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SEO on the Move

The internet is everywhere, we’ve talked about this before. Your home computer, work computer, your iTouch, your iPhone, your cell phone, the list is evergrowing lately. Google recently, has made search engine optimization just that much more important, by introducing a feature they dub “Personalized Suggest”.

What is this new feature which can quite possibly affect your companies online ROI? Here’s a for instance for you:

You’re at home, you’re researching pvc windows for your home. You search through the top listings in Google, decide the company you’re wanting to work with, and set off on your way. While on route, you’ve forgotten the address, or the phone number, or even the name of the business. Fire up your iPhone, you login to your Google account, hit the search box and boom, pvc windows is already there for you as a selectable search. No typing, no fumbling with touch screen keyboards, just select your old search and you can return to your selection.

By allowing Google account users to save their searches, for later fast access from their handheld devices, Google is making SEO an even more important point to help increase your companies online ROI and overall presence. Because if you can’t be seen, you can’t be found. And if you can’t be found, what good is it that you sell the answer to all lifes problems?

Getting in touch with the professionals here at Fresh, we will have you sorted out in short order, and on your way to where you want to be in the index.

Why Winnipeg

The title why Winnipeg is a question I must get asked a hundred times a week.

What made you choose Winnipeg, why not Toronto or Vancouver, surely this would be better for you.

Okay, giving myself a little bit of toffee here, I’m pretty well known on a global scale especially for what I do on the Internet, the immigration officer at Toronto airport knew who I was when i flew in and so did the guy in the American Embassy in Vancouver.

Yes and they asked the question too, Why Winnipeg.

Well Winnipeg has a simplicity about it, you get a sense of familiarity with the city and the people, it’s relatively easy to commute around, it’s safe and you feel a strong sense of community.

When you have lived and worked in big cities around the world you come to appreciate these little things more.

As for my work it has it’s pluses and minuses, great opportunities and a growing marketplace, we maybe have a few years to go to catch the Toronto’s of this world, but that’s not to say that the potential isn’t here.

When Winnipeggers realise that we are just as good as everyone else in Canada and lose the inferiority complex and small mind thinking we will come much further.

Only in the last 12 months we have seen a massive increase in companies providing SEO and Internet marketing services, my sector, 6 to about 70, so either half of Europe or the US company’s have moved here or Winnipeg web businesses are just good opportunist. You decide. It’s your turn Winnipeg

The SEO Lifestyle

When it comes to showing yourself or your business off on the internet, it’s kind of like being on the dating scene. You need to be attractive, and be compelling for people to want to spend their time with you.

Now when it comes to being attractive, you need qualified, and professional website designers to put your best foot forward. Winnipeg Website Designs lead designer has over 13 years of experience in professional design, and has an excellent grasp on what needs to be incorporated into a successful website design. Sleek, intuitive, and a completely custom design based on the specifications of the client, tuned and shaped with search engine optimization in mind, Winnipeg Website Design is a welcome leader in the industry.

Now of course, this is just on the surface, and beauty is only skin deep after all. To keep your visitors interested in your site, your content needs to be well written, informative, and not random catch phrases bundled together. The compelling part of the equation, correlates to the content of which is going into the new, shiny site.

Developing a Website That Generates Traffic and Increases Sales

When you own a business, your website is one of your most important tools that can be used to reach new customers and generate higher sales.

Whether you have an established website that is not currently working for you, or you are a complete newbie to the online marketing world, improving your website so that it generates traffic and increases sales is the right thing for your business.

Without a high quality website that attracts visitors and provides you with a way to capture information, you are not using the Internet’s power to its full potential. The information below can provide you with an idea of why a good website is so important for your businesses’ bottom line.

Why is a Quality Business Website so Important?

A high-quality business website provides you with a way to capture the enormous amount of traffic that is on the Internet. It also makes your business more accessible to your customers.

It does this, by giving website users a way to contact you or find out valuable information about your products or services without having to get on the phone, and during non-business hours.

