LSM Gives Guest Lecture at Jack C. Massey School of Business

Dr. Kyle Huggins is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey College of Business.  One of the graduate classes Dr. Huggins is teaching this semester, ‘Social Media Marketing” shows students how to promote businesses with social media and content marketing. Throughout the course of the semesters, students explore various marketing topics, including pay-per-click advertising, email and content marketing.

Gabe Wateski, Director of Search Engine Marketing at Local Search Masters and a graduate of the Jack C. Massey College of Business, was invited to give a guest lecture to Dr. Huggins’ class on July 18th, 2016 titled,  “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 101.” Over the course of 60 minutes Gabe explained such concepts as:

Everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy the presentation. As Dr. Huggins noted, “”Gabe did a great job not only demonstrating the intricacies of search engine optimization, but he went as far to instruct the students about how to optimize their own class projects.  That step above and beyond was most appreciated.”

Given the growing need for companies to market themselves online, the discussion provided students with a foundation of search engine optimization knowledge that they can utilize in internships and full-time positions in digital marketing. For more information about Local Search Masters and our internship opportunities, visit

3 Ways to Ensure Franchise Portals Don’t Intercept Your Franchise Leads

Optimize Your Management of Franchise Portals

The Web Reigns Supreme for Franchise Sales

The Internet remains the king of franchise sales. According to the 2015 Annual Franchise Development Report, which analyzed 139 franchisors and a little over 36,000 units, the Internet is the leading source of franchise sales for the second year in a row.  The report showed that 42 percent of all franchise sales come from online sources. All hail the king!

The ways in which franchise leads are generated through the Internet shifted between 2013 and 2014:

When a franchise executive reads this data, they may very well assume that it makes sense to spend more advertising dollars on franchise-related portal websites. Upon further investigation, however, one may find that the leads provided by these portals are not as cost-effective as you think.

Why? Because certain portals set themselves up to capture your online leads before they arrive at your franchise development/recruitment website.

How? By running pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google and Bing’s search engines that show up at the top of clients’ branded search queries (also known as keywords).

For example, let’s say that someone is keen on purchasing an Elements Massage franchise, and would like to contact them about setting up a time to chat. To find the proper contact information, they go to a search engine and search for the phrase “Elements Massage franchise.” Here’s what they’re likely to see in the search results:

These ads push the organic search result for Elements’ franchise development website, likely the best answer for a search related to Elements Massage’s franchise opportunity, further down the search results. This gives the portals, and not the franchise recruitment site, first dibs on this lead. These portals’ ads are highly relevant to what the user needs. In this case, the contact information of someone who can explain Elements’ franchise opportunity in more depth. This gives the ads more legitimacy in the eyes of the searcher and a greater chance of being clicked on first.

Takeaway: you might be paying portals for franchise leads that you would have received for free organically if the portals weren’t buying ad space above your franchise recruitment site on your brand related search queries (keywords).

Mobile = More Challenging

This strategy is even more effective for searches performed on mobile devices, where people must scroll further down the page to see the organic search results.

Mobile devices are used extensively in the franchise lead generation process. The percentage of prospects making contact using their mobile devices nearly doubled between August 2013 and August 2014 (going from 23 percent to 42 percent).  What’s the takeaway? It’s easy for portals to obtain and take credit for franchise leads and franchise sales that would likely have come straight to the franchisor’s recruitment site for free in the first place.

What Your Franchise Can Do

Here are a few things your franchise can do to make sure you optimize your management of portals:

1. Make sure that the portals you work with are not spending as much of your budget buying ad-space on branded keywords. For example, if I’m recruiting new franchisees for my make-believe Italian restaurant/bar franchise “Bocce & Beer,” I wouldn’t want portals buying ad space on brand-related keywords that I know my franchise recruitment site,, will likely rank number one for organically by default. Examples of these keywords include the following:

  • “Bocce & Beer franchise”
  • “Bocce & Beer franchise opportunity”
  • “Bocce & Beer franchise cost”
  • “Buy a Bocce & Beer franchise”

Instead, consider purchasing ad space on non-branded keywords that you think your target audience may use when searching for their dream franchise opportunity. In our make-believe case,  my keywords selections might initially include the following:

  • “Bocce business concepts”
  • “Franchises for young entrepreneurs”
  • “Unique bar franchise concepts”
  • “restaurant with lawn games franchise”
  • “Outdoor bar franchises”

2. Ask your portals to show you more information about the origins of their leads. Figure out if their leads come from an ad that they ran on one of your branded keywords. Google and Bing both have outstanding tracking capabilities, so it should be very easy for a business to show you the results of PPC campaigns performed on these search engines.

3. Buy the ad space yourself!! Purchase space on your branded keywords to effectively reduce the number of portals that show up at the top of the search results. Plus, because your franchise recruitment site is the best answer to users’ search queries, the quality score of your ad will be higher, and search engines will be willing to position your ad at the top of the results for a cheaper price than everyone else.


Online portals can be an excellent source of new, quality leads for your franchise if they are properly managed. Improper management can transform these portals into under-producing investments that take credit for quality leads that your franchise earned on its own accord.

LSM Speaks at MTSU

Local Search Masters (LSM) Discusses Search Engine Marketing at MTSU

Don Roy, Ph.D. is a Professor at Middle Tennessee State University who works in their Department of Management and Marketing as well as their Business School, the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. One of the classes Professor Roy is teaching this semester is ‘Applied Promotional Strategy,’ an undergraduate marketing course where students learn the fundamentals of search engine marketing (SEM) and its role in an organization’s marketing strategy. His students will be participating in the 2015 Google Online Marketing Challenge; a global collegiate competition in which student teams plan and execute a three-week Google AdWords campaign for a business or nonprofit organization.

Earlier this year Professor Roy reached out to LSM about coming out to his class and presenting important information about the search engine marketing industry; discussing topics such as:

  • Why a business should consider investing in SEM
  • Ways a business can advertise online via Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms (Google Search Network, Google Display Network, Google Shopper Network)
  • Best practices for developing efficient Google PPC and retargeting campaigns
  • Changes to the format of Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs) on different devices and search queries (mobile vs. desktop, organic results vs. paid results, market-level searches vs. hyper-local searches)
  • Website optimization and local SEM best practices
  • Career opportunities in the search engine marketing industry
  • Why search engine marketing should be offered as a Major and/or Minor at more universities

Professor Roy had originally heard about LSM through the Nashville Business Journal’s Best in Business Awards competition; he was involved in researching candidates in 2014 and recommended that we reach the final round (which we did!).

Follow Up Article – Why Search Engine Marketing Should Be Taught at More Universities

Over the course of putting together this presentation for MTSU, LSM researched the topic of careers in search engine marketing. During this research we found a few articles as to why search engine marketing should not be considered as a Major or Minor at universities. It is our opinion that it SHOULD be considered as a Major or Minor Degree at more universities; a degree comprised of classes in such fields as Communication, Economics, Computer Programming, Video Production, Marketing and Psychology. We will put together an article on this topic in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

PubCon Las Vegas 2011 – Day 2

Another wonderful day at PubCon. We’re learning some very valuable information and getting some of our search marketing theories confirmed by the panelists – hooray! A couple quick notes for you. A key ingredient to online reputation management is to simply monitor your company’s reviews – read the reviews, get an understanding of your customer and their needs/issues and respond to your customers’ posts (especially if the review is negative). When building links, be sure to diversify the anchor text – some exact match, some brand-focused, some ‘read more’ and ‘click here,’ etc – the more natural your backlinking profile is the better. For some additional keyword tools other than Google’s AdWords tool, check out UberSuggest and Soolve.


Pubcon Vegas 2011

PubCon – Day 1.

We are listening to the history of marketing and how it relates to Internet marketing. The LSM crew is excited to be here! Lots more updates to come.

So, what is PubCon?

PubCon is the premier search and social media conference and expo. Held yearly, this year’s conference is being held in Las Vegas during the week of November 7 – 10, 2011 at the Las Vegas Convention Center South Hall in sunny Las Vegas, Nevada. PubCon Las Vegas 2011 will be the biggest and boldest gathering of search and social media innovators they have ever assembled, offering an unrivaled highly-productive conference experience at cost-effective rates, and with the leading technology and online marketing visionaries who will be in Las Vegas, as the committee is confident in the speakers and specialist that have descended upon Las Vegas, we are confident that every attendee will come away with valuable new ideas and solutions for search marketing. Content c/o PubCon, learn more by visiting


Link Building and SEO

Interested in learning about search engine optimization? Learn more about one of SEO’s most important aspects, link building. Trevor Emerson, President of Local Search Masters discusses the the six key points of link building in SEO.

Currently, link building is the most important off site SEO technique. Without link building, no SEO campaign can succeed. In this week’s video blog, Trevor answers these questions:

  • What is the importance of link building in SEO?
  • What is the difference between a relevant link and a non-relevant link?
  • Do you need different types of links?
  • What are the absolute ‘best’ links you can build?
  • Is there such a thing as a bad link?
  • Is link building always going to be the best bet for SEO?

To discuss link building and search engine marketing with one of our sales executives, please contact us at 888-540-1190.