Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Improve the Performance of Your Landing Pages

In marketing, its all about segmentation - learning about your market and speaking in their language. In today's post we take a look at the importance of landing pages and ensuring they meet the needs of your audience...

Think back to the last time you grilled steaks. Did you make an effort to cook those stakes to the liking of each of your guests? Of course you did. Good hosts always make an effort to know the preferences of their invited guests and strive to meet their expectations. Suzy likes her steak medium rare; Joe only eats his charred. No hoofed meat for Amy, but finned is ok.

The search traffic you deliver to landing pages are a lot like dinner guests — they each have preferences and will be happiest if you meet their expectations once they click through to your landing page or microsite. Search engine marketing professionals should think like a great dinner party host: invite choice guests, know their preferences and serve their steak exactly how they like it.

With the latest advances in landing page testing and optimization, knowing your traffic's preferences and satisfying its needs is as easy as firing up the Weber. First, be sure you are working with a landing page optimization provider or using a toolset that is capable of providing baseline, A/B split, and advanced multivariate testing. Confirm you can do detailed audience segment testing. Don't settle for just part of the solution — you'll need all the tools to do it right and deliver the optimal experience.

Secondly, study the landing pages where your traffic arrives after clicking on your text ad “invitations.” Does your company use a one-size-fits-all approach — serving everyone their steak well-done and dry regardless of preference?

With landing page testing and optimization you learn what your audience prefers by quickly testing many different page configurations with a variety of copy and images. You can also test what different audience segments prefer, and serve exactly the experience that is most likely to elicit the response you want.

Unlike your dinner guests, you don't need to ask in advance for dietary preferences. With a Web audience many preferences are broadcast along with search actions. Leverage knowledge about what keyword was typed and which text ad was clicked to tailor the landing page and sales funnel experience for higher conversion rates and improved returns on ad spend.

Keep your dinner guests and Web audience happy and craving a return visit by knowing preferences and satisfying expectations. Cook those $15 Niman Ranch rib-eyes just how your guests prefer and make sure each landing page is tested and optimized for the traffic you generate. Everyone will be pleased and most will return for seconds.

Robert Bergquist is CEO of Widemile. Reach him at robert@widemile.com.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today's Marketing Tip: Where You Rank

If you've been reading my blog, you know how much I love to share really great Internet tools - especially when they're free. Check out this tool at SEODigger.com What's so great about this tool is that it detects search keywords for which a site is ranked high. This takes a lot of guesswork out of which keywords (on Google) generate search results containing your URL.

It's easier to explain if you simply visit the site and try it yourself! Just visit SEO Digger and type in your URL. The result shows which keywords you're site is ranked high for on Google and the relative value of those keywords based on Overture results... very cool!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Boost Your Rankings with Meta Tags

It is widely believed in the search engine optimization community that the title tag is the most important on-page element for obtaining good search engine rankings. Despite this belief, it is amazing how many websites do not include title tags at all on their pages or use non-descriptive title tags such as YourDomain.com or just the word "Homepage". Although not thought to be as important, the meta description also plays in important role in obtaining organic traffic. Not surprisingly, many websites fail to include meta descriptions on many or all of their pages.

Loading up the title tag on a web page with relevant keywords and phrases will help that page rank better in the search engine results pages when someone queries those words and phrases. It is also important to keep in mind that most search engines display the title tag in their results as the linkable element. Most search engines will bold keywords in the title if those keywords are used in the active query. This draws the user’s attention to those listings and further increases the chances of a click through.

Before you add every keyword related to your industry into your title tags, you should know that Google will currently only display up to 66 characters in their listings and Yahoo 120 (note: these numbers can change at any time). Also, if the title looks spam to you, it probably also looks like spam to the search engine. If you limit your title tag to less than 120 characters and keep the keyword relevant with the content of the page, it is unlikely that you will have any page penalization problems. Also, consider putting your most important keywords near the beginning of the title tag. As an online retailer, this means putting the brand or manufacturer of the product that you are selling as one of the first keywords in your product detail title tag. Brands are widely searched and ranking well for them can be a boon. Finally, as another best practice, make sure each page on your site has a unique title.

