Online spending in the US grew by almost a fifth to a massive $47.5 billion during the second quarter of 2007, indicating the huge impact of internet marketing.
Digital measurement expert comScore found that non-travel e-commerce increased by a whopping 23 per cent to $27.2 billion, while travel spending on the web grew by 14 per cent to $20.3 billion.
The comScore study also predicted that online consumer spending in the States would probably reach $200 billion in 2007, as more and more shoppers shun the high street in favour of the ease and good value of the internet.
Video games, consoles and accessories sales rose especially sharply, rising 159 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2006.
Other categories that grew rapidly included sport and fitness, consumer electronics, event tickets, jewellery and watches, and furniture and appliances.
The figures demonstrate the massive response garnered by internet advertising.
“Even factoring in the moderate growth rates from Q1, we’re currently on pace to break $200 billion in e-commerce spending in 2007,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.
“However, in the past we’ve seen growth rates accelerate as the year progresses, culminating with the online holiday shopping season, so $200 billion may actually turn out to be a conservative estimate.”
A recent report from IPA showed that online marketing budgets are increasing fast as companies come to see the benefits of the medium. In the second quarter, 24 per cent of firms reported an increase in their total marketing budgets, with internet advertising posting the strongest gains.
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Having a beautiful website no one can find is like having a store and keeping the doors locked. You know it is there, you’ve done a great job decorating it, the products are waiting for the customers, yet no one comes in.
Web design focuses on appearance and aesthetics. SEO focuses on text quality and quantity. Web designers don’t really like to clutter their designs with text. They prefer to see the images stand out on their own. SEOs on the other hand don’t like images that much. Sure, an image can be optimized for the search engines by adding relevant alt attributes and titles, but this is not enough for a site to be properly optimized. Page copy still plays the most important role in website optimization for Search Engine Optimisation.
As a business owner you are caught in the middle of this conflict. For your website to convert you need both design and optimization. There is no middle way. You cannot have a little bit of this and a little bit of that and still be competitive. You cannot have just one of the two either. Without optimization your site is invisible to the search engines, hence to your potential customers. On the other hand, without a good design your site, although not invisible, will get nothing but hits. Web users are picky and if they find nothing of interest on your site they will just surf to the next site.
When you pay for web design don’t automatically assume that by paying thousands of dollars on a layout you’ll be a hit on the Web. The Web is a highly competitive place. There are already thousands entrepreneurs who, just like you, invest in design and hope to become the new “it.” Without online marketing (SEO being an important part of the discipline) all these entrepreneurs will remain in the shadow, with their beautiful websites closed to the world.
SEO is the key to that virtual door you need to open for your customers. It is important that you consider this tool when you first conceive your site. Web design and SEO don’t need to be enemies. There are enough professional agencies that employ both web designers and SEOs who work together to develop a good business website, a site that is SEO ready, accessible and readable with any browser. You just need to take your time, research and send a few inquiries. Then choose the company that answers your questions in a timely manner, basically choose the company that proves a clear ability of designing with W3C standards and a clear understanding of the online trends and realities.
Then balancing content with visual appearance shouldn’t be such a difficult task. Aside graphics and artwork you have to choose proper font types, in a readable size, with colors that harmonize with the layout of the site and so on. If your site is not SEO ready from the first stage of the project you’ll face additional costs after you launch. SEO ready means a site that is properly coded (errors in the HTML code might stop some search bots from crawling and indexing your site correctly), with good navigability and good internal linking structure.
On the other hand, SEO and appearance are not the only traits of a good site. Brand conscious companies should look at the broader picture: instead of debating what is better online entrepreneurs should ask themselves what works best to convert visitors into clients.
Studies show that an over optimized page might hurt the user-experience of people with disabilities. For example, many SEOs stuff the image alt attributes and their alternative titles with keywords. Blind and other visually impaired people who use screen readers to access the Web and read the pages cannot see the images and, instead of listening to a relevant image description, they’ll hear… nonsense.
Usability and accessibility are equally important as design and optimization. Strangely enough images are better for usability. They give focus to the design and when properly optimized they provide for less cluttered website content. The problems appear when the images slow down the loading times, but with the use of CSS loading times should not be a big concern.