There are literally millions of people searching the Internet for various reasons on any given day. If you are not trying to capture some of those visitors, then you are losing out on many potential sales each month. Just as your store gives you a physical presence a high-quality website provides you with an online Internet presence.

Benefits of Having a Good Website

As a business owner, there are many benefits to having a quality website that is able to not only generate traffic but also increase sales for your company. The first benefit that a business website can provide you with is it enables you to have access to customers that you otherwise might not have contact with.

Without a website, you are only able to reach your potential market through traditional means, and not those potential customers that primarily use the internet for their purchase research.

By enlisting the help of an internet marketing service company, you can create a highly effective direct response website that enables you to reach out to Internet traffic.

By adding an opt-in form to a quality website, you can increase your earning potential each year by at least 20%. An opt-in form provides a means of capturing visitors’ contact information. This is very valuable as it will allow you to send current and potential customers information about promotions, important updates, and special sales events throughout the year.

The visitors on your list will be people that you know are already interested in the services that you are offering, and by sending out a sales message to them your rate of return will be much higher than with an untargeted ad in the newspaper.

One of the most important benefits that a business website provides is that it allows you to remain a step above your competition. If other related local businesses do not currently have websites, you are already reaching far more people than they are.

By creating a high-quality website that can generate massive traffic and drive sales, you are ensuring that your site will be listed before the competitions’ in the search engine rankings.

How to Develop a High Quality Business Website

Unless you are professional, the best way to develop a high-quality business website is to seek out an Internet marketing company or web designer that can create a customized plan for your business.

These companies have experience marketing to those online, and they can help your website by marketing it for targeted driven traffic, and ensuring that it gets ranked well within the search engine listings.

Off-line business owners can increase their revenue by creating a business website or revamping their old one. Without a high-quality site that is able to generate traffic and increase your sales, your online presence will do you no good. Enlist the help of a professional Internet marketing company to develop a website that will help your business thrive.

Bing Gives Microsoft a Boost, but Can It Compete with Google?

Even before it made a widely anticipated announcement on July 29 that it would partner with Yahoo to do battle with Google in the market for search-related advertising dollars, Microsoft commenced a $100 million campaign to attract users to its new search engine — Bing.

Early reports show that since its June 3 launch, Bing has managed to draw more users than its predecessor, Live Search. According to Wharton faculty, however, while Microsoft’s campaign — which is both a re-engineering and a rebranding of Live Search — has been successful so far, it is unclear whether even such a well-funded effort can make significant inroads in a market dominated by Google. On the other hand, they believe the campaign helped pressure Yahoo into what may ultimately be an important partnership for Microsoft after months of fitful negotiations.

Aside from the big spending on advertising, Microsoft imbued Bing with features that were not available in Live Search, including better parsing of images and a focus on four key consumer-oriented areas: product comparisons, travel planning, health research and finding local businesses. Microsoft’s aim: Position Bing as a “decision engine” that can cut through the clutter on the Internet.

Prior to the launch, Microsoft was able to generate buzz among Bing’s early reviewers and adopters, a critical component of marketing in the age of social networks and blogging. Live Search lacked that virtual word-of-mouth support. Live Search also lacked another marketing component that Bing shares with Google: a name that can be easily used as a verb.

A lot can rest on a name change — and Microsoft desperately needed to update its search engine moniker, says Jehoshua Eliashberg, a Wharton marketing professor. “Microsoft had a bad experience with MSN Search and Live Search, and it makes sense that the company had to rebrand,” Eliashberg notes. “Bing is a much more effective name.” Jerry (Yoram) Wind, another Wharton marketing professor, adds that Microsoft really had little risk in renaming its search engine. “Live Search didn’t have traction before, so there’s no group of consumers who will be upset [that it has been replaced].”

“Rebranding a product is necessary when it no longer has the brand positioning or value perception in the consumer’s mind that a company wants,” says Wharton marketing professor Eric Bradlow. “This rebranding can be done via advertising, changing the features of a product or — ideally — doing both. Name selection is also important. Bing has an exciting sound to it and is memorable.”

