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Website or app: what should start-ups build first?

I was recently interviewed for the Sydney Morning Herald on the topic of app building. As the title suggests, the theme was ‘Website or app: what should start-ups build first?” This is a question that many start-ups ask themselves, as apps are starting to become so popular that some start-ups start by building their apps, before they even have a website.

Weather this is the way to go depends on your business model and of course, as in most projects, it all comes down to the problem you are trying to solve. Will the website be a complement to your app or should the app be built to boost your website?

Location specific businesses will naturally benefit from focusing on building a great app and let the website be priority number two. But, regardless of what your focus is, every business will benefit from having a website.

You can read the full article here.

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Google Instant Results And How It Will Impact Your Search Engine Rankings – Your Questions Answered

Google Instant has now been rolled out in Australia. You may have noticed that search results start appearing as soon as you start typing. Each time you type another letter, the results are refreshed.

The biggest question in the world of search engine optimisation and website rankings is – How will this affect my search engine rankings and amount of traffic you receive?

Local Search Results Just Got Easier

Marissa Mayer, one of Google’s top executives was moved from Head of Products to Head of Location and Local Search. She has already started making changes with a great new improvement for local search results.

Previously, if you did a search for Pizza, you were assigned your location based on the information your ISP gave to Google. It was often inaccurate and it didn’t help the search results. I was located in Wollongong and a local Google search would often generate results for Sydney. Now that I am in Sydney, it would be a different part in Sydney.

Google Places: Mt Everest Gets Bad Reviews

Mt Everest is getting mixed reviews on Google Places at the moment. People are complaining about the lack of service, facilities and staff. Others enjoyed the views and will be back again next year with the family.

Rated 5.0 out of 5.0Great day out if you are properly prepared.‎‎ I’ve read many poor reviews of this venue from people who seem to be surprised at the lack of facilities. All I can say is that if you are unprepared then you can expect to be disappointed. There are no food outlets at the summit and those along the route take advantage of their near monopoly by charging tourists exorbitant prices, so it’s worth remembering to pack a few sandwiches and a flask of coffee before setting out. It can get quite chilly in winter which makes warm drinks preferable to cold ones. Remember also to bring a sweater in case the weather worsens and maybe a waterproof jacket in the event that it rains. The weather can change quickly, so it’s worth packing an umbrella even if the morning is bright and sunny. This is not a beach and some walking can be expected, making the correct choice of footwear essential. A good pair of walking sandals will be adequate under most circumstances although to be on the safer side boat shoes or similar might be wiser. One ‎

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Yahoo Launches Advertising Solutions Portal

Do you advertise on Yahoo? Not as many people advertise on Yahoo and Bing which means cheaper rates for traffic compared to the sometimes over-competitive Google Adwords.

Yahoo Search attracts a different kind of traffic audience as well. Just like Bing users are sometimes more beginner types because they use Internet Explorer and do not know how to change their search engine preferences in their browser. They are just happy to use any search engine that is conveniently located in the browser.

Search Engine Comedy

There really isn’t much funny stuff that goes on in search engines. It’s all about the numbers, ranking, results, money, return on investment etc.

It does get repetitive – believe me I should know!

That’s why I would like to share with you this video from the Comedy Channels’ The Colbert Report. It features a funny interview with Google’s CEO – Eric Schmidt.

12 Must Read Blogs For Any Serious Marketing Professional

Every professional needs to stay up-to-date with the latest news.

That is why I have composed a list of the 12 must read blogs for any serious marketing professional (excluding my own) –

  1. Advertising – http://adsoftheworld.com
  2. Branding –http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com
  3. Blogging – http://problogger.net

Introducing Google Instant Search

Google has done it again! Caffeine made the indexing of web pages a much quicker affair. New results are entered in the grand database very quickly how, often within hours instead of days and weeks.

Google’s new innovation is Instant Results. As you type your search query, the results are display. This means faster, quicker searching for everyone.

Here is a video from Google explaining it in a very easy to understand way –

Top 10 Ranking Factors for Local Business Listings in Google Places

What is Google Places?
Local business listings is very important in Google. If you do a local search which includes a place, town, city or local service, Google will display the local business box. That’s how important Google thinks local search results are.

What determines your Google Places Rank?
Everyone is wondering what the ranking factors for local search engine optimisation. Do you stuff your Google Places page with as many keywords as possible or what?

