And with the Happy New Year celebrations behind us all, it’s that time again where people make those resolutions to themselves to lose weight, be a happier person, exercise more etc. The very nature of resolutions is a noble one, but unfortunately most people shoot too high, disappoint themselves for not being able to perform or maintain and end up quitting all together. The best method, is baby steps of course.
Of course I can’t tell you if you need to exercise more, or eat better, but I can promise that if you take baby steps involved with your online marketing, you will see results, and results which will leave you very happy and in a very strong position for the next holiday shopping spree.
Your first baby step, should involve actually breaking down your current online agenda. Is your website up to date? Has your site been built with tons of active elements like Flash or Java menus? Is it easy to navigate your website? It’s hard, but try and imagine visiting your website for the first time as a new visitor, can you find information quickly and easily? It’s a small, but extremely important step in reprioritizing your online efforts in the new year. If you can realize what needs to be fixed after all, you can move forward with confidence.
Your next step, after having a good honest look at your website, should be a stark examination of your current online marketing efforts. Are you an AdWords afficionado? Does your web copy read naturally, or is it full of technical jargon about your product or services? It’s a fine line to sell yourself online to new clients, you need to be able to explain yourself as simply as possible, as accurate and concise as can be.
Now that you have a clear staging point from which to begin, it’s time to bring in the experts. SEO and online marketing experts at Fresh Traffic draw on over 25 years of experience in providing Search Engine Optimization & Internet marketing solutions. As specialists in Online Brand Development & Search Engine Optimization, Fresh Traffic makes the Internet an accessible & successful addition to all businesses, driving more unique visitors & brand impressions to websites. We’re the best at bringing you the traffic you desire to your site, start the new year right and let 2011 be your best online year yet.
We’ve had this talk before. Your slow, stubborn, and deliberate march to an out dated drum beat has to change. The reason? The rest of the world dropped that same beat for a more up beat tune a good 5, if not 10 years ago.
An article printed today about the past year in local business irked me. The overtones of the article reeked of ‘..can’t change it, it’s Winnipeg..’ and that’s just the wrong idea. There was very little in the way of positive news in the article, and the surprise feigned at the end of the article? Either poorly placed, or the article was written over a number of days. It’s not a badly written article, it lists what’s happened in the cities business sector in 2010 in a broad spectrum. Talking about the stadium, the bankrupcy protection of CanWest, CentrePort and a few others. Speaking of how the Yes! Winnipeg is boasting about $1.4 billion in economic activity and new jobs over the next 5 years, how CentrePort is doomed? to slow growth because, hey, it’s Winnipeg.
I don’t pretend to understand the best ways to prod a city to economic boom, but I do understand that this pace needs to change. Why does CenterPort have to grow slowly? The actual verbiage tied to CentrePort alone was “..this is Winnipeg; slow and steady is the best kind of growth we can hope for at CentrePort.” About the Yes! Winnipeg “initiative” possibly attracting only 1(!!) new business to Winnipeg. Saying that it’s the private sector group that has a vested interest in the growth of the city’s economy and that the public sector could learn from them. I’m sorry, but the private sectors growth just doesn’t cut it in this world.
The image in my mind when I read the article, was an old study, full of large, overstuffed old men. Cigar smoke hanging in the air, brandy on the tables, and doing nothing. Playing politics and not doing anything to encourage the city to the greatness it should have. We’re at the geographic center of North America for crying out loud. Any company that requires any distribution of any kind should be banging down our doors to have a warehouse here. The idea that “..this is Winnipeg; slow and steady is the best kind of growth we can hope for..” needs to change.
In the past, the most natural way for a small business to grow was with a solid reputation within it’s community. Spending a little cash here and there for a mail stuffer, newspaper ad and the obligatory ad in the yellow pages. The hard work, strong ethics, positive attitude and positive customer relationships could make a good business into a great one.
