Content Audits, SSL Checks, Rank Tracking & Dropping and more

How to Do a Content Audit

The exhaustive guide updated from the SEO source. [Moz]

Which Content Marketing Strategies Have the Biggest Impact?

If organic search drives at least half of ALL website traffic, be sure you have the right content strategies. [Quicksprout]

Website Launches that Boost Rankings

The mission-critical SEO checklist for website launches. [Search Engine Journal]

The Problem With Obsessive Rank Tracking

Focus on behaviors and conversions to sort through the rank tracking yo-yo. [Search Engine Land]

How to Check if Your HTTPS Website Still Uses HTTP URLs

Nothing says “not secure” like insecure resources on your supposedly secure (HTTPS compliant) website. [Search Engine People]

GMB Suggested Changes Out of Control!

Copp Marketing calls out the flood of suggested changes Google users can make on GMB pages. [Linkedin]

Understanding Google Schema Guidelines

Blumenthal breaks down his perfect schema scores. [Get Five Stars]

An Open Letter to the SEO Industry

As competitive as rankings can be, there’s a lot of love to go around. [Polemic Digital]

3 Tips on Using SEO to Get a Small Business Noticed

Manta’s CEO recommends embracing keywords, crafting action-inducing content and keeping user-experience ToM. [Martech Advisor]

Programmatic Advertising Targeting Options

If two of the top 3 online advertising channels are dominated by Google (Adwords) and Facebook (Facebook Exchange) respectively, that leaves programmatic as the 3rd channel available to most businesses testing online advertising.

To quote last installment’s explanation: “[P]rogrammatic [is] data-driven online ad exchanges that buy remnant display advertising space on almost every website and app out there, in online auctions that last milliseconds. Ever noticed local ads on national websites or ads that followed you around the internet? That’s programmatic.”

Google and Facebook both gather reams of information on your online activity. It’s how they are best able to target advertising to the right consumers while delivering more than 90% of each company’s total revenues.

So, what kind of targeting is available for programmatic?

There is much that can be learned about consumers based on their online behavior. There are three primary methods behind the targeting options available with programmatic, all of which are best used when matched with the information you have collected on current customers or prospects, your business objectives and your real world experience.

Time and Place Targeting

The first method is driven by time and place. That will set two important considerations when targeting your online advertising:

Day Parting

Set the times of the day you want your ad to be served. If you’re a restaurant, for instance, targeting the hours before lunch or dinner will maximize targeting hungry consumers before their next meal.

Geographic Targeting

Unless specifically blocked, internet devices (phones, tablets, desktop computers) will reveal their location by the network they use to reach the web. Geographic targeting serves ads by the location of the audience – from zip code, city, state and county to custom radiuses and geo-fencing.

Micro-Proximity Targeting

One type of geographic targeting is micro-proximity targeting. Micro-proximity reaches a precise level of targeting by using the information provided by location-enabled apps on mobile devices. Using that data from the app, ads will be served inside the app.

PioneerMedia is partnered with one of the pioneers (seriously, we can’t make this up) in programmatic, allowing us to target micro-proximity to 5 decimal places – down to 1 meter of accuracy. Most providers only offer geo-fencing technology to 2-3 decimal places – within 100 to 1000 meters.

Cookie-Based Targeting

The second targeting method is cookie-based, information stored by your web browser whenever you visit most websites. Cookies can track a lot of online activity and Data Management Platforms (DMPs) aggregate the data for modeling and targeting purposes.

Digilant has a good introductory overview of cookies. While most programmatic is cookie-based, it’s also the “loosest” of the targeting methods because of its widespread use and how different cookie providers parse and share their data. Not only is there a challenge separating robot traffic from human traffic, it’s also a challenge to separate different humans sharing the same browser on the same device.

It’s the only method, however, that actually tracks online behavior. There are broadly four types of cookie-based targeting:

Behavioral Targeting

Target consumers based on their behavior and tracked interest online. Based on your online activity, modeling will also infer your interests and overall profile. There is a wide-range of behavioral targeting options – from purchasing behavior to lifestyle interests. Brand affinity is a type of behavioral targeting, using brand preferences tracked by online activity as a targeting tool.


