like 90% or even more.)

Now, if you took Econ 101 in college, you learned that monopolies are bad. For many reasons. One of them is that they stiffle innovation

Does Google stifle innovation? Well, let's take a look at the data it releases on keyword search queries.

Keyword Tools and The Fingerprints of Monopoly

Let's look at search queries (keywords), as an example, and the data available to the public on keyword-driven search queries. Take Google trends.  As Rodney Dangerfield used to say, Take Google trends, please. And fix it. And make it robust. And make it real-time. And make it so I can input a term like 'Hillary Clinton Email' or 'California Drought,' and get real-time results, into which I can drill. 

Make it like Buzzsumo. Now there's a tool that can blow your minds about what's trending, where, how, and why.

Example No. 1 of the Google Monopoly Effect: Google Trends

Google trends is a fixed window on the search world: Google's window, defined by Google. Now, yes you can make small adjustments, but you can't really drill into months vs. years, this keyword vs. that keyword. Just compare it for a moment to Buzzsumo, and you'll get my drift.

I love and adore Buzzsumo. Google trends makes me want to cry. 

If we had some competition - say two, or three, or four search engines - they might see the incredible market opportunity in creating a paid search query trend tool, with a freemium Buzzsumo like structure.

It would be AWESOME. You and I could drill into search queries, compare this one with that one, drill into today, drill out to last month, compare exact queries to phrase match queries and on and on and on.  We could see trends, watch them emerge and combine our own innovative quest for insight with the second-by-second emerging data on what people are searching for now.

But no, we're stuck with sad pathetic Google Trends.  And an official 'from on high' report called 'Thru the Google lense.'  Through the Google Lense just makes me angry: it tells me obvious things, like people are searching for bikers, NBA, and David Letterman, all of which you can tell just by reading the news!

Can we - the mere user - drill into trends? Nope. Can we create our own 'Through the Jason lense' on keywords and trends we care about? Nope, nope, nope. The effect of the Google monopoly is little, if any, innovation into what has to be an incredibly important topic: what are people searching for in real-time, and how can a journalist, a marketer, a PTA president, or a USA president get real-time intelligence into the collective thirst for knowledge?

We can't get to that data because the keeper of the keys, Google, doesn't let anyone but Google have access to the real data.

Example No. 2: the Google Keyword Planner

Here's a second example.

The AdWords Keyword Planner is the fountainhead of data about how people search Google. It replaced a much more robust keyword tool, but because Google has a near monopoly on search, you can't do much with the "new and improved" (sic) tool. The most important example being that you can't compare search phrases with exact search queries.

You can't ask the Keyword Planner to tell you, how many monthly searches there are for the phrase "divorce attorney" vs. the exact search query [divorce attorney] not to mention drill into a search like "divorce attorney and child custody" and see any significant data about trends, related search terms, or close synonyms or adjacent searches.

If you are a marketer doing AdWords, SEO, or even Social Media, this limitation means more than half of your job is to "guess" what people for searching for, in what quantities and with what relationships to other terms.

The Google monopoly stifles any real innovation into keyword tools; the paid tools depend on Google's data stream, and therefore, they - too - can't really do anything wonderful.

The fountainhead of data - Google - has that data, and it ain't sharing. Google could build an incredible, wonderful, insightful tool into search queries, share that data with customers and the public, and we'd all live in a better world because we'd have much better data about who's searching for what, when, where, and how.

If search were only a competitive marketplace, we'd have three, fix, six, Buzzsumo's of search telling us the volume, value, and trends of every search query on the planet.

But it's not, and we don't.  But we have Buzzsumo and we have social, and that - dear reader - is beginning to do an end run around the terrible, rotten, horrible scraps of tools that are Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner.

Oh, and case you were thinking that I work for Buzzsumo or have some commercial relationship, I don't. It's just an amazing tool, and it deserves a lot of attention from anyone involved in Internet marketing. Check it out, and then toggle over to the Google tools. And cry.

Monday, May 18, 2015

SEO Factory Social Media Factory AdWords Factory

Andy Warhol (who happens to be my favorite artist) called his workshop in New York City, the factory.  The concept being that he didn't "make art." He orchestrated the production of "stuff," which may or may not have been art. Warhol played with the continuum of where mass production ends and where art begins or vice-versa. Mad Men would have been proud of him, as he was both thoroughly commercial and thoroughly brilliant.