Here are the top 10 factors that determine your Google Places ranking – From Least important to most important –

Internet Marketing: What is Local Search Engine Optimisation? How Can it Help My Business?

local internet marketingWhat is Local SEO?
You may be wondering what exactly local seo is and how it can help your business. ‘Local Search Engine Optimisation’ is getting your business listed at the top of the search engine when local searches are performed.

A local search is defined as a search including a location, city, suburb, town, place, country or a local service.

10 Most Common Mistakes Advertisers Make With Google AdWords

Google Adwords is the sponsorship links that you see on any Google search. They appear above the organic search results and in the right column. They can also appear in the Google  content nextwork.

I have created hundreds of campaigns using Adwords and optimised campaigns for a lot of customers.

Many of the campaigns created by small business owners often have the same mistakes appearing time and time again.

I have complied this list of the 10 most common mistakes that advertisers make when creating and running their Google Adwords campaigns.

Book Review: Get Found Now! Local Search Secrets Exposed by Richard Geasey and Shannon Evans

internet marketingThis is a wonderful introduction into the world of getting your business listed on the major search engines and business directories.

The book is from the US but the explanation of local search engine optimisation and Google Places information is great.

If you want a shortcut to the top of search engines, the local business listings in the major search engines may just help you.

If you do a local search, the major search engines may display a listing of local businesses.

Internet Marketing Rumour: Google to Introduce Newspass

Internet MarketingThere are currently rumours floating around the Internet that Google may introduce a payment system for paid content.

What is Newspass
Newspass will be a micropayments system for viewing premium content. This premium content listing in the search engine result pages will be indicated with a Newspass icon. When you click on the link, your Newspass account will have the cost deducted from it.

Internet Marketing: Google Introduces ACE – AdWords Campaign Experiments

adwords campaign experimentsSplit testing is a method used by search engine marketers to measure the effectiveness of changes to their campaigns.

A simple example would be running two ads with a different titles. The campaign may run for a week and the campaign manager will look at the results of the two ads including impressions, click through rate, conversions and cost per acquisition.

Internet Advertising: Google Takes The Biggest Chunk in Australia

Internet advertising is proving to be one of the most effective and best returns on investment for advertisers – if you know what you are doing!

Internet advertising is easy to setup, maintain and measure it’s effectiveness. Every dollar is accounted for and every lead is followed.

You are able to setup test campaigns and measure every interaction very closely. You can setup micro campaigns that target very specific areas.

The advertising inventory is huge as well. If you have a large budget, you can easily spend that budget and reach everyone.

Online Retail Industry Awards – Shopping Cart Websites

The Online Retail Expo is fast approaching. The expo and conference is on 6 to 9 July, 2010 at Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

2010 ONLINE RETAIL INDUSTRY AWARDS FINALISTS:

1. Best Pure-Play Online Retailer
Deals Direct | www.dealsdirect.com.au
Appliances Online | www.appliancesonline.com.au
Little Dance Invitations | www.littledanceinvitations.com.au
Trixan Body | www.trixanbody.com.au

Internet Marketing: Google Alerts – Monitor Your Name Online

Imagine if there was a way where you could find out if someone mentioned your name, business name, product or service on the Internet.

Now you can with Google Alerts!

Why do you need to know?
Before I tell you how to setup a Google Alert, I need to let you know why it is so important to monitor this kind of activity.

The 8 Mistakes of Google Place Listings

Google Place Listings is the results box when you even a search query that may be location specific.

There is no hard rule for when the business listings will be displayed but it usually appears when a keyword is about a location or the type of keyword would be loacation specific.

If you entered pizza into Google, it would then show the business listings. The same would happen for accomomdation, hotel or motel.

These listings can be a very powerful tool that you can use to list your business above everyone else. Managed right and you will be up the top. Do the wrong thing, and you will be removed very quickly – within hours!

Google: New design and changes to SERPs

Google has been very busy this month with the release of their new design.

The left column on the search results page is more pre-dominate now with more options. A lot of people do not take advantage of the additional search options on Google. Did you know you can search through news articles, images, videos, blogs and much more?

You can also specify the time and date of your results. This means that you can do a web search with pages from this year only. This is great for researching current statistics for example.

Google has also implemented a brand result area in the search results. If you search for footballs, you now get many different areas as part of the universal search results –

  • News clips
  • football images
  • football brands
  • videos of football
  • football products

All these changes are taking place to provide the user with a more user friendly appearance and better search results. Google says that by providing all these results, it adds to the users’ overall experience with the search engine.

Many people ask me why they aren’t ranked number one for their targetted keyword. I explain to them that their page needs great content and good backlinks to their site. If the content is great, people will link to it. Google will rank it higher because it is what people are looking for.

