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internet marketing

  • 30 Ways to Enhance Your SEO, and Build Links Organically

    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.

  • 5 Metrics for Measuring Digital Marketing Success

    You’re probably thinking leads and sales when you’re asked about the digital marketing metrics that are tracked for brand growth. As websites continue to become an inseparable part of the consumer’s journey, the need to measure digital marketing success also increases. However, with the large amount of data available, choosing the right type of metric to monitor can be a daunting task. The good news is that we have shortlisted few key metrics that are applicable to pretty much every type of digital marketing campaign.

    Here are the top 5 essential metrics that you should have your finger on the pulse of.

    digital marketing success

    Traffic (sessions): Simply put, website traffic refers to the visitors who visit a website. These “visits” also known as sessions measure online business effectiveness at attracting your target audience. This metric helps to gauge how well your marketing efforts are working and it also helps you retrieve an overall snapshot of your site’s performance. While there isn’t a maximum number of a set range for this metric, it is recommended that you find comparisons in the benchmarking report in Google Analytics. The important channels to watch are Direct (when people type the URL to visit the site), Referral (when people visit the site from another website), Organic (when people searched for a keyword on a search engine and landed on the site) or Social media. For best results, you should aim to achieve a balance between the various traffic sources. In the event of traffic from a single source, any change to the strategy or source is likely to impact your website traffic and bottom line.

    Conversion rate: Conversion rate indicates the visitors who have completed any goal on your website. The success of your marketing campaigns depends on the conversion rate. Sure the number of leads that you have generated online matters but do you know what matters more? Calculating cost per lead per channel helps you identify the most important lead generation channels and invest in them accordingly. If you have an Ecommerce store, you should consider the impact the online traffic has on your online transactions. With access to a tool such as Google Analytics, you can find your Ecommerce conversion rate by setting up Ecommerce tracking using a few simple steps as listed here. You can look at the various sources of traffic and the conversion rates from these sources. Are they interacting with your content and are they providing value, when they visit - are the pertinent questions to ask when you are trying to ascertain your digital marketing success.

    Bounce rate: As defined by Google, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session. It is common knowledge that a high bounce rate is bad and a low bounce rate is good. If you have observed the bounce rate in the overview report of Google Analytics, you should know that this is a site-wide bounce rate and not for a particular section or page. It is calculated by dividing the average number of bounces across all pages by total number of visits across all pages within a time period. If you are wondering, what bounce rate is good, you should note that there are various variables that determine a “good” bounce rate for your site. You can set up benchmarking in Google Analytics or read the bounce rate benchmarks as available here to gain a better understanding of your website’s bounce rate performance.

    Social media metrics: The return on social media investment still exists as an elusive part of the marketing puzzle for a number of businesses that seek to capitalize on the eyeballs that spend billions of minutes on these platforms each day. Is social media ROI attainable? Of course, it is when you have set up your social media initiatives from the outset in a manner such that you are tracking the right metrics during the buyer’s journey. Defining and measuring specific customer behaviors, as mentioned below helps you climb out of the vortex of vanity metrics with dubious ties to revenue.

    digital marketing success

    Finally! The fifth metric that is absolutely essential to determine your digital marketingsuccess is the SEO metric. You want your website to rank for keywords relevant to your niche. But, how do you determine if people are visiting your site as a result of your SEO efforts? The Google Search Console and Google Analytics are invaluable tools in this regard, they can help track traffic by landing pages, top-ranking keywords for your website, mobile traffic (this is super important, considering 60% of all online searches come from mobile phones!)

    To sum up, you’ll need to constantly evaluate the position and success of your marketing strategy and tracking the aforementioned metrics are the first step in this direction.

  • Bridging the Gap Between Print and Internet Marketing

    studio1c QR codeTechnology Bridging the Online and Offline World: Customers Get the Best of Both Worlds

    Connecting the Internet with [offline] printed collateral is on the minds of marketers all over the world. With the advent of tools like QR codes and SMS technology, marketers are in a perfect position to reach out to their offline audience. We've heard that everyone was moving to the Internet a few years ago and now to mobile. Smartphone technology lets customers use rich media for a range of purposes by accessing the Internet via their phone. It’s not uncommon to spot two-dimensional barcodes on flyers, posters, products, etc. These are known as Quick Response or QR codes and can be easily scanned by a free barcode scanner available on most smartphones. SMS coupons are passe too, marketers have now integrated point-of-sale systems and other methods such as “Text STUDIO1C to 22828 from your cell phone to sign up for our enewsletter” (try and see how it works!).

    Usage of QR Codes for Marketing
    QR codes are being used extensively by marketers to help customers who are looking for more information about a product or service. By reducing additional cumbersome or time-consuming manual input of a URL, this technology has provided savvy marketers with a simplier solution to connect with new customers. Used in business cards, conference displays, postcards and brochures, the encoded information can help the customers send an email, dial a number, download contact details or view more details on a new or special offer. To give you an example, imagine you are walking down a street and find details of a new movie advertised on a billboard. The QR code on the billboard can take you a web page to buy tickets instantly. It’s not just the entertainment industry, just about any type of organization can use QR codes for marketing including nonprofits, retail business, educational institutions etc. Apart from being user friendly, these codes are cost-effective and environmentally friendly too.

