This article courtesy of Smart Company.
Word-of-mouth marketing firm TGarage was founded by William Saxton, Roger Lowe and Paul Rhodes after they discovered the power of using Web 2.0 in conjunction with traditional marketing techniques.
The company offers a number of services including SEO, reputation management and social media marketing. Rhodes says small businesses can improve their brand recognition if they harness the power of word-of-mouth.
Can you describe how the business started?
All three of us had similar backgrounds, and came to the realisation there hadn’t been a lot of innovation in communication channels over the past 10 or so years. If you look back, TV and print had branched out with bus shelter advertisements, and other media formats, but nothing revolutionary was happening. We saw the feedback from traditional media wasn’t as strong, and we wanted to explore that.
So we were noticing these trends, and then also saw consumers moving towards wanting to engage with brands and have conversations with them on networks like Twitter. We figured if you talked to them and engaged them, it can be very powerful and they can then be persuasive and be advocates.
How did that lead to word-of-mouth?
The trend of course was formed around users engaging with social networks like Facebook. But word-of-mouth has always been around even before social networks. So we thought there was a good avenue to combine the two.
The whole internet trend is very much about people engaging in normal groups, and forums, etc, and businesses have taken advantage of that with viral campaigns. So we take that as the basis of our campaigns, both offline and online, and we focus on small groups.
So break it down for our readers, what do you do for a word-of-mouth campaign?
The first thing we try to do is find out what a company wants to achieve, what the messages are, and their key demographics, so we know which areas to target.
So we identify those demographics and then we give them something to share, which could be both virtual and physical. So a virtual piece would be like a viral video featuring the product with interactive features, physically it could be samples of products and so on, and then we have internet campaigns where these people can go and share their opinions.
So often we’ll use the real world to give out the product and then direct them to the internet to share that, through social networks or our own site or whatever. The internet isn’t the focus, it’s just a tool.
Can you give an example?
We recently had a campaign for a nasal decongestant for children – quite a strategic challenge. In their market they are very much the number two player, but thought they had a much better product. So obviously challenging the market leader is a big effort, and they said they didn’t want to spend too much money on their message.
So we immediately targeted the key demographic – mother’s groups. We identified over 5,000 groups we could use to spread the product. We showed them the product, allowed them to try it out, and then provided them with a site they could go to in order to share their opinions. It has to be a big campaign, it can’t be small, and I think we achieved that. We didn’t directly advertise, we just showed them the product and then got them to talk about it.
So you combine the internet and real world marketing?
That’s right, the internet can’t just work on its own, and is just a conduit to helping propagate word-of-mouth. You have to understand corporations are quite sensitive to having too much consumer generated media on their sites because you can’t control what people say. So that’s why we use physical demonstrations as well as the site, so we can influence that decision before a post even appears online.
So in the case of the nasal decongestant we would give them samples, and then only then would we direct them to a portal where they can post about what they’ve tried. Of course they could post on Facebook and so on but if the trial is done well that won’t matter.
For businesses wanting to create a word-of-mouth campaign, what do they need to do?
The first thing is that you have to identify a way in which your product is remarkable. This is word-of-mouth, it’s powerful, and people are only going to talk about things that are very good or very bad, they have no reason to make things up and that is why review sites have done so well.
Then you really need to think about who your advocates can be and the influencers for that brand. That’s part of the job we do, identifying demographics. You can use an existing database for this.
Then after you’ve done that you invite that database to participate in a program, usually offline, and then go from there. You can combine this with print advertising, and call-to-action type of programs where there is an incentive to get online and talk about it… like rewards and so on.
Keep in mind that word-of-mouth is often the number one way a company has achieved knowledge about a product, and is often in the top three. It’s a key factor for getting your name out there, and a driver for whether your brand is successful. Don’t discount it.
Some people follow the book accurately when it comes to SEO.
However there are 4 common myths that may be detrimental to your understanding of the whole Search Engine Optimisation process.