Meta Descriptions are often, but not always used under the linkable portion in the search engine results pages. As with the title tag, it’s a good idea to include many relevant keywords in the description as those are also often bolded by the search engines. Putting compelling copy in your meta descriptions can also increase the likelihood that your result will be clicked. As with title tags, make sure every page on your site has a unique description.

Title tags and meta descriptions are often overlooked because they don’t display in the content area of the browser. Although they are just one piece of a well optimized page, taking the time to add them can have a profound impact on the amount of organic traffic you receive from search engines!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Behavior Based Internet Marketing

Have you ever been surfing the web and come upon Internet advertising that provides a direct solution for something that you've been researching lately? Did you think that it might be related to your computer cookies, or did you chalk it up to serendipity?

The fact is, it almost certainly wasn't a coincidence. Behavior-based Internet advertising is a relatively new and very powerful way for advertisers to get their message in front of potential buyers that they know to be qualified.

The question is, how do they know that the surfer is qualified? The advertisers know this because the Internet advertising network is tracking the surfers' online activity. With tracking, advertisers know what sites you like. They know what searches you make. They have profiled you, and, unlike in real life, profiling on the web is AOK -- so far. Check Your Computer for Cookies Before we get into the legal issues involved, perhaps a further definition of the technology is in order.

Most (but not all) behavioral Internet advertising is based on computer "cookies." These computer cookies are tiny files that are placed on your machine when you visit certain websites. In the simplest form, you go to a web page.

An advertiser has a blank spot, or placeholder, for a banner ad. But instead of serving up just any banner ad, the advertiser parses through your computer for cookies to discover your likes and dislikes, and then you are fed Internet advertising based on your online behavior.

For some people, this is no big deal. They like Internet advertising to be targeted toward them, and they don't mind computer cookies. For others, it's a little Orwellian and creepy. This leads us to the great debate. Opt-in or Opt-out? One big question to be resolved is whether ultimately this type of Internet advertising will be "opt-in" (meaning that a user has to sign up in order to receive targeted ads) or "opt-out" (meaning that a user will receive targeted ads unless they specifically ask not to). It shouldn't surprise anyone to know which side the advertisers are on.

If governmental regulators eventually require that all Internet advertising be "opt-in", the industry will be severely restricted. My guess is that it would relegate behavior-based Internet advertising to a fringe player in the online marketing world.

The privacy advocates, naturally, are on the other side of the fence. The vast majority of people assume that their online activity is not being tracked, they say. Why should they have to take a specific action in order to remove computer cookies and to not be tracked and profiled?

A Do Not Track List?
Recently, a group of nine consumer advocate groups proposed the idea of a "Do Not Track" list for Internet advertising, which would work in a similar fashion as the "Do Not Call" list works today. Naturally, this is an "Opt-out" scenario, but because of the attention that the formation of such a list would bring, it may be a suitable compromise between advertiser and advocate.

How to Prevent Being Tracked

It is fairly easy to prevent being tracked by advertisers. You simply prevent your machine from accepting computer cookies. Go to 'Start', 'Settings', 'Control Panel', and click on 'Internet Options' then the 'Privacy' tab. Slide the bar all the way to the top to where it says "Block All Cookies." However, you should be aware that this change may limit your Internet experience. Some websites will not display properly (or at all) if you do not accept computer cookies.

In my experience, at least one of the top five search engines will not work at all. Other engines have limited functionality when you block Internet advertising. Even if you do manage to turn off your computer cookies, don't rest easy just yet.

The Newest Technology Recently, it was announced that a Silicon Valley startup named NebuAd has created a new technology that does not require computer cookies. Under the NebuAd model, the company teams up directly with service providers and installs equipment directly at their facilities that allows them to track the behavior of individuals on the web, even if their machine does not accept computer cookies. This, of course, requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to embrace the new technology; naturally, they are given a piece of the Internet advertising revenue that is generated.

Whether or not any of the major players embrace this technology will probably depend largely on public outcry, or lack thereof. Of course, if this does become the newest behavioral targeting standard, we will return again to the question of "Opt-in" or "Opt-out."

