4 Tools from #sesny Local Optimization Session

I didn’t have an easy way to put these on Twitter. But I wanted to give them to you.

Check these tools out. They are cool!

Local Advertising | Manage Local Business Listings | Yext PowerListings

Data By Acxiom | Online Search & Directory Services

Local Search Rank Checker | BrightLocal.com – Google Maps Rank Checker | Google Places Rank Checker | Local SEO Rank Checker | Google Local Rank Checker

Online marketing for local business | allLocal

The 10 Most Viewed SageRock Blog Articles of 2011

I thought it might be fun to see which articles people viewed the most this year on this blog.

The interesting thing about doing this is that you often don’t anticipate which articles are going to be the big influencers.

I’ve heard many bloggers say the same thing. “I pine for hours over an article and I get no response. And I throw something up in 20 minutes and people love it.”

The admissions director of my kid’s school, Spring Garden Waldorf, brings this up to me almost every time I see her.

One of her all time most engaged Facebook page posts is this:

It was a quick post she tossed up about an upcoming children’s festival. She shakes her head about it every time the topic comes up. Of all the really interesting, useful, “important” posts, this one gets the most engagement.

I’d like to say “because I’m the expert” it happened because of X,Y and Z. But I have no clue why people like what they like.

If I were going to pick some of the articles I thought would make the biggest impact, this would be my list:

4 Free Web Marketing Tips To Netflix

Journalism in 2011 – Information Wants To Be Free

Why You Should Never Use Google’s “Free” AdWords Service

How To Find 20 New GOOD Twitter People To Follow

SageRock SEO Pricing Guide Revealed

Let’s Skin This Social Media Link Building Cat

Google+ Resource Guide

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

These are the 10 most viewed articles for 2011:


Title Views Date Author
Title Tag and Meta Description Length for Google, Yahoo, Bing & Ask 28,094 AUGUST 5, 2009
Google Mobile Keyword Tool 1,447 MAY 21, 2009
WolframAlpha – Not a Google Killer 769 MAY 11, 2009
Google AdWords vs MSN adCenter – Comparison Chart 733 DECEMBER 8, 2010
You Can Find SEO at the Top of the Mountain if You Bring the SEO with You. 607 FEBRUARY 25, 2009
Product Listing Ads – Google’s PPC Christmas Gift 602 DECEMBER 6, 2010
Separate Twitter from Facebook 498 JULY 20, 2009
Google Adwords Preview Tool 410 MARCH 16, 2009
Why You Should Never Use Google’s “Free” AdWords Service 404 NOVEMBER 9, 2011
Google Search Query Report 403 JUNE 26, 2009

The most viewed one, written by Greg, is 20x’s the amount of traffic of anything else on our site. It drives more traffic than the other 10 top pages combined. Maybe even closer to the 20 top pages, now that I look at it.

There are two particularly interesting pieces of information that jump out here to me:

  1. Only one of those articles was written by me. That’s concerning to me simply because I’m now the primary writer of the blog. I don’t particularly care if I’m not the best writer (which I’m quite sure I’m not, in our group), I just want the best, most interesting content for our blog. If other people’s content is better than mine it makes me think that maybe I should be doing something else with my time and get one of these people to write the blog.
    1. That said, most of these articles were written at a time when I wasn’t the primary writer. We were all writing for the blog. (Also Greg’s idea.) Maybe people enjoyed seeing the variety.
    2. But why would they care about the variety now? It’s just an article in a sea of articles.
  2. All of these articles, except for that last one were written before 2011! 7 of those 10 articles were written in 2009. Only one was written in 2011. That means that this blog has been years in the making.

I have three possible theories for why this has happened:

  1. It takes time to build up links to an article. And then it takes time for those links to be given weight by Google. I think I might put on my calendar this time next year to compare these stats with the stats of 2012. If the winners of 2012 continue to be these articles then we can assume they are just better articles… or are better optimized for the search engines.
  2. These are just, plain and simple, good articles. They resonated with the audience and continue to do so.
  3. These articles were marketed well. I know, for example, that Brian had an in with a big design blog. He wrote a series of articles for them and they linked back to us. Greg also does a good job of posting his stuff to places like Digg and Stumble.

We might be able to gain some more knowledge if we take a step back.

