Friday, November 16, 2007

Creating a Website Explosion

By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll be part of a real-time experiment by becoming my oxygen. Let me explain …

One of the easiest ways to promote your website and your business is article writing. There’s no better way to show off your expertise than to write an article about what you know and publicize it.

Articles can help your website explode with popularity. One of the keys to ranking well in search engines is getting other websites to link to yours. By writing an article about your area of expertise – whether that’s fishing, rocket science, or anything in between – other websites will link to you, raising your popularity.

Will other websites actually link to your article? Yes. I’ll prove it.

I’m writing this article on July 27, 2006. It’s an original work and this date is important because it’s the beginning of this live website popularity experiment. This article is an ingredient in a chain reaction. It will end up blazing a trail across the internet. It won’t cost anything and it will raise my website’s popularity for months.

In a few moments, I’ll show you how to measure the results of this experiment yourself.

First, let’s think in terms of a fire - there are three ingredients: fuel, oxygen, and heat. We’ll apply those three to creating a fiery website explosion.

Fuel: Your fuel for creating a website explosion is an article. For instance, this article is what’s going to catch flame and spread. Without fuel, nothing happens.

Oxygen: Your oxygen source is the internet itself – it’s the audience that will be interested in what you say. That source is what will help this article stay lit and continue to spread. Much like an actual fire, oxygen keeps everything going.

Heat: Ignite your articles with a little bit of online promotion. As with a real flame, it doesn’t take much to get started. Even a little promotion can go a long way.

Subtract any single ingredient, and nothing will work. You can’t promote an article that doesn’t exist, nor can you promote something without an audience. If you have an article and an audience, but you don’t promote it? Nothing.

So you write an article and you’ve got an audience, now it’s time for promotion. If your article is well written and available in online article directories, you’ll get picked up by other websites and the chain reaction will begin. After all, you’ll have the fuel, the oxygen, and the heat to get things started.

Now let’s measure the success of this experiment! Go to Google ( and in the search box, type in the title of this article (including the quotes): “Creating a Website Explosion”

The results will show every website that has published the article you’ve just read. As I’m writing this right now, that result is zero. As soon as I type the last word, I’ll start generating the heat. As you check out how far my explosion has reached, think about what you can do to ignite your own!

The Future Of Online Marketing

The NMA held a conference in London on the future of online marketing. The discussion covered a lot of interesting topics surrounding the increasingly popular world of search engine marketing.
Website usability and conversions
Peter Ballard from Foolproof spoke about improving website usability to improve conversion rates from your search engine marketing campaigns. Useful tips from this sessions were as follows:
• Buying decisions aren't always immediate. Visitors return to sites they had bookmarked or printed out
• Comparison shopping is very popular, and visitors view comparison sites as true guides, often a wrong perception
• This results in lower visitor loyalty and the need for sites to convince users why they should buy from them
• Provide users information they might need to make a decision... don't just push for a sale.
Search marketing in the future
Nick Cox from Mirago spoke about the future of search engine marketing - both optimisation and paid advertising. His session highlighted the following:
• Regional search and Europe-wide search are both growing initiatives. Whilst Google is pushing towards regional search, Tier 2 search engines are driving for Europe-wide search services
• Shopping comparison sites are gaining popularity
• As Google slashes agency commission, there may be motivation for agencies to return to SEO to make up for lost commission revenue
• Personalised search might make search engine optimisation nearly impossible if different users see totally different results.
Email marketing
Peter Chapman from Blue Streak discussed email marketing - yes, email marketing! - it is not dead, and when done well, it still provides great results. The main tips provided for the future of email marketing were:
• Email marketing is most effective when segmented according to:
o Stage of customer life cycle
o Product usage
o Geography
• Email marketing will be integrated with SEO and PPC even more in the future, to provide a more robust marketing model with multiple customer touch-points
• New avenues of marketing such as RSS and SMS will complement email marketing in the future.
Web site visitor analytics
The current market leading web site analytics providers, WebTrends spoke about a handful of issues currently surrounding analytics packages and the future of analytics. The main points to be noted were:
• Not all users accept cookies. An estimated 5-10% systems do not accept 1st party cookies, and as much as 28% of users do not accept 3rd party cookies. Therefore always look out for solutions offering multiple tracking method options.
• Conversions are not always detected by the Google AdWords or Overture system. Users often come back to sites later to make a final decision or purchase. Analytics packages should be tuned to count these conversions
• Ways to calculate conversion rates include:
o Number of conversions / Total visits
o Number of conversions / Sum of daily unique visitors
o Number of conversions / Absolute unique visitors
• Pay attention to segmentation information provided by website visitor data analysis, especially new versus repeat users, and referral sources.
The future of analytics providers seems to indicate a shift towards providing business analysis services rather than just tools. This need is being driven mostly by smaller businesses recognizing the need for visitor analysis but not having the skills to do it in-house.
Integration of analytics solutions with all forms of marketing, from PPC to email to banner marketing seems to also be on the upswing as client awareness improves.
The most immediate effect the above changes will bring about will be better navigation on website's, as businesses realize their customers' needs and optimise their site navigation to facilitate finding the information easily.

