Category Archives: internet marketing

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.

SEO What they don’t tell you.

An optimized website

What they say: Even if you don’t actually sell products online, a website gives potential customers and investors the opportunity to find out more about you and your company. For a website to be effective and bring new customers and investors to your doors it needs to be seen. Search engine optimization can help position your website on the first few pages of the search engines which means it’s much more likely to receive visitors.

As well as ensuring the copywriting on your website is optimized with keywords, you need to make sure your web developers or designers have created an SEO friendly website.

With 65,000 new websites coming online every day, not including new pages and blog added to existing websites daily the chances of you ever seeing high traffic and rankings without a BIG cost is near on impossible. Nobody ever mentions the cost do they.

Fact: Investment for marketing the website from approx. $1500 – $20,000 per month depending on size and your competition.

Active social media channels

What they say: Having a profile set up on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (plus the numerous other social media networks) isn’t enough. For your social media campaign to be a success you need to continually interact with your network.

And to be honest who gives a crap what bus stop or pizza shop you’re at or what you have just eaten, Your top score on a farm game or flirting teens pretending while the parents are out. Get a life. Limited for business unless very local.

Fact: A full-time job to do it properly along with a full-time salary approx. $30,000 – $50,000 per annum.

An up to date blog

What they say: Blogging is one of the quickest and easiest ways to forge an identity for yourself online. Blogs allow you to share your expertise with your visitors and it encourages them to see you as a leading authority in your industry sector. As you build up your blog with opinion pieces, news stories and reviews you will create an online resource for your blog visitors.

Fact: Takes your time and money, time is money or employ someone to do it, another salary.

While there is a lot of information and help out there to get you started, do not be taken in by all the BS that people and company’s shovel out. Sure Google also has SEO guidelines which cover what you should and should not be doing in order to create a well optimized website. Check it out  Rand at SEOMoz have a multitude of free blogs, videos and podcasts on their website to help people understand the basic (and more advanced) SEO techniques too, but the cold hard facts are it takes time, money and knowledge to be a real player. As I have said many times, pay peanuts and you will get monkey’s.

As a small business if you don’t have at least $20k a year to throw at marketing your online presence, forget it, you will never even scratch the surface, if some company gives you bullshit about the must have Facebook, twitter and rest accounts, run for the hills, these usually are the wannabe online marketers, with sharp tongues (usually forked) and snappy suits. You can get business from social, but it’s limited, search is and has been #1 from the start and will continue for a very long time.

Ask yourself what you do when you want something, whether on your phone, laptop or desktop, you search first.

Opinions are those of the writer.

Winnipeg gets over 12 Million Hits & Climbing

Newsflash. Local Winnipeg businesses who work with Fresh Traffic have seen there website traffic exceed over 12 million hits for the last year alone and still climbing.

As more and more small medium size company’s come onboard for help with Internet Marketing, Social Media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) we see this number doubling by 2012 end.

It’s never too late to start, if you have a website but no traffic, rankings or earnings, pick up the phone or email Winnipeg’s leading Internet Marketing company today, you will be glad you did. Tel: 204.942.4200

Winnipeg Digital Marketing: Would Your Business Benefit?

As technology advances, so does our means of communications with others and the public. The radio and television were two technological mediums that companies used to advertise to their target audience. However, since the mid-1990s, the Internet has drastically changed the way we share information. It has turned into a new way for businesses to market their products or services directly to their target audience. Online platforms, such as websites and social media, offer a lot to companies such as higher ROI on their marketing campaigns and more business.

Research shows that more than half of all U.S. residents and more that 3/4 of all U.S. adults are online.  A recent survey found that 92% of online adults use search engines to find information on the Internet, with 59% who do so on a typical day.  Of these daily searches, 46% are for information on products or services.  89% of U.S. Internet users search online before they make a purchase, even when the purchase is made at a local business. 

With an astounding amount of people and potential customers online, it is important for Winnipeg companies to have an online presence so they do not miss out on opportunities and business that could be found on the Internet.

Top 5 Ways to Create Strong Online Presence

1. Website – This allows companies to post valuable information about their company and their products or services. It is a centralized location where users can learn about what the company has to offer. 60% of all organic clicks go to the top three organic search results. With correct SEO and keyword placement and number of indexed pages, websites are able to rank on search engine results – helping them get found by users who are searching for topics related to their company.

