Category Archives: search marketing

The Process of Dispelling SEO Myths

As with any industry, and any news source, there’s always a degree of fluff and grandeur applied to stories. It’s not different in the search world, although at times there are headlines which just strike as odd.

Take for instance the headline stating “Bing overtakes Yahoo for number 2 in search”. If you’re new to the game, that might seem like a pretty big deal, considering search engines generate cash in one way, by having users. If however, you haven’t had your head buried in sand for the last few months, you knew this was happening. Technically, Yahoo doesn’t exist as a search engine anymore, it’s just a name. Yahoo search is powered by Bing now, so the idea that Bing has overtaken them, isn’t entirely true; it’s more like they consumed them.

It follows the same line of surprise as when we have an inquiry call, and they utter a comment like “The last company I spoke to said they could have me on page 1 within a week”. It takes a minute to collect the thoughts, and re-itterate to them that SEO and SEM are not the same marketing strategies. They have some fundamental principles in common, how ever, they work differently. Driving a persons website to page 1 within a week is not SEO, if anything it’s SEM and AdWords promotion. Maybe if you owned the 1 website on the internet which serviced the niche market there’s a slim possibility it could happen. And by slim, I mean take the number of online pages in your niche (blogs, forums, picture repositories etc), double it at least, and that’s your chances of landing page 1 in a week. It’s almost always after saying something along the lines of “SEO isn’t the same as SEM” that callers make the statement “Oh, they never told me there was a difference” And that’s when the light is turned on, and the truth is realized, they’ve been sold snake oil.

The first right step was made, they called the experts. We’ll dispel the myths, we’ll uncover the truths, and we’ll tell you how it is. If we can help you, and you want our help, give us a call. If you’d rather continue on paying for AdWords campaigns, more power too you. Just remember, Google has shaken the search tree with adding Instant into the mix. Relevant, organic page 1 results are going to be returning as the creme de la creme of online marketing. This is only just the beginning.

Wor(l)d of Mouth

It’s not an unsual method of finding a service or product, you ask your friends and family for their opinions. It helps you form your own preliminary opinion, and with a few questions in mind you go for it. The trend however is shifting with the realization that word of mouth, has been changing more into world of mouth.

In a new Cone Inc. report indicates that consumers don’t take word of mouth as gospel when making their decisions. Eighty-one percent of respondents agreed with the statement,

“After getting a recommendation about a product or service I may want to purchase, I go online to do additional research about that product or service before deciding whether to purchase it.”

One of the surprising finds, was the disproval of the thought that bad news travels faster than good news. Online, the sway power of good reviews and news of a product or service was proven more potent than bad news and reviews. Only 68 percent of respondants admitted to changing their minds based on bad reviews, where as 80 percent agreed, positive reviews found online solidified their decisions of a recommended product or service.

These numbers in mind, it’s worth noting that while search engine optimization and search engine marketing are incredibly important to your business, it’s just as important to focus some of your attention to the social interaction of your client base. Whether it’s having a submitted question and answer form, a Twitter feed where client concerns can be addressed, or a Facebook page and wall, it’s worth the time to put in direct client interaction. Face time with your customers is still paramount in the digital world, and as the numbers from the Cone Inc. report shows, having a positive image online will help you immensely.

Keeping it Simple

Some relatively simple steps are often the best ones which make the most difference. Using the example of a long distance runner, you wouldn’t buy heavy clothing, or cheap shoes in order to be your best, you’d wear efficient clothing and lightweight, well balanced and cushioned shoes to be your best. Simple steps, yes, but necessary none the less to a runner. Keeping it simple is a key to any endeavor, no matter how large or small. With this principle in mind, a couple of simple, no nonsense tips to always bear in mind when it comes to your website.

What will people type to want to find your site-You have your website, and you want to be able to be found online. Try using the simplest terms in order to define your site, and it’s purpose, and you can go from there. You have a gardening shop? Use that on your site instead of calling yourself an arboretum and botanical garden store. It may sound large and spectacular, but it won’t help your being found any.

Title tags matter, description tag matters-The title of your pages does make a difference. It’s often your first impression to those who find your site through Google. The description tag is what provides the brief little blurb found underneath the link to your website on the SERPs.