The odds of success in online business - affiliate marketing

Given the number of sites out there it's an interesting subject to talk about the success rate of online business ventures. Of course we know success is defined in different ways and a degree of personal satisfaction can be a measure of success. So for the sake of the discussion we are looking at only sites that set out to generate an income that can replace a wage and everything above that level.How many sites do you think come online every day? Thousands ? Millions? It's
a massive number, they are all trying to get search space and all trying to get traffic. The odds of making a dollar for Joe average are extremely low at best,I've am asked almost daily how is it done and the answer is there is no easy answer.It takes skill, a good idea and a good execution of that idea to even get you started. Once you have a formula that is working you should try to replicate that over and over if possible. This can be a a key factor in being good and being great. Start small, find a plan and then scale up, if your plan does not lend itself to easy replication then your behind before you start. There are a lot of good affiliate programs out there the hard part is deciding which one is worth pursuit and which ones are genuine and not scams. You need to stay ahead of the curve and that is not always easy online. One of the big hurdles is traffic, many new sites get little or no traffic - ever. I often tell web hopefuls to investigate Ebay because the traffic is already in play, all you need to do it tap into the Ebay site and your on your way, although I don't operate an eBay business it's pretty clear going this way will increase your
odds of success. If I had to make 1 dollar tomorrow I would choose YPN or Google adsense - But if you want to make more than a few bucks then your going to need serious traffic and page views and be prepared to align your self with one of the search companies. Lets face facts here, when you align with adsense they don't disclose the % they pay to you and they will "adjust" your % based on some mysterious quality score? and the benefit of the lower quality score only equals a larger slice to google not a better deal for the advertiser. Who wants to do business this way? I've seen some big adwords cheques published online so there is clearly money to be made here, the point is you need a good site with traffic volumes to make money.So it can be done and it is being done, to make an income online to replace your wage is very possible you just need to understand it is not going to fall out of the sky and land in your lap. Be prepared to have your site scraped,content stolen, your site dropped from search engines, server downtime and your
inbox loaded with all sorts of get rich yesterday schemes! If you want to stack the odds in your favor get a good website and some good SEO, look at PPC and other paid traffic options
and try to be fresh and original.