Buyer Beware: Cold Calling Search Engine Optimisation Scams

Have you ever had those phone calls from companies claiming to get your site to the first page of Google within 28 days?

Even as a search engine optimisation and marketing consultant, I still get them. I listen to their pitch and then ask a couple of questions. They usually have no clue how to answer them so what kind of service will they be providing?

I have done a search on their business name and they didn’t even come up first. That is a very easy task and a pathetic attempt on their behalf.

We advise all our customers to be aware of anyone calling up trying to sell them Internet services. There are a lot of people out there to take your money and there’s not much you can do about it if they do not deliver.

These telemarketers are driven by commission and can become aggressive pressuring you to sign up with them. I recommend avoiding any business that you have never with dealt with before or if they sound like they are over promising on what they can do.

They claim that having a good ranking will increase visitors and increase sales. This is true. It’s how they get you there – if they get your there at all. I don’t believe they will ever get you there. If you get banned from Google, that’s the end of it!

Wrap Up
Beware of any company that contacts you regarding search engine optimisation or marketing that you have not contacted first.

If you are ever unsure, contact your web developer or myself and I will tell you if it’s a good or bad.

Internet Marketing – Major Internet Retailers Behind With Search Engine Optimisation Efforts

The top 500 major Internet retailers spend approximately $1.2 million every day in search engine marketing. The problem is only 33% of their highest-priced keywords appear in the top 50 of natural search engine results.

Large corporations continue to fail with SEO efforts and keeping spending big to gain market share online.

This is where the smaller players have an equal playing field – natural search engine results.

It is estimated that 43% of people click on the number 1 natural search engine result for any query. This kind of traffic for popular keywords can really help a business grow.

Why aren’t large corporations getting in on this?
They often build their sites and think about optimising it afterwards – too late!

A solid SEO friendly web site starts withe foundations – when the web site is initially being built. Making major changes down the track can be time consuming, expensive and take up time.

What can you do about it?
You can learn how to optimise your own web site or pay an SEO expert to do it for you. Then plan a link building strategy to compliment your efforts.

When your web site is ranking well for you specific keyworkds, the amount of potential customers will increase and your online sales will increase. This means more profit for you.

Wrap Up
Optimise your web site if you haven’t already and start gaining that advantage over the big guys!!

SEO: Page Speed Now A Factor For Google Ranking

Google leads when it comes to quality of search engine results for end-users. If you are looking for something, usually Google will find it. That’s why Google wants to continue to satisfy it’s customers.

Google has now added a new factor to the rankings of their search engine results. Research has shown that faster loading web sites adds to a user experience. They stay on fast longer web sites for a longer period of time.

Web sites that are slow to load are often aborted because they take too long to load.

What about your web site?
How long does your web site take to load? If your web site is slow to load, are you losing visitors? Now, you will not only lose visitors but your search engine rankings will drop.

Slow loading web site factors
The factors are all measured from the users’ point of view. How long it takes for a web site to be downloaded and rendered on a users computer screen is the measurement used.

There are two great books based on this topic by Steve Souders – High Performance Web Sites and Even Faster Web Sites.

Here are his rules for producing fast web sites –

Wrap Up
If you optimise your website, your users will have a better experience and you will get higher rankings in Google search results.

Marketing: The difference between small business marketing and large business marketing

A lot of business owners that I talk to refuse to think or do anything about their marketing. They simply put it into the too hard basket or complain how they hate trying to sell stuff to people.

We are constantly marketing ourselves, our ideas, our products and services and our business. You can have the greatest product in the world but if no one knows about it, it’s useless!

So why do small business owners fail in marketing?
The difference between small business marketing and large business marketing is huge. They are the complete opposite and I will tell you why.

What is large business marketing?
Large businesses measure the results of marketing campaign by how many people now know and recognise their brand. Their goal is to get their name out there into the world. They also have larger budgets and want to spend that money to put their name into everyones’ head!

What is small business marketing?
Small business measure the results at a micro level. They measure how many extra customers they get, how many extra phone calls they got and if there was any increase in sales. They have a small budget and operate their campaigns in a much more refined way. Their goal is to get the customers in the door to spend their money – not to get inside everyones’ head.

What is the difference?
Large businesses are trying to get their name out there and small business are trying to get customers inside.

Wrap Up
How are you marketing your business? Are you putting your message in front of the right audience? Are the customers walking in the door or going to your website? Are they buying your products and services?

Social Media: 40% of Jetstar’s Marketing Budget

The power of social media is gaining momentum everyday. Large companies are taking social media serious.

