Browsing "internet marketing"
Google has finally done it if you subscibe to the theory that they’re competing with Facebook. They’ve rolled out their +1 button to the world in a bid to begin building on their own social signals versus the Facebook ‘Like’ button. Again, it’s really only if you subscibe to the idea that Google and Facebook are involved in an internet shoving match though.
The truth about the two giants however, is when you compare them it’s like apples and oranges. Facebook is socially geared, Google is geared for search and advertising. Facebook wants you to spend time on their site, finding those long forgotten high school friends and poking them. Google wants to help you find a result best suited to your current whims and desires and shoots you off through the inter-webs. One wants you to leave, one wants you to stay and play. The only real comparison you can draw between the two marginally would be in the advertising space and even then their ads are delivered differently. So to the compare the two as rivals would be incorrect, they’re giants on the same plane, but not competitors.
Now about the Facebook mafia, if you have any friends on Facebook, which the average is 150ish if I remember right, odds are 50% of them play a game on the site. There’s a percentage of those players as well, who use their hard earned money to purchase virtual currency to help them along in their game playing. As of July 1st however, the world of the Facebook economy will change with the introduction of Facebook Credits *only*.
Initially this may seem like a good idea as one currency allows for more expedient remedy if there is a dispute, but with only a few days left the group Consumer Watchdog has barked. Their claim, is that Facebook is flexing their muscle with these transactions by taking a 30% cut from each and every one. As an end user you may think it’s not a big deal, but think of it from the developers point of view. Facebook is basically taking each dollar they earn with the new currency, taking out 30% and handing the rest over. That’s like your employer paying you, and then taking $30 for each $100 you earn. It’s a huge tax being placed on the app developers and the Watchdog group likens it to a mafia shakedown. Developers don’t have a choice but to pony up the dough, or risk having no virtual currency at all. To expand a little on the amounts that are being seen, Farmville which is arguably Facebooks most popular game, is reaching for more than $2 billion in revenue this year. That 30% cut just became hundreds of millions of dollars going straight into the Facebook coffers.
To finish up the thread previously in being prepared for the upcoming Panda update and a workable strategy going forward for your search dominance in your market.
Double check keywords targeted – Be sure to dig deep into your keyword strategy, it’s important to know where you’re at and if your current strategy is working.
Analytics – Determine where your traffic is coming from, which keywords are a hit and dissect your most visited pages to learn what’s working. Try and dig as deeply into your search past as possible.
PPC Plan – Are you using Pay Per Click? How are your ads showing in the SERPs? Is your bid high enough?
Re-hash your robots.txt – Give your robots.txt file a once over and see if any rules are inadvertently blocking parts of your website.
Check your currently indexed pages – If you’re constantly updating your website content and tweaking titles and tags it would be a good idea to check what current version the search engines have indexed.
Link Building – Dig deep into your backlinks to your website and ensure that there’s no monkey business happening with your site, you wouldn’t want to find out how painful a lesson J.C. Penney learned.
Perform a crawl – There is a wide variety of spider emulators which can help you gain more of an understanding of just what the bots see when they visit your website. Get used to using one and you can patch SEO holes as soon as they crop up.
Social Media Strategy – Is being social an important part of your business? If you’ve started with a blog, maybe a Facebook page and a Twitter, what kinds of followers are sharing your Tweets and Facebook posts. Is your information being shared adequately for the time you put in?
There are a great many more points which are just as important as the above, and only by being observant and diligent will you be able to fully leverage your search standing to capitalize for your business. The search experience is always changing and evolving, it’s a good idea to perform these checks randomly just to ensure you haven’t been shuffled off of your search pace.
There’s rumor of another Panda update on the way, so it might be a good time for all web designers and programmers to do an in depth web site audit. The purpose: to identify and rectify and potential problems which may conflict with the coming update.
The previous Panda applications to the search index have mad a couple of general changes to the way the algorithm works. One factor which has gotten the axe is the Google index has become more stringent with the presence of scraped content. This hit the content farms the hardest initially, but it also managed to scoop up a number of innocent site owners in a round about way. The scneario played out as: web site owner publishes unique content, relevant to their niche. Keyword rich, interesting and informative it quickly begins to climb the search rankings in it’s niche. Along comes a scraper or aggregator from a major mashing site. Suddenly, you realize your original content has been dropped and the aggregator has essentially taken your place. It’s a scenario which has bitten creative owners in the backside for a long time but became a pronounced issue with the introduction of the Panda update. Legitimate creators were being bounced from the index along with the scrapers in a wide reaching effort to reduce web spam. It opened the doors to a long and arduous process to have your website and it’s content reconsidered for inclusion to the index.
