Browsing "internet marketing"
Many local businesses look online to take advantage of SEO/SEM marketing tactics to “try it out”, and to see if it works. Newsflash! It works. But it doesn’t work if you’re just “trying it out”. You have to want to make it work, and that requires a level of seriousness and dedication, just like it does for the rest of your business.
Here’s an example of “trying it out”. Your local fire department shows up at a house fire with their gear to “see if it works”. How long do you think they need to keep their hoses on the fire before they decide it’s working? Five minutes? A half hour? Three hours, maybe? I’m no firefighter, but I know enough to know that every fire is different. Some fires can be put out in 30 minutes. Some can’t be put out with water! So how long should your fire department remain on the scene before they decide that firefighting works?
Search engine optimization isn’t anything like fighting fires, but it does require a commitment, and is much different than other forms of marketing and advertising. How long will you only go through the motions before you realize if you only go halfway, you only get half as much?
The SEO marketplace is getting flooded especially here in Canada with so called Internet marketing companies and seo experts.
I find it amazing how many of my competitors in Winnipeg come to my website on a regular basis, daily sometimes, checking out pages, keywords and blogs etc.
We know who they are because in today’s world with the software available it’s quite easy to track them:-)
It’s a good seo practice to check out your opposition, but the facts are only one company can be #1 for certain keywords, and that will be the company that is doing it better than the others.
Winnipeg SEO is a favorite for the local guys, one has have a 5 Step SEO Method they try and entice potential clients with, another likes the look of Canadian search engine optimization guru and is trying to market it.
Learning search engine good practices, reading seo blogs and forums is all very well and will give you a good insight into the marketplace and what needs doing to a website to help it list better, but you cannot read these tips and all of sudden be experts in the business, it takes years.
Trust me all the old boys and girls have had failures along the way, that is the way we learned, in today’s marketplace you don’t have that luxury, one foul move and your busted by the search engines.
I say it all the time, stick to what your good at, if your a web design company, try be the best web designers you can be, because screwing up in SEO is not worth it to your company or clients.
You would not call a plumber to fix your lights would you?
Following yesterday’s news that Microsoft’s Bing is gaining share on Google (its searches are up 7% for October), a look into their similaries and differences was in order.
Bing’s stance on SEO doesn’t appear to be all that different from Google’s, however, users get different results, which is how to two can coexist in the first place. The difference isn’t necissarily in how the results are found, it is in how the results are presented. Remember that Microsoft marketed Bing as the “decision engine”.
Bing and Google have separate, unique algorithms, but both like quality, relevant links and good content, as opposed to deception and spam. In a white paper for webmasters, Microsoft says:
“There have been no major changes to the MSNBot crawler during the upgrade to Bing. However, the Bing team is continuously refining and improving our crawling and indexing abilities.”
Bing separates results into categories, which has so far worried some in the SEO sector, but Microsoft says proper SEO will work just as well. Bing also has the explore pane, which corresponds with the categories in the SERPs. This is similar to Google’s recent addition of “search options.”
Doing a quick search for comparison between Bing and Google for the keyword “snowboards” yields the following results. Bing gives you categories like shopping, brands, buying guide, providers, accessories, images, videos, and local. Google returning the relevant websites from sales, to local, to forums.
With Bing, it’s not so much about getting to the top of the results, it’s about getting to the top of the right set of results. And still, as always, having quality and relevant content is the best thing you can do. Incidentally, this will help your cause in Google (and other search engines) at the same time.
Curious About What Bing Looks for in Links?
Rick DeJarnette of Bing Webmaster Center recently posted a pair of blogTo try and help determine the good, and the bad:
- If you can’t endorse the quality of the content at another site, you shouldn’t be linking to them.
- Don’t seek links from sites whose content isn’t link worthy.
- Links to and from your site should be relevant to your site or the page you’re linking to.
- Quality > quantity.
- Avoid hidden text
When dealing with website promotion, there are lots of different SEO techniques. There are two nicehs however, where these techniques can fit into. One is the squeaky-clean, good guy, White Hat approach, and the other is the diabolical bad guy Black Hat approach. Think of it just like in old western movies when the good guys wore white and, well, the bad guys wore black. In westerns there is one thing you can be certain of – good always prevails over bad, just like White Hat SEO will always prevail over Black Hat SEO.