As search engines prefer fast loading sites it is easy top understand why good coding and optimization are so important. Poor coding raises many other problems aside loading times and might increase costs when you need website updates, especially when your website administrator is not the one who created your site.
These were the words from Mihaela Lica.
You read about articles and books always getting released on how to Learn SEO and SEO Tips, Aaron Walls SEO Book and now a guy who is not an SEO, Mr Brown trying to sell his book SEO Essentials and trying to reach the top keywords in his challenge to do so.
He started his seo campaign challenge on July 1st, we read this on July 17th, he has a new domain, so do we, he’s in the US, were in the UK, where calling it the Battle of the Pond, admittedly I did live in Florida for a while and would be happy to return if there’s any offers out there, so lets see how we go.
Now I am all for enterprise, but people should stick to what there good at, you would not let a train driver decorate your home because he had read some good tips in a book and wanted to try them out, if your business is really serious about search engine optimization, get yourself an seo expert, you will save yourself a lot of money, time and grief in the long run.
The following are ten good reasons and tips to pay for SEO
If you pay attention to online marketing, you are constantly inundated with people who sell the so-called “secrets” to brand new marketing techniques on the Internet.
Each and every day you are bombarded with new e-books, teleseminars and software alleging to hold the “secrets” of blog and ping,or the “secrets” of the death of Google Adsense or the “secrets” of content is king for Search Engines.
However, the truth of the matter in nearly all cases is that most of these products are expensive and endorsed solely by the gurus who get paid for every item they sell. Real testimonials are rare and the pressure you are under to purchase these products is enormous.
Let’s make a two-fold pact for 2007:
One – We will not be swept away by all the hype on the Internet.
Two – We will primarily use tried and tested, successful Internet marketing techniques that won’t cost us a fortune to use.
To help you off to the right start in launching your own cost-effective marketing strategy for 2007, I want to share some valuable ideas that I’ve used to grow my own business. These marketing concepts are genuinely affordable, truly simple to implement and have honestly helped me gain generous exposure, which has resulted in new clients and increased sales. My top fifteen favourite effective and inexpensive Internet marketing tactics are listed below:
1. Article submissions to online e-zines, directories and newsgroups, and off-line magazines and newspapers (don’t worry about the duplicate content issues … just get as many one-way links to your site as possible to boost your Search Engine ranking). Writing and submitting free reprint articles is a resourceful way to generate increased exposure and will drive traffic to your web site.
2. Create and market your own affiliate program using low cost tools on the Internet, which incidentally, there are numerous tools on the web that are
very affordable. Offer affiliates your articles for reprint and allow them to use their affiliate link in your by-line. But don’t stop there … submit your
program to affiliate program directories so that prospects can find it readily.
3. Write and submit press releases to both paid and free press release sites. Let your target audience know about your company, new products and services you’re offering and also about special company events or promotions. If you’re concerned that perhaps your writing talents are a bit rough yet,hire a ghost-writer to draft your release for you. And yes, there are many talented, professional writers who work on a freelance basis and accept both one-time and ongoing projects at an affordable rate.
4. Register with and actively participate in forums that target your ideal client or customer. Check in at least once a week and offer helpful advice to other forum participants seeking assistance and information in your area of expertise. Be sure to craft and use a compelling signature that will get added to your posts. With just a small investment of your time, you can establish yourself as an expert within your industry, which can result in generous exposure.
5. Offer legitimate comments and articles to blog owners who cover your topic area and target your audience. Create solid and productive relationships, offering to make blog postings for them in return for a by-line with a live link to your site. The fact that you’re willing to offer blog owners something of value upfront will make them eager to reciprocate.
6. List your teleseminars, e-zines, live events and books on Craigslist in cities and sections that have appeal for your target audience. Sign-in and repost your listings on a regular basis to keep them current.
7. Research opportunities to be a guest on teleseminars, pod casts and webinars. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the number of opportunities available if you simply take the time to look for them. Keep a list of questions and potential topics ready for your pitch. Keep track of your guest appearances and promote them on your web site.
8. Actively participate in online social networks such as MySpace, Ryze and LinkedIn. Write compelling copy for your profile and be sure to have a good picture and logo to add where permitted. Including your photo allows people to feel a connection to you, simply because they can put a face to your name.
