Organic SEO reminder

With all of the Search Engine Optimization information out on the web, there tends to be a lot of chaff needing to seperated from the wheat. Time and time again there is a key point which needs to be retold to clients it seems endlessly in the “quick-fix” world we’re in. So then, here it is, one more time for (hopefully) everyone to see!

When your SEO campaign is underway, don’t become impatient with the results! Truly organic SEO takes time, it can be as long as 3-6 months before any significant gain is noticed in your traffic. It’s like planting a garden, when all of the SEO has been finished on your pages (those are the seeds by the way), it’s then time to get to work on the linking strategy (water!). This is where the patience comes in. You wouldn’t pick corn or potatoes which haven’t fully grown, and the same needs to be said of SEO. By changing your pages, altering code, or uploading pages which haven’t been properly worked over, you tear at all of the work that’s been done (the roots).

With this simple SEO tip in mind, happy gardening!

A few Search Engine Optimization Myths

There are several SEO myths which abound about what works and what doesn’t and these myths can be daunting as a potential client. We thought a handy guide to a few of the SEO myths would be useful, as it could help make a more informed decision.

One time SEO for long term ranking

SEO is a strategy, and as any marketing strategy it has to be continuously readjusted for optimal performance. SEO begins with two basic components: the primary site optimization carried out upon signing the contract – which constitutes a large part of the work involved – and the continual website tweaks that are required due to monthly or unexpected shifts in the search engine market. The basic site optimization is the part of SEO which should be carried out only once. Unlike any other medium, the online market is the most dynamic and fast changing for a business to evolve in. That is why month to month changes in search engine algorithms require continuous attention.

Performing in house SEO is more efficient

Initially it may appear, that performing SEO in house is more cost effective. You still have to take in consideration staff training, gaining access to essential SEO industry tools and information and that requires time, effort and money. Allowing untrained staff to perform SEO can be risky as search engines hand out penalties for breaking their guidelines. However, working closely with a SEO that provides consultancy and training can prove to be a solid long-term solution. In time, your staff will be properly prepared to take over some of your optimization needs.

Search Engine Optimization is cost prohibitive

SEO is not a cost, it’s an investment and like any investment it brings a measurable return. Think in terms of ROI, not in terms of cost.

Basic Search Engine Optimization Information

Life is full of do’s and don’ts, and SEO is no exception. Out of all of the tactics available to companies to improve your visibility in the online world, some tactics are ideal, some are highly frowned upon, and some are disputed or on the edge. The industry has applied a lable, or buzz term to these methods, referred as White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat SEO techniques.

White Hat tactics are considered 100% totally safe and they are most often directly recommended by the search engine companies themselves. They are centered around the ideas of sound website building strategies, and not on the flexible nature of any given search engine.

White Hat typically includes:

* Solid, regularly updated content
* Relevant metatags
* Friendly, interactive page design
* Honest linking strategies

In terms of time investment, White Hat techniques take the longest to implement, but all are held in high regard in the search engine optimization world.

Black Hat tactics are forbidden or deeply frowned on by the search engines. These can, and most certainly will, get your site, or your clients site, banned from the index if you are found to be using any of them. The philosophy behind Black Hat SEO revolves around trying to manipulate the search engines to direct traffic instead of earning it.

Black Hat SEO is generally used by people who sell illegal or immoral content. This on it’s own should be reason enough to steer clear, because your reputation WILL be forever tarnished if you associate yourself with these unethical practices.

Black Hat tactics include (but are not limited to):

* Buying links in huge numbers, ignoring relevance, for fast inbound links
* Invisible, or hidden text on your pages; ie the text is identical to your background
* Misleading meta tags

Using any of the above methods will more than likely flag your website within the search index and get the site banned!

Grey Hat SEO tends to fall in between the cracks of the search engines rules. some experts might deem them as highly controversial, while the next may be unconcerned. There is no clear rule set about Grey hat SEO strategies, because there is no clear indication about whether they do harm to your websites presence. You must study the information, and decide for yourself, which side you think is telling the truth.

Grey Hat techniques can include:

* Owning a number of sites and cross linking them back to each other
* Purchasing links on every page of a smaller, relevant site
* Working for links on a high quality site, that may not be relevant to your site

There are a lot of Grey Hat techniques, and you’ll find that usually they are highly debated in the search engine optimization world.