Time has shifted a little bit since then, but the basics remain the same. Treat your customers right, and it will help you attract clients in the future. Think about how being out with a friend you ask their opinion on a restuarant you’re curious about trying. Or about the local mechanic who started in his garage and found he needed more room so he opened a shop locally. Local reputation is very important to small and/or new businesses.
In 2011. it is expected that local online advertising efforts will grow north of $20 billion. Definitely much more than just chump change, local business owners seemingly are starting to realize that the yellowpages print ad they’ve used just isn’t cutting it anymore. But as an aside, brand management, or online reputation management, has become increasingly important. Where word of mouth has been increasingly become ‘world of mouth’ being able to manage your own business online has become a more important affair, becoming much more than just taking care of your AdWords account. And active blog tied to your company can help push you up the SERPs, so long as it’s kept active. Allowing comments to be posted onto the blog as well can help boost your positions, but it’s a double edged sword. Diligent management of the comments section is very important, to ensure you’re not having your competitors posting links back to their site, and piggy backing your climb up the rankings.
Online brand management has become more and more important as the world comes more to the online store to conduct business. The danger in improperly managing yourself online can drive your business to the ground if false company reviews are made to climb higher in the rankings than you rank organically.
At what lengths do you go, to save yourself or your business some cash? Where do you decide to trim your budget. Production? Acquisition? Marketing? Development? Depending on your niche and business model there are many more to add to the list I’d wager. So when it comes right down to it and you need to find some money, where do you trim, all too often the budget cuts fall on the marketing angle. And the first place that gets the shaft, is online marketing more than not.
The argument usually heard is that it’s not tangible, you can’t track any results or gains with it. The internet is a virtual world of switches, capacitors and electrical connections, so in a touchable tangible sense it’s not “real”. The numbers however, the web is full of numbers which are very easily countable. That machine you use on your desk at the office and at home everyday is, at it’s core, an overgrown calculator. Traffic, sales, visitors and unique first time viewers are all metrics easily tracked by the software that expert SEOs use to demonstrate to clients that what we do works like gang busters.
And a question that we are asked time and time again is: “Why should I retain you on a contract if the guy down the street says he can do the same for me for only $300?” And since people keep asking, the simplest and honest to god answer is maintenance. See, the internet never sleeps, never rests and is always changing. Google, the king of search and search marketing is the same. Always changing the algorithm, making it faster, smarter and it can throw the entire results page into disarray when they make a number of changes at once. Retaining your position on the SERPs in the midst of these changes is why we’re the best. And it’s why we can command the costs required for the care we give to your online marketplace. Now, if you’re still unsatisfied that this is the case, a simple analogy for you in easy to understand terms.
Your website is a car and Google is it’s engine. The internet are the roads you travel endlessly. Knowing you need a tune up (SEO) you look for a mechanic to tend to your car, and decide to settle for the budget variety to save a few dollars and settle in for a rest. Waking up, you find out that your Google engine has decided that it doesn’t like unleaded fuel anymore and instead wants diesel. So back to your mechanic who tells you ‘Sorry, I don’t know what I need to do to work with diesel’. And instead of driving your way to the top, you’re stuck, stranded on the side of the road with a stalled site (car), and work done on your engine that no longer works.
If you need to save some budget dollars and decide to focus on marketing, then trim your budget in the old, untraceable metrics like television, radio, newspapers and billboards. Playing catch up on the web is an exponentially more difficult game the longer you wait Winnipeg, time to get a move on.
According to the leaked Google document the biggest buyers of AdWords in June 2010 included AT&T Mobility, Amazon, eBay and BP.
BP was a newcomer to the list, spending $3.59 million on search ads in the wake of the gulf oil spill (compared to just $57,000 in the two months prior).
The Top Spenders List
The top spender in June, AT&T Mobility, spent $8.08 million on search ads to coincide with the release of the iPhone 4. According to Ad Age, AT&T’s the third-largest U.S. advertiser overall, so its Google spending is not a big surprise.