Thus far, Microsoft has been modestly successful at attracting traffic to Bing. According to comScore, which measures web use, Bing drew 8.4% of all Internet searches in June, a gain of 0.4% over Live Search’s performance in May. Google had 65% of the June search traffic, while Yahoo drew 19.6%.

Microsoft’s next challenge is considerably more difficult. Wind says that Microsoft has to keep promoting Bing to illustrate commitment to the name and to retain customers. Generating enough excitement to get consumers to try Bing is one thing — retaining them is quite another, according to Wind.

Is Bing good enough to keep people coming back and make it an alternative to Google, which has millions of satisfied customers? Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader, who co-directs the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative with Bradlow, says the hand-off from attracting to retaining customers is often difficult. “Marketing officers don’t do a good enough job of generating trial versus repeat customers. It’s easy to get people to try something — you just shout at them enough — but the traditional aspects of marketing are useless in getting repeat customers. The product has to deliver the goods or people will just go back to Google.”

Microsoft executives are upbeat about customer retention, and hope even to turn Bing into a verb, like “xerox” or “google.” Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer, said at a recent conference that the Bing moniker was “pretty unforgettable” and it’s up to Microsoft “to turn this into a verb.” Reaching that goal is easier said than done. For example, Wind notes that he has “googled on Bing.” “We’ve still got a long way to go,” said Turner, “but we have momentum.”

Target: Yahoo

Fader says that Microsoft’s marketing of Bing is primarily focused on brand awareness and getting consumers to try the search engine, but the software giant’s ads are clearly aimed at taking on Google directly — even though Microsoft’s search engine has little chance of toppling the market leader. So why target Google? Because Yahoo was — at least initially — the real target, says Fader. “Bing has absolutely no chance of beating Google, but if it can crowd out the other players, it can be a solid No. 2,” he notes.

“There is historical precedence for this type of campaign,” Fader points out. “The Bing campaign is exactly the same as the Visa campaign [in which] it said consumers needed a Visa [card] because American Express wasn’t accepted everywhere. After a while, everyone knew you should carry a Visa and an American Express card. Visa wasn’t targeting American Express, though. It was trying to crowd out MasterCard. It’s the same thing here. Yahoo was Microsoft’s MasterCard.”

The early June search traffic showed that Microsoft’s crowding out strategy worked. Youssef Squali, an analyst at brokerage Jeffries & Company, said the comScore numbers indicate that Bing’s gain came at Yahoo’s expense. “Bing’s share gains seem to come directly at the expense of Yahoo while Google remained unchallenged,” Squali wrote in a research note.

Wharton management professor Lawrence G. Hrebiniak adds that those early gains by Bing probably provided leverage for Microsoft’s successful effort to partner with Yahoo. “Microsoft was playing Bing two ways. The first was to position Microsoft as a bigger search player. The second was to secure a search and advertising pact with Yahoo.” Offering a credible search engine of its own made it “easier for Microsoft to go to Yahoo and say, ‘If we combine, we can have 30% of the search market.'”

More than Search

However, Bing and the partnership with Yahoo are about much more than chasing Google in a search engine competition. Wharton experts say the search effort represents a defensive strategy that can protect Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar businesses, such as Windows and Office, while enabling new business models.

“I view the Bing marketing as a component to an overall defensive strategy at Microsoft with respect to Google,” says Eliashberg. “Increasingly, the two will compete head to head” in areas beyond search.

Google has a web-based suite of applications that aims to compete with Microsoft Office in consumer and small business markets. And Google’s enterprise application division is designed to take away Microsoft’s corporate customers. The Mountain View, Calif., company also has recently announced plans to create an operating system for netbooks, small computing devices intended to be tethered to the Internet. Microsoft’s Windows XP is currently the dominant operating system on netbooks, the fastest-growing slice of the PC industry.

Efforts by Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft to keep market share from Google will revolve around free, web-based versions of its most popular products. For instance, Microsoft is planning a web-based version of Office that will be free to consumers who are willing to accept the advertising that comes with the product.