A type of behavioral targeting, this uses cookies to serve ads to anyone who has visited your website. If you’ve ever researched a product on a shopping website (like Amazon), you most likely have been followed by ads for the product you were researching, long after you’ve left that website.

Search Retargeting

Another type of retargeting that ties in search engine marketing (usually Google Adwords) with programmatic advertising, search retargeting uses cookies that track keyword searches conducted on the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) to drive online display advertising.

Content Targeting

Target consumers when they are interacting or viewing relevant content online. This requires the exchange serving ads to have a clear idea of the type of content being offered where the ad is being served. The range of content targeting options often matches the range of lifestyle interests. If there’s a magazine or online site dedicated to a certain type of content, then it’s probably a content targteting option.

Demographic Targeting

Modeling your online behavior and the content you consumer, basic demographic assumptions will start being made. Basic demographic modeled include age range, household income, gender, ethnicity and education.

IP-Based Targeting

While demographic modeling is relatively new in the cookie-based world, it’s been around for decades in the direct mail world. Our third method, IP-based targeting, bridges the gap between the two by tying online information to real world presence – specifically network nodes like the IP address on a wifi network and the unique ID every device provides on any network.

There’s only one company in the world that provides this type of information and PioneerMedia was an early partner. Long story short, technology and relationships developed to reduce credit card fraud have been redeployed to match IP addresses with physical addresses, effectively allowing businesses to target households and buildings.

You have to provide the addresses. Because wifi IP addresses can change and not every consumer can be tracked online, there is typically a 50-60% match rate. To maintain a minimum level of anonymity, a minimum number of households must be targeted. Both of these things also allow a healthy level of validation, however, allowing businesses to test response rates between matched and unmatched targets.

Venue Replay allows a business to map a location, say a sports stadium, by its wifi IP address and to gather individual device IDs that can later be matched to household IPs. This allows sports teams or sponsors, for instance, to follow the fans home.

These targeting options are invaluable to small businesses trying to attract new customers who are motivated to make purchases.

The use of programmatic targeting lets businesses pinpoint their target markets at an effective level never imagined before. Targeting maximizes marketing dollars, only presenting messages to those most likely to make purchases, based on your target market. It’s an excellent way to reach motivated buyers without first wading through people less likely to be interested in your product or service.

Compare the benefit of a marketing message tailored to specific consumers that appears on their devices with a blanket marketing effort that may or may not reach your intended audience.

There are only two things that can provide a higher return on investment (ROI) in digital marketing – a strong organic search position supported by search engine optimization (SEO) and content or an email campaign with a strong email list.

We can help you get started with programmatic targeting to grow your customer base quickly and efficiently.

Clueless SEO, Quick SEO, Social SEO, Local SPAM and more

5 Signs Your Agency is SEO Clueless

Watch out for ridiculous redirects, cro-magnon title tags, mononational multinational, structural stupidity and keyword caca. [Portent]

7 Powerful SEO & Management Tools for Social Media

It’s more than being social, it should meet business and digital goals. Explore these tools. [Marketing Land]

SEO and social: 1+1=3

Bootstrapping meets content that ignites conversations. [Search Engine Land]

Local SEO Spam Tactics Are Working: How To Fight Back

Know it when its happening (and it’s not always clear) and build your authority to help report it. [Casey Meraz via Moz]

Google Claims 70% Reduction in Fake Google Map Listings

Since 2015, thanks to machine learning and verification techniques. Fake listings are the tip of the iceberg. [Search Engine Land]

12 Free SEO Tools to Increase Traffic

More than a 1/3 come from Google (imagine that), but every SEO should have a bookmark on these. [Cornwallis SEO]

18 SEO Tactics that Take 30 Minutes or Less

You do not NOT have time to do these things. [Quicksprout]

5 Quick SEO Wins for New Clients

Consolidated assets, reclaiming unlinked brand mentions, longer-form content, low-hanging keywords and internationalization. [Search Engine Land]




Online Advertising – The 3 Basics

An Introduction to Programmatic

Every business works hard to get their messages out to potential customers. Most of them do it on their own because they also act as their own marketing departments.