Other companies that made up the top 10 include:
Apollo Group – You know them as The University of Phoenix and they spent $6.67 million in June 2010
Expedia – $5.95 million
Amazon – $5.85 million
eBay – $4.25 million
Hotels.com – $3.30 million
JC Penney – $2.46 million
Living Social – $2.29 million
ADT Security – $2.19 million
The data obtained by Ad Age includes huge brands such as GM, Walt Disney, Eastman Kodak and BMW, which appear to have spent less than $500,000 in June. Tech rival Apple spent just under $1 million on search during the month, as did chip maker Intel.
Among Google’s biggest spenders are businesses that depend on search traffic, including those that resell AdWords or simply buy Google traffic to resell to their own advertisers, including Hungry Machine, which does business under the name Living Social, which spent $2.4 million in June, and Yellowpages.com, which spent $1.2 million.
We are pleased to announce that the Fresh Traffic Group (FRTG.OB) have gone public – the next step in our growth in bringing custom internet marketing strategies to businesses locally and abroad.
Leaders in Search Engine Optimization & Search Engine Marketing, Fresh have recently expanded our service offerings to include software development for iPads, iPhones & Web Development with the recent acquisition of Master of Code. The addition brings 30 new web designers and software developers, providing full online marketing services in addition to our expertise in SEO & SEM.
In respect to social media, Fresh was the first in Canada to successfully bring a locally-targeted, social media platform online in regards to the growing trend of local search marketing – a beta testing platform that can be reproduced or licensed globally going forward.
We pride ourselves on our results, attaining Page 1 positions for all clients, driving them qualified traffic across all the major search engines. These results, and the relationships we culture, are the reason we carry a 98% renewal rate with our long-term clients.
The web has become one of the most important components to any company’s marketing mix. We are excited for our continued growth as more and more companies reallocate traditional marketing dollars to capitalize on the targeted, measurable results provided by our host of services.
I hope you view this announcement as a win for our business community, and use it as an invitation to think about your business and how the web can open new opportunities once unimagined. “What if I was on page one of Google?”
There’s a lot to consider as a business owner when you begin to think of ways to promote yourself. There’s online, print, radio, tv, flyers.. the list and different and interesting ways you can brand yourself and make yourself known, are many.
Being that Fresh Traffic is Canada’s SEO experts, we’re in the business of online branding, or internet marketing if you prefer. From Wikipedia
Brand: A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan.
We all know the Pepsi logo, the Coke signature, the Walt Disney castle. All of these images can elicit ideas, memories, and thoughts just because of the brand that they’ve built for them selves. They’re multi-national symbols, recognizable worldwide. It’s always good to dream big..
As a fledgling business owner, your world consists primarily of your immediate location. And there are numerous ways in which you can reach out to your potential clientele. But if you limit yourself, and your business, to your immediate location, you will never gain the ability to grow beyond it. Think of a goldfish and the size of it’s bowl, it won’t out grow it’s means to survive. If you place yourself, and your business within a boundary, you lose the ability to break those boundaries.
Enter the internet, world wide web, the 24/7 marketplace. It does not sleep, does not have borders, and has billions of people snaking their way around it. It’s massive, largely untamed, and free range. And there’s room for you, and your future. Your brand. When you’re ready to leave the fishbowl, know that here at Fresh we’re ready to direct you. We’re the online branding and internet marketing experts. Contact us today, and help us, help you.
Earlier in the week Facebooks own version of SEO – social engine optimization, to turn a phrase, lit up in the newsworld as their version of tackling Google. Seeing however, that the idea is powered somewhat, by users liking a page, it doesn’t seem to have any cards on the search giant. That doesn’t mean however, that the idea shouldn’t be ignored; social optimization is just as important to your business provided you have the Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The average internet user is already notorious for fast browsing and merely scanning content by nature. Add into the mix, the chaos of social media, and the attention span for the content in front of them drops again.
