Category Archives: internet marketing

Holiday Spending 2010

The numbers for the past holiday season are starting to be tallied up, and we were a bunch of busy bodies. The question is, as a business owner, local or otherwise, does your earnings this season match up with the increased spending this year?

According to a MasterCard report, online holiday sales rose more than 15 percent, with consumers spending about $36 billion online. A 15 percent gain over last year is a great upswing in one of the busiest times of year and a great way to go into the new year. As a whole, the retail industry saw a 5.5 percent increase in sales for the season, the strongest performance in five years, with consumers spending $584 billion over the holidays.

Online sales increases this past year should be an even larger incentive for all business owners to improve their presence online in a big way. Some of the newer trends this season were mobile marketing, shopping via mobile phones. Intuitive marketers encouraged their businesses to harness the power in mobile technology, and leveraged services like Twitter to announce premium sales, issue coupons and offer very limited time flash sales with huge savings for customers.

Having a glance at the numbers for this holiday season, and having a read about some of the marketing tactics used, how did you fare this time around? Did you experience a 15% increase in sales? Did you leverage the power of local and mobile search to entice your customers into your location? With the power of the web, the world is your marketplace, but you should never forget where you are and those who are around you as well.

Local Online Brand Management for 2011

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.

SEO in 2011 – Are you ready?

There are a number of checks and balances online when it comes to SEO. And the more finely tuned you can make those points, the faster and more precise you can be in your climb to first place on the SERPs. With the year about to end, and being on the cusp of the next, here’s a quick checklist to see if you are ready to tackle 2011 online.

Website URL: When you’re looking at your websites url/address, it’s easy to forget that it is, or should be, second nature to you. Try to imagine you’re seeing it for the first time as a consumer. Is it easy to remember? Is it a complicated acronym of letters? Keep it simple and you’ll be further ahead from the get go. Another good rule of thumb, if it’s not memorable, it should be easily searchable.

Website Logo: Do you have an easily recognizable logo? Or is it plain, greyscale print on a white and black background. Think of your websites face, the brand image you’d like to project to the online world.

Website: Now this is a can of worms. Everything can affect both your search/SEO prospects, and your visitor prospects. Everything from color scheme, to layout, from menu placement to text placement affects your site. Try and remember what MySpace looked like 10 years ago with pixel graphics and sounds playing upon entering, does your website have any of those problems? If they do, it’s time to seek professional help.

Website Coding: The non visible portion of your website, is also what determines everything I mentioned in the general website rules. Embedded java, flash elements, active java elements working on your website all cause issue with both search, and can affect user experience as well.

These are just some very basic ideas on what to examine on your website with the pending holidays. If at the end of going through the preliminary list you find yourself making notes relating to improvements on your website, you know which is the kick off point for your online campaign in the New Year.

November Search Share

To anyone who uses the web on even a casual basis for any kind of usage, the search engine numbers released by Experian Hitwise should be no surprise. As of Nov 27, Google was (is) the top of the mountain of search with over 70% of search traffic, with Bing powered search, including searchers using Yahoo, accounted for only 25% of the total. To break the 25% down however, Yahoo! still leads Bing by 15% to 10% of the user market share.
November Search Share
Contributing some to this factor, may be the length of the average search for the past month. The average search was comprised primarily of 2 words, perhaps lending strength to the introduction of Google Instant a month or so back into the algorithm. Longer than 5 words didn’t experience any change in use and a single word is rarely used as a ranking metric.
November Search Length
An experienced, professional SEO expert will work with you to identify your key terms you wish to rank for and raise your site above your competitors quickly and ethically, granting you the security of your position.

Web & SEO Predictions for 2011

Well we got most right for 2010 including Real Time Search, Local Results, Social Marketing and Personalised Search Results.

I asked around a few in the know and added our thoughts, after all we have been around the web 15 years now and still managing to make a living :-) Here are all the predictions for 2011.

Top 5 SEO Factors for 2011
- Bing & Facebook v Google & Twitter
– Google Instant
– Google Local
– Video Optimization
– Social Media Optimization – SMO – (watch out for LinkedIn)

Top 5 Web Factors for 2011
- Conversion Rate Optimization – CRO
– Video (again!)
– Social Media Integration
– 5′s (speak, sell, serve, save, and sizzle)
– Simplicity

Here are ineed hits thoughts:

  • Online Marketing Will Get an Even Bigger Chunk of Marketing Budgets

Customers and prospects are increasingly going online early in the buying cycle to gather information, form relationships, and make decisions about how they will buy. As a result, businesses must move marketing budgets to where the customers and prospects are – online.