Even those who see the ability of online marketing to reach new customers may not know what tools are available or how to get started.

We’ve helped grow digital strategies for our clients by building the foundation – particularly in organic search – while setting review and email strategies. As these three core tactics take root, a process that takes time and content, we step next to into online advertising to speed the process and reach a wider audience.

There are 3 basic forms of online advertising used by most businesses today, and the first two are dominated by the giants of the internet:

  • Search Engine Marketing (mostly Adwords)
  • Social Media Advertising (mostly Facebook Ads)
  • Programmatic Advertising (everything else)

Essentially, Google and Facebook are so big, online advertisers are required to go direct. Google web sites (including YouTube) are the most visited sites on the planet, while Facebook commands the lion’s share of time spent by consumers online.

They continue to venture into each other’s established territory. Google takes steps to keep consumers on Google, serving answers and content instead of sending searchers to other websites. Facebook increasingly is refining its own internal search engine. Their ad-serving tools are available to everyone, but with their increasing complexity, it’s good to have help to manage them.

For the rest of the world there is programmatic, essentially data-driven online ad exchanges that buy remnant display advertising space on almost every website and app out there in online auctions that last milliseconds. Ever noticed local ads on national websites or ads that followed you around the internet? That’s programmatic.

Google’s Doubleclick platform is one of the largest programmatic players, but not the only one. One of the most prominent ad exchanges, OpenX, was developed by an Omaha native. Nearly every website or app serving ads is part of at least one, if not many of these exchanges.

The publishers behind any website or app will try to sell their best inventory direct, normally at a higher price than what the exchanges will pay. The rest of their inventory goes to programmatic, sold in real time bidding (RTB) to programmatic advertisers. According to industry experts like Digiday, eMarketer and ZenithMedia, programmatic will be the fastest growing market in advertising for the foreseeable future, beating both Adwords and Facebook ads.

There are a few things to understand about programmatic advertising.

Programmatic advertising delivers online display ads to a target market on any device, anywhere at any time. These ads generally will appear in three places: on any web page, within any app or at the start of any video.

Whether your potential customers use computers, smart phones or tablet, you can reach them when they will be most willing to accept your message. The online tools you use will depend on the products and services offered by your business.

Your potential customers can be targeted for messages based upon their IP addresses, location and many other variables. Programmatic advertising can display messages to potential customers who are more likely to respond based on prior online behavior, such as searches and purchases.

Here are some examples:

  • A small business sells golf clubs. They want to reach potential customers who search online for golf supply stores.
  • A car dealership wants its ads to show up on mobile devices when potential customers are near competing dealerships.
  • A new coffee shop wants to target potential customers anytime they visit nearby competitors.

As a small business owner, you can decide when and how your messages reach potential customers:

  • Frequency targeting: Control the number of times your message can be viewed.
  • Content targeting: Target only those potential customers interested in your particular product or service.
  • Day targeting: Control what time of day your messages can be displayed.
  • Behavioral targeting: Target those who already demonstrated interest in your products or services with their online behavior.
  • Demographic targeting: Target a specific age/income/gender of your potential customers.
  • Geographic targeting: Choose a location or radius for your potential customers to receive the message.

Such programmatic approaches result in better responses to your advertising campaigns and increased revenue for you and your small business. Reaching the right people means less of your marketing time and advertising dollars get wasted.

These creative, targeted marketing methods take the guesswork out of reaching prospective customers who already desire your products and services. Behind all of the technology, however, are real people and real relationships. Not all exchanges are equal. We’ve won customers like the University of Nebraska-Kearny with our side-by-side comparisons.

In fact, we can tell within minutes of looking at your website whether we have a programmatic provider that can deliver better results. More in our next installment on how to track the programmatic players.

May Content Marketing Newsletter

May 2017

From the edge of the Great Plains

Dear PioneerMedia Content Marketers:

In this month’s Content Marketing Newsletter, John Heaston and I selected seven online posts we think will increase your effectiveness and success.