Search engine optimisation of Title Tags

Search Engines and Title Tags
The Title Tag has always been considered to be one of the most important on-site factors considered by search engines when ranking a site. In this article we revisit the rules of working with Title Tags for search engine optimisation ( ).
Top 3 reasons to love your web page title tags
The title tags lie between the and tags of your web pages and are marked out as . The text included within the title tag displays on the top of your browser window.
1. Title Tags introduce your site
Title tags tell the users what you do in a few words. The title tag tells users what your web page is all about. E.g. a title such as "Cheap New York hotels" immediately tells you that the website deals with low-cost hotels in New York. Ideally they should be under 60 characters, including spaces.
2. Very important for search engine optimisation
All search engines pay a lot of importance to title tags ( ). Since the title tag is meant to convey exactly what your web page is all about, search engines consider it to be a very important indicator of web page relevance when searching for a certain keyword. E.g. if you search for the term "reality tv" on Google, you will find the top 10 websites Google finds all contain the words "Reality TV" in their title.
3. Well written Title Tags will boost your sales
Good title tags ( ) will make you a winner. Most search engines display the text from your title tags in the search results, usually as the title of your listing. Good title tags prompt users to click on the search result to visit your website. Well constructed title tags will ensure that your site ranks high on the search results and attracts appropriate visitors who are most likely to convert into customers.
Top 3 reasons to hate other websites' title tags!
1. Title tag stuffing
Many businesses abuse the importance of title tags. Title tag stuffing is a common occurrence. It is a short term strategy and a very easy way to get your site blacklisted on most search engines.
2. Misleading title tags
If your title tag does not describe your web pages contents correctly, users will get irritated and leave your website quickly. Search engines also recognise this as a way to trick visitors and penalise web pages resorting to such tactics.
3. Empty title tags
If you do not specify your web page title, the search engine is compelled to pick up text from the top of your page. This may not always be what you want visitors to see as an introduction to your site.
Other articles to read:
• The future of online marketing ( )
• Search Engine Marketing for MSN and Yahoo! Still worth it ( )
SEO Weekly ( )

Google AdWords Quality Score for Landing Pages

Google announced that it will also include metrics based on the relevance and quality of landing pages ( ) in the quality score, which affects ranking and CPC of sponsored links, will now also include. We discuss:
AdWords Quality Score basics
The Quality Score is a number used by Google to evaluate the quality of your keywords in order to determine your minimum bid and the position your ad is shown in for a given maximum bid value. The Quality Score was normally determined for each keyphrase you bid on, by the clickthrough rate for the keyword, relevance of the actual ad's text, historical performance, and some other factors.
The Quality Score multiplied by the Maximum Bid gives you the value Google uses when deciding whether to set your keyword's status as active or inactive, and to decide the position of active keywords.
Changes in calculation of AdWords quality score
With the new system for calculating Quality Score, Google will now also include the quality and relevance of the landing page and the site to the keyword.
This means Google will probably spider your entire site from your AdWords landing page(s) ( ), evaluate it in a manner similar to how it evaluates sites on its organic listings, use techniques like Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to determine what the site is all about and then decide how relevant the site and the landing page are to the keyword.
Moreover, there is a high likelihood that Google will also use your conversion tracking values to provide an indication of whether or not their users are judging your site to be valuable and are converting into leads or sales on it, and include this as yet another metric when calculating the Quality Score.
How does this affect your search engine advertising?
On the face of it, this new metric does not change much for a scrupulous advertiser, who follows all of the Google AdWords ( ) editorial guidelines. The guidelines merely state that your landing page should be relevant to the ad copy and the keyword you bid on, it should include the main elements of the ad, should ideally provide details on any special offers quoted in the ad and should not attempt to mislead users.
If you follow the editorial guidelines and use AdWords scrupulously, the effect of this change should either be positive -marked by a lower CPC or better position - or none at all for your campaign.
Advertisers who chose to bid on low-price, high popularity keywords ( ) just to gain visibility with the hope that a few inquisitive visitors might buy something from their site, will now find that they need to bid much more to keep these keywords active.
Keywords that don't convert well into sales or leads might also be negatively effected. This again, can be good for you, since you don't want to continue paying for words that are not winning you any money. This can be problematic, though, when your conversions tend to be offline, or over the phone for some keywords and not for others.
Google AdWords Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines
Other articles to read:
• Search engines and Title Tags ( )
• The future of online marketing ( )
SEO Weekly

Back-links Strategies

Off-Site optimization playing a major role in any web-site ranking. Off-Site optimization refers to the factors that you can't control it in your site. One of the most critical parts in Off-Site optimization is back-links. The search engines sees the back-links as it's voting for your site, and as this voting increases your ranking increases also. There are many ways that enables you to get back-links to your site in order to get high ranking position for your site, however we will mention the most two important ways.

First way to get back-links is article submission. There are many sites in the Internet allowing you to submit your articles for free, and it also allows you to put up to three links by the end of your articles. By this way you will get free one way back-link to your site without the need to put a link back to the article site. This way not only gives you one way back-link, but it also gives you massive laser target traffic to your site. Simply there are a lot of members in article sites that seeks the latest information technology and the latest news by reading articles. So the members will visit the the article site, read your article, visiting your site, and that's it. You have just got a new visitor to your site.