The SEO / Social Media Marketing / AdWords Factory

SEO Factory
How does the "factory" pertain to SEO / Social Media Marketing / AdWords? Well, many people think of this marketing task like ART: create the PERFECT website (one time), create the PERFECT Facebook Page (one time). It's a "work of art" and once done, it's done. Not to mention it takes a long, long time to produce.

That's not how to think about it!

You want to think about it like Andy Warhol: your SEO / Social Media / Adwords is a factory:

  • Goals come in.
  • Keywords come in.
  • Content is produced (e.g., blog posts, infographics, memes).
  • Content is promoted (via SEO / Social / Advertising).
  • Results are measured: traffic, time on page, goals in Google Analytics, likes on Facebook...
Then it's rinse and repeat. We live in a "content marketing" world and so you have to get good at being a factory: chug chug chug chug goes the content marketing machine.

Are You an Artist or a Factory Worker?

If you think you're an artist, you're in the wrong profession. If you think that being a factory worker is not as good, you don't understand Andy Warhol.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Details Details Details: AdWords & Details

I love AdWords! I hate AdWords! It's all about the details. Meaning

  • Do you know your keywords?  Really know your keywords: which ones are "transactional," which ones are "converters," which ones are "dogs?"
  • Do you write strong ads that ATTRACT customers and REPEL non-customers?
  • Do you have a strong landing page that leads to a CONVERSION?
And - have you forgotten about SEO? Can you get what you're PAYING for with AdWords for FREE via SEO?

Spell Check Your Ads

Oh, and as a Harvard Alum - shout out to Harvard.  Do you SPELL CHECK your ads? You gotta kinda sortta look intelligent on your ads.  See screenshot of currently running Harvard ad.

A guy walks up to the "8 items or less" aisle at a store in Cambridge, MA, with 25 items. The clerk asks, "Are you from Harvard and can't count, or from MIT and can't read?"

AdWords and Details: Harvard Can't Spell
Click to see Full Image

Friday, May 8, 2015

Quality vs. Quantity vs. Promotion on Your Blog

Food for thought on a Friday. AWeber had an informative webinar by a company called LeadPages. As is so often the case in these free webinars, the presentation was pretty cheesy, and felt a bit like being at the state fair: it slices, it dices, but wait - there's more!

Blog Promotion
I enjoyed it, however.  The product looks good, especially for those who are not good at Web design.  It helps you make quick landing pages for ad campaigns, email signups, or any other type of offer for which you want to "squeeze" out an email sign up.

The Takeaway: Good Enough Content Beats Great Content

Here's the unusual take-away. The presenter indicated that in their experience "high quality" information can be easily trumped by "low quality" information. The somewhat cynical idea being don't stress so much about having to produce the ultimate, best content. Just produce "good enough" content, and use it as your "carrot" to capture an email address or lead.

The rules might be - 

  • Create GOOD ENOUGH content not PERFECT content.
  • Promote this via advertising, social media, SEO, etc.
  • Capture Leads

"The perfect is the enemy of the good," ~Voltaire

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

AdWords Livestream: What You Kinda Shoulda Otta Know Sorta

Google had an important AdWords livestream today, and you can watch the really really long 45 minute video, here.  Unfortunately, it's very long and they talk v e e e e e r r r r r y y y  s l  o o o o  w.  So here's my wrap up.

AdWords Livestream 2015
  • Mobile, mobile, mobile.  Google wants everyone to "go mobile," and that includes AdWords. So it's all about mobile these days. Now, whether that works for you is another matter. A lot of these "searches" on mobile are very consumer-oriented, and not particularly in-depth. So if you are in restaurants, auto's or big brands... mobile may be great. If your product is complicated and not phone-friendly, then the phone might not be for you.  Tablets and PC's might be better - but Google has completely and utterly drunk the mobile koolaide, as if "everything" were mobile.  Sorta kinda maybe.
  • Apps. Some new stuff is coming out in Apps, including app promotion tools and ads are coming to the Google Play store (there's a beta out there).
  • Conversions. Google would like you (and your boss) to realize that AdWords can drive conversions not from the click, but before the click before the click before the click, so new conversion-tracking lets AdWords claim more conversions than ever before! Not to be a total cynic, but they have a marketing study, here, that "proves" that the GDN can drive an increase in total traffic.
  • AdWords Changes. AdWords is improving "automated bidding" as well as "dynamic search ads." As for the latter... be careful because if your website doesn't do SEO well, that means it doesn't talk to Google well... so it's hard to see how the Google Spider could do a good job of creating "dynamic search ads." Alternatively, if you ARE doing SEO well, then you already know your keywords, and you can probably do a much better job than the Googlebot. So what's the point there? Oh, and they're toying with allowing more visual, more emotional ads, starting with - wait for it - the big car brands.  Oh, the on the GDN (Google Display Network) ads will no resize.
That's my wrap-up. Here are links to other perspectives - 

