Local SEO Prayer, Yext Files IPO, the Ridiculous Power of Reviews and more

7 Spiritual Laws of Social Media Success

Go Deepak Chopra on your social media. [Search Engine Journal]

Recent Google Changes: SEO Tactics that Move the Needle in 2017

A chat recap of SEO experts from the mother of all data on SEO providers. [SEMRush]

Yext Files $100 Million IPO

Pitching itself as a knowledge engine for search when filing for its initial public offering with the SEC, Yext reveals $89 million in revenue but a $28 million loss for the first three quarters of 2016. [Search Engine Land]

The Ridiculous Hidden Power of Local Reviews

From early conversions to more page one Google space, make local reviews essential. [Local Visibility System]

The Local Search Serenity Prayer

Omaha’s own Meghan Trapp of B2 Interactive preaches physical location acceptance, courage to change and SEO wisdom. Amen! [B2Interactive]

GMB Ownership Conflict Resolution Being Automated

A more streamlined process for business owners trying to reclaim the GMB page after handing it over to a 3rd party. [Search Engine Journal]

SEO basics: How to use social media

Be alive and captivating. Diversify and respond. Engage and use metadata. [Yoast]

User Testing the SERPs: How Do Customers Really Search?

Start with the data, but get human by gathering assumptions, recruiting real people and testing. [Seer Interactive]

The Ultimate Social Media Holiday Calendar for 2017

By month and for the year in a downloadable format. [Hubspot]

What Can Your Business Learn From Restaurant Marketing [Infographic]

Consumer trends, digital presence, offline presence and the dine-in experience has lessons for every business. [Hubspot]

Group Marketing: Benson – Omaha’s Quirky Family

Part 2 in our series looking at how Omaha’s cultural gems band together for group marketing.

Teresa Gleason started Polecat Communications in Benson in June 2015. She loves her little office there because “Benson is like a little family.”

“Everyone knows each other and everyone looks out for each other,” she said. “I’m one of many small independent business owners here.”

This camaraderie led Benson business owners like Gleason to pool resources and take advantage of group marketing. Benson has leveraged several initiatives to help boost its brand:

  • Events
  • Partnerships
  • Group advertising

Arts, Entertainment & Dining

Anchored on the west end by The Waiting Room, one of the city’s premier music venues, Gleason credits some newer restaurants for opening Benson to a new audience. But she said live events also are a major factor.

“Benson Days and the Boo-Bash, where businesses open their doors for trick-or-treating, are both really popular.”

She also credits First Friday – a tour of art galleries — with drawing positive attention to the business district.

“First Friday is incredibly helpful, especially from an arts and entertainment perspective.” The district has also hosts the Summer and Fall Showcases for the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards.

Despite their “quirky” natures, Benson’s entrepreneurs use group marketing effectively. Even in a highly diversified neighborhood, they still work together toward a common goal – increased profits for everyone.

Partnerships – Another BID Success

One of the original business improvement districts when it was established by the city in 1977, Benson leadership revived the organization in 2010.

Former state senator Shelley Kiel provides staff support (as well as a good dose of public service experience) for current co-chairs Glenn York (Benson Podiatry) and John Larkin (Beercade, Jake’s Cigar & Spirits, St. Andrew’s Pub).

The First Friday of the month meetings at the Benson Community Center are well attended by a wide range of stakeholders and it’s where the energy for teaming up on the next initiative started.

Group advertising success

“It’s common here to not have gigantic marketing budgets, so a group of us got together to run an ad in The Reader,” she said. “If I had taken out a little ad by myself it would have been lost in the noise of all the other ads.”

Benson businesses banded together to create a “Benson” page in The Reader. A top local marketing and PR professional, Gleason and the Mint Design Group (the creative sauce behind one of Omaha’s premier international events) led the effort. The ad draws people to the neighborhood and benefits Benson businesses as a whole.

“It’s now part of a common goal,” Gleason said. “People coming here will help all of us.”

With the headline “Eat. Drink. Shop. Live. Create. Benson,” the ad also helps define Benson’s brand not only as entertainment district, but as it’s own mini-community alive with diversity and business incubation. Advertisers range from service businesses like Parlour 1887, Benson Podiatry and Benson Law to entertainment offerings like Lot 2, Beercade, Ted & Wally’s and the little gallery or retailers like Cake By The Pound and Jane’s Health Market.

