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The Impact of the Economy on Online Marketing
Sunday, May 31, 2009
The last quarter of 2008 was a tough one for many in the United States. Entering 2009 was no easier, however with the Obama era beginning, there was a new found sense of hope. Now as we enter June there is news that an American icon will be filing for bankruptcy tomorrow as GM (GOOG: GM)struggles to compete with its Asian competition. Wow, GM declaring bankruptcy, I never would have thought that would happen. According to Reuters, GM's stock fell to 75 cents on Friday, a level last seen during the Great Depression on what is expected to be its last trading day.

We are truly in unprecedented times. With so much information at our fingertips it makes one wonder how a large corporation like GM could ever get itself in so much trouble. The information age bolstered by the online world has made consumers more intelligent. People are more informed, and frankly people are simply tired of being ripped off by big brands. If you have not yet done so, be sure to pick up a copy of The Brand Bubble by John Gerzema and Ed Lebar. It is a tremendous read, with a ton of great examples of how brands need to continue to reinvent themselves if they are to succeed. Maybe this is what GM needs to do.

The online environment has changed marketing. No longer can a brand or business push out the advertising and marketing fluff to the consumer. The consumer is in power. They determine when, where, how and why they make a purchase. They're online researching everything they need to know about every product or service that they are considering. From iPhones, to automobiles. From content management systems to client relationship management software, people are looking to become more informed. The Internet has made this easy to accomplish. That is why online marketing is so important. People are plugged in and will continue to be plugged in as they strive to become more informed.

This is why things such as Twitter have become so popular. Nothing atrracts a crowd like a crowd and people in crowds often find some common ground that they can relate to. For online marketing to work, you have to be a part of this crowd. You have to build relationships with these people, some who may be the exact target audience that you are looking to market to.

Learn about them. Frequent the online environments that they do. Understand their language. Target their language with key phrases that they can relate to. Make yourweb properties speak to them with unique an informative content. Ensure that your websites can be found in the Search results. Work to create a site architecture that is Search Engine friendly. Create a URL structure that can be indexed and place well in the search results. Avoid creating duplicate content or content that the search engines will have a tough time indexing. It does take some work but it can be done.

The impact of the economy on online marketing does not have to be negative. It just means that as marketers and business owners, you have to be smarter with your online strategy and the tactics you deploy. For starters, here is what you need to do to have success in the online world of Search.
  1. Take care of the fundamentals - optimize your site for Search. Whether your an information portal or a large ecommerce site, you need to ensure that you are optimized for Search meaning that you have clean URL structure, fresh, informative unique coding, optimized on-page elements, high quality link inventory and are continuing to revisit these items to address the ever changing of the search engine algorithms. If you want to call this Web 1.0 fine, it still needs to be addressed... and you'd be surprised to see just how many big brands have not addressed the fundamentals.

  2. Learn all you can about your target audience - remember the power is in the hands of the consumer. Knowing anything and everything about them will help you engage with and interecept them in the online world. Knowledege is power and understanding your audience will go a long way in building a relationship with them.

  3. Build Online Relationships - get social. If Twitter is not for you, check out LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or any of the many social environments where your consumers and competitors are hanging out. Actively participate in these communities and stimulate conversation either by listening and asking questions or through thought leadership.

  4. Be Transparent - the time of keeping everything is secret is dead and gone. Consumers are smart and they're bound to figure it out eventually. The fact is the more transparent you are they more engaged your prospects and target audience will become. Possibly if some of these large brands that are being bailed out and/or filing for bankruptcy had been more transparent someone could have helped them sooner.

  5. Get Informed - understand that there has been a huge shift in traditional marketing practices. Where TV, print and radio advertising might have once worked you now have SEO, PPC and Social Marketing. Do not fear these things. Appreciate them, come to understand them and leverage them to promote your brand and your business.
There is no question that the economy is having an impact on online marketing. Rather than react to, companies need to roll with this impact. If you have not invested in SEO, now is the time. It can be a cost effective way of generating revenue in environments and markets where you may not have otherwise had success.

Perhaps GM was a little late out of the gate or maybe they simply were unable to roll with change and the changing nature of their target audience. As it sits now, the company is in dire need of changes and bankruptcy may be the catalyst to see that these changes are put in effect. GM has been on a slide for quite some time now. It looks like the site is going to need to update their meta data. According to the meta description for their homepage, GM is the #1 Selling Vehicle Manufacturer in the World for 76 Consecutive Years. Well it looks as though this streak is about to end.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, May 31, 2009   2 comments
SES Toronto 2009: Just Over a Week Away...
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Just a reminder for Webmasters, Search Engine Marketers and Online Marketers that Search Engine Strategies Toronto is just over a week away. This year SES Toronto occurs from June 8-10th at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.

SES Toronto will be packed with sessions covering topics such as PPC management, keyword research, SEO, social media, local, mobile, and link building. In addition, the conference will be covering some of our favorite topics including:
  • Duplicate Content Issues
  • Usability
  • Video Optimization
  • On-Page Optimization
Also don't forget about the SES Toronto Meet up Group on June 8, 11am at booth 11. Network with fellow attendees and connect with vendors and search providers to help you take your search marketing to the next level no matter what your proficiency is. More information on the SES Toronto Meet Up here.

SES Toronto looks to be a great show. As always SES events feature great keynotes. This time out be sure to check out:

Monday's Keynote: Tara Hunt author of The Whuffle Factor
Tuesday's Keynote: Emanuel Rosen author of Buzz Revisited

Some of the sessions to keep an eye open for include:
  • Optimizing for Video Search: Virgin Territory?- some great panelists including the high energy Greg Markel of Infuse Creative and Amanda Watlington owner of Search for Profit.
  • Follow the Carrot: Cool Mobile Apps - moderated by Twist Image's Mitch Joel.
  • Social Media: Do Big Companies Get It? - moderated by one of our favorite's in Greg Jarboe. Learn about which social media channels may be on their way out with this session.
Whether you're a first timer or a veteran, SES Toronto is bound to feature some great discussion about online marketing tips and trips as well as what's the latest with social media and search.

http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/toronto/

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, May 28, 2009   0 comments
Upcoming Enquiro Webinar: Maximizing Your Online Touch Points
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Just a reminder that Enquiro is conducting our next webinar in our current B2B series entitled, Maximizing Your Online Touch Points. Some of the items slated to be discussed include:

What are the typical online paths that business buyers follow? How do they navigate between vendors’ sites, general search engines, directories, vertical search, and social networks? For the marketer, which mediums and channels work best, and in which order? How can engagement and momentum be carried over between touch points? What role does search marketing play in B2B, and how can it best be leveraged?