9. Join and participate in associations and non-profits that attract your perfect client. Find relevant associations by searching for your keyword + association in search engines and visit the American Society of Association Executives. Involvement in organizations such as this, as well as local civic organizations, offers valuable networking opportunities.
10. Place paid advertisements in e-zines that target your audience. If possible, purchase the advertisement when the publisher is running one of your articles in order to gain maximum exposure with this strategy. There are three types of common advertisements available in e-zines: classified,sponsor and solo. Chose the most inexpensive position with the greatest exposure.
12. Downloadable white papers are usually longer versions of articles and often include graphics and links to resources. As with your e-course require people who want the white paper to register for your e-zine. Encourage people to send the registration link to their colleagues, friends and family who share a similar interest.
13. Create your own blog, update at least every other day and include links to your web sites. Ping blog directories and Search Engines every time you make a post for verification that your blog is turning up results.
14. Sponsor contests and submit them to contest directories. Give away a book a month or an hour of your services and encourage people to register for your e-zine. If your business involves selling a product rather than a service, you can offer specific products for prizes with contest entry automatic when people signup for your e-zine. Be creative with your contests, but always make the winning prize something of value that is relevant to your business.
15. Testimonials and referrals can be obtained from the same people. Offer to include a picture with testimonials and a live link to your client’s web site. This strategy is a win-win marketing tactic for both you and your client.
No satisfied client would refuse such an opportunity! Instead of e-mailing referrals send a professionally written letter via postal mail with some of your most popular articles and invite recipients to call you for a free fifteen minute consultation.
There are dozens of free marketing techniques in the online and off-line world. These fifteen are not the only ones I use but they are my absolute favourites and have been used successfully by thousands of people, including Internet gurus. Don’t fall for every new marketing scheme; instead,spend your money selectively on marketing products.
If you are pressed for time hire a virtual assistant to handle the free and low cost marketing techniques listed here and carve out some time in your schedule every month to research and evaluate new techniques.
The internet has become so important that a third of online women now say their lives would be disrupted if they had to go for a week without web access.
A Burst Media survey seen by Marketing Charts found that 66.1 per cent of women would feel their lives were disrupted, with 43.6 per cent saying significantly so, if they went internet free for seven days.
Encouragingly for internet marketers, most online women (54.5 per cent) say that the internet is their main source of information for products they are thinking of buying.
The study also found that more than 80 per cent were online during most dayparts. Four out of five online women use the internet between 7:00am and midnight, with a significant number of women aged 65 or over saying they go online before 7:00am.
Mornings and afternoons are generally used for work, while evenings spent online are generally for personal use.
The figures clearly show the massive use of the internet among women, which is great news for internet marketers.
“I would say that the most important policy regarding search optimisation is never allowing your programmers to try any kind of SEO at all.”
A free tip for business owners, you need to be aware of what your internet staff are doing, because programmers are constantly learning new methods, new techniques and tips from each other and from the web. “They would not give a second thought to using this new but perhaps untested and dubious technique on your live website just to hone freshly acquired skills or to appear to be a bit more professional in their own minds.
Afterwards, if Google blacklists you, the only thing to do is to close your old domain down and start again, fresh.
My advice to company’s seeking an SEO Consultant
Check the SEO company you intend to use is listed on Organic Search (not PPC or Adwords) on Google for what they do, check out a few common keyword terms, if they cannot get there own site listed, how can they do yours?
Ask for references from clients they have done work for.
If your still unsure, leave them alone and find someone else.
It never ceases to amaze me how some media companies get SEO work, this is not picking just on Latitude here, they have done a great job promoting themselves and others in the last few years and I am sure a few would love to have done so well.
But, they just win an SEO account for Haven Holidays to do all there SEO work?, when they cannot even do there own?, anyone who has to advertise on Adwords or any other PPC Search Engine to be found for SEO and PPC services as they cannot be found anywhere near the 1st pages on organic search engines speaks volumes.
I am sure there branding skills, outside media skills making people aware is what they do best, but Online Marketing, SEO, PPC, sorry that does not work for me.
I must get half dozen emails or calls from media company’s monthly, they all usually have fantastic web designers, branding skills, smart educated marketing sales people who talk a good show, but when it comes to the net, they are nowhere to be found, unless of course you type the company name in the browser.