The future of this approach to Internet advertising is unclear, and will depend largely on public education and reaction. Will people see value in receiving targeted ads, even if it means that somewhere there is an "anonymous" profile of them sitting on a server? Will they feel outraged and push for a total ban? It's hard to say. Will this new approach be the death of the Internet as we know it? Probably not. But it should at least be interesting.

About the Author
Scott Buresh is the CEO of Medium Blue (www.mediumblue.com), which was recently named the number one search engine optimization company in the world by PromotionWorld. Scott has contributed content to many publications including Building Your Business with Google For Dummies, MarketingProfs, ZDNet, WebProNews, DarwinMag, SiteProNews, ISEDB.com, and Search Engine Guide. Medium Blue serves local and national clients, including Boston Scientific, DS Waters, and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Visit http://www.mediumblue.com/seo-guarantee.html to request a custom SEO guarantee based on your goals and your data.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Five Tips for Search Engine Dominance

Today's Marketing Tip: You all know how much I love expert advice related to Search Engines. In this feature post, learn about five key strategies for moving up all of the major search engines.

1. Title Tags

The single most important “on page?factor affecting search engine rankings is the title tag. This is a snippet of code in the header section of a web document. The title of a web page is given great weight by the search engines, and for lesser competitive keyphrases a good title tag alone may be enough to catapult a page to the top of the engines.

One common mistake made is that a website is created from a template in which all of the title tag information is the same from page to page. This can not only get your pages thrown into the supplemental results, it is an example of extremely poor individual page optimization.

Individual page optimization basically means that each page of your site should be individually optimized for the contents and target keyphrase of that page. Chances are that you desire to attract visitors using a variety of keyphrases. If you use the same title tag throughout your site, you are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to do this.

The title tag of each page should be individually optimized for the keyphrases that you are targeting for that page. Repetition should be avoided. For ecommerce websites, each product page should contain a unique title tag reflecting the specific product featured on that page.

For example, let’s say you sell a large inventory of widgets of various types and sizes. The title tag of your home page should probably contain the word “widgets? Then, each individual product page should contain more information in the title tag pertaining to the specific product, such as “Large Red Widget ?Model ABC123? or something similar. This allows users searching for specific model numbers, or manufacturer names, or even more general terms like “large red widget?to land on a page specifically relevant to their search engine query.

2. Rich Content

If you are not including key phrase rich content on each page of your website, you again face a risk of having your pages thrown into the supplementals, or having your pages outright rank poorly for your target key phrases. Be sure to include at least one instance of the key phrase you are targeting for that page in the body text of the page.

A rule of thumb I use is to first go through and select the key phrases you are targeting for each page. Then, optimize the title tags accordingly to reflect this. After that, write rich, unique content for each page, and be sure to include at least one instance of the title tag content in the body text.

A common mistake in this area is to write generic page content, and simply replace the target key phrase on each page. This type of methodology adds no real value to individual pages of your site and is almost certainly going to result in your pages get thrown into the supplementals on grounds of duplicative content. It is not enough, therefore, to have generic content which is the same on each page, with a mere substitution of the target key phrase.

For example, a real estate agency wants to be at the top of the engines for searches in all 50 states. They create generic content such as:

“We are your [state name] real estate experts. Browse our [state name] real estate listings to find your perfect [state name] home…”

The firm then creates 50 individual state pages, with the exact same content and only the state name changed. This will not work. Each page needs to have unique, rich content, and so in the example above, we would need to create 50 original pages of content rather than using a simple “find and replace?methodology.

An ecommerce site should write rich descriptions for each of their products. A common mistake I see in such sites is that individual product pages contain little or no written content aside from the product name and a picture. Be sure to write at least a paragraph on the features and benefits of each product in the product description field.

3. Blog

Your competition is blogging, so it’s time you jump on the bandwagon. There are a number of reasons to blog that directly relate to search engine considerations. Google and other engines generally prefer sites with fresh content over stale sites. This means that ranking well involves the regular creation of rich content, and typically this is done via a company weblog.

