Email effectiveness ‘falling’

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.

Mobile Phone Blogger Jaiku Acquired by Google

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.

SEO Quiz – How Good are You?

Nice little Quiz from seomoz

So, you think you know your SEO inside and out, eh? Well, here’s the mother of all SEO Expert Quizzes, designed to test your mettle with 75 action-packed questions covering all corners of the SEO universe from beginner knowledge, to sneaky tricks only true Dark Lords of the SERPs will know. Take the next 25-35 minutes and see how badass you truly are, then share in your triumph (or tragedy) by slapping your SEO Quiz badge on your site to let the world know how hard you rock the SEO game.
Test your SEO Expert knowledge to earn your knowledge level.
91% – 100% – SEO Deity
81% – 90% – SEO Master
71% – 80% – SEO Professional
61% – 70% – SEO Newbie
0% – 60% – SEO Novice

Take it here

I’m too modest to share my result,all I can say is I must be living in heaven, but it did start to get a bit tedious after a while

Internet Advertising Spend to Grow Hugely

Internet Advertising spend is set to climb by 85 per cent over the 2006 to 2009 period, ClickZ reports.

According to ZenithOptimedia figures, online video and local search will be the primary drivers for this growth. Until 2009, the company expects an annual growth rate in internet advertising of 23 per cent.

Jonathan Barnard, ZenithOptimedia’s head of publications, said that it was impossible to predict what may happen in the online sector.

“At this stage nobody really knows what the successful model of the future will be,” said Barnard. “There is a lot of experimenting.”

However, he did point out that there is a definite trend for advertisers to shift dollars from newspapers to the online channel.

“Newspapers are losing directly to the internet, either to other classifieds, search, or auction sites,” he said. “Their websites tend to be quite large and get advertising, but unfortunately they are not making enough to offset offline.”

As well as this, he noted that advertisers who only have a small market in which they sell can also benefit from online advertising.

This clearly shows that smaller businesses would be fools not to get into online advertising, and link building can help them do that.

Why are SEO Costs so High

Good question!

If you approach an SEO company, like ours, for a quote to get your site working for you, you may be slightly taken aback by the costs involved. In many instances, especially where small businesses are concerned, SEO costs can be several times more than the original site development costs. But why?

The short answer is SEO takes time and time costs money.

The long answer? Oh, OK then……

For SEO to be effective your SEO consultant needs to understand your business and your business aims = time
To market your business your SEO needs to understand your market = time
To optimise your site your SEO needs to understand your customers search habits = time
To ensure the search engines can index your website’s content it needs to be structurally sound = time
To give your site credibility your site needs links from other sites = time
To make sure your SEO keeps working your SEO needs to stay ahead of your competitors = time
I could go on but perhaps you can now understand why SEO costs so much. Rates will vary but you will pay perhaps £150 per day at the lower end, £400 in the mid range and £000’s at the high end.

If you hire an mid range SEO firm for say 10 days at about £400 per day, that’s £4000.00. For that money you are getting a dedicated professional. You can hire by the day for as long or as little as you like. But there is an alternative, you could hire a full time employee.

Average fees using a reputable agency? Perhaps 5% of the salary. Expected salary? around the £40k mark. Finders fee = £2000.00. Now the salary, £40k grossed up for employers NI etc will cost you about £44,500.00. All this ignores sick pay, holiday pay, cost of a workstation etc. If you’ve ever worked out the cost of a providing a serviced workspace you’ll know it’s not cheap, let’s call it £300 a month.

That’s £4000 per month, every month of the year (even though your guy will be on holiday for one and half of those). Now you have an insight, extracts from redevo

The Changing SEO Landscape

With the current debate over Links Versus Content, people are once again asking what works to gain the most visitors, the most attention. While creating content is obviously the only way a search engine can find you, creating focused content is even more effective.

What about linking? If content is the bread of the internet, links are the butter. If those links are relevant and natural (or natural looking), the benefits are outstanding. But what if linking is merely the tip of the iceberg? The SEO landscape looks ripe for change, but just as the search engines are evolving at an ever-growing pace, that which is being searched is also evolving–mutating form, function, and execution almost right before our eyes.

There are five major changes on the way in the online world, which quite simply will revise, refine, and revolutionize our understanding and approach to search engine optimization. Actually, what we call SEO will become a subset of the larger world of search engine usability–no longer will SEO be solely the purview of SEO experts. Normal, everyday users will have more of a hand in shaping the way data is found than ever before.