Jetstar is leading the airline industry with innovative social media tactics with the recent announcement that it will direct 40% of its marketing budget to social media –

“We’ve conducted some very successful marketing and PR campaigns via social media in the past 18 months, including YouTube and Twitter, and the response has been phenomenal,” said David May, Jetstar’s head of marketing.”

In comparison to social media, traditional marketing is increasing in cost but I believe the effectiveness is decreasing –

“Social media offers more value for money and is a smarter way to reach our customers – which is what Jetstar is all about.”

Jetstar has previously has sales exclusively on Twitter with proved extremely successfuly –

“In line with the increasing need to talk to smaller, interconnected communities; communities that when aggregated deliver large numbers of engaged and involved brand advocates, we are likely to shift a large percentage of Jetstar’s above the line media spend into digital areas, with an increased focus on social media,” said Richard Smith, managing director of Jetstar’s media buying agency Maxus.

More information can be found at MarketingMag – Social media 40% of Jetstar’s marketing budget

Wrap Up
What are you doing with social media to help your business?

Google: What is Remarketing?

There’s an interesting statistic e-commerce statistic that I have written about earlier. The average time for a customer to make a purchase is 30 hours. This means that most people do not buy a product or service on their first visit. It is usually after they have thought about it and they come back the next day to make their purchase.

What is Remarketing?
The remarketing tool allows advertisers to hit the user days later to try and get their booking or purchase.

Example of Remarketing in action
Imagine someone wants to go to a concert in Sydney. The user visits a particular hotel’s website in Sydney but does not make a booking. The next day, they go to the booking website for the concert which is part of the Google Content Network – they have Google display ads running. The ads that they see are for the hotel they visited the day before. This is remarketing through Google Adwords.

Using this new tool
This new tool is available in your Adwords account if you advertise with Google. More information about this tool can be found here – Now Available: Reach the right audience through remarketing.

GoogleBot Questions: From Eric Enge’s interview with Matt Cutts from Google

What is the GoogleBot?
The googlebot is the automatic spider program that Google uses to visit websites and report back with results to put into it’s search engine results. By understanding how the GoogleBot works and how it interprets your web pages, can increase your search engine rankings.

There are many factors that Google considers when indexing web pages. Here are a couple of questions and answers about how the GoogleBot works and how to get better search engine rankings.

What is host load limit?
Host load limit is the number of connections that your webserver allows at any given time.

A webserver with a lot of busy websites, would be limited to the number of connections each website can have.

That is why it’s important to have a reliable host that does not have overloaded servers. This means that the GoogleBot can index your website quickly and entirely without being restricted.

What is crawl budget?
Google will index a number of web pages on your website which is directly proportional to your PageRank. The lower the PageRank, the less pages of your website will be crawled. If you have a higher PageRank, most, if not all of your pages will be crawled.

The better your PageRank, the deeper the GoogleBot will go with indexing your website.

How does duplicate content affect crawl budget?
If the GoogleBot crawls three of your web pages and they all have the same content, Google will only index one of those pages and scrap the other two pages. It will then assign a lower PageRank value because of the duplicate content resulting in less pages being indexed by Google.

Are Session IDs bad for my website?
Google does not recommend the use of session ids for a number of reasons. They look ugly which is hard for the user to remember the address and less users are likely to click on a complicated link.

Google and Yahoo both have tools to remove unwanted variables in the address bar. Any variables that do not add value to the user’s experience can be removed for indexing.

Does 301 redirects take the link juice?
If you move a page or even change domain names, it is highly recommended to use 301 redirects. The link juice is carried to the new page. If the original page has a PageRank of 3, the new redirected page would take it.

There is some decay in the PageRank value but much of it is carried on.

What is a canonical tag?
Google has a fantastic post that describes everything about canonical tags including the new cross referencing of domain names. Specify your canonical.

Social Media: Lady Gaga has over one billion online views

Lady Gaga is the first music artist with over one billion online video views. She has three music videos on YouTube and Vevo

  • Poker Face – 374 million views
  • Just Dance – 272 million views
  • Bad Romance – 360 million views

A total of over 1 billion online video views.

She is closely followed by Twilight saga with 980 million and Soulja Boy with 860 million, as of today.

What is she doing that makes her such a star? Maybe add your comments below.

Here are her three top videos –

SEO: Are you losing your Google ranking with Cyclical Content?

I’m going to describe an important concept about content that appears year after year on your website. If you had a product that came out each year, for example – a car model from Toyota called the Corolla, what address would give it?

