Author: AZIMA

Arizona Interactive Marketing Association is a nonprofit organization created to help you better understand interactive marketing through education tools, events, and networking.

David Mihm Presents Local Search

This is a guest post by Nick Roshon (@nickroshon), an SEO Strategist at iCrossing.  He also blogs at the iCrossing Great Finds, and Nick’s Car Blog.

December’s AZIMA event proved to be another great one as David Mihm of presented a comprehensive and mind-blowing presentation on Local Search. David authored

david mihm

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an acclaimed report on Local Search Ranking Factors and his work is used and cited by SEO & Local search experts worldwide. In his presentation he didn’t hold anything back, giving out advanced tips and sharing many secrets about local search optimization – his presentation was so well received that comments such as “I’m learning 10 years of local search marketing in 1 hour. My mind is about to explode from awesomeness” were heard and echoed on Twitter.

The presentation started off with any explanation of why local search is important, and then he explained the Google Places algorithm in three parts – Relevance, Prominence, and Distance. His presentation included intermediate & advanced tactics, a discussion on analytics, and even best practices for uber-competitive markets – it was an impressive amount of ground to cover in just under an hour, but David kept a great pace and wow’d the audience for an hour straight.

Local Search – Why It’s Important

First off – why should you pay attention to local search? David explained that 20{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} of desktop searches have a local intent – a staggering 2 BILLION queries per month. It’s more important than ever to concentrate on local search, as Google has recently revised their search results to blend organic and local listings throughout the search engine results, as opposed to separating the local results in a “7 pack” above the organic results as they used to. As Google explains in their blog, this change was made to make local results even easier to find, and it definitely gives local results (and specifically, links to Google Places) more prominence in the search results. This fundamental shift means that search marketers will need to focus on both organic and local optimization to be successful, and that local business owners should focus not only on their website, but also on their Google Places page to make it provides a useful & informative experience for users.

The Places Algorithm – How Does it work?

The Places algorithm solves a very difficult question – how do you rank a phonebook? Yet the answer is pretty simple and based off of a pretty basic framework of just three factors – Relevance, Prominence, and Distance. This is a much different algorithm than organic search due to the local intent of the user. David then broke down each element of the algorithm further.


Optimizing for distance is impossible – you are where you are. This is one factor that you cannot control. The other two – Relevance and Prominence – are where you should focus your efforts.


There are many steps you can take to improve your relevance to local search keywords – many are straightforward like having a keyword in your business name, adding yourself to the appropriate categories, and making sure your Google Place page is claimed and filled out completely. In addition to just claiming and filling out your place page, make sure to make it compelling – the goal is to get clicks, and convert visitors – not just rank well. Otherwise, increasing your relevancy is much like organic search, pick keywords that are relevant to your business, including some longer tail keywords that will convert well, and then use those keywords throughout your copy in a natural sounding way.


Prominence is the third and perhaps most difficult aspect of local search optimization – generally the intermediate and advanced tactics. Simply put, prominence is what others say about you. The easiest thing you can do to improve your prominence is to manually claim your Google Places listing. Be sure to claim your listing using an email address on your own domain, and not a Gmail account, as this will help Google verify you are the owner of the website and not just a random Gmail user. The other big factor in improving your prominence is to have a lot of high quality citations – a citation is considered a mention of your Name, Address, and Phone Number (or N.A.P. for short). Having high quality citations that are geo-relevant and related to your industry or vertical will help your business thrive in local search prominence. Another aspect of prominence is reviews – having lots of reviews will help your business, especially positive ones. There are many other advanced tactics to improve prominence, such as presence on Flickr, popular YouTube videos, and even geo-tagging in Wikipedia. There is a great write up on the SEO Training SW blog that shares some of these more advanced tactics if you are interested.

Organic Optimization for Local Search

A good SEO strategy is holistic of both local & organic – David shared with us some strategies to make organic search strategy work together with your local search optimization for optimal results. Tactics such as including the city & state in your title tags, and creating separate pages on your website for each of your locations are two easy steps you can take to improve your local & organic search optimization. And of course, links matter, as they do for all aspects of organic search – to help your local search the most, try to get links from geo-relevant sites, or with geo-specific anchor text, as those links will help reinforce the relevance of your business’ location and service offerings to the search engines.


David’s presentation was an eye-opener for many local business owners, organic SEOs, and other internet marketers as we learned just how complicated and advanced local search optimization has become. For retailers, brick and mortars, or anyone with a local presence, it is essential to start learning local search optimization and creating a holistic optimization strategy that accounts for both local and organic tactics.