In the end, the only “unknown” is the search engine algorithms (the code that helps the search engine decide what is legit and what is not), are not predictable, and they are constantly changing, so a technique that works one day may not work the next and vice versa.

In the end, the only real answer is, research all available information, and then make a decision based on how much risk you are willing to assume.

However, if you don’t have the time to put into the deluge of online resources available about SEO and the proper way to implement it, that’s where we comes in.

Online Advertising in Canada

Online advertising will continue to grow at a blistering pace, in Canada growing over the immediate future into a $3.4 billion US industry. The public is moving online at home, at work, on their mobile phones, in order to access multi-media content and information.

Online advertising is experiencing unparalleled growth in Canada, passing a 33% growth to $1.3 billion US last year. It’s projected that by 2012, web-based advertising is expected to remain “Canada’s fastest growing segment” growing by an additional 21%.

The fastest projected movers will be keyword searches, classified advertising online, and online video advertising.

UK Online ad spending to overtake TV this year

The Internet will overtake television as the biggest advertising medium in Britain this year, with over 19 percent of total ad spend, according to a forecast by Enders Analysis.

The main engine for growth continues to be paid search on sites such as Google but Enders said it had also seen early signs that the popularity of online video is now making a small contribution to a shift in advertising from television to the Internet.

Analysts previously said advertising budgets had moved to the Internet at the expense of newspapers in Britain — the most developed online advertising market in the world.

“Rising internet consumption and surging consumer e-commerce continue to drive strong growth in online advertising, particularly paid search, in spite of the deteriorating economic outlook,” the report said.

“Our forecast for 2008 is that online advertising expenditure will grow 26.4 percent in nominal terms to 3.56 billion pounds ($7 billion), overtaking TV ad spend, which we expect to fall 2.5 percent to 3.39 billion pounds.”

The report said Google would remain the biggest beneficiary of the growth in search advertising and predicted it would take 80 percent of UK spend on search advertising, up from 78 percent in 2007.

It predicted growth in online classified advertising, which increased 54 percent in 2007, would slow in 2008 due to declines in recruitment and property listings.

One source of growth is online video, however this could still be hard to develop as many of the most popular videos are short and user-generated clips put on sites like YouTube.

The report said broadcasters and online portals were achieving high CPMs — the all important cost per 1,000 views of an advert and a common industry metric — for in-stream video ads, reportedly averaging around 20 pounds, compared to 6 pounds for television spots.

However it warned that the high prices were a result of limited supply and said they would fall as volumes increased.

“In total, we estimate online video advertising will amount to about 35 million pounds or 1 percent of TV ad spend in 2008, with many advertisers using existing TV spots, the report said.

“Not all this money will come from TV budgets, but there are early signs of a direct shift in spend from TV to the Internet over and above the broader shift to online.”

Enders Analysis provides independent research on Telecommunications, Media and Technology.

Some basic SEO instructions

SEO is everywhere, and there’s millions of pages out there telling you how to meta tag this and hyperlink that, and you’ve slowly found yourself drowning a sea of technical jargon. What about SEO made easy? Take a moment, and think about how magazines are put together.

The Table Of Contents tells you story titles, often times gives a brief description, and provides the page number telling you where you can find any particular story. In relation to SEO, the table of contents could be considered the sitemap.

Now flipping over to a story page, the titles will be printed in big, bold font. Occasionally, there will be a brief synopsis about the story, in an italicized font that is a bit bigger than the rest of the story. This in relation to Search Engine Optimization could be considered the title tags.

Pictures throughout the story are found with captions that tend to further develop the story, by describing the picture. When it comes to optimization, this could be considered providing a tag for all of your pictures.

In a longer story there will typically be subheadings, in either a larger, or italicized font. The primary body of the story will be a in regular plain text, with the occasional bolded or italicized word or phrase. Keywords!!

A person who is flipping through the pages can by analyzing the title and other large text on the page, can quickly assess the content and make the decision as to whether they want to read the full story. People are GoogleBots?

When all of the fancy words, and technical jargon are stripped away, the above pattern is a portion of what tickles Googles fancy. Sadly, the rest is that stuff I told you to forget in the first place.

Success vs Failure in Internet Marketing

You might have heard of SEO on the net, or in an email or from a business partner. Often, you hear that SEO and SEM are about getting your site in the top 10 in major search engines for a set of keywords.

