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Bad Perceptions about Paid Search (PPC)

by: Dana Chen Fischer 

I have met people who swear that they will never click on the link on the right-hand side of the search results page, because they know those are the sites that pay money for those clicks.

It’s true, Google/Yahoo/Bing and other search engines result pages show paid search listings on a shaded background or on the right-hand side. But statistics data shows that these paid search Ads can be very effective and normally result in a quick and easy way to turn on your lead flow.E5PNPG2Y6DKQ 

Of course, your potential customers are not only searching on their desktop, they are also searching on multiple devices such as tablets and smartphones. In addition, there are other criteria that differentiate searches including the time of day and browser version to name a few. Google is aware of the growing complexity in the ways that your potential customers are searching for your products and services and has recently updated its advertising product, Google AdWords, to reduce the complexities involved in managing multiple campaigns.

New Google AdWords – Enhanced Campaigns

The new feature in Google Adwords called Enhanced Campaigns will make the task of managing all types of campaigns easier. In the past, one had to setup separate campaigns for each digital device and manage the bidding process independently. Now the integrated campaigns can managed across all devices based on parameters such as a prospects’ location, time of day, when a query is to be ran, and the type of device used. The ability to run contextual, multi-device marketing campaigns that can be measured to a granular level can add significant value to paid ad campaigns.

Key benefits include:
  • Ability to integrate and run a single campaign across multiple devices 
  • Create targeted ads based on devices used and location of search
  • Measure the impact of various ads across devices 
For businesses this is great news since paid campaigns will become much more flexible, easier to launch, less time consuming, and best of all, cost-effective.

How to Integrate PPC with Other Digital Marketing Tactics?

To make sure you won’t single out any group of your targeted prospects, your business needs to consider broader digital marketing tactics beyond PPC.
 
Below are a few suggestions:

  1. SEO Strategy: Paid Search Marketing is quick and easy, but attention must still be paid to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because more than 80% of clicks go to the organic search results links. If your website doesn’t have a position there, your competitors are eating your lunch. Your organic search results landing page will have a measurable impact on your overall strategy. 
  2. Segmented & Targeted advertising: Normally you don’t have much control regarding which page will be listed under the organic search result however, with PPC you can direct search traffic to a specific landing page. This can greatly improve the overall conversion. So if you have specific conversion goals or a call-to-action item, consider this feature from paid search.
  3. Look at Both Paid Search and Organic Search Data Together. Compare data gathered from both your organic and PPC campaigns to understand your buyers’ behaviour and optimize campaign effectiveness.


The Behind the scene SEO trends that business owners need to know

by: Dana Chen Fischer 

Major search engines are developing relationships with social media web sites. In the summer of 2009 we saw that both Google and Bing developed closer to ties with both Facebook and Twitter. Bing (MSN/Live) and Yahoo! recently announced a deal that they would combine their search results and that merger would result in an approximate 28% search market share with Google taking the bulk of the remaining 70%. Google and Binghoo! (Yahoo! & Bing) are providing more real time data in their search results. Real time content is coming from streams like social media, press releases and blog posts. As always, a large portion of Page ranking is being determined by popularity, authority and relevance of the backlinks to a piece of content (blog post, web page, etc). These links traditionally were relatively static between two web sites, however now they are now being created much more dynamically from social media posts in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites.

Local Search

Local search has become much more important in recent years as major search engines have made it easier to add local listings and in turn made it easier for users to understand that they have the option of searching locally. Consumers are also searching more often using alternative searches such as maps (via Google Maps). It is important that businesses understand how local search impacts their search results, especially at the macro level when considering how your results appear in different regions such as Canada versus the United States.

Web Presence

We believe that the largest issues that businesses face today are needing to understanding the internal and external factors that make up their web presence, how to monitor these factors and then finding the time to effectively manage their web presence effectively over time. We consider SEO, Social Media, Press Releases and Blogs as web presence optimization.

Ever Changing SEO landscape

by: Dana Chen Fischer 

In the early days of the Internet, search engine ranking algorithms are heavily weighing on the basic elements of website structure, keyword selections and backlinks. Today, search engines have been rolling out updates in a much faster paces, not only it posts bigger challenges for SEO, but also leaves many frustrations to business owners because many of these ranking algorithm changes directly impacted their website’s ranking, and their inbound leads flow.

What have changed?