Creating compelling, relevant, and provoking content is a major key to success in gaining a high amount of links, votes, and traffic to your content. Not forgetting however, style and structure for your content, is a major factor to being successful in social media. We’ll go over just a few basic points in terms of social optimization, to help your pages receive the “Like” that you desire.
Try using shorter sentences – Writing your most relevant, compelling, attractive information in short, informational phrases can be the turning point in keeping a user from clicking that back button. Keeping your key phrases and termsin shorter, easier to digest sentences and paragraphs allows the searcher to quickly determine that you meet their requirements on the social web.
Table of Contents – If you’ve shortened your information as much as possible, and still have miles upon miles of text, construct a table of contents and with anchors within. This allows for quick navigation to interesting sections within, and provides that extra usability that can be very helpful.
Bullet points and Lists – Breaking your more complex portions into bullet points or lists allows for quick and simple reading. Breaking down your page down in such a fashion also lends to easy linking within the page and site.
Photos and images – Using amazing imagery within your pages helps to draw visitors to your page, while your written content is designed to keep it. “A picture is worth 1000 words” afterall. Just be sure your images, are relevant to the content.
Social media is here to stay, and it’s best to get used to the idea. Your pages and content need to be attractive, intelligent, and compelling with their first impression. Taking the time to be sure that your social optimization is up to par is well worth the time investment. Building a loyal visitor and fan base in the social media sector of the web, will ensure long term viability in the marketplace.
A review of the top 100 fastest growing ‘start-up’ companies, as published by BRW magazine in August 2009, showed that just 42% of these firms included a targeted search engine optimisation structure on their websites. This might include the use of relevant search terms being used throughout the website, such as targeting relevant keywords in the title tag and description metatags, as well as the focus of page content or website structure to help improve the chances of the website ranking well on Google and other search engines for their product or service.
Nearly all of the 100 companies listed were using a website, either as their primary business tool or as a marketing or information site for their business. However, the majority of these have yet to implement these SEO basics to take advantage of reaching potential new customers who may not know of their business, but are searching the web for their type of business.
Clive Hawkins, commented on the results: “This proportion of business websites that have yet to utilize the opportunities for new business growth through search engines is symptomatic of the lack of awareness or perceived importance about the impact of SEO techniques. They may be using search advertising, such as Google AdWords, but if they have a website, they should also be developing search engine optimisation as a more cost-effective long term marketing strategy.”
Hawkins continued: “Clearly these top 100 fastest growing companies are doing something right in their business sectors, and they should be congratulated on their performance over the previous financial year. However, if nearly 60% of these companies are doing little to create even more opportunities for business through their websites, then it’s surprising since once of the essentials for any website these days is to get search engine optimisation basics sorted out. You can only wonder how much faster these companies might have grown if they had fully utilised the potential for search engine marketing for their businesses!”
(source PR USA)
Today I received the new marketplace magazine, in it they talk about website do’s and dont’s, tweets, social media and why the kid down the street should not build your website.
Glenn Tinley CEO of marketplace magazine mentioned on his blog that we live in a city and province that I believe has a business inferiority complex.
I agree with Glenn to a certain extent, but having been here 2 years now after relocating my offices from the US & England I think it goes a little further than that.
Inferiority complex? maybe, knowledge gap? absolutely, certainly were the Internet is concerned, It was like stepping back 10 years when I first arrived.
Winnipeg has a lot of great developers, but more amateur builders working from the basement than most and I’m sorry I have yet to meet a techie, web designer or developer who is any good at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and I am speaking from 15 years experience.
Chris Brown wrote a good piece in there, mainly good practices to follow, but I will bet my bottom dollar someone will read that and all of a sudden they will be another expert in Winnipeg.
I fully back Glenn on his dream with the Chamber and the Asper School of Business of putting our thriving business community on the map both regionally and globally, BUT until these people realise there is life after Brandon, I’m pretty sure it will go the way of all the other ideas before it.
When Winnipeg finally decides to fully harness the power of the Internet to progress business, tourists and the City, I hope they call in the right people, traditional media just does’nt cut it anymore.