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Google, Yahoo, Microsoft competition heats up at Christmas

Nov 28, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing, internet news, online advertising, online shopping  //  Comments Off

Maybe it’s a symptom of Christmas shopping fever, but the struggle between Google, Yahoo and Microsoft for Internet Advertising dollars seems to be hitting a new high.

Google, the top dog in the online advertising kennel, taking part of the growing trend for online shopping by offering a number of deals tied up with its Checkout purchasing system.

For each $1 spent by American consumers, it is offering two frequent flyer miles on seven major airlines, and is also offering discounts of between $5 and $50 at many different merchants, the New York Times reports.

eBay, whose PayPal system is Checkout’s chief rival, also has top deals with brands like Toys ‘R’ Us and Hewlett Packard.

Google’s deals are sure to drive sales and bring its share price closer to the $900 predicted by Credit Suisse.

Meanwhile Yahoo is looking to capitalise on internet retail, although its hosted shopping services suffered outages on Monday (November 26th), traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The problems were down to heavy holiday traffic, with perhaps even the leading internet companies underestimating how many consumers would flock to the web to make their Christmas purchases.

This is symbolic of the massive audience for internet advertisers.

Meanwhile, commentators are predicting that Microsoft may buy Yahoo, or that Yahoo may buy AOL, in order to compete more effectively with the behemoth that is Google.

“Google has locked up the number one spot in the sector, and the market won’t support more than three competitors,” said Henry Blodget writing in the Silicon Alley Insider.

Search marketing can improve your website’s position on Google and the other search engines.

Marketing in the era of Google, Viral and Search Marketing

Nov 24, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   Google, internet marketing, online advertising  //  Comments Off

As anyone who has a product they can sell through a website will know, Marketing plays a vital part in reaching out to an audience. It’s all very well having the best product in the world, but if no-one knows about it, it’s not going to sell. Marketing, including Internet Marketing, is the best way to address this problem.

Marketers need to identify the needs and desires of consumers, and then to raise awareness of a product that will be useful or desirable for them. Essentially, marketing is a means of recruiting new customers and retaining existing ones – and in today’s fast-changing retail world, it is quite simply critical.

Internet marketing

The internet provides a ready-made audience of millions, but marketers need to take the correct steps in order to put their product before them. Website owners have an advantage in that online audiences are growing, while newspapers, radio and (to a lesser degree) TV are in decline.

This is illustrated by the fact that Google recently overtook ITV1 in terms of advertising revenues. Figures from the search engine showed that it made £327 million in advertising for the July to September period, as opposed to the £317 million made by the TV channel.

Another key benefit is that smaller businesses can effectively compete with larger companies using internet marketing, because they don’t need a huge budget for an expensive print media or billboard campaign.

But how do small businesses and other webmasters take advantage?

Search engine marketing

One tried-and-tested method is search engine marketing. This can include search engine optimization (SEO), whereby websites are boosted in Google, Yahoo, etc by containing more relevant keywords and fresh, ever-changing content, as well as through Link Building.

As the BBC notes, “one of the most important factors in deciding how relevant particular sites are is to count how many other sites link to it”, and responsible link building increases a site’s credibility.

Paid search is also popular, with companies bidding on certain keywords and having their ads displayed at the side or the top of the main results pages of the search engines.

Viral marketing

Finally, a fast-evolving method is viral marketing,
whereby social networks are used to spread awareness of a brand or product, in a self-replicating way similar to the spread of a virus.
The internet is particularly well-suited to this process because of the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, and because of the emerging trend for other collaborative projects and spaces.

A recent example was the Guinness viral campaign that trailed the launch of its latest television ad.

Google shares ‘set to reach $900′

Nov 24, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet advertising, internet news, online advertising  //  Comments Off

Google shares are set to reach $900, boosted by Credit Suisse, which has raised its target price from $800 to $900 due to anticipated growth over the coming five years in online advertising.

Google’s shares rose by more than five per cent on the news, eventually settling at three per cent higher ($645) on the Nasdaq.