Another variable which Panda introduced also ties in the first, the variable began to affect affiliate ecommerce websites. What had happened was, all of the affiliates had been given permission to use the same content as the original seller, and in doing so basically signed their own warrant for the Panda bot. The same net effect as previously discussed, legitimate business owners were finding they were being removed from the index where previously they had been able to make a comfortable living.
In the end when you’re in preparation for the upcoming Panda update, be sure to take a good, hard look at your content. Do your diligence and take every step to make sure your content is as unique, informative and informational as possible for your market to limit any accidental removals from the index. By not doing your homework, the only one to blame in the end is yourself.
Of all of the pieces of your website that needs to be impeccably clear, a call to action is arguably one of the most important. Bringing visitors to your website is irrelevant if you give them no instructions once they get there. Whether it’s as simple as signing up for a monthly newsletter, or as in depth as making a secure online purchase, the only way a visitor will know what you want them to do is if you tell them.
The application of a clear call to action can be done in a number of ways. different colored text, bold and clearly stated so nothing can be mistaken. Using graphics such as animated or flashing buttons is mostly frowned upon, but a static button which stands out from the background is entirely acceptable. It’s been found however, that using terms like ‘click here’, ‘submit’, and ‘go’ can be one of the absolute worst phrases you can use.
If you’re using the graphical approach to initiating a call to action, some of the same basic rules to website construction apply. Building the button in an elegant way which accents the website is strongly advisable as opposed to the garish flashing gif or flashing button. As for the text or message to be delivered, keeping it simple and to the point is the best idea. Using clear terms like ‘Download our annual report’ as the text of your graphic is a stronger and clearer statement than the ubiquitous ‘Click here!’.
So as a rule, when you’re auditing your own website you need to be certain you have a clear and visible call to action. If you’ve found that your bounce rate has been increasing, and overall your traffic is down, a quick rundown of your home page is definitely in order. It would be a shame to lose valuable traffic and customers because you don’t have a purpose for your visitors.
The most recent effort to introduce a bill aimed at placing the responsibility of policing the internet, of sorts, and it’s content has been blocked by Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat.
The PROTECT IP Act was layed out and written in such a fashion that it would fall to internet service providers and search engines to essentially censor the internet. The proposed aim was to reduce the flow of business to websites selling counterfit name brand products. And while the goal is a noble one, the powers granted to the government over the ISPs and search engines if they didn’t comply with their directives was too far reaching. Basically any business could rat out another to the government, who would then turn around and say “Block this website” to the search engines and service providers. If they didn’t comply, they’d be subject to the whims of the body put in place to oversee their actions.
The largest issue with the bill and the way it was written, the burden of proof was placed on the accused, not the accuser. In essence, if you wanted to stop a competitor from advertising on the web and placing within the SERPs, all you would need to do is accuse them of infringing on your copyrights. The burden of proof would then be placed on the accused and they would be basically blacklisted to the corners of the internet.
A strong advocate of the bill had his own take on the necessity of the bill:
“American consumers are too often deceived into thinking the products they are purchasing at these websites are legitimate because they are easily accessed through their home’s Internet service provider, found through well known search engines, and are complete with corporate advertising, credit card acceptance, and advertising links that make them appear legitimate”- Senator Patrick Leahy
It’s easy enough to debate his comment however with just the simple statement, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re looking to buy a Rolex and you stumble upon that “hidden” gem online where you can buy one for a 10th of the retail cost, I would bet you’re buying a counterfit. Big business has a problem with the counterfitters namely because they’re almost entirely fly by night. They’ll engage in ruthless cut throat, black hat SEO tactics to continually rank above them in the SERPs to gain the visibility. The most consistent way to “win” the counterfit war is to simply rank above the gamers of the system. Investing in your website, investing in organic SEO and most importantly, investing in your brands online visibility.