2. Blogging65% of daily internet users read a blog. By keeping a frequent blog, 2-3 times a week, you are contributing to your website’s SEO and are generating traffic to your site. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that do not. Businesses that blog at least 20 times a month generate 5 times more traffic and 4 times more leads than those who only blog a few times a month. Blog posts need to be valuable and remarkable content and need to be of interest to your target audience. Instead of solely company news, you should write about industry updates or other information that is of value to your target audience. By continuously updating your blog with industry updates and information you are positioning yourself as a subject matter expert. Also, by opening up the comment box, you are allowing direct communication between you and your potential customer – a place where you can offer advice and suggestions.

3. Facebook93% of U.S. adult Internet users are on Facebook. As of date, there are more than 800 million active users on Facebook. When users “like” company pages get updates made to the business’s profile, such as new wall posts (blog and industry news updates), pictures, videos, discussion questions and more. Facebook allows companies to easily provide updates to followers as well as interact with users via comments.

4. Twitter – There are 100 million monthly active users on Twitter with over 250 million daily tweets. Companies with over 1,000 Twitter followers get 6 times more traffic. 70% of U.S. Twitter users are more likely to recommend the brands that they follow. Twitter accounts allow companies to share quick industry or company news, as well as blog posts to followers. Since posts are only allowed to be 140 characters, they are read quickly by followers, allowing them to easily decide if the topic is of interest to them. These updates can link back to your website or blog to drive traffic to updates you have made. With more than 1/2 of active Twitter users following companies, brands or products, it is important to make sure your company creates a continuously updated page for them to engage with.

5. LinkedIn – As of date, there are over 135 million professionals on LinkedIn. Company profiles allow businesses to connect with other professionals and establish themselves in a professional setting. They are also able to provide status updates on industry or company news as well as blog and Twitter updates to its followers. It grants companies the opportunity to network with others in their industry as well as become members in groups consisting of other members that may be of interest to them.

The Danger of Knowing a Little

Working in the field of search engine optimization, you can sometimes run into one of your most dangerous client. Dangerous perhaps, is a rather strong word but let me explain a little and then you can make your own judgement.

There are millions of pages on the internet about SEO, SEM, social marketing, etc. There are experts that number into the millions as well if you were to believe all of the results when you search for search engine optimization expert as well. A problem with having so much.. information available for consumption is you tend to end up with large amounts of people who think they know what they’re doing. And more often than not, that blog that they read only told them a portion of the steps necessary where SEO is concerned. This point, is where the ‘dangerous’ part stems from.

When you’re dealing with a client who has done a lot of reading on the web about SEO, you start to run into some frustrating situations. Hopefully they just like to have a conversation occasionally about SEO, ideally questioning what they’ve actually read for themselves. Your worst case scenario would have to be your client poking around at the work that you do on their site for them and, at best unravelling it, or at worst completely ruining it. And as terrifying as that may seem, it can even get worse yet. When your client has a tech who actively builds onto and maintains their site, it can turn into a bit of a stand off.

It’s a thin line to walk when your client thinks they know what SEO is, but that line gets blurred when they try to push what they know as the method they would like you to use on their site. Horses for courses, if you don’t know what you’re doing where SEO is concerned, it’s best that you just sit back and work out how to capitalize on the influx of new traffic.

Things I can see happening for 2012

Mobile: Well we are almost getting there with Mobile. I’ve long been frustrated since living in Canada that us Europeans and Asians are so much more phone savvy than here in N.America. They use their phones to pay for things. Why can’t we? (Probably involves banks’ stubbornness to let go of the fees that are involved). But I think we’re getting there, slowly but surely. Google also introduced its Wallet platform in 2011, but most of you probably haven’t heard about it or used it yet.

 

Google + Google’s got to do a better job marketing Google + if it wants some of Facebook’s market share, and thus far, it’s done what it does with all its platforms: put it in beta to make it highly desirable, then sit back and wait for it to become popular. Come on Google, I know you can do better.

