Articles by Allie Mims Archive

Articles and blog posts by Allie Mims, co-founder of Komodo Online Marketing.

New client website launched: GBS Commercial Cleaning

Komodo Online Marketing is pleased to announce the launch of our newest client website:

 

GBS Commercial Cleaning

 

gbs commercial cleaning homepage screenshot

GBS Commercial Cleaning Homepage

 

The website was developed on the WordPress platform using the Genesis framework.

If you’re looking to spruce up your existing website or do a complete redesign, then fill out the form to the right to schedule a free 30 minute consultation to see how Komodo Online Marketing can help.

Are you using Twitter Lists to keep up with your franchisees?

twitter-logoTwitter Lists is a new feature Twitter recently rolled out that enables users to sort their favorite Twitter accounts into topically organized lists.  As a Twitter user you can create any type of list from funny people to motor-sports personalities and everything in between.

Lists add more value to the Twitter experience by allowing users to better organize information on Twitter.  A Twitter List is public by default (but you can make it private) and it is linked from your account (i.e. twitter.com/username/listname).  In this way, public Twitter Lists increase the discovery of unique and interesting Twitter accounts.

Big brands such as Whole Foods use lists to raise awareness of their individual stores’ Twitter accounts.  Whole Foods currently has 12 separate lists.  One list contains all the stores’ Twitter accounts and the rest are broken down into geographic regions.  This allows Twitter users to be able to quickly find Whole Foods stores’ accounts that are closest to them.  It also allows Whole Foods to be able to see whats going on with all its stores’ Twitter accounts with just a few clicks.  Franchisors can use lists in a similar fashion.

Why should I create a Franchisee Twitter List?

Creating a Twitter List of all your franchisees currently on Twitter enables you to:

  • Monitor each franchisee’s tweets to ensure that they maintaining a consistent brand message
  • Quickly spot and respond to an unhappy franchisee venting anger through Twitter
  • Drive your Twitter followers to your franchisees’ accounts to increase their reach within their local Twitter community
  • Ensure that all franchisee marketing and promotional tweets are in line with franchise policy

Once you create a list of your franchisees, you can see what all of them are up to with a single click.

How to create a Franchisee Twitter List

To create a list, click the “new list” link located in the sidebar of your twitter account.

Give the list a name, the name you choose will be the URL for the list (ex. twitter.com/alliemims/my-zees).  Then choose to make the list either public or private.  You can always change this later.  Then click Create list.

create-twitter-list-step-1

Congratulations.  You created a Twitter List, now we need to add your franchisees.  If you only have a few franchisees currently using Twitter, then it may be easiest to simply enter their user-names in the search box.  Otherwise, click the “following” link to go to your follow page.

create-twitter-list-step-2

From here you can add each franchisee to your new list with just a couple of clicks.

create-twitter-list-step-3

To the right of each franchisee account you will see two drop-down buttons.  Click the list drop-down button and click the check box beside your franchisee list.  Viola! Now that franchisee is in your Twitter List.

create-twitter-list-step-4

Now just repeat the process with the rest of your franchisees’ accounts and you will have a complete Franchisee Twitter List.  To access the list later, simply click on the list’s URL located in the sidebar of your Twitter account.

Take a look at the list I made of Abrakadoodle franchise Twitter accounts.

At this point I’d like to suggest that you periodically perform a search of Twitter to make sure that you are following all your franchisees as they join Twitter.  Start by clicking the “Find People” link and enter your brand name.  Click the follow button on each of the franchisee accounts that you aren’t currently following.

TweetBeep is a helpful tool, not only for finding franchisees, but also for finding Twitter users who are fans of your brand, product, or service.  TweetBeep allows you to keep track of conversations that mention your brand, your products, your services, anything, with hourly email updates.  You can even keep track of who’s tweeting your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL like bit.ly or is.gd.

I hope this post helps you with managing your brand image and presence on Twitter.  Do you use Lists in some other way to help market your franchise or small business on Twitter?  Please share with us in the comment section.

Roundup: Microsoft-Yahoo Search Deal

ms-yahoo

Well the big news of the day has been the big Microsoft-Yahoo Search deal that was announced this morning.  All the search marketing blogs, tech blogs, news sites, and everyone else has been talking about it.  With the avalanche of deal information and opinion out there, we thought we’d wade through the content and post some links to the stories and posts we found to be the most interesting.

Before we get to the round-up list, let’s quickly go over the basics of the deal.