Occasionally a client tries to take things under their own control when it comes to their website optimization. They start changing and adding their own links and text onto the page and the next thing they know, they’re scraping the bottom of page 4 when they were previously rocking their way up page 1.
It’s not unusual at all to have curiousity where your website SEO is concerned, but devestating effects can occur when the uninitiated try and take the reins and drive their site they way they see fit. The constant and recent algorithm updates within Google, Bing’s addition of the Facebook metric can wreak havoc with a constantly changing website.
It’s not a difficult concept to grasp, you hire a search engine optimization expert to optimize your website to increase your visibility online. Grow your brand name online, manage your reputation, perhaps bury your competition in the process. Molding your content, cleaning up your code and making sure all the steps are in the right spots for you to climb to the top of your niche in the search world. What we are not paid to do, is fix fleeting experimentation on your website conducted by your web techs in your hopes of saving a few dollars. We are contracted to build your online worth to a point where you become the authority in your niche market and make you a globally known name if you so desire. When we’re confronted with web programmers who only have an idea as to what we’re doing because it looks the same, that’s merely the surface of our work.
I’ve said this a few times on the blog already, but I’ll say it again. You don’t pay a mechanic to fix your home plumbing, you wouldn’t pay a plumber to fix your cars transmission. You should not be paying a web designer for SEO work, nor should you be contracting an article writer to design your website. Choose the right tools for the job, don’t skimp on the bottom line as you always get what you pay for.
There are a long list of dos and do nots to be found online. A well coded website, decent content well written and relevant to your visitors needs and maybe a picture or two to liven the look of your website up.
An unexpected issue however, pops its head up from time to time when working on our clients sites. Even though everyone who knows everything talks about how keywords and description don’t mean anything in your SEO campaign, think of them instead as a gauge to begin your efforts. Your description is the snippet of information displayed in the SERPs when you show up as a result. As an example, a very popular content management system out there is Joomla! and more often than not when we have a client needing an overhaul, their keywords and description tags are full of joomla, joomla, joomla.
You might be saying to yourself now “So what, that SEO blog I read says description and keywords don’t matter”. Would you visit a website when their snippet for their website consists of “Joomla! – the dynamic portal engine”? It’s sloppy coding, poor diligence on the part of the designer and owner of the site and is reflective of their quality as a service vendor.
So to recap, as much as your description and keywords don’t matter to SEO, they matter as an impression to those who may be searching for your services. You need to bear in mind both as a website/business owner and as an SEO with a list of clients, that neglecting even the smallest detail can have a large impact on your visibility and marketability. One last small tidbit of information to help you along, don’t try and be too clever when creating your description and keywords. That’s all I’ll say about that point.. for now.
If you’re thinking about starting your own business or you already have a thriving
business online, you should definitely secure your brand name starting with
In today’s world, no matter what your idea or business, chances are that there is someone else out there with a similar one — otherwise known as competitors. If you ask any marketer how to set yourself apart from the rest, they’ll all tell you to the same thing, establish and secure your brand.
Securing your brand across social media sites in the form of profiles is a win-win equation of online branding.
Brand names are extremely important in controlling and since most social media profiles do well in Google, it makes perfect sense to be proactive and secure your brand name now. Why? Because if you don’t either your competition, an affiliate marketer, or some other might well go out and register your brand across social media platforms and rank for YOUR company in Google. Moreover, they can use that profile, in your brand name, to build relationships with your customer base, and market your competition to that base or even destroy your reputation amongst your target market.
So you see it can be very important, so with this being a no brainer really, why do major companies and institutions fail not to see this, it amazes me.
Take for instance Winnipeg Manitoba, only because we have one of our main offices there, we have loads going on, the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights is being built, Centreport Canada the new inland port in Winnipeg, Canada’s first Foreign Trade Zone and Manitoba’s Telecom giant MTS rolling out new fibre optic lines and a new 4G network.
I’ll take MTS as an example, there new fibre optic lines, they call it FION, you would have thought all the money they spent and will be spending marketing this new product in the years to come that would have secured the domain www.mtsfion.com at least, but no, Why? others like mtsenterprise or mtsbusiness, product services they name and sell and spend $1000′s each year trying to market to stay ahead of the competition, it just blows me away.
Can you imagine how destructive a Twitter account could be for a publicly held company? Especially if it had thousands of followers and then tweeted something misleading about company operations.