“A stepping stone”

 Gleason said buying the ads as a group has been a “stepping stone” toward more cooperation among Benson business owners.

“We get a bigger bang for our buck,” she said. “The more we work together, the more we can reach people.”

They continue to brainstorm for ways to draw more attention and people without changing what’s most appealing about their neighborhood.

“Benson has a quirky nature,” Gleason said. “People kind of do their own thing. It’s a welcoming environment for the arts. Nobody wants to see it homogenized.”



Facebook vs. Google, Adwords Click Rates, 3 Pack Changes and more

Top 5 Social Media Monitoring Tools

A review of Awario, Brand24, Mention, Hootsuite and Brandwatch. [Search Engine People]

SEO Quickly, Then Correctly

Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress in the SEO optimization journey. [Search Engine Journal]

SEO in 2017 and Tying in with Content

Technical, tracking, links and social media/PR point to the changes this year in SEO. [State of Digital]

Google 3 Pack Tests

Clicks for driving directions and phone calls go deeper. [Blumenthals]

Mysterious Fred Update Hits Low Content Sites Hard

Google won’t confirm the Fred update, but come low-content sites saw a 90% drop in traffic. [Search Engine Land]

Google’s Share of All Search Grows to 80%

As search grows 23%, Google takes it out of Amazon and Ask.com with dominance in mobile, even as Yelp and Amazon are predicted to have the largest percentage increases. [eMarketer]

Facebook Dominates Display Ads

As ad revenue grows 15%, Facebook’s share grew 32% on the backs of Google, Twitter and Yahoo. [eMarketer]

State of Searcher Behavior in 23 Remarkable Stats

Starting with an estimated 40-60B Google searches per month, a treasure trove of search behavior. Only 3.4% of clicks go to Adwords. [Moz]

Vision, Collaboration and Events

How the Old Market Works Together

Group marketing lets you increase the impact of your marketing by working as one entity, not as competing individuals.

“Group marketing is a way to get exposure at lower costs,” says Troy Davis of Curb Appeal Salon in the Old Market and president of the Old Market Business Association. “It takes the microscope focus off one business and puts it on a neighborhood.”

He notes the Old Market has an enviable diversity of businesses, yet they all benefit from group marketing efforts.

“We have 150 businesses as eclectic and diverse as you can think of, so the trick is to find the glue – the common denominator,” he says.

With so many different businesses and property owners, the Old Market collaborates on a number of fronts:

  • Digital Presence
  • Collaboration with the Downtown Improvement District
  • Branding Vision
  • Events

It’s a lot for OMBA’s volunteer leadership to manage, but it’s exciting to see how far collaboration can go.

Digital Presence

Despite having so many different “cooks in the kitchen” as it were, the Old Market has an enviable, unified digital presence, starting with a signature domain name – OldMarket.com – and a web presence that’s been online for over a decade. Credit goes to OMBA leaders like Spaghetti Works’ Shelly Stokes and Tannenbaum’s Jeff Jorgenson for recognizing this need early.

With roots in the former Firehouse Dinner Theater, one of our earlier offices until Upstream Brewing Company took the building over, PIoneerMedia got involved helping the Old Market’s digital presence when the Old Market’s Facebook page needed to have its ownership transferred to OMBA control.

After that success, we helped build OldMarket.com not only as a mobile friendly and up-to-date web presence, but also a membership tool that helps with OMBA sign-up and allows members to post content directly to the website and the Facebook page. The website has 2-3 times the traffic of any suburban shopping district in Omaha, according to Alexa, and the Facebook page boasts over 73,000 fans, powerful platforms for Old Market promotions.

Partnership with the Downtown Improvement District

Helping to manage the digital presence and a close partner of the Old Market Business Association, the Downtown Improvement District provides invaluable support. Helping the Old Market helps all of downtown. Executive Director Holly Barrett and Communications Director Christina Randall are too frequent presences and leaders at OMBA meetings.