Should the search engine’s takeover of internet advertising firm DoubleClick be finalised, Google will be able to consolidate its already strong grip on the online advertising market. Advertising on web-enabled mobile phones is set to further boost the company’s cofers.

Credit Suisse analyst Heath Terry told Reuters: “We believe that search is a natural monopoly business and expect that over time Google will continue to gain share until they have effectively reached 100 per cent.”

He believes that Google’s search business can grow at the astonishing rate of 38 per cent a year over the next five years.

Search marketing is an effective way for website owners to boost their online presence.

Harris poll shows internet popularity

Nov 24, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet advertising, internet news  //  Comments Off

A new poll from market research firm Harris Interactive shows that computer usage in the US has increased more than any other kind of leisure time activity.

This means that there are more Americans online, more often, spending money and presenting a fantastic opportunity for internet marketers.

Computer activities are now the fourth most popular thing to do, after reading, watching TV, and spending time with the family.

The proportion of time spent on the computer is nine per cent, compared to 29 per cent reading, 18 per cent watching TV, and 14 per cent with the family. Other popular activities include going to the movies, fishing, gardening, and walking.

However, it is computer activities that have enjoyed by far the greatest increase since 1995, growing from two to seven per cent. Meanwhile, TV watching has declined from 25 per cent to 18 per cent over the same period.

At the same time, more money is being spent on internet advertising, as companies shift their advertising budgets from TV and other media such as newspapers to the web.

A clear example of this is the fact that Google’s advertising revenues have now overtaken those of ITV1.

Organic SEO is not a Vending Machine

Nov 8, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   organic, search engine marketing, seo, seo strategies, website optimization  //  Comments Off

For some reason, some clients tend to look at Organic SEO like a vending machine. Almost as if they want to put their money in a slot and instantly want the prize. Organic SEO depends on the climate of the competition, the industry and variables such as the content on your pages, if your site is new, if your website has links or if it is virtually unknown. The list of potential obstacles that an optimization specialist has to overcome oftentimes seems insurmountable in comparison to the expectations of a client.

In the event that time is not a luxury one can afford for long term results, there is pay per click marketing. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for solid organic placement, but before getting there, oftentimes an education and above all clarity needs to be established between the SEO company and the client before embarking on a voyage into the raging waters of the search engine marketing.

Patience may be a virtue, but in SEO it is the cornerstone to long lasting organic search results. If you have a newer website that barely ranks for your company name and you hire an SEO company with the expectation of taking over a 2 word phrase with 5,000,000 pages competing for that term, what likelihood do you have of achieving search engine domination (that lasts) within a month? 2 months?, 3 months?, bleak…you see the point. To acquire such (in the real world) and not just theoretically would mean that you would have had to start somewhere (with related keywords) to chip away at the tail or the term (sometimes for 3-6 months), before even considering attacking the head. Not to mention that your ranking potential is to a great extent based on your link popularity. Now those of you who are not familiar with link building, here is an analogy.

Say for example that you want to appear for a search term that sparsely appears for a fleeting moment on your website, you don’t really want to change your content and you want fast results (all SEO’s raise their hand if they have had to deal with clients like this) then I have news for you. Your better breaking it to them that they are better off sticking risk vs. reward, no guarantee, pay per click marketing. At least then they know what their getting, a shot at the top, with no safety net. One can easily burn through 2-3 times as much money using PPC than just observing a bit of patience to organically occupy a top 10 spot and have the users click happily ever after when they visit your site free of the toll of the PPC troll. But to expect this from Organic SEO right out of the box (from a newer site – less than a year old) is simply contrary to the principles (mainly the algorithms) that control organic rankings.

What is the solution?