The following five things are due to disrupt and alter the way in which optimization and interaction are applied.

#1. NGT (Next Generation Tagging) – Imagine objects within video and audio able to be organically and dynamically tagged by parsers directly connected to search engines. Imagine products tagged not only by text but by interactive, dynamic multimedia, which is fed and organized through these parsing agents. Utilizing microformats, hybrid peer-to-peer networking, and new content distribution models, the next movement in tagging is full-embedded content awareness.

#2. ACG (Automated Content Generation) – No, I’m not talking about spam generators, though that will remain part of the search engine equation. ACG in this case refers to content that is pushed through the pipes and passageways of feed servers and mashup generators to become reshaped content. Utilizing massive “rainbow” libraries, content can be matched, parsed, and regenerated as entirely new content that is still relevant and highly focused. You think that widgets blog is run by people? It’s not. Not anymore.

#3. The Web Will Be Reviewed – More products and services are being publicly reviewed by users all over the globe. The emphasis on user-submitted reviews will become more important as marketing to individuals becomes more ubiquitous. In Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat, Globalization 2.0 is where the end user and the front provider share an intimate relationship. Thus, what the end user says about the front provider and its service or product will greatly determine how those services and products are found.

#4. Optimization For Longevity – Social networking sites like Digg and Reddit have fostered the “Get Links Quick” dream of fast and easy exposure, but they don’t encourage long-term optimization. Digg traffic cascades show an extremely low hangtime for traffic spikes, and links are rarely persistent or maintained. Sites that have the most staying power are the ones who will optimize for the long-term. This means looking ahead, spotting trends and changes in the landscape before they happen, and applying that in a sustainable model.

#5. The Semantic Web – As search engines get smarter, the words you type into that search box will actually mean something. Function words will enable engines to read the incoming data in much the same way as a human does, determining not just definition and location, but context and connotation. This means your content generation will need to be even more focused and applicable for human readers–even if some of those human readers are actually human emulators! As the Google guidelines states, don’t build a site for search engines, build it for people.

While all these coming changes are revolutionary in their own way, they don’t change basic tenets of how the web will work. It will still thrive on and be driven by usable content and ideas. This is the web as it should be.

This is the web as it will be.
Guest post by Jeremiah Lewis.

SEO & Assvertising

You knew this was coming, so why are you in shock? A new company, Ass-Vertise / Assvertise is already landing new clients with its innovative human-ass billboards. Stare at the bum of an appealing lady OR man in NYC, and you’ll find yourself reading ads, including those shown for the New York Health & Racquet Club. The company claimns to be based on the simple philosophy that “If you want to be seen, go where people are already looking, “Ass-vertising involves putting a logo, a web address, or a brief message on the seat of a pair of bikini style panties. The panties are work by beautiful girls and revealed when appropriate in a ‘mooning’ fashion, often accompanied by a ‘Hey, check this out,” or a slogan tailored by you, our beloved Client.”

Bottoms Up: When advertisers are looking for methods to grab the attention of young men, there are no ifs or ands, but there are plenty of butts.

Hope you like our new assvertisment

SEO – Six Mistakes You Should Avoid

For the survival of your blog, website search engine optimization is as important as having a website, especially if you seek targeted traffic from search engines. SEO for me is not simply getting traffic from various sources; it is getting highly targeted traffic. A few mistakes here and there and all your SEO efforts will go down the drain. In fact wrong SEO tactics can sometimes prove costlier than having no SEO strategy. Although there are unlimited things you can do to improve your SEO and unlimited mistakes you can commit in the process, in this blog post I’m going to discuss 6 SEO mistakes you should avoid.

Here they are:

1. Don’t have the same title for every page: If you are a blogger you might not face this problem because most blogging software generates unique page titles (here too you can post blog posts without titles — some people do), but if you run a website make sure all your pages have a unique title. The logic is that every page carries a unique message and the best way to present that message to the outside world is by having a page title that aptly represents the message of your page. On external links people click on your link when they find your page title attractive. People using search engines click your link when they see the title of your link. So have a unique title for every page and make sure the important phrase that represents your page content appears in your title.