    Text to Subscribe Services
    If you are looking for options to have your customers respond to advertisements and promotions when they are away from their computer, you can provide them the option to subscribe to your SMS with a text message. You can include offer details or vouchers in these messages, for example “Text SHOP to ****” and offer New Services, Happy Hour Specials, Help Wanted, or any other announcement. It helps you achieve the highest ROI by combining powerful web-based self-service campaign management tools and experience of a trained personnel.

    QR codes, text to subscribe and Facebook links on print media and other offline efforts are poised to make it to the mainstream, they have already become a staple in every savvy marketers arsenal. Have you used any of these in your marketing efforts?

  • Common Internet Marketing Mistakes Businesses Make

    Taking a big leap into internet marketingTaking the leap into handling your own internet marketing? Tread lightly
    Interestingly, not everyone who uses internet marketing strategies for their businesses truly succeed. What makes this fact really alarming is that nearly 90 percent of people usually fail in this league. This high rate of failure makes us wonder about the reasons for it. While there are several reasons why internet marketing campaigns might fail, here are three major pitfalls to avoid.

    Not treating it as a business: One of the major reasons why internet marketers do not taste sweet success is because they are not really serious about it. Most people who use internet marketing usually dabble in it as if it were a hobby. This lack of seriousness results in less focused efforts, which in turn leads to failure. For any strategy or tactic to be really successful, it is important to treat it seriously, stay focused and not dabble in it. Trying something for the perfect fit is what we do with clothes and shoes, not something as important as strategy to market and promote your business. It has to be given your full effort and concentration, if you are looking to succeed in it. Taking it seriously means creating a schedule and adhering to it. Further, it also means identifying a budget and sticking to it, looking into the profits and losses, expense statements and seeking ways to do it efficiently.

    Focus or the lack of it: Another main pitfall, which is extremely dangerous to your internet marketing campaign, is the lack of focus. Given that internet marketing it multi-faceted and has various strategies under a single umbrella, it is really tempting to go all out and use all known strategies to promote your business. However, by doing so, you are actually doing yourself and your business a great disservice. While it is important to incorporate and include multiple internet marketing strategies and techniques into your marketing endeavor, the key is to go slow. For instance, when starting with internet marketing, you should ideally concentrate on only two factors, namely traffic and conversion rate, and utilize the best possible means to achieve your objective. Once this is achieved, other means can be utilized to take your internet marketing campaign to the next level.

    Reason for doing the business: Often it is seen that people who enter into any business do it for a reason. However, more often than not, the reason for doing the business takes a backseat with the technicalities looming high. Under these circumstances, success is truly hard achieved, given that a few knocks or failures will deter you, unless your reason for doing the business is strong. Having a positive attitude coupled with a serious reason and drive will actually help you get back on track, even after several failed efforts. When setting reasons for doing something, it is always advisable to set high targets and strive to achieve them in smaller sets. This would help you put in more effort than you usually would while also ensuring that you maintain a positive attitude.

    While these three are the major reasons why internet marketing campaigns usually fail, they are not the only ones. Interestingly, your own personality, behavior and reaction to circumstances also play an important role and should be considered while planning a campaign.

  • Do SEO and Internet Marketing Really Bring Traffic to My Site?

    local-seo-tips-small-business-strategiesCreating a website is not enough. You need to market it properly so that you have maximum visibility, which ultimately leads to enhanced profitability. Increasing traffic to your website can be achieved by basic SEO and internet marketing tactics but before you actually start using these tactics to enhance the visibility of your business, it is important to understand just what search engines look for while ranking web pages. This will help you understand how SEO and internet marketing helps bring traffic to your website.

    Importance of Keywords:Keywords are the most important strategy used by SEO experts to lure search engines. However, mere usage of keywords alone will not accomplish it as what you need is to understand the way in which search engines seek keywords. A keyword rich content is the first step towards bringing in traffic but make sure the keywords are strategically used in the first paragraph. Additionally, it is important to ensure that you use the appropriate keywords in Meta tags as well as Headers, where the crawlers will look first. Moreover, it is essential to note that search engines tend to prefer hyperlinked keywords, classifying them as important.

    Link Building: This is another strategy used by SEO experts to enhance traffic to your website. The main aim is to establish as many good links as possible with other websites, directories and the like, so that people visiting the other site will visit yours. Link building, however, should be done with care and only with sites that are relevant to your area of business, in order for it to be effective. Moreover, when linking with directories or creating reciprocal links, care should be taken that you choose the right directory or website, as chances of such links being tagged as bad links are very high.

    Interaction with others:This is one of the simplest ways to achieve greater traffic for your website. SEO experts as well as internet marketers believe that communication is the key to successful marketing and this can be achieved online through blogs, social media websites, forums and the like. It is also very easy to develop a targeted niche through the use of such tactics, which is absolutely essential if you want to convert idle visits into actual profits. Creating and publishing a blog, marketing your website through social media forums and websites, using social bookmarking etc are all ways in which you can achieve instant communication with your target audience, which will ultimately lead to increased brand awareness and a loyal customer base.

    Article marketing:Writing and distributing articles on various important sectors of your business will help increase visibility of your website and promote your business virally on the internet. You could either submit these articles for posting on various websites or send them through emails to various recipients.