So what can you do if you are interested in increasing your rankings without spending a fortune? Invest your time in (a) looking at the top tier websites that are returned for the search terms you are coveting and (b) be frank with yourself to determine what those websites have that yours does not. Do they have 1000 pages and you have 3, do they have 25,000 back links to their site and you have 28, trust me details like this matter. What can you emulate and what can you do today to make changes that can provide relevance for your website aside from wishful thinking…

All kidding aside, if you are considering what it would take to be on top, usually the first thing to consider is what you need to be doing differently that can aid the process that is already known for being conducive with top 10 rankings. Because frankly, if you were doing that already, your wouldn’t need SEO to begin with. So if you are afraid of change, or quite simply just don’t have the time to commit 3 hours a day to your site (minor tweaks, revisions, polishing the content, building links, socially bookmarking to promote, etc) then your better off hiring an SEO company who does know how, and that can avoid the pitfalls in the first place.

Start from the ground up, content is the key

Organic SEO is based on maximizing the content on your pages to achieve the right balance of word density (percentage of keywords to non keywords) as well as proper use of signal flares or signifying elements that say HEY OVER HERE, HERE I AM, when it comes to that term. Not that repetition for the sake of redundancy occurs (otherwise known as SPAM), but your message should be clear, themed and concise, while being informative, compelling and engaging to consume (otherwise known as sticky) to ensure sales and conversion.

If you are a bit on the shallow side on the links, you can sign up for the Yahoo Directory to get the ball rolling, it’s the best $299 one could spend on investing in their websites instant recognition based on the process of affiliation with one of the oldest directories online. One site which was less than a year old went from a page rank 0 to a page rank 4, just on the strength of Yahoo’s back link, so this is a start.

My suggestion is to build links for about 3-5 months gradually sprinkling the terms you want to rank for in the anchor text (the text in the link) that reference your site. The idea is to have a balance of broad search terms as well as a combination of exact match terms to dial in the net and funnel the potential searches that may have any number of keywords that pertain to your industry. In this way, your site can become a catch all for various top 10 searches and create inroads with search engines as an authority in your industry.

This is what link building is for, building authority, from there once your website is viewed in that capacity, you can work smarter not harder to rank for more competitive terms. This is not intended to be interpreted as a tutorial, but rather a needed statement to address all of the misconceptions about organic rankings.

Organic SEO can work fast, but it depends on variables and since no two sites are alike, what works for one, may not work for another. Competition and the industry have the greatest impact on this part of the equation. Real estate vs. ant farming, sure you could rank in the top 10 for the best ant farmer, but then again the daily search volume may be 3 people a day if that.

The point being, the market is based on supply and demand and as any commodity is in great demand, it is taxed accordingly. In this case, the search engines view this as a commitment of time and energy. Visibility and links are crucial, but finding the right combination of old and new links as well as being present in the headlines, social scenes and other known factors that can produce rankings are all investments of time. So the next time you wonder why SEO companies charge so much, this should provide some incite into the logic behind the equation. They are essentially micro-managing thousands of steps and protocols, analyzing the results and systematically applying fundamentals to give your website the proper balance so that it appeals to the hungry, yet picky spiders and bots, whose purpose it is to catalog and retrieve useful content.

If you don’t make the grade, you can always build a few more links, clean up your code, your content and your act and then wait for them to breeze through again and catch a glimpse of your wares. If they like what they see, you should be ranking in no time flat. But if the results you are seeking fall short of your expectations, then it is either you than must come to terms with what you want and where your at, so that you can make the needed adjustments to find a happy medium between on-page SEO, off-page link building until you achieve your goal.

The Google PageRank Update

Oct 28, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   Google, internet news, pagerank, website principles  //  Comments Off

Mayhem breaks out as Google updates its PageRank, Yes a few sites have lost a few digits off the little bar, but some have gained.

Yes it seems to be aimed at websites Google thinks sells links and passes juice, what is the big deal?

Remember once upon a time I was the Googleman, only my signature, a promise, high court injunction and a few $$$ to keep my mouth shut for a few years kept me quite on revealing the SECRETS.

Whatever, PageRank is nice to have, BUT is it the be all and end all, NO.

I have had sites listing #1 for years with a PR2 and only got that through DMOZ, SERPS is what counts, no secrets, good content that is relevant, good internal linking and a few good inbound links should see you list.

