Archive for May, 2010
May 10

We all face the issue of duplicated content as we increasingly use RSS feeds, excerpts and smart use of recycled content from one web assets to the other. This week, it was brought to my attention duplicate content might have a negative impact on SEO. It sounds logical that duplicate content may not create an optimum user experience and when abused can raise flags for search engine crawlers.

duplicate content SEO

Duplicate content and SEO

This post from the Google web master tool indicates duplicated content only becomes an issue when it is an intentional attempt to fool customer and search engines. This being said, there are great points here about how Google prioritize web sites with similar content, based on relevance and popularity.

For those of us who have multiple web sites and are unsure how Google rank them by order of priority, this post provides some good insights.

May 10

No, this is not a sponsored post. But this facebook application is plain awesome !
I’ve been looking for facebook applications that will syndicate content from blogs to facebook in a non-annoying way and except this one, have hardly found any. In fact, I tried a few and none of them were as good as this one. There were some applications that let me post the whole RSS feed bluntly to the facebook profile, but it was very intrusive and non-manageable, if you know what I mean. Some applications worked really well, but the feeds were broken and the way they posted it to the profile was kinda annoying, like with the content all cluttered up.

Article from Daily SEO.

Read the full article here.

May 10

As we know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a two fold process:

1) On-page optimization which involves modifying keyword frequency in the URL, Title, Headings, Hypertext Links and Body text.

2) Off-page optimization which boils down to building back links from the web ecosystem, i.e. blogs, tweet,s customers, vendors, partners etc …

While many web agencies focus on on-page optimization (which frankly they have more control over), link building is as important and should be part of the overall SEO strategy. The three areas than offers best returns / lowest efforts are: Directory Listing, Social Media, Press Release dissemination and manual link building.

seo footer links

Directory listing is a an old link building strategy. The idea is to make sure your web site is archived in relevant directories, at national or local levels. This can be done manually or often through service providers. Be careful with those tempting offers (i.e $999 for 1,000 directory listing). It does not necessarily mean the directory is relevant to your company.

Social media is probably the quickest way to create links to your web site. For example, popular Twitter updates that is newsworthy and includes link back to the web site can definitely produce quick results. However don’t expect any miracles unless you have a large number of followers and some news that has the ability to be come viral. People re-tweet about things that are interesting but also fun to share.

Press Release dissemination can be done in multiple ways. What I mean here is the ability to use established Press Release agencies (e.g Business Wire) to send your press release to hundreds of national and local news portal.  There is a typically a fee to do this but this typically produce good results. I previously wrote about the Enhanced Online news (EON) service from BusinessWire.

Manual Link building is done by leveraging customers, partners, bloggers etc … to add a link to your web site. This is a long and painful process but well worth it. Very often, there is some sort of implied reciprocity, you scratch my back, I scratch yours! When reciprocal strategies don’t work, you can use other currencies to build your case. I don’t mean to pay for links which is a black hat (bad) strategy. But sometimes you can offer free content, some nice words etc to bloggers for example. The important thing here is to ensure there is some relationship between the partner’s web site and yours. The relevancy of links matter as much as the frequency. Anchored links, in other words links that are contextual (a few words before and after the link) work best.

This brings me to the question of footer links.

The easiest location for partners, customers etc … to add link to your web site in the footer. The footer typically lists all major sections of a web site and can be used to add links to a third party web site. Most web and Search Engine Marketing agencies usually have an implied or not agreement to have their customers add a link there. The value of it is debatable. In the past, Google would not make a distinction between the footer links and other links in the page.  But now as the Page Rank algorithm becomes more sophisticated, the footer links do not carry the same value as a anchored link above the fold (the top section of the web site before a user scrolls down).

Matt Cutts, a renowned Google engineer shares his views on footer links.

To summarize, don’t neglect manual link building. Do it yourself or pay a reputable agency to do this on your behalf. But make sure you maximizes your network of customers, partners and bloggers first.  The footer links do not necessarily have the same value as a link in the page but it can do any harm.

May 10

Earlier this month, Google rolled out its redesigned search engine results page (SERP) with a new menu of search-refinement options on the left-hand rail. The recent modifications to Google’s logo and search results pages serve as big changes for a company whose design hasn’t changed much in years. Simply put: It’s a big deal. Google continues, however, to keep it clean and straightforward. The streamlined feel and functionality of Google’s SERP redesign presents great opportunities for marketers. While each of the categorical changes deserve the consideration of search marketers in general, video search in particular may benefit from these opportunities and provide marketers a chance to separate their brands from the pack.

