Marketing Pilgrim's "Search Marketing" Channel

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Google Officially Selects Lenoir for Data Center

Hot off the press comes news that Google has officially selected Lenoir, in North Carolina, for the site of its $600 million data center.

Gov. Mike Easley announced Google has selected the Caldwell County location and will create around 210 new jobs.

“This company will provide hundreds of good-paying, knowledge-based jobs that North Carolina’s citizens want,” Easley said in a statement. “It will help reinvigorate an area hard hit by the loss of furniture and textile jobs with 21st century opportunities.”

Yay for North Carolina!

Hat-tip to Sheila.

Linkbaiting in 2007

I don’t know who’s smarter, Nick Wilson for writing this excellent post on linkbaiting tactics for 2007, or Danny Sullivan for persuading him to publish this post (which is blatant linkbait itself) on Search Engine Land. Regardless, it’s a great read.

Linkbait, as we know it, can be summed up using just one of Nick’s paragraphs…

Good linkbait is remarkable. There are many components to good linkbait, and infinite strategies and hooks, but at the end of the day, it boils down to this one thing. Your content needs to be amazing. If you can hit that sweet spot for your audience then the links will roll in, and in, and in, and in.

And what’s the future of linkbaiting? Nick suggests the NYT may have it right, with their article on widgets.

V7N Enters the Link Buying Business

Peter da Vanzo on V7N’s SEO blog announced Wednesday that V7N is entering the link buying field. No, they’re not buying links for themselves—they’re offering a service similar to Text Link Ads. But, of course, different.

V7N boasts that their Contextual Links system is superior to any other link buying because the links they’re selling are completely “unmarked” and undetectable as paid links to Google or anyone else. The links are also better because they’re one-off payments of $20 per link. Best of all, as “contextual” links, they occur in sentences. V7N says that “For SEO purposes, contextual links are unbeatable.”

The links are permanent, and presumably one-way, links. Publishers, who earn $10 per link, are not required to make any comments or endorsements. It doesn’t appear that publishers are required to disclose the relationship at all. V7N says most of their publishers are blogs.

MIVA Launches New Ad Solutions for Publishers

Publishers and bloggers, looking to monetize their site, have a new option to consider with today’s launch of MIVA MC. Any publisher in the U.S. or U.K. can apply for a MIVA MC account, and if accepted into the program, can display a wide array of ads on their site, including:

  • Content Ads: keyword or contextually targeted Pay-Per-Click Ads displayed in fully customized implementations beside site content.
  • MIVA InLine Ads: Pay-Per-Click Ads that appear when users mouse over hyperlinked keywords within actual site content.
  • Search Ads: Pay-Per-Click Ads displayed in response to specific typed-in search queries.

North Carolina Desperate to Lure Google

Yesterday’s print edition of the Raleigh News & Observer has a huge piece on what NC is doing to try and convince Google to build a server farm in Lenoir (which is located in the west of the state).

Lenoir and Caldwell County are in dire straits, especially since they relied heavily on a now defunct furniture industry. It’s so bad there that Caldwell County Economic Development Commission and Duke Energy have bought up 150 acres just in case Google selects Lenoir. In addition, state and local governments are willing to forgo real estate taxes for 30 years, worth $100 million, in a desperate effort to attract the $600 million operation and the 210 related jobs.

SEO Gets Its Own Rock Song

You know you’ve been in the SEO industry too long, when you decide to perform a rock song about the topic.

It’s definitely time to get out, if you find yourself tapping your foot and singing along to the lyrics. :-)

Increasing Your Marketing Agency’s Revenues by Saying "No" to Clients

[The following is part of the continuing series of advice for marketing agencies. Andy Beal offers various business coaching services]

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve read the title of this article and you think Andy Beal must have lost his mind. How in the world can you increase the size of your marketing firm by actually saying “no” to a client? Isn’t that counter-productive, you’re asking? Surely you need to find ways to say “yes” to your clients, so you can get their business and grow your agency. Well, spare me ten minutes of your time, and I’ll show you why saying “no” to a client is often good for business.

Not All “Yeses” are Created Equal

In the past seven years of growing search marketing firms, I’ve said “yes” to clients more often than I can remember. When you’re growing a business — especially if cash-flow is tight — agreeing to the requests, or demands, of a client appears to be the only way you’ll ever get to the “big bucks”. While early in my career, I made the mistake of saying yes too many times, over the past couple of years, I’ve learned that saying “no” is more lucrative.

Saying “No” to Prospective Clients

How excited do you get when you’re negotiating that final contract with a prospective client and you’re accountant is willing you on to get the business in the door and on the books? Just like animals can smell fear, prospective clients can smell your desperation to get their business.

Unless you’ve done a phenomenal job of building the value of your agency’s services, its expertise, and benefits to the prospective client, the chances are high that you’ll be asked for a discount or some additional services for free before the client signs. Argh! You’re so close, you’ve made the investment in trying to win this account — your time on the phone, the pretty proposal, the face-to-face meetings — and if you’ll just reduce the price of the campaign from $5,000 a month to $3,500 a month, the client will sign today. What to do?

Well, here’s what most agencies do. They cave in. They say “yes” to the discount, or say “yes” to the extra workload, at the same fee. What they didn’t do, and what will surely come back to haunt them, is they didn’t say “no”.

Now, I’m not advocating being rude or arrogant at this stage. There’s the right way and the wrong way to say no, but you shouldn’t necessarily say yes either. You see, by simply agreeing to the clients demands, you’ve handicapped your business in two ways:

  • You’ve reduced the perceived value of your service. By dropping your fee from $5,000 to $3,500 a month, you’ve planted the seed in the client’s mind that your original price was inflated — perhaps they’ll think you were trying to gouge them.
  • You’ve established to the client that everything else is negotiable. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve reduced the price of a campaign and then found that client to be the most demanding and the most difficult to work with. Everything becomes negotiable from that point on — deliverable schedules, reports, results — the client now knows you’re likely inflating everything from pricing to timelines and will be on the lookout for opportunities to get more from you.

Hopefully, the above is resonating with you thus far. But, you’re probably asking, “How do I say no without losing the deal?” Let’s take a look.