Anyway back to the latest update, SERPS have been affected this time, especially if you have links from sites google has penalized, I am sure these will surface over the next week or so, I am seeing these now on a few websites already, no doubt we will have blogs and stories and screams about this next week.

Get it straight, Its not against the rules to buy links, if you buy for the right reason, traffic and not trying to shaft Google for PR or better SERPS, if you do then expect to suffer the rath of the BigG.

Google offers internet marketers keyword diagnosis

Oct 28, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   Google, internet marketing, payperclick  //  Comments Off

Google AdWords has received an upgrade to give its users a more “detailed breakdown” of how their keywords are performing.

Internet marketers using the ad-serving platform can now look deeper into the quality score figure for each keyword to find out if it can be improved, according to the official Inside AdWords blog.

“Specifically, you’ll learn how keyword quality and landing page quality are performing and receive recommendations for improvement,” said Inside AdWords ‘crew’ member Trevor on the blog.

The service upgrade also includes a prediction of how changes to settings or keywords can affect the visibility of ads.

According to the Google blog, advertisers will receive an alert if any of their keywords are under-performing and be offered advice on how to change this, as well as being able to view information such as their minimum bid for the keyword and an overall quality score rating.

Google AdWords deals with pay-per-click (PPC) adverts which are distributed to websites across the internet depending on the keywords selected by the internet marketer.

These advertising services are one method of link building, which can improve the performance of a website by attracting more users

Email effectiveness ‘falling’

Oct 28, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet advertising, internet news  //  Comments Off

Email has been a stalwart advertising method since the dawn of the internet, but a new study suggests its time could be waning.

According to data released by the US Direct Marketing Association, there are still good returns on investment provided by email marketing, but these are falling.

The figures show that by the end of 2007, some £244 million will have been spent by internet marketers on email – driving sales of £11.2 billion.

That equates to around £36 for every £1 spent, which while still impressive reflects a drop from £38 for each £1 in 2006 and £42 in 2005.

Predictions from the DMA suggest that this trend will continue next year, with a spend of £288 million pushing nearly £13 billion – equal to around £34 for every £1 spent.

Despite this decline in returns from email marketing, the US DMA said it could stand up against most other Web Marketing channels as the average non-email online return on investment was found to be £15.30 for every pound spent in 2007.

SEO Lookalikes

Oct 16, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   fresh traffic, jerry  //  Comments Off

I know we have seen posts before, but someone sent this in and I couldn’t resist.

Jerry Booth, DaveN & Gillian

Frankie Dettori,Jono & Jo

Mobile Phone Blogger Jaiku Acquired by Google

Oct 10, 2007   //   by freshtraffic   //   Google, internet news  //  Comments Off

A little known Finland-based company Jaiku has just been acquired by Google.

Jaiku describes their main goal as “to bring people closer together by enabling them to share their activity streams.”

Basically Jaiku offers mobile phone software which enables users to microblog from both their mobile phone and the internet.

Google has already acquired another mobile phone software company, Zingku, who aim to provide mobile phone users with a range of services including sharing photos, posts and special Zingku “mobile flyers”.

Back in 2005, Google acquired a company called Dodgeball, but after no significant investment by Google the Dodgeball founders left their own company disappointed and frustrated.

All this activity has led to speculation by one industry analyst that Google’s rival, Yahoo may take an interest in Jaiku’s rival, Twitter.

In any case the collective acquisitions indicate that Google certainly seems to have taken a strong interest in the future of internet compatible mobile phone software.
Appropriately, both Google and Jaiku have blogged about the acquisition.

The Jaiku team state that new user sign-ups have been temporarily limited whilst Google and Jaiku engineers work together to produce a new, better service.

Google product manager, Tony Hsieh, writes that they are “excited about helping drive the next round of developments in web and mobile technology.”

Tony ends by extending a “hearty Google welcome to Jaiku”, but we will have to wait and see whether this really does materialise in innovative development or ends in development stagnation just like Dodgeball.