Using Adwords doesn’t give you a better placement-Using a Google Adwords account does not give you any better ranking in the organic search listings; those in the center of the page. The Adwords which you purchase, have their own listing, to the right, or on top of the page. To be found highly placed in the organic listings, often requires the skills of an SEO expert.

Only a couple of very, very simple tips, but should be always in mind when building a new website for yourself, or your business.

Are you, and your website, ready?

2009 is nearly finished, there’s only 10 days left in the year, even less so in a business sense. It’s in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, that leaves you spinning and almost out of control with the speed of trying to keep up to customers needs and demands. We are in the midst of some of the biggest consumer spending for the year, and there are some businesses out there which can make or break their year with the next few days of consumerism.

But what if you could have that kind of customer spending, for more than just a few days a year? If you truly have the best product, for the best price, why aren’t you rich beyond your wildest dreams? Or even comfortable? A quick checklist then, for the new year, and the resolution to proactively move forward and let the world in.

Do you have a website already? If you were to have a friend use your site, is it easy to read? To navigate? Is the customer experience pleasant, engaging, and informative? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you have a good starting point for being noticed online.

It doesn’t matter if you own the goose that lays the golden egg, or if you have the greatest product ever discovered, if you can not be found online. Your brick and mortar store is only open for set amount of hours, you need to rest. But the internet does not rest, there is no sleep on the web. Having a website, and having a positive flow of visitors to your website are two, very different, and very distinct differences. A couple of interesting notes about online spending for consideration:

-On average, 49% of shoppers do their holiday gift buying online
-In 2008, Holiday Season Spending (Nov-Dec) $29,200 (millions)
-Predicted that US e-commerce will reach $156 billion in 2009

Search engine optimization (SEO) is quite possibly, the highest ROI (return on investment) form of advertising available to your business today. 2010 is the beginning of a new decade, it’s time for a Fresh start online, be found and claim your piece of the $156 billion dollar pie.

Winnipeg Internet Marketing Agency Wins Awards

Press Release: The SEO experts at Fresh Traffic, the Winnipeg based internet marketing agency, have won two prestigious IMDM trophies at the award ceremony that took place in Toronto.

The team took home the awards for “Best Use of Organic Search (SEO and “Best Use of Paid Search (SEM, both awarded for the staggering search engine optimization success they achieved with one of the largest online sport retailers. Full Story

Local Search Marketing

When’s the last time you used the Yellow Pages to find a business in your local area? If you answered, “It’s been awhile,” you’re not alone.

More than 70 percent of customers searching for high-ticket items use Google instead of the Yellow Pages to find a business in their local area, according to The Kelsey Group.

Google’s local search capabilities have become more sophisticated, so dealers can now pinpoint their online marketing efforts to reach a targeted geographic area more cost-effectively.

The customer follow through is just as encouraging. A study by comScore shows:
44 percent of consumers using online search to find a local business contacted the business by phone
34 percent visited the business
14 percent contacted the business online.

Who's the real expert?

One of the things we go over with clients when getting them involved in the SEO process is that they know their business better than we do. The argument can be made that as soon as they become clients we need to learn as much as possible about their industry to market it properly. But no matter what, they hired the experts in SEO and that takes enough time as it is.

And this is why clients need to be actively involved. Keyword research is our domain, we weed out the junk, and help organize them into strongly optimized groups. But we still need the client’s help with what fits and what won’t.

It would be foolish to barrel through an SEO campaign without seeking the client’s guidance along the way. We have to rely pretty heavily on the client’s expertise in many of the marketing tasks before us. Are these keywords targeted? Is this content correct? These are all common questions we pose to the clients before moving on to the next task.

Sometimes, we find that the client isn’t always the expert they think they are. So often we provide them keyword research and they just barrel through it and say, “yup, these look good.” So we run with it only to have them remove those very same keywords from the text we had developed. Or we send content for them to approve and they say, “looks good,” only to come back months later remarking that don’t like how it’s written. Fair enough, it deserves to be right, but couldn’t they have mentioned that earlier?

These things happen and it does no good to get bent out of shape about it. Everybody makes mistakes, gets things wrong or is caught not paying close enough attention. But sometimes clients think they know more than they really do.

Is the client always right? Well, yes. Ultimately the client always gets what they want, even if it works against their best interests. You can only make your point so many times before you just have to say, “Okay, we’ll do it just how you want it.” Even with knowing full well that they won’t like the results and will likely come back and blame you for it. Thank god for paper trails! After a few more rounds of trying to share knowledge of online marketing, “I really think we just have to focus on technical stuff. I don’t need help with marketing.”