  1. The number of web sites, pages, blog sites and social media content has increased drastically from the days of only having a few million web sites online. Today – millions of pages of content, blog posts and social media content are published daily on the Internet. There is an incredible velocity of content generation daily and this will only continue to accelerate. In order for the search engines to provide quality, timely search results for users, they had to develop algorithms to sort through all of the noise. The complexity of optimizing for organic search rankings has gone through the roof, but the underlying formula for success can be achieved through a combination of strategy, tactics, effort and long-term vision. Of course, software automation added to the process will drastically help (more on this later in the article).
  2. Competition has escalated during this period of time. Now,not only do we have an ever increasing volume of content but also many businesses understand the art of search engine strategy and have started spending money on optimizing their web design and web content. Businesses are actively measuring their results with analytics and making changes each month and they understand the value of being found naturally or organically in the search engines. According to an eMarketer.com survey of senior Marketing and business owners in 2008,a large percentage have added “SEO” to their marketing budget as a separate line item. Forrester Research surveyed 204 marketing executives in July 2009. Their research unveiled that marketing executives are expected to spend $2.8 billion on SEO services in 2010 with spending to increase year-over-year to $5 billion by 2014.
  3. The entrance of social media to the search engine stage gives us even more we need to focus on. Social media has completely transformed how people share information – in terms of the social anthropology of storytelling (future blog post) and also in terms of how the major search engines have adapted to use social media factors in their search algorithms. The real-time delivery of information provided by Social media, combined with the upcoming changes to search (See Google Caffeine) mean that social mentions, syndicated press releases, blog posts and even videos can rank higher than business web pages. The most interesting part is that they can rank very quickly, sometimes in minutes. We are seeing Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook content ranking higher than business web pages! People are also using social search results as a relevant and convenient traditional search alternative.

How to Optimize eCommerce Sites for Search Engines

by: Dana Chen Fischer 

Online sales need online visibility!

If your business relies on an eCommerce site, then you know it's important to appear in the organic search results ahead of your competitors;especially if your competitors are selling the same products online.Having top rankings for an eCommerce website is crucial for long term success in the online marketing world.

On-Page Optimization 

Optimizing an eCommerce site isn't that different than optimizing any other type of web site. To make a page rank well in the organic search results, it needs a good title tag (that includes the keywords you're targeting); and good content on the page that includes the appropriate keywords. 

Here are some more tips for on-page optimization:

  • Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
  • To achieve good keyword focus, limit yourself to just one or two keywords per content page. You can even create a page for each product in your store so that you can take advantage of long-tail keyword phrases.
  • One reason why product pages on eCommerce sites appear in the search engine indexes and then disappear is because they are duplicating content (which the search engines catch on). Keep content and tags unique.
  • If you're selling products that your competitors are also selling, then your product descriptions need to be unique and different from theirs. Don’t just copy the generic product descriptions of items that are provided by the manufacturer. You’ll risk having your page considered a duplicate page by Google and other search engines.
  • Add links to related products or accessories, or perhaps a testimonial about the product.Adding ‘related products' type of navigation on your product pages will help visitors stay on your site.
  • Product Reviews can increase your visibility and improve your page rankings.This gives the search engines more content to read and also creates a third party endorsement for your product.
  • Online shoppers are using search engines to compare product features and prices, and if your eCommerce site isn’t positioned in the top search engine results, you're missing out on a lot of potential online sales!

Off-Page Optimization

Offsite optimization is all about acquiring quality inbound keyword links. It is best to get links from high ranking websites and web pages, but internal repeating links within your own website also count. Here’s how to improve off-page SEO:

  • Submit articles to various article directories for syndication and curation, making sure your content contains many keyword links back to your other content pages.
  • Go social! Create profiles on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social networks to get links from existing customers.
  • Cross-reference related items between individual product pages (include accessories or similar products). This creates healthy internal links.
  • Create and share video content to attract more visitors.
  • Create a blog and be active in forum discussions in the area of your business.
  • Issue press releases and PR briefs about product launches, events and promotional offers regularly.

Just starting out as an online retailer with a few products to sell? Selling thousands of products online for many years now? Either way, make sure your eCommerce site is optimized for the search engines so you are most visible to your potential customers.

Analysis: What Does Google Panda Mean to Your Internet Business

by: Dana Chen Fischer 

google panda updates

Analyzing Google’s recent changes in its search algorithm – its impact to Internet marketing campaign

Photo courtesy: MetaSEO

Have you checked your website’s performance lately? If ever you have noticed a significant drop in its number of visits then your website could be one of those affected by the recent changes in Google’s search ranking algorithm widely known as Google’s Farmer/Panda.

Initially rolled-out in the U.S. in February this year, the ‘newly-improved’ search ranking algorithm is now rolled-out globally (just this April) and created a huge impact even to those websites and companies considered as highly reputable.

Ezine.com hard-hit…

The new Google algorithm pushed ezine to polish its submission policy emphasizing to users to “Submit your high-quality, original articles for more exposure, credibility and traffic back to your website.” If you visit the site, you will notice the new submission guidelines highlighted on its homepage (see image below).

ezine affected by google panda

New York Times admits: NYT-owned About.com affected

The New York Times Company has confirmed, through its CEO Janet Robinson, that NYT-owned About.com “experienced a moderately negative impact on page views from the algorithm changes Google implemented in the quarter.”