SEO is partly about that, but getting your site at the top of the SERPs is the means to a goal and not an objective in itself. SEO is about getting qualified traffic to your website and converting as much of it as possible into sales.

Some SEOs only offer top rankings, this is their sales pitch. They qualify achieving that as wild success. However, your site can rank #1 for targeted keywords and fail to make a single sale. This can be a a result of poor communication with your audience or technical and usability website errors. Therefore, an accurate measurement of whether the SEO campaign was a success or a failure is necessary.

It’s best to stick to a SEO that has a good understanding of what success means and can actually measure it for you. However, it’s useful to know some things yourself to give you a chance to determine whether your investment was profitable or not.

Correlating Rankings with Traffic

The first thing to do is to correlate rankings with traffic. Monitor the positions your site holds in search engines for keywords and the corresponding traffic. Compare traffic on a week to week basis. On some keywords your web site might drop and lose traffic but it may gain positions for other keywords and compensate as a result. It’s normal in a search engine optimization campaign to have fluctuations.
Your site can target and rank on a variety of keywords in various search engines. Your traffic will be made up of several streams from various sources. Some of the keywords will be “money keywords”, meaning keywords that people use when they’re ready to make a purchase or make an inquiry.

Another type of keywords are “information keywords”. Each of these are used by people just looking for information on a certain product or service but are not ready or informed enough to make a purchase or an inquiry. More often than not this traffic helps promote your site through viral marketing (mouth to mouth marketing) but will not bring any immediate revenue.

Another type of keywords are “incidental keywords”. These are keywords that are hardly relevant to your content, off topic or mentioned as a comparison term etc. Some of these keywords bring useless traffic. Most users will probably leave as soon as they get to your site because they realize that what they are looking for is not there. Some of these keywords, however, are an excellent chance to widen the set of keywords to target. These keywords will be used by the SEO to attract more targeted traffic.

Analyzing Traffic

The next step in your success assessment is to analyze traffic. This should be broken down into sources of traffic: by search engines, by keywords and by third party sites. Success at this stage means an increase in quality traffic. Targeted traffic are visitors who arrive at your website and find what they are looking for, be it information on products or making a purchase or inquiry.
You should not guide yourself purely by numbers as that might include traffic from irrelevant keywords or sources. For example clicks from ad networks may bring in a lot of traffic but if your site doesn’t provide what they are looking for, then the traffic is useless.

Traffic That Converts

In this phase you’re only interested in the traffic that converts, e.g. turns into customers or potential customers. Your SEO should be able to give you a monitoring program that allows to see how many visitors have made a purchase or an inquiry or and which keywords they’ve used to get to your site.
You’re not interested in analyzing every visitor that made a purchase but you, as well as your SEO, should know what your most profitable keywords are. The most profitable keywords bring in the best ROI and this is, after all, the best measuring tool of any SEO campaign. Judging by how ROI rises or drops you can tell if the SEO are doing their job properly or not.

To summarize, targeted traffic and ROI are the two things to analyze in your success measurement process. If targeted traffic rises, then you’ve got a successful site. Targeted traffic is made up of users that recommend your site to their friends and of users that actually make a sale. Increasing ROI means turning more visitors into customers. If your ROI drops or is not very good, then it means that your site isn’t performing as well as it could and your SEO has failed in their task to bring you extra leads and revenue

Bloggers ‘as important as the press’ for business

Bloggers have become a “very important” target for press releases, according to the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) study.

More than two thirds (67.7 per cent) of firms rated reaching bloggers as “important to very important” less than six per cent below the number that held traditional media in the same regard.

The research also indicates that small to medium-sized enterprises are increasingly attempting to engage bloggers with press releases and become part of the online marketing conversation.

Just under one quarter of those issuing online press releases were small businesses.

SNCR research fellow, Dr Michaela Vorvoreanu, the results suggest the standard press release has become an important “news release” targeting the public “directly”.

She explained: “News releases are not just for the Fortune 500, but have become a valuable tool for smaller businesses to increase their sales and create publicity.”

However, affordability remains an issue for many firms taking this approach. Perhaps search engine optimization (SEO) would be a better option?

The Internet, the Success of Your Winnipeg Business

Winnipeg business owners of companies both large and small can achieve rich improvements in their operations if they start to ask themselves regularly, “I have just been handed a powerful new tool. It essentially lets me communicate with anyone on the planet. How can I best use it to my advantage?”

