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.

Agile Marketing, Answer Boxes, the Ultimate Guide to Ranking and more

6 Values (and 4 Benefits) of Agile Marketing

Be nimble, test small and constantly and follow the data. [Moz]

5 Common SEO Mistakes

Check speed, https duplication, expire headers, Google Search Console reports and alt tags. [Portent]

An Answer Box Experiment

A story of the pursuit of the elusive Rich Answer. [Search Engine Land]

Why and How Entities Are Shaping Location Marketing

Local business can adjust to Google compiling local information from a range of sources. [Search Engine Land]

Ultimate Guide to Ranking O (or Better)

Rich Answer, Answer Box, Feature Snippet . . . a deep dive into how to get there. [Ignite Visibility]

3 Foolproof Ways to Generate Leads with Social Media

And not just chatter. Contests, gates and sweepstakes. [Convince & Convert]

Bad Bots Swarm Every Website and Log-in Page

The Bad Bot Report documents an ever growing threat. [Marketing Land]

7 Easy-To-Forget SEO Steps Every Time You Publish

From one of the kings of content marketing, think ahead. [Copyblogger]

Minimum Viable SEO: If you only have a few minutes per week

A calendar of steps for the time-challenged. [Moz]

The Newest “P” in the Marketing Mix

Add proximity to product, price, place, promotion and the rest. [Search Engine Land]

The Small Business SEO Survey

Small business invests more in SEO and PPC, and they’re still looking for the right partners. []

Top 10 Insights on Local Marketing

Location marketing and local search from the Local Search Association (aka phone book folks). [Marketing Land]

Yelp Provides Embed Code for Your Website

Put your Yelp reviews on your website. [Local Visibility System]

Blackstone District – Partnerships, Events, Grassroots Marketing Savvy

Third in a series on Group Marketing

Phil Anania has no misconceptions when it comes to running a business.

He’s an owner at Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob and also helps the Blackstone District through marketing and planning with GreenSlate Development. Founded by two Omaha millennials – Matt Dwyer and Jay Lund – Greenslate had a vision for redeveloping the stretch of Farnam Street west of Midtown Crossing leading up to the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Taking risks other developers wouldn’t, the sudden growth of new and rehabbed residential properties with the revitalization of the commercial hub at 42nd & Farnam Streets brought Omaha the Blackstone District. It’s a mix of eclectic, locally-owned businesses that benefits from group marketing.

“Business owners don’t have a lot of time to go to meetings or to post on social media,” said Anania. “Everyone’s on their own island.”

Yet when it comes to drawing people to visit the Blackstone District, Anania thinks bigger than individual islands. “Businesses here want help with networking and social media. We’re trying to sell a whole neighborhood – not just one business.”

It’s another Omaha story where local character meets partnerships, events and grassroots marketing savvy to help define what makes our community unique.

Events and social media

Anania credits live events as one of the biggest draws to the neighborhood. Big scale events like Farnam Festival help line the streets while smaller, weekly events – such as the live music featured at The Blackstone Meatball – help bring waves of customers into the neighborhood. “The more events, the better,” said Anania.

Strong partnerships

Similar to the Old Market and Benson, Blackstone also has a Business Improvement District (BID) to help generate funds for maintaining and promoting the area. Unlike the other two though, there are much fewer property owners in the area, so having a full-time marketing manager like Anania is something the businesses can all support.

That also makes for more focused promotions and group offers.

The Blackstone Pass is a discount card provided to GreenSlate tenants (Blackstone’s residents) and UNMC students. The card provides exclusive discounts to holders, which Anania says works particularly well with the college students. They flock to the neighborhood to utilize the savings offered by the card. The specific discounts change frequently, but oftentimes feature substantial discounts. The exclusivity of not everyone having a Blackstone Pass ads to the lure of the card.

Anania said partnering with neighboring large corporations help keep the Blackstone District thriving with a mix of smaller corporate events. “We love Kiewit, Nebraska Medicine and Mutual of Omaha. We’re just going around and starting little fires.”

Those “fires” involve bringing Blackstone District businesses together to draw in more customers. Recently Anania did a quick audit of social media posts from Blackstone District businesses and was surprised to find many of them hadn’t posted in some time. “I tell them – they have to post every day.”

He’s right; small businesses that frequently engage with customers via social media see their profits go up as their sales increase.

The Blackstone District is a diverse neighborhood featuring premier businesses and impressive residential buildings. As the businesses continue to work together, the Blackstone District will continue to thrive.