  • http://toyota.com.au/corolla
  • http://toyota.com.au/corolla-series-8
  • http://toyota.com.au/corolla2009

Still unsure? read on and I will explain which one to use.

What is Cyclical Content?
Cyclical content can be defined as information about a product, service or event that comes out each year or period.

You may have an awards event that is on every year or a new model of a product every six months.

The mistake most web designers make when working on your website
Many web designers will make the website address for your event, product or service with the date attached to it or the series number or something like that. For example, the awards website address that you have this year is http://yourname.com.au/awards09

What happens next year and people are searching for your awards website address in Google? They type in the name of your awards but what address comes up? This year and all your previous awards website address will be competing against each other.

The answer
The best website address to use is the same one every year or every time the product is released.

These are good addresses because it says the same –

  • http://toyota.com.au/corolla
  • http://yourname.com.au/awards

It doesn’t matter what year it is, the current information for your awards will be found in the same spot. Previous years’ award information won’t be competing against other years.

If you wanted to look at the 2006 model of the Toyota Corolla, you would use this address – http://toyota.com.au/corolla/2006. If you wanted this year’s model, you would use – http://toyota.com.au/corolla.

Wrap Up
I hope you understand how to use your website address in the most practical way to keep ranking your website high in the search engine results.

Is Search Engine Optimisation Worth It?

onlinenews

Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be defined as optimising your website so search engines can rank your website in the natural search results, as high as possible for those targetted keywords.

But is all the effort in SEO really worth it?
Should you put all that time and effort into optimising your website so that when the search engine bots come through, that your page will rank higher?

Should you even think about paying an SEO professional to do it for you? What return on investment can you expect?

There’s no  guarantees
No one can guarantee number one position for your chosen keywords for the natural search results. You might get emails in everyday with promises but still no real guarantee.

The statistics
The number one ranking website for any keyword has an average click through rate of 56%. So if 1,000 searches are done for that keyword each day, that’s 560 visitors each day on average.

Of these 560 visitors you get daily, 5% purchase a product – that’s 1 in 20 people. That’s a nice conversion rate and works out to be 112 new customers each day from that keyword. If the average purchase was $100, that’s $11,200 a day in revenue. That number 1 ranking is worth a lot of money.

Imagine if it was a popular keyword and it was being searched 100,000 times a day – 56,000 visitors a day and up to 11,200 new customers a day in an ideal scenario. That’s $1,120,000 a day. Now we’re starting to talk big business!!

Would your business benefit from this kind of traffic?
Any online business could benefit from this kind of traffic. On the Internet, targetted traffic is king. It earns money and it’s what some businesses survive on.

Competition is heavy in the search engines and the most profitable the keywords, that more likely there is going to be more competition.

Conclusion
SEO is definitely worth it and can take a company from being good to great! If your website is not search engine optimised, you are not helping the business at all.

If you have any questions about SEO, please contact me – nigel@burke.com.au

Google: Introduces New Homepage And Why Internet Marketing Consultant Needs To Know Why

googleMany people may not have noticed this but Google has changed their homepage.

It’s not until you are told of the change that you would realize it.

Go to http://google.com but do not move your mouse. Only the search box and logo are visible. Once you move your mouse, the rest of the details appear.

This is just one of many changes Google has made that is not visible to the general Internet population. By writing and researching for this blog, I read about nearly every change.

Many of these changes are advanced and meaningless to users but as an Internet marketing expert like myself, they are important.

Your Internet marketing consultant should be aware of all the changes Google, Yahoo and Bing do so your website ranks at the top for your targetted keywords and stays at the top!

Is Twitter Really Worth It?

twitter.moneyTwitter is one of the hottest social media tools today. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon because … because everyone else is so it must be great.

I have been on Twitter for a few months now and yet to see real value from it.

I’m following 2,000 people because that is my limit but I’m not reading many of the tweets that come in. Maybe I am following the wrong people because most of them are about network marketing and making money.

It might be time for a clean out and following some better Twitters.

There is about 500 Twitters following me now. When I post a new blog entry, I normal send a tweet but I’m not seeing any traffic from it.

Is Twitter really worth it?
This makes me wonder if this company is really worth a billion dollars? It has no revenue and any advertisements are going to be ignored.

I see more value in the Facebook platform yet they are still having issues trying to make money from advertising.

Spam Tweets
I am noticing that many of the tweets that I receive are spam. I don’t read many of them because everyone is shouting out to get me to their website.

