Search Engine Optimization and Marketing

Data is the New Currency

Posted by admin on August 28, 2014
DRTV Direct Response Television, Search Engine Optimization and Marketing / Comments Off on Data is the New Currency

Think back to the last thing you purchased. Did you think to count the number of touch-points you went through when making that purchase? Researchers estimate that the average consumer needs to be ‘touched’ 5-7 times by marketing messages before making a purchase. Why so many? Because consumers are using multiple media outlets (i.e. TV, online, digital, social) when making a purchase requiring the direct response marketing industry to move in a new direction: towards big data.

In direct response marketing, the ultimate objective is always conversion. Focusing on big data allows businesses to correlate multi-channel marketing campaigns with real-time results and to evaluate the channels a consumer might use to purchase. DR marketers should remember the message is no longer the only secret ingredient to a successful campaign.

To learn more why your business should consider big data, click here.

~ Sarah Thaler

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Forget Generation X, or even Y. Meet Generation C.

Nielson, the industry’s leader in media research, ratings and data, has a new demographic, dubbed “Generation C,” or Americans 18-34, who are quickly becoming both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers, and redefining media consumption with their embrace of new digital technology.

Gen C makes up only 23% of the US total population, yet they make up 27% of Americans watching video or using social media, and over 30% of Americans using tablets. In fact, Gen C makes up a whopping 39% of all smart phone users in the US.

Gen C, who grew up alongside the growth of the internet, cell phones, social media, and the technology boom, has “taken ownership” of new media, changing the way advertisers and marketers approach them. New technology provides the opportunity for new content and new ways to distribute it, and Generation C knows how to access it better than any other age demographic out there. For us at TM and DR advertising, this means an opportunity to stray away a bit from TV in the future and expand into internet and mobile campaigns, while still using the results driven approach DR advertising requires.

From audio/video to augmented reality, Generation C’s fearless adaptation of new media is “representing both a challenge and opportunity for marketers and content providers alike.”

Read more at Nielsen.com.

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Yes, submitting your website to directories can help improve your rankings.

Posted by admin on August 30, 2010
Search Engine Optimization and Marketing / No Comments

One of the cornerstones of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is link building. It is often said that link building is 70% of SEO. Search engines look at links to websites as a vote for that site. A link to your site from the New York Times will carry authority and can have a significant impact on how well your website ranks. Finding websites to link to your site is a time consuming process that involves creating business partnerships, link exchanges, use of social media, promotion through guest blog postings, creating good quality content (link bait) and directory submissions.

Directory submissions as link building starting point
We have worked with several newly developed websites and have used directory submissions as a starting point to gain traffic and improve search engine rankings. In almost every case we have seen our targeted search terms raise the sites traffic rankings significantly- in many cases in the top 10.

Here is a summary of the benefits of submitting your website to directories:

One Way Links
Obtaining links to your site often requires an exchange with another site. While reciprocal links carry value, they are not as valuable as one-way links. Directories don’t expect you to post a link to their site so you get the benefit of a one-way link.

Anchor text of your choice
Anchor text is the text that is used to link to your site. Directories will allow you to choose the anchor text for your link which helps with your search engine rankings. If you have a real estate business that rents apartments in Poughkeepsie, you can use the anchor text“apartments for rent in Poughkeepsie” which will help you rank for that term.

Directories are for the most part free
There are benefits to submitting to a properly researched paid directory and we do recommend submitting to a few of these, but for the most part directories are free to submit to. The caveat is that many of them charge a fee for immediate submission but will post your site for free after a wait of several weeks or months.

Directory Submission Process

Research search terms
Find 5 search terms to use for your anchor text. Use the Google Keyword Tool to help with your research. The keyword tool will give you suggestions and will show you how many times the term is searched for monthly. You will also need to write a short description for each search term.

Compile a Directory List
Start by compiling a list of directories to submit to. A good list can be found  at seocompany.ca You can also search “ “list of web directories” to expand your list.

Check if category pages are indexed
Most directories are structured similarly. Find the category that best fits your business and copy the URL in the address bar and paste it into a Google search box. The URL should be number one in the search results. If the URL isn’t showing then Google isn’t indexing the page and the directory has no SEO value to your site.

Check for the “nofollow” attribute
Make sure that the page you are submitting to does not have the nofollow attribute applied to the links. Nofollow will not pass link juice to your site and will be of no SEO value. There is a Firefox extension called SearchStatus that allows you to check whether links are nofollow or not.

Check Page Rank
Google ranks pages from 0 to 10 with 10 being the highest. Google has a page rank tool that you can install in your browser that will show you the page rank of the page you are visiting. The page rank will give you an indication of how strong the link will be for your site.

Submit your site!
When you have found the proper category and have determined that the directory is SEO worthy, you should see a “submit your site” link. When you click this, you can submit your site by adding your title and description.