“Bing is [a] pawn in this broader game that Google and Microsoft have going,” says Fader. “It’s a big chess game [with] Microsoft and Google competing on many fronts. Ultimately, Microsoft and Google will end up respecting each other’s turf by threatening nuclear war. Neither really wants to be in the other one’s space, and they will be perfectly happy when they carve up the market.”

Bing’s i
nitial gains may not indicate future success, and marketing can only go so far. Wharton faculty say it will take six months to a year to accurately gauge Bing’s momentum. “If I’m a Google user, it’s still unclear why I would switch to Bing,” says Wind. “In order to switch, you have to have a good reason, and in general, people are happy with Google. Microsoft had to create a fair amount of buzz and excitement to lead people to try it, and the company did that. But how do you retain them?”

Microsoft doesn’t have to go back too far to see the historical disconnect between attracting and retaining customers. In June 2007, IAC/InterActiveCorp invested nearly $100 million in advertising for its redesigned search engine, and by October of that year it drew 4.7% of Internet search traffic. But by June of this year, its portion of the traffic had declined to 3.9%.

While Microsoft is unlikely to topple market leader Google, Bradlow says that the company’s new search engine has a chance to gain traffic with its focus on key verticals like health and travel. “Focusing on a marketing niche definitely makes sense. Typically, when there is an 800-pound gorilla, the adoption of a follower happens first on a niche basis, and word-of-mouth becomes a great source of recommendations.” In that respect, Microsoft’s strategy to “conquer things one vertical at a time” gives Bing a chance, he suggests.

But marketing alone will not make Bing a success. Microsoft has to convince habitual users of Google to switch to Bing. “It’s very hard to get people to change habits, especially when you’re competing against a brand [like Google] that has become a verb,” says Eliashberg.

Spotify Could Steal Twitter Limelight in Move West

Just days after Microsoft announced that they would be launching a rival service to the free online jukebox Spotify, the European company has declared its intentions to break into the US market.

Recruitment has begun in New York for staff to implement the US launch of the hugely successful music streaming site, along with a search for suitable premises for an American HQ. Swedish co-founder Daniel Ek said that if all went to according to schedule, Spotify could be available in the US by the third quarter of 2009.

Spotify has managed to slip by relatively unnoticed on the digital media map, mostly on account of the insane amount of press coverage and media attention devoted to Twitter. The blogging service of micro messages has dominated multimedia talk this year pushing Spotify somewhat out of the limelight.

However, despite playing second fiddle to Twitter’s masterstroke, Spotify is the company which looks most likely to turn a profit first. Making effective use of online advertising, which unlike Twitter, sits nicely into Spotify’s business model, the streaming service is interrupted every 30 minutes with a 60 second burst of digital marketing from the likes of IKEA, Nike and Sky.

Spotify is getting 50,000 new users a day across Europe, which also unlike Twitter, are using the service more than once. Aside from a select group of hardcore tweeters, Twitter is notorious for having the retention rate of one of Jordan’s outfits. The average Spotify user on the other hand spends an hour a day streaming music with an impressive 1 per cent click through rate from internet advertising.

Spotify are negotiating with US executives in order to expand its streaming licensing laws across the Atlantic. The platform is ready to go, but without contracts in place the idea is a non-starter. This could give Microsoft a head start if they can roll out their rival system by the end of this month. On top of that, Microsoft are sure to spend money to make their product successful, whereas Spotify plans to rely on word of mouth and viral marketing to capture their market.

However, Microsoft have been beaten before, and Spotify’s founders are confident in their product. Mr Ek said he would be unwilling to part with Spotify at this stage, even for $400 million, the current company valuation. “If it’s done right, this could be a billion-dollar company,” he said according to The Guardian.

Google Stability Returns to Online Advertising

Google have announced higher returns than expected this quarter as the online advertising market has stabilised from its little wobble last quarter in the States.