2. Don’t spam your pages by stuffing keywords: Your keywords and key phrases are certainly taken into account when search engine algorithms rank your web pages, but it doesn’t mean you insert your keywords everywhere. This will be considered keyword spam and your website runs the risk of getting black listed by all of the major search engines. Your keywords appearing nonsensically in your title, in your description, all over your text and everywhere in your links, is not going to get you anywhere. Even if for a few days you get to the first page of the search result pages your website will be blacklisted the moment it is noticed by someone from the search engine company. Instead, create highly focused, specialized web pages so that they cater to the theme of your keywords. Let your keywords and key expressions appear naturally on your pages. The important thing is not getting ranked higher as soon as possible, what is important is increasing the overall relevancy of your website.

3. Don’t use bells and whistles: The more needless stuff you have on your website, the tougher it is for the search engine crawlers to crawl and index your pages. Run a check on your website and see if there are some JavaScripts, some images and animations, or some CSS definitions that you can get rid of, and if you can, then get rid of them immediately. Make your website as light as possible.

4. Don’t use dynamic URLs: A dynamic URL is something like http://www.yourwebsite.com/index.php?p=345. The search engines simply cannot make sense of them, and even if they can, it takes lots of effort on their part. Instead, use a URL scheme that has your keywords in it. For instance, the URL of this post will probably end up with /6-seo-mistakes-you-should-avoid/. All current content management systems and blog publishing platforms give you the ability to create search engine friendly URLs.

5. Don’t participate in meaningless link-exchange schemes: Inbound links are definitely important for your website or blog, but they should appear on external websites voluntarily and not because you are going to put their link on your website. The entire logic of having inbound links is to convince Google that your blog or website has got content worth linking to and they should be coming from reputed websites. The very fact that the other website is readily exchanging links with you means that it does not get linked to because of its value, and this, consequently, is not going to give you any SEO benefit. In fact exchanging links with disrepute or totally unrelated websites can adversely affect your SEO efforts.

6. Don’t submit to search engines: It’s no use submitting your website to different search engines because the search engines themselves are perpetually crawling the Internet to locate and index new and recently updated pages. It takes its own time for your web pages to start appearing on search engine result pages whether you submit them or don’t submit them. So if you are thinking that by simply submitting your website to “1000s of search engines” your SEO job is over, please do a re-think.

So avoid these mistakes and keep yourself focused. Remember that search engines want to provide the best content available on the Internet to their users so that their users keep coming back to them for their search needs. Create a website or a blog that the search engines will happily present to their users among top results.

Outsourcing SEO

Often it becomes difficult to devote proper time and attention to the different aspects of a business. It may be that you are running short of manpower, or you may not have professionals who have the proper qualifications and in situations like this you need to resort to other methods to get the work done. Outsourcing is one method that can easily take care of all your worries and help you earn money. Outsourcing basically means to hand over the work of certain aspect of your business to a third party within the country or overseas who are better equipped to deal with it. SEO is one aspect of any online business that needs to be done and outsourcing SEO is one method through which this can be done perfectly. If you are into online business, you must make sure that you get SEO done for your site.

SEO is search engine optimization and this is a method where a site is promoted on the World Wide Web. Outsourcing SEO is getting bigger day by day as many businesses have been benefited by this in an enormous way. Now finding out a firm that will actually take up the SEO work of your business is not difficult, but what is difficult is finding out that firm which will do the work for you efficiently. There are several ways through which you can choose a firm to take over the outsourcing SEO work of your online site and the best way is through the internet. While surfing the web, you will come across several online sites that provide outsourcing SEO services to clients. What you can do is find out the kind of work they are doing and decide if they can do the work for you or not.

Outsourcing SEO firstly helps you in getting highly trained professionals handle the work for you. Since they are skillful professionals they know exactly what needs to be done for making a site rank high in all the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista and Lycos. Make sure that you have a talk with the professionals who are handling your work and tell them on what aspects would you like to make your site become popular. Generally when professionals take on the work for a site for outsourcing SEO, the first thing that they do is analyze the site and analyze the competition in the existing market.

Based on all these factors and several other factors as well, the professionals will make a strategy to go about doing the outsourcing SEO work for your online business. You must make sure that you know exactly what is being done for the SEO of your site, after all this is your business and you have all the right to decide what is right and what is not for it. SEO has made it possible for websites to get recognized easily and if the whole process is done properly the benefits will be immense. Outsourcing SEO is one of the best business decisions that one can make.