  • The term of the agreement is 10 years.
  • Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10 year license to Yahoo!’s core search technologies, and Microsoft will have the ability to integrate Yahoo! search technologies into its existing Web search platforms;
  • Microsoft’s Bing will be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search platform for Yahoo! sites. Yahoo! will continue to use its technology and data in other areas of its business such as enhancing display advertising technology;
  • Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers. Self-serve advertising for both companies will be fulfilled by Microsoft’s AdCenter platform, and prices for all search ads will continue to be set by AdCenter’s automated auction process;
  • Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business and sales force;
  • Yahoo! will innovate and “own” the user experience on Yahoo! properties, including the user experience for search, even though it will be powered by Microsoft technology;
  • Microsoft will compensate Yahoo! through a revenue sharing agreement on traffic generated on Yahoo!’s network of both owned and operated (O&O) and affiliate sites;
  • Microsoft will pay traffic acquisition costs (TAC) to Yahoo! at an initial rate of 88 percent of search revenue generated on Yahoo!’s O&O sites during the first five years of the agreement; and
    • Yahoo! will continue to syndicate its existing search affiliate partnerships
    • Microsoft will guarantee Yahoo!’s O&O revenue per search (RPS) in each country for the first 18 months following initial implementation in that country;
  • At full implementation (expected to occur within 24 months following regulatory approval), Yahoo! estimates, based on current levels of revenue and current operating expenses, that this agreement will provide a benefit to annual GAAP operating income of approximately $500 million and capital expenditure savings of approximately $200 million. Yahoo! also estimates that this agreement will provide a benefit to annual operating cash flow of approximately $275 million; and
  • The agreement protects consumer privacy by limiting the data shared between the companies to the minimum necessary to operate and improve the combined search platform, and restricts the use of search data shared between the companies. The agreement maintains the industry-leading privacy practices that each company follows today.

It is important to note, that the integration of Bing and Yahoo core search could take up to 24 months to complete.  So this isn’t going to turn your SEO campaign on it’s head overnight, but it is important to keep tabs on the merger over the coming months and begin to develop a strategy to address the new, more important Bing search.

Microsoft-Yahoo Search Deal News Roundup

Microsoft press release: Microsoft, Yahoo! Change Search Landscape

Yahoo! blog post: What our Microsoft deal means to you

Henry Blodget gives his first take on the Microsoft-Yahoo deal over at businessinsider.com

Rand Fishkin published a great post at SEOmoz about the Top 10 Things the Microsoft/Yahoo! Deal Changes for SEO

From TechCrunch:

Yahoo Search Powered By Microsoft Bing: What SEMs Need To Know from Search Engine Roundtable

It’s Finally Official, Microsoft & Yahoo Make A Deal, Yahoo Gives Up On Search from Search Engine Land

From Marketing Pilgrim:

Feel free to add links to other interesting opinions about the deal in the comments section.

Komodo Links: Connecting with Customers, Great Company Blog, and EDU Blogs

Komodo Links is our only post for this week, but its full of quality links for any small business owner looking to grow their business online.

Nick Berliner posted five more solid tips to help you connect with local customers through your website. To read the first five tips, click here.

So what makes a great company blog? Check out Mack Collier’s series of posts at Search Engine Guide for some solid insight. All four are definitely worth reading. On a related note, we are in the process of overhauling and upgrading our blog. The final product won’t be ready for a few more weeks, but we’ll keep you posted.

ZDNet has an interesting post about a newly-launched site called blogs.pi.edu. For the low low price of $50, you can have your own blog with a .edu domain. This has bad idea written all over it.

Check out this clever graphic by Elliance. Search benefits of the Blogosphere….for song birds. 😉

Komodo Links: Widgets, Semantic Web, and Website Legal Liability

This week’s Komodo Links is all about variety. Everything from US law and websites to widgets and the semantic web. Check out the links and have a great weekend.

Greg Howlett wrote an interesting post over at Marketing Pilgrim about online retailer’s approach to social marketing and widgets. Take a look at the widgets we developed for Abrakadoodle.

Nick Berliner posted 5 tips for locally focused websites to connect to local customers. The five tips are basically 5 best practices that all locally focused websites should follow.

The CNET News Blog has a great post regarding some interesting legal cases and decisions that could have wide ranging affects on website operators’ broad legal shield from lawsuits.

“But a pair of recent rulings by federal district judges have chipped away at that protective shield. If those decisions are upheld on appeal, and if more judges follow suit, Web site operators and Internet service providers may find themselves compelled to police what their users post–or face the unsettling prospect of being held liable for the contents.”

The Economist has an informative article about some promising software services and initiatives to help online content publishers mark up their web pages for the semantic web.

Search Engine Users Prefer Their News, Video, and Image Results Blended…Not Vertical

Search marketing firm, iProspect, published the results of a study regarding user behavior and blended search results. The study was conducted by Jupiter Research and sponsored by iProspect. Blended search results are a combination of traditional web page results and one or more specialized results such as news, videos, or images. See the screen shot below for an example of a blended search result. (click to enlarge)

Over the past year Google, Yahoo, and MSN/Live have launched versions of blended search. The iProspect study revealed that search engine users click on news, image, and video results in blended search results more than they click on results in a vertical only search such as Google News or Google Image search.

Key statistics from the study:

  • 36% of search engines user click “news” results within blended search results, while only 17% click a “news” result after conducting a news-specific search
  • 31% of search engine users click “image” results within blended search results, while 26% click an “image” result after conducting an image-specific search
  • 17% of search engine users click “video” results within blended search results, while only 10% click a “video” result after conducting a video-specific search
  • While images are the most clicked type of result after a vertical-specific search, news items are the most clicked type of result within blended search results

Komodo Links: Google Universal Search, Robot Language, and EULAs

We’ve got a short edition of Komodo Links this week. Two posts from the Google Webmaster Central Blog and a humorous post from Techdirt regarding companies EULAs.