Ok, but will they believe when the technical stuff isn’t enough to get their site ranked for their keywords? Or if by the off chance we are able to get their keywords ranked without any on-page optimization and they don’t see any improvement in conversions? Just as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) relys heavily on client guidance of industry specific knowledge, clients must also rely on their SEOs expertise.

Ask Google

In what may be a massive shift in the industry, Google announced the release of voice search for Mandarin Chinese for Nokia S60 phones. If Google gets it right, because of the massive population in China. It could drive more search usage and frequency. Google trails Baidu for search on the PC, but mobile search represents an opportunity for Google to grow share in that largest of all internet markets.

Google now says it understands a range of English accents, and Mandarin although it doesn’t yet get all accents in Mandarin. In addition, the capability will be coming soon to the Android and iPhone platforms in China. Dell has introduced a yet-to-be released Android handset (Mini 3i) and the iPhone just launched with the number two Chinese mobile carrier China Unicom. According to the Google Blog:

Although this only works on the Nokia S60 at the moment, we’re working on adding support for Mandarin speech recognition to our products on other mobile platforms, such as Android and iPhone. And bear in mind that this is a first version of our system in Mandarin, and it might not be as polished as our English version. For example, if you have a strong southern Chinese accent, it might not work as well as for people with a Beijing accent…

With almost 700 million mobile users in China, that’s more than 2X the US population as a whole. China Unicom reportedly has roughly 140 million subscribers, while the largest US carrier Verizon, has 89 million mobile subscribers. China Mobile, the largest carrier in China, has roughly 500 million users.

SEO most effective says NY Times

Although the advent of real-time search could throw the industry into flux, experts say that search marketing techniques like search engine optimization (SEO) are still the biggest business on the web.

Miguel Helft, writing for the New York Times, says that “search advertising is probably the most effective form of marketing ever invented.” Because users are clearly demonstrating what they’re interested in, content can be scripted to powerfully appeal to those interests. Search engine optimization (SEO) can help guarantee that natural search results – as well as ads – are advantageous to companies.

However, despite the recent mega-deals that microblogging service Twitter has signed with Google and Microsoft, many are still unclear how real-time search will be monetized. Experts say that real-time queries will be less predictable and more highly specialized. Microsoft has downplayed any expectations of stratospheric profitability, telling the Times’ Helft that “[t]he goal is definitely to drive user value.”

A searchable Twitter may also provide search engine optimization (SEO) professionals and other online marketers with valuable trend information, as reported by Brafton last week.

SEO – Cost Effective Marketing

Some people think doing more with less implies doing a lower quality work with fewer resources, I would simply argue it means finding a way to work smarter, improve efficiencies and make your current investments work harder for you.

What does this have to do with SEO you may ask? SEO is lauded as bring one of the most cost effective forms of online marketing. Most, if not all companies have some form of career website that they’ve invested thousands of dollars in. If people not able to find your website, this investment is not living up to its full potential.

3 Reasons Why Companies Should Turn to SEO

1. Marketing Budgets Go First – In a not so hot economy, the advertising and marketing budgets or organization are generally the first to get cut. Knowing that your competition is reducing their marketing spend is the exact reason why increasing your marketing efforts will give you a great advantage. Research shows that companies that continue to market themselves during a down economy grow faster than companies that do not.

2. No Travel Budget for tradeshows – People that might generally attend out of town tradeshows to scope out new products and services find that their travel budgets have disappeared and are now having to turn to the internet to do their research. Companies out there that are still in a position to buy, but you need shows up in their search results in order to be given consideration. The way to ensure this is by optimizing your website via SEO.

3. Maximize Your Current Website Investment – “Buy” Instead of “Rent” – With limited budgets it’s important that you laser focus any current and new initiatives, targeting only those tactics that will give you the very best return on investment. One of those most impactful tools available is SEO. By optimizing your website, you are no longer wasting traffic from the search engines; you are investing in a long term solution that will allow you to take ownership of the search traffic that was yours in the first place.

Companies that adapt will survive and grow, businesses don’t grow by staying stagnant. Investing in SEO now will give you the best chance at pulling ahead of your competition in the future.