Look at this Google Report
I think this trend will continue to happen, especially here in the UK, until these people and company’s realise that SEO Experts dont grow on trees, the techie web designers they employ with ten degrees from university in computers,design and Linux is exactly what they do, design, they are not a sure fire guarantee to have your website sight seen in the top pages of search engines, its not what they do.
Having spent the last few years working in the USA with some of the largest company’s on the planet, I’m convinced on a whole that a lot of company’s here in the UK are at least 3-4 years behind when it comes to search, until these companies realise how important the net is and how important being found on organic search engine results on the top pages for your profession and for the services you offer, this trend is going to continue.
Some say SEO is a Science, an Art, I tend to agree with some of these comments, but what I do agree on is this, I am not a web designer, I cannot write programs, but I can and do know the art of Search Engine Optimisation, why? because I am where I should be on the Net for my profession, the front pages.
In typical northern style, listen people, Horses for Courses, the sooner you learn this the higher you will climb.
Not a question I really wanted to get in to but keep getting asked, How much should a SEO Specialist cost me to employ? Well here’s my answer as always shooting straight from the hip.
Well that I suppose depends on lots of different criteria.
Is the SEO going to be employed In House?
It it a senior SEO Role?
Are you employing the SEO Specialist on Contract? or Results?
How good is your SEO Specialist?
Ask many people and you will get many different answers, I am a true believer in Pay Peanuts, Gets you Monkey’s.
I know SEO Professionals that have earned 500k in a year, but the company they did the work for have benefited 20 times that much from the expertise provided, you see other jobs advertised, especially in the UK wanting a top of the tree search engine marketer come search engine optimizing wizard wanting to pay 30k -40k.
Now the way I see it is that anyone who knows they are good at what they do, with results and references to prove it would not look at that position, he/she will probably already have a few of there own clients, get enquiries from new ones on a regular basis and probably charge out at up to 1k a day for work they do.
Now I am not suggesting you have to pay every SEO this amount, some maybe, but put the boot on the other foot for a minute.
You may have an online business, you maybe a large media company, (some of these need real help at the minute)or just a one man band.
Now lets just say you paid the top rate for a day or two, but your sales treble, your serps were on the first page of Google and your phone was ringing of the hook, then all of a sudden this would be good business and money well spent if someone asked you.
Unfortunately this does not always happen, why? Like all businesses some are better than others, you would not buy a SUV and expect it to perform like a Ferrari, the same goes for all things.
One of my biggest moans is website design, web designers do a great job at making your website look brilliant, but they are not seo specialists, they are not search marketing specialists, they are web design specialists, no where on my own website do I ever claim to be a web designer. I can do simple ones but I leave that to the people who know what there doing, a website designer specialist, hence SEO and SEM should be left to the experts in that field.
I can count on one hand web designers who are any good at optimization, they can write code, do php, css, java the lot, anoraks at what they do, but having a great looking website with no visitors or serps is useless, horses for courses.
So in answer, you get what you pay for, like everything else in life, but like my old nan use to say, Cream always rises to the Top.
Google, Google, Google… what am I going to do with you? As most of you know, Google recently updated their Webmaster Guidelines, including a new page on why one should report paid links to Google. The new page included this snippet :
However, some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying links in order to improve a site’s ranking is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.
So, one would expect Google to abide by their own rules and guidelines right? Well, as Scott from MarketingPilgrim points out, that’s not exactly the case. Apparently if you’d like a PR7 link from Google, it will cost you a mere $1,995. To make the offer even more appealing, they’ll throw in a Google Mini as well! Now that’s what I call a bargain.
Want to see a list of all the websites that are, along with Google of course, currently in violation of Google’s newly updated Webmaster Guidelines? No problem, Google’s provided it for you.
As if that weren’t enough, Google’s also breaking their own Design and Quality Guidelines. Hey, I mean if you’re gonna go, go all out right? As you can see, Google clearly states that “If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.” Now, I’m no mathematician, but even I know that page has more than 100 or so links.
So, will Google deindex themsevles? Will they remove all the offending sites that have been caught red handed? I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Posted in Google by Skitzzo