Thursday, May 28, 2009 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PDT

You can sign up by going here:

Previous webinars can be viewed at Enquiro's B2B Expert Series.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, May 27, 2009   0 comments
Search Marketers Talk Local Search: Local Search Ranking Factors
For small and medium sized businesses, local search can be a critical touch point for their online marketing efforts. Yesterday, the folks over at davidmihm.com released the findings of twenty-seven local search marketers from Canada the US, and Europe who have all shared their opinions and insights in the second edition of the Local Search Ranking Factors.

A questionnaire listing 49 potential factors that affect local search rankings was used, where the participants were to rank each factor on a scale ranging from “very important for ranking well” to “can hurt your ranking/lead to penalty.”

Participants were also asked to rank the importance of specific third-party data providers and sources for customer reviews within the Local Search algorithms.

While we are still going through the data, here are the five most important factors for local search optimization based on the study.
  1. Local Business Listing Address in City of Search - it is simply much easier to rank in the local results if you have an address in the city itself (as opposed to a suburb or smaller community outside a major city).

  2. Citations from Major Providers and IYP Portals - listings in Yellow Pages and related local sites/directories can provide a huge boost in local rankings. Think local search link building.

  3. Associating Local Business Listing with Proper Categories - include relevant keywords in the category and in the title of your listing where possible. Be accurate and be relevant.

  4. General Importance of Claiming Local Business Listing - it helps build trust with your brand with the search engines.

  5. Product/Service Keyword in the Local Business Listing Title - without being spammy, this can help communicate the relevancy of your business to a given service or product offering. Typical this is important for both Google and Yahoo local results.
An interesting study. The entire local search ranking factors can be found here:

http://www.davidmihm.com/local-search-ranking-factors.shtml

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, May 27, 2009   0 comments
Leveraging Video: 5 Types of Videos to Consider
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Last month, comScore released some data on the top video properties based on views for the US market. There were some interesting findings here.
  • the average US viewer watched 5.5 hours of online video in March (according to comScore Video Metrix)
  • Google sites accounted for 41% of the online video market (includes YouTube a Google owned property)
  • YouTube accounts for 99% of Google's online video market share
  • Fox Interactive Media was second with 3 %
  • Hulu entered the top three with 2.6% edging out Yahoo which had a 2.3% share of the US online video market
  • the average duration of online video was 3.4 minutes. This is right in the ballpark that was discussed by Microsoft Live Search's Senior Product Manager Henry Hall at SES New York in March. Based on research from Microsoft, Hall mentioned that the attention span for the average video is about 4 minutes which is up double over the past year or two
For those leveraging videos, video optimization is important not only to help promote your video, but to create additional content for your web properties. From an SEO perspective, video can be a great way to develop content for your site. Not to mention that a well done video can generate a ton of links to your site (linkbait) and help build a relationship with your target demographic.

Video is becoming more popular. According to Matthew Liu from YouTube, every minute over 15 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. If we break that down to an average of 4 minutes per video that works out to be 225 videos per minute. That is a lot of video. So needless to say leveraging video can be a great avenue to get your content out there. While it is getting more competitive, video results are still considereably less competitive than traditional Web results.

Video, like a webpage is all about the content. It's all about providing some useful information that is accurate and unique and timely for those in need of it. The importance of good content cannot be overstated enough. The same holds true for video content as it shold be appealing to your intended audience. While the majority of people who currently watch video online are watching music videos or "time wasters", there are still a large number of people looking to watch news videos and the like.

How can businesses leverage video? Well there are a number of ways to use video to engage your audience. In fact we have identified five types of videos that you can optimize for your audience.

5 Types of Videos to Consider Optimizing For
  1. How To Videos - If you have a product or solution that can satisfy someone's need, make a video. Specifically a "How to video" to illustrate how your product/service/knowledge can be of assistance. Whether it is a video on "how to install drywall" or a video on "how to select a content management system", there are undoubtedly a number of people who will be looking for this information. Consider creating a series of how to videos that you can release through a video calendar.

  2. Video Testimonials - creating a video library of testimonials can be a great way to build trust with your prospects and target audience. If you have the abililty to allow customers to submit video reviews or the like, you can post the videos on the site and allow your clients to communicate their experience with your brand to others. You will want to monitor the videos, but try to be as transparent as possible so that the reviews are not biased.

  3. Brand Awareness Videos- throwing up the odd video to simply "re-energize" your brand is not a bad idea especially if you face seasonality in your industry. Creating top of mind awareness can be a great thing to help ensure that users are engaging with your brand. Just completed a website redesign? Add a video telling users about it.

  4. Promotional Videos - ahh old school promotional videos. Updated a solution or product. Create a video to tell the world (or at least your target audience) about the updated features, benefits or value proposition for them. Try not to be too "salesy" but communicate your brand in a new and positive manner.

  5. Product Release Videos - launching a new product or perhaps a new site or micro-site? Why not launch a video or series of well optimized videos to help communicate the launch of the new product/solution. Build up some anticipation and then deliver the value proposition.
Video is a great way to add additional content to your site. In addition with Google's recent Search Options feature you can work to have your videos appear with the video section of search options not to mention within Google's Universal (blended) search results.

Remember:
  • keep your videos short - try durations of three to five minutes
  • brand your videos
  • include a call to action at the end of your video - i.e. visit www.your-site.com or to download a how to brochure visit www.your-site.com/how-to
  • Optimize the title and description of the video
  • Include a link to your web properties
  • Tag the video with relevant keywords
  • Encourage ratings and video comments
Leveraging video successfully for SEO is not that difficult. It just takes a little time and some great content.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 26, 2009   0 comments
SEO Resources of the Week
Monday, May 25, 2009
We haven't ad one of these in a while, so we thought that we would include a post about some of the great SEO posts of the week to help communicate some useful information to all of you Webmasters out there.
  1. Eric Enge had a great post over at Search Engine Land on key requirements for selecting an SEO friendly CMS. One of the key points from his article is that it is critical that your CMS not rely on session IDs on your URLs, or clutter URLs with other parameters. Don't make it difficult for the search engines to find and index your pages. There are some really good points especially items #8 through #11. Check out: 14 Key Requirements for a Search Friendly CMS

  2. Diane Aull had an excellent post on the importance of interlinking over at Search Engine Guide. Ah this is a topic near and dear to me. How many times has a client neglected their own internal links only to try and boost their external link inventory? Well more times that I would like to admit. The fact is that an easy way to help improve the quality of your links is through your own links. Remember it' quality not necessarily quantity that will give you the boost that you are looking for. Diane's article is called Go Link Yourself! (cute title btw)

  3. Over at ASK Enquiro, I posted about the importance of On-PageOptimization... and while this may seem like old school SEO, again the number of sites out there that fail to practice on-page optimization continues to amaze me. Forget the shiny new objects for a while address the fundamentals first. Check out The Importance of On-Page Optimization by yours truly.