Here is a list of the top 10 articles of all time:

Title Views Date Author On 2011 Top 10?
Title Tag and Meta Description Length for Google, Yahoo, Bing & Ask 49,986 AUGUST 5, 2009 Yes
WolframAlpha – Not a Google Killer 4,679 MAY 11, 2009 Yes
Google Mobile Keyword Tool 3,356 MAY 21, 2009 Yes
FAVRD – Let Your Caged Bird Sing.. on Twitter 2,336 APRIL 14, 2009 No
You Can Find SEO at the Top of the Mountain if You Bring the SEO with You. 2,065 FEBRUARY 25, 2009 Yes
Increase Web Traffic: Part 1 of 4 1,853 MARCH 11, 2009 No
Google Adwords Preview Tool 1,302 MARCH 16, 2009 Yes
Separate Twitter from Facebook 1,265 JULY 20, 2009 Yes
Google Search Query Report 1,257 JUNE 26, 2009 Yes
Increase Web Traffic: Part 2 of 4 1,128 APRIL 8, 2009 No

Every single one of those articles was written in 2009. And every single one of those was NOT written by me.

Why was 2009 such a good year for our blog posts? More people writing? More variety? But that shouldn’t matter in these stats. These articles continue to get traffic because of search traffic. But they are getting the search traffic because people linked to them.

I don’t know. (Don’t think you are going to get to the end of this article to find some big “ah ha!” moment. I don’t know why this is happening.)

And while we are slicing and dicing facts, here are all the users that have posted to the blog over time, including their total number of posts:

I have posted 10 times more than Greg. Yet he has been in the top 10 articles WAY more than me.

Looking at these numbers, I would say that he is, by far, the better writer, or better said, he is the writer people appreciate the most.

However, I am the “Long Tail” of this story. I actually still win in total traffic.

If you look at the total number of views of articles that I have written and Greg has written here are those stats:

  • Sage: 188,140 views
  • Greg: 119,748 views

I beat him on brute force.

Here are a couple bar graphs representing views and posts comparisons of Greg and me:

An aside:

So this has actually turned into an analysis that represents the fundamental role I play in the world.

As I look at the people in our business and my friends, I can’t think of one person who I would consider myself equal to on smarts, intuition, emotional intelligence. I consider all of them (every single one) more advanced than me.

If I were to let other people who are better than me do the work I would have nothing to do. I’m pretty sure I have someone around me who could do pretty much every single thing I do better than me.

The only reason I think they agree to hang around me at all is because I don’t quit. I am an endless wave of pressure. That’s my one and only gift.

So the mystery of this analysis is: If Greg wrote 256 articles for us would he be able to out do my total amount of 188,140 views. I would say that’s probably no mystery at all. Of course he would.

But Greg has many talents. And some of his talents surpass me so far that I shouldn’t be allowed to ever go near some of the things he does (Quickbooks, payroll, overall operations organization, etc.).

There are some areas that I’m trying to get him to let go so that he could do other things… like write here at the blog. But he is a methodical person and wants to make those transitions carefully and slowly (another skill I completely lack and can’t even really comprehend).


While I can’t tell you why things are happening here, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can learn. This is what the data tells us:

  • Who cares what people like. Give the people what they want. The longer you try to stuff a square peg into a round hole the longer you will make your life harder for yourself.
  • Take a moment and look at the total page views of your site. See what people have liked the most from you and give them more of that.
  • Appreciate the long tail. I am very comfortable in admitting I’m not as compelling as someone like Greg. But I also don’t totally suck. Don’t feel like you need to be a Pulitzer prize writer to put out a blog. Just Do It. It’s the “doing” and “trying” that will make you successful.
  • Trust the stats – not what you “think” and “believe.” This drives me crazy. I see focus groups, committees and C-level executives making decisions completely in a vacuum. Don’t trust your intuition. Trust your stats. Test everything!
    • I could go on and on about this one point (and maybe some day I will). But just because you are the “expert” and know your industry better than anyone doesn’t mean you know shit. In fact, you probably know less than most everyone else. Your perspective is myopic and warped. You actually should be the last person making any “executive” decisions on what your customers want. (Phew. I had to get that out. I feel better now.)
  • People usually look at stats and then change things to get visitors to do more of what they want them to do… like increase conversion rates on a form. What if you looked at your stats as a public survey? “The visitors say they like this. Let’s give them more of that.” It’s a reverse view than the one we most often take. But it’s probably the view that will give us a better return ultimately.

There you have it: The Top 10 most viewed SageRock blog articles and what the stats mean to you. I’m excited to start digging into 2012.

