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Five most important search marketing news stories of the week

December 2, 2016
Buster the Boxer from the John Lewis Christmas advert 2016

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from the world of search marketing and beyond.

This week, wevegot key trends in content marketing for 2017; why social media is the preferred channel for product launches; and how to use an Exact Match Domain (EMD) without being penalised for spam by Google. And in probably unsurprising news, John Lewis annual heartwarming Christmas ad is this years best performing yet.

The eight most important content marketing trends in 2017

Its December already, and you know what that means every publication you follow will be winding down for the end of the year by reviewing the highlights of 2016, while simultaneously gearing up for next year by making predictions for 2017.

Tereza Litsa has given us an early start on Search Engine Watchs sister site ClickZ with a round-up of the eight most important content marketing trends were likely to see in 2017. From personalisation to ephemeral content, VR and AI, shes listed the key trends and practices that will make content marketing in 2017 easier and more effective. Follow the link to read more, and decide whether or not you agree!

Marketers are turning to social media for product launches

A new study by marketing communications firm Five by Five has found that nearly three-quarters of marketers (74%) consider social media to be the highest-priority medium for promoting new products.

The study polled over 700 marketers in the US, the UK and Australia to find which marketing channels they consider to be the most important for product launches. Behind social media, sales promotions and email were the second- and third-most popular promotional channels, respectively.

Al Roberts took a look at the studys findings for Search Engine Watch and delved into why social is the top choice for marketers looking to promote a new product and whether its enough to generate buzz.


What is an Exact Match Domain (EMD), and how can you safely use one?

Exact Match Domains, or EMDs, can be a tempting way to try and boost your website to the top of search rankings. An EMD is a domain name which exactly matches a keyword or search term youre hoping to target such as

ButEMDs, more often than not, tend to be employed by spammy websites, harming the quality of search results and running the risk of incurring a penalty by Google for their practices. As Christopher Ratcliff wrote for Search Engine Watch,

EMDs have been long thought of as having an unfair advantage.

As opposed to websites that rise to the top of Google through quality content, solid architecture, trusted backlinks and assorted other white hat best practices, Exact Match Domains can just rise to the top by shoe-horning in a few tasty keywords.

Is there a way to use an EMD safely, or is it another black hat technique that self-respecting SEOs should avoid? Christopher takes a look at the pros and cons of EMDs, and how EMD users can stay on the right side of Google.

Share this article Related articles Everything you need to know about changes to the local press

The regional press has come under enormous pressure in recent years from the twin challenges of falling advertising sales and the growth of online news. Yet local news outlets are still a highly trusted form of media, and attract the most effective response to adverts.

What this means for the world of marketing is that while PRs should never underestimate the importance of the regional press, the challenges mentioned above have given rise to drastic changes in the way the local papers now look and work.

Andrew Brookes has written a thorough breakdown for Search Engine Watch of how these titles have changed, how the changes affect your marketing efforts, and the best way to adapt to them in order to ensure a good response.

Too many spam messages in email

Buster the Boxer tops the most shared ads of 2016

The annual John Lewis Christmas ad is an institution, managing every year to become one of the most memorable adverts on TV, and creating a formula that many other advertisers have sought to emulate.

This years #BustertheBoxer ad is no exception and has managed to beat even John Lewis own records. Christopher Ratcliff reported on Search Engine Watchs sister site, ClickZ, that the ad has topped the list of Unrulys Top 20 Global Video Ads to become the most shared ad of 2016, with close to 2 million shares. Since its launch on 9th November, #BustertheBoxer has become the 5th most shared Christmas ad of all time, and the most shared John Lewis ad ever.

In his article for ClickZ, Christopher runs down the other top charting ads this year, and takes a look at the methodology used in Unrulys rankings. And if you havent seen #BustertheBoxer yet, give it a watch below its a goodun.

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Want to stay on top of the latest search trends?Get top insights and news from our search experts.

Related reading thinkstockphotos-75493950 The regional press still carries great importance. Wrongly maligned in some quarters, the stats almost speak for themselves.

Homer Simpson peers at a newspaper with the headline: Parade to distract joyless citizenry. Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from the world of search marketing and beyond.

/IMG/783/335783/harry-s-truman-generously-lets-one-turkey-live-370x229 To all of our readers and anyone else who has swung by accidentally thinking that this is an actual search engine, a very happy thanksgiving from us all!

facebook gender options Last week Metro Bank became the first financial institution to offer a gender neutral option for both its staff and customers.

Sustainable competitive advantages in digital marketing - Search Engine Land

September 14, 2016

Its amazing how often I have conversations with people that focus solely on how they can invest $1 and get back $3 or more in a month or less. Sounds great, of course, but the problem is that every single one of your competitors is likely chasing that same $3, so finding these opportunities and successfully executing them is far more difficult than it seems.