    Site map:Search engines also have an affinity for site maps, especially if a website has multiple pages. So, if you can design it on your own, it will be extremely useful for search engines to keep track of all your pages. If you don’t have the expertise, hire professionals to do the job for you.

    The above pointers are just some of the ways in which search engines seek websites and rank them. It is pertinent to note that the above list is not an exhaustive one but an inclusive one, which will change with time.

  • Duplicate Content Can Affect Your SEO

    duplicate contentWhile there is abundance of “how to” resources on SEO for your business website in books, newsletters and blogs, knowing what not to do is equally important. As a business owner, you should be aware that both searchers and search engines love unique, fresh, quality information. Duplicate content has gained a hazardous meaning thanks to new search engine filters.

    What is duplicate content?
    Duplicate content using its general meaning relates to pages with identical or similar content either in the same domain or spread across external web pages throughout the web. The information that is defined as duplicate does not have to be exact and could simply be alike or comparable in nature.
    However, search engines don’t quantify their selections on a simple test of duplicate content percentage. Search engines do take into account other factors such as site authority, domain age, link popularity and many more.

    Why Duplicate Content Doesn’t Work
    As you read above, major search engines reject duplicate content. The reason for this is that search engines want to show the most relevant results. Pages with indistinguishable content confuse them and therefore duplicate content filters had to be put in place.

    These filters compare one page against the other. E.g. If a search engine comes across two identical pages they will leave the most trusted one in the primary index and move the other to the supplemental index.

    You is most likely to be penalized by copying pages from different domains or if your unique vs. duplicate content ratio is too low.

    How you can avoid duplicate content
    Don’t copy and paste or paraphrase others content! Many people don’t realize that EVERYTHING that is on the internet is automatically covered by Copyright Laws, whether it displays the copyright symbol or not. It’s not good for your search engine rankings and can possibly end up with a lawsuit against you for copyright infringement. Keep your content unique and your own.

    Check to see if someone is stealing your content. There are plenty of free duplicate content tools around, these tools will check for copies of your pages on the net.

    If you come across a site which duplicates your content, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement with Google, Yahoo and MSN, as well as having their site removed by their host. You could even file a legal suit. Tools are also available to prove that your content was posted prior to theirs using tools such as WayBackMachine and WhoIs.

    If you publish an article on a syndication website and your blog, make sure you include a link back to your own site. This will ensure the syndication page is not ranked above your own.

    If you run more than one site and publish your posts on both make sure to tell the search engines which domain you would prefer to be indexed. We suggest redirecting one domain to point to the other and then only update and maintain the one.
    If you have exact content on multiple URLs within your site, consider either changing the content or using robots.txt to block the page from being indexed.

    If you have several domains with duplicate content targeting different countries you will need to use unique content on each one, otherwise you run the risk of only one site being indexed.

    From a business point of view it’s important to drive as much traffic to your site as possible. To make sure this happens its important to understand what duplicate content effects your rankings and how best to avoid it. Create quality pages that add value and reduce the risk of your website being penalized.

  • How Blogging Helps SEO

    how blogging helps seo and google rankBlogging is an extremely popular method to communicate your thoughts and activities to the outside world. While most businesses use blogging to increase traffic to their website, care must be taken to make sure that your blogs are not solely for that purpose but actually advance your business as well. However, it is important to mention that blogging does help and benefit SEO tactics used by the company to enhance visibility of its offerings on the web. Following are some of the important ways in which blogging helps SEO.

    1. Enhances ability of Search engines to crawl more often: Given the fact that the URL structure of a blog is fairly simple and uncomplicated, search engine spiders find it easier to locate blogs and crawl them more often than content on any other platform.
    2. More Indexed Pages:With blogs, you can be sure that you are well indexed, which literally translates into your blog being readily available for keyword searches in more than one keyword category. Given the fact that searches today include four or more words, the chances of your article or other content appearing in high ranks for such searches is low. On the other hand, blogs are well indexed and therefore can easily be ranked high on search engines for more than one keyword phrase. Moreover, considering the extensive yet appropriate use of both long tail as well as short keywords in your blog, searches will definitely rank it higher than other content. Additionally, the blog editor helps you in the correct placement of these keywords so that it increases the prospects of being found by search engines
    3. Repeat traffic with fresh content: Given the fact that the content in any blog is constantly updated to include newer experiences or facts, there is a definite increase in traffic, especially that which is repetitive in nature. In other words, fresh, unique and interesting content has the ability to bring back people to revisit your blog, which ultimately results in more people becoming loyal towards your brand. Additionally, new content means search engines crawl more often and your website is defined as more authoritative in nature.
    4. RSS Feeds and Blog Directories: Once a blog has been published, it definitely helps in search engine optimization of the parent website. However, if you really want to score high on SEO, then it is necessary to create and provide subscription to RSS feeds of your blogs to patrons, while also listing your blogs in various blog directories. These are hubs of information and result in ensuring more traffic to your website.
    5. Blogs are great inbound link magnets:Blogs are easily linked to other blogs while also being easily associated to social media networks and plug ins. The basic rule of SEO is that the more you are linked, the higher the inbound links to your site, which is maximum in the case of blogs. As you keep providing more and more plug ins on different blog and social media sites, you are attracting more and more people from these sites to visit your blog and website, which ultimately results in improving SEO.
    6. Active Communication:Active participation of the creator is possible through these blogs, in the form of comments, posts in forums, track back features and the like, which ultimately increases visibility by increasing advocacy of blogs.
  • Is your SEO Company ripping you off?