There are several Black Hat SEO techniques to look out for, and if your current SEO comapny mentions any of them, look else where. These will get you penalized or even banned in Google, creating the complete opposite outcome from which you had anticipated. Take note if your SEO company mentions any of the following:
1. Keyword Stuffing – When keywords in content are glaringly obvious to the visitor, you can guarantee you have a keyword stuffing problem. Website copy should never appear spammy, meaning it should never have the same phrase appear again and again to the point where the content reads awkwardly.
2. Using Hidden Text – This refers to text that is viewable by search engines but not actual visitors. Examples of hidden text include text color matching the background and text that is too small for human eyes to read.
3. Cloaked/hidden pages – When a website presents one version of a page to the search engines and a completely different one to visitors, it is referred to as cloaking. A cloaked page shown to the engines will contain numerous keywords that the site wants to be ranked for.
4. Duplicate Content – It is never okay to have the same content repeated throughout your site or appear on any other websites. Even if you wrote the content and another site stole your work, it is best to change what you have on your site to guarantee your website and its content is deemed trustworthy by the engines. You lose credibility with the search engines.
5. Link Farms – When a group of websites interlink for the sheer purpose of gaining link popularity in the search engines, the practice is referred to as a link farm. This approach to link building is actually a poor choice. Instead you should seek out unique sites with relevancy.
There’s a great deal of misconception out there in regards to internet marketing it seems. It’s touted as the holy grail of advertising one day, and the bearer of ill will as your website and host get bombarded with visitors to your site, both customer and exploiter combined. But the advantages of using internet marketing techniques, are very plain to see.
The internet as your marketplace is priceless in that it’s worldwide. You don’t face the restrictions of a brick and mortar shop and being tied to a sole location. Customers can be attended to from Boston to Bangalore and you can do it 24/7. Millions of people search for products and services on the web every day, so you have unlimited potential for growing your customer base.
It is much more cost effective for small businesses when you compare it with traditional advertising techniques that employ such things as a sales staff, t.v or radio advertisements or printed page. Placing your products and service information on a website is convenient for your customers and saves you time and money. Another advantage of internet marketing is the ability to see which advertisements are working the best so in the end you will come out ahead despite your initial investment.
A key difference between internet marketing and say newspaper advertisements, for example, you are able to reach your target audience effectively. Interested consumers can find your website by searching for the specific product or service that you offer. You can also place your adverts on niche websites which will be visited by your target consumers. By using email marketing to promote new products or services, either by buying email addresses of potential customers or by following up on visitors to your own website, you are able to target thousands of people at once, whether they live across the street or across the world.
Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that the success of internet marketing campaigns are easily measurable. It is impossible to determine how many customers respond to advertisements placed in newspapers or screened on television. However, by using web analytic software, internet advertisers can establish not only the number of people who see their adverts, the number of repeat visitors and how many visits their website receives as a result of the click through rate (CTR) from any specific advertisement, but also the amount spent by individual customers and, if required, the demographic profile of the customers. As a result, advertisers can evaluate the effectiveness of the different marketing strategies they are using and modify them accordingly.
It’s simple numbers, small businesses are at a financial disadvantage when it comes to marketing their website. Funds, time, or resources are needed to engage in marketing on a level they would need to be competitive. Small businesses often have to rely on do-it-yourself strategies built upon free advice gathered from blogs, forums, and social networking sites.
Every small business owner wants to ensure maximum ROI for their marketing efforts. But even with a good SEO and a good campaign outline, you can still break your budget–or render your SEO campaign ineffective–when you let your worries get the best of you. Worrying about smart things is smart. Worrying about the other stuff, well, that just sets you up for failure.
SEO isn’t an exact science, there is no “do this to get this” formula. There are many trials and errors along the way and if you’re not prepared for that then you’ll likely spend too much of your time trying to perfect what can’t be perfected. There are many trade-offs made when optimizing a site. Ultimately you want to do what’s best for your visitors, while doing what’s best for the search engines. While Google likes to believe those are one in the same, the truth is that they are often two different things. The problem is when you want perfection on both, when you may need to settle for less than perfect on one front in order to get a perfect balance.
When it comes to both engines and visitor usability the paths to the perfect site is always changing because what would have been perfect yesterday is not perfect today. Settling for poor performance can be corrected, sometimes you have to accept what you have, get it out there and then move forward perfecting it later. By trying to make it perfect first, you’ll spend too much of your budget on that while and get no SEO improvement. Isn’t it better to start getting the benefit of the changes sooner, and perfect it later?
