Chicago Marketing

For over 13 years we have been building and promoting websites in competitive markets. We understand business and your need to have a website that impacts the bottom line. We are extremely successful with Chicago SEO, Pay Per Click and Conversion Optimization through AB Split Testing to dramatically increase your ROI.



What the Disavow Tool Really Says About SEO

Here is another promotion for the Google link disavow tool. There are a couple of interesting things in this video that I think partially explains the urgency Google feels.

Google needs help. They are losing control of  the search results. They want a mixture of popular brands, informational websites and cute blogs. They also may not want too many sites that would normally be willing to buy PPC ads to get too much free traffic (this is hotly debated). This cuts down their income and least anyone forget – Google is a for-profit company.  The trick is how to restrict high quality or eCommerce websites – some of the time – while not displaying low quality websites at that same time.  Promoting a link disavow tool is one way to have free outside help to identify potentially bad websites.  Remember this. It will come back up later.

Link building works.  Not only does it work, but it’s harder to detect than what Google indicates. If Google could easily detect bad link networks from natural linking they wouldn’t need this tool. Unfortunately,  many link networks are put together with such care and cleverness that it’s very difficult to discern what is real from what is fake.  The most important take-away from this video is the following statement:

If you build a bunch of links to a site it may actually help that site – Matt Cutts

Matt makes this comment as he is trying to tell spammers how spam doesn’t work and they would be better off doing something constructive for their websites rather than negative SEO – which doesn’t work anyhow… Yeah, right.  At least most people will never have to worry about negative SEO. It’s just too complicated and expensive to perform in all but the most profitable niches.

Another Negative SEO tactic. Something that popped in my mind was the opportunity to use the link disavow tool for negative SEO.  Similar to how judo tries to use a person’s strength against them – this tool *may* be used against good sites.  It all depends on one thing – does Google the various websites that people disavow links from? If this is tracked, would Google identify websites that have numerous disavows pointed at them as spammer sites?  How could this be used against a competitor?

Should you use the link disavow tool?

Yes. It’s a good tool with little downside for clean sites if used properly.



Guest Blogging, Article Spinning & FUD

Google often sends out messages that seem to have one purpose: to keep websites in line with what works best for their business model. I can’t say that I blame them – we all work to promote things that benefit our businesses. Heh, I was about to add a “but” at the end of that last sentence. Something like, “but it’s worse for Google because of…”. Then I decided that was wrong – Google is a for-profit company and has every right to shape their market to a form that works the best with their business model. What I will do is try to clear some things up from one of their most recent videos.

Currently, guest blogging is the favority activity of webmasters for link acquisition. Due to its easy nature, lots of spammy activities are going on like article spinning etc. Is Google going to hammer websites for links acquired by guest blogging?

Nandita B, India

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Beware of Free Templates

Over the last 5 years content management software (WordPress, Joomla etc…) have become, maybe, the most popular platforms used to launch  new websites. Before these very well developed CMS solutions all websites were pretty much written from scratch. Along with the CMS a very strong after market for building templates has grown. These templates allow anyone to build and launch a very nice looking website cheap and fast.  You can even find websites that are giving away free templates. There are others that give away popular templates that you normally have to pay to use.  As usual, the old adage is true when it comes to getting something for free. Read More



Adapting with a changing industry

Have you heard statement about how change is good – you go first?  Most of us don’t like change and as long as companies are made up of people, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that companies also resist change. Even when their industry is screaming change it’s often a hard sell.

I used to enjoy the Ritz Camera store at our local mall. It was fun to browse and occasionally make a purchase. But, there was something terrible coming. Like the “rough beast” of W.B Yeats well known poem The Second Coming – The Internet was slouching towards it’s arc of history with a blank and pitiless gaze. Change was coming. Many companies that did not have the experience of Ritz were able to adapt.  Other companies were built and flourished out of the turmoil of a rapidly changing environment.  And yet…Ritz Camera, founded in 1918, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and on September 10 it was announced that all Ritz and other associated subsidiaries would close.

I have been consulting a large education publishing company for the last 18 months on how to improve lead generation (think conversion optimization) for their customized curriculum department. Read More



Q&A – Has SEO Changed?

As part of my new effort to answer readers questions regarding Internet marketing – here is my first Q&A posting.

From a visitor:

I wanted to ask how Google’s latest updates have affected your job.

Have you seen a decrease in the effectiveness of your optimization efforts?  How have you been forced to adapt?

Hi Marc,

I think SEO has never been easier. Sure, we are losing the ability to see all the keywords with Google’s SSL search implementation or track keyword rankings effectively because of personalized search, but for me – it’s always been about two thing; Traffic and conversion rates.

It used to be that many business owners would follow the rankings of their favorite/pet keywords. When these specific terms did not move up in the search engines they would think the process was failing. Even though overall traffic was up by 80%, it was well targeted and conversion rates had tripled.  Today, so many SEO’s can’t perform – for reasons that are hard to understand. What works today is the same thing that worked 8 years ago – it’s just more refined. Read More



Article on QR Codes

I was asked to write an article for a local Chicago direct mail company. They are a leading direct response company with enough experience and technology to handle high volume printing, shipping and order fulfillment. I have toured their shipping and printing warehouse (it’s huge) and actually watched as they printed QR Codes on Office Depot material. It was pretty impressive.



No Direct Marketing, No BBQ Pork Fried Rice

It’s been 5 years now since my favorite Chinese restaurant closed its doors. I can still taste the pork fried rice made “Julie hot” from what used to be Mandarin Village in Skokie, IL (a near Chicago suburb). The food was outstanding, the service was top notch, the restaurant was clean and the owner/manager was personable and welcoming.  But now it’s gone. It just went dark one day and never opened its doors again. No “we’re moving” signs. No notice of any kind. Read More

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