Some of the approaches that used to be effective before may no longer be useful today, since the market and search engine crawlers are smarter. Let’s debunk some of the basic myths and make the necessary improvements in your site to boost sales for long.
Myth #1 : SEO Involves Techniques That Fool Search Engines
Fooling search engines mean that you are also fooling human users.
Real SEO techniques involve more than just optimizing content, using marketing schemes and getting additional links. A number of tactics can be used depending on the people that you are attracting to your site.
Some of the useful strategies that can be used for SEO to last a long time may also include: competitive analysis, search marketing strategy, keyword analysis, web design, user experience, creative copy writing, ongoing link building, HTML code optimization, ongoing content development, web analytics and conversion analysis.
Myth #2 : Search Engines Aren’t Used That Much
Based on research, around 4.9 billion searches are done every month by 133 million unique searchers.
Search engines have become one of the most common tools used for people to gain information. The majority of internet users rely on search engines to get to different web sites, pages and companies. Search engines lead you to different online businesses and shops where you can find the information or product that you need.
You need to determine how useful and relevant your content is in the market, then aim on becoming an authority in the industry.
Myth #3 : SEO Doesn’t Work Because You Do Not Have Many Visitors
Keep in mind that SEO doesn’t promise instant and significant results.
You have to use the different marketing tools and strategies together with the approaches and SEO to make everything work together. Experts recommend that you spend about 6 months after the implementation phase to evaluate the results of SEO.
You also have to ensure that your web site can back up all the methods you have incorporated. If your site is not easy to navigate, does not have sound and unique content and is not relevant to the people you are targeting, then your SEO efforts will be rendered useless.
Myth #4 : SEO Happens Only Once
SEO takes time to develop and you need to evaluate and assess each approach to determine if it should be improved. Search engines view about 100 to 200 factors or signals to know its relevance as well as decide how to categorized search results. You have to give SEO constant attention because there are several other sites and pages that also promise unique content, entertaining media and other tools to entice the target market.
Always brainstorm on how you can further improve your techniques like integrating with other offline and online marketing, creating new content, building new links and refining your optimization approaches. If you have spent some time, money and effort creating the groundwork for your SEO, you have to ensure that operations continue to function and drive the right clients into your web site. SEO is not a one – time event. It needs to be refined every now and then, weekly is best.
SEO is an ongoing process that takes time and dedication to develop. You don’t have to believe everything that is written on SEO, but some of the essentials remain.
One of those essentials is getting quality backlinks to your site.
If you can write a simple article to distribute to article directories on the internet, then you can start building your own backlinks without effort in a very short space of time.
- – -
Article may be reproduced with permission by www.surefireweb.com.au so long as all links are intact and a direct link back this this article is mainatained.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of getting your website ranked on the first page of Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc…
Practicing SEO means getting your website to rank top in the organic search engine result “for a particular keyword phrase” so as to get endless flow of free traffic to your website.
Imagine if you sell gifts, and you rank #1 in Google’s search result for “buy cheap Christmas presents”. What can that do to your sales?
Different search engines have different search algorithm. In the SEO industry, we are mainly concerned about getting top ranking in Google because Googles owns more than 80% of the search engine market share.
Notice that I quote the phrase “for a particular keyword phrase”? Before you even think about SEO, you must first know what keyword phrase you want to get your web page to ranked for. This is why keyword research and backlinks to your website are vitally important.
How to get your website rank top for a particular keyword phrase in Google?
Technically, you can get any web page (not just website) into the first page of Google by building lots of backlinks to that web page using THAT particular keyword phrase as the anchor text.
For example, if you want to rank top for the keyword phrase “buy cheap Christmas presents”, you need to have lots of backlinks to your web page using “buy cheap Christmas presents” as the anchor text.
By the way, do you notice that I always use the word “web page” instead of “website”?
Google views every web page as independent content, meaning technically, if you have a website about dog, you can add a web page about stomach pain and get that web page to rank top for stomach pain, even though your website is about dog!
Don’t agree? Just look at Wikipedia.com and Ezinearticles.com. They have articles in all kinds of categories. But almost all of them are ranking well in Google.
Other important factors besides backlinks
Technically, it is possible to bulldoze your way to the first page of Google simply by building enormous amount of SEO backlinks to your web page, disregarding all other SEO factors. But you really need enormous amount of backlinks, probably 100 times more than your closest competitor.
Think of SEO as a scoring system. If you don’t practice all other SEO techniques and simply build SEO backlinks, it will be as if you score 0 for all other fields on the score card and to beat your competitors, your backlink score alone has to be higher than your competitors’ total score.
On the other hand, if you score well on ‘other SEO factors’ at the same time, you don’t have to build that many backlinks. And the ‘other SEO factors’ are definitely easier to accomplish than link building.
The “other SEO factors” are:
#1 – The title tag
In a html source code, a title tag looks something like this:
<title>Title of your web page</title>
If you want to optimize for “buy cheap Christmas presents”, you must include “buy cheap Christmas presents” in the title tag, as near to the starting line as possible.
#2 – Keywords in the description meta tag
In a html source code, a description meta tag looks something like this:
<meta name=”Description” content=”Your Description About The Page.”>
If you want to optimize for “buy cheap Christmas presents”, you must include “buy cheap Christmas presents” in the description meta tag, as near to the starting line as possible.
#3 – Keywords in the url
The best is to have a website named buycheapChristmaspresents.com. But if you have many keywords to optimize, buying a domain name for each of them can be very costly. If so, you should at least name the web page as yourdomain.com/buy-cheap-Christmas-presents.html
#4 – Keywords within the content
If you want to optimize for “buy cheap Christmas presents”, try to include “buy cheap Christmas presents” at least once in the first paragraph, once in the last paragraph and a few within the content.
There is no strict rule on this but minimally, you should include the exact keyword at least once in the entire content.
#5 – Website authority
If you have been reading up on SEO, you must have heard of Authority Site. The idea is if your site is an Authority Site, the search engine will send tons of traffic for all kinds of keyword phrases to you, pretty much like what Wikipedia and Ezinearticles have established now.
Website authority is at domain level. Meaning if your domain is an authority site, all other web pages in this domain will benefit.
2 important factors that affect website authority are:
1) The age of the site
There is nothing you can do with the age of your site. You just have to be patience, and you need to have a long term vision for your website. Don’t build one site, chuck it away after 3 months and start another one.
2) The amount of backlinks to the homepage and internal pages, especially backlinks from other authority sites.
The difference between SEO backlinks (as discussed earlier) and backlinks for site authority (as mentioned here) is that the former is keyword specific, i.e., you have to include the keywords in the anchor text. For backlinks to boost site authority, any dofollow backlink will count. They can be keyword-specific anchor link or simply a URL link. Of course, all the SEO backlinks that you’ve established will help to boost your site authority.
Fundamentally, that’s all you need to know about SEO. I’m serious! Armed with these basic knowledge, I already gained hundreds of top positions in Google.
- – -
Article Courtesy of EZLinkArticleSystem.
Originally written by Microsoft.
The Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance is a major initiative between our companies to create a competitive choice in search for advertisers and consumers. The combined scale will assist both companies in speeding the pace of innovation to improve the search user experience, as well as help advertisers get better results and help improve monetization for partners.
Yahoo! and Microsoft will each provide customer support to different advertiser segments: Yahoo!’s sales team will exclusively support high volume advertisers, SEO and SEM agencies, and resellers and their clients. Microsoft will support self-service advertisers. In addition, Microsoft adCenter will be the platform for all search campaigns.
More volume, less effort.
Search ad inventory from Yahoo!, Microsoft, and their respective partners will be combined into a new unified search marketplace, giving advertisers of all sizes access to a combined audience of nearly 577 million searchers worldwide.1
Our aim is a high quality transition of advertisers and partners in at least the US prior to the 2010 holiday season. However, we may wait until 2011 if we determine this will be more effective.
This post originally written by Smart Company.
The online advertising industry continued to perform well during the past 12 months even though traditional advertising markets struggled to repeat past successes, an industry leader has claimed.
The comments come as the Interactive Advertising Bureau reveals online advertising spending increased by just 9.4% during 2009, compared to the 27% rise during the previous year.
IAB chief executive Paul Fisher says the industry has continued to outplay the print and television markets, with companies opting to advertise online even while cutting back on traditional ad market spending.
In figures released today, the IAB said spending rose 9.4% during 2009 to $1.87 billion, down from last year’s 27% increase and from 34.5% in 2007.
“The GFC was without doubt the biggest impact on the industry in 2009, and were not immune to it at all,” Fisher says. “It did not have an impact on us, yes, but this wasn’t as big an impact as the other mediums experienced. We’ve managed to produce an exceptionally strong result.”
However, Fisher contrasts this against the result in the overall media advertising industry, which shrank by 8% during 2009.
Free to air television spending dropped 7.9% to $3.4 billion, newspaper advertising spending fell 16% to $3.46 billion while the capital city radio advertising market dropped 2.7% to $626 million.
“The biggest thing to realise from these figures is that the slowdown in the online industry is being compared to the days when we were recording 50% growth every year. And of course as the market grows to $2 billion, that’s going to slow.”
The biggest decline was in the online classified ads market, which fell by 2.3% to $429.8 million. Fisher says this is because this market is dominated by the property and recruitment industries, which both experienced declines during the financial crisis.
However, Fisher still says the overall result for online advertising was strong and that trend should continue over the year.
“The trend we are seeing is that market departments are still continuing to invest in online even when they are pulling out of traditional markets. We didn’t flatten out or go backwards. Companies are realising that even though they’ve trimmed budgets, they still have to invest in online.”
Other figures from the IAB show the search and directories market, which is dominated by Google, rose by an estimated 17% to $944 million. General display ad spending also increased by 7.1% to $498 million.
Fisher says he expects the industry to record 15% growth over the year surpassing $2 billion, with the search and directories market to grow by up to 20%.
“I think these figures show marketers are becoming more and more aware that consumers are spending more time online and interact with a variety of different formats of ads.”
“We’ve really got world leading online creative in this country, and it’s definitely showing up online, and more brand advertisers are realising they can do some really great things on the internet.”
This article originally posted by Smart Company.
The internet advertising industry continued to grow in 2009 and will do the same in 2010, but the next 12 months is expected to see the ongoing development of mobile advertising.
Last year the Interactive Advertising Bureau forecast the online ad market to pass $2 billion by next month, representing a 27% increase from 2008. While the downturn forced spending down in 2009, it’s safe to assume that figure will rise in 2010.
The mobile advertising scene is fairly new, so naturally few SMEs are actually investing in the sector. But Apple’s recent acquisitions of Quattro, along with Google’s purchase of AdMob, shows the big players are serious about the mobile space.
But Thomas says businesses should think about advertising on prominent sites such as social networks, in order to keep up with the market.
“In the last 12 months we have started various campaigns using Facebook ads with quite good success, and it’s getting better. Businesses should be taking advantage of the solid targeting available through sites like Facebook.”
“We’re certainly seeing more advertising on Twitter. You have sites now which are allowing companies to hire someone with a million followers to tweet their messages. I mean, it’ll cost you, but the return on investment of that tweet could be huge.”
YouTube senior product manager David King says the growth of viral content, pieces of media published online which gain popularity in a short amount of time, are opening businesses up to new advertising models.
He says if a business finds a piece of content it created on a YouTube video, it can choose to place an in-video or AdWords advertisements rather than claim a copyright violation.
“These advertising structures are really geared towards taking control of what users upload. It’s only relevant if you’re uploading content, but if you are a small business and are doing that, this could be relevant for you.”
Most businesses are at least operating a website, but even those rejecting the online space need to be aware of how fast rumours and allegations can fly in the digital age. Several companies have had their reputations tarnished within hours from the activities of either rogue employees, or a botched advertising campaign.
Griffin says businesses need to control their reputation by monitoring what people are saying about them.
“The answer is, companies have been pushed into conducting a social media marketing campaigns without research and without adequately addressing the risk factors associated with social media.”
“2010 will see companies embracing the need to address the inherent risks of social media, with enterprises moving towards a scientific and empirically based approach to managing risk.”
Last year, Domino’s Pizza landed itself into trouble when two employees posted a video of themselves handling food unhygienically on the internet. Cotton On experienced backlash on Facebook when it continued to sell baby clothes with slogans such as “They Shake Me”.
Griffin says businesses can avoid such catastrophes by carefully monitoring who is talking about their brand, and being ready to address any situation as quickly as it appeared.
“The many and varied social media ‘fails’ of 2008-2009 will see companies and institutions take a measured, risk-based approach to these platforms.”
“Auditing, monitoring and analysing social media platforms along with risk mitigation strategies will become standard fare for those companies looking to protect and enhance their brand on social media platforms.”
While mobile advertising may be taking awhile to heat up, many businesses are developing new and interesting mobile marketing campaigns to draw people into their stores.
Google has developed a system whereby users take a picture of a barcode with their mobile phone and use the search engine to find information. Closer to home, Hoyts Cinemas currently runs a promotion where movie goers with Bluetooth activated on their handsets sometimes receive discount offers via text messages when they walk into a lobby.
But it isn’t just big companies which are using mobiles for marketing. Peter Shipman, who owns a casual Mexican restaurant in the US, bought ads in university newspapers to advertise a barcode sent through text messages used to claim discounts.
US company Jagtag is now developing a technology used to identify barcodes through camera phones, when it is then sent via text message in order for the user to receive a discount code.
Thomas says this year will see a number of companies bring mobile marketing strategies to the forefront of their campaigns.
“There are going to be some really good creative ways people will start to get customers in store, and sending messages out like that… providing they don’t break any spam laws.”
“We’re going to see these companies start to realise how much activity is occurring through mobiles, and then we’re going to see them respond by commissioning campaigns of their own.”
Thomas also says a number of companies will begin to commission mobile apps, especially on the iPhone, purely for marketing purposes. Whether this will gain them revenue or purely open their brand to a new audience, the mobile apps market will become part of an online business’s marketing strategy in 2010.
The growth of the internet has allowed businesses to publish content of their own, including blogs, pictures and even videos. King says SMEs should think about creating some sort of content on YouTube or similar sites such as a tutorial, and see a fan base grow.
“There are a lot of smaller to medium sized businesses which have really operated with a focus of specifically gearing themselves towards publishing on YouTube, and they really make a go of it – and we give them a global audience to do so.”
But King warns businesses they must be generating useful content, without the appearance of a blatant marketing pitch, and not be scared of entering a new area where they might not have experience.
“As these things become more commonplace, consumers love them, but unfortunately businesses which have been relying on older business models do not. I really think they need to get over that a little bit. Ultimately the consumer is right, and they are going to spend their time the way they spend it.”
“Businesses need to really stay focused on that consumer experience and not get hung up on the comfort of the way things used to be. The more businesses can try and anticipate where things can go as opposed to stopping it, I think that’s the best place to be for them.”
Once upon a time, businesses wouldn’t trust open-source programs in favour of branded, more trustworthy software solutions. But now open-source has given SMEs a way of operating high-end programs without substantial costs.
With popular programs such as Mozilla Thunderbird, Open Office, WordPress and Joomla now gaining notoriety, organisations are beginning to realise open-source programs aren’t just technically inferior rip-offs, but legitimate alternatives.
A number of organisations, including the British Government and the French police force, have openly supported open-source, while Gartner research from late-2008 indicates the majority of businesses in the Asia/Pacific region took up open-source in 2009.
And with the development and popularity of open-source Android operating system continuing to grow, open-source is likely to play a major part in a business’s IT strategy in 2010.
Two years ago “cloud computing” was viewed by many businesses as a buzzword with no particular meaning, used by tech-heads who didn’t quite know what they were talking about.
Now, using cloud services has become an essential for businesses. Whether they are backing up their data or using a piece of software hosted on external servers, cloud computing is now a part of everyday operations for many SMEs.
Cloud services have branched out into three main categories: applications, also known as software-as-a-service, infrastructure, used for data backups, and internal service providers for businesses with customised apps and programs.
Analyst firm Gartner recently named cloud computing as one of the top strategic technologies for 2010, saying it could be exploited in a number of different ways to customise programs and apps to a particular company’s needs.
“Using cloud resources does not eliminate the costs of IT solutions, but does rearrange some and reduce others. In addition, consuming cloud services enterprises will increasingly act as cloud providers and deliver application, information or business process services to customers and business partners.”
Thank God, a lot of businesses now have an online presence.
With an internet business, your service or products can reach different parts of the world – which means that your website can attract traffic for your business. In order to establish an online presence, blogging for business is of utmost importance for today and in the years to come.
Here are some useful blog tips that you can incorporate in your internet business :
- You must learn to use the right keywords – all the contents of your blogs should have the right or appropriate keywords. Effective blogging can also place your internet business among the top searches in the results of search engines.
- If you plan to use blogs for your internet business, you must be able to make posts regularly.Sporadic bloggers have no place on the net and so if you want your efforts to be rewarded, make sure that you post blogs frequently. If you forget to make posts, your blogs will not be very effective for your internet business.
- Your blogging efforts will be rewarded if the content is interesting. Through effective blogging, you can establish a good reputation for your business; and not only that, you can shout to the world your business expertise. If you want to gain a positive reputation, make sure that you post interesting blogs that are related to your business.
- Back links are valuable – to promote your business through the use of blogs, you have to give importance to back links. The blog post contents should be able to incorporate appropriate back links. By doing so, you can attract much traffic to your website in a more effective manner. You can get back links to your website by asking other bloggers to link to your blog, or make a comment on your site (or on their site).
Those are some simple tips that you can use for blogging. Indeed, blogging can be very useful for online business but only if you can post effective blogs.
At present, many owners of online businesses are now making use of blogs to promote their products and services. If you want to become successful online and at the same time a successful owner of a business, blogging can an effective method of getting your message or product out there.
Some say that blogs are not that hard to compose. To some individuals, it may be their way to share their personal experiences and everyday life. But according to some expert bloggers, you also need to consider the interests of the readers and online researchers. Remember that once you start posting blogs in your business website, you have to post frequently (at least once or twice a week) so that your customers and readers will not forget you or your business.
So what are you waiting for? Learn to make blogs now and become an effective blogger. Your business will surely benefit from the blogs that you post. If you want to learn more about effective blogging for business, you can easily conduct researches online because you can find a wealth of information there.
Blogging for business is one of the most effective means of making your business a success. Start making blogs now and you will profit in the future!
The better optimized a website is, the higher the ranking it will receive from a search engines web crawlers, the higher its ranking the more traffic your website will have, the more traffic your website has the more profit your website will be able to generate.
The key is good internet search engine optimization.
Why is having a high ranking so important to the future success of your online business?
Studies have shown that consumers seldom look at websites that don’t rank a spot on of the first two pages the search engines displays.
Websites that receive a ranking that places them on the second page (or any other pages after that) see a significantly lower amount of traffic at their websites then one that is ranked on the second page. There is even a staggering difference between the first and second page. In the world of e-commerce, ranking and strong search engine optimization is everything.
At first search engine optimization may seem like a scary world full of big words like web crawlers, PageRank, Meta tags, and algorithms. You most likely never heard of any of these things before.
A quick internet search of the world algorithm doesn’t help; all you got was a printout of strange symbols and numbers arranged in complex algebraic equations.
Sit back, take a deep breath, and try to relax.
Search engine optimization is a lot simpler then you might think. Here’s some technical terms:
- PageRank is simply the program Google designed to search, index, and rank it registered webpage’s. PageRank operates on a link analysis algorithm. PageRank is credited for Google’s incredible success.
- Web crawlers are tools search engines use to browse the World Wide Web in a methodical, automated manner. When web crawlers are browsing websites they are looking for algorithms.
- Meta tags are special HTML tags that provide information to about a web page. Meta tags are written directly into the title tag, keywords, description and other “under the page” locations, and are only visible to the search engine.
The reality of search engine optimization is that you can start to optimize your website without any knowledge at all of the technical stuff involved in search engine optimization.
Simply, the very first step in designing a website that is going to be well ranked by the search engines is to create a content rich site.
What this means is that you must enter as much information about your product into your website as you possibly can.
Fill your site with keywords that will attract the web crawler’s attention based around your product or service, and you can’t go wrong.
The most successful online businesses all have one thing in common. They all knew how to make search engine optimization work for them.
Search engine optimization is the art and science of making websites attractive to the internet’s search engines. The first step in successfully achieving stellar search engine optimization is to lure search engine’s web crawlers to your website. Web crawlers are computer programs that the search engines use gather data and index information from the websites. The information the web crawlers gather is used to determine the ranking of a webpage.
One of the fastest ways to hamper a web crawler is to construct a website that has frames. Most search engines have crawlers that can’t penetrate the frames, if they can’t get into a webpage to read it then that webpage remains unindexed and unranked. Two search engines, Google and Inktome, have web crawlers that are capable of penetrating frames. Before submitting your website to a search engine do some research and find out if they have a crawler that is incapable of penetrating any frames.
If you have written frames into your URL it will probably be worth your effort to go back and rewrite your URL’s. Once you have rewritten your URLs you might be surprised to find that the new addresses are easier on humans as well as web crawlers, the frameless URLs are easier to type in documents as links and references.
Once you have rewritten your URL’s it is time to start submitting your website to search engines. Some webmasters like to use an automated search engine submission service. If you decide to go with the submission service you should be aware that there is likely to be a fee involved, the minimum fee is typically $100 dollars. This price should keep a few URLs on the search engines for a year, but for long term results you need to go beyond search engine submission services and develop your own search engine friendly site. Other webmasters like to avoid big fees by submitting their website to individual search engine on their own, but this can take a lot of time.
Once your webpage is submitted to a search engine you need to sit down and design a crawler page or more explicitly a site map. A crawler page is a webpage that contains nothing else expect links to every single page of your website. Use the title of each page as the as the link text. This will also give you some extra keywords that will help improve the ranking the crawlers assign to your website. Think of the crawler page as a site map to the rest of your website.
Typically, the crawler page won’t appear in the search results. This happens because the page doesn’t have enough text for the crawlers to give that individual page a high ranking, after all its nothing more then a portal to the rest of your site and your human users won’t need to use it. Don’t panic if it crawlers don’t instantly appear to index your website. There are a lot of websites available on the internet that need to be crawled, indexed, and then ranked. It can sometimes take up to three months for a web crawler to get to yours.
With the pressure to get a lot of businesses online, there are now companies that offer to put a brief summary of your website into an online directory. They say that for a small investment between $350 and $600 you can have a link to your website, name and contact details, and a picture added to their directory.
While this seems like an absolute bargain, you have to ask yourself the question, “Is this really worth it?”
The claims that they make are simple: they will increase your presence on the internet, so that when people search their directory they can find your business.
With the high number of online directories offering you an exclusive location on their internet real estate, I decided to test drive and see what would come up.
Example Post, PAINTER IN TOOWONG
So I hit my favorite Search Engine (Google) and typed in “painter in Toowong” to determine the results.
The first few results are the “paid” results,highlighted in yellow, right up the top. These are followed by Google Map locations of seven businesses before we get to the natural search engine results.
The first “organic” result takes me to a beautiful page, well optimised, and looks like it was developed as part of a Community guide.
However when you click to “Go to the main website” it takes you to a dead end. Looks like they dropped their domain, or the developers screwed up here ?! In any case, the business has just one sheet on the internet, and despite holding that lucrative position their customers are turned away if they want more information.
Further, if you click around the (makeshift?) website there is a location page, but the location of the business isn’t in Toowong at all ! It’s in Clayfield.
So now we’ve got a business listing that comes up in the highest organic result, but advertising in the wrong location, on a website platform that appears to be a makeshift website.
Oh sorry, this is infuriating.
If this was MY business I’d be asking a lot of questions from my web design company…
Back to Google, I’m searching down the list to see if I can find an actual painting company in Toowong.
The next result is a free listing in True Local – Ken Bells Painting. On that page there is a phone number and Google map – along with other business listings for painters in nearby suburbs.
There’s no explanation about who Ken Bell is, where he works, what his prices are, what paint he uses, or the level of experience he has. He’s quite fortunate to even get a listing on Google in such a high spot (#2). The reason for this is that his url contains the term “painter” and “Toowong”, and the title tag contains those search terms as well.
<title>KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE, Toowong, Qld, 4066</title>
Further to this, let’s look at the META tags, and in this case there are three: TITLE, DESCRIPTION and KEYWORDS.
You’ll notice that the search terms “painter” and “Toowong” are included in each of these META tags:
<meta name="title" content="KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE, Toowong, Qld, 4066" /> <meta name="description" content="KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE, Toowong, QLD. Full contact details for KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE including phone number, map and reviews. Listings by TrueLocal."/> <meta name="keywords" content="KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE, Painters, Toowong, reviews recommendations local business search"/>
And lastly, the words “painter” and “Toowong” are on the small piece of text that co-exists on the web page.
Now if you are on Google’s page that shows these results, you’ll see that the number of competing Web Pages for these search terms is less than 10,000. So naturally there would not need to be any amount of “off-page” optimisation to get a #1 result in Google for these terms. All this has been accomplished with simple “on-page” optimisation.
Now if you’re a painter in Toowong and would like to get to #1 position, it’s quite easy!
There are several more things that you can do to out-rank and out-perform these few results — even without having to get into “off-page” optimisation. But that’s a topic for further discussion.
After this result was the Yellow Pages listing for Big Ben’s Paint Company, followed by Hot Frog – an online business directory.
So my question is … “Should You Add Your Business to Online Directories ?”
The short answer is YES, because they will help you get listed online.
But should you be paying $350 – $600 to be listed ? My answer is NO. Not one of the business listings that came up on Google’s first page were from a paid directory. Oh, some of you might argue with me and say that Yellow Pages is a paid service — and of course it is. My response is that if your business gets found on Google’s first page for a Yellow Pages listing, then there’s not much competition in the market! People will be searching for your business through Yellow Pages instead of doing a “Google Search”, but nice to know that it turns up.
If you really want to blitz your company in the search engines, then you’re going to need your own website. And you’re going to need to capture the right words and phrases in the important places of your website (both on page and under the page).
You can learn more about getting a number one listing in the Search Engines by attending one of Sure Fire Web’s training courses.
We give you the skills to confidently update your website to make it found in the Search Engines for the phrases that you need. Register your interest today and make sure you plan to attend an event in order to capture your share of the market !