Branding Vision

As the 2nd most sought after tourist destination in the state, the Old Market is a cultural gem. With the advent of “entertainment districts” under state law, a much easier process when the area involved is controlled by one entity, Troy and Holly are now leading the effort for the Old Market to envision its long-term brand as Omaha’s “arts district”.

With dozens of galleries and the original First Friday Art Walk, art and the Old Market have been synonymous since the early Old Market pioneers first converted old warehouses into galleries, restaurants and shops.

The OMBA had an overwhelming success with the launch of the Old Market Art Project, created in response to the M’s Pub fire. Businesses, foundations and individuals from across the community helped raise the funds for the Art Project. An international selection of art was juried and the top selections became banners to cover the fencing around the rebuilding at 11th & Howard Streets.


Live events are one of the best group marketing efforts the Old Market employs.

First Friday is one of the Old Market’s most successful recurring live events. Held the first Friday of every month, this event celebrates local creativity by inviting the community to visit the neighborhood’s galleries and other host businesses to view art and meet artists. It’s not only art galleries that get involved in First Friday – for example, Ted & Wally’s ice cream shop recently hosted an origami display from a local artist for a First Friday event.

“One particular event may not be every business’s demographic,” Davis says, “but hosting creates bigger publicity and a benefit greater than you can imagine.”

One of the biggest draws to the Old Market nicer weather is the weekly Farmer’s Market. With a large roster of vendors and enthusiastic support from the neighborhood’s businesses, this event draws crowds who oftentimes linger to check out the Old Market’s shops and eateries.

There are two other signature events that are really starting to grow in the Old Market:

Toast of the Old Market and Food Day Omaha: A combination event on the non-Husker football Saturday in the Fall (Sep. 30 this year), Food Day Omaha is the “Earth Day” of food, running alongside the Farmers Market. Immediately after Toast of the Old Market starts with live music street festival on 11th Street with specials and mini-events around the Old Market.

Trick or Treat the Old Market: On the Sunday closest to Halloween, this family event features candy stations for kids, specials across the Old Market and the largest book giveaway in the city, done in conjunction with Metropolitan Community College and Metro Transit.

He says group promotions, as a whole, provide “long-term benefits that are real.” Businesses not willing to participate in group marketing miss out.

“People get so focused on their own business, but they need to widen their gaze and look at the bigger picture,” Davis says.


Small yet mighty

And it isn’t just about advertising.

Like the Old Market, businesses in the Benson and Blackstone neighborhoods are small with limited marketing funds. But that doesn’t mean their voices are limited. Find out more about these two areas in our next installements.

When businesses work together to keep storefronts up to date and match an area’s “feel,” they become part of a larger, promotable “personality.” Midtown, Aksarben and Dundee are good examples.

By combining resources, such areas gain competitive advantages in the Omaha marketplace.

The real benefit of group marketing, Davis says, is that “everyone benefits.”

Do you want some help to develop a group marketing plan that maximizes your resources? Let us help you as we’ve helped so many other groups.

HTTPs Now, Google Guides, Balance Reviews, Digital Strategy and Tight Budgets

HTTPS vs. HTTP – How Security Affects SEO

Better rankings, referral data and security all add up. [SEMRush]

Redirecting Your Site to non-WWW and HTTPS

Test forcing HTTPS, and if you do, add HSTS. [Yoast]

Level 5 Google Guides Can Moderate GMBs

With the demise of MapMaker, Google lets Level 5 Local Guides moderate GMB details from a desktop. [Blumenthals]

The Secret To Balancing An Online Review Strategy

Have a multi-prong approach to building good review profiles on your most important review sites. [Convince & Convert]

State of Digital Marketing 2017

How SEO, Social Media, PPC and Content Marketing should be used, according to a survey of 230 digital marketers. [Search Engine Journal]

3 Simple Ways to SEO on a Shoestring

Target long-tail keywords, provide quality content and local optimization. [Search Engine Journal]

5 Ways to Amplify Content Without Spending

Original research, exhaustive guides, industry trends, sharing the best and leveraging influencers. [Quicksprout]

Beginner’s Guide to Small Business Digital Marketing

Website, blog, brand, email, conversion and social media suggestions. [Hubspot]