Okay, Yes we are one of the companies that buy’s these kind of domains, we have done since 1995, but don’t blame the player, blame the game, we have secured more domains for clients over the years to protect their brands than soft mick and it’s an area Winnipeg and other cities and companies need to wake up.
If you require expert help, give us call or drop us line, remember grab your name and secure your brand before someone else does, you only get one chance.
The Panda update has been out for a little while now and while some users have reported a rankings decline it seems that for the most part if your site wasn’t being scraped of content, you’re doing just fine. But the underlying point is, Google is going to adjust the algorithm again. They’ll tweak, tune and make mistakes. They have thousands of employees, it’s difficult enough when you have a team of 10 working together let alone a small town of people making adjustments.
So what is next on the chopping block for the Google bot? Only Google can tell you, but there are definitely points to be considered which are up for grabs. One of the most likely candidates for being demoted in search, are the bogus blog posts full of anchor text going out to different sites. We’ve all run into them at some point, usually when you’re looking for information on how to change a sink tap or what type of air conditioner to buy this coming summer. You arrive at a blog post with a dozen different anchors in it, that doesn’t really tell you anything concrete about your search topic. They still come up rather prominent on the SERPs, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see them culled in the next big update however.
Other points which I’ve seen discussed are adding links into the footer of websites and site stat counters. Both of these as of this current writing, have had their link weight devalued already, but that doesn’t mean that the search gods won’t turn them down some more. Footer links are great to use as internal site navigation, and if you’re honest with yourself having a visible stat counter on your website is gawdy at best.
The last point of issue seems to be that some website owners are reporting vast amounts of erroneous links pointing to their websites from domains of ill repute. Using back links as part of their evaluation method, the search engines are tied to this as one of the metrics with which they rank websites in search. The issue stems from the issue that you can’t fully control who links to your website. You can actively search for the backlinks pointing to your website, and if you don’t like where they’re coming from you can merely ask for them to be removed. It’s a double edged sword which needs to be monitored, no one is immune to the Google ban hammer. Just ask JC Penny..
Search Engine Optimization, we’re in the business of driving your website to the top of the search results relevant to your industry. A lot of the time, it sounds too good to be true, that when reaching this position you can literally count yourself as a leader. So you sit back, relax and watch as the visitors pour in. And then you start to notice something you didn’t prepare yourself for, your visitors start dropping off.
Where you once were receiving hundreds of qualified visitors to your site, you’ve watched it drop off to a trickle of where you were at your peak. So what happened? Did your SEO expert fail you? Possibly, we do make mistakes from time to time. But the first rule of SEO is KISS it; Keep It Simple Stupid. With that in mind, grab your pencils and paper and let’s take a look at what are the contributing factors to dropped traffic.
First and foremost, check your content. Have you been creating fresh and compelling content for your site? Have you allowed your SEO to read it before you upload it to your site or did you just toss up what ever jargon you happened to jot down in a hurry? The search engines have always proclaimed that content is king and when your content doesn’t measure up anymore, you’re going to lose your crown. That means when you’re being creative, you need to bear in mind your visitor base. Do they understand industry terms? Or do you need to use generic terms. Will they be able to handle acronyms and specific statements about your products and services? Being hasty in the creation process can be a huge contributor to losing traffic to your site. Properly spelled, grammatically correct and most of all relevant to your site content, can drive you to the top of the mountain and keep you there like an anchor.
Another avenue to explore for you, have you done any massive changes to your website either functionality or design? If you’ve changed the way your navigation works on your site and didn’t properly relay that information to the search engines, you’ll likely slip off of search until the spiders find all of your content again.
Have you kept an open and consistent dialogue with your SEO expert? When a change is requested that needs to be completed, you need to bear in mind that the internet doesn’t stop. It doesn’t sleep, rest, eat or use the washroom. The bots are always out there, always searching, parsing and indexing. A requested change needs to happen as soon as possible. Lost time when making changes can make a huge impact on your search position.
The marketing game has changed significantly in the last 10 years with the growth of the search engines. Gone are the days of dumping a quarter of a million dollars into an ad campaign and waiting for the kick back from it. International marketing superstardom can be had with a well coded website with strong quality content created by one person sitting behind a keyboard.