Benefits of Online Marketing to Control Costs

Winnipeg-based Fresh Traffic has seen the success online marketing can offer as a flexible and affordable strategy to keep your company’s brand message fresh and in front of your target audiences. The advantages to E-mail marketing and internet advertising are the ability for companies to finely tune a brand message to an individual market segments to generate a greater response. Fresh Traffic’s clients have used behavior and buzz measurement tools to their advantage with online marketing.

A good internet marketing strategy focuses on the “communications” part before it tackles the “online” component. “A custom E-mail newsletter demonstrates how internet technology can deliver a powerful brand message at a reasonable cost without sacrificing quality or creativity.”

As a full service internet marketing agency, Fresh traffic helps businesses nationwide define and create brand identity, communication strategies and quality marketing vehicles online. From logos to internet advertising, Fresh works to build brands. Since 1998, Fresh has been making businesses successful through Message, Advertising, Branding, Web Design & Web Development, along with Online Marketing services. For more information, visit www.freshtraffic.ca

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 Bloomberg.com.

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

Search Engine Optimization Winnipeg

Like anywhere else, a website requires optimization in order to rank within its own city, and Winnipeg is no exception. Winnipeg is the 7th largest city in Canada and the largest city between Toronto and Calgary.

Home to several internet startups in health, travel, and finance, Winnipeg is an overlooked technical hub with lots to offer. A little known fact, its where a few internet industries were started. Winnipeg also has a small gaming and film community which is thriving as well.

Internet marketing has made location a non-issue, allowing people virtually anywhere to operate a business online.

What is SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Borrowing a definition from wikipedia… “it is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” SEO is a process which requires a time investment in order to see results. For faster results, one might try PPC, which you can setup and turn on in the same day.

Search Engine Optimization Winnipeg
There’s a city that lies on the prairies where two rivers meet. Known as Winnipeg, it’s known for hot summers, cold winters, love for hockey, and the great outdoors.

Winnipeg is also a thriving community for business, both online and offline, and has contributed a great deal for a city of barely 700,000. There is a strong community for web developers, designers, and Internet marketers. There is also the Winnipeg SEO and SEM groups as well

Links – Basic SEO interpretation

A site alone cannot achieve the full return on investment without using certain SEO techniques. Link building, one of the more effective ways of promoting a website on the Web, is an often discussed, and debated subject. There are varied types of link building techniques and strategies which could help in improving your standings within the index. Let’s have a look at different types of link building techniques used in search engine optimization strategies.

One way links
Here one site gets a link on another website due to the quality and relevance, and not for the business purpose. The website whose link is posted, does not need to provide a link back to the site on which it is posted. Best type of linking to work towards.

Reciprocal links
Another widely used strategy of link building is ‘reciprocal linking’. Here there is link exchange between two websites on one to one basis. Care needs to be taken in choosing reciprocal link partners, as fraudulent webmasters can take undue advantage. It is advisable to review any requests for link exchanges before finalizing. This can be seen as a last alternative if a one way link isn’t in the cards. A little more towards the quantity end of the spectrum.

Articles
Article submission in various directories is a sure shot method to build effective link building to your website. You can write one article per day or as much as you want and submit to directories. Submission can be done in many directories altogether, where one-way links are given to your site from the articles. Other sites that use your articles also provide one-way link to your site from other websites. Quantity linking is where this would fall into.

Press releases
Press release submission in various press release directory and leading news site is a best way to get natural back links from your press release articles. You need to write press release article about your new product launches or news releases in your industry. In the deep end of the quantity pool, great for getting out a blast of information to multiple sources, quickly.

Social bookmarking and Social networking
Social bookmarking and social networking is one of the newest ways to get back links and more visitors to your website. Experience is varied, but on the whole it will send more traffic to your site. If your content is relevant to the readers interest, it’s up to them at that point to provide the link back to your site.

The most important point when it comes to links however, quality link building is far better than quantity link building.

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.

Imagine No Google

In the taxi on the way to the airport yesterday, the driver made the sort of offhand, clichéd remark that nobody ever takes seriously: “What would we do without computers?” Always one to take things seriously, though, I jumped at the bait. What would I do without computers?

Everything about my life would be different. Obviously, I couldn’t do the work that I do — and that’s probably true for you too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this column. I would also need a replacement for my social media addictions.

Everything about my life would be different — and that’s true for most people. If we didn’t have cell phones, our lives would be dramatically different. If we didn’t have television, our lives would be dramatically different.