5 Simple Things I learned at #SMAZ 2010

Guest Post By: Sarah Geiger, Co-founder of AZPRC

Last week, I joined several other Valley professionals at this year’s Social Media AZ (#SMAZ) at Tempe MadCap Theater. Most were interested in learning the same thing: how to use social media effectively. Noticed a wide spectrum of experience at this event, yet we all meshed well together! I would place myself somewhere in the middle, however I learned a few simple tips to help develop content strategy. Our own Arnie Kuenn shared useful tools during his session”Winning Tactics for Content Creation,” and did a great job plugging AZIMA!

    • Content is not created equal. It is important to develop relevant content for each strategy (Local, Mobile, Social, Search)
    • Use Google Analytics, to find what your audience is really looking at. You can become Google Analytics certified through their free training system Conversion University.
    • Plan your content strategy on a quarterly basis. Revaluate and revisit target audience.
    • Develop consistent, relevant content in multiple channels.
    • Keynote Speaker, Greg Chapman, Sitewire, presented “Taking the Customer Lifecycle Digital” and said there are 5 stages to the customer lifecycle: Awareness, Consideration, Interaction, Loyalty and Advocacy. Develop strategy for each stage of the customer lifestyle. Each level requires different messaging to retain customer base.

Everyone could use a reminder, and if you are not already following these simple tips, here’s a refresher on how to develop content strategy.

I am looking forward to participating in the next #SMAZ, it’s well worth it!

AZIMA Reduces Student Event Pricing

As the Phoenix summer heat rises into the hundreds, the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association strives to take the heat off by reducing its monthly signature social events pricing for students. These social events offer both education and unique networking opportunities for students in Phoenix and the greater metropolitan area who are studying business, marketing, and technology and are interested in entering the digital marketing field post-graduation. The association’s VP of Academics, Jeff Walters, has made it his mission since becoming a founding member of AZIMA in 2009 to ensure that the Valley’s promising students are included and encouraged to attend the monthly events.

All students have received the added benefit of member pricing in the past year, but the association is now providing further student-only discounts. Students will now receive an additional $10 discount on events, allowing them to attend events for only $25. This is a fantastic deal, since events include a light dinner, a beverage, and a full hour of networking as well as a variety of presentations from industry leaders and power-players on key topics at the center of industry growth. In fact, there are still seats available for the AZIMA’s upcoming event on July 13th, Expert Site Reviews where live on-site reviews will be held free of charge and students are welcome to start saving now!

AZIMA Monthly Events Move to the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas

The Arizona Interactive Marketing Association, the Phoenix area interactive marketing association, is renowned for providing top notch educational and social events. At these functions, the association’s growing membership and aggregation of friends gathers to learn about the industry and to network with others in the field. The association has a fantastic lineup for the remainder of its 2010 programming and is proud to be able to continue providing opportunities to the Valley’s growing interactive marketing industry.  AZIMA is also pleased to announce that the next 12 months of programming will be held in the beautiful Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas hotel in Scottsdale, which offers impeccable accommodations in a beautiful resort-style setting.

Chris Bird, VP of Programming for the Association, announced the change of venue to the association’s membership at its recent June event, remarking, “This new venue will allow us to get back to basics and offer our existing and new members an experience they will appreciate without restrictions and with the ability to enjoy the added catering benefits, better access to Wi-Fi, and new spacious ballrooms that the Hilton has offered.”

The upcoming event “Expert Site Evaluations” on Tuesday the 13th of July will be held at the new Hilton event space located at 6333 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States 85250 as well as the remaining 2010 AZIMA programs. We hope to see you there, you can register now!

Internet Marketing Will Bring Out the Inner-nerd in You, Guaranteed.

Guest Post By: Rita Rabbani is a media buyer with When she’s not driving traffic to SheKnows or managing link building initiatives, she’s glued to Bravo reality shows or in downward dog at yoga class.

Beware…internet marketing will bring out the inner-nerd in you, guaranteed. Yes, I said nerd not dork, geek or even techie. I mean full on mega nerd. Didn’t happen to you? Well, it certainly happened to me. There was a day when all I knew regarding internet marketing was that there was a “thing” called SEO. Fast forward to over 2 years in the industry, and I am a full-fledged, self-proclaimed internet marketing nerd who begins a dinner conversation with, “OMG! Guess what I heard on the news today? BP bought as many oil keywords as possible in Google in an attempt to save face!” Who says that this news headline or even the latest Google AdWords update isn’t a date-approved topic of conversation?