Blog articles should be useful and informative and should not be considered necessarily self promotional. Using the real estate example above, the agency should write general interest articles on buying and selling homes, how to select a realtor, and the like. It should avoid writing articles touting the benefits of the firm itself ?blog articles should not be press releases (although it is okay to repost the occasional press release in the company blog). The reason for this is that general interest articles (such as the one you are reading right now) are much more attractive link bait (see next section) than are articles on how wonderful your company is.

Additionally, once you have started blogging, you are opening yourself up to link bait and social media opportunities as described below.

4. Link Bait

Generally speaking, the more links you have to rich content on your site, the better off you are going to be in the engines. The creation of a blog is a wonderful way to attract links. Other ideas for link bait include video, images, sound clips, press releases and the like. Contests, quizzes, product reviews, top 10 lists (or in the case of this article, a top 5 list), and how to articles fare very well. Also, the provision of useful tools can be a great way to attract links.

In the example of the real estate agency, a tool likely to attract links would be a free mortgage calculator. Offering such a tool on your website can attract the attention of other sites in the form of links, increasing your reputation and pagerank, which has a direct impact on higher search engine rankings.

Be sure to create link bait on a regular basis through the regular creation of content, of whatever form you choose.

5. Social Media

Now that you have created all this wonderful link bait in the form of blogs, videos, tools, and the like, you need to make sure to get the word out about it so that people know it is there. Social media has already become one of the most powerful ways to spread the word. Social media is loosely defined as any sort of user driven content. Famous examples include MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, and the like.

Social bookmarking sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon are wonderful ways to get the word out about your content. If you have a number of images (such as product images in an ecommerce site), image sharing sites such as Flickr are useful. Contests and quizzes are great fodder for social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Yahoo360. Video content can be promoted through YouTube, MetaCafe, AOLVideo, and similar sites.

The point is, the more you promote your wonderful link bait, the more people will find out about it and link to it. Put your content to work for you!

About the Author

Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm. For more information, please visit www.arteworks.biz.

Friday, April 18, 2008

How To Optimize Email Deliverability

Email is a powerful marketing tool. As an email marketer you may face email deliver-ability issues every day. Whether you're sending a personal email or bulk customer communication, electronic messages are frequently intercepted, filtered, erroneously labeled as spam, bounced or returned to the sender as undeliverable.

For routine non-business correspondence, this is simply a minor annoyance and inconvenience. But when your message broadcasts a crisis or emergency, or if it includes time-sensitive account, billing or service information, you could face serious consequences. If you're a marketer, every undelivered message translates into lost revenue. Luckily, there are ways to improve the odds of delivery and decrease the chance of running into problems in the first place.

The key to email deliver-ability lies in earning the trust of Internet Service Providers, or ISPs. Because these companies need to provide quality service to their subscribers, they devise standard protocols and policies regarding unsolicited bulk email. To communicate with your subscribers and customers, without interference, focus on four key criteria proven to optimize deliver-ability rates.

1. Mind Your Lists.

How relevant is your list? You should only add recipients via responsible opt-in practices, removing bounced accounts and unsubscribe requests immediately. Never use distribution lists that are severely outdated or purchased. Many purchased lists include spam trap or HoneyPot addresses, intended to lure and catch spammers.

2. Maintain Low Complaint Levels.

Do recipients want your messages? Every time a subscriber reports you to their ISP, deliver-ability plummets. Several popular ISPs, including AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail, make this extremely easy with one-click spam reporting features. It's important to know how many complaints are coming in. Complaint processing can be automated, with email marketing service providers removing complainers from your distribution lists and integrating this data into real-time reports. However, you should strive to avoid complaints altogether. To minimize complaints, let recipients' know who you are by identifying your company in the 'from' field, use a clear and relevant subject line and distribute messages on a routine and predictable schedule.

3. Be Professional.

What does your message say about your company? Advance your brand and professional reputation by sending well-designed, organized and relevant email communications. Segment distribution lists and customize messages whenever possible. You should also make sure that domain names for landing pages have a public Whois record and a clearly linked Privacy Policy.

