Category Archives: internet marketing

Panda Update – Any Change?

So Google has come out and said that late last week they pushed out a new update with Panda, and that it really only affected less than 2% of searches in the wild. Considering the millions of searches performed in a day that might seem trivial, but what do you do if you were caught up in the update and “lost” your position? Well, there’s a short, and a long answer to this predicament, we’ll start with the long one.

One of the first things you need to verify when you think you’ve been removed or bumped down in the index is, you need to have a look at your toolset you use. Whether it’s Google’s Webmaster tools, Analytics or any other suite with which you use to monitor your site, get in there and have a look at the warnings or errors section. If a search engine has found any major faults with your site, you’ll often find a report which outlines the discovered errors and some tips about how to rectify the situation.

Another helpful step you can take to make sure nothing naughty has gone on while you weren’t looking, is run a quick backlink check on your site. You should occasionaly have a look at who it is that’s linking too you, as backlinks tell part of your story to the search engines. While the internet is a vast, wild and sometimes reckless place, you can still have some control over who is lending you relevancy. If you’re a shoe sales website you wouldn’t want to have thousands of backlinks from a forum relating to boats as your website and business have nothing to do with boats.

Another big point you need to try and bear in mind, also falls in line with the short answer to the question of what to do if you get bumped or dumped. As shocking as it can be to be dropped from the index, the number one step you can do is wait. If you have a clear conscience and are confident in the work your SEO performs for you, you need to remain calm, correct any major flaws pointed out in your webmaster tools, submit your reconsideration forms to the search engines and wait. The search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo etc do a great job of keeping people informed and in the dark at the same time. There are hundreds of variables active in the search algorithms, and if you’re found in glaring violation of any of them you could be kicked down or dropped from the index. So remain in contact with your SEO, have a look at your site from time to time and make sure you’re still relevant to your niche, and in time your course will be corrected. The index is like having a jar of water with sand in it. When it’s left long enough, the water clears and the junk filters to the bottom, but every now and then it’s interesting to pick it up and give it a good shake. Make everything muddy for a short time, but in time it will settle out and everything will clear.

Yellow Pages Funeral of 2012?

Is this the beginnings of the death rattle for the Yellow Pages? The advertising giant of the 70s to the 90s is quickly becoming more frail in its later years as businesses large and small, are turning more of their advertising dollars towards the internet. Yellow Pages themselves have had their hand in selling online ad space, with the idea in mind that it would help boost their shrinking print media, but with little success. Is it time to start writing the eulogy? The answer, while slowly becoming clearer, is a resounding.. maybe.

While their use by both advertisers and people who actually use their books has dropped, there are still people out there who use the yellow pages print books. They’re still there, but as a business owner you need to make a decision as to whether or not your advertising dollars are worth spending there. There is also the added allusion that having a yellow pages ad lends your business some credibility to the 45+ business consumer. It’s a dated model of advertising, but a great deal of the business world does still depend on who you know, not necessarily what you know.

You need to have a look as well at the market that the yellow pages book is being delivered too. Is it a major city with millions of people and thousands of businesses to bury your ad? Or is it being compiled and delivered to a city of only a couple hundred thousand, a small local brand where you still have the chance to stand out for a modest price. Yellow Pages do still show higher than larger center averages of use in small towns. Also bear in mind your business, and the type of consumer you’re interested in attracting. If you’re a highly motivated emerging tech company you’ll probably want to be more concerned with online branding and marketing as opposed to making sure you choose the right font for a Yellow Pages ad. If you’re in the vacation business, you’ll probably want to seriously think about placing an ad, as visitors may not have an internet connection at their finger tips to find what they want.

While the value, both real and potential, has dropped and continues to drop with Yellow Pages advertisements, they’re not quite dead yet. They’ve been making money saving efforts for the last few years, and are continuing to ramp those efforts up, but for the moment they’re still here with us. For how much longer however, is yet to be seen.

There is No Privacy Online

It’s been just about a month now since Google has rolled out it’s unified privacy policy, and on some frequented corners of the internet people are still making a fuss. Calling the change in the way Google delivers it’s results and it’s ads, a breach of personal privacy to all who use Google products.

The fact that the privacy policy has been put into place, and all of the fuss and noise that was being made didn’t even slow it, let alone stop it, should be evidence enough that the people who pull the strings are on board. It’s a single document, which pertains to all of Google’s properties online and it basically makes everyones job easier. No more do you have to accept a privacy policy for any, and every, Google product you create an account for. Think you’ve been slighted by the company, take the policy in hand, get a lawyer and make your play. But in the end, the average internet user won’t be doing any of the sort. It’s the internet, there is much more than a single search provider. Don’t agree with their new policy, there’s always Bing ready and willing. But that means also no Youtube, no Places searches, and no Gmail to have synced across your platforms. There are absolutely alternatives to pretty much and and every Google platform, but you’d be fooling yourself to think they’re all better, or even comparable for that matter.