    We've seen it time and time again. Customers come to us after having an SEO Company with tons of employees in a big building work on their SEO and Internet Marketing with little to show for thousands of dollars spent over the years. Unfortunately, we see this a lot. Entirely way too often and it makes us mad and makes us work harder to prove ourselves in the industry.

    Recently, we had a large company with multiple locations reach out to us about our customized internet marketing after years being with so called SEO Experts. After a few hours of analysis, a few things became apparent looking over the customers 3 years of reports and anayltics:

    1. The client was paying a lot of money and getting little ROI
    2. Client was receiving a lot of SPAM inquiries from their website form
    3. Their reputation management was horribly neglected on Google and Facebook
    4. Their bounce rate was consistently ridiculously high over at least 3 years with little time spent on the site
    5. The backlinks created by their "SEO Specialists" literally provided ZERO traffic
    6. Most alarmingly, the keywords they were ranking #1 for (as stated in their monthly report) NO ONE WAS EVER USING! (think about it... if you are a plumber and you rank high for "purple cream filled donuts" what good is that doing your plumbing business?)
    7. The website maintenance which was also handled by this SEO Company had broken links, 404 errors, dead links and blank pages that had been that way for at least 1 year!
    8. Furthermore, nothing had been done to improve any of this over their 3 year contract with a large SEO Company!

    Our issues with this...

     

    Transparency.
    Not only should you have access to view your Google Analytics, you should also be able to see what was done each month. Not showing ALL the numbers.

    Know Your Analytics
    If you don't have access to your Google Analytics and know what you're looking at, you need someone to teach you. This is your investment. Don't assume that just because you have access, everything is good. Many SEO Specialists rely on the fact that the average customer doesn't understand what all this means. You should know: how many hits you get, how long they stay, how they come to your site and what keywords they're using to find you - at the very least.

  • Making Social Bookmarking Part of Your SEO Campaign

    social-bookmarking1Social bookmarking is nothing but an online reference of your favorite websites, which can be easily created and accessed from any place. Given the ease with which you can access your favorite websites using this method, it is hardly surprising that there are several social bookmarking websites available.

    Given the fact that social bookmarking websites are constantly reinventing themselves, this mode is becoming extremely popular with SEO consultants as well as individual users. One of the primary reasons for the popularity of social bookmarking among SEO consultants is the marked increase in traffic, which is easily visible and verifiable. Following are some of the main reasons why you should make social bookmarking a significant part of your SEO campaign.

    Reaching out to a Wider Audience:SEO consultants are always looking for tools that will ensure that their websites reach out to the target audience. Optimization helps in ensuring that your website is noticed and made visible by the search engine robots. However, this does not mean that your target audience will actually visit your website. Social bookmarking is an excellent way to reach out to the millions of people who will actually benefit from your website. In other words, when you publish your website and its content in these social bookmarking websites, you are actually providing access to those millions who are accessing such social bookmarking websites. In other words, you are reaching out to a wider audience, which will definitely improve your inbound traffic.

    Creating inbound links: Link building is an age old concept for search engine optimization. It is also a well known fact that if you create inbound links from high quality websites, your rankings will automatically increase. Social bookmarking websites are highly ranked, which means that any link coming from such sites will be considered as a quality link. This becomes all the more important if you can create inbound links from categories that are relevant to your area of business. Creating such links is extremely easy and simple, when done through social bookmarking sites. This automatically increases inbound traffic, which is the ultimate aim of SEO.

    Sharing of Content:Social bookmarking websites allow for easy sharing of content between users, irrespective of whether they are individuals or consultants etc. In other words, if you post content related to your sphere of business on any social bookmarking site, the content can be easily accessed and shared by others belonging to that particular sphere of business or even by other users who are just curious to know more. In simple terms, this means that you can actually access a huge audience through content sharing, which would have otherwise been really difficult. Moreover, given that social bookmarking websites are creating newer ways to include specific content under specific categories, it becomes easier to access the right kind of audience required for your area of business, making it truly beneficial.

    Social bookmarking websites can be used as a two way forum for information travel. In other words, while your information is shared with others, you can also access information about others. This leads to better business processes all around, which ultimately increases profits. Therefore, if you are looking for creating awareness, want to garner opinion or just need some pieces of information, social bookmarking websites are your best bet.

  • Pinterest SEO Strategies

    PinterestPinterest is gaining steady popularity as users begin to use it to organize and share images online. You can create attractive virtual pin boards with DIY art and craft tips, dream vacation locales and must-read blogs as well and browse through the site to add to your own boards as well. This invite-only site is slowly turning into a great tool for businesses considering the growing audience that makes it a great site for promotions as well.

