Internet Marketing 101: Online Marketing for Small Business

Introduction

You own a small business. Do you need a website? An Internet presence can be a necessity or a resource-draining boondoggle, depending on your business and your target audience. You should not build or maintain a website simply because "everyone else has one." However, even if you own a one-person services company and get all the business you can handle through word of mouth, you can still create an online presence with a minimum of time and expense.

If and when you do develop a business website, you'll need to make some kind of investment in Internet-based marketing. Consumers increasingly and overwhelmingly use the Internet to research and buy goods and services. This means the competition is robust, and if your site does not announce its presence it will simply sit and gather (virtual) dust in some computer's memory.

If you've convinced yourself that you need to enter the web marketing arena, the following report provides a fundamental primer on the most widely used tactics for both paid and free Internet advertising. Just remember that each of the topics introduced here is complex enough that there are entire books written about them, so if something appeals to you do some additional research before jumping in.

Before You Start

There are two main questions you must ask yourself before starting any marketing efforts, whether on- or offline: "Who is my audience?" and "What are my objectives?"

Audience

The audience for most business marketing activities is obviously past, present, and future customers. However, as in traditional advertising and marketing, it helps to narrow down who you are trying to reach, segmenting your market by age, geography, gender, interests, occupation. Certain methods of Internet marketing, such as pay-per-click ads, allow you to target your customers based on this type of segmentation.

Objectives

We can assume that the overall objective of most marketing is to sell products and / or services, but you may have additional objectives for online marketing. These related objectives will hopefully end up driving increased sales, but they can be more humble than simply asking customers to buy right now. For example, your online marketing plan may include goals such as these:

  • Support and increase visibility of your company's brand.
  • Improve search engine rankings.
  • Offer reference information related to your business sector.
  • Increase number of registered users or newsletter subscribers.
  • Drive traffic to your company website.

After refining your audience and marketing goals, you can begin to configure an Internet marketing strategy and tactics. When getting into online marketing, it is important that you maintain brand consistency. Build on the reputation that you have already established. Your on-line presence should mirror that of your "brick and mortar" presence. Use the same logo and tagline so that people will understand that you are the same company. Having an online presence is a way to build on what you have already completed.

In the reminder of this report we'll look at the most common ways you can use the Internet to deliver your message and start increasing your sales.

Table of Contents

websites

E-Mail

Newsletters

Other Announcements

Search Engine Marketing and Display Advertising

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Pay-per-Click (PPC)

Display Advertising

Social Media and Networking

Decide: Who, What, Where, When, and Why?

YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Etc.

Twitter

Blogs

Forums & Discussion Groups

Article Placement / E-Zines

Other Internet Marketing Outlets

Wikipedia

Directories

websites

We will not get into the vast topic of how to build and manage a website, but if you aim to use the techniques described below, it is nearly essential to have one. Most of your marketing efforts will have a "call to action" that involves your audience visiting your website to research products or services, find contact information, sign up for a newsletter, or place an online order. Whatever you are asking people to do in your online promotions, make sure the website allows them to easily complete that task. One other vital component of any business website is an analytics program (Google offers a fairly robust application free of charge), so you can track how well your marketing efforts are working and calculate the return on your advertising investment (ROI).

How can you develop an online presence at little or no cost? There are several companies that offer free site building tools and hosting services. If you go this route, select a company that has a proved track record, so your hard work is not wasted when the company goes out of business or suspends the service. A couple of reliable options are Google Sites and Yola. If you have any money in your budget at all, you should probably just spend the less than $ 100 per year it takes to buy a personalized domain name (for example, "mybusiness.com") and a web hosting service. Another potential option, depending on your business and marketing goals, is to create a blog (see below for more details). The most popular free blogging services as and this writing are WordPress and Blogger.

E-Mail Newsletters

E-mail newsletters provide one of the most highly performing avenues for marketing. You can collect customer e-mail addresses by asking visitors that come to your website to subscribe, by requesting e-mail addresses from anyone who visits your physical location, or by purchasing an e-mail list. To generate a higher rate of readership, make sure the audience is narrowly targeted and has some vested interest in your product. By sending out your newsletter on a regular schedule (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) you can counteract the transient and temporary nature of Internet users by continually reminding them of your company's existence. Affordable services like Constant Contact can be used to manage