My Top Tweets From SES Chicago #seschi

So, unfortunately I could only stay a couple days at Search Engine Strategies this time. I’m running back to Ohio to teach my University of Findlay class tonight.

But I thought I might post some of the notes I took at the conference. I got a lot of really good stats, tips and concepts (as usual).

Here are my tweets (twitter.com/sagerock) for the hashtags: #seschi and #omschi:

1st step is to convince people that social matters. Maybe make your own study so you can truly quantify social. @LosBuenos #seschi

Conversion Buddy is a new tool that helps you track to the conversion of socially shared links. ow.ly/7uiNQ@datadivadalley #seschi

Here’s a good (and the first) live blogging writeup of the Mikel Chertudi #seschi keynote. ow.ly/7ucg5

MarketShare – an affordable solution for attribution tracking if $10k – $20k for metrics is chump change for u. ow.ly/7ubUx #seschi

Video: Demographic Makeup of SES Chicago 2011 Attendeeswww.youtube.com/watch?v=bVuyscmzuac&feature=share #seschi

By 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices on the planet.@mikegrehan #seschi

FTC says: You have to disclose your affiliation if you have a material connection. Consider: cmp.ly #seschi #omschi

Dirtyphonebook.com – you can look people up by number & make anonymous calls. “That can’t be legal.” #seschi #omschi

Here’s your Twitter tip of the day: Tweet conferences you attend. 2051 followers at 8am – 2073 at 2pm.#seschi #OMSCHI

Find the bloggers that are likely to engage in comments. You will develop a relationship a lot faster. @adamproehl #seschi #OMSCHI

Search Podcasts on iTunes or Amazon to see popularity. These people most likely are on Twitter & have a blog. @adamproehl #seschi #OMSCHI

Klout – shows what kind of fish you are in which pond. The number by itself means nothing. @adamproehl #seschi #OMSCHI ow.ly/7sVOX

Followerwonk – enter a keyword & shows people that talk a lot about that topic. @adamproehl #seschi #OMSCHIow.ly/7sVEC

BlogPulse is a good place to find influential blogs @adamproehl #seschi #OMSCHI ow.ly/7sVuO

Here is my first video at the OMS Social Media Summit #seschi #OMSCHI ow.ly/7sTQz

Digital advertising to the CMO is just one big bucket. (TV, print, digital) so social is currently 1 small part. @LosBuenos #seschi #OMSCHI

The top 100 advertisers have very serious Facebook presences.@LosBuenos #seschi #OMSCHI

Exposed Fans also tend to spend more at Starbucks than non-fans. @LosBuenos #seschi #OMSCHI

The single biggest time spent on Facebook is on the Newsfeed (48%). So that’s where most brand exposure happens.@LosBuenos #seschi #OMSCHI

95% of people that check in use Facebook Places. @LosBuenos #seschi

85% of U.S. Internet users visit a social media site. @LosBuenos #seschi

If you are interested in more stuff like this you can follow me here:


Chris Boggs To Speak at today’s Web Association Event

This was the first picture I came across on Google that had both me and Chris in it. Chris is the moderator in this particular panel. It’s not a clear picture of either of us. He’s the person on the right sitting down.

Here’s a better picture of Chris:

He’s the person on the left here.

I could probably just make this a photo post of Chris surrounded by the biggest thought leaders in our industry.

Here’s a nice one of Chris and Jim Boykin:

The reason Chris Boggs is always seen in pictures with our industry’s thought leaders is because he is part of the search marketing thought leader crowd.

There are probably a dozen people I could think of that I would consider the cream of the search engine marketing crop. 12 people that really push our industry forward. People that help set the tone and direction of where search engine optimization has gone for the last decade and where it will go for the coming decade. Chris Boggs is in that list of 12.

But here’s the thing: Chris is a fellow Northeastern Ohioan. He lives right up the road from me.

The President of SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional’s Organization) lives in Cleveland Ohio.

Chris is also the Director of Search and Media Thought Leadership at Rosetta

Here are some of the many places you can find Chris online:

Hey! Why doesn’t he have a Wikipedia page? Will someone get this guy a page on Wikipedia!?

You are can read all the impressive aspects of Chris’ career in those links above. They truly are impressive.

