Category Archives: internet marketing

Search – Mobile Marketing & Your Website

Nokia, Android, Apple, Blackberry, all just a few names in the world which compete for market share in the mobile industry. And according to a new report out today from Canalys, Google – the search engine if you didn’t know, holds the lead with 48% of the global market share. Apple’s iPhone running with iOS, comes in at second place with 19% of the market. It’s just another arena that the search giant is dominating in, thanks to their adaptable operating system, Android.

The tech industry has been saying it for years, that the mobile side of search and business was going to be coming soon. Judging by the numbers in the report, that time isn’t just coming, it has arrived. People are using their phones to conduct searches, post to their social network of choice, make purchases and to text their friends about the newest fad/movie/music/television show. Mobile isn’t just a growing industry, Android has grown 379% in the last year to become the market leader, it’s a massively burgeoning marketplace. Business owners and website developers are acting out of sheer folly to not move to take advantage of this space.

And on that note..

It seems that the more we as search experts try to help someone, the harder it seems to become. Search engine optimization is a momentum based business, it takes time to get the proper results so as not to disappear when Panda attacks or the algorithm makes a major change. It’s sort of like pushing a huge stone along a level pathway, it takes a lot of work to get it rolling, but once you start it going it requires smaller amounts of effort to change it’s direction or even to accelerate it. Once you stop pushing however, or once you stop using SEO on your site, you’ll begin to slow immediately, and soon you’ll stop. And then you’re back at square one in the game. And to make matters worse, all of your competitors that have been working out your methods are coming up faster and faster on your rankings, when you stop they’ll just blow right by you like you’re standing still.

So once you’ve reached your desired rankings, it’s not time to let off on the work. It’s actually time to take it up a notch and begin pushing harder and in perhaps an additional direction, say into mobile marketing.

Next Google Competitor?

So in the world of search there’s a handful of true search engines, those little boxes of which you type in your current question or conundrum and off you go into the wild internet. We have Bing, which holds onto somewhere around 27% or so of the search market, Google who holds onto the lions share of search at just over 65%, and all those little crumbs in the bottom are search engines like Ask.com etc.

It’s not difficult to find press about how Bing is making massive inroads into Googles share of search, or how last year Bing grew by over 90%.. blah blah blah. When you boil the numbers all the way down however, all you’re really left with is Google and Bing, and the only way Bing is going to make positive growth in search is to take it from Google. So using misleading titles to the tune of Bing overtaking Google, or Bing Grows 90% over the year are nearly wholely misleading. Even with all of this “incredible growth”, with all of the addins and marketing strategies Microsoft throws at Bing they’re left with a fairly large problem. Despite owning more than 25% of the worlds search volume, Bing doesn’t make any money for Microsoft.

That may not seem like it makes any sense, but look at it from a different perspective, try and see it from the advertising angle of things. The sole product sold by search engines are the advertisements that appear on search pages, which are sold not for a set amount, but based on how many times customers click on an ad tied to the search phrase that brought the user to the page. And since Google has such a huge search market share, they’re rolling in cash right from the start because of their cost per click for their adword programs. Now the one biggest reason Bing doesn’t make money, isn’t because they have a smaller search share than Google alone, as it turns out, the cost per click tied to their advertising model is as much as 1/5 the cost of Googles cost. As bad as that may sound as a revenue model, it actually gets a little worse for the Bing machine. Less CPC looks great on the surface, but as an advertiser it brings up the issue of what is driving that low cost. Bing has less traffic than Google at the outset, the CPC to serve the same ad on Bing is cheaper than Google and in the end it translates into less ad impressions on the Microsoft search engine.

So the question in the end really, is there ever really going to be a solid competitor to the Google machine? If a multi-billion dollar a year company can’t even step into the same arena as the giant and succeed, who truly can? I say bring them all on, competition is what made the web what it is today, more will only make it better.

Is virtual real estate the new frontier

What is a domain name worth? well the average price of a .COM domain name is $2,595, according to a study released last week that analyzed 10,608 domain sales during the first quarter of 2011.

Domains from www.delavegamedia.com
Buy your Domain Today

This could be pretty useful information for digital marketers out there to work into their budgets, but more importantly, they should look at the overall value that a domain provides because the return on investment can be fairly substantial.

Domain names are a pretty basic tool in the digital marketer’s arsenal and should be a main component of any campaign, brand management strategy, product marketing strategy, or even an SEO strategy. However, their importance is often overlooked and can sometimes be cast aside due to the sticker shock of how much the right name costs.

Domains have been sold for $13 and for $13 million, but if you consider the average price, it’s a reasonable investment in the grand scheme of a marketing budget.  To put it in a brick-and-mortar perspective that most anyone can understand, $2,600 is roughly the cost of a vinyl sign or display booth, making it a very reasonable investment for most companies.

Another thing to remember is that a domain is an investment, The money you spend upfront on a domain will pay dividends in the traffic it helps generate, but it’s also an asset that will appreciate in value over time.  According to the same market study that benchmarks domain transactions, the average price of a .COM increased 9 percent from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011.

We often take domains for granted because they’ve become a part of every day life, but they’re a valuable tool for driving traffic, and in the end, that’s what it’s all about.  Short and memorable domains can make your site easier to find for new and returning customers; keyword domains can improve SEO and reduce the money you spend on SEM; domains that define a category can capture natural type-in traffic.  With the right strategy, domains prove their value many times over.

You only get one domain name, when it’s gone, it’s gone. Securing your business or personal domain name should be one of the first things you do online for Branding, Marketing & Sales.

If you require help securing a domain name for your business or to check out our stable of branded domains, call us today 1.866.259.2483 or drop us a line, we would be happy to help.

 

 

Ad agencies are scrambling to evolve

Major companies from Nestle to Ford are increasing the proportion of their ad spend on the Internet to the detriment of traditional press ads and big ad agencies are scrambling to evolve.

The changes have given birth to a slew of tech start-ups trying to come up with more sophisticated ways to match ads to consumers, often with sophisticated data mining techniques and algorithms.

While traditional advertising groups jostled for awards at a recent annual industry gathering in Cannes, the year’s biggest star was a newcomer to the beaches: the social network Facebook.

The company has gone from nowhere a few years ago to become the biggest single seller of online display advertising in the United States with more than $2 billion in revenues this year, according to research firm eMarketer.

“If I have a good experience with a brand I’ll tell a person offline — I might tell my friend — but if I do it on Facebook the average person is telling 130 people,” said Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Google versus the Facebook Mafia

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.

8 point SEO Check-up List

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.

Audit Your Website – Updating Content

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.

Audit Your Website – Call To Action

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.

PROTECT IP Act – Shut Down

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.

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

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.