Contrast that with the concept of investing in projects that dont have a payoff for six months or more. There are far fewer companies willing to do that, but heres the thing: Thats what makes these opportunities so awesome. Imagine the benefits if you focus your energy in a direction that most of your competition doesnt have the will to pursue.

That puts you in a place where you are building competitive advantage for your business. If its hard for your competition to replicate, and you can continue to build on the lead that youve built, thats what you call a sustainable competitive advantage.

Definition of Sustainable Competitive Advantage

In todays post, Im going to address the importance of sustainable competitive advantages, and where those opportunities lie in the worlds of SEO and digital marketing.

What is a sustainable competitive advantage?

The last two words are what most people understand fairly readily, and thats the concept of having something that your competitors dont. The first word is where the great majority of companies struggle, and failure to build a sustainable advantage is a major reason many companies fail.

What sustainability addresses is whether or not its easy for your competition to erase your competitive advantage. In other words, if you have a competitive advantage, but it takes less than 30 days for your competition to catch up, how much use is it?

Venture capitalists expect anyone pitching them in an effort to obtain an investment to demonstrate that their competitive advantage is sustainable. It just makes sense. Why invest money in a business that only has a 30-day, or even six-month advantage? VCs want a long-term sustainable advantage, and whether or not you have investors, so should you.

Types of sustainable competitive advantages in digital marketing

There are many ways to build a sustainable competitive advantage in digital marketing. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Become seen as a leading authority

Can you (or your business) become the one that media and influencers ask for quotes to include in their content? In many industries, this will result in awesome visibility on an ongoing basis, as related articles about your market space will result in many mentions and links.

I demonstrated this in our most recent study,Links Still Matter. Get enough links and youll have a killer link profile, and thats what makes this advantage a big deal for your digital marketing strategy. Build enough of a gap in that link profile, and it can potentially take a competitor years to catch up.

Pulling Away From the Pack2. Createvastly superior content

There are many ways to do this, such as assembling a massive number of user reviews (examples: Amazon and TripAdvisor). The number of available reviews, and the quality of those reviews, is a clear differentiator for both these companies, and its very hard for anyone else to replicate what they have.

Another idea is to invest a lot in unbelievably good content. For example, consider the example of retail sites.

For a long time, SEOs have noted the challenge with having exactly the same product descriptions as many other companies selling the same product. This led many companies to invest in rewriting those product descriptions, but at the end of it all, their rewritten content presented no new information. Thats NOT vastly superior content; its just a new form of article spinning.

Consider instead getting expert opinions on how to use the product or service on the page. Or getting users to contribute content on how they are using the product. Neither of these are easy to do, but if you invest in it and your competition doesnt, you can gain a critical edge over the competition.

Another way to accomplish this is to invest in a sustained way in a high-end content marketing strategy. With our investments in data-driven studies, this is obviously a big focus for Stone Temple.

3. Rule a social media platform

It would, of course, probably be very difficult for you to decide to establish a dominant presence on Facebook. Chances are, a lot of your competition is already there, and you may already be active there as well so its a little late to decide to do it on Facebook.

But consider embracing a new and upcoming platform that others arent active on yet. When social media platforms are new, and their level of adoption is uncertain, its amazingly easy to build a killer presence there. The early adopters of a new social media player readily flock to brands that embrace the new platform and its unique characteristics. But as the social media site/app gets more established, this is no longer quite as easy to replicate.

If you can jump in early, you can do quite well for yourself. A great example of this is what BestMade has done with Instagram.

Best Made on Instagram4. Build a vastly superior user experience

This is another area that companies typically under-invest in, and thats what makes it an opportunity. There are many ways to pursue this, including:

Conduct usability testing and implementrefinements on an ongoing basis. Users will remember if your site is far easier to use, and it can keep them coming back.Build a site thats unbelievably fast. This is a specific way to build a superior experience. One way to do this is to consider implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages.Make a fantastic mobile experience. Site speed is one way to do this, but the other is to adopt a mobile-first mentality. Redesign your site and mock up your mobile experience first;work on your desktop version only after your design for the mobile site is complete.5. Build a passionately loyal audience

This includes many elements that people sometimes refer to as brand or reputation. The core underlying concept actually relates to the sense of connection that your target audience has for your business, or the loyalty or attachment they feel toward it.

Imagine a world where your industry reputation is so strong that people actively seek you out to do business with you. In fact, thats what we strive for at Stone Temple. We dont have a sales force. If you want to become a client, you have to contact us and ask.

All these things sound hard!

You bet! None of these are overnight activities. They require serious investment, as well as time, to show the benefits. Thats what I like about them.

One other way to achieve sustainable competitive advantage that I left off is to come up with a brilliant new idea that significantly changes the way people do things. Facebook is a perfect example of that but obviously, coming up with ideas like that is difficult and dependent on having amazing inspiration.