The statistics from January to November 2009.
The number of new users in July was 9.4 million down to 7.1 million in November. How many of these accounts are really accounts?

twitter-registrations-nov

twitter-tweets-nov

The number of Tweets has been increasing more. Are people using this as a real communications tool or are spammers using Twitter to help market their websites?

Conclusion
Will Twitter stand the test of time? Will people remember Twitter as a fad or will it keep growing into a important communications tool?

If Twitter cannot find a better purpose, with real people and less spammers, it may not be be really worth it.

David Meerman Scott: 8 Tips To Make Your YouTube Video Go Viral

will_it_blendHave you seen Will It Blend? It’s a crazy series of videos by Blendtec, a small blender manufacturer. The series has been seen by millions of people. My favorite is Will It Blend? – iPhone. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and take a minute to watch. This YouTube video has been seen nearly 7.5 million times.

Viral marketing is the phenomenon of other people passing along your ideas to friends via email or blogs or other online means…for free! Best of all, there is very little costs in setting up the costs compared to advertising campaigns. You could compare it to people handing out your business card to all their friends because they think it’s cool.

Here are some tips to make video go viral. Creating a video is easy and it is free to post onto YouTube. All you need is a simple $300 digital video camera, a YouTube account and an idea.

youtube_logoMost importantly: Your video needs to be funny or amazing or remarkable or have some fascinating information or be controversial. Basically the video needs a reason for people to pass it on. If you can find pass along value connected to your organization and its products, great. I’m not a fan of stupid contests or celebrity endorsements unrelated to a company and its products.

Tip # 1 – Homemade is just fine

You don’t need to hire a professional. A homemade quality video can work great. But plan ahead and shoot several takes to get it right.

Tip #2 – Your video should be no longer then 2 minutes (preferably less)

Think very short. You need to get to the punch quickly. Although YouTube will accept a video that is less than 10 minutes, smaller than 100MB try to make the video between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.

Tip #3 – Make your description clear and specific.

To best promote your video, you’ll want its text description on YouTube to be accurate and interesting. Use descriptive keywords and language that people will find when they search for videos like yours. And use the correct categorizations on YouTube so people will find it.

Tip #4 – Don’t attempt “stealth” fake customer insertions to YouTube.

Some companies try to sneak corporate-sponsored video onto YouTube in a way that makes it seem like it is consumer-generated. The YouTube community is remarkably skilled at ratting out inauthentic video, so this approach is fraught with danger.

Tip #5 – Try a series of similar videos to build interest

Sometimes a series of videos works great. The Blendtec Will it Blend? videos are a perfect example. The even sell t-shirts now!

Tip #6 – Tell everyone about your video!

When you upload your first few videos, you are likely to hear a deafening silence. You’ll be waiting for comments, but none will come. You’ll check your video statistics and be disappointed by the tiny number of viewers. Don’t get discouraged. It takes time to build an audience. Make sure people know it is there and can find it. Create links to your video from your home page, product pages, or online media room. Mention your video in your e-mail or offline newsletters, and create links to your video as part of your e-mail signature and those of other people in your organization.

Tip # 7 – make sure bloggers know about the video

Sending a link to the video to bloggers or commenting on other people’s blogs (and including a link to your video) is a good way to build an audience. If you comment on blogs in the same space as yours, you might be surprised at how quickly you will get viewers to your video.

Tip #8 – Experiment a lot to find something that hits

While I think it is difficult to purposely create viral marketing buzz, it is certainly possible. Create a number of campaigns and see what hits, then nurture the winners along. Think like a venture capitalist or movie studio and try a number of things in order to get that elusive hit.

Good luck. And if you do create a cool video, let me know.

david-meerman-scottPost Author: David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, seminar leader, and the author of the hit new book World Wide Rave. His previous book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR is an award-winning BusinessWeek bestseller and is being published in 25 languages.

You can read David Meerman Scott’s blog here.

SEO Tip: Ask Your Customers For A Blog Post

seo tipI am often asked how to get higher rankings in search engines. Perhaps the customer has done everything possible to optimize their website, what next?

Backlinks are key to getting a great search engine ranking.

Next time you send an email to say ‘thank you for doing business with us’, maybe ask that customer to do a blog post if they have a blog. You can return the favour by adding a blog post about them. It’s a win-win situation for everyone – you both will get inbound links to your sites and a higher search engine ranking.

Try and get them to add some links to your site with the keywords you are targeting if possible.

You may not notice a big difference with one or two posts about your business but think if 20+ posts are done about your website. Now that will help you search engine ranking!