  4. Is it Still Worth Using Keyword and Description Meta Tags was written by Kandi Humpf over at Search Engine Journal. It's interesting to see another "old school" SEO item make the list. C'mon people do not overlook the fundamentals.

  5. Search Behavior: The 4th Building Block of Search Engine Optimization by industry veteran Shari Thurlow. As Shari concludes: "...The human element of SEO has always been an important part of the optimization process. Now, I have added it to my building blocks of successful SEO. Have you?"
Great posts on SEO from the past week from some of the greatest SEO resources out there!

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posted by Jody @ Monday, May 25, 2009   0 comments
Google Searchology 2009: Google Search Options
Friday, May 22, 2009
Well now that the dust settles and we've had time to evaluate the buzz, you probably already know that last week, Google held their annual Searchology event. Typically Google will make a major announcement at this event. For example at the Searchology event in 2007 Google unveiled Universal Search where the focus was on blending the search results within the main results to provide a richer experience to the user.

2009's version of Searchology also featured a somewhat prominent updated to blended results as Google's Marissa Mayer discussed the new Search Options feature whereby users who perform a search on Google will see a link under the search box that says "show options." Clicking this will bring up a left-side navigation menu allowing the user to check out blended results for video, forums, and reviews. A cool feature is that users can view the "blended results" from "any time," "recent results," "the past 24 hours," "the past week," or the "past year."





This is a rich set of tools that will allow you to as Mayer puts it "slice and dice your results" to obtain relevant results that are meaningful to you. The core search experience will not be changing. If anything users will have better access to more recent results. This algorithm combines relevancy and recency together to provide a richer experience. Users can narrow their results down to a specific time and easily switch between different time frames.

Many of the Google Search options can be combined to be provide an even richer experience or at least this is what Google is hoping. So how does this impact blended results that we have become engaged with over the past two years? Well initially it appears that Google is showing less blended results within the main results. A search for "installing drywall" shows regular results with video results at the bottom of the page. If a user clicks on "show options" they are presented with links to video, reviews and forums. A search for "baby toys" still displays a number of blended results within the main results including shopping results, news results and video results as seen here:

So it still depends on the type of query that the user searches for as to how many or what type of blended results are featured. With the new Search Options feature, you can bet that Google will continue to monitor the interaction with the feature to see how to improve the results further.

More on Google Searchology 2009
Search Engine Land's Google Searchology 2009: The Big Recap

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posted by Jody @ Friday, May 22, 2009   1 comments
Kiss Rocks American Idol with Adam Lambert
Thursday, May 21, 2009
So I have not been following American Idol but people have saying that this season has been pretty good. With the finale happening this week it turned out to be between Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. With 100 million votes cast, Kris Allen was named the winner. Kris himself was shocked with the announcement.

26-year-old Adam Lambert of San Diego, had been considered the likely winner since nearly the start of the season. From the clips that I saw this guy has got some serious skills.

What was a highlight for many was a cool performance where Adam performed the classic Kiss ballad "Beth", only to be joined by the band themselves for renditions of "Detroit Rock City" and Rock n Roll All Nite". Check it out:

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posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Thursday, May 21, 2009   0 comments
The Importance of On-Page Optimization
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Well this is something that sometimes online marketers tend to overlook. On-Page optimization. I have written about this on a number of occasions, but thought that the time was right to re-explore this topic. We tend to receive a number of questions about on-page optimization, so it definitely needs further clarification. We have received questions such as:
  • Would you know, or be able to find out, approximately how much lift in conversion/page views is usually experienced from optimizing pages? and
  • Do you have any high level data to share regarding the optimization of page content?
  • Is on-page optimization more important than off page optimization?
All are great questions. However, it is difficult to answer as SEO and on-page optimization are simply not as easy to measure as is a sponsored ad where you know what you put in and you can see "what you get out" (of the paid ad). In addition, to it becomes difficult to isolate on-page optimization factors. Furthermore, there are a number of items that work hand in hand when in comes to optimization of your website. On-Page optimization is just one piece of the puzzle to factor in. There are off page factors and items such as building your external link inventories that will contribute to the success that you have in the online world.

Here's what we do know:

Fact: On-Page Optimization is necessary to gain visibility in the Search Engine Results.

Without optimized title tags, meta data, URLs and page copy, you are not going to be found in the search results.

Fact: Search Engine crawling and indexing is all about finding relevant content.

Without on-page optimization and promotion of relevant content that speaks to your target audience, your web property will have a difficult time in being treated as an authority for a given topic. Without being an authority, chances are you will lack that oline visibility. Without visibility you will miss out on traffic and thus page views.

Fact: Without an optimized "SEO landing page" being found in the Search results, the chances of a conversion are virtually nil.

You simply will not be found in the prime real estate of the Search results without on-page optimization. If no one (i.e. the Searcher) cannot find your page in the first place, the chance of a conversion happening disappears.

Fact: Search Engines (and searchers) are looking for unique & relevant content.

Part of on-page optimization means creating and communicating content that is relevant and useful. Google is not just a place to "spit a webpage" of copy out. The engineers at Google and the other major Search Engines work hard to try and return the best results that they can given the search query. Content is the key to your online success.

Just What is On-Page Optimization?

On-page optimization is the process by which various elements on an individual web page are established and structured so that the page can be found by the search engines for a given keyword or key phrase. The part of SEO that deals with page level creation to help inform search engines about the topic of a page.