2) Worrying about being #1
Wouldn’t it be nice if getting #1 were easy (and cheap?). Unfortunately we don’t operate in a vacuum and there are many competitors out there. If you’re in a highly competitive industry, it’s not just your competitors that you’re up against. Informational sites such as Wikipedia, blogs and others can often dominate the top search engine rankings for your most profitable keywords. You need to accept that you may never outperform sites like Wikipedia, and you may never be able to outspend your competition. Settle on this and you can direct yours, and your SEO’s, efforts on things that will make a real difference in your optimization campaign. Once your site is optimized you can often get a better ROI by improving your visitor’s experience.
3) Worrying about competitors
Is your competitor climbing in the rankings? Are you worried that they will over take you? Are they outperforming you on some keywords? While disconcerting, you can’t expect your SEO to jump in and stop that from happening. Yes, you can invest in more SEO or links or social media… and maybe you should, but short of that, a site can only get so optimized for certain keywords.
The question here isn’t whether your SEO is doing their job or not. The real and only viable solution is to assess your campaign and make changes as needed. The problem with worrying about how your competitors are performing is that there is so much you don’t know. How much are they spending? Are they profitable? Are they focused on the right things? These questions are just a few you need to know before you decide what, precisely, is worth worrying about.
4) Traffic over conversions
Rankings get traffic, but why do we want traffic? Traffic alone is worthless unless it becomes a patron of your site; paying customer, signed up for a newsletter or news release etc. We often lose sight of that as optimization takes place. SEOs are paid to deliver traffic and are often happy to see traffic through to your site, even if the conversions do not follow.
While traffic is a required result of the SEO campaign, conversions should matter more. Before worrying about traffic changes, look first to see what your conversion rates are. If your SEO campaign results in more traffic but less sales, it’s time to look at content. As your traffic improves, your conversion rates need to be monitored. If you’re getting more sales, great. But if your conversion rate drops, then you need to focus on improving that before looking to improve traffic any further. Why bring more people to the site if fewer and fewer are going to convert?
5) Slow growth / instant success
SEO is a long-term investment that rarely, if ever, brings over night success. One of the most difficult expectations to overcome when pitching SEO services is the expectation that results will come fast. That being said, some sites can be optimized and see near immediate benefit. Other sites take longer to get optimized therefore the benefit in rankings takes longer. Newer sites have a much longer hill to climb before they see success. Before beginning an SEO campaign be sure that your expectations are in line with reality. Don’t look for a get-rich-quick solution, but instead be willing to invest in a long-term strategy that will pay off as you let it mature.
Small business budgets are tight and they have to make the most of every dollar. But sometimes trying to squeeze every bit of juice from a dollar ultimately squeezes the life out of it. Worrying too much about the performance of your SEO campaign can lead to jumping the gun on bad intel and making a seemingly bad situation worse. Give time for your SEO campaign to work before jumping in to make changes. It can be difficult if you are spending money and don’t see things going your way. There is risk in everything, including worrying about something that you shouldn’t. Worry less, and let your SEO campaign perform more.
Too many businesses large and small look at SEO (search engine optimization) as a nuisance and an additional expense, but since when is promoting your business online a nuisance and expense? Search engine optimization should be viewed as an investment. When you approach your online marketing strategy from just a rankings stand point it can be quite difficult to see the inherent value in SEO.
SEO is not just a load of technical jargon to get you on the first page of Google for a certain keyword or keyword phrase. If your business approaches it from that angle, the true value of SEO can be lost. By proactively marketing yourself online you create little footprints online connecting directly to your brand or business. If you follow all of your tracks, you will see they all funnel down to your website creating many little pathways to your website. The more tracks you make, the more opportunity for really becoming visible online in front of your target audience. The network does take time to build but once it is built a website will see a nice steady stream of traffic, qualified traffic if done correctly. SEO is an effort that takes time to really ramp up and work correctly. This is why it is important to realize that SEO, is an investment.
Building up a website online is no different than building up a brand or offline business. This process is where the investment is very important. The investment comes in many different shapes and sizes which also brings many different types of rewards. The rewards are not just search rankings which many think is the way to gauge if your online marketing campaign is really working. Rewards come in the potential customers reaching out to you on the various social networks and search engine results pages. Do you all of a sudden see a surge in websites sending you traffic? This did not happen by accident, this is a direct result of your online SEO efforts. Over time the traffic and rankings increase. This is why it is very important to realize that search engine optimization is a long term approach that truly requires patience and the ability to think outside the box.