SEO: On-Page Elements You Can Instantly Change To Get A Top Ranking In Google

wwwYour website can rank higher by simply knowing what elements Google and other search engines look at when indexing your page. When you are aware of these elements, you can make minor modifications to your website to produce a better ranking.

This is information that your SEO expert does not want you to know. SEO experts charge thousands of dollars to apply this to your website.

  1. URL – The URL is the web address. You can name the page with the targeted keywords.
    Action – Name your pages accordingly.
    Example – http://yourdomain.com.au/keyword.html
     
  2. Links – The links in the page should be related to the targeted keywords. These are just like references and by reading the references, you should be able to work out what the original page is about.
    Action – Name your links so they are related to the targeted keywords.
    Example – <a href=”apr.com.au”>Australian Produce Report</a>
     
  3. The title tag – Do not simply place your business name here. Search engines rank the first words as the most important keywords for your site.
    Action – Place the most important keywords first and then your business name.
    Example – <title>keywords | page name | Business name</title>
     
  4. The description tag – This does not have as much weight as it used to have but it is still important. Many search engines still look at this for keywords and even Google may use it as the description for your page in it’s search results.
    Action – Imagine that your visitor has not seen the page and write a good description about what the page is about.
    Example – <meta name=”description” content=”a great description of the page”>
     
  5. The keywords tag – Search engines may not put much weight on to the specified keywords but it is still good to include it because every bit helps.
    Action – Enter a list of the most important keyworkds into this tag.
    Example – <meta name=”keywords” content=”a list of great keywords”>
     
  6. The heading tags – Search engines look at the heading tags throughout your document and define what the page is about. Many websites make the mistake of not using the heading tags at all so the text looks like a long blurb to a search engine.
    Action – Using heading tags to break up your text into headings and subheadings using the search engine recognised way.
    Example – <h1>Big heading</h1> … text … <h2>Sub heading here</h2> … more text.
     
  7. Bold text – Does your site use bold text? Using bolding on your most important keywords in your text. This will make it easier for a human reader and search engine bot to understand it – but make sure that it still looks good. Afterall, you need to make pages that humans can read and not pages that are simply only optimized and readable by search engine robots.
    Action – Use bolding for your most important keywords in your content
     
  8. Text – Your chosen keywords should be the main discussion points on this page. If you have chosen a keyword but have not mentioned it in the content, should you be really targeting that keyword or maybe you need to add more content so you include the keywords.
    Action – Check that your target keywords are aligned with the content.
     
  9. Alt text – Do your images utilize the image description element? If you load a web page without images, you should be able to make out what the images are about using the image description information. Search engines only read text and not images. The alt image value appears when you rest a mouse on an image.
    Action – Describe every image on the page and add your targeted keywords where you can. Remember that Braille readers and speech synthesizers use the alt text value so do not confuse these readers.
     

How could we forget these basic rules?
When making a web page, we often think about the marketing and the selling perspective of the page. We often forget that search engine robots need to read these pages too. On the other hand, we need to create pages that humans can understand as well.

Search engines try and replicate how a human would read a page but sometimes, they need a helping hand. By implementing these elements correctly on all your web pages means that search engines will recognise the content and targeted keywords more easily.

Conclusion
You now know how to optimize your on-page elements for your website. Now go update your website with your new found knowledge!

What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?

Pay Per Click AdvertisingPay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising means that you only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement. You do not pay each time your ad is displayed. PPC advertising can be an effective form of advertising because you are paying based on the performance of the ad. If no one clicks on your ad, then you do not pay.

The idea was formed in 1998 by GoTo, a search engine portal. PPC has now become one of the main forms of advertising online. This has created some very competitive marketplaces and can be expensive. Some marketplaces are very inexpensive and can be very profitable.

The Benefits of Pay-Per-Click
There are many reasons and benefits for using PPC advertising. Here are some of the benefits –

  • Get instant traffic to your website
  • Create test campaigns
  • No waiting to be listed in the organic search listing
  • Allows (smart) small players to compete against the big guys
  • Spending controlled on a daily, weekly or monthly basis
  • Anyone can setup a PPC advertising campaign in Google, Yahoo or Bing.
  • Continually test landing pages, ads, keywords before putting more resources into the campaign

PPC AdvertisingThe Cost of Pay-Per-Click Advertising
The great thing about PPC is you control what you spend. For popular keywords, the budget can be limitless. Industries such as insurance and car rentals can be very expensive and push the smaller players out.