While on-page optimization will not guarantee top billing within a search engine result, it does have a direct impact on what is shown in the results pages and can entice click through via title and meta description. Based on my experience in Organic Search, on-page optimization will always get you farther than the lack thereof. On-page optimization is a critical component of SEO and although some may feel that it contributes very little to online success (especially when it comes to conversions), the reality is that without on-page optimization you are going to have an uphill battle trying to reach your target audience. I have previously discussed the difference between B2C and B2B SEO, where I touched on the importance of on-page optimization. One of the items I touched on was that as a fundamental component of SEO, on-page optimization is often overlooked by large business. For whatever reason big businesses understand SEO and the importance of on-page optimization yet they fail to leverage it. The question is why? Why are so many companies and web sites overlooking on-page optimization as part of their search strategy? Perhaps it's the shiny new object syndrome where the fascination is with items such as Twitter or widgets or other technologies. Perhaps it's because these sites use proprietary content management systems they are limited to what they can do in terms of on-page optimization. Whatever the case may be, on-page optimization needs to be addressed and should be addressed prior to all other organic marketing efforts.

With the client that I have worked with, the ones that have had the greatest success are the ones that have addressed the fundamentals and have taken care of on-page optimization issues. For example back in 2005 we helped a client re-optimize their website. We worked with them to create unique and relevant title tags, meta tags and consulted with them on page URLs as well as page copy. The result? Within a matter of months, the number of pages indexed in Google (and other major search engines) increased and items such as page views increased by 125% from when we started working with the client to current. At the peak pageviews increased by 191%. With this particular client, organic search engine traffic is up by 1200%. This is due in no small part to the on-page optimization efforts.

With another client,we spent the better part of a year consulting with them on their pending website redesign. Part of the focus was to address lingering on-page optimization issues. Three months post redesign, where part of the focus was on on-page optimization, the client saw an increase in pages views of 7.3% as well as an increase in revenue generated from search by about 36% when compared to the previous year (and this is a down economy). While not all of the this can be entirely attributed to on-page optimization, there is a definite boost from optimizing their site pages to ensure that titles, meta data, page copy and interlinking were addressed.

So what does it take to address on-page optimization issues? Well there are no secrets here. There are really five or six items that need to be addressed.

Components of On-Page Optimization

At the very least there are six main components of on-page optimization that should be addressed to assist you with gaining visibility in the search results of the engines. Until the search engines make algorithm changes that may affect these items, the following should be considered when optimizing your web pages.

Title Tags - A site’s title tag is by far one of the most important on-page optimization element. Titles should be around 60-70 characters (although Google has been known to index around 1,100) and feature important key phrases near the beginning with a branded element at the end. Ideally you want the title to read well and be differentiated from the competitors as this may help entice the click from a search results page where the title is currently shown.

Meta Tag Optimization - meta data is simply data about data. It lets the search engines know about what your information is about. Meta data helps communicate what the topic of your page is about. You may remember that the search engines when crawling your web pages look for mini themes to help determine what your site is an authority on. A descriptive meta description can help inform the engines as to what the page is about.

On-Page Headings - ideally each web page that you have should be about a single topic. As a result this topic can be highlighted in the main heading of the page. Some keys to success include placing relevant keywords in the heading and having the heading in an h1 tag as these tags carry the most weight with the search engines. The heading tag should also be placed higher up within the page coding to help the search engines crawlers access this content.Page Copy - I'm not sure how many times we can emphasize the importance of page copy. This is why people come to your site. They are looking for information as are the search engine crawlers. Providing well optimized copy that is keyword rich, somewhat unique and informative will help your site gain visibility in the search engines. You want to become an authority on a given topic? Create content about it. The cool thing about page copy is that is can take different forms. HTML text is still preferred for search engine optimization, but this can come in the form of blog content, user generated content, articles and news releases. In addition you can have images and videos to provide a richer content experience on your site. When writing actual page copy try to include your important key phrases two to three time ideally as high up on the page as possible to help the search engines determine the topic /theme of the page. It is important that the content is unique and not just re-purposed from another site or from some vendor material that you were presented. As a general rule of thumb try to feature at least 150-200 words of unique content on your site pages. In some case 400-600 words will do even better. Page copy allows to to ensure that you have adequate keyword density for important phrases again helping communicate the theme of the page to the search engines.

Page URLs - This is key, even more so as of late. Having a relevant search engine friendly URL can go a long way in terms of on-page optimization. Having relevant keywords in the URLs doesn't hurt and keeping the URL short and memorable is beneficial as well. Try to limit the number of dynamic parameters in your URLs and if you have the ability to re-write your URLs into clean ones, do it. While the engines will index dynamic strings, short static URLs will resonate better with the user.

Anchor Text - ahh linking the lifeblood of the Internet. As part of successful on-page optimization you need to get into the habit of using keyword rich anchor text to interlink your site pages. This is a key factor used by the algorithms to determine the Inbound Liking Quality of links. This is one of the key factors used when by the engines when ranking web pages. Well interlinked pages can help increase page views of the site as users can easily navigate the site to find the information that they are looking for. When measuring site stickiness, things like page views per session can let you know how many pages users are viewing.
>We could get into greater detail in each of these areas, but we have done this previously and there are also some existing resources that provide additional insight including:

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/on-page-optimization-a-complete-walkthrough/6746/
http://www.searchengineguide.com/stoney-degeyter/the-best-damn-o.php
http://www.seo-theory.com/2007/12/05/an-on-page-optimization-seo-checklist/
http://www.widerfunnel.com/landing-page-optimization/the-six-landing-page-conversion-rate-factors
http://www.searchengineguide.com/scott-allen/conversion-optimization-part-of-internet-marketing.php

So if you are asking yourself why is on-page optimization important just remember that On-Page Optimization has a direct impact on Search Engine activity. From search engine crawlers to indexing of pages to the ranking of results, on-page optimization will impact where you show up and how users engage with the content that they are presented with.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 19, 2009   6 comments
Top 10 Things that Make Search Marketers Scratch Their Head
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I love working in the Search industry. For the simple reason that it is constantly evolving and that change appears to be the only constant. To me, being in Search Marketing is a rewarding yet sometimes thankless job and any time that you have a new industry such as this one, there are bound to be trials and errors, quite often more errors than the alternative. To be an effective Search Marketer you really have to have the ability roll with change.

You see to be a good search marketer there are two things that you need to be good at.
  1. Search - or at least the ability to understand Search
  2. Marketing - realizing that marketing has drastically changed over the past century and especially in the past decade. Relationships have to be built and nurtured and truly realizing that the consumer is in command.
If you are not good at one or neither of these things, you are not going to be successful as a Search marketer. Furthermore, if you are not learning something new everyday, you are not going to grow and bring to the table new ideas and contribute to your company or your client's business objectives. Let's face it, it's not easy. As a Search Marketer you're expected to know "everything about everything". You need to know about coding issues, site architecture, on-page optimization, interlinking, link building, content development. news release management, blended search, marketing 101, mobile, offline and online integration, viral marketing, social media marketing, search engine specs, usability and the list goes on an on. The fact of the matter is, there are people who have made a lot of money and gained a lot of attention for excelling in any one of those areas. It still does not make the life of a Search Marketer any easier.