    Pinterest and Your Business
    Branding in the SERPs remains an important aspect of most online marketing programs and one of the main advantages of Pinterest is that it allows your profile to show up as www.pinterest.com/yourbrand in search results. Users sharing support for the product images you have pinned are sure to “Pin”,“Repin,” and “Like” providing for brand exposure. It even aids in discovery of newer products and services which users would not even know existed previously. And of course you gain link backs to your image source or url with every “Pin” and “Repin”.

    Pinterest and Local Business
    As with most social media platforms you can connect with your Facebook and Twitter accounts when you set up a Pinterest profile. Name a board after your product or service and include interesting pictures of the product, service or even the location you are at. View boards of Pinterest users in your area and other boards which are of interest to you and “Pin” interesting pictures to your board. Good keyword text, a descriptive about you, use of hashtags and categories to tag your content and attractive boards are the best means to use your Pinterest board. While you try to design your infographic related to your business, don’t make it seem like you are only interested in promoting your brand. Show an active interest in boards related to your brand and area.

    You can choose from many unique categories including Travel, Weddings & Events, Food & Drink to Technology, Science & Nature among others to “Pin” or “Like” and “Repin”. Keep in mind that you use permalinks only when you pin, always pin from the original source and also give credit to the pin with a description about it. If you are keen on cross-promotion, Pinterest is again a great tool to promote your pins on Facebook and Twitter. For anyone who has been using Flickr to promote images, you can use the same image links to further optimize the Flickr set so you rank better in the search engine results.

    Build a Strong Pinterest Presence
    The site frowns on brands which choose to have boards for self-promotion alone. It is advisable to have a few boards in a range of topics when compared to a single board centered around your brand or a single topic. Also, it helps t “Repin” content from the site itself as it is bound to increase your followers. Try to make your profile an excellent resource for users before you begin promoting your products and services.

  • SEO Techniques in On-page and Off-Page Optimization - Part II

    This article is the second part of the series - What is SEO and Why Your Business Needs it

    joomla seo servicesBefore we start talking about SEO techniques, you need to know what on-page and off-Page Optimization is all about.

    On-Page Optimization
    Since approximately 25% of visits are based on the content of the site, on-page optimization helps you to create relevant content that will attract the search engine spiders and human visitors alike. It will also help you to modify keyword frequency in your website URL, Title, Hypertext Links, Headings, and the body of the text. Though many of these SEO tactics can be incorporated into the website at the onset, they are often left to be taken care of at a later stage. Much of it also depends on each individual webmaster, their level of SEO expertise, monetary constraints and the way they want to proceed with their SEO strategies.

    Here’s a checklist for your on-page optimization:

    • It’s important to have proper heading tags at the top of each page, descriptive page titles and rich content on each page, especially your website’s home page.
    • Structural optimization is crucial for the site to be search engine friendly. So, you should make sure that all links work, the web pages are interlinked, limited use of images is made and ALT tags are added to them, the website navigation is search engine spider friendly and SPAM triggers are addressed properly.
    • It’s important to have a Sitemap uploaded to Google and Yahoo, which serves to tell search engine crawlers what pages to take notice of and which ones to update based on the changes made in them.

    If all these sound like too much to handle, you can hire a credible SEO firm that will evaluate and refine many of the on-page items on an ongoing basis for the best possible opportunity for your site to be found by search engine spiders and human users.

    Off-Page Optimization
    Off-page optimization helps your site to get high ranking inbound links. Over 75% of your traffic is based on inbound links. Businesses need inbound links or these mini online “advertisements” to lead people to their site. This is somewhat equivalent to all those print ads that you used to place back in the 80s and 90s to get people to call you or take note of your business.

    Here are some effective ways to create inbound links for your website:

    • Listing your business on local directories (Yelp, Google maps, etc),
    • Promoting your business on social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc)
    • Promoting your blog through article marketing - This ensures your website carries an extensive web presence on the Internet. Furthermore, it will bring extra opportunities for prospects to find your company by adding greater visibility for your business on the World Wide Web.

    Think of all these inbound links you just created as hundreds of possibilities for people to find you on the web. However, it will be time consuming to create these accounts and then on top of that, to keep them going. Having high ranking (well traveled) inbound links to your site gives your greater visibility and lets search engines know your site is worth being listed. The majority of businesses don’t have the time to do what is required to make a difference, which is why they hire someone for their SEO needs. You too can do the same if you don’t want to be left behind in the SEO race.

    Finally, here are some SEO techniques that you can use to get a better search engine ranking:

    • Directory Submissions: Submitting your site URL to the relevant categories of popular directories can help you to get valuable back links.
    • Article Submission:An easy way to get link juice via back links is to submit unique articles to various popular article submission sites.
    • Forum: Set up your account on some popular forums, build your credibility there and soon you will be allowed to add your site URL in your signature, which will act as a backlink and help to lure your avid followers to your site.
    • Blogging: Whether you have a blog of your own or want to write as a contributing blogger for some popular blogging sites, this can prove to be an effective way of making people take notice of what you have to offer. RSS Feed generation and submission also help to keep your avid readers interested in your updates and news even when they don’t have the time to actually visit the site.
    • Social Bookmarking and Q and A Postings: You can also further your SEO interests by posting question and answers on How To websites and via social bookmarking.
    • Social Networking:Networking on various social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, which webmasters are using with a zeal. You too can join the bandwagon after some careful planning.