The Hubpages concern…

Also affected by the current changes in Google ranking algorithm, Hubpages’s CEO Paul Edmundson has expressed concern through his post stating that “we are concerned that Google is targeting platforms other than its own and stifling competition by reducing viable platform choices simply by diminishing platforms’ ability to rank pages.”

My own analysis…

I have checked the list of sites hard-hit by Google’s changes and most of them are content sites. This reiterates again the importance of quality and valuable contents. Those sites that are considered as content farms (e.g. article directories) should re-evaluate their approach to content management and publishing. Content should be screened intelligently to ensure its quality is line with the Google’s definition of high-quality sites.

How experts see the changes

Experts suggest that the present changes in ranking algorithm should make website owners think of extra precautions to ensure that Internet marketing strategies conform with the Google's standards for search engine optimization including the following:

  1. (Still) The quality of content
  2. Be careful on Ads ( most of the hard-hit websites were populated with ads like Google Ads)
  3. The quality of backlinks ( avoid having low-quality backlinks)
  4. Social media ( Google values social media)

What does Google Panda mean to your Internet business?

If you are an Internet marketer running an online business, this is the time to re-evaluate your marketing campaign strategy most especially in your off-page optimization campaign (e.g. article submission and other back link building and promotion strategies). Be mindful of the Google guidelines because once your site is downgraded, it takes lots of works to bounce back.

Blogging for Business: SEO Benefits from Blogs

by: Dana Chen Fischer 

blogging for business - seo benefits from blogs

You might have wondered why search engine optimizers and search engine marketers love blogs – does blogging really contribute for online business success?

Many Internet marketing experts agree on the following reasons why blogging helps boost online business to its optimum potentials

  1. Constant link building – blogs are constantly updated without so much restrictions (as opposed to writing a site content) because it is written in a more personal way. As you add new relevant and valuable content to your blog (blogs are usually integrated to business websites) you can get a chance to generate more links which could help make your backlinks even stronger which in the end can help your business marketing campaign succeed
  2. Deep linking – as compared to site linking (top-level linking) blogs build topical links. Readers and other bloggers tailor links that specifically digs the topic you post on your blog (not just by linking to homepage). This essentially brings more weight to your blog (and to the site your blog is integrated to) in the eyes of search engines. You have to remember that search engines work to give more relevant results to users and deep linking plays an important role to it.
  3. Unlimited keywords – after you initially launched a business websites (populated with your targeted keywords) it is not recommended to rewrite the content again and again whenever you find new good keywords in your market. Website contents are not meant to be rewritten; frequent revisions could create an impression of weak content – both in the eyes of search engines and users. However, with the help of an integrated blog, you can use unlimited keywords as you can write posts as much as you want.
  4. Fresh content – as you can write posts as much as you want, you can make you blog updated with fresh content and if you are doing this in a regular basis, this gives a significant contribution for your Internet marketing campaign as a whole.
  5. Viewed as resource – good blogs are viewed as resource by most readers. The more people link to your site as their reference, the better is your backlinks foundation and that is crucial as links and content are important criteria in search engine optimization.

Why Keep an Eye on Google Search Algorithm Updates

by: Dana Chen Fischer 

google search algorithm, google algorithm changes, google seo algorithmLooking Back at Some Notable Google Changes in 2010

Google keeps updating its algorithm for search with the prime purpose of delivering the most relevant and accurate results to users. However, if you are a search engine optimizer or a website administrator or a business owner running a website, keeping an eye on these changes is necessary no matter how fast-paced they are – they mean a lot for your business to survive in a very competitive market.

According to some SEO experts, Google made at least 300 changes in its organic search algorithm back in 2009. This suggests that search engine optimizers and Internet marketers who are doing search engine optimization campaign must not give so much focus or get too fixated on particular ranking factors – they can be changed or replaced anytime. Instead, make your SEO campaign process flexible enough to embrace whatever changes you encounter along the way – being always updated can help.

