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In the age of Internet Marketing, there are a number of techniques you can use to ensure maximum visibility for your website. Two important approaches to marketing your website are through paid ads or generate traffic organically. Searches or web traffic which comes from unpaid listings on search engines are called organic clicks/hits. Pay-per-click allows the advertisers to bid on certain keywords relevant to their target market. These advertisements called sponsored links appear adjacent to the organic results on the home page.

Organic hits stands out as much more reliable and affordable option delivering a higher return on investment [ROI] over time. Consider this; Organic results are 5x more likely to be clicked on than paid results. [Source: Marketing Sherpa, Search Marketing Benchmark Survey] The same report states that organic listings account for 4.2 % conversion rate while paid listings account for 3.6% conversion rate.

With the advent of savvy web surfers who look out for non-sponsored results or organic hits on the first page of the search engine, the popularity of PPC has dropped considerably. Surfers believe that if the site made it to the results on the first page itself without paying for it, it must be the best site. Apart from that, PPC is limited by space and gains less traffic overall when compared to organic hits. It remains the second best way to ensure a good ranking for your site in the search engines, behind organic hits.

Here’s why PPC gains less traffic for your site even if it gets you decent conversion. PPC only provides links to your homepage. But, the internal pages of your site will link throughout the search engine if you rely on organic means to rank your website. A PPC campaign that links to your sites internal pages is not a cost-effective means to guarantee conversions as well.

Here’s a table which shows the level of education and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) usage patterns:
patterns:

Which area on a SERP would you typically look at first
Level of education
Some high shool
High school diploma or equivalent
2-Year degree
University degree
Masters degree
Doctoral degree
alt. org. and features
0
18.75%
17.56%
20.22%
20.25%
35.00%
organic results
33.33%
0
64.12%
64.62%
66.87%
45.00%
sidebar paid
0
53.13%
4.58%
4.58%
1.84%
0
top portion paid
66.67%
28.13%
13.74%
13.74%
11.04%
20.00%


In the recessionary times we are a part of, internet based businesses might not even want to consider PPC. The campaigns might not even be as successful as they have been in the past too. Here’s an image displaying the relevance of organic hits when compare to paid hits.

Organic Hits: Long Road to Success?
The process to push your site organically into the top 10 results on google.com might be long and tedious. You will need to work on keeping content fresh by frequently updating your site, writing articles, posting your site in forums and even take advantage of Social Media Optimization to get your business out there. Better still, you could use the services of a SEO company to bring targeted traffic to your site. Find-ability is key in any online business. Despite what you paid to have your website designed, what purpose does it serve if no one can find it? Only a qualified SEO company can help potential clients find your website on the major search engines. This allows you to concentrate on your business while a qualified SEO consultant takes care of your website optimization.

However long and hard the process, the results are well-worth it. It is definitely credible to be listed highly in organic searches than paid results. Research has revealed that people who click on organic search results are highly educated which translates into relevant traffic for your website. ‘More Money at No Cost’, that’s what organic hits will help you with. Apart from that, organic hits guarantees long lasting rank and traffic for your website.

The Golden Triangle
As you see in the image of the Google Golden Triangle, which was the result of a study conducted by Enquiros. The study watched eye movements of fifty users on the Google search engine result pages. Results revealed a "golden triangle" which confirms the belief nothing beats organic search results, although sponsored sites which are placed above the organic results do well.

 

Paid Hits that Can Hurt SEO
Link exchanges, setting up related links, emphasizing on anchor text and updating your site with content is the cornerstone of any website success story. However, there are some common link building mistakes which questionable webmasters commit. Using paid linking services could result in loss of $15 on an average after each hit - linking circles, and spamming to build links, are just some of them.

On the other hand, PPC guarantees immediate ranking because you pay to be listed. It helps familiarize users with your website and more often visitors log on to your website it will help improve your site’s performance too. Your ad will be shown at the times when you choose to pay for it. If you have chosen PPC for your site, ensure that you choose the Google Adwords program.

Organic hits or PPC: One or both? Which did you choose? How did it help your site?