  • 2011 Will be the Coming of Age Year for Social Media Marketing

While the past few years has seen many marketers experimenting with social media tactics, in 2011, businesses will be executing social tactics that are fully integrated into the overall marketing strategy. So if you’re business isn’t on Facebook or Twitter – then in 2011 you will definitely be behind the eight ball.

  • Mobile Marketing Set To Take Off

Interest in mobile marketing has exploded in recent years due to the introduction and success of the iPhone. As the adoption of such Smart phones grows, mobile marketing will expand beyond mobile messaging to make mobile email, mobile websites and mobile applications the new ways to market to the masses.

  • Personalized Marketing to Jump to the Next Level

Expect more personalization capability to be embedded in websites in 2011. For example, regular visitors to a website will see a page based on all the information collected from previous visits. We also expect that personalized marketing will be extended beyond the website to other marketing channels such as social media, mobile and email marketing.

  • SEO Will Become Even More Complex

With Google facing strong competition from Bing, Baidu and Yandex and social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn the task of getting your business on the first page of search results has become much more complex. Also, with mobile search and geo-location search playing such a big role in 2010, the 2011 year is sure to be full of challenges and surprises for search engine optimizers.

Small Business Internet Marketing thoughts

95% of Small and local businesses fail to acquire top position in search engines. This is mainly due to failing at the fundamentals of SEO and internet marketing. In 2011 there will be a push for diverse content in a way unseen in recent times.

Previously, getting listed in directories was the only goal for a webmaster. Now, with the advent of Google, the web has changed. Web 2.0 and Social media have dominated the scene. In 2011, two critical factors will benefit companies with websites.

1. Diverse Content – Never before has there been a demand for a company to market in such a way that articles, blogs, videos, social media, RSS, and podcasts are the norm. A local business owner who is not adept at each of the Internet Marketing Services doesn’t stand a chance against a competitor that is either a seasoned internet marketer or one who has employed a Local SEO specialist. The ability to obtain diverse content across the web is an art and science that will rule the school in 2011.

2. Direct Response Website – Business card websites are outdated, but still around. Local companies are failing to take advantage of social media, opt-in, auto responder, and other technologies that allow them to continually market to a target audience, vs. simply a hit on a web page. Industry experts agree that by utilizing direct response websites, conversion rates move from a 2-3% average to a 10-20% average!

3. Social Media – Social Media will still be king in 2011. Companies will learn more about at least having profiles at Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In. Although in 2011, social media will still be a younger crowds game, more and more businesses will follow the example of the Business Giants, and catch up sadly…..and tweet they will.

So there you have it, please add your own thoughts if you have any, and dont forget should you require any expert help getting your business listed, call us, we would be happy to help.

How To Compare Search Results – Ensure Proper Context First

There’s been some talk lately about a story that the New York Times did recently about how Googles ranking algorithm didn’t work right, or isn’t, when it allowed an unscupulous business to list highly in the SERPs for multiple terms. As a bone of contention, I’ll first toss in the black hat argument, that any search can be “gamed” if the long term is unimportant. But secondly, the “SEO experts” commenting on this story are frustrating to in the way their articles have been written.

First off, SEO is not an exact science. There’s no specific do this and you get number 1 formula, as each search, each niche, each query is different for each person using Google/Bing/Yahoo etc. There is the best practices of course, which the search engines have available on their sites for your reading pleasure, but there was a string of, ‘evidence’ I’ll call it, by one of the SEOs that I need to rant about.

Search, for it’s simplicity, is a complicated beast. With Google continually tinkering with their algorithm, Bing doing their own changes and manipulations and who knows what else going on around the globe, it can seem like you’re using a firehose to put out birthday candles sometimes. And the article that irked me the most, used a string of searches to ‘prove’ their point. Using screenshots, arrows and breaking down the results page each time to prove that if only Google did it their way, search would be better for the shopping inclined. My issue with the article comes from the searches performed that were used as proof. In one shot for example they were looking for ‘mechanics in winnipeg’ and in the second they looked for ‘mechanics winnipeg’, after which you can include arrows and screenshots to show “See now if you only did it my way..” The issue is, those are two very different searches that were performed. Those weren’t the searches used of course, but being that Fresh Traffic is located in Winnipeg, I took some liberty, just as they did, to prove my point. Those two searches, return two different SERPs, and two different amount of results numbering in the thousands. When you add the ‘in’ operator to a Google search, the engine defers to it’s newer Google Places product, and tries to give results more akin to a shopping or services directory. with reviews, phone numbers, addresses and Maps pinpoints. Performing the search without the ‘in’ operator gives you a mix of organic results and Places results mixed in, more of a thrown together guess from Google of what you’re looking for.