Second method of getting back-links is directory submission. Today directories became a very important part of the Internet, and there are a lot of people that searching for a specific web-site service using the directories. However this method is not always free, because of the massive submission reports that the directories admins receive they start to take some fees to accept new sites. Some directories still provide this service for free, others ask for linking back in order to accept your site, and the last method is by paying money.

In conclusion, web-site ranking can be heavily effect by using Off-Site optimization. Off-site optimization can rank your site in the top ten, and also can drop your site to a lower position. In order to get a high ranking you should master Off-Site optimization, and especially the ways that gives you back-links.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seo: Focus, Focus; Not Hocus, Pocus

Anyone who knows me, knows that my biggest pet peeves are loud eaters, auto-loading music on web sites and my next door neighbor. Today we can safely add to this list web sites that are so ambiguous, it could be argued they are part of some cryptic conspiratorial code.

My company offers a free service analyzing web sites from a search engine marketing perspective. At least once daily, we are sent the link to a web site with no clear and apparent focus. It's so bad that we don't know what keyword exactly to talk to the web site owner about in their analysis. I always tell these people, their biggest problem is not search engine optimization (or lack thereof), it's focus!

The most important aspect of any web site in any industry, anywhere in the world is user friendliness. There is no straying from this. Your web site can be optimized for the most competitive keyword in the world, it can rank number one across the board and you can even have your URL flashed across the posing torso of America's Next Top Model on CNN and it will do absolutely nothing whatsoever for your business if your web site is not user-friendly.

Visitors need to come to your site and know immediately what it is about. You have literally just a few seconds to capture their attention. If they don't see what they are looking for, quickly, they will leave.

Some tips to help you make sure your web site visitors stick around and understand what your web site is all about are as follows:

1. Find out the language your target audience is using to find your site, refer to your product or refer to your service. More often than not, professionals in an industry refer to things differently than the layman. If you are using too much jargon on your web site, you will lose your visitor's interest.

2. Avoid start pages, flash intros, or extra steps before getting to your sites info. In this day and age, we've all been spoiled by instant gratification and we all know how to get what we want within seconds. If your site doesn't offer answers as fast as it possibly can, you've already lost customers. Flash intros and welcome pages are pretty and sparkly and fun, but pretty, sparkly and fun doesn't make money. Visitors do.

3. Do not, under any circumstances, ever have auto-loading music or sound on your web site. A vast majority of computer users listen to mp3s while using their computers, and now their mobile phones with built-in mp3 players. If they're listening to the new Jimmy Eat World record or singing along to The Cult, the very last thing they want is to have some cheesy sales pitch interrupt the chorus. The first thing I do when I hit a site with any sort of sound or music, including the web sites of my favorite bands, I leave. I immediately leave, no questions asked. They could probably pay me to stick around for a bit, but cold hard cash is about the only thing that would keep me around and being as the purpose of your site is to make you money, paying people to visit it isn't necessarily the most cost-effective route to take.

4. Use nice, clean, professional looking graphics AND text. Most web users tend not to read. They skim and usually will only go that far if prompted by something graphic that strikes their interest. As is the case with storefronts in the real world, what draws people into a store they've only just seen or heard of for the first time, is looks and what it's selling. Think about it. If you're looking for antiques and you walked up to a store called "Joe's Emporium" and the entire thing had tinted windows so you couldn't see in, would you bother going in when the store right next door says "Betty's Antiques" and has a beautiful display of some the prettiest old stuff you ever saw? No. Joe would be out of business in no time.

Your site needs to be clean, professional and enticing. Cut the bells and whistles, stop beating around the bush and give it to them straight. No one wants their time wasted or their intelligence insulted and no one wants to be chasing white rabbits around trying to make sense of your web site. Give them the goods, give it to them fast and give it to them with class. When you've done that, then focus on search engine optimization and you will find that your numbers in traffic will reflect nice and proportionately, your numbers of inquiries.