All businesses want their websites ranked at the top with search engines, so how does one go about doing this? There are many different ways to help get your website ranked higher during those searches. A key way of increasing your web traffic and optimizing your site for search engines is by increasing the number of organic links to your site. Previously, a couple of the more conventional ways to build links were through directory submission or buying links. The value in using these artificial methods have declined, there are different search engines that do not even recommend using high quality paid directories. In respect of Google’s rules, paying for links is not allowed, and many companies are being penalized.

Stop building links artificially and utilize one or more of the following ways to build links organically, optimizing your search engine rankings.

  1. Create a genuine yearly competition or organize a charitable event such as blog action day.
  2. Mirror a high traffic site such as free software sites / open source software sites, or an activist site.
  3. Join social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yelp, Inc. and maintain them over time.
  4. Offer a rebate for a particular group, such as working class families, veterans or whichever disadvantaged group you decide upon.
  5. Maintain a business blog that is updated regularly with high value resources.
  6. Posting articles on a few quality article directories with your resource box and URL is a sure fire way of creating back links.
  7. Send out a press release via a few online services.
  8. Network through business colleagues and people you know and have them link to you.
  9. Answer questions in different forums like Yahoo Answers.
  10. Go Green, start a green initiative. There are countless opportunities on how to go about achieving this, carbon free websites is a great example.
  11. Add resources to user generated sites like associated content or zimbio.
  12. Create a regularly updated resource list like the Web developer’s Handbook that people will continue to refer back to and refer others to.
  13. Get your content translated and republished in multiple languages and countries.
  14. Create CSS solutions for common tasks or CSS problems, or even more effective would be a whole set of solutions.
  15. Program a free tool or software everyone needs for a specific niche, but not one that everybody offers yet.
  16. Fashion an enduring partnership with similar service providers, like a graphic design agency joining forces with a PSD2XHTML provider.
  17. Publish recipes for healthy, Greek, Indian, raw or any type of food that is desirable to others but not everybody can buy.
  18. Perform a community service or help with animals and display images of them for others to see.
  19. Join a community and become one of the more prominent members like Maki of DoshDosh did on Sphinn and Digg.
  20. Build a community like 9Rules where people “proudly” are part of and display it on their sites.
  21. Develop a Firefox plugin for a common reoccurring task or having to deal with a widely spread annoyance, like BugMeNot .
  22. Join the “freebies” bandwagon, people love free stuff and when everyone loves you, the people willing to spend money will find you.
  23. Offer free music or other audio downloads, or at least a way to listen to the audio online.
  24. Give away a free eBook, or better yet offer several free eBooks like O’Reilly does.
  25. Offer free high quality icons for download and free use.
  26. Have background patterns available for free for web designers.
  27. Give away free wallpapers for download and invite artists to modify.
  28. Offer free scripts and “chunks code” for webmasters to use freely.
  29. Offer fundamental self improvement quotes or advice like hackyourself
  30. Give away images using a creative commons provider such as creative commons on your website.

These are a few of the ways you are able to build links naturally and enhance you SEO. Keep this in mind when you go from very few links to having an additional 3,000 in a week, the spiders notice it and your ranking drops. So stay consistent with building your links naturally and avoid the artificial means of link building.

blog11Learn to craft blog post titles, which will draw readers to your blog. As an important element of a blog, the title is the window to your blog post. Here is a list of strategies you can use to write a great blog title:

  1. Keep it short and simple: Straight and simple titles, which help the user determine what the post is about works best. Give a title, which communicates the benefit of reading the article too.
    Good Example: 20 Ways to Advertise your Website for FREE
    Bad Example: Find out how you can market your website online.
  2. Readers first, Search Engines next: Don’t try optimizing your blog title for the search engines to the extent that you forget your readers! There is no point in having a poorly worded blog title, which ranks very well on search engines.
    Good Example: Using Social Media for Lead Generation
    Bad Example: Social Media Lead Generation
  3. Communicate a benefit, effectively: Your blog post title should be able to tell readers what they will get upon reading your post. You can draw significant traffic to your blog, if the title is listing out an advantage.
    Good Example: 10 Ways to Increase Your Alexa Rank
    Bad Example: Information on Alexa Rank
  4. How-to Headline Appeals: How to stop smoking in 30 days? How to start an online business from home? Quite possibly that such headlines have drawn your attention, immediately! The how-to headline appeals to most of our needs to improve ourselves, career, health etc. Once you have used how-to in the title, you must highlight the process in your blog.
    Good Example: How Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your Businesses
    Bad Example: Use Inbound Marketing to grow your business
  5. Well-formatted title: This is because, some of these characters tend to get distorted and replaced by other characters, such as, “?” etc. For example, Alternatives to Photoshop ? Web Based Image Editors. Take extra care when you use the following characters:
  • Double Quote ( ” ” )
  • Single Quote ( ‘ ‘ )
  • Comma ( , )
  • Question Mark ( ? )
  • Hyphen ( – )
  • Dash ( En Dash ” – “ or Em Dash ” — “)
  • Apostrophes ( ‘ )
  • Exclamation Points ( ! )
  • Colons ( : )
  • Ampersand ( & )