    A careful analysis of your competitors’ inbound links can help you to find ways where you can usurp them to emerge as the leader. You can also give your business some leverage via online PRs. However, all these will need careful planning and strategizing. What’s more, you will have to come back to review your progress from time to time and fine tune your strategies to make them attuned to the changing times and demands of your clients. May people find these to be a daunting task. If you too belong to this league, don’t fret - you can hire a professional SEO consultant who will do the hard work on your behalf.

  • To Learn About SEO, Think of Your ABCs

    seo1I am often asked what SEO is, what it isn’t, and what’s one thing my clients can do to help their SEO. As you will see Search Engine Optimization is not just one thing that will or won’t keep your site from reaching the coveted first page of Google. I’ll try to cover a good deal of what contributes to a site's Search Engine Optimization.

    Ascertain competitors inbound links
    Often by researching your competitors, you can find where their inbound links are coming from and, advertise/promote yourself at those exact links if applicable. While you are at their site, check out their keywords – you can maybe get ideas as to what keywords/phrases they are using that you may not have considered.

    Blog
    I can’t say enough about blogs and the effectiveness of blogging! They offer credibility to your site and your knowledge of your product/service/industry, they let your customer know you care enough to share this information with them, they promote two-way conversation by allowing visitor comments; then you comment on their comments, they allow for more opportunities for your website/keywords to be found.

    Content

    • Body text, titles and headings (using appropriate CSS tags) and body copy should support and reiterate rich keywords, and be unique to each page
    • Bold keywords within the body copy
    • Web pages containing more than 2,000 words can rank higher
    • Utilize keywords in your H1 text (Headings)

    Domain Name
    Purchase your domain name for long periods of time. Search engines see that as a stable, notable site. Many spam or adult sites are “here today, gone tomorrow” and are therefore not ranked as high with search engines.

    Also, a domain name with a name bearing your industry is much more effective. For example: instead of choosing “JoesStore.com”, select “JoesShoes.com” This is much more descriptive for the search engines. The downfall of this is that many good domain names are often hard to find or come with a high price tag and sometimes you are left with something that isn’t your first choice.

    Email Marketing
    Each time I send out an email marketing campaign, I receive calls from customers. Not just one call, but several – mostly that same day! Talk about great return on investment! This is because when you deliver an effective email campaign, you are keeping that communication open with your clients and reminding them that you are there for them. But probably the most important feature of email marketing is getting clients to "hit" your site. Link articles and other important information back to the pages on your site.

    Feeds
    RSS Feeds are quickly becoming an industry standard for potential clients to subscribe to your blog and being notified when new content is posted. Feeds bring more hits back to your site as well.

    Google
    The name is synonymous with web ingenuity.

    • Use Google Analytics to check visitor trending such as, keyword usage and adjust accordingly. Check ROI immediately by seeing visitors coming from referring sites, create a traffic funnel for how you want clients to navigate through your site, and MUCH more.
    • Create a free Google Local Ad
    • Google Webmaster Tools are a great way to see how often your site is being indexed, if a Sitemap has been uploaded, number of inbound links and more.

    Honor thy Press Release...
    by submitting them to PR Directories. Worthwhile news can be shared with others and offer more opportunities for inbound linking and others to find your site.

    Indexing
    In order for your site to rank well in search results pages, it's important to make sure that Google can crawl and index your site correctly. Uploading a sitemap to Google and Yahoo is particularly helpful.

    Just say no to SEO killers

    • Don't use Flash, frames or DHTML on your site
    • Don't use images on your site for navigation, buttons or important information – search engines can’t “see” images.
    • Don't use tables on your site
    • Too many graphics, not enough content

    Keyword Analysis
    Focus on high-traffic, highly-relevant keywords. Give the search engines a few days to access your content and re-check your ranking based upon this. Tweek and refine as needed.

    Links

    • Make sure links are representative of what they pertain to, as search engines pick up on links as being an important part of your site. For example, a link to a continuation of an article, instead of click “here” to read that article. Say something which is more descriptive for the search engine spiders to read, have it say “building valid links.”
    • Periodically check for non-functioning or broken internal and external links. There are many free link checkers out there.
    • Keeping the number of links per page under 100.
    • Don't belong to a weblink or link ring. They don't work.

    Meta Content

    • Include meta-tags and keywords relative to page content
    • Titles and headings should support and reiterate keywords, and be unique to each page.
    • Don’t leave out or duplicate the title, description or keywords as search engines rely on these to “read” unique content on your site.The title is one of the most important things that Google and other search engines utilize when evaluating page content.
    • Keep descriptions, title and keywords to the specs below as specified by major search engines:

    Title: max 70 characters
    Description: no more than 150 characters
    Keywords: 10 words/phrases per page is a good amount

    Newness
    Search engines are increasingly considering the age the site and how long the domain is registered for. To help this, register your domain for as long as you can (to let search engines know you plan on sticking around) and get an aggressive SEO program in place.

    On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO
    On-Page SEO pertains to the actual content (keywords, meta information, to increase searches) in/on the website. Approximately 25% of visits are based on this content.

    Off-Page SEO pertains to driving traffic to site through linking (via social media, RSS reeds, directories, etc). Approximately 75% of visits are based on (inbound) links.