As a result, we have put together a list of the top 10 items that tend to leave search marketers scratching their heads at times.

10 Things that Make Search Marketers Scratch Their Heads
  1. Balancing the need for strategy vs. tactics and tactics vs. strategy - actually this issue holds true not just for Search Marketers and marketers, but for people in general. Whether your a GM for a professional sports team or a novice entrepreneur, at various points everyone tends to struggle with defining strategy and tactics and when to use them. Many confuse the two.

    Strategy: high level, the "big picture" and overall plan that outlines who one will achieve their objectives.

    Tactics: the activities and items that assist in the execution of the strategy.

    It gets confusing because there are items that fall into both categories. For example, Search can be a strategy unto itself. It can also be a tactic as part of a higher level strategy. Is a "blended search strategy" a strategy or is it a tactic? The answer is it depends. It depends on the objective and on other "strategies" being leveraged... Are you scratching your head yet?

  2. Duplicate Content - it seems like duplicate content always leaves search marketers scratching their heads. This is understandable as the Search Engines have not been entirely clear over the years as to what exactly they consider duplicate content to be. They have opened up a little more recently by providing us with tools such as the canonical tag to help deal with duplicate content issues. However go to any conference and you will always hear a discussion about duplicate content.

  3. The Algorithms - for years and years now, people have been trying to reverse engineer the Search algorithms. This is difficult to do because there are hundreds of factors as to how the algorithms operate. Not to mention the fact that they are constantly being updated. Recently at SES New York, Bruce Clay mentioned that Google communicated that they made 415 changes to the algorithm in the past year. That's a lot of changes. If someone could reverse engineer this algorithm, Google would be out of business or at least have some decent competition. An effective Search Marketer does not need to reverse engineer the algorithm to try and manipulate the results. A successful Search Marketer works with the algorithms to enhance the results.

  4. Non-Search Engine Friendly URL Structure - what I mean by this is why large sites continue to deploy these brutal URLs and site architecture and wonder why they have limited visibility in the Search results. Whether it's due to a proprietary CMS or just sheer lack of SEO best practices, the number of large sites who fail to address this key issue is bewildering. People, work to create search engine (and user friendly) URLs. Make sure that you have canonical URLs.

  5. Getting Recommendations Implemented - ahh another age old problem. You see for Search Marketing, specifically SEO to be effective, you need to implement the recommendations and best practices that are provided. SEO results can take time, we all know that, but the take a longer time when a recommendation is sitting with legal or with the IT team for weeks or months. Here's the thing, you have to create Search Champions at each level and at each division. That means in marketing, in sales, in I.T., with your copywriters with your PR teams with third party vendors, within the C-Suite. Heck you'd probably want to create Search Champions with anybody and everybody involved directly or indiretly with your Web properties.

  6. Integration of Offline and Online - why is it so hard to get companies to understand the importance of this for marketing efforts? Search can compliment other marketing channels and can assist offline efforts. Yet many, probably because Search is still somewhat new, appear to feel that Search has yet to prove itself. We are still seeing the majority of budgets directed at offline activity. This will change as the masses learn just how cost effective SEO and to a lesser extent PPC can be.

  7. The Importance of SEO Fundamentals - I often scratch my head when I think of all of the big brands and websites that have failed to address the fundamentals when it comes to natural search. A prospect will come to us with the objective of wanting to increase natural search traffic by X% and online conversions by X$ and will question why they do not have a strong presence in the Search results. A quick look at the site and we see that basic SEO fundamentals have not been addressed. Title tags and meta data is not optimized, page copy is minimal, the site is entirely in Flash, the URLs are not search engine friendly, the pages are not well interlinked.. and it goes on. These are big sites and big brands that are doing this. Sheesh...

  8. Website Redesigns - specifically the timing of the redesigns. In the perfect world, if you design your site with the user in mind and keep SEO in the mix, you should not have a need ever to redesign your website. You may need to re-skin it for aesthetics, but if your site has a sound infrastructure is well optimized and user friendly, you should have no need for a website redesign. In case you did not know redesigns can be expensive and they take time and resources. Not to mention any time you do a website redesign you risk jeopardizing your existing presence in the organic/natural search results of the major Search Engines. Website redesigns take time and careful planning must be a part of your redesign. Do not plan to launch your site during your peak season, wait for the downtime and be sure to test prior to launch. I am amazed at companies who continually redesign their websites. If your site is so bad consider using micro-sites but people (and Searchers) are creatures of habit and become accustomed with familiarity.

  9. Integration of PPC and SEO - I continue to scratch my head with the amount of money brands spend on paid as opposed to organic. I can understand why, but as data suggests, Searchers still prefer to click on organic listings (70-30 split) and organic results are longer lasting. (Of course you want to ensure that you have optimized the right page for the organic results). At the end of the day SEO and PPC need to work together and there should be budget for both. While you while receive immediate results with your sponsored ads, over time you may see a better return with organic in terms of overall revenue being generated.

  10. Rankings - industry folk suggest that "rankings are dead". Well we might agree... to a point. Rankings are important for the single fact that ranking trends need to be monitored. You see organic rankings lead to traffic which can lead to qualified traffic which leads to leads which leads to conversion which leads to revenue which leads to profit... and isn't that what it's about at the end of the day? Rankings also provide insight into your online visibility and can illustrate the type of results you are being found for. A video results vs. a Web result vs. a blog result vs. a social media result vs. a news result. Of course it's more about the click, but in order to be clicked, you need to be found first. Search is all about key phrases and intent. Keyword searches are sorted into rankings, so to say that rankings are dead just is not 100% accurate. Sure personalization and blended results are changing the landscape, but that just gives Search Marketers some other items to scratch their heads about.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, May 14, 2009   0 comments
Q&A with iProspect Webinar: Strategies and Tactics for World Class SEO Q + A
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I missed the start of this Webcast, but joined in progress. There were a lot of typical questions that we often hear so it was interesting to hear what the folks at iProspect have to say regarding these questions. Here's a look at some of the Q & A that was shared:

What kind of SEO momentum should we expect to lose when switching to a new company name and domain assuming permanent 301 redirects are properly implemented (i.e. old domain ABC.com changed to XYZ.com)

Response:
  • 301 redirect old to new
  • Update directory links
  • Update external link inventory
How are companies integrating SEO & PPC? Is anyone testing using complimentary ad copy between the two? Various positions of the PPC ad when ranking high in SEO?