Bing Seeing Uptick in Search

Posted by admin on March 22, 2010
Search Engine Optimization and Marketing, Technology / No Comments

According to Nielsen Company, Bing, has received a new record high for search, coming in at 12.5%, translating as a lesson to your SEM efforts, Bing is not to be ignored. To see a full list of the ratings for February, click here. Read more at Blog.Nielsen.com.

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Google Caffeine to Launch in Early 2010

Posted by admin on November 16, 2009
Search Engine Optimization and Marketing / No Comments

Last August Google announced Caffeine, an update in their search technology that users were able to test by visiting the Google Caffeine website. Last week that site was disabled by Google with a message saying  “We appreciate all the feedback from people who searched on our Caffeine sandbox. Based on the success we’ve seen, we believe Caffeine is ready for a larger audience. Soon we will activate Caffeine more widely.”

Matt Cutts, Google employee and search guru has confirmed that caffeine will be launched after the holidays. While Google continually tweaks its results, this will be the first major update since 2006. What will the update mean to the Google web results?

Search results for most websites will see negligible changes, the real power of Caffeine will be the ability for Google to index and deliver new content much faster and with greater flexibility.

Read more about Google Caffeine on Matt Cutts Blog

Using PPC to Drive Sales and Leads

Posted by admin on June 01, 2009
Search Engine Optimization and Marketing / No Comments

Pay Per Click (PPC) is an internet advertising method in which advertisers bid on keywords or keyphrases for the placement of their text advertisements in search engine result pages (SERPs). The advertisements are usually under a ‘Sponsored Results’ heading to differentiate from the natural search results. Generally the higher advertisers bid on keywords or keyphrases the higher their ads will appear in the SERP’s. Advertisers are only charged when a visitor clicks on an ad. Ads can also appear on “Content Network” websites- sites that display content related to the advertisers keywords. Advertisements on Content Networks are generally charged on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis. Content Networks will also usually display graphic and video advertisements in addition to text advertisements. Currently, Google, Yahoo and MSN are the biggest players in offering PPC advertising.

Due to it’s contextual nature and the tremendous reporting and tracking methods that PPC offers, PPC advertising can be a highly effective method to drive sales or leads through your website. PPC also offers tremendous scalability. Advertising costs can start out small during the testing phase of a PPC campaign and after campaign effectiveness is measured and adjustments are made, budgets can be increased with predictable results.

Advantages of PPC Advertising

  • Targeting- including geo-targeting, age, gender, day of week and time of day.
  • Instant placement at the top of search engines.
  • Instant sales and measurable ROI using conversion tracking.
  • Campaigns can be switched on and off instantly in response to specific needs, search trends or specific events (e.g. Summer sale).

Keys to Success
One of the keys to PPC success is to understand that campaign management isn’t simply creating the ads and bidding on ad placement. Successful campaign management includes the ability to maintain a dedicated focus on the constantly changing PPC landscape. Keyword research, writing good ad copy, analyzing landing page conversions and proper bid management are all components that contribute to the success of your campaign. A properly managed PPC campaign will allow you to increase your profits in a cost effective targeted way.

Tower Media has experienced PPC campaign professionals who can help with your campaign. If you would like more information about our PPC management services contact Dean Wicklund at 312-856-9181 or dean@towermedia.com

Ten Tips to Improve your Search Engine Traffic

Posted by admin on June 01, 2009
Search Engine Optimization and Marketing / No Comments

Optimizing a site for search engines is an increasingly critical component of any online marketing effort. Ranking well in search engines can be very competitive and is only going to get more difficult. There are millions of pages of new content indexed by search engines every day. It’s inevitable that something is being written every day that competes with your websites content. In order to stay competitive in your search engine rankings, search engine optimization, or “SEO,” techniques need to be implemented to make sure that people searching for topics you write about will find your site.
Here are ten tips that will help improve your search engine rankings:

1. Keyword Research
Researching keywords in your industry is going to give you an idea of the search volume for that keyphrase. Once you have this knowledge you can use it to modify or create content that targets these keywords. The Google AdWords keyword tool allows you to enter a keyword giving you related keyword suggestions and the approximate monthly search volume for that keyword. When you’re doing your keyword research, create a spreadsheet with your targeted keywords and check your search engine rankings for each keyword. Use your spreadsheet to benchmark how well you’re ranking and to see your improvements over time.

2.Keyword Density
If you’re targeting certain keywords it only makes sense that keywords appear in your page content. The key is to make the placement of your keywords look natural and not overdo it. Shoot for around a 5% keyword density. Once your get over 7-8% it might start to look a bit spammy. There are several keyword density tools available on the internet to measure the keyword percentage.