In all the ruckus made about the issues of privacy that people keep bringing up, it always comes back to the same question. If you’re so unhappy, why don’t you just stop using it? The real issue with privacy and being online that the vast majority don’t, or won’t realize, is it doesn’t truly exist. If you want your information to be private, never sign anything. Never use the internet, don’t get an email address and move to a mountain side. And even then, even if you lived all alone in a shack on the side of a mountain, if someone sees you and writes a blog about you, sorry, no more privacy. All you can do to maintain control online is to be aware of the sites you use, what their policies are and what they change too if they change. Google didn’t change anything about how they do their work, they simply stream lined it to make it easier for the user, and for them. Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, all massive companies all of which became that way because you’ve used their products and given them your information. Companies don’t grow like trees, they grow with your personal, private information.

Instead of harping on the one company which has a single privacy policy, and an easy to understand one at that, go and find Facebooks policy and give that a read. If you really dig into what the policy is telling you, I think you’ll find yourself more than a little shocked at just how un-private you are.

Social Media for Small Business

Social Media for some small businesses especially with small budgets struggle in todays market, well we may have found the answer, Social Outbreak.

This new program is aimed at any business who firstly would love a customized page on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube, and secondly they can do this at a fraction of the price most company’s charge to look after social media channels for you.

Content, this is most peoples worry, not a problem, feeds are available in different catogories for you to use so your facebook & twitter pages are kept up to date with fresh content. A user friendly admin panel gets you up and running with very little effort and should you get a problem, live help is available, all this for $100 a month.

Members get videos, webinars and a bag full of goodies to promote your new pages, you can even earn a few dollars by recommending it to your friends.

Is the revolution beginning? Check it out or Join Today and start getting seen on the biggest networks online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social, Organic or PPC

For a new business starting up, or for those looking to make their presence known online, the over whelming amount of options you have can be staggering. There’s pay per click, organic search engine optimization, social media and social media optimization, the internet is a speedway filled with potholes if you’re not careful.

Pay per click marketing, also known as AdWords, is a pretty straight forward marketing plan. It’s bidding on ad placement within relevant search results, to put it plainly. If your ad is deemed relevant, and you’ve won the bid, your ad will be displayed in a “Sponsored Listings” box on the results page. Basic optimization needs to be kept in mind, as well as the quality of your website and it’s landing pages.

Organic search engine optimization, SEO, or the holy grail of online marketing, are the results you see in the center of the page when you conduct a search. A fair amount of time, resources, knowledge and creativity are involved where organic SEO is concerned. Finding an expert in the field can be a difficult, if not troubling experience. In recent years, the field has become inundated with web designers, graphic artists and the like all proclaiming to be SEO experts. If you find your business is being contacted by parties wanting to sell you SEO services, here’s a little tip. After they tell you their business name, try searching for them. Because after all, if they can’t list their own business, how can they list yours?

Then we get into the bustling world of social media. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and now Pinterest all vie for your attention. And as an added result, your customers attention as well. It’s incredibly cost effective, if not free, to become invested with social media for your business. The majority of your investment is going to be with your time and creativity. Taking the time to leverage all of the social angles is a consuming process, but it’s well worth it as it can quickly build a positive brand image.

Google – Too Big To Be Good?

The motto that Google has followed since it’s inception, widely regarded as having fallen to the wayside, “Don’t Be Evil”; but is it even possible for the giant to be viewed as being a good guy?

After taking all of the numbers into account, Google is worth 12 times than when it began and has undisputed reign over the search, and search advertising world. But the increasing growth and use of social and mobile advertising as well as mobile operating systems, has made the giant stumble to keep up. Patent fights over Android, an ongoing feud with Facebook to enter the social space, now in their (at least) third iteration with Google+, it’s not just those in the industry who have begun to look at the antics and actions of Google.

Some have always believed that the company has been a little on the shady side, gathering your personal information in order to improve it’s search algorithm. And there is the other side of the fence that reads the blogs and papers about the search company strongly opposed to internet censorship and the company that works hard to stay out of the fight to manually change the search results to suit governments. But with the added push placed behind Google+, the move towards a single privacy policy and an ever improving mobile operating system, Google is absolutely more aggressive than they used to be.

Ostensibly the loudest calls that Google is an evil online presence come from the governments of the world. Usually aiming their sites on the search engine to make it bend to their each individual will, and allow them the power to basically shut off search if they don’t like the results. Google, as well as Bing, Yahoo and other large internet machines have all had the same answer in that regards, they want no part of internet censorship, or in allowing governments to have control over what is allowed to be online. What’s your take on the search giant? Are they evil? Are they still just a room of people who sought to find order on the internet?