    Page Rank
    Google ranks websites based on how “valuable” a website is. Google relies upon the nature of the web and its vast linking structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value.

    Having a higher page rank equates to higher probability of being at the top of searches. Links are the basis for page rank – those sites that are less known is because they aren’t as important and have few people linking to them. Those sites with thousands of inbound links, Google sees as being a worthwhile site.

    Quantity of Inbound Links
    Don’t fall prey to the link networks, or link webrings; nor ever pay anyone that promises to bring you links.

    Repeat Visits (encourage)

    • Use at least one conversion form to get leads (keep the form short and sweet)
    • Increase hits back to your site by doing regular email/eNewsletter marketing campaigns
    • Add a "bookmark this page" to your site so customers can easily come back
    • Add an "email this page to a friend" link to your site
    • Your website address should be printed on all business and marketing items, and also your email signature
    • Start a blog - this helps in many ways: keeps the communication open between you and your visitors if you allow comments, search engines will index (and rank) your site higher when you keep uploading new content, shows potential customers that you care about their interests, offers more opportunity for search engines (and customers) to find you.
    • Email marketing with links back to articles continued at your site.
    • Keep a “running article” going on the site. For example, I have an article that is kept current with upcoming contests for designers and photographers. It’s a great way to get repeat visits.

    Submit articles to directories and bookmarking sites
    This ensures your website carries an extensive web presence outside of your own website. Furthermore it will allow more opportunities for prospects to find your company by adding greater visibility for your business.

    Twitter, Technorati and the entire Social Media realm
    Social media, Bookmarking, Article Submissions, Social Networking can and should be utilized to its maximum potential to market your business.

    URL
    Put keywords or phrases in the URL via the folder/directory structure or the HTML page name. Again, this offers more opportunities for search engines finding keywords.

    Be sure to print your URL on ALL marketing materials you have (business cards, signage, brochures, etc), and in your email signature – MANY people use this link.

    Valid or Quality Links
    The more quality inbound links you have coming to your site, the higher your Google page rank will be.

    Writing on forums, Q&A’s and other blogs
    Many people will click on a forum signature in response to someone’s question. Be sure to take this opportunity when posting to well traveled forums, blogs and Q&A forums to have a “signature” that states your name and URL to your business.

    XHTML
    Utilizing such technologies as XHTML, CSS and PHP, ensures less page errors, faster loading times for your visitors and also eliminate the need for tables which can cause problems with search engines and accessibility.

    XHTML limits the code size naturally and you end up with being simple to crawl for Google and other bots.

    Yahoo, Google, Bing – Submit your URL
    Though Google boasts the most searches per day, Yahoo! and Bing are also very well traveled. Regularly check your standing in popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) using keywords potential clients would be using to find your site.

    Zap Spam -simple web guidelines from Google:

    • Don’t hide keywords on your pages or use too many in the metatags; search engines can see this as a potential spam website and won’t index it.
    • Don’t use hidden text or hidden links
    • Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords
    • Don’t create multiple pages, sub-domains or domains with duplicate content
    • Don’t use doorway pages.
  • Using Social Bookmarking for Internet Marketing

    social-bookmarking1Social bookmarking is nothing but an online reference of your favorite websites, which can be easily created and accessed from any place. Given the ease with which you can access your favorite websites using this method, it is hardly surprising that there are several social bookmarking websites available.

    Given the fact that social bookmarking websites are constantly reinventing themselves, this mode is becoming extremely popular with SEO consultants as well as individual users. One of the primary reasons for the popularity of social bookmarking among SEO consultants is the marked increase in traffic, which is easily visible and verifiable. Following are some of the main reasons why you should make social bookmarking a significant part of your SEO campaign.

    Reaching out to a Wider Audience: SEO consultants are always looking for tools that will ensure that their websites reach out to the target audience. Optimization helps in ensuring that your website is noticed and made visible by the search engine robots. However, this does not mean that your target audience will actually visit your website. Social bookmarking is an excellent way to reach out to the millions of people who will actually benefit from your website. In other words, when you publish your website and its content in these social bookmarking websites, you are actually providing access to those millions who are accessing such social bookmarking websites. In other words, you are reaching out to a wider audience, which will definitely improve your inbound traffic.

    Creating inbound links:Link building is an age old concept for search engine optimization. It is also a well known fact that if you create inbound links from high quality websites, your rankings will automatically increase. Social bookmarking websites are highly ranked, which means that any link coming from such sites will be considered as a quality link. This becomes all the more important if you can create inbound links from categories that are relevant to your area of business. Creating such links is extremely easy and simple, when done through social bookmarking sites. This automatically increases inbound traffic, which is the ultimate aim of SEO.

    Sharing of Content:Social bookmarking websites allow for easy sharing of content between users, irrespective of whether they are individuals or consultants etc. In other words, if you post content related to your sphere of business on any social bookmarking site, the content can be easily accessed and shared by others belonging to that particular sphere of business or even by other users who are just curious to know more. In simple terms, this means that you can actually access a huge audience through content sharing, which would have otherwise been really difficult. Moreover, given that social bookmarking websites are creating newer ways to include specific content under specific categories, it becomes easier to access the right kind of audience required for your area of business, making it truly beneficial.