But now imagine that we didn’t have Google. Imagine a Terminator came back from the future to kill Google before it became self-aware. Imagine that it found the global jeadquarters in Mountain View and managed to destroy Google’s “brain.” (Don’t you love that no matter how distributed and redundant our actual technology gets, every artificially intelligent movie bad guy always has a single “brain” that can be destroyed in a shower of sparks and dramatic effects?) Or maybe the Terminator just unplugs it. Whatever. Bottom line, we wake up tomorrow and there’s no Google.

For purposes of this thought experiment, let’s actually restrict ourselves for a moment to the idea of a world without Google search. Relax — we’ve still got YouTube.

Here’s what I believe would happen from a consumer perspective: there would be a brief and reasonably harsh shudder — and then we would go on as normal. The hundreds of Lilliputian search engines nipping at Google’s heels would rush in to fill the vacuum. Searches from your address bar? No problem. SERPs with images? No problem. Mobile search? No problem.

The commercial ecosystem, of course, would be dramatically undermined. All of the entities that have built their businesses on the idea of an ever-dominant Google would have to quickly and accurately reallocate spending to the most dominant of the new pretenders. Publishers would have to switch networks. Sites using Google custom search would have to offer another way to navigate.

But here is where it gets interesting for me: the strategy wouldn’t really change.

A company investing in text ads would still invest in text ads, because text ads will still be an effective, measurable way to advertise. A publisher tapped into the Google network would tap into a different network — but it would still tap into a network. Keyword identification and SEO would go on as normal, just with different players.

As integrated as Google has become in our lives, its functions are still replaceable. That “competition’s only one click away” idea is actually true, in theory. We stick with Google because we love it, not because we can’t get satisfaction anywhere else.

The best relationships are always those that exist out of continually renewed choice. Google has a lot of “habit capital” it would have to burn through before people started questioning that choice, but at the end of the day, it’s not really that hard to find another way to search.

If there were no Google? We’d simply have a different logo at the top of the page.

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 MSN.com to Live.com and finally Bing.com…

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 Live.com, 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.

Winter Olympics & World Cup to Boost Advertising

Advertisers are looking forward to next year’s FIFA World Cup and Winter Olympics to save their industry from continued decline.

With the slowing world economy, advertising budgets are being squeezed from all sides, which led to a decline in world advertising spend. Even the bright light of advertising, online marketing dipped in the first quarter of 2009 by 5 per cent in the US.

With the slight exception of the ICC World Twenty20 cricket this year, major sporting events have been absent from the 2009 calendar, but 2010 brings the welcome return for traditional and online advertising companies to promote their brands at both the football world cup and the winter Olympics.

According to marketing forecasts from ZenithOptimedia, 2009 will see a 6.9 per cent decline in global advertising, but will start to recover with the advent of the great sporting events. The prediction is that advertising will grow by nearly two per cent in 2010, up to a monumental $463 billion.

ZenithOptimedia urged companies not to slash advertising budget if they wished to survive the recession: “In uncertain times advertising is often treated as a discretionary expense and cut early, despite much research that shows companies maintaining their ad expenditure in a recession come out of it stronger than those that do not,” reported The Daily Telegraph.

Digital media has a chance to capitalise on the decline of the advertising industry, with the benefits of cheaper and more effective online advertising gaining traction in the industry. Online marketing campaigns to promote the world cup in particular, are set to be extremely lucrative for top advertising markets, and will no doubt boost local advertising in South Africa also.

SEO & PPC to Double in 5 Years

A flurry of new information released as part of Forrester research predicts a huge change of emphasis from traditional media to online advertising over the next few years. In particular, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) are due to double over the next five years according to the Forrester report.

In the US, digital marketing will become $55 billion industry by 2014, representing 21 per cent of the overall marketing spend. In the UK, online advertising spend already controls over a fifth of the overall advertising market, but the trend predicted by Forrester is that online will continue to flourish while other aspects perish.

The most interesting takeaway from the research is that overall advertising budgets will decline. Yep. With dollars moving out of traditional media toward less expensive and more efficient interactive tools, marketers will actually need less money to accomplish their current advertising goals.”

The message is getting through that online marketing can achieve the same as traditional media for less. A paradigm shift is occurring, with 60 per cent of advertising gurus ploughing money into digital media rather than the normal advertising avenues. Up to 59 per cent of the increase in advertising spend will be allocated to SEO and PPC.

PPC is currently much more prominent than SEO with most companies preferring to invest in paid search. However, as organic search starts gaining more widespread traction, more brands will turn to search engine optimization to drive traffic naturally to their websites. By 2014 the US will spend over $5 billion on SEO according to the Forrester research.