4. Use Email Authentication.

Take advantage of email authentication technologies. One such solution is Sender Policy Framework (SPF), providing an open-standard, technical method for preventing address forgery.

5. Understand Reputation.

What do your past actions say about you? ISPs filter spam based on your company, domain name and private IP address reputation. Building a solid reputation in these areas takes time, and the only way to build it is by sending legitimate emails and following practices. Send legitimate emails, clean your lists and avoid complaints. Make sure that your email service provider or email servers are setup with private IP addresses so that your repuation is only impacted by your email marketing practices.

Once you've taken all proactive email delivery strategies, use the reporting tools in your email marketing software to measure overall delivery. If you find specific ISPs are blocking your blast communications even though you've followed best practices, contact them right away to resolve the matter and apply for whitelist status.

Email marketing benefits are undeniable. With diligent efforts, marketers can dramatically increase business-critical email communication deliverability and improve their bottom line.

About the Author: Dan Forootan is the President of EZ Publishing, Inc., the creator of the StreamSend Email Marketing service.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Today's Marketing Tip: Fighting Off Bad Media

Is there something out there about you or your company that you wish would just go away? Imagine they have a disgruntled customer who's created a hate page about them and it's ranking number one in Google. Definitely not a good thing! The client has come to you wanting to know if you can use your SEO skills to push the negative page down the SERPs and restore their online reputation. "Sure!" you say.

So what do you do? You write positive blog posts about your client or you hire other bloggers to do the same. You write articles optimized for your client's main keywords and submit them to highly-trafficked sites in your client's industry. You promote them via social media. You make sure the new posts are Dugg, Stumbled, Sphunn etc. You feed a good news press release about your client into the social media vortex and let it take hold.

Once the ugly page has been pushed off the front of the SERPs, you continue to watch the blogosphere closely for any negative comments about your client and make sure they don't rise to the surface again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Today's Marketing Tip: The Power of Cascading Style Sheets

The use of cascading style sheets can provide a tremendous benefit to your website. Learn the value of CSS in this helpful post.

CSS style sheets have made it easier to handle web pages during web development. CSS or Cascading Style Sheets as the name suggests is a style sheet that allows you to easily link to other documents in your website. It allows you to retain control over the various elements in different web pages of your website.

CSS only defines the structure and content presentation of a website it has nothing to do with the design of a website. A single CSS sheet can control the font, positioning, colour and style information of an entire website.

9 advantages of using CSS

* Web pages are easier to load and uses less bandwidth

CSS style sheets are preferred by web developers for website development because they are lighter than table layouts, which consumes lots of bandwidth. The style sheet is downloaded only once and stored in the cache memory, so subsequent pages load faster.

* A CSS style sheet compliments well with HTML

HTML is insufficient when used independently in website development, but when combined with CSS they can result in technically stronger web pages.

* CSS allows you to position your element anywhere in the webpage

Web developers love to use CSS because it allows them to position their element where ever they want in the web page. If during any phase of web development the developer feels that particular links or columns are not going well with the situation then it becomes easier for them to position them easily using CSS. CSS reduces the risks associated with maintenance of the website.

* CSS is compatible with all web browsers

CSS is combined with HTML or XHTML by web developers for web application development because it is compatible with all web browsers. The sites that use CSS appear similar in all the web browsers.

* CSS can be used to create print friendly web pages

Most of the web developers love to use CSS for building their HTML based web applications because they allow them to create print friendly web pages. These web pages can be easily printed. The colours, images and other things which are difficult to be printed can be eliminated and printed easily.

* CSS style sheets allows the user to customize the webpage

Now days many websites allow the user to change the layout of the website without affecting the content. The CSS style sheets which are stored externally allow the user to make requisite changes by themselves. Most of the modern browsers give user the liberty to define their own style sheets like changing some font properties etc.

* CSS style sheets makes it easier for your website to feature in search engines

The CSS style sheets are favoured by web developers because they allow them to position their elements as per their wish anywhere in web application. Positioning helps to project the main contents first, so that it is easily captured by web spiders. CSS also gives cleaner HTML codes thus cutting down the job of web spider to search the real content from junk code.