Business owners must first ask themselves a question: As a business owner, what am I trying to achieve?

Benefits of Internet to Your Business:

1) Availability Completely under Customer Control. With the Internet, visitors?potential customers ?come to Web sites at their convenience, making them far more receptive to what companies have to say because the customers aren’t being intruded upon (as happens with telemarketing).

2) One-to-Many Communications Performed Seamlessly. The Internet offers one-to-many communications systems without losing the privacy or interaction possible by phone. A single posting at a Web site reaches as many people as visit the site that day

3) Reduced Effort, Time, and Cost. The Web makes things easy and affordable.

Not all businesses are currently bringing in added profit via the Web yet; nonetheless, every business needs to be working on it in order to be competitive today.

The Web makes it possible for companies both large and small to develop new communications processes that save time and money while enabling faster responses to customer needs.

Many industries rely on widely distributed field sales forces that may consist of independent agents or company employees. In today’s fast-moving business environment, providing these front line soldiers with the most up-to-the-minute information and the best possible tools and support is critical to success, and by using the Web, companies can do so at far lower cost.

The Internet has now led to a new definition of what customers have come to expect: In the emerging era, businesses are almost required to provide twenty-four-hour Internet communications, so that the consumer can shop from home whenever he or she wants to. Sites that prosper will be more than order-taking vehicles; they will provide a creative, educational experience that builds knowledge about their products and services and engenders sales as well as ongoing customer loyalty.

Whether your business specializes in luxury cars or real estate services , the Web offers you the opportunity to find people who are looking for what your company sells.

Need advice on Internet Marketing or Website Optimization?
Contact Fresh Traffic Winnipeg Today for a free evaluation. Contact

Extracts from Shaun Stevens

As media changes, bigwigs are increasingly more concerned with ads than content

Came across this blerb in Winnipeg

New media is proving to be a slippery fish, and the fat cats heading our media empires are approaching the Internet the way a 16-year-old virgin approaches a bra that clasps in the front.

The world is changing faster every moment, and small, independent media companies that used to be able to adapt are now great lumbering leviathans that don’t even know how many arms they have. These archaic money factories are suddenly feeling like the rug is being pulled out from under them as newsprint costs rise, distribution models fail, DVRs strip away ads, and pockmarked kids use the Internet to wreak havoc with broadcasting and copyright laws.

According to TNS Media Intelligence, U.S. Internet advertising revenue passed that of radio in 2007, meaning the web has knocked off one of the big three that had been coasting along since the days of Orphan Annie decoder rings – and don’t think the suits in print and TV aren’t feeling a few beads of sweat running down their greasy backs.

And so what are our media companies doing to keep up with the times?

Simply put, many are stupidly devaluing their products in clumsy, base attempts to suck in more dollars.

For example, many print outlets are butchering their online content with pop-up ads that appear after you start reading and actually obscure the text. They trick you into looking at them, and they’ll only disappear after a certain amount of time unless you can locate the tiny ‘close’ button hidden oh-so-carefully in the ad.

And here’s where great journalists such as Edward R. Murrow roll over in their graves.

On the surface, all this may seem petty. You just wait for the ad to leave and you read the story. But if you really think about it, you’re now being forced to view advertising, and you’re seeing what I consider actual proof that media outlets no longer care about their content.

Think about it like this: if 9/11 happened today, you might go online to read breaking updates from Ground Zero.

“America is in shock after one of the worst.” the story might start – and then comes the pop-up ad some publisher believes is more important than critical news.

I think this kind of advertising is a sign of things to come. Print has already sold out with ads that purposely blur the lines between advertising and news, and TV and radio are wastelands of product placement, infomercials and sponsor tags. I’m sure we’re only a few years away from DVDs that force you to watch previews and commercials.

I don’t like being forced to do anything, and I think it’s a truly dark day when journalists roll over and allow their work to be covered up by an ad, even if those in charge parrot lines such as “ads pay the bills.”

Advertising dollars may indeed pay the bills, but media does not exist for its clients. Media exists for people, and outside of the Cannes Lions and the Super Bowl, no one goes looking for ads. Ads are secondary to actual content, and when that content is cheapened or eliminated, the product is worthless and ultimately unmarketable.

Good writing sells papers; advertising does not.

Our media empires should realize that before it’s too late.