3. Title Tags
Use keywords in your title tags but also make sure that each title in your website is unique and descriptive. Having the keyword towards the beginning of your title also helps. Users see the page titles in the search engine results pages (SERPS) so a well written title can make the difference in the users decision to click through or not. Duplicate titles across your site is a sure way to lower your rankings.

4. Google Analytics

Google Analytics will give you an unbelievable amount of information about your site. Use the information to examine where improvements can be made to your site. For example, through Analytics you may discover that the bounce rate on some sections of your site is very high. You might want to do some experimenting with navigation or graphical elements to make the site more ‘sticky’. Analytics will quickly let you know if your changes are working or not. A quality user experience is a factor in search engine rankings so it’s important to respond to the information Analytics offers you.

5. Link Building
Generally, the more inbound links you have to your site the better your site will rank. Every link to your site is looked at as a ‘vote’ for your site. The key is to have quality and relevant links. A link to your site from New York Times online doing an article about your industry will far outweigh a link that was created through a link exchange program. Another important factor in link building is the anchor text of the link. Anchor text is the text used in the link itself. If you sell golf putters an inbound link using ‘golf putters for sale’ will have much more value than ‘click here’. I cannot stress the importance of what a quality inbound link can do improve search rankings. I have seen inbound links from quality sites that have propelled the recipients ranking for the phrase used in the anchor text almost overnight.

6. Quality Content
The old SEO adage that content is king is as true today as when I first heard it almost ten years ago. Continually creating unique and quality content for your website works on many levels- it creates a good user experience, it helps your site become ‘authoritative’, it allows more opportunity for visitors to find your site and it help create ‘link bait’- content that is compelling enough for other sites to link to.

7. User Friendly URLs
User friendly URLs are URLs that include keywords. For instance the URL mygolfsite.com/ping-redwoood-golf-putter is much more attractive to search engines and users than mygolfsite.com/products.php?prouductid=54271. User friendly URLs that include keywords help in a couple of different ways. First the keywords will be bolded in the search engines which will help with your click through rate and secondly if someone links to your site using the URL as the anchor text the keywords will already be included in the link.

8. H1 tags
H1 tags help to organize the page by telling search engines that the topic is important. Avoid using titles, anchor text and H1 tags that are identical.

9. Meta Description Tags
Most search engines display the meta description tag in the SERPs so this is your chance to write a captivating description that will increase your click through’s. Like the title tag, each meta description should be unique and descriptive.

10. Make your site ‘Crawler Friendly’
Search engines can’t crawl javascript and flash links, so if you do use javascript or flash in your navigation, make sure you have an html alternative for the search engines. Create an XML sitemap of your site and submit it to Google through webmaster tools. Google will give you warnings if they are having any problems crawling your site.

Microsoft Announces Bing

Microsoft announced it will replace “Live Search” with “Bing” as search engine to contend with current competitor Google. They are renaming the search engine in an effort to drive search traffic and have “bing” become apart of search rhetoric. While the name certainly has a ring to it, only time will tell if we will start to “Bing” rather than “Google.”  Read more at New York Times.

Optimizing Video for Search

Posted by admin on April 20, 2009
Search Engine Optimization and Marketing / No Comments

Using video on your website is a powerful way to reach you audience. A well crafted video with a catchy title can quickly go viral and is an excellent way to bring links to your site. In turn, links will help give your site search engine authority and ultimately higher search rankings.

The problem with video is you can have great content full of all the keywords you are targeting but search engines are going to have no idea what that content is. Here are some tips to optimize your video content:

  • Transcribe your video. Transcribing your video is a great way to let the search engines know what your video content is. There are many affordable transcribing services that will do this for you.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Internet users have a short attention span. Keep your videos under 6 minutes. If you have a longer video that you just can’t edit down to a reasonable time, consider breaking the video into chapters.
  • Use catchy titles. Using a catchy title will give you a much higher click through rate on your videos. Even if your subject is dry, be creative in how you title your video.  For example if you have an instructional video on how to paint a room,  instead of calling it “How to Paint a Room” you could call it “Painting a Room: In 5 Minutes we’ll Teach you to Paint Like the Pros”
  • Understand 3rd Party Hosting. Posting your video on video sharing websites like YouTube, Meta Cafe and Vimeo are a great way to increase your video views but understand that these sites will have very high authority and will likely out rank your site. If the video becomes popular, the links will point to the hosting site instead of your website. One way to combat this is to optimize the on page factors on your site using the desired keywords. If you decide to post the video on a sharing site, change the titles and tags as not to compete with your site. Also be sure to include a watermark of your website name  as part of the video being posted on hosting sites.
  • Offer the option to embed your code. Offering the code so visitors can post the video on their blog or website will help to make your video viral. Be sure to require a link back to your site for people who use the code.
  • Use a good thumbnail image. Using a compelling thumbnail will greatly increase the chances of your video being viewed.