A Short DNS Term Glossary

DNS Terms you should know

A Record

Official: The most basic type of DNS record used to point a domain or subdomain to an IP address.


DNS record that maps an alias name to the true domain name.


Site address purchased from a registrar.

IP Address

Unique numeric string separated by periods that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network.

Domain Name Server, DNS, or Name Server

A computer that hosts a network service that provides responses to queries against a directory service, like what we would call a phone book. It translates word based addresses to IP addresses.


A company or organization that manages the registration of domain names and maintains the official registration information. A domain name registrar must be accredited by a generic top-level domain (gTLD) registry and/or a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registry.

DNS Propagation

The time required for DNS changes made to a DNS zone to be observed at the client. DNS entries are cached by many applications including browsers and other DNS servers. A cached DNS entry will be saved locally and reused for every request until the cached entry expires on the server. Typically 12 to 24 hours.


Our commitment to supporting Happy Joe

This week is an exciting one for Real Big Marketing. After years of focusing exclusively on providing quality services to clients, we will officially be releasing our first product: Render. We’ve worked hard to make Render as powerful and as useful as possible to those who use WordPress as a content management system and I think we’ve done a pretty good job. Much of the credit for this goes to our amazingly talented developer Joel who joined our team last summer.

But our excitement is not due only to this new offering our business will be adding. We are also excited to announce that through Render, we are going to be adding something else to our business: donations to a cause. At Real Big we strongly believe that businesses have a responsibility to do more than focus on profits alone. It is important to invest in and seek to better our community and to constantly strive to make a difference in the lives of others. To this end, we’ve decided that the launch of Render is the perfect opportunity to incorporate this kind of contribution into our business. Enter Happy Joe.

Happy-Joe-LogoHappy Joe

Happy Joe is a non-profit organization which focuses on helping veterans succeed in this digital age. By helping former military men and women develop skills, find jobs and start businesses, Happy Joe is truly making a difference to others. The organization was founded by James Dalman who is a veteran himself and also a talented designer and WordPress guru.

I reached out to James recently to let him know that we supported Happy Joe and also that we were very interested in doing what we could to support his efforts to help veterans. Our company is 50% veteran owned and supporting those who served our country is something we strongly believe in. I also told James that we were a small company and couldn’t afford to make a very sizable one-time donation. However, we did have a new product launch in the works and would be interested in using that as an opportunity to contribute. I also explained to James that giving in this manner would be ideal for us because ultimately, we want giving to be something that we DO rather than something that we DID.

James was very supportive of the concept of continuous giving and expressed to me that he’d like to introduce it as an alternative way of supporting Happy Joe for prospective sponsors. We would be the first to pioneer this new program and hopefully inspire others to follow suit and make giving to Happy Joe a part of what they DO as well.

Our contribution

After several discussions with James and an evaluation of our own financial goals, we decided that we would commit to donating 25% of all sales of Render directly to Happy Joe. We believe this amount is enough to make a real difference while allowing us to remain sustainable and continue to grow this portion of our business.

An official announcement from Happy Joe can be found on their blog. In that announcement you’ll also see a video of James and I discussing this partnership as well as the Render plugin. You can also learn more about James in an upcoming episode of WP Round Table in which myself and several friends will be interviewing Mr. Dalman and digging deeper into his experiences, challenges, hopes, ideas and goals.

Your part

Happy Joe is making a difference but there is still a lot to do. If you are interested in doing your part to help better the lives of military veterans and their families then visit the Happy Joe website, follow Happy Joe on Twitter, contact James Dalman and, if you use WordPress and need a better way to include complicated elements into your content then consider checking out Render.

Classic Marketing Mistakes

Marketing isn’t easy. Granted. It is incredibly complicated and only increases in complexity each year. However, it has been my experience that there are many basic concepts which are commonly missed by those attempting to take a stab at marketing their business.

Warning: This post is intended to be constructive and helpful to anyone seeking to improve their overall marketing efforts however it has the potential to become a frustrated rant from someone frequently tasked with resolving issues that result from these kinds of errors.