Change For Freshness in the Results

When it comes to search engine optimization and it’s a fairly well known point of the industry that it’s not a quick fix. It’s not like bidding on ads for AdWords positioning, it’s not using dirty, black hat techniques to try and trick the search spiders to rank. It’s a time proven and tested method of working your website, its content and proving that your site is the most relevant in your niche.

There are time proven methods and even step by step guides listed with most search engines about what you should do to improve your websites chances at ranking well. Relevant content, a clean and consistently built website, and even being compliant to web standards are all part of the basics to being well placed within the SERPs.

But while your website needs strong consistency, it’s also important to work with your content and to monitor your competitors positions. Periodically changing your content, to maintain relevancy and to try and capitalize on possible or burgeoning trends. Small changes and tweaks are like food for the search engines, they will continually return to your site and go through your pages until you’ve reached the position you desire in the results. Bear in mind that there is a line where change is conncerned on your pages, you need to ensure that you remain consistent to your theme and what you already are known for. Deviation too great, can harm your positioning, both current and future if you’re not mindful.

Brands Need Online Marketing Too

Branding, it’s what makes your business and it’s purposes widely known, usually by mention of name and reputation only. It’s like when someone mentions the name Pepsi, or Coca Cola, you know immediately what is being talked about and can picture the products.

There’s a bit of a razing argument going around lately about how if you’re a “real brand” that you shouldn’t, or won’t have to worry about the search engines. The argument is basically online shoppers don’t search for brands nearly as often as they Google generic categories and phrases. Which is somewhat true, and the article goes on to argue that ‘everybody’ automatically knows that Amazon sells online books and knows that eBay is the number one online auction site. The problem with this argument, is that the average online user doesn’t strictly use a search engine to search for a single term. Most of the time users are searching for an article or they’ve seen a product or service which they want to research.

Even when a user is searching for a specific brand name or service, it’s typically typed directly into a search engine to quickly find their desired destination. It’s a fallacy to think that the only time a person uses a search engine is when they have no idea what they’re looking for. Small business, large business, branded and not branded all need to recognize that search engine optimization is more and more becoming a required marketing tool. To believe that your company, name and brand will be easily found online only because of your brand, is a misinformed position, typically trumpeted by old media advertisers. Do not get trapped in the idea that your name, your brand and your company are too big to fail in search, because more often than not it’s the little guys who rank better than the brands because they embrace the high return on investment where search is concerned.

Predicting Search Trends – The Moving Target

Valentine’s day, not really a holiday, but people are still out there shopping for that special someone. Some bought their gifts early, or if you’re the average guy you’re out there this afternoon picking up a few last minute things. But whether you’re shopping today, even if you’ve already finished your shopping, have you taken measures to capitalize onthis spending day?

It’s estimated that this year in the US they’ll be hitting the highest in the past 10 years in terms of spending. That includes everything from cards, candy, and flowers, to jewellery and ‘casual’ attire. The biggest spenders – ladies doting on their men who’ve been shopping since January and comprising more than 150% of the search volume. Men haven’t totally been out of the game however, and have even stepped up their play – jewellery and flower delivery searches have grown 10% and 20% respectively. The big step for this year though has been couples massage with 50% growth.

Now numbers are good to see and everything, but how does that break down as a business owner in the real world? On average Google handles 400 million searches per day, and during a shopping holiday like Valentine’s Day, search volumes are temporarily boosted. So if you’re in the jewellery market for example, you’d want to ramp up your SEO at least a couple of weeks before the big day, just to pump up visibility. The days do seem to fly by while you have your nose to the grindstone, but you need to observe how trends are shifting online. Being able to correctly and accurately predict the shifting trends online can mean the difference between lost income, and capitalizing on a gold mine in search.

Narrow Your Online Target

Even though it may not seem like it on the surface, there are many different facets to internet marketing. Which target you aim for has a lot to do with the methods you employ to achieve your desired results. It could be branding a new image, a run to try and boost email/newsletter readership or it could just be the needed increase to sales to make for a better year end.

If you’re trying to create a new image for yourself as a business, you can try using Adwords as a branding tool until organic results can be achieved. Adwords can be a great tool to leverage as it allows your website instant visibility where as organic SEO can take time to come full circle. You can create a whole new presence for yourself online if you’re creative and persistent.

At the same time as trying to manage your brand online, you should bear in mind your call to action and what your message is online. Try to view your site as a new user from time to time, and try to determine what you are asking visitors to do as they arrive on your site. If you’re trying to create a following for your blog or perhaps signing up for your Twitter feed where you can interact directly. Trying to boost your sales? Are you listing specials or making sure to advertise your newest or best selling items.

Although the industry is still somewhat new in Winnipeg, internet marketing is an incredibly powerful tool you can leverage as a business owner. Leveraging all of the tools you have available to yourself as a business owner should be at the forefront of your mind everyday as you work to improve your online positioning.