    Social bookmarking websites can be used as a two way forum for information travel. In other words, while your information is shared with others, you can also access information about others. This leads to better business processes all around, which ultimately increases profits. Hence, if you are looking for creating awareness, want to garner opinion or just need some pieces of information, social bookmarking websites are your best bet.

  • What an Internet Marketing Manager Can Do For Your Business

    internet marketing planAn online business owner knows the significance of having a solid marketing plan in place guaranteed to draw in customers. Hiring an internet marketing manager is one of the most cost effective ways of propagating a marketing strategy. Internet marketing managers also handle several other aspects of the business, which may be difficult for the owner to address.
    Some business aspects which are best left to internet marketing managers are:

    • Constantly being updated on the various new ways and means of internet marketing
    • Understanding the gradual progression leading to sales and bringing in profits
    • Coordinating promotional campaigns which benefit the website

    Internet marketing is a lot different from commercial marketing and for a person who has no experience handling ecommerce, it can be quite complex. Having an internet marketing manger helps in the following ways:

    Developing marketing programs: A trained professional in internet marketing offers creative and diverse support for the business. Newer marketing programs bring in more clients leading to better business. An expert who designs marketing programs, that are customized to relate to your business, is always advantageous.

    Consultation regarding internet marketing:Experts know the nuances of the business and help out with necessary training sessions, business programs, beneficial company programs and other support functions. Consultation services drawn up by internet marketing managers are less formal, more efficient, and conditioned to benefit your business interests.

    Target oriented marketing campaigns:The internet marketing manager targets a diverse range of customers from various walks of life. Unlike conventional marketing, the target consumer of ecommerce is not constricted to a specified group. An optimal marketing campaign needs to be directed towards the entire consumer base and an experienced internet marketing manager excels at that. Having a broad based marketing campaign drives even more visitors to the site.

    Internet marketing management: Managing the services on an internet business is not easy and unless the chairman, owner, or shareholder of the company takes time out to address the intricacies of the business, it makes sense to enlist the help of an internet marketing manager who has the necessary skill set to help run the business smoothly.  Having this expert ensures maximum benefit from the marketing opportunities available in cyberspace and brings in substantial revenues.

    Search Engine Optimization and PPC:These are specialized services crucial to any ecommerce website. An internet marketing manager is proficient in these areas and can help in business. Internet marketing managers constantly update and evaluate the programs to be effective. SEO is also executed in a way that ensures high ranking in search engine results. The customer’s terminology is researched and kept as the main focus to enable good online visibility.

    Market analysis:Internet marketing managers use Google analytics and other effective tracking programs to understand market statistics.

    Given the broad spectrum services which an internet marketing manager handles, the company administrators are left with more time to carry out business deals. The cost of hiring an internet marketing manager may be a concern for some, but the benefits from this particular investment far outweigh the initial expenditure.

  • What is SEO and Why Your Business Needs it - Part I

    joomla SEOIf you have a business website, perhaps you have heard about SEO. If not, here’s what Wikipedia has to tell about SEO – It is the “process of improving ranking in search engine results.” SEO is an internet marketing strategy that can help you to promote and market your website on the World Wide Web.

    If you think back, say 10 or 20 years, you would have found businesses in those days primarily relied on print or television advertisements for letting people know about their existence. They would have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars to have advertisements created for newspapers, magazines and phone books to get people interested in their offerings and converting such interests into sales.

    However, with the advancement of technology and the expanse of the net, you can now tap into SEO strategies that can optimize your website by improving certain external and internal aspects in order to boost the traffic that your site receives. Remember - simply putting your site live on the web and adding your URL to your business card and letterhead is not enough in today’s world to drive the kind of traffic you want to. So, you will need to adhere to the active practice of SEO, which has evolved as the new way to advertise and promote your business on the web.

    Internet Marketing
    SEO is just one component of Internet Marketing and can include other forms of advertising such as:

    • Display Advertising – banner ads and other forms of paid advertising on other sites linking back to your site
    • Email Marketing – or eNewsletters are great at generating new leads and keeping in contact with current customers
    • Social Media Optimization (SMO) – involves social networking sites, social bookmarking, video, photo and RSS feed sharing sites, blog promotion.
    • Search Engine Marketing – promoting websites to increase their visibility in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
    • SEO – Search Engine Optimization includes On and Off Page Optimization that help search engines find you
    • PPC – Pay Per Click advertising is the most popular right now through Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. Essentially you pay a certain amount each time someone clicks on the ad that links back to your site.

    Do I really need SEO?
    If you are still debating about using SEO tactics, here are some facts that will help you to decide:

    • The bulk of web traffic is driven by search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
    • If these search engines fail to list your site on their databases, you won’t be able to reach out to people who may become interested in your offerings.
    • Failure to use this incredible opportunity of reaching out to people irrespective of geographical or time zone boundaries will be equal to a huge loss of potential clientele.

    In other words, whether your site provides products, services, content, or information, you need to ensure that the major search engine spiders are able to crawl your content and list the pages in their databases. Since these search engines act as the primary method of navigation for almost all web surfers, getting listed there, especially for some related search phrases would mean winning the half the battle. Wondering how to do it? Simple – the key lies in SEO strategies.

    Read Part II – SEO Techniques in On and Off Page Optimization

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