 

Facebook IPO: the $100bn question of 2012. If it ever happens, Facebook will be the frenzied float of 2012, with a possible valuation of $100bn. As Mark Zuckerberg considers the options on whether to publicly list the social media site which has 800m users, or will he learn from Google who shunned the Wall Street banking community and creating a retail offer via an auction? I think he’ll go the Google way myself, but with investors trying to pick the next Google and avoid the next Yahoo! in the rapidly changing internet age, the question is, will Facebook be around when Zuckerberg is old?

Digital marketing trends: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are expected to see their online advertising revenue increase at substantial levels in the near future. However, the continued shift of advertising dollars toward the Internet and social media in particular only tells a part of the story. Google’s costs-per-click advertising costs are rising, putting it at risk of driving advertising dollars elsewhere.  In order to maintain its lead and combat the social media upstarts, Google will look to innovations including improved matching algorithms that use ad inventory more efficiently. With search outpacing Apps for dominance in mobile marketing, (paid search already claims the largest share of mobile advertising dollars), advertisers should expect it to attain outsized gains again in 2012. With mobile ad dollars, tracking and analytics is an issue; advertisers lose visibility when a visitor clicks into the app marketplace or uses an app. Tracking a click from a mobile application using traditional analytics tools is difficult. Advertisers will try to simplify the mobile browser web experience. HTML 5 will help by making application design available on mobile devices via a standard Web browser. HTML 5 will also make it easier for search engines to find important content on a website, allowing for easier audio and video streaming and allowing search engines to “read” images and animations, something they previously have been unable to do, bringing great potential for search engine optimization benefits to flash-heavy websites.

The Uncertain Costs of SEO

A question often asked in the course of a discussion with a client, whether new or existing, is how do we determine our costs as a search engine optimization company. It’s not a single, or simple answer as each clients needs are unique as anyone fully involved in the industry will tell you.

One of the factors which determines your cost for your SEO, is what types of keyterms you desire to optimize your website for. If you own a company which manufactures toys and you’re the new kid on the block, being able to drive your website up in the SERPs is going to be difficult. Doing just a generic search for the term ‘toys’ returns 1.9b (yes, billion) pages. Granted that’s a rather generic term to try and optimize for, but each term is met with it’s own challenges to overcome where keywords are concerned. The number of terms you’d wish to be optimized for also lend to the maintenance cost of your website.

Another determining factor that affects your overall cost is the overall quality of your website and it’s content. If we need to sit down with you and assist you in rewriting each and every page due to lack of quality content, it’s a necessary step which needs to be in place before we even begin to think about scouring the web looking for back links for your site. As well, if your website is full of choppy code which needs to be addressed, or even if your website is so woefully out of date that a complete rebuild is in order, these also contribute to the overall costs.

These are only a couple of the factors which contribute to your companies online advertising budget, thankfully however if you need to rebuild your website or rewrite your content those are often one time costs. The consistent maintenance which needs to be addressed to continue ranking well in the SERPs however, is where the majority of your budget needs to be directed. And as the web becomes more and more competitive, that budget will need to be adjusted every 12 months or so.

2011 Website Audit & Construction Guidelines

If you’re building yourself a website for the purposes of getting your brand out there and it’s your first foray into online marketing, there are some key points you need to keep in mind. Whether it’s your first step into digitizing your presence, or you’re well versed with the jargon, a refresher course is always a prudent way to dissect your presence and how effective your search engine optimization has been implemented.

How is your content written? Is it clearly worded for visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for? Or have you crammed your pages with industry specific terms which only those ‘in the know’ could have any knowledge of? When you’re creating content for your website, new or established you need to keep your target demographic in mind. You also need to bear in mind the overall theme of your site as you create your content. Your keyword balance needs to in the forefront of your mind as does your target audience.

You should take the time to examine your website navigation and how your pages flow as you follow your pages. Is your menu well ordered and intuitive to the user? Or do you have it crammed with every single page within your website? Just because you may offer 35 different services as a company, doesn’t mean you need to build your menu with a flyout of 35 different pages. A sitemap takes care of a great deal of the indexing for the robots and allows them to follow it to double check your links for you.

A consideration to keep in mind as well, what is your target area. Are you searching for multi-national rankings, or do you want to own your local market. Your site needs to be tailored to your needs, sometimes shooting for a smaller target, can lead to larger gains as time goes on. These are only just a few of the good practices you should employ as a website owner or builder, but they’ll go a long way towards helping reach your goal of ranking well on the SERPs.