Response:
  • Great opportunity for mature campaigns
  • Really understand a testing a plan around how you are going to leverage SEO and PPC
  • Focus only on keywords where you have a page one presence (both SEO and PPC)
  • Use SEO as the constant and turn your paid ads on an off to see the click thru info
  • Top organic and top paid placement sees an increase in clicks and conversions (based on iProspect data)
  • Understand how to integrate copy between organic and paid
  • Good lift on brand (7% increase); mixed results on non-branded
Can SEO negatively affect PPC results?

Respone: No. Editor's note: There was an interesting comment that was made as part of this response where a research study with Jupiter Research (Aug 08) illustrated that 39% of users believe that the top brands featured are actually the top brands in their field (This is based solelt on perception)

"Social Media" is still hot and a good SEO program should include it, but how can I measure its impact to my search campaign or my business?

Response:
  • The most difficult part of social media is the measurement
  • We have to look at the metrics that we can measure
  • Monthly unique, time on site, frequency of conversions
  • Most popular content
  • Look at two way conversation (blog comments etc)
  • Social bookmarking impact
  • RSS feed impact
  • Emailing trends
Is Universal Search (blended search) still prevalent? I don't see as many combinations of results anymore. If so, how can I optimize for blended search?

Response:
  • Universal Search is a strong component of Search; we are seeing significant impact on multiple assets
  • Understand what assets your company has at its disposal (PR, video, blog, articles)
  • Focus on the assets that you have; don’t try to do it all
  • Understand the mix of assets (are engines showing a lot of images or PR for certain types of queries?) Then don’t focus on videos. Asset allocation
If someone is managing 10+ websites, what are the top 3 things they should be doing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis for SEO?
  • No different than owning properties
  • Make sure that each “house” has a solid foundation – no technical issues; good site architecture, eliminate road blocks
  • Ensure that it is appealing (fresh, relevant content)
  • Find endorsements for your site (link building) tools widgets to evoke natural linking
  • Leverage your analytics – never underestimate your own data (referral, traffic info, bounce rates, look for trends)
What are some tips and tactics for properly attributing credit across all advertising sources - both online and offline? How can marketers use technology to get beyond the "last click model"?

Response:
  • Perspective – the numbers don’t always add up the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. It’s often difficult to tie all of the data together.
  • You need a set of rules and standards across all of your business
  • Integrate data consistently – ensure that you bring in all of your marketing channels that are “trackable” and are tracking consistently
  • Compare apples to apples
Do search engines consider websites with identical content in different languages (literal translation), hosted on different domans (such as .com/.co.uk/.fr etc..). as duplicate content? If yes, what approach do you recommend?

Response:
  • Have not seen this being much of an issues
  • Issue with multiple English sites (.com vs. .uk) is seen as duplicate content.
  • You need to alter the content for these specific websites
  • Use country specific domains
  • Much stronger boost if you have regional domains in those geo regions
Our website uses a dynamic URL (inserts a session ID). What is the easiest way to optimize sites like this?

Response:

  • Google recently changed their stance on this (due to the large margin of error that can disrupt the crawl)
  • On sites that have a lot of product pages, build on static category landing pages (this is the content that we want indexed) It is easier to generate links to these pages.
  • Use session IDs on only certain section of the website (use robots.txt to block out this content)
  • Employing user agent detection (serves a URL without a session ID) – this can be considered as spammy if not managed correctly
  • Variation of the user agent detection – instead of stripping out the user ID; perform a check and replace the session ID with a zero” –this needs to be managed carefully.
What are some best practices for integrating Paid Search and SEO?

Response:
  • Test ad copy
  • Paid ads along side of organic
  • Test ad in different positions if you have a top ranking organic phrase
  • Use organic referral data to determine which engines are best to pursue
  • Monitor competitor’s ads
  • Continue to do keyword research
  • Leverage best practices
Any thoughts on latency? How far out should be measured? Especiually if you are a multichannel retailer whose search efforts are "incrementalized" against another channel (do not receive credit for all conversions)..."

Response:
  • This is a large issue and has previously been largely ignored by a lot of organizations
  • This is a challenging problem to tackle
  • Understand your sales environment – are conversions quick? Work off a 60-90 day
  • Allow the nature of your business to define latency
  • Align your data as much as possible
I thought that a lot of the questions were great! Some of the responses left a little to be desired. Great idea for a Webcast though.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 12, 2009   0 comments
Enquiro Ligers Drop to 1-4 on the Season with Loss to Blue Jays
The Enquiro Ligers dropped their fourth ballgame of the season with a 30-7 loss to the Blue Jays. Tied after two innings, the Jays opened up with the bats as they produced a couple of seven run innings quickly running up the score. "They were a really good hitting team", said Ligers Center Fielder Streve Herrington, "... they were able to place their hits pretty much anywhere...".

Playing under the lights for the first time the season, many of the Ligers players said it took time to adjust to the lighting of the ball park. It didn't seem to affect the Blue Jays though as they were strong in the field and on the bases. Veteran first baseman Bill Barnes played in his first game of the year making some great catches at first base with some decent hitting to contribute, showing no signs of early season rust. "He looks lighter on his feet this year" quipped one of the fans, "he must be on a good off season program..."

The Ligers received some great batting from SS Ian Everdell and LF Jody Nimetz as both went 3-3 with a single, double and triple. "I was looking to get a chance to hit for the cycle" mentioned Nimetz when Ian added "... I was hoping to join you in hitting for the cycle.."

It looks like the Ligers still need to work on base running as they continued to strand runners on the bags. If you look at some of the other teams that we've played, they are very aggressive running the bags. They always turn a single into a double or triple." says Nimetz. It didn't help that the Ligers had a couple of overthrows and missed catches that contributed to a very fast running Jays team. In their only win of the season, the Ligers were more aggressive with their running game. Look for improvements as the Ligers hope to snap their current two game losing streak next Monday, May 18th.

A couple of the Ligers questioned why the Blue Jays were in this division as they are a little more competitive and skilled than most teams in the League. Ligers right fielder Jason Lane commented, "The Jays are probably the best team that we have faced in the past three years. They are a very good ball team." Some would suggest a little too good for this league.

