Got an internet marketing question? Ask.

Ian Lurie

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It’s time to play Stump Ian. If you have an internet marketing question, fire away in the comments, below. I’ll choose questions and answer them in post in the coming days and weeks.
If you don’t want the question published, just let me know in the comments.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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  1. First, I highly doubt any of us will stump you!
    But I might have an internet marketing question or two:
    1. What would you outline as an effective Twitter marketing strategy to drive people to a website where an Aweber “funnel” awaits?-including but not limited to: Content of Tweets? # of tweets per day? Ratio of informational tweets to promotional tweets? Other?
    2. Though this is a public setting, what would you outline as a scalable, time/cost effective backlinking strategy(ies)?
    3. Why does one of my WordPress sites (theme designed via Artisteer, btw…) site feed give this error message, and how do I fix this?
    XML Parsing Error: no element found
    Line Number 1, Column 1:
    4. Aside from standard on-page optimization and getting backlinks, what would you see as “high level” SEO practices? (sure, reveal all your secrets, for free, in a public place… 😉
    5. What’s the 3 questions I should be asking, but haven’t asked yet or might not be smart or experienced enough to know to ask, but the answers will take my SEO/SEM ability light years ahead of where I am now?
    6. SEO/SEM is a realm where one could spend a lot of time learning – analytics/statistical analysis, PPC in various venues, organic SEO, Social Media Marketing… what do you see as the “bottom line” core skills one needs to master in order to be well rounded, and moreover, get good results in SEO/SEM/Internet Marketing (geez, could that question BE more far-reaching?).
    7. What WordPress plugins are the best, says-you, and that you would never be without and you use on every site you do?
    THANKS Ian!

  2. I have a few questions:
    1. How do you compete with sites who are doing “unethical” things to rank higher than you. The answer is not report them to Google, because we’ve done that several times to no avail over the years. Can the good guys ever really “win?”
    2. Is it better to fix the non-ranking content pages you have or move forward with creating new pages. Where is the effort better spent?
    3. Is email finally dead as a marketing technique? It seems like no matter how compelling the subject, our click through rates on email campaigns won’t get above 1.5-4%. Is that time/money/energy better spent on other mediums? If so, which ones?
    4. Software Programs like Web Positions are no longer accurate with the advent of personalized search. For example, our reports showed that we lost 5% of our pages that were ranking. However, the traffic we received from the search engines increased by 1,000 visits. What is the best single metric to judge how well you’re efforts are paying off with regard to SEO?

  3. In Google Local, when dealing with verified accounts, sometimes things go wrong.
    When Google Local incorrectly assigns reviews to another account, how do you get them back?
    Is there a way to contact Google Local for support for these types of issues? I don’t know of any, save posting in Google’s forums and hoping to be noticed.

  4. Hi Ian,
    What would you suggest to a start-up company in a very competitive industry e.g. Financial Services how to market themselves online when they don’t have the big budgets yet that are needed nowadays to start an long term and effective SEO strategy? Social Media seems an option, but who wants to talk about a mortgage or bank loan on Facebook or Twitter?
    Looking forward to your opinion & hopefully some experiences / examples of effective strategies.
    Many thanks,

  5. Totally agree with that first question from David – I would love to know that as well. I would enjoy seeing what % you devote to different online marketing methods and how you spend your time with each one. Management is definitely something I struggle with!

  6. Hi Ian – thanks for the opportunity.
    I would really like help with which URL to use for a new ecommerce store blog, ie
    pros and cons of each would be great to know.
    Many thanks,

  7. Hi Ian,
    My question is specific to twitter. Someone just started following me who has posted 39 tweets and has 13,000+ followers. How did he do that? I know the short answer is “he’s topical” (topic – repairing ones credit, which seems like a spammy topic anyway). But what’s the longer answer?
    Thanks for any and all thoughts you have on this.

  8. A question about visibility of a multiple language website, using the “Geographic target” voice inside Google Webmaster Tools.
    Actually i’ve seen that a .IT domain “is currently associated with the target: Italy”, and i can’t change this option, no way.
    So, obviously, the english version of the website isn’t visibile in the serp page (7th page, or worse…)
    For this website, i need to buy a .com or other domain name… which is the best strategy to do this?

  9. Ian,
    What is your view on the role of paid search? You obviously talk about organic SEO to a much greater extent than paid search programs, is it fair to assume that it is because you view organic SEO as having a much greater impact?

  10. @Laurence I do tend to favor organic SEO. That’s because only about 1 in 7 clicks on a search page are on paid ads.
    But I see PPC as an excellent test bed for keywords. I also see it as a conversion driving powerhouse – conversion rates from PPC should be far higher than SEO, because you can so carefully target the ads.
    *Ian makes note to write a lot more about PPC…

  11. So Ian , i would like to know how can i source emails in a specific industry, (mechanics and lube shops) I am trying to email an opt-in offer for the sale of my AA synthetic oil,@ $599. a barrel?
    this sounds simple , but i am no whiz kid with the technical stuff?

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