What is most interesting to me about internet marketing is that it is unquestionably relevant to everyday life. Whether it is to develop strategies in order to sway the public’s beliefs regarding the oil disaster in the Gulf or which Bravo Real Housewife of NYC is the most popular (cough…Jill Zarin…cough), internet marketing is prevalent in everyday modern life. It doesn’t matter if you are the Internet surfer creating search trends or the link builder taking advantage of these terms to build his or her website’s SEO. We all influence internet marketing whether we accept it or not. Bring me someone who has never “Googled” something. I can’t even begin to name another field that is responsible for creating a new word in the English language that is used by people in every field! Everyone on the planet is affected by Internet marketing. I find this absolutely fascinating. Big news like, “Matt Cutts says that it’s okay to freely link out and share your website’s ‘link juice’ with other sites!” opens my mind to so many more possibilities as they are simply endless. I believe that Internet marketing is easily the most influential field of the decade. While I may be a self-proclaimed Internet marketing nerd, I bet other people go home at night and discuss how Google, Facebook, Twitter and other Internet platforms. affected their lives, too!

Rewind to 10 years ago when I was in school dreaming of being a mystery author or editor-in-chief for a fashion magazine, I would have rather died than think that my future was becoming a self-proclaimed Internet marketing nerd. However, I’ve come to embrace this. Internet marketing is a part of me; and all friends, family and future dates beware…some form of SEO or PPC is guaranteed to be the next topic of conversation.

2010 Copper Anvil Awards Call for Entries

Guest Post By: Sarah Geiger

Calling all creative minds, the deadline for the annual Phoenix PRSA chapter Copper Anvil awards is approaching, all entries are due Friday, July 16th. We are encouraging businesses of all shapes, sizes and abilities to submit their projects.

The program was established by the Phoenix Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America to encourage excellence in public relations. A Copper Anvil Award is recognized as one of the highest honors in public relations. Over the years, hundreds of winning programs have solved problems, changed opinions and created business opportunities.

The 2010 Copper Anvil Awards Call For Entries is open to all public relations and related industry professionals in Arizona. At least some part of the program must have occurred in 2009.

If you are unable to submit a project, we hope you will at least consider sponsoring the Copper Anvil Award. As always, the awards honor excellence in the public relations field and its professionals. We can help you attain some of that same excellence by putting your brand in front of the top public relations practitioners in the Valley.

By becoming a sponsor of the 2010 Copper Anvil Awards, your logo, name, and your product can be seen by hundreds of the Valley’s top communicators and business leaders. Your sponsorship helps PRSA Phoenix put on an event that showcases the best of our profession. In addition to recognition in association with the awards, your organization will also receive recognition year-round with PRSA, adding significant value to your sponsorship commitment.

If you would like to become a sponsor or you have questions about the sponsorship program, please contact Cynde Cerf, sponsorship chair, at [email protected] or (602) 263-4225.

You can also find details of the sponsorship packages on the PRSA Phoenix Chapter website, here.

Make a Reputation for Yourself Before Your Reputation Makes You

Guest Post By:  Abby Gilmore is an internet marketing intern at Vertical Measures with special interests in social media internet marketing.  She also blogs for AZPRC and can be found on Twitter @abbygilmore.

Most of us in the interactive marketing or public relations field probably understand the importance of having a good reputation.  But have you thought specifically about your online presence?  The June AZIMA event focused on online reputation management, featuring words from Fionn Downhill from Elixir Interactive, Tom Biro from Allison & Partners and Clark Porter from Osborn Maledon.

With a background in public relations and current interest in Internet marketing, I got a lot out of the presentation because it spanned across both fields.  Making and maintaining an online reputation for yourself or your brand is an important factor in success in any field, really. If there is something negative attached to your brand that comes up in the first page of Google, you better believe people will take note of it.  Luckily I picked up some tips on preserving a positive reputation from this month’s panel of speakers.

  • As Downhill said, “Take care of your reputation before there is a problem.”  She stressed the importance of having a positive reputation so that in case a crisis happens, you have a better chance of controlling your image.
  • “Be proactive, not reactive,” according to Downhill.  As 80 percent of employers check future employees’ online presence on Google, it is extremely important to build a name for yourself online.
  • Biro emphasized the importance of embracing the online world in public relations and when building your brand.  “The secret sauce that once had three ingredients now has 1,000, and tomorrow it might have 1,100,” he said of the way of public relations.  We should all recognize the opportunities that interactive and online marketing offer.
  • Brio also said to be careful of what you say in public, since it will affect your brand one way or another.  He said, “Don’t say anything online or in public that you don’t want to follow you around forever.”  Whatever you do or say publicly can be held against you, and Google takes no prisoners.
  • And unfortunately, there could be times where your name or your brand’s name is associated with something negative.  If it is instigated by someone else, be it a competitor or just a mean person, you must take care of it.  The best way to do that, said Porter, is the nice way.
  • Last but definitely not least, use social media to make your reputation.  You can add links to your social media profiles and build relationships with people, which can both be positive for you and your reputation.  Though some people are scared of the social media phenomenon, they should learn to embrace it and let it help build their brand’s character.