The Ligers were without Ryan Wood, Doug Moore and Kate Gardam. Playing in her first game of the year was Liger newcomer Cindy Danielson. Cindy performed well in playing Rover for the Ligers. She's got a great arm and is a welcome addition to the team.

Late in the game the Jays third baseman completely overthrew a play to first base as he chucked the ball way over the Ligers dugout and into the stands, prompting the ever trash talking Nimetz to suggest "it's time to get off the juice" to the third baseman. A few members of the crowd chuckled over the comment. Nimetz was later overheard saying that "if I hit to him, he's probably going to throw it at my head if he gets the chance." Nimetz was a little frustrated withthe fact that the Jays were continuing to run up the score. "It's tough to be out in the field when these guys have a twenty run lead and they're running the bags like it's the World Series. This is just not the league for that. I was embarrassed for them."

The Ligers will be seeking a better outcome next game.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 12, 2009   0 comments
What is a Canonical URL?
Monday, May 11, 2009

Original Post: http://ask.enquiro.com/2009/what-is-a-canonical-url/

Lots of discussion about canonicalization and canonical URLs lately. I’ve discussed URLs and URL structure a few times in the past. We thought that we would help illustrate the idea of canonical URLs. From an SEO point of view here is the definition of a canonical URL:

Canonical URL: the search engine friendly URL that you want the search engines to treat as authoritative. In other words, a canonical URL is the URL that you want visitors to see.

Quite often canonical URLs were used to describe the homepage. The typical example used is that most people treat the following URLs as the same:

www.example.com
example.com
www.example.com/index.html
example.com/home.asp

The fact is that these are all different URLs. From a search engine perspective, this can cause a bit of an issue. Hence the idea of canonicalization. Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL (to present to the search engines) when there are multiple choices available. Typically a search engine, such as Google will attempt to pick the best URL that they feel is the authority for that page. However, sometimes they may in fact select the wrong one. Now let’s suggest that you have product pages that depending on how the user navigated to the pager returns a different URL… same page but different URL, now we have a duplicate content issue. Not to mention the nightmare for interlinking and external link inventories.

The easiest way to avoid this is to let the Search engines and the users know which is your "preferred URL" a.k.a canonical URL. One suggestion is to redirect all of the variations to your canonical URL (the URL that you want to be the authority). In February, the major search engines announced another solution with the canonical tag. This tag gives you control of the content that you want the engines (and users) to see.

Matt Cutts of Google fame has discussed duplicate content and canonical tags a number of times. One of the questions that he was asked included:

Q: So when you say www vs. non-www, you’re talking about a type of canonicalization. Are there other ways that urls get canonicalized?
A: Yes, there can be a lot, but most people never notice (or need to notice) them. Search engines can do things like keeping or removing trailing slashes, trying to convert urls with upper case to lower case, or removing session IDs from bulletin board or other software (many bulletin board software packages will work fine if you omit the session ID).

We have seen sites that have upwards of 15 versions of the same page but with different URLs. The simplest solution is to have one final destination URL. An easy way to do this is through the canonical tag or by redirecting all of these pages to one authoritative page. The canonical tag is imple to use, all you need to do is add this tag to specify your preferred version of a URL inside the (head) section of the duplicate content URLs.

Canonical simply means relating to or belonging. It also means reduced to the simplest and most significant form. Just remember that a canonical URL is the simplest and most significant (authoritative) version of the URL that you want to be seen.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, May 11, 2009   6 comments
Vanity URLs & SEO: The Definitive Resource
Friday, May 08, 2009
There has been a lot of discussion about vanity URLs this week. In fact I have even had a few questions about vanity URLs from clients this week. Even Google is talking about vanity URLs, offering up an option to use vanity URLs for your profile page. Facebook has also been getting serious about vanity URLs as TechCrunch reported in March.

People love vanity URLs. As TechCrunch states, MySpace figured this out a long time ago. People relate better to shorter, descriptive URLs. So then what's the big deal about vanity URLs? Prior to examining this further, let's define what a vanity URL is.

Vanity URLs Defined

Vanity URL - a shortened, descriptive URL (sometimes referred to as a domain) that points to a related item indicated within the URL. Typically companies use vanity URLs to point the user to a specific product page. A vanity URL is simply an easy to remember URL used to promote a product, event or service.

Loren Baker over at Search Engine Journal had a good example of a Facebook vanity URL:
Example :

Maker’s Mark Official Fan Page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Makers-Mark/6355923333

Maker’s Mark Fan Page made by random Facebook user : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Makers-Mark-Whiskey/26391345957

There is no differentiation in the URL string what-so-ever to give the real brand page more value in search results or at first glance.

http://www.facebook.com/Makers-Mark/ would work much better. This way the search engines and users could easily idenitfy the correct fan page in the Google, Yahoo and Microsoft indexes AND the fan page would be much easier to use with print or broadcast media.

When Should Vanity URLs be Used?

Here's the thing, if you have mapped out your site's IA (Information Architecture) properly and designed your site with SEO in mind, you should not need to use vanity URLs. However, as we know, this is not always the case and there are times when you may need to utilize vanity URLs.
  • Online Promotion - where the desired landing page URLs that you instruct your audience to go to are not easily translated (i.e. the URLs are long, dynamic with many parameters) into the promotional material (Flyers, Press Releases etc)

  • When you want to direct users to your products - a vanity URL entices better user engagement, and will encourage users to bookmark and remember your pages.

  • When you are launching a new product or service - especially when your CMS causes issues with URL naming and creates a non-user friendly URL. Ideally when you create your pages, they should be created with search engine (and user) friendliness in mind.

  • When you want to direct users to the most appropriate landing page -as opposed to sending them to your homepage.
Why Vanity URLs Should Be Used

Good, strong and memorable URLs are important, both from a search engine perspective and more importantly from a user perspective. As studies have shown, descriptive URLs for products and services will deliver a higher click through rate. With vanity URLs, you can describe a product or service using the words people automatically associate with the topic or product, encouraging them to click more.