The Google Webmaster Central Blog had an interesting post from earlier this week about taking advantage of universal search. The post has some good tips for small businesses to make the most of local search, video search, image search, and personalized search basics.

Google Webmaster Central also launched a Robots.txt Generator available in Webmaster Tools. Read all about it at the Webmaster Central Blog.

Techdirt has a humorous post about how companies don’t even read their own EULAs. The post includes some funny examples.

YouTube Gives Insight Into Who Likes Your Videos

Yesterday YouTube announced the launch of Insight, a free tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the videos that they upload to the site. Currently Insight offers a few key metrics, including a breakdown of video views by geographic location, a video’s popularity in a market relative to other YouTube videos, and video popularity growth rates over a given period of time. The YouTube blog post also mentions that they will be releasing more features in the near future.

I think Insight can deliver significant value to small businesses and franchise companies that make use of YouTube videos to drive traffic to their site or locations. Even the Google Analytics Team is pumped up about it. As YouTube adds more features and metrics, businesses will be better able to gauge the ROI of online video production. One metric that the YouTube blog post mentions that should be rolled out “fairly quickly” is “a specific breakdown of how viewers discovered the video.” This metric alone will offer businesses and franchises great “insight” into how to title and describe future videos, as well as, what the subject matter should be. One specific case is the use of YouTube videos in Google Local business listings. Franchise companies with numerous locations that make use of business listing videos will be able to see which listings get the most video views. Perhaps people searching for their business in California watch the videos a lot more than people searching in Florida.

Let us know what you think of Insight.

Komodo Links: AdWords Demographic Bidding, Limiting Consumer Tracking on the Internet, Phorm Knows Everything About You

Today we have a short but very sweet edition of Komodo Links. This week’s edition is all about online consumer data, those who track and sell it, those who use it to target ads, and those who want to stop it. Read on and let us know what you think.

In January, Google invited AdWords advertisers to join a beta test of a new demographic bidding feature. Today demographic bidding is available for all AdWords advertisers. Demographic bidding is a feature that helps advertisers target ads to users of certain age groups, gender or a combination of both. Advertisers can use demographic bidding for both contextual and placement targeting and with CPC and CPM bidding. You can also use demographic bidding to refine your ad’s reach on certain sites in Google’s content network. Advertisers can also access demographic reports in the AdWords Report Center to see how well their ads are performing across different demographics.

Here is a perfect follow up to the AdWords demographic bidding announcement. The New York Times reported yesterday that New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky has drafted a bill “that would make it a crime for certain Web companies to use personal information about consumers for advertising without their consent.” Yahoo and Microsoft have already sent lobbyists to meet with Mr. Brodsky. The article covers some interesting issues that this bill raises.

Some interesting highlights from the article:

“A law like this essentially takes some of the gold away from marketers,” said Joseph Turow, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. “But it’s the right thing to do. Consumers have no idea how much information is being collected about them, and the advertising industry should have to deal with that.”

“There has really been no harm shown by behavioral targeting or third-party advertising, so this rush to regulate the Internet is really unnecessary,” said Mike Zaneis, vice president for public policy for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry group that represents companies like Google and Yahoo.

Moreover, Mr. Zaneis said, the New York bill threatens to undercut the business model that supports the Web. “If you take the fuel out of this engine, you begin to see the free services and content dry up,” he said.

And to finish up, check out Janet Meiners’ post at Marketing Pilgrim about the British company Phorm. Apparently Phorm is using British ISPs to track every single action a British web surfer takes to be able to show them ads. The company claims they have access to the surfing habits of 70% of all British households that have broadband.

Komodo Links: Self Serving Reviews, FriendFeedFeed, an Open Letter to Google, and AOL Buys Bebo

We’ve got some interesting and humorous links from the past week for this installment of Komodo Links. So sit back and enjoy while you wait for the weekend to begin.

RealSelf.com, an independent site for consumers to discuss anti-aging treatments, has accused plastic surgery corporation, Lifestyle Lift, of breach of contract and computer fraud. Basically RealSelf.com claims that Lifestyle Lift agents posed as patients and posted positive reviews about Lifestyle Lift procedures. These charges were filed as a counterclaim to a Lifestyle Lift lawsuit filed against RealSelf.com for trademark infringement. MediaPost has more on this plastic surgery soap opera.

Here’s a funny post (and comments) about FriendFeedFeed. FriendFeedFeed, currently in “pre-beta,” aggregates all your social networking aggregator feeds into one aggregated feed of aggregator activity feeds. Definitely a quality piece of Web 2.0 satire.

On a more serious note, Danny Sullivan writes an open letter to Google. In the letter, Danny asks Google to divest itself of Performics, DoubleClick’s SEO firm. “Google’s in the SEO business now, …conflict of interest? You bet.”

And in an unexpected move, AOL buys social network Bebo for $850 million. In response, AOL users ask their grandchildren, “what’s a Bebo?”