* CSS allows the web pages to have absolute consistency

One of the reasons for using CSS during web development is that they allow consistency to all web pages. All the expressions and texts will get their characteristics from external style sheet. Web developers need not to worry about the change in characteristics of the elements because they can be easily altered at any stage of web development by using CSS.

* CSS lends portability to content

By using CSS you can make separate style sheets for different media. This provides you the great flexibility in presenting your content. CSS allows you to redefine the characteristics of elements in a website to suit the need of the situation. For e.g.: A separate style sheet will allow you to redefine the characteristics of certain elements so that they are easier to be printed. Also the user will never come to know that you had restructured the characteristics for their benefit.

CSS is created to make the things easier for your website and also to give you control over different elements in your website. Utilising benefits of CSS will give you popular user friendly web pages.

About the Author: Sigma InfoTech is an Australian based Website Design firm, specialising in Website Development, Web Developer, Website design, Application Development Australia. Write editor to webmastergrace@gmail.com your comments and suggestions will be highly appreciated.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Submit Your Site to Search Engines

Today's Marketing Tip: Search Engine Submit

If you have a new website, or a site that has recently changes, submitting it to search engines is a surefire way to improve your search engine rankings. If search engines don't know you exist, it may take some time for their spiders to locate your site and index your content.

One of the best ways to notify search engines about your site is through search engine submission. There are a number of resources out there that submit your URL on a monthly basis for a fee. Personally, I've never found this necessary or all that beneficial. However, what I do value is the initial submission with the launch or a significant change of your site. Personally I recommend Addme for FREE search engine submission.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Search Engine Optimization Made Simple

Today's Marketing Tip: How to ensure that your website is Search Engine Optimized!

1. Credible domain name

Acquire a domain name that is not too long or difficult to remember. It should relate to the content of your web site. Within the domain name, there should preferably be keywords that a crawler will understand. Abbreviations, dashes, underscores, numerals and other meaningless characters should all be avoided. Always opt for a .com name if possible, simply because it is a more common term that customers think of.

2. Titles should be rich in keywords

The titles for all of your pages should be keyword-rich. They should be easily understood by visitors, and more importantly should contain keywords that will relate to whatever your customers may want to search for. In search engine optimization, search engines often use the [TITLE]; element as the text for their link to your site. Emphasis is placed by search engines in this area of optimization because it enables them to determine the relevance of your page to a visitor's search. The titles for your pages should preferably be less than 50 characters including spaces. This enables you to select a title that is precise, and one that will not be truncated in search results for reason of length. For immediate impact, include your call to action, so that attention of visitors can be captured.

3. Include META elements

Description and keyword properties should be included in your headers' META elements. META name="description" content="[brief description of your site]" is often used by search engines to find out what your site is all about. It will be beneficial to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. You can think about how they will go about searching for information, and you can subsequently choose appropriate terms that will capture traffic to your site. A great research tool to use is Wordtracker.

4. Quality of content

It is imperative to provide good and rich content on your web site. The content should always be keyword-rich, as this facilitates good classification of your pages by the search engines. It must be interesting and entertaining. Quality is the keyword as far as content is concerned. This is one strategy for search engine optimization that should be given heavy consideration. Content should therefore be fresh and should never be a duplicate. Search engines now include in their search algorithm ways to effect measurement of freshness of content on all sites. Do note that spiders cannot read images, so remember to use <> tags for images if you need to use them to increase your site traffic.

5. Links leveraging

Web sites that get incoming links do get a higher ranking. If these incoming links originate from a site with higher ranking and which perform well for key phrases that are related to your content, these are good links of quality that will push up the ranking of your site. They will greatly benefit your site. It will be to your advantage to request them to link back to your site. Everything on your site must be properly linked; all links must be functioning, because this will enable all of your content to be indexed. This shows a good strategy for search engine optimization in operation.

6. Site registration

Your site must be registered with major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Open Directory Project (DMOZ.org) once it is sufficiently optimized. Instructions given by each search engine are different from one another, so it is important to follow instructions closely, to avoid having your site improperly indexed. For best results, do it right - straight from the beginning.