Some keywords can be very profitable resulting in high conversion rates. Having a great ad, the right keywords and sending the visitor to the correct page can make all the difference for a successful campaign.

I have personally seen websites that were previously getting very little traffic and poor sales results – to becoming an overnight success because the world did not know they existed. Once the right traffic was sent to the site, the website started producing great profits and operations expanded.

Always Testing
Pay-Per-Click campaigns allow you to continually do testing. You can run a PPC campaign for one day or even an hour and see how people respond to the ad that you have created, the landing page that you are sending the traffic to and track the keywords that you are targeting.

You can do split testing where you run two ads in rotation and see which one runs best. You cannot do that with normal print media.

marketingTracking Results = Return on Investment
Through the use of Google Analytics and similar programs, you can track all online transactions. You can see the following information –

  • The exact keywords that the visitors enter to find your ad
  • The pages they view when they visit your site
  • The cost of the ad
  • The conversion rates resulting in working out the ROI

Why Pay-Per-Click is Important
If you are not advertising your services to your potential customers, your competition will and they will get your new customers. Can you afford to lose customers?

Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts will be wasted if you target the wrong keywords. PPC allows you to fast track your SEO by testing the keywords before you even attempt to optimize your site for those keywords.

Warning – You Can Lose Money
Google and Yahoo are targeting small businesses to start advertising online by offering free credit. Please be educated before you setup your own campaigns. If you do not know what you are doing, you will lose money. I have seen business with one keyword in their keyword list, poorly written ads and sending visitors to the wrong page. I have even seen ads sending visitors to broken pages!

Professional Pay-Per-Click Consultants
If you do not know what you are doing, I recommend using a professional service. They will charge for their service but in the long run, it can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of time.

A professional Pay-Per-Click consultant will –

  • Research for the best keywords
  • Enter negative keywords
  • Create professional copy for your ad
  • Pre-qualify visitors so you are only getting buyers to your website
  • Point visitors to the correct pages on your website
  • Setup multiple campaigns
  • Optimize your ads to have a strong rating
  • Continually test keywords, ads and the land pages
  • Control the spending of your campaign
  • Analysis the existing competition
  • Generate reports based on the performance of your campaigns
  • Answer any questions you may have

Conclusion
Pay-Per-Click advertising can be used in many ways to help your website get more sales and become more profitable.

I will be writing more articles to explain the different ways you can advertise your site online and setting up your own campaigns. If you have any questions, please email nigel@burke.com.au

Melbourne Cup and Event Marketing for Search Engines

Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup is the race the stops the nation. It is expected that $230 million dollars will be gambled on this race from punters and an incredible $1.67 billion over the four day race carnival. Many people take a day off work and go to the races, go to Melbourne Cup functions and have office parties. It is even a public holiday in Victoria!

Would your business benefit from advertising for the Melbourne Cup? Could customers interested in the Melbourne Cup use your services? You may not be based in Melbourne but this is watched by half the population in Australia. Is that a big enough market?

Melbourne Cup search on Google
I did a Google web search for “melbourne cup” and there is 17,500,000 results but there are only 4 advertisers which are gambling websites. A search for “melbourne cup catering” has 48,900 results and many more advertisers.

Could your business be advertising for melbourne cup services? What about other events?

Event Specific SEM Campaigns
You can create specific SEM campaigns that target the event. You would need to choose related keywords, create related ads and maybe even create a special land page to send people to. The campaign may only run for a couple of weeks leading up to the event and then you could turn it off. Maybe re-use it for next year.

The benefit of setting up an SEM campaign and paying for the traffic means that you don’t need to optimize your website for the event keywords. You can apply a budget and only pay for the performance.

Conclusion
I hope I have you thinking about setting up event campaigns to targetted events utilisng search engine marketing.

Do you advertise online?

logo_pwcEveryone is talking about internet advertising but how much is really being spent on Internet advertising? Is it increasing or decreasing? Is it all just hype?

No, it is not hype and it is increasing everyday. A report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows Australia’s commitment to this form of advertising with 18.5% growth for 2008-09 financial year compared to the previous financial year. We spent $1.8 billion dollars for the year, ending 30 June 2009 and $453 million in the last quarter.

Where is Internet Advertising Spent?
Internet advertising can be broken down into the following areas including % of total advertising expenditure –

  • Search and Directories – 49% (25% growth)
  • General Display – 27% (19.6% growth)
  • Classifieds – 24% (6% growth)

This is definitely a strong growth area where the big players are putting in large amounts because they see the value in it. I can only see this area increasing compared to other advertising mediums including TV, radio and magazines.