Wall Street forecasts expected further plunges in the online marketing industry as a whole, but Google has once again beaten the trend and exceeded expectations. Total revenues increased to $5.5 billion (£3.4 billion) up by 3 per cent. After removing affiliate fees, Google’s revenue generated from digital marketing this quarter came in at $4.07 billion (£2.49 billion), $10 million ahead of Bloomberg estimates.

Google’s return to form should be echoed throughout the advertising industry online as the market settles from the blip that occurred earlier this year. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: “We’re not at the moment looking at the downward spiral we thought we might be six months ago,” according to Financial Times.

The uptake of advertising on Google’s video streaming site YouTube has helped revenues across the Atlantic, although at the monstrous rate of growth, YouTube is still much more of a financial burden to Google than a blessing. The company announced in May that they were receiving over 20 hours of uploaded content every minute to the website which is taking its toll on bandwidth and storage capacity.

Google have been smart to take precautions though, axing the unprofitable newspaper and radio-advertising arms of its business and focusing on the online model. “What they’ve done is gone and eliminated the obvious initiatives that were not performing very well,” analyst Youssef Squali told

The market is returning to normality, with Google keeping a firm grip at the top of the online advertising tree.

SEO Scam Warning

Local businesses are falling prey to scams by so-called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies promising unrealistic internet traffic and search engine results, according to a web development company.

One of the clients contacted them this week to report the scam and to alert other businesses that may fall foul of the practice.

They said the business was told by scammers it could have its website listed at the top of the Google search engine with an obscure search term.

“The trouble is, according to Google, no one had used the search term in the past 12 months and there is very little chance of it being used in the future.

“Yet the client could easily have been conned into spending $1000’s promoting a worthless search term and would have lost even more money if they had accepted the proposal.

At Fresh Traffic we advise business operators to check the credentials of SEO companies before making any financial commitment.

“A good SEO company will have years of experience and practice in the methods used to produce the right results, and will also have testimonials and success stories on their website.”

If you require SEO Help, call the experts today at Fresh.

SEO freebies

I’m here today to offer up a few SEO freebies. They’re simple, but they’re fundamental techniques I’ve seen ignored by MANY organizations.

•Help the search engines find your product pages. Search engines are getting much better at indexing dynamic URLs. We all know this. If your URLs are pretty good, leave them alone. Chances are, you’ll be alright, especially if they’ve been live for awhile. If they’re so-so, or really bad, consult with an SEO firm to determine the best way to rewrite them (if you should at all) and set the linking up properly. Yes, there are ways to make the situation worse.

•Whether you’re working with a friendly CMS or not, it’s still important to create unique title tags on your product pages. Again, the right SEO firm can likely help with this by authoring each title and meta tag, or by helping to create a plan to dynamically generate them. Tip: if you’re having trouble positioning for your own branded product names, begin the title tag with the exact product name.

•When you’re an e-commerce brand that has many distributors selling the exact same products on other websites, most often, they also have the same product descriptions. This is not in your best interest. Have one version of each product description for the corporate website, and one version for distributors. Don’t have the human bandwidth? Call Fresh Traffic. We’ll help you.

•My final SEO recommendation isn’t SEO-specific, but is so important to growing online sales. BE PRICE COMPETITIVE. #1 in search results or not, if the visitor can click the next result and find the product for 15% less with free shipping, they’re going to buy it there. Simple as that.

Microsoft Search And SEO's

Microsoft has remodeled their search engine over and over again. The Microsoft Network, or MSN whose origins started as an ISP and an online portal when Windows 95 came out grew into a search engine that was always trailing as the 3rd most used search engine behind Google and Yahoo in terms of search engine usage with the United States. From to and finally…

SEO Need-To-Know

is now branding itself as a “decision engine.” Do they mean Bing has some unique decision algorithm in giving relevant results that it can decide on what are the best sites for you to look at? Not really. It is a decision engine that it gives you various types of results that may help you decide on what you are looking for. In my opinion this just sounds like Google Universal Search Results, just gave it a new name from Live to Bing and slapped a full marketing campaign on various advertising mediums to spread the word of the Gospel of Bing everywhere.