In 2010, Google made another yet significant updates to its search algorithm. And I am sharing below some of these changes – the ones that are the most notable for me:

  • Google Places (October 27) – this is the most recent update (as of this posting) that Google has made for its search algorithm. If you notice a map on SERP as you do an organic search – that is a result of this change.  Formerly known as Google Business Listing, Google Places today boosts businesses most especially those that are geo-targeted, introducing a whole bunch of new features including local search and map listings, real-time updates, custom QR codes and coupons, and even photo shoots for businesses.
  • Google Instant (September 8) – a new search development that gives search results real quick as you type. It gives a number of benefits including (1) faster searches as it can save 2 to 5 seconds per search (2) smarter predictions and these help guide you as you do  research and (3) instant results – it shows relevant searches even if you are still typing on a search box.
  • Google Real-time Search (August 27) – lets you see up-to-the second social media updates, news, articles, and blog posts about hot topics worldwide ( you should not wonder why you see twitter updates on Google search engine results page).
  • Google Caffeine (June 8) - dubbed as “the next-generation architecture for Google’s web search,” this was put in place aimed to give more quick and accurate results.
  • Mayday (May 27) - change in Google search algorithm aimed to display higher quality sites for long tail queries.
Those are some notable updates Google has made in 2010. For sure lots of updating works are underway. So web administrators and business owners, keep yourselves updated – that is for your online investment success.

Social Media Marketing Strategies for Search Engine Domination

by: Dana Chen Fischer 

social media campaign, social media marketing, search engine optimization, seo campaign The exponential growth of the number of individuals who are using the social media is a clear indication of its great potential for business. With hundreds of millions of social media users today, it can be said that every ‘niche’ market has a substantial chunk of potential customers. Thus, building a social network presence can be a great help to succeed in your business.

No wonder why everywhere you will find businesses building their social media marketing strategies to reach more potential customers and generate higher return on investments (ROI). But there is more than that, social media can also be a great help for websites’ search engine domination. SEO experts usually highlight social media as one of important factors for websites to become more authoritative in the eyes of search engines.

How important is search engine ranking? Very simply, more or less 70% of Internet users worldwide utilize search engines to find products and services that they need – they are a powerful channel to reach more potential costumers. The more visible your website on SERP, the more potential clients it can generate.

If you are running a business website that is aimed for global customers, social media campaign must be part of your ongoing search engine optimization strategy blueprint. The following are some ideas on how you can harness the power of social media in building search engine authority:

Building your social network effectively

Your social network campaign does not end on account creation – you need to nurture what you have planted. You need to build and expand your network of friends or followers. Posting credible content on your social media accounts like facebook and twitter is one effective strategy to gain trust from others. The more relevant and quality content you share the more likable you are to others. In that sense, more people tend to link or join your network. Aside from gaining trust from other users, you can also gain authority in the eyes of search engines. Social network sites are authoritative and often rank on top of SERP.

Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking is another yet an important strategy that can help your website gain authority in search engines. Share your websites to other people through social bookmarking sites and you will see how your website ranks on SERP when you do an organic search. Clipmarks, delicious, digg, and jumptags are some effective social bookmark tools you can use.

Blogging and the Social Media

Blogs are a great tool that can help websites to rank higher on search engine results page. Every business website must have a blog integrated to it. They tend to rank on top as they are updated more often. Search engines like regular quality content updates – they are always craving for good quality content (it is their job – finding useful content for those who need it). With the help of social media optimization (sharing your blog post via social media) your website will surely dominate the SERP (search engine result page) in your targeted market.

Local Search Marketing - How does "Google Map" rank the phone book?

by: Dana Chen Fischer 

local search marketing, rank map,  google mapLast post I mentioned some of the factors Google uses to determine how high in the listing a business will appear when someone searches for a local business. We mentioned some on-site things you can use to make sure you appear towards the top of the list.

Now I'll mention some off-site ways you can influence your company's Google rank - a local search marketing campaign using Google Map.

  • Claim your listing on Google Map – use Google’s local business center to claim the listing.
  • Complete the business listing information – make sure you are listed under the correct category and be consistent with the company name, address, etc.
  • Claim your listing through similar services such as Yahoo and Bing.
  • Upload (and constantly update) information about your business and set up coupons and other promotions.
  • Include photos and videos in your descriptions - Google has begun testing some enhanced features that will display your photo/video thumbnail on the map as well as next to your listing. This will help your company stand out.
  • Submit your company’s information to directories that are associated with local businesses (Info USA, Yahoo Business Directory, DMOZ, etc.) since they are aggregator.

On your site, you can make some additions to your HTML code and content that will also drive up your ranking in Google:

  • On your website make sure your domain/web page URL include locations that you target.
  •  Make sure your web page title tag and description tag include the locations (i.e. cities, areas, etc.) that you target.
  • Make sure your website has dedicated pages that display the company name, address, and maps of the company’s location. Also the map should link to your Google local map (on the local business results) page.
  •  Get links from authority sites; relevant vertical authority sites are the best.
  • Mine your competitors’ links and see if you can establish the same links.

It’s a time consuming, but surely rewarding, process. In addition to other search traffic, Google local maps will drive many qualified local leads to your website. With strong customer reviews and ratings, you should get a much higher conversion rate as well.

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