Vanity URL Tips
  1. Make Vanity URLs Memorable - without stating the obvious, be sure to make your vanity URLs easy to remember.
  2. Keep them short - this helps keep them memorable
  3. Consider Including Descriptive Keywords - that accurately describe the page or the product.
  4. Pay Attention to Redirection Needs- as an SEO practice, it's almost always best to use a permanent 301 redirect if you need to redirect any content. Redirects are an important aspect of using URLs and can help avoid duplicate content issues.
  5. Become familiar with the mod rewrite - a mod rewrite is part of Apache servers that can rewrite requested URLs on the fly. There are a number of resources on mod rewrites including:
  • mod_rewrite: A Beginner's Guide to URL Rewriting
  • http://httpd.apache.org/docs/1.3/mod/mod_rewrite.html
  • http://www.webdesignerforum.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=18267
  • http://davw.nfshost.com/web/mod_rewrite.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mod_rewrite
  • http://www.workingwith.me.uk/articles/scripting/mod_rewrite

Vanity URL & Related URL Resources


Here are a number of key resources on URLs and vanity URLs.

The Power Behind Your Website Name, Vanity URLS And Generic Domain Names - Twist Image
Supercharge Your URLs For Maximum SEO Impact - Search Engine Land
Too Many URLs Spoil the SEO: Fixing a Common Ecommerce Duplicate Content Problem - Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog
Vanity (URLs) Gets You Nowhere Locally: Implications of Google's URL Policy Change - Media Post
SEO Best Practices for URL Structure - Search Engine Journal
Should You Use a Vanity Domain Name? - Entrepreneur
Vanity URL Redirects - Search Engine Watch Forum
Mapping Complex URL Strings to Vanity URLs - Webmaster World Forum
Facebook Steps Up SEO for Brand Pages with Millions of New Indexable Links - Inside Facebook
Starbucks: Throwing Away 800 Links - Don’t Let It Happen to You - Seer Interactive
Unraveling URLs & Demystifying Domains - SEO Roundtable
Vanity URL Guidelines (2002) - University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Vanity URL Re-Directs - Search Engine Watch Forum
How to create vanity URL (url aliases) for different users, URL Aliases - Web Designer Form
301 Redirect, How Do I Love You? Let Me Count The Ways at SMX West 2009 - The SEM Blog
HOW TO: Common URL Redirection Techniques for IIS, Summary - Blogger David Wang

Canonical Issues

Specify Your Canionical - Google Webmaster Central Blog
Canonical URL Tag Is Worth A Shot - Get Elastic
Canonical URL links - Youst
Be a Normalizer - a C14N Exterminator - Sugarrae Blog
Windows Web Servers and Case Sensitive URLs - More Visibility

Duplicate Content

Duplicate Content - Google Webmaster's Help
Demystifying the Duplicate Content Penalty - Google Webmaster Central Blog
Dynamic URLs vs Static URL - Google Webmaster Central Blog
Duplicate Content Due to Scrapers - Google Webmaster Central Blog
The Illustrated Guide to Duplicate Content in the Search Engines - SEOmoz

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posted by Jody @ Friday, May 08, 2009   0 comments
B2B Webinar: Integrating Online and Offline Strategies
Thursday, May 07, 2009
At Enquiro, we are pleased to be working on a series of webinars for the B2B audience. Our recent Mapping the BuyerSphere ws so well received that we are continuing with our second installment next week.

Because of the complexity of B2B buying, an integrated approach to online and offline marketing provides a distinct advantage. Following the first installment of our series titled Mapping the BuyerSphere, this newest webinar takes a look at online/offline approaches to sales, marketing, and building customer lifetime value. We examine these approaches and how they apply in low, medium, and high buyer risk scenarios.

Using two different B2B companies as examples, we give practical integration tips and show how marketers may reduce buyer risk by effectively harnessing promotions, physical resources, thought leadership, and face-to-face opportunities.
New Research on B2B Buying

With project partners Google, Business.com, Marketo, Demandbase and Covario, Enquiro's new primary research takes a fresh look at B2B lead acquisition and management strategy.

Business buying decisions are notoriously complex. Knowing why people do what they do has become an area of specialty for Enquiro. Multiplying the complexity of that question many times by making it an organizational buying decision including several people and corporate objectives, the entire process becomes extraordinarily convoluted and challenging.


Building on the past research presented by Enquiro on B2B buying behavior, this project takes a joint qualitative/quantitative approach to studying business buying. Through a series of webinars and whitepapers, marketers will get a new perspective on how to more effectively market to B2B purchasers. The findings point to actionable strategies and tactics as they apply to search marketing, marketing automation, online advertising, and the sales process itself.

We recommend this webinar to: C-level executives (CMO, CEO), VPs of Online Marketing, etc., as well as online marketing practitioners (in-house) and agencies.

Sign up for the May 11th webinar

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, May 07, 2009   0 comments
Social Media and Internet Marketing
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Article by Sweta Sharma

Social Media and Internet Marketing

The world of marketing and internet has been taken by a storm called Social Media. Even if you think you are not a part of this bandwagon, unknowingly you have been actively contributing to this hysteria.

I wasn’t regular with ‘Social Media’. So I thought. Of course, I do use Facebook to keep in touch with friends, LinkedIn to network on the professional arena, Picasa to post pictures. After scratching my head a bit, I recall that I do post a few questions now and then and do not shy away from commenting when I read someone’s blog. Wait, should I be counting YouTube in?

Few months back, I was bit by this bug called ‘Twitter’. One of my friends happens to be the most followed person in India and soon all I could hear was ‘Tweets’ rather than words. Twitter had enthralled my social circle so I got myself a twitter account. Within a few days I was followed by a hundred strangers.

Surprisingly, I was enjoying myself. I didn’t need to keep pace with the news; I had the latest updates on topics of my interest. I could get an answer to my question in less than a minute. Most importantly, I could talk about my products and services directly with the consumer. I could get their feedback and converse with them in real time. Needless to say, the traffic at my website doubled in no time.

Social Media as defined by Wikipedia:

Communication has been a part of our existence and Social Media is adding another dimension to it. Companies are actively increasing their participation on the web. The golden rule of marketing is being rewritten by digital words and the companies not embracing social media are bound to be killed by competition.

Being a social media user and to use social media efficiently are two different things. Apart from time and patience, one needs to have the right skills to be able to create a buzz. You might end up spending more time in networking and marketing than you’d expect. This would also mean deviating from your core competencies.

Article by Sweta Sharma

Sweta Sharma is COO of InRev, a Web Information Company with interest in Social Media. InRev is among the most connected companies through Social Media globally with its CEO @leplan being the most followed person in Twitter in South Asia.

InRev has interests in Social Media and has a Twitter Account Management service, Buzzom. Buzzom also serves clients with Social Media Marketing packages. These packages are flexible and can be customized to suit the needs of your business. For more information on the Social Media Services, please visit http://www.buzzom.com/SMedia.aspx

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 05, 2009   3 comments
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