Should I even care about Bing?

From daily SEO interactions from SEO friends working at an SEO firm, SEO friends on forums I interact with daily, to some SEO competitors who joined Sulumits Retsambew SEO Contest, a large percent of SEO professionals do not even care about Bing because they believe Google has the majority search usage world wide. Based on some research data by comScore, last April 2009, Google websites receive about 8 times more search queries than Microsoft websites.

Is this the case forever? We cannot really say as Microsoft is really pushing their search engine all out in this marketing campaign of Bing that there are some sites showing Bing gaining in market share. As for the usage, several news site and blogs are showing an increase in Bing search traffic but this can still be due to the campaign that makes everyone curious about Bing and everyone checks it out. And in the end, it will still boil down to how please the search engine users are in being able to look for what they are searching for. So we still have yet to see in the next few months if Bing’s traffic sticks or continues to increase or will drop again as being the 3rd used search engine again.

Going back to the question, should you even care about Bing? Well if Bing is only 8.2% of all search queries, that can still be a big number. The US has 220 million Internet users and about 73% of those use search engines for shopping, that is an estimated 13 million people searching Bing in the US. Still a large market to target. Ok you can say my numbers are not accurate. My B2C Local Business Search data was from Neilsen back in September 2007, even 50% of 13 million is still a significant amount of people using Bing.

I’m an SEO and what do I need to know about Bing?

Ok SEO people, what do we need to know? Since, we have been seeing Microsoft reach out to SEO people, when they came out with their own XML Sitemap submission area, with some basic top 5 backlink info, and making an MS Excel plugin for keyword research from Microsoft’s AdCenter, now with Bing, they have released a Bing webmaster guideline document for the SEO people that cared about Bing to read.

Most SEO concepts are the same throughout search engines. Good SEO best practices are valid for most search engines. And in this 24 pages of information of Bing’s webmaster guidelines, after reading all of it, I will try to sum it up into 3 key bullet points below that may be unique to Bing:

1.Target Category Keywords that appear on the upper left of the SERPs. You want to make sure you appear on all of them that are good converting keywords for your business. People usually narrow down search results by adding in keyword modifiers and Bing suggest these so people do not have to think or type and may find it convenient to click. It is even placed on the top left sidebar where navigational menus people normally click on.

2.Optimize the Document Preview of your pages. All SEO people know that the Title tag and Meta description tag does not only help in the ranking process but if written well, these can be more compelling to click and increases CTR. Now aside from these two, Bing now has the Document preview which based on current observations it is pulling in the initial content found on the page. Thus your first few paragraphs would be ideal to write something very idea to click on.

Having your address and phone number which is a normal practice for Local SEO is a good thing since Document Preview will try to look for this information and place it in the preview window.
If you do not want this feature enabled, you can use the nopreview tag.
meta name=”robots” content=”nopreview”

3.Implement SEO Flash Best Practices. Bing has expressed their sophistication in their technology specifically stating this:

When titles and/or meta descriptions dont exist on an HTML page, at runtime Bing creates a best-effort caption from relevant external sources of reliable information to populate the caption with meaningful data for the searcher. Bing, in the effort to improve searcher experience and avoid empty captions, can even construct captions using keyword inbound link text from external, authoritative websites to help create basic captions where no publisher data exists.

Initially this sounds good. But sometimes any information based on other websites may give you a limited amount of control. Every business has enemies and sometimes even if the enemies are a minority, they can sometimes be the “noisiest” online and could be creating a significant amount of negative publicity about your business. You do not want Bing to show this information thus as a precautionary measure, always do Flash properly.

Everything else mentioned in their webmaster guideline whitepaper are all standard SEO best practices applicable to other search engines, such as good content, unique title tags and meta tags, avoid duplicate content, etc.

So if you know SEO already these are the 3 main differences above you might want to look at when optimizing for Bing.