7. Play it smart

Ensure that your site can be easily indexed by search engines. Your pages must be crawler-friendly. Avoid the application of spamming strategies such as irrelevant metadata and hidden text. Better be safe than sorry. Play it smart when you are in your zest aiming for higher search-engine rankings. Avoid strategies that offer the easy way out for getting good ranking.

8. Virtue of patience

Patience pays. It may take some time to reach Google No 1 spot. The time spent on search engine optimization for your web site will definitely not be lost just because the top spot is not reached yet. There are still numerous other ways of capturing traffic besides performing a little more tweaking of your site.

In conclusion, your web site must be optimized for search engines, as this will help you secure a better search result, better site ranking, and not forgetting increase in site traffic. For your desired results, you will need to apply the strategies for search engine optimization listed above.

About the Author: Jeremy Long Chia Teik - For latest updates on how to increase traffic, raise page ranking, write effective articles and powerful squeeze pages, create explosive blog marketing system, learn about viral marketing, and bring in massive income from your internet marketing business, please Click here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Affiliate Programs - Start Your's Today

Today's Marketing Tip. One of the best ways to improve traffic to your website is with the help of targeted websites who earn money promoting other peoples products. One of the websites I work on generates more than 35% of its revenue from other sites selling their products and services. If developed correctly, affiliate programs can have a significant impact on your revenue.

What Is and Affililate Program?

An affiliate program is a way for you to sell your products through other websites. Essentially the process is simple. You provide another website with the necessary promotional items to sell your product(s). However, the affiliate never takes actually inventory of the product you are selling.

A great example of this is the website that sells mystery novels. For this example, let’s call the primary website Mystery Novels Central dot com. The website provides an affiliate website (affiliatewebsite1) with some banners and buttons promoting mystery novels. When a browser of affiliatewebsite1 clicks on the banner, it redirects him to Mystery Novels Central dot com. If the user purchases a novel, Mystery Novels Central dot comp pays affiliatewebstie1 a percentage of the sale – also known as a commission.

How Do Affiliate Programs Work?

When your promotional assets are placed on another website, each asset has a tracking URL. This tracking URL is invisible to the browser but keeps track of his activities. When he passes through the purchase process and receives a payment confirmation page, additional tracking code confirms a sale. This information is captured and tracked back to the initiator of the sale (i.e. the affiliate).

In its most simple form, an affiliate program works like a real life sales force. Imagine having sales reps spread our across the Internet selling your product to each of their new and existing customers. Each time that sales rep sells your product, you fulfill the order and pay the rep a small commission. In a nutshell that’s an affiliate program.

How Can I Start My Own Affiliate Program?

You can start your own affiliate program in a variety of ways. One of the most simple methods is to use and affiliate marketplace like ClickBank or PayDotCom. These affiliate sites aggregate many affiliate products. For a small fee, and sometimes simply a percentage of the sale without an upfront fee, you can join their program.

When you join, you agree to let the marketplace add your product to a list of products that third party websites can promote. When you do so, you also agree to let the affiliate marketplace (ClickBank or PayDotCom) receive a percentage of each sale. Remember, you will also have to pay a commission to the actual affiliate website that promotes and sells your product. The fees can add up quickly but are worthwhile if your product has a good margin.

There are other programs from well established companies like Commission Junction, but they charge a significant fee for joining and a larger percentage of each sale. For those starting out, CB or PayDotCom is your best choice.

What I particularly like about affiliate programs is the scale you can achieve. Affiliate programs are relatively easy to set up and can have a significant impact on your top line. If you have a product to sell and haven’t started using affiliates to promote your program, get started today.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Web Page Design That Gets Results

In today's post, we explore "great web page design." I'm often asked via this blog, how to tell the difference between good marketing and bad marketing. Although there is no tried and true answer, there are some basics (for marketing, internet marketing, web design, etc.) that can help you get ahead.

Great web page design is very important to making sure that your customers see your company in the way that you want them to. Just as you put a great deal of effort, time and resources in ensuring that your bricks and mortar storefront is bright, clean, and attractive, your website needs the same kind of attention. This article will explain the top three ways to make your website work for you!