Do you have any tips to share? Feel free to add to this list!

seo-analyticsWhat analytics tool is best for you? Is that the question on your mind? Analytics are a must as it is the best means to gather and analyze your web content’s data. With analytics, you can glean the requisite information on the popularity of your website. It’s best to use free analytics tools, in the beginning to compile and measure your website performance. I have listed the top TEN free web analytics tools here. Feel free to add any other tools, which you have used:

Google Analytics: The reining King of all Analytics Tools! One of the most powerful, flexible tools, which comes with easy-to-use features to let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. Custom reporting is definitely a tool to reckon with. With Google Analytics, you're more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.

Yahoo! Web Analytics: This enterprise-level, robust web-based third-party solution, is an alternative to Google’s Analytics. Yahoo! has integrated its acquisition of IndexTools, a leading provider of web analytics software, with its own systems to provide a free full featured enterprise analytics solution which also now provides insight into the demographics and category interests of your website visitors. Powerful and flexible dashboards, segmentation tools, and campaign management features make it faster and easier for online marketers and website designers to learn about and align with each audience.

Snoop: This Java Script tool can be downloaded for Mac and PC. Its features include:

  • Real-time Notification: A dedicated asynchronous (non-polling) connection is maintained with Reinvigorate. You'll know the instant someone makes a comment on your blog, posts in your forum, purchases an item, gets referred from another site, etc.
  • Audible Events: Each event triggers a unique sound. If you're caught up in your work, or in another room, you don't have to worry about missing events.
  • Name Tag Integration: Snoop features automatic integration with Name Tags so you'll know exactly who your visitors are.
  • Piwik: This is an open source and is built with PHP and MySQL. To use it, you have to install it on your own server. At the end of the five minute installation process you will be given a JavaScript tag. Simply copy and paste this tag on websites you wish to track (or use an existing Plugin to do it automatically for you). The Plugins system opens up possibilities for you to create your own custom extensions. Try the online demo!


Blog Tracker: If you want to track visitors to your blog, this is the best tool for you. It is an invisible tracker that will count your blog visits and other blog statistics. This product is completely free! You can even try an online live demo. All you need to do is register for an account and insert a small piece of code into your blog so we will start gathering statistics for your blog. Then you will be able to analyze and monitor all the visits to your blog in real-time!

Woopra: This is an information rich, easy to use, real-time Web tracking and analysis application. By signing up for a Woopra account, you will be able to add websites and download the Woopra client. The Woopra Installation Guide page contains comprehensive help and information.

FireStats: This is a free web statistics system, which is available free of cost for commercial usage. For more information, you can look at the Live Demo.

GoingUp: Apart from graphing keyword positions over time, GoingUp combines statistical information including visitors, referring URLs and even search engine traffic. You can even set custom tracking events to see sales, downloads and subscribes!

Clicky: Its slick interface will work with any website, including AJAX or Flash based sites. The AJAX-based interface is fully customizable and is user friendly. To use Clicky, you need to sign-up to the service and insert two lines of HTML code to your blog or website template, as simple as that. About half an hour after that, you can access your Clicky account again and start viewing analytics data flowing in.

JAWStats: JAWStats is a free, open-source website statistics and analytics package. It runs in conjunction with AWStats and produces clear and informative charts, graphs and tables about your website visitors. Try the online demo.

Here’s to measured online success!

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