Building and maintaining an online reputation can take time, but in the end, it will be worth it.  And remember, as Biro said, “not everyone can do everything,” in regards to make a name for yourself online, but you have to start somewhere.

Save the Date: July 13th AZIMA Event Offers FREE Online Marketing Advice from the Pros!

Posted by: Elise Redlin-Cook, VP of Administration AZIMA

Yep, its official! In July, the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association will explore a new and exciting format, as top internet marketing professionals from throughout the Phoenix market will provide expert analysis, evaluation and critique of websites for local businesses.

This is a fantastic opportunity open to only local companies! Some of the Valley’s most respected and recognized internet marketers will be providing insightful analysis and helpful tips and suggestions to Arizona small business websites selected from submissions made via the AZIMA website at no cost to them!

Submissions will be collected at from June 16- June 30th, at which time four websites will be selected.  To be eligible for selection, businesses must be smaller than 20 employees and be located in the metropolitan Phoenix market.

The July AZIMA event, held on Tuesday, July 13th will feature panelists from the Valley’s celebrated internet marketing community performing an open review and analysis as well as providing companies with ideas and tactics to implement to increase traffic, generate sales leads, and ultimately, enhance the marketability of the reviewed websites.

The panelists include:

Panel #1:

Sheila – President, KEO Marketing

Chris Sietsema– President, Teach to Fish

Jack – Creator & Owner, Social Latte
Panel #2:

Matt O’Brien – President, Mint Social

Aaron Strom–Sr. Director User Experience & Social Community,

David Wallace – CEO, Search Rank

Websites will be chosen from the submissions by the AZIMA Board of Directors, and attendees must be present at the AZIMA July review event to win.

Stay tuned for more information on this exciting event!

AZIMA Academic Outreach Invites You to Attend NetWORKS

NetWORKS is designed to:

  • Connect your company with MBA talent to fill current job and internship openings.
  • Engage in business-to-business networking and hear briefly from our new Director of Career Management and Associate Dean, W. P. Carey MBA, Beth Walker.

Attendees will primary include first and second year MBA students from the #20 nationally ranked Evening Program seeking full-time opportunities and internships that require a college degree.  The format is relaxed and interactive, allowing time to talk personally with students about your organization.

Our Working Professional MBA students showcase a broad range of industry experience, including: Aerospace & Defense; Financial Services & Banking; Healthcare; Education; Business Services; Computer Hardware; Real Estate/Construction; Manufacturing; Energy and more.

We are pleased to offer NetWORKS at no charge.  Read on for how to register!

NetWORKS: Connecting Companies to MBA Talent

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 – The University Club

4:30 PM to 5:30 PM

Employer Reception and Introduction to Director of Career Management and

Associate Dean, W. P. Carey MBA, Beth Walker

5:30 PM to 7:00 PM

NetWORKing time with first and second year MBA students and alumni

Location and Map:

The University Club, 425 East University Drive, Tempe, 85281

Parking and Map:

Parking is available on the east side of the University Club and is limited to 55 spaces.  Additional parking is located at the ASU Fulton Center parking structure located just north of University Drive on College Avenue.

To keep the focus on personal interactions between you and student participants, you need only bring your business cards and one marketing piece, such as a brochure.  We will provide signage for your table and name badges.

Register for NetWORKS: Connecting Companies to MBA Talent

We hope you will join us Wednesday, June 9.  Thank you for supporting W. P. Carey MBA programs and students.

AZIMA Presenter’s Thank You Gift Sponsor

Those of you that attended the last AZIMA signature social event at Tempe Mission Palms may remember the lovely gift of deliciously decadent treats that was bestowed upon our presenter as a thank you gift for their generous contribution. We do greatly appreciate the time and hard work that was donated to us by all of our presenters thus far and we are also extremely pleased to have the pleasure to have received a very gracious offer from our friends at Fairytale Brownies to continue to provide these lovely thank you gifts to our presenters on our behalf for the remainder of the entire year.

If you haven’t taken a look of the fantastic array of specialty desert baskets that they offer, it is about time that you did. You can also connect with them on facebook and twitter!