Today, now that bandwidth limitations have been greatly reduced and multimedia content is everywhere, great web page design has become a way for small companies to level the playing field and compete on par with much larger rivals. In my experience, as we have developed better and better websites over the years, our customers' customers continually give positive feedback (and their business!) to companies that have made effective use of their design.

People have enough stressors in their life as it is today, and they don't need their experience on your website to add to them. Everywhere you look, busy, highly pressured individuals are seeking after a Zen-like experience, feng-shui, or just simplicity in general. So should it be on your website. Do away with the unnecessary extras, flashy gimmicks, and fancy doo-dads. Resist the temptation to say everything you want, or put a list of every single product you offer all on one page.

I have come to realize that less is more, and that users really appreciate the simplicity of a clean, uncluttered look on websites. The success of Google's web page design is a prime example. Look how clean Google's homepage is compared to its major competitors like Yahoo and MSN. They have so much white space, they even offered a black background for the 2008 Earth Day in order to reduce power consumption on the monitors of their millions of users.

The simplicity and ease of use have allowed a single company to capture half of the market share of the entire search engine industry, and catapult them to market leaders and innovators in many other areas as well. Remember this, give the user what they want (not what you want), and less is more.

Part of keeping your site clean and easy to use is simple, intuitive navigation. Many times in my online browsing experience I have come across websites that have a beautiful homepage, and then completely change the design on their inside pages. Menu items that were clearly outlined across the top have now moved to the left hand side, or have disappeared altogether. I have no idea how I am supposed to progress through the site, and in fact I can get lost altogether on some pages.

I have found that a much better approach is to use clear, consistent navigation. This means that the links to your various pages should appear in the same place and in the same order on every page on your site. If you have many pages for your users to navigate, a drop-down menu can be a very effective tool. Everyone is used to clicking or rolling over a menu at the top of a program like Microsoft Word and have a menu drop down from there. If your website allows them to navigate in the same way, you keep the experience consistent and help users to get around your site with ease.

So now that we have established that your website should be clean, simple, and easy to navigate, how do we make it beautiful? What is going to create that emotional response that you create when people walk through your doors into your bricks-and-mortar storefront?

I have come to realize that the use of high-quality photography really separates a great site from an average one. The key is to use the right photograph, and not to overdo it. A collage of 9 or 10 images a blurred together on your homepage, many of them indistinguishable because they are wide shots reduced greatly in size will not be effective. Instead, a single large, high-quality close-up photograph that showcases your product or service can work best.

If you want to use more than one image, a moderately paced Flash animation can create extra emotion by having them fade into one another, or by panning across the picture very slowly. A photographic technique called "depth-of-field", where the foreground of an image is in sharp focus but the distant background is completely blurred really draws attention to the image. Don't believe me? Check it out next time you are browsing the web and see for yourself!

Now you have all the essential advice you need to create fantastic website. Great web page design includes a clean uncluttered look that eliminates unnecessary information. You need an intuitive navigation system to help people get around easily. And finally, you should use great, high-impact photography to create an emotional response. That's it! Now, go and check your website to see if it meets these criteria. If not, go to it!

About the Author: Bill Janzen has been doing web page design since 1995, and owns Future Access, a St. Catharines website design company.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sheer SEO - Your Key To Monitoring Search Engine Optimization Results

While there are many approaches for doing search engine optimization (SEO) for your web site, there is one key activity that is a must. That is simply, monitoring your SEO status.

This should include the current position of your website in the major search engines for every search term that might give you traffic and to monitor anything that influences your site’s ranking, like back links, keyword density, number of indexed pages, page rank, etc.

The problem is that monitoring your SEO status it is a tedious process and takes a considerable amount of work. A site might have hundreds of search terms to track on 2-3 search engines, plenty of back links to monitor, many pages to check for keyword density and page rank and the list goes on.

Sheerseo.com is an SEO software package that enables you to track key SEO indicators. It is an online service that will collect all that data for you and present you both current and historical data in a simple graphical way. All you have to do is to create a free account. Once you do that you’ll get a weekly email whenever new data is available regarding your site status.

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