So as for being creative on how you tried to prove your point, I guess kudos for displaying a poor SEO skillset to those who don’t know any better. But there are those of us in the industry who know better, and despite all intents and purposes your hat is a shade darker today.

Cheap SEO “often too good to be true”

 Getting your company noticed online is not always an easy thing to achieve. If your Website does not appear near the top of the first page on a Google search, chances are it will not see very much traffic. So in what is becoming an increasingly cutthroat business, how does an organisation draw attention to itself online?

By employing a  specialist search marketing company like fresh traffic whose goal is to help customers to find new business online, there are two distinct options for driving traffic to your Website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about making your Website friendlier to search engines, thereby achieving a higher ranking on the page. SEO focuses on optimizing elements such as keywords, navigation, images and videos, in order to obtain the best possible ranking on a search engine page.

The second option is Google’s AdWords, a paid for offering designed to maximise your online return on investment (ROI). AdWords ensures that when a Google search makes use of one of your keywords, your advert appears opposite the organic search results. Since it uses a pay-per-click system. AdWords can be more costly than SEO, but it is also more targeted and will not fall foul of changes in a search engine’s algorithms.

The down side to this is the fact that not only do the majority of users look predominantly at the left hand side of the page, (the organic SEO side) they also trust organic search results more, meaning they are more likely to click on these. Other problems include the rising cost of pay per click, along with the limited amount of copy space available – everything needs to be squeezed into a 70-character limit.

Businesses paying to improve their websites with search engine optimization (SEO) should be prepared for the cost, many companies today are paying a small amount of cash and expecting big results, but that as with most things “you get what you pay for”.

People investing in SEO should be wary of companies who charge very little as if a deal seems to good to be true, it probably is.

SEO to some can seem like smoke and mirrors, some companies we know now simply offer search engine submission, or Google adwords and camouflage it as SEO.

Doing it half way will leave you no better off than when you started down this path and don’t forget the thousands of dollars you could potentially spend in the effort, businesses should invest time and money in proper organic SEO and remember that the service is not a “one-time hit”.

Our company has experts who can help in respect of both SEO and AdWords. Call us today 204.942.4200

You can always add social media into the mix with a facebook or twitter account if needed.

Another Google Car

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.

Local Search Marketing – Google Places Optimization

Its an absolute must for every small business owner. Gone are the days of customers finding you in the YellowPages.

Google is the new Yellow pages! Can potential customers or patients find you on top? 

Local Search is replacing the use of traditional Yellow Pages, in fact, the internet is now the primary source of local business information. 

According to a study conducted, more users utilize online search engines to find local business information than the number of users actually using a print yellow pages directory. 

What is Local Internet Marketing? Local Internet Marketing is suited for businesses who need targeted marketing in their local town or region. For example, a Winnipeg Hair Salon is only interested in new clients from the local area and would not benefit from being #1 in Google for Hair Salon nationwide. 

There are lots of web design companies out there, but many aren’t great at SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) There also are lots of SEO companies out there, that may be good at SEO, but they don’t know how to get you in the Google 7 Pack . We do! It takes a special multi-faceted approach that nets great results! 

Do you have a small business, chiropractic practice or dental practice that serves a local geo market? 

Are you near the top in Google where new customers (or patients) can find you? 

If not, we can help! We’ve been helping businesses leverage the power of the Internet since 1996. Call us Today 

There are no true short cuts to online marketing success, but there is considerable value in experience. Let our expertise be your best ally in your quest to reach new customers (or new patients) via the Internet. Over the years as an Internet Marketing consultant, Jerry Booth , the President has helped clients such as Microsoft, Google, Sony, Disney  as well as numerous small businesses with SEO and Internet marketing.

Penny wise, pound foolish

“Rant” I got a a call today from a Winnipeg business who decided to use another vendor 12 months ago for Internet marketing and some SEO Services and they are not happy with what they got. 

Surprise surprise, they went with them to save money or so they thought, now they are further back then ever and I’m suppose to be supportive of this.Winnipeg business when will you learn? Here’s the truth, you are already 5 years behind the eight ball on many other major countries, business has been supplying budgets for online marketing for over 10 years already, you guys are still humming and arring whether or not to do it and asking if the internet is going to still be around in 5 years. Take your heads out of your orifice.

Answer, No your web shop, IT guy, traditional media company, PR Marketing person or any other person who read a book or did a half day seminar in Winnipeg will know how to do it effectively, you need an expert to list nationally or globally, period. Any idiot can list for the town or city they live in, or the name of the company website, these are the ones that mainly work from basements or have a shingle over the door and charge $300 a month, some call themselves consultants.

The latest trend is calling themselves social media marketing or new media marketing experts and charging 1k a month. Beware!!!

Wake up, stop being Penny wise, pound foolish.

Rant over.