Article by Eric Papczun from searchengineland.com

Read the full article here

May 10

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May 10

As part of additional features released in the Google webmaster tool, we now have access to click-through rates (CTRs) for top keywords in various positions in the organic search section. The tool is simple to use and gives some insights that were not previously available. Detailed reports shows impressions, click throughs and your click through rate by query, the query’s position in the search results and also the click through landing page of that search result.

All of the sudden, the blog sphere was filled with mixed reactions from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) community. The questions we all asked ourselves was: do higher click-through rates influence organic rankings?

This is a fair question. We could think that higher CTRs would tell Search Engines that the web site is relevant to such or such search query. In the Pay-Per-Click world, higher CTRs have an impact on the quality score, which in return is able to move bids up or down. Is Google applying the same principles to organic search.

The answer is probably no. In paid search, higher CTRs demonstrate relevance with regards to the search query, but they are not free. Advertisers have to pay for every click. So advertisers have little incentive to game the system by clicking on the ads themselves (or getting a network of affiliate marketers to do so for them).

In organic search, it’s a whole different world. There is no cost for advertiser to click on the organic results. Hypothetically, if there was a direct positive relationship between CTRs and high ranking, advertisers will just game the system. Why not trying when it’s almost free. As a result, Google  will be unwise to include CTRs into their sophisticated search algorithm.

The short video from SEOmoz explains this much better than what I could describe in words.

May 10

Okay, back to some basics today. These days, landing pages are being used very frequently, even though they have evolved from the cheesy designs and glaring oddities. These days landing pages come with sexy designs and the best compelling copies, that can convince you in seconds. We’ve seen many good examples of modern, sleek looking landing pages, which are eye candies but when it comes to search engine optimization, I’ve seen that not all of them are fool-proof. Which is what we would discuss here today.

Article by Mani Karthik from Daily SEO Blog

Read the full article here

May 10

It’s always hard to compare fees paid to a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) agency with those paid to traditional advertising house.  Power house and smaller advertising agencies might charge a creative fees to cover production costs. They will also add a few percentage points for media buy in TV, Prints or Display (online) digital. We could argue that typically creatives and media plan adjustments do note require the same level of day-to-day attention than a Pay-Per-Click campaign in AdWords or Bing.  We could also think that a few percentage points off multi-million dollar might indeed represent a pretty serious amount of money.

Search Engines Marketing agencies costs are typically higher than traditional or display advertising. Those are the four more common ways for agencies to charge for their services:

1) Percentage of media spend. This is by far the most popular one.

PROS

Advertisers are used to that pricing model used in traditional and display advertising

It seems fair to increase agencies fees when media buy goes up

CONS

There’s clearly an incentive for SEM agencies to encourage advertisers to spend more. The best agencies address this by offering a flat fee, passed a certain media buy.

This pricing model is not tied-up with results

Advertisers might receive two bills: 1 for media buy (from the agency or Search Engine Provider) and one for the agency costs

Below is a recent extract from the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. There were more than 1,400 respondents across the world: Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Agency costs

2. Flat fee model.

In this case, advertisers pay their agency a monthly flat fee to manager their campaigns.

PROS

Advertisers know what they will pay in advance

There is less incentive for SEM agencies to encourage their advertisers to spend more

CONS

This not tied-up with campaign performance

Advertisers still receive two bills (one for media buy and one for agency costs).

3. Cost Per Lead (CPL)/Cost Per Action (CPA) Model

This model is the fastest growing one. As SEM agencies gain experience in paid search and collecting behavioral data in key industries)  they are able to guarantee a given customer interaction (i.e sale or online inquiry)  for a given cost.

For example, they might offer to charge an advertiser $55 for generating a new online credit card application.

PROS

Fees are tied-up with performance

Advertisers typically get one bill only (from th agency)

The complex reporting process usually involved with pay-per-click campaigns can be replaced by one key performance indicator (how many leads/sales were generated for a given $ amount)

CONS

It requires that the SEM agency has a robust set of data to make accurate assumptions on CPC/CPA costs

Advertisers might also need to have better control over things like landing pages, ad copies and to some extent offers on that page

4. Cost Per Acquisition model (CPAc)

I have not seen this one in practice yet in services industry. The idea here is advertisers will only pay a given amount for a newly acquired customer. For example, a credit card issuer might pay up top $100 for a newly credit card holder. This model is a lot more complex than the CPL/CPA model above. It assumes agencies to some extent have access/ control over CRM data from the advertiser.

Disclaimer: SEM Valet uses an hybrid pricing model. We charge monthly flat fees which includes both agency costs and media buy. For a given amount, we offer a guaranteed number of clicks. This model is simple to explain to clients and easy to process from a billing standpoint. We have a large variety of customers in an even larger number of industries and therefore do not have the capabilities to offer CPC/ CPAc yet. But stay tunes, this is something we are considering longer term.