Failing that level of inspiration, if you want to build a sustainable competitive advantage, what you need to do is simple to explain, but not easy to do: Do the hard thing, and do it better than anyone else.

Do the Hard Thing

It may not provide the instant gratification of investing $1 to get $3, but it turns out that the $1/$3 goal is usually elusive and rarely happens unless you have already built a sustainable competitive advantage.

And heres the thing: After youve built that sustainable competitive advantage, those $1/$3 setups tend to work more often for you, because that sustainable advantage brings you another critical business characteristic: leverage.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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EPISD launches $250000 marketing campaign - KFOX El Paso

June 23, 2016
EL PASO, Texas

El Paso Independent School District is making changes starting with marketing, the district said this can be one of its tools to help bring attendance rates up.

The district approved $250,000 dedicated towards a marketing campaign Tuesday night at its Board of Trustee's meeting.

"It's overall to promote greater awareness of the district, to promote our programs and innovations," said Melissa Martinez, the EPISD spokesperson.

KFOX14 asked the district why the communication department couldn't take on the marketing campaign itself instead of dedicating $250,000 to an outsourced agency.

"We go to the experts," Martinez said. "We don't have marketing, we don't have advertising or sales. It's not something we do."

According to the district, out of its $497.7M budget for the 2016-17 school year, up to $250,000 could be spent on marketing.

The district said this marketing campaign could improve the attendance rate.

"We get around $6,000 per student," Martinez said. "That is what is funded for our district per student."

When KFOX14 did the math, it would take at least 42 students to cover the cost of the marketing campaign.

We asked some parents in other districts if they would consider sending their children to an EPISD school with all the future plans the district has.

"Yes I would, I am actually considering it right now," said Magdalena Mendoza.

Mendoza's son attends Da Vinci Middle School, but she plans on sending him to Canutillo High School because she lives right next door.

When Mendoza was asked if the marketing plan is a good idea, she responded yes.

"It's very good, because it shows opportunities for students, especially in this area where they want to enter other high schools," Mendoza said.

Some improvements for EPISD include more money for technology and fine arts.

The marketing agency the district will used is called BrandEra, an agency based out of Fort Worth.

The agency will start working for the district in July.

Advertising tax would harm Oklahoma's economy -

April 18, 2016
WITH a $1.3 billion budget shortfall, it's not surprising state politicians are considering measures once deemed extreme. Even so, that doesn't mean those measures now deserve support.

Such is the case with a call to tax advertising, which was included in the governor's revised budget proposal last week. This is a bad idea that would have significant harmful consequences for Oklahoma's economy. Officials are now backing away from that proposal, which is good. It should be rejected.

As a newspaper, The Oklahoman has an obvious interest in this issue. But a tax on advertising is a tax on all businesses, big and small. It's a tax on consumers. It's a tax that would harm municipalities, which are so reliant on sales taxes. It's a tax that would drive companies out of Oklahoma, and lead businesses to no longer consider locating in the state.

There's a good reason no other state directly taxes advertising. The tax is paid not by media companies, but by the businesses that advertise.

When faced with this tax, those businesses would have one of two choices raise prices to cover the cost of the tax or reduce advertising.

When the tax is passed along to consumers, their money doesn't go as far and they ultimately buy less. When businesses advertise less, they experience reduced foot traffic in stores. Either way, the tax reduces purchases of goods and services. The net effect would actually be a loss for the state because advertising tax revenue would not exceed the loss of sales tax on other purchases.

Given that many businesses operate on tight margins, the negative effects would quickly snowball and force many businesses to close their doors.

What's more, if lawmakers were to decide to tax advertising without addressing the issue of online sales, the problem would be even worse. Technically, Oklahoma citizens are supposed to pay a tax for all online sales, but few do. Unless that situation is addressed, the higher prices created by an advertising tax would in turn incentivize people to increase online shopping.

That would generate the worst of both worlds for state government: More Oklahoma businesses would struggle, and state tax collections would decline.

And don't think officials in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas wouldn't use Oklahoma's advertising tax against us when competing to attract new businesses. How many major national retailers are going to establish stores in Oklahoma City when they can go to Texas and avoid the advertising tax? Oklahomans hoping for a Costco or In-N-Out Burger could kiss those dreams goodbye.

This isn't a story that ends well. If lawmakers doubt it, they can check out Florida's experience. In 1987, Florida lawmakers applied a sales and use tax to a broad range of services, including advertising. The tax had an immediate impact. Many large advertisers such as Coca-Cola, General Foods, Kraft, Lever Brothers and Procter & Gamble canceled or significantly reduced their advertising in Florida. Broadcasters alone lost $93 million in ad sales.

According to some estimates, the ripple effect caused the loss of 50,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in

personal income.