The links we recommend include:

  • Five reasons duplicate listings hurt your business clients
  • Seven techniques to use to create content that’s user- and SEO-friendly
  • How to select the best images for your content
  • Five CM best practices to grow audience share
  • How comments and other user-generated content help get higher Google rankings
  • Six psychologically proven ways to increase conversions
  • And a new favorite of mine— 25 blog post templates

If there’s a topic you want to see in this newsletter, let us know. We’ll share the best material we find.

All our best to you and yours.

Thomas Gunning

Content Marketing Editor


5 Modern CM Best Practices to Increase Audience Share

You have a content calendar. You have a blog. You have a social media strategy. All you’re missing is, well, the big kahuna: audience share that reflects the value of the fantastic content you created to promote your client’s brand and services. It’s imperative to stay current with SEO best practices to ensure that your content has the best shot to appear high on search engine results pages, says Sean Van Gilder of the Content Marketing Institute. That means getting crazy smart about how search engines view your content, and how they prioritize rankings based on how helpful your content is.

25 Blog Post Templates to Make Blogging Faster

We’ve all been there. It’s time to write your next blog post and you have no clue where to start. For many writers and non-writers, it’s easy to come up with an idea or a topic, says Alicia Thomas, blogger for But to structure your thoughts into a readable, skim-able and engaging blog post is the challenge. Luckily for us bloggers, there’s a wealth of blog post templates to use for your next great blog post. Whether you want to write a how-to post, listicle, review or other style, you’ll find a simple-to-follow guide among these templates.

7 Ways to Craft User-Friendly SEO Content

How can you choose between writing user-friendly and SEO content? You can’t and you shouldn’t, says Gloria Kopp, founder of When 61 percent of online consumers say they’re more likely to buy from a company that creates custom content, crafting the best of the best is key (Dragon Search). Yet when it comes to actually creating the content, striking a balance between what your readers will enjoy and what the search engines want can be difficult. Yes, you want to provide your audience with useful, informative content they’ll want to read – but they have to be able to find it first.

A Marketer’s Guide to Selecting the Best Images for Your Content

If you create online content without images, you miss a chance to increase engagement, reach a wider audience and maximize conversions, says Joe Griffin, CEO of ClearVoice, a content marketing technology firm. If you add images to a post, you can nearly double its views. And 67 percent of consumers say images are more important than product descriptions when buying decisions are made. Images should be carefully selected and high quality, and they need to add true value to your content. They should be visually appealing, relevant and appropriate for your client and the marketing channel.

6 Psychologically Proven Techniques to Boost Website Conversions

How does a 1961 experiment relate to boosting website conversions? First, some important facts:

  • For every $92 spent on advertising, the average business spends just $1 on conversion.
  • 99 percent of people who visit your website will not make a purchase their first visit.
  • The average shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.81 percent — yet a whopping 73 percent of companies have no idea why people abandon their shopping carts.

Conversion optimization shouldn’t be a mystery, says John Stevens, founder of Hosting Facts.

Why Blog Comments Are Great for Google SEO and Users

There has been a major backlash against comments about blogs. Many websites dispensed with feedback altogether. A big reason is to prevent Google from negatively impacting them due to low-quality comments. This is the same reason many sites remove other types of user-generated content like forums and contributor articles. But Google often refers to user-generated content as a valuable quality signal, notes Jennifer Slegg, search engine marketing expert at Comments can play a large role in a site’s overall quality and subsequent ranking.

5 Reasons Duplicate Listings Can Damage Local Businesses

Duplicate listings are responsible for much of the bad data that plagues local businesses online. In addition to damaged credibility and reduced visibility, duplicate listings can spread to other sources and cause even more duplicates, says Brooke Henderson, “Back to Basics” blogger at Whether duplicate listings are created by accident or on purpose, they are always detrimental to the business’ local presence. Though it takes time and patience to clean up local citations, it’s well worth the effort. Here are five reasons businesses should be concerned about duplicate listings.