It’s called ROI people

Marketing is my business. Its what I do. So you would expect me to always be recommending businesses increase their marketing budgets and invest in growth strategies. While I am often having this conversation, it is surprising to me how often I am telling business owners to hit the brakes.

The truth is that there are those who get that marketing is a critical element in any business plan and those who don’t. The problem that I often encounter is with those who DO embrace this reality. They develop a blind faith that any investment will work and business owners all too often find themselves throwing dollars into advertising campaigns and promotional efforts because they believe that is what they have to be doing. They recognize that any responsible business owner should be re-investing a certain percentage of their funds into growth and advertising. But what we frequently witness are marketing directors who have managed to secure an appropriate budget for their overall strategies but are completely unable to quantify their return.

This is where we usually enter the picture and inform decision makers that it is in their best interest to stop what they are doing for the time being and develop a new strategy that includes scientifically measurable goals and metrics. In this wonderful modern age of marketing, there is one type of campaign that I never have any interest in.  That is a campaign in which a return on investment cannot be conclusively measured.

Word-of-mouth marketing is not a real strategy

Nothing makes me throw up my hands like hearing that your promotional strategy incorporates “word-of-mouth advertising”. This is absolute nonsense and for the life of me I can’t understand why so many professionals actually take this seriously.

Let me be clear. Word-of-mouth (WOM)  exists. People talk . Word spreads. But there are some rules in business that must be considered before lending any credence to a WOM strategy. First, people will overwhelmingly talk more about negative experiences than positive. This means that you’d better be providing AMAZING, off-the-charts services or products, otherwise WOM will not typically be in your favor. Traditionally if a customer goes to five stores in a day and four of them provide INCREDIBLE service while one of them drops the ball, as soon as they get home the customer will be sure to post an outraged report on Facebook about the business who let them down, urging all of their acquaintances to boycott them for eternity. What do the first four businesses get? Nothing. Silence.

There’s another reason that WOM does not enter our business plans: It can’t be controlled. By definition word-of-mouth is outside the control of the marketer. It is truly more of a public relations concern than anything else. IMO the only times a serious business should be even talking about WOM would be when the PR and customer service departments are meeting. From that discussion some positive strategies may be devised with proactive measures that could incorporate the marketing department.

In most cases though, I have observed a good deal of misguided strategies where word-of-mouth is given far more credence than it warrants.

Everything changes and so must you

I’m a pretty young guy. Almost every day I’m working side by side with individuals who have been marketing businesses since before I could ride a bike. I’m not at all bothered by this and feel privileged to be able to associate with and learn from everyone in my professional network.

However, there seems to be one fact that I have come to terms with and many other’s that I have met have not. This fact is that change is a constant. What worked yesterday may not work today and what works today may not work tomorrow. We need to accept this.

When we are brought in to analyze the marketing budgets of businesses, I’m routinely surprised at how consistent the budgets tend to be year after year. This is where we always step in and ask questions like “why are you spending X dollars each year on X?” to which we often receive a reply along the lines of “because we always have”. We recognize that at some point these dollars were probably generating a reasonable return. But no matter what kind of return they were generating, this does not justify throwing exactly the same amount of money in this direction year after year. Whether we like it or not, these dollars need to be re-evaluated and re-distributed based on current data.

This is something we are talking about all the time. The mindset which we often confront consists of business owners seeking to grow their business by making a large, one time investment. Their common hope is that they can invest in say, a great website or a fresh branding initiative and they will be set for years. The newsflash for them tends to be that marketing is an ongoing investment. The smarter strategy usually is to budget recurring funds into marketing and constantly review and re-evaluate. Publish new articles. Blog. Update your site. Create new promotions. Explore new marketing channels. There are thousands of new things to do and successful businesses do them.

If it can’t be measured, it isn’t worth much

Carrying on a similar theme to the ROI notes above, the marketing that matters is the marketing you can measure. If you are ever approached with an advertising opportunity or a new promo idea one of your first questions should always be “How can I measure the results?” If it isn’t easy to quantify the return then you should look elsewhere.