Everyone is a buzz about social media marketing. You can’t turn your head without hearing about it at a conference. Marketing professionals are either engaged today or thinking about how to engage tomorrow. Everyone is suddenly claiming expert status (you don’t need a social media expert, you just need a good marketer).
None of this is surprising. Social media doesn’t require knowledge of technology or staying on top of and technologies, at least not in the same way SEO does. In comparison social media is fairly easy to get right. You just need to know how to market to a connected society, have comprehension in sociology and learn the basics behind some pretty easy to use tools. Patience, helps too.
The truth, though, is social media is not new hasn’t really changed since the message board and forum culture of the late 90’s. There are just more people involved now. And we’re actually a bit nicer to each other. But it’s still just digital conversations. The tools have changed, but the way we interact digitally hasn’t – despite the glorification of certain platforms over others and the new found ability to be anti-social in public (or for some, more social) with the proliferation of mobile.
So here’s the truth: digital marketing hasn’t changed as much as some would have you believe. Search is still the number one source of traffic to web properties by a pretty good margin. Sure there’s some social traffic, but guess what – search still wins month over month, it’s far more consistent and it’s just better quality traffic.
And this brings us to the point: despite early adopters shifting habits and changing the way they use the web with the release of each new tool, doesn’t mean everyone does. Search is still the core function of those seeking content or information.
If you’re engaged in things like content marketing you should become more aware of SEO before social media. Social media and SEO do work together, but without having a search strategy locked down first, you’ll never fully benefit from the intersection. Neither happens in a vacuum.
Search engine optimization intertwines with social media and the engines will only continue to look at social signals more in the future as more users participate. Sites like Twitter won’t disrupt the web’s link graph, eventually it may make it even stronger. But your marketing, your media, your brand – by engaging social without comprehension of search means you’re yielding a higher conversion channel to competitors.
In the wide world of the Internet, there’s a million and one tips and tricks to promote your self and your business. Adwords, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and all of the ups and downs associated with them. But for you, and your business, with the alternatives out there which one should you consider?
Well if the budget and time allows, all of them.
But realistically, unless you have a dedicated team devoted to each aspect of your online marketing campaign, self managing it can be tedious and time consuming. So pushing aside (for now) all of the social mediums, Twitter, Facebook, blogging etc, leaves with two avenues to explore. Searh engine optimization (SEO), and Search engine marketing (SEM).
SEO, is the holy grail of the internet business, and done properly, can solidify you and your business as an authority in your niche market. It takes time, effort, and a careful eye to ensure it’s done properly and to maximum effectiveness. SEO is how you can grow from relative obscurity on the internet, to success and remain a star. The organic method to climbing the SERPs, Googlers know and embrace websites in the top 10 as the “go to” sites in their queries.
SEM, is a more instant approach to marketing. Using mostly sponsored ads in the SERPs, proper use and care of an SEM campaign can help increase, or begin, traffic flow into your site. The double edged side of using search engine marketing as opposed to search engine optimization however, is that most Googlers know that the sponsored ads are not organic, they’re paid for.
Which method you decide is best for your site, is up to you, just know that you need to look no further than Fresh Traffic to answer your questions.
OneRiot, a real-time search engine for web and video content, has launched a new Twitter search engine with a unique angle: Rather than focus on what people are saying, the search engine focuses on the web pages people are linking to.
But whenever the subject of real-time search and/or Twitter search comes up, inevitably the argument heads to “too much meaningless chatter to find anything of value”. It’s a generally fair argument. But OneRiot thinks it’s found a way to cut through the layers of noise.
How Does It Work?
One Riot crawls Twitter, looking for tweets with embedded links, then crawls and indexes the content being linked to. The OneRiot search algorithm includes spam checking and has checks for relevance, and a “hotness” factor for URLs that are being talked about a lot in recent tweets.
As you do a search, you can see the focus is on content — the URLs people are discussing and sharing on Twitter. But Twitter being a social site, OneRiot’s search results also include some social elements for anyone who wants to dip into the conversation. Each result includes a reference to how recently the link was shared on Twitter, how many tweets mention it, and who first posted it on Twitter.
It’s a unique approach to Twitter search that should prove particularly beneficial to the business community embracing social media advertising. In a short time testing the service, I found that it does bypass a lot of the chatter, and leads more quickly to relevant content. And there’s convenience too, in that OneRiot’s search expands shortened links, so you can see the actual content link.
An alpha version of their Twitter search engine is available now at twitter.oneriot.com.