It’s fun to look back over the years and remember things we’ve done together. I’ve eaten sushi with Chris in San Jose. I’ve frozen my ass off to get to tasty gourmet burger place with Chris in Chicago. I’m sure I ate something with Chris at some point in New York. We’ve spoken on multiple panels together in various cities. We’ve worked on projects together even though we are at two different firms.

Search engine marketing has been good to me over the years. But one of the particularly nice things about search engine marketing are the friends I’ve made in the industry. I’m proud to call Chris a friend. And I’m proud to call him a fellow Northeastern Ohioan.

If you are free this afternoon (and in Cleveland) consider checking him out at today’s Web Association event. Today’s topic is “What is up at Google? Panda ? Google + ?

Chris is tying together the search and social aspects of Google that are happening right now.

And if you aren’t in Cleveland or can’t make this event, keep an eye out for him. He’s speaking or writing all the time. He’s worth checking out.

Keep up the great work, Chris! (See you in  a couple hours.)

Crap! I failed you.

I have been making a serious attempt at getting you an article every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But I have completely failed you today.

This kind of thing is hard to quantify. But I think this is possibly one of the busiest times of my life. At the very least – it’s way up there.

So I totally am not able to write a real article for you today.

But here are two things for you:

First – check out this video (it has nothing to do with Web marketing but it’s my favorite video of the week)


Second – below is a list of my Google Reader shared items. (I’m also going to be updating these in the right hand navigation of the home page as well.) These are the most recent Web marketing articles that I felt were interesting.

Unable to display feed at this time.

WordPress 3.2 Features Are Spiffy


I just updated my personal blog, SageLewis.com, with the new WordPress 3.2.

The biggest noticeable difference is the full screen option while editing posts and pages. It gives you a completely clean environment in which to write. It’s something that I am definitely going to be experimenting with.

There are also a variety of other less dramatic, yet important, feature rollouts.

The administrative user interface has been redesigned. There is an extended admin bar which gives you more links to control the site.

But the technical aspects which you don’t see on the front end are very important to be aware of.

WordPress 3.2 requires PHP 5.2.4 or greater and MySQL 5.0.15 or greater. So you are definitely going to want to make sure that your web host is up-to-date with those things. Upgrading to WordPress 3.2 could be fairly catastrophic I suspect if you are running PHP 4.

They also no longer support Internet Explorer 6. And they are starting the End-of-life (EOL) cycle for Internet Explorer 7.

It also has some page load enhancements. This should make your WordPress environment move a little bit faster.

So there’s a lot of really good things they’ve done here. Just be sure that your web hosting environment can support these new updates.

Otherwise, go get WordPress 3.2. I think you’re going to love it!

You can see the complete list of features here:


Social Networkers Have a Life


A very interesting study just came out from the Pew Internet & American Life Project and was reported on at search engine land.

This report goes into great depth on the makeup of social network users. There are many really fascinating aspects of the report.

Possibly the most interesting aspect for me is that the report clearly states that not only do social network users have a life but they actually oftentimes have more of a life than non-social network users. I find this very interesting because people often ask me, “Do these people have a life?” According to this report, they most certainly do. But check it out for yourself. I think you’ll find it very interesting.

You can read more about the findings at Search Engine Land.


The SageRock System Is Now Open

I’m not sure if you have been following my most recent project.

But if you have, you probably know that I’ve been working on something called the SageRock System.

The SageRock System is a complete Internet marketing program. It gives you all the tools I would ever recommend a company to have to build a complete online marketing program.

It comes from a conversation I had with a prospect. He said, “Sage, I want you to do all the things that you are best at and are difficult for me to do. Then I want you to show me how to do the things that I can easily do with some direction.”

That’s The SageRock System.

It is a guided program with highly advanced tools that walks you step-by-step through creating a comprehensive Internet marketing program.

I attribute being able to create The SageRock System through doing nothing but Internet marketing since 1999.

Over a decade of experience has enabled me to create a comprehensive program.

I will guide you through making an Internet marketing plan and then I’ll walk you step by step through the tools and processes needed to make that plan.

It’s everything you need.

I’m excited to say that it is now officially open.

If you are interested you can go HERE to learn more and register.

I have intentionally made it incredibly affordable. And there is zero obligation. It’s a month-to-month plan that you can stop at any time.

I’m extremely proud of this creation. I believe in it with all my heart.

If you are interested, you’ll want to sign up soon. The program starts in February. So registration won’t be open long.

It will then be closed to new members.

You can learn more about everything it includes HERE.

I hope you give it some consideration.




Picture by Wordle