We don’t always need to assume

Putting together an effective marketing strategy is complicated. When we are deciding on design elements, slogans, branding decisions, target market and so many other things, there is a lot to consider in order to make the right decision for your business. But the good news is that we don’t have to guess.

That’s right. When we want to determine what the most compelling promotion to run in a certain region would be, we can make our decisions based on more than just the pre-existing knowledge that exists in our own noggins. Loads of information and data exists that we can include in our decision making processes.

The research that is required to make truly informed decisions is something we are well accustomed to conducting. This can be a time consuming process but in the end is almost always well worth the effort. Gathering factual evidence to refute or substantiate our theories really does make a difference.

Some of the methods we may employ to gather factual evidence could be:

Ok that last one maybe not so much but the rest are just a few of the many, many resources at our disposal for educating ourselves prior to launching a campaign.


There are many more mistakes that could be added to this far-from-comprehensive list. Nonetheless, these are my top observations and I hope they serve as good reflection points for you as you contemplate your next move. Feel free to share any frustrations that you yourself have encountered in the comments below.

You Already Have Great Organic Search Results. Is There a Halo Effect From Running Paid Search?

Is there an advantage to running paid search when you already have great SEO? Is there a halo effect? Your hard work is already paying
dividends in organic search. This is true on Google’s Adwords platform, the Bing/Yahoo Ad Network, and other search result pages. Bing/Yahoo and Google both rely on relevancy and recency to bring great organic results to their end users. Over 90 percent of searches are followed by an organic click. So why pay to play?
SEO is still king and we’re not advocating Paid over SEO, but the first rule of great SEO is not to rely completely on SEO. One king doesn’t make for a good poker hand. You need more cards to win.

What is Halo Effect?

The search results page halo effect gives higher click through rates than either paid or organic alone. It’s like a multiplier that amplifies your click through rate when both a paid result and an organic result are stacked on the same page. It occurs in both Bing and Google and occurs on average about 20% of the time on their results. Companies with great SEO increase the percent of occurrence. Companies with poor SEO don’t have an organic search result to work with.

Why does the halo effect improve results?

Because we are primarily emotional people, the way we feel overrides logical conclusions. SERPs are thought of as a place to find a solution to a problem. Showing up more than once reassures that you’re a valid solution. It provides the perception of competence and trust. You’re more attractive.

The term halo effect comes from the statistical side of marketing research. Here we discuss the idea of attractiveness equaling goodness. The link at the end of this sentence is a deep dive for non-statisticins, but if you’re interested, here’s the full definition from Lionel G. Standing with SAGE Research Methods.

Take a look at the infographic created by google that describes the correlation between ad position and click through rate.  What they are describing is the percentage of ad clicks that are incremental to the organic result as the organic result moves further down the page. This is commonly referred to as Incremental Ad Click or IAC. When you’re in the organic SERPs first spot, half the time your clicks goes through the ad. In spots 2-4 82% are incremental. and 96% are incremental for spots 5 and down.

Infographic from Google depicting that organic results and paid results together on a page result in incremental gains in click through. 50% increase in Position 1, 82: in positions 2 through 5 and 96% in positions 6 to the end.
Source: Google Think Insights, March 2012 – Organic Search Results and Their Impact on Paid Search Ads

Use the Halo Effect to Incrementally Build Your Own Ad Clicks

Search providers continue to reduce the screen area shown before a user has to start scrolling down. Organic results return only one or two listings above the fold on most screens. So, naturally paid search listings are always visible first. Search providers also have reduced the distinction between paid and organic results. They’ve removed distinct labels and borders and background colors for subtle nuances.

Statistics as recent as 2012 demonstrate that those who increase their Google search ad spend from a zero basis experienced a median average increase in incremental ad click of 79%. Those who decreased an existing ad spend to zero lost 85% IAC which was not made up by organic alone. What does this mean?

Updated AIC 2012
Source: Google Think Insights, March 2012 – Organic Search Results and Their Impact on Paid Search Ads

If you only run ads and have no organic results, you loose out on the halo effect. If you run SEO and have no ads running you loose a 79% increase (on average) in IAC. If you stop running ads, you’ll never make up the difference with organic results and will actually loose, again on average, 85%.  Running both acts as a multiplier when both organic and paid ads display on the same page.