The tax took effect in July and was repealed by December after the Florida legislature met in special session on several occasions.

Robust tax collections occur only when a state has a healthy private-sector economy. Lawmakers should do nothing that undermines private-sector economic growth. High tax rates won't fill budget holes if no one is left to pay them.

Want Your Website To Rank Higher? Employ These SEO Tips

December 2, 2015
dallas seo

Why should you bother with learning about search engine optimization? Search engine optimization is an inexpensive way of effectively advertising your business, as you don't need to hire a professional if you have the right advice,. That is the fact. Your small business will benefit from as much exposure as you can possibly give it, so be sure to follow these simple steps to get more business from your web presence.

Tailoring the meta tags of a website for search engine optimization is a profitable endeavor. Meta tags are not usually visible to website visitors, but their content is thoroughly checked by search engines. This is a great area to pack with the most salient keywords the website owner wants to associate with his or her site.

To really get ahead in the web business game and earn a high ranking for your business, it is imperative that you learn about HTML title and Meta tags. You need to learn how to use them for your own site and also which tags your competitors are using. With a little bit of research, you will quickly learn about how to use quality tags and ultimately earn higher placement.

graphics and Pictures are great for the visual aspect of your web page. Unfortunately, search engines cannot interpret them (unless a user is doing a specific image search). If you have an awesome image, make sure you have an awesome, descriptive text caption to go with it. If you are familiar with HTML, use an "ALT" tag for this: it will allow you to write a lengthy description that you can fill with search-engine-friendly keywords.

Include various images on your website so that you can take advantage of the visual searches on the big search engines. Sometimes, it is much better to display, promote or market your product with a picture, rather than explaining what it does with a text description. This will go a long way in improving your visibility as a company.

It's a good idea to make sure that the first block of text on any website can be used as description tag for HTML. Some web crawlers search the first few sentences of an article instead of meta tags to rank your site. If your content is of poor quality, it can hurt your page rank.

Publishing articles is a great way to expand your internet presence. When you publish articles, you increase your search engine visibility, which, in turn, brings more visitors to your site. Additionally, the articles that you publish also help inform your consumers about your products in a way that may get you more buyers in the long run.

Webpages for your best-selling products should be carefully used so that your whole site benefits. If links are used thoughtfully, in some cases individual product pages may appear high Oracle Nova in Dallas on search engine results pages and they can have a big impact on overall ranking.

To rank higher in search results, you should use an index page or a home page that you can link to. Your content is going to be and vary updated: a page might not interest people for very long. You can however rise steadily in search results by referring constantly to the same index page.

You should make use of the keyword tool from Google Adwords' to optimize the search engine. The keyword tool will find the most popular keywords that are related to your website. The Adwords tool will show you the number of searches for a word or phrase that you enter. Use this tool to find the best overall words or phrases to use for your site.

Give your customers points toward free products. Be generous with the points, so it is easy for them to visualize cashing them in after a few orders. Available only to those redeeming points, so customers feel special because they have access to those products, the points could be toward products or information. Another option is to throw in a freebie of some sort, with every order.

You should always monitor the ranking of your page using programs such as the Google Tool Bar or Alexa. You should also always know what websites the people visiting your website are from. This gives you an idea of what other kind of websites they may be visiting. Perhaps you can advertise there as well.

Staying away from flash will be key in maximizing your search engine optimization potential. Many search engines have trouble indexing flash content so creating a website entirely in flash or even with the majority of it made this way can be a critical error. If flash is outputting any text on your site, make certain that the text is rendered as HTML to allow search engines to see it.

When creating backlinks to your website in order to increase your web site's search engine ranking, remember which factors determine the value of a link. A quality backlink depends on the anchor text in the link, the pagerank of the page linking to your website, the page title of the page linking to your website, the reputation and quality of the website linking to your website and the method used to create the backlink.

Try to get your page link on a .edu or .gov site for better search engine optimization. People who see your link on a .edu or .gov will think you are legitimate and credible as well, because these sites are top-level domains and are considered to be very credible and reliable.

Double check that the links coming in to your site are using anchor text that reflects the keywords you have selected as important. There is no harm in emailing a webmaster to ask if he could change the anchor text, but make sure to offer him a link back to his site in return.

You can optimize your blog for search engines by using SEO-friendly URLs for each blog post. If you are using your blog to make money, most blogging services offer this option, which is a must-do. Rather than allowing the service to assign a generic URL, create your own post URL that includes keywords.

In order to find the best results for what you are looking for when using a search engine, it is important to not use too many words. The more words that you type into the search bar, the more specific that search has become and will hide many valuable options from you.

There isn't anything that's overly complicated about the process, as you can see from the article above. It's basically just stuff that you didn't yet didn't and know really think to check for. So, to make sure your site is found, just remember to employ the SEO tips and tricks that you've read above.

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