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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Digital Expert Discusses Changing Media Landscape

Managing Editor

DIGITAL BRANDING: Van Webb, owner of Webb Branding, is pictured at the American Marketing Association’s annual leadership conference that was held in April. Webb founded his company last year with close to 30 years experience in radio and digital sales management.

Courtesy photo

As technology continues to shape the way humans operate, shop and interact with one another, the importance of a company’s online reputation and practices is only increasing, notes Van Webb, owner of Webb Branding. Webb has close to 30 years experience in radio and digital sales management, including with iHeart Media in Tulsa.

“Not having an online strategy is like a store not having signage or lighting,” he says.

In addition to website maintenance, companies must also think about their social media activity, comments on consumer review sites, such as Yelp and Trip Advisor, and content generation.

However, for many business owners, there are not enough hours in the day.
I hear often from business people that they know they need an online presence, but they do not have the time to manage it, Webb says.

When working with a client, Webb’s first step is to address the current state of the company’s online elements, including its website and social media sites, customer inquiry responsiveness, and the consistency of its contact and location information across all platforms.

“These are all fundamental things, but they’re important,” he says, “because when these elements are inconsistent, search engines punish companies by lowering their search ranking.”

Webb also keeps a watch on the Google algorithm, which impacts a business’ search ranking. “The way consumers live and search for things is constantly changing, thus the Google algorithm is constantly changing,” he says.

Once Webb has established the foundation, it, then, becomes about maintaining the business’ online elements, such as consistent monitoring of consumer review sites and creation of content.

With consumer review sites playing a growing vital role in a company’s success, says Webb, negative customer reviews play a role in driving down a business’ search ranking.

“People give a lot of credit to what other people say. These online channels—review and listing sites, social media—are where people go before they make a decision about a business.

“I have seen companies spending thousands of dollars on building a new website and on advertising, but these other elements are in shambles.”

Yet, Webb is the first to acknowledge that while one strategy may work today, there is always something new on the horizon.

“Technology is nonstop and constantly changing,” he says. “If we keep doing the same things, we get left behind.”

Therefore, watching for what’s coming and remaining current on cutting-edge technology is essential.

However, what about those business owners who have not yet created an extensive online footprint?

“I always encourage my clients to put themselves in the customer’s shoes,” says Webb. “What do you do when searching for a product or service? What are your habits; what websites do you visit?”

Their answers to those questions can help them to focus, then, on the most important things, he continues. These should include an accurate, up-to-date website with easy-to-locate information and positive representation of the company on consumer review sites, which can serve as a powerful customer acquisition tool.

Updated 06-17-2017

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