Penguin 2.0 is Coming Summer 2013: Google’s Matt Cutts Outlines 10 Points Forcing Black Hat & Link Spammers Out

Matt Cutts with Google put out a new video regarding Penguin 2.0. Technically this is Penguin 4, but Matt and his team are going with 2.0 as this is a major upgrade to the algorithm  The changes being made will mostly affect black hat SEO marketers, marketers that try to buy their way into search results, trick the system or cheat. He touched on 10 items that will be happening over the next few months and during the Summer of 2013 that these people will not like.

White Hat Marketers and small business wins with Penguin 2.0

This is a valuable update for small and medium size business owners who work hard to build a great compelling content and web sites. If that’s what you’re doing, Matt and his team are working hard to share your content with the world. While these Penguin 2.0 changes will help small – medium sized businesses, they will make it harder, or less likely, that web masters will find it difficult to rise up through the rankings when they try to buy their way into SEO, use Black Hat techniques or attempt Link Spamming. These are the main points of Penguin 2.0:

  1. We’re going deeper that Penguin 1.0. Penguin 2.0 is according to Matt, “…a web-spam change that’s…dedicated to try to find…Black Hat webspam and to try to target and address that. This change will have more of an impact than 1.0
  2. Advertorial that violate quality guidelines is going to have a very rough road ahead. Paid ads will no longer float pagerank  Matt explains that there’s nothing wrong with Advertorials in Google’s eyes, but they should not float page ranking in the SERPS and the ad should fully disclose that the content is paid and not editorial. I suspect that we will hear a great rumbling from those who sell advertising space online from this change alone
  3. Traditional queries will be see cleaner SERPs while traditionally spammy SERP areas will receive even tighter filtering. Matt specifically brings up pornograhpic queries and payday loan search results where Penguin 2.0 will have a much stronger impact
    Cute Samurai Penguin representing Google's Penguin 2.0 changes for Summer 2013
    Penguin 2.0 is just a little more aggressive.
  4. Denying value to link spammers by “going upstream”.   This will negatively affect black hat practices like link networks even more than what has been done historically
  5. Matt’s team is “munging” around on some ideas to enhance the sophistication of link analysis. The data they’re working with will potentially bear fruit for the team. It’s pretty early to discuss the details and we’re excited to see where this goes
  6. Improve the ability to detect hacked sites and enhance the way site owners communicate with Google when the site is reclaimed. Potentially the best part is that there will now be a single point of contact and a single source point of information for site owners to bring their website back up the SERP results
  7. Author Authority is going to have a huge boost this summer.  The Google team is working hard to use a few new signals to better determine if an author is an authority in their sphere of influence and if so, to give them more float
  8. The Google team has found and is adding some signals of quality to algorithm. This will positively affect the quality of  results and “soften the blow” for legitimate sites who were impacted too severely by the first version of Panda
  9. The team is reviewing a change that will limit clusters of results showing from the same domain.  So as you’ve reviewed results, once you’ve seen a set from a domain, and if there’s a cluster from that domain further down in the SERPS, those additional results will be ignored to allow other results to float up. The purpose is to increase the diversity of the results page
  10. Give more information to Webmasters. Beyond information about hacked sites as mentioned in point 6, Google is moving their resources around in order to give more concrete details and more useful URLs for diagnosing issues

My favorite line from the video is when Matt Cutts says, “If you’ve been hanging out on a lot of black hat forums and trading…different types of spamming package tips and that sort of stuff, then this may be a more eventful Summer for you!” Just goes to show that the anti-spam team is very serious about delivering quality results. Without it, Bing wouldn’t have to work as hard to gain market share.

As a team, Real Big Marketing is excited for these changes and the improvements it will provide to small and medium size businesses in Jackson, Lansing and the surrounding area. If you’re staying on top of your content, making sure it’s fresh and relevant, this shouldn’t be a problem for you and we hope that you have an “uneventful” Summer 2013.

If you’re interested in watching the video, we’ve embedded it here for you to view: