Monday, August 31, 2009

Balancing SEO and Usability

There is a thin line between optimizing a website for search engines and optimizing it for users. In order to get the content and keywords onto a page that are necessary to boost search engine rankings, it is often the case that usability is compromised. If your page is totally optimized for search engines, but compromises usability, you may be able to drive a lot of traffic to the page, but only convert a small amount of it. On the other hand, if you optimize the page only for usability, leaving off loads of content, you may be able to better convert the traffic that comes, but there will be far less traffic.

A good way to find the best balance is analyzing your analytics. In Google Analytics, for example, you can set up goals used to track conversion on the website. Test your goals on different pages. Optimize a page for search engines and track conversions on that page. Optimize another page for the users and track the same conversions on that page, but as a separate goal. This will let you see if you generate more conversions from the search engine optimized page, which should generate a high amount of traffic with a low conversion rate, or from the user optimized page that should generate a smaller amount of traffic but a higher conversion rate.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Have you ever considered a Press Release?

Years ago, when I worked in the advertising and promotion business, I learned something valuable. That is, newspapers and magazines (of all sorts) are always looking for a story. Let's face it, they've got to have something for the next issue. And if you make their job easy, by writing the story for them, you can get an awful lot of exposure for whatever it is that you want to share with the world.

Say, for example, that you want to promote your Global Domains Inernational (GDI) affiliate program. Your Press Release can be a story with a title such as "The Phenomenon of Internet Marketing" or " .ws, the other .com". In other words, you are creating a new story that speaks to a subject and gives you an author credit at the end that contains your referral link.

Now this is commonly done online with article marketing via article directories, submission services and so on. But those aren't Press Releases for print media publications. You 'story' printed in a small local paper, trade magazine etc. can give you tremendous exposure. And one of the secrets for promoting GDI is to do it -OFF-line.

There are lots of free resources out there those interested in this type of promotion. Learning how to write and submit a Press Release is not difficult. Many publications even have their own kit that they'd prefer you use. But anyway, here are three basic tips:

1) It should sound like a news story and not an ad.

2) The headline and first few sentences are VERY important as they must capture the reader's attention.

3) Proof-read it multiple times and get others to proof-read it also.

If you don't have any idea what to write about, here are a few suggestions:

~ New products or services that you're rolling out on your website

~ The results of an online poll that you've conducted

~ A virtual trade show or seminar that you're hosting

~ A free chat-room class that you're teaching

~ Your opening of a new website

~ A famous person that has used or endorses your business

~ An ebook review or the story behind one that you authored

~ A fund-raising event that you are running

The list goes on and on. It's really not that much work once you sit down and commit to doing it and the results just might surprise you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prove it! Social Media ROI for Business - Please vote for our SXSW Panel

Keith Burtis, the Community Manager at Best Buy has put together a team of Social Media Superstars to create a presentation for SXSW - The South By SouthWest Interactive Conference titled "Prove it! Social Media ROI for Business"

The Panel includes Jay Berkowitz; Allan Isfan; Justin Levy; Amber Naslund and Jason Falls. Each of the panel members has offered to preview their presentation on their blog to give you a sample of the presentation. Here is my sample of Social Media ROI, and below are links to the other members of our esteemed panel.

Oh, and one small favor, please :) Panels at SXSW are voted on by you. If you like our topic, please take a moment to register for SXSW and vote for our panel!

The Most Important Way to Measure Social Media ROI

The most important way to measure ROI (Return on Investment) for all internet activities including Social Media is to quantify the specific actions people take on your website. If you sell something on your site it is very straightforward to measure how many people made a purchase on your site after coming to your site from a Social Media website. If you don’t sell anything on your site you can measure a ‘conversion action’ such as a completed ‘Contact Us’ form or an eNewsletter subscription.

Google Analytics is free and it is a very reliable way to measure what happens on your website,. This program can tell you which websites people came from, and it can measure what they do on your website. It is very easy to add a conversion code on the sales confirmation page or ‘goal’ such as a completed Contact Us form. Every site that doesn’t have a high end analytics program should have Google Analytics in place.

Ten Golden Rules doesn’t sell products we are a B2B (Business to Business) site, we don’t measure direct sales, we measure leads on our site. In this example below, we looked at traffic to our Ten Golden Rules website from Social Media website Twitter. This site sent 492 visits from my account. 2.44 percent of those site visitors signed up for our free eNewsletter, .41 percent requested a website consultation and .20 percent completed a Contact Us form, overall 3.05 percent of site visitors became a lead for our company or they opted-in to our database. We track the sources of our clients and we are able to determine the ROI from our Social Media activities.

Social Media Sponsorships = ROI

Another form of measurable ROI from Social Media can come in the form of sponsorships.

Our Ten Golden Rules Internet Marketing Podcast, a recent SOFIE Award Winner for best Use of New Media, has had two sponsors, SilverPOP and GoToMeeting.

In addition, the Podcast has generated invitations for high profile speaking engagements, media coverage and clients for Ten Golden Rules internet agency.

Here are the posts from my fellow panelists on how to generate ROI from Social Media:

Prove it, Social Media ROI for Business - Keith Burtis

Two ways to generate and measure Social Media ROI - Allan Isfan

Social Media ROI? Traditional Is Still More Accepted
- Jason Falls

Return on Eyeballs: The new ROI - Sue Murphy

Celebrity Searches Can Be Hazardous... To Your Computer

According to McAfee, Inc., celebrity searches can be hazardous to your computer, containing viruses, spyware, adware, spam and phishing. Actress Jessica Biel has been the top search that has a one in five chance of getting one of these threats to your computer.

"Cybercriminals are star watchers too - they latch onto popular celebrities to encourage the download of malicious software in disguise," McAfee's Jeff Green said in a statement.

"Consumers' obsession with celebrity news and culture is harmless in theory, but one bad download can cause a lot of damage to a computer."

Other celebrities that may cause a threat to your computer were Beyonce, Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus.

Who would have thought that cybercriminals use celebrities to spread viruses? Just a heads up to everyone to be careful when you search for the latest celebrity news. I stick to :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Are You Analyzing Sentiment?

With the rise of social media, blogging, forums, reviews, and bookmarking in the internet marketing realm, sentiment analysis is gaining importance. The issue, however, is that while still in its infancy, sentiment analysis is still challenged by the task of translating human emotion into hard data.

Nevertheless, the importance of monitoring online social outlets is essential to the success of a business and can allow businesses to act fast when issues arise. By analyzing the sentiment of online discussions about your business, you can know if a decision you recently made was good or if customers are unhappy.

Monitoring and analyzing sentiment is only half the battle. It is important to join the conversation and offer solutions to problems, explanations of misinformation, etc. With your brand having a strong online presence in social media, you can quickly reach many customers and keep them happy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Presentation how to get blogs to Rank on Google

Matt Cutts from Google did a great presentation at WordCamp in San Francisco. WordCamps BarCamps and Podcamps are free (or cheap) conferences about the interactive space. Wordcamps are focused on WordPress a free blogging platform.

You can find the Matt Cutts Video here.

"WordPress takes care of 90% of the mechanics of Search Engine Optimization"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Use Google Reader To Share Posts

Google has announced several new features to Google Reader which makes it easy to share posts through a variety of social media, blogging, and bookmarking websites. Specifically, the “Send To” feature will let you simultaneously send all of your shared items to the servicess you select.

To select what services you want to share posts on, visit the settings page in Google Reader and click on the “Send To” link at the top right. Select all of the services you want to share on, such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, or Digg, and your shared information will automatically be sent to those services.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Free and Powerful

More and more, you will see people who promote GDI who are also promoting TrafficWave. It's very common. In fact, I included both affiliate programs in my new ebook, Internet Wildcatters. The reason is that they are both very real and potentially very lucrative.

Now comes a new marketing system called Free & Powerful that, once again, combines the awesome might of GDI and TrafficWave in the same marketing system. It's called 'Free & Powerful' because the entire system is 100% FREE to set up and put into motion. Some it remains free forever and it is indeed very powerful.

Any reader of this blog knows how much fondness I have for both TrafficWave and GDI. They are both genuinely useful products that allow any affiliate promoter to build a solid online income. Any marketing system that combines BOTH of them automatically gets my vote. The 'Free & Powerful' system does that by giving you downline-building tools to help grow both businesses, along with some others as well.

If you are currently in GDI, if you are currently promoting TrafficWave, or if you've neither heard of either one, you should check this out. You WILL like it: Free & Powerful

Get signed up today before EVERYONE ELSE finds out about it...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Social Media is Not A Fad...'s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. So true. I think this video explains a lot about how much Social Media has made an impact in today's society. This video, created by Erik Qualman features some interesting statistics about social media.

I can relate with the following statistic (in about 6 months, that is) - "1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media."

Another one that I found interesting - "If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour."

I also agree that more people take into account user reviews over advertisements.

There are a lot more in this video below and I think the video was created in a very clever way.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Interesting Facebook News This Week

This week, a bunch of Facebook news has made the rounds. Just incase you're not aware, here is what the buzz is regarding Facebook.

Facebook acquired Friendfeed which will only make for a better Facebook feed in the future. Since Friendfeed is mainly a site where users can share all their social media profiles in one place, I'm sure its team up with Facebook can only mean bigger and better things.

Facebook has decided to launch Facebook Lite, which is a lighter version of Facebook, which has been said that it kind of looks like a Facebook version of a Twitter stream. From what I've seen, Facebook lite reminds me of an interface that is more mobile friendly, but right now, its being tested on a limited amount of users.

Facebook launches a real time search feature on their website. This new search function even comes up with results from the web, powered by Bing. Now you can search for a company, and view web results outside of Facebook, as well as within Facebook. It was also mentioned that status updates will have the ability to be found publicly and not just if a user is signed into Facebook, which I found to be interesting. This would mean that Facebook search would be in competition with Twitter search.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Solving the Internet Marketing Puzzle

Whether your online business activities are more of a hobby than anything else, or whether they represent a genuine part-time to full-time income, you would like to see your business grow - specifically, your MLM affiliate businesses. The challenge for most people seems to be doing what's necessary in order to build their organizations. Personally, I feel that the reason for this is that very few people TRULY want what they say they want. Because if they did, they'd do whatever it took to get it.

Everybody wants more money but I don't believe that most folks can SEE themselves having it. Deep down, they don't believe it's possible. Your subconscious mind (the part of your brain that ACTUALLY runs your life) is defeating your conscious thoughts. What I'm trying to say is that most people don't have a 'Vision', and that's why they never get anywhere. Some might call it having a 'Core Desire' or 'A Reason Why'. I like the word 'Vision', but it all boils down to one thing: being DRIVEN to succeed.

I'm talking about an all-consuming, white-hot desire that rarely leaves your mind - a mental movie of what you want, why you want it and how your life looks once you have it. 'Hope' is what politicians have for you. I'm not talking about hoping for things to happen. You'll wait your life away. You got to MAKE them happen.

This is the first 'secret' of business success - online or off, and especially with MLM affiliate marketing.

The second 'secret' to the puzzle is tenacity. Closely related to the WILL to win, you have to stay around long enough. The vast, vast majority of those who attempt online marketing (or MLM in general) give up far too quickly. You might as well know up front that this type of business is a long term project and you will be frustrated time and time again with sign-ups that won't refer anyone else, sign-ups that drop out or companies that let you down. It's all part of it. But if you stay with it, if you DON'T QUIT, then life has a funny way of finally giving you what you want.

The third 'secret' to the puzzle is that Internet Marketing is a lot of work! And guess what? You have to do the work. This involves an enormous amount of trial & error, along with heartaches, heartbreaks, wasted time and wasted money. We all go through this 'online tunnel of despair'. But as you march on, you will get smarter, tougher and more experienced. It took me about a year to finally figure it all out and get my systems in place - a long and very frustrating year.

On thing that I have done to help out my signups is to create an ebook that they can read (and even USE!) and, hopefully, shorten that learning curve quite a bit. If you'd like to take a look at it, you can download it here: Internet Wildcatters

'Internet Wildcatters' is the result of much blood, sweat and tears but that's what this business is all about - having a Vision, being tenacious and doing the work. If you take the time to check it out, I am positive that it will (at least in some way) help guide you to the success that you deserve...

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Future of Video SEO

We all love when our videos show up in universal search. Those of us who are familiar with optimizing video for strategic keywords, know that we want to use those keyword phrases in the page title, meta tags, contextual copy surrounding the video, and title descriptions which is the text that is displayed in the actual video. As Google and other search engines become smarter, what does it mean for these video optimization principles?

Now that Google is able to transcribe soundtracks, the future of video optimization will rely heavily on the actual content of the video. When making a new video, the audio should mention the keyword phrases you are targeting, in addition to the page title, meta tags, etc. Think of it as a regular webpage of text. The keyword phrases you are targeting should be woven into the content of the page to give you the best chance of ranking for those keywords. With Google's ability to transcribe audio, think of the audio content of the video as the body copy of the page and include your targeted keywords accordingly.

If you are creating a video that does not have actual verbal content, like a video of a chicken wing eating contest, it is best to include a voice over that describes what is going on and uses strategic keywords.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Twitter Cleanup: Use TweetBlocker

Spam is even worse when it follows you to social networking sites like Twitter. I honestly don't get the benefit of having a Twitter account unless you're really going to use it. A new site called Tweet Blocker shows all your Twitter followers and grades them using an algorithm based on the content of tweets.

A+ being the best and F being the worst, it is easy to identify who you can block or unfollow them (if you are following them). I know that some people like when a lot of people are following them on Twitter, but as for me, I rather know who is following me and wonder why they're following me. Remember, spam accounts don't count as followers!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Are Blogs Social Media? You Bet They Are!

When you hear about something a few times, it really starts to get you thinking. I had a discussion with Jay who revealed he'd been told "blogs are not social media". Then yesterday, I see a post by Mitch Joel where part of the comments discussion ended up focusing on what makes a blog social media. The comments noted that without allowing comments on your blog, it wouldn't qualify as social media (somewhat ironic, if you see what I mean). :)

It's never occured to me that blogs are not social media. Social media sites, at their simplest, can be described as any that allow you to share, or as we are fond of saying, "join the conversation". When you blog, you become part of the "blogosphere" which is a community no matter how you look at it. Also, you create a profile when you blog, which often includes the same kinds of information you feature on Facebook or Twitter. And if Twitter, which is described as "micro-blogging" is social media, then how are blogs not?

Besides, Wikipedia says blogs are social media. Who's going to argue with that?

In short, blogs are a great way to get your information out and express yourself to those you have a connection with. So, for me, it's rather narrow minded to think of blogs as outside the realm of social media.

Promote Your Blog with a Blidget

Got a blog? Why not promote it with a Blidget! A blidget is simply a widget which updates itself along with your blog's RSS feed.

Widgetbox allows you to create free blidgets to put on your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter or Myspace profile. You can customize the look and feel of your blidget by adding a title, subtitle, tags and by changing the color of your blidget.

Blidgets are useful in promoting your blog because it creates an eye-catching way to access your blog. You can reach out to related bloggers in the blogosphere and trade blidgets just like you would trade blogroll links. Other bloggers and their readers can stay up to date with your blog's content wherever the blidget is added and will visit your blog to read more if they are interested in what you have to say.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Google Image Search Options

Google is making it easier to find images to fit your specifications. Like they have been doing with many of their products, they have added search options to Google Images. We are now able to search for photos by color (grayscale, containing certain colors, etc), type (clip art, photo, face), and size (768x20).

For those of you that regularly make purchases from stock photography websites, you probably are used to using search options like this. This is a great way to search a number of different stock photography websites in one shot rather than going to each website and searching individually.

To access the Google Image search options, simply click the "Show Options" link on the Google Image search results page.