Oh, and you can read the official blog post, here, on the official AdWords blog.

Facebook and Video: Ads and More

Facebook is going ga-ga for video... What's interesting here is that (finally!) YouTube has a contender that could really contend (sorry Vizio). Facebook wants you to 
Facebook and Video Ads

  • Upload your videos to Facebook
  • Share your videos via Facebook
  • Watch videos on Facebook
  • Advertise videos on Facebook
And foggetta about YouTube.  You can learn more about Facebook for videos here  (as a user) and here (as an advertiser). For information specifically about video ads on Facebook, click here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Google Takeout: How to Backup Your Google Stuff via Google Takeout

Do you like takeout?  Or as the Brits say "take-away?" Well, if you use Google services like Gmail, Google Docs, Hangouts, etc., Google has a semi-secret service called "Google Takeout." It will back up your data, and you can download it as a ZIP file.
How to Use Google Takeout

Very useful and nifty if you 

a) get locked out of your Google account or hacked
b) Google goes crazy and does even more nefarious things than usual with your so-called "private" data (privacy... how quaint).
c) you want Microsoft-formats of your stuff.

If you depend - as I do - on Google services, Takeout is a fabulous thing to know about.  (They don't do a great job promoting it, of course).

Using Takeout to Backup your Google Files

  • Log in to your Google account (just go to and make sure you see your name / picture in the top right - or click on the blue LOGIN button on the top right.
  • Go to Google Takeout by clicking on
  • Follow the instructions to select everything, or just certain things to "backup."
Google will then email you the archive as a ZIP file, and presto - you're backed up in case of a total meltdown of the worldwide Internet.

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's Mobilegeddan. It's the MOpocalypse. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid!

Well Google is doing "something new," or rather unprecedented: threatening a major algorithm update - IN ADVANCE.  Giving everyone "plenty of warning," and spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) among all Internet marketers.

Tomorrow - April 21, 2015 - is the day known as "mobilegeddon" or the "Mopocalpyse," the former term beating out the latter.

Google's Mobilegeddan!
Basically, Google is threatening that if your website is not mobile-friendly, be prepared to drop in the SERPS (search engine results page) rankings like an Motorola Razr outside of an Apple Store when the iPhone 7 comes out.

So - 

  1. Is your website "mobile friendly?"  Check it by Googling it on a mobile phone, or going to Google's mobile check site, here
  2. Do you get a lot, or a little, traffic from mobile visitors?  Is so, be afraid - very afraid.  If not, not so much.

The Big Question: One Algorithm or Two?

Now, it's not completely clear if Google will have one algorithm for BOTH desktop AND mobile, or two separate algorithms (meaning, you could rank WELL for the desktop and poorly for the phone) - 

  1. One algorithm for the desktop, and a separate for the phone (Scenario #1).
  2. One algorithm for BOTH the desktop AND the phone, with a severe penalty for websites that are NOT mobile friendly (on both desktop and phone).

But, Google does seem to emphasize "mobile first" in everything these days, so it's a good bet that a poor ranking on mobile will indeed hurt your desktop performance.  (I am betting on #2, especially for the long-term).

Become Mobile Friendly: Yesterday if Not Sooner

So, yes, Virginia, you need to be mobile friendly.  We'll all start learning tomorrow to what extent, and how rapidly you need to adjust (in case you haven't already).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Local SEO Update: Big Changes Coming to Local?

Google's may be planning big changes to local.  Yikes!

Local search is incredibly important because

  • Many searches are "local" in character - e.g., "Pizza," or "Massage Therapist."
  • Many other searches which you might not think are "local" actually are e.g., SEO Expert.
  • Google+, though hardly a huge social media success, is the #1 interconnect between Google and local.

To boot, Google+ can help you "control" your branded searches, and by getting you local reviews make you AWESOME. For example, search for the JM Internet Group on Google.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Top Online eLearning Sites: Lynda LinkedIn and Learning

You may have heard the news that LinkedIn is acquiring, one of the most successful eLearning sites. As someone who is very involved in elearning - both online and off - that makes me think, and give some thought to the whole eLearning industry. 

Who are the leaders? What's going on here?

Top Online eLearning Sites
Some pro's about eLearning: learning online means anyone, anywhere and almost anytime can learn. For many small or esoteric topics (e.g., sexual harassment training for a company, or how to use PowerPoint for presentations), this opens up many new possibilities. It allows employers to more easily train workers, and it brings learning to cities like Tulsa or Omaha that do not have the depth of learning opportunities that San Francisco or New York have.

It means anyone, anywhere, can take a class on Java programming or a class on how to use PowerPoint.  That's really cool.

Top eLearning Sites

Here are some of the top eLearning sites - 

  • - soon to be part of LinkedIn, and focused on a cornucopia of office-oriented offerings.  It's very inexpensive, but sometimes the classes seem to be really boring and the teachers uninspiring.
  • - similar to I find many of the courses low quality and out-of-date, however.  (They seem to let almost anyone teach a course!)
  • - similar to Udemy and  However, has some origins in Academia and more "MOOC-type" courses.
  • Khan Academy - this one focuses more on elementary, Junior High and High school education in science and math.  This one has the most enthusiasm, in my opinion.
edX is a portal that consolidates eLearning from major universities. 

Some con's about eLearning. Some of the sites (Udemy comes to mind) seem to going more after quantity than quality, and clearly many of the Udemy classes in SEO and Social Media are little more than marketing ploys by companies that have products and services to sell.  So there is a conflation of "real" classes with "marketing" classes, which is a problem at many real-world trade shows.

Clearly, when content goes online, quality often gives way to quantity. Cat videos on YouTube anyone?

Learning or Marketing?

So the question often becomes: 

  • Is this a "real" class or is this a "marketing pitch?"

A final company in this space is BizLibrary, which focuses on employer / employee training and creates much of its own content. It's more focused on the employer / employee niche.

A Space to Watch

eLearning is clearly an exciting space, but like online music and online video, it's getting pretty cluttered and there is a lot of very low quality content out there mixing in with the truly high quality content.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Need for Speed: PageSpeed and SEO (and You)

Time is money. In lots of ways. Way #1. Get fast Internet for your business.  The fastest you can possibly get. Comcast, for example, has "gaming" Internet which is incredibly fast - a lot, lot faster than AT&T universe.

Back East, they have FIBER which is even faster than Comcast.

Time is Money

PageSpeed and SEO
Time is money. Every second that you (or an employee) waits and waits and waits is time lost, money lost, effort lost.

As for your consumers, the same difference. If your website is slow, they'll leave. If your website is slow (especially) on mobile, they'll leave (and Google will hate you).

A fast Internet connection for you. A fast website for them.

The need for speed.

Check your internet speed

Monday, April 6, 2015

20 Great April Fool's Gags by Corporations

Hey, fool. It's over. Here's a list of 20 great corporate April Fool's gags.

Automatically Schedule a Post on Google+

Google+ may be dying (or not).  No one seems to know. But one thing that would be so useful would be the ability to schedule posts, or even to connect a Google+ profile with Hootsuite.

  • Unfortunately, that seems impossible.

One solution?  A chrome extension called DoShare.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Amazon Giveaways and Social Media Marketing: Something New!

Amazon has a new program called aptly "Amazon Giveaways." Essentially - 

  1. Brainstorm a reason WHY you want a Giveaway.  For example, use a giveaway contest as a way to "get followers" on Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Find a product on Amazon to "giveway" in exchange for an action.  You can use your own product if it's on Amazon!
  3. Set up the giveaway via Amazon, and you pay only for the product and shipping.
  4. Promote your giveaway on Social Media.

Amazon Giveaways - Social Media Marketing
Amazon is making it "easy" to set up a giveaway promotion (and of course "easy" to sell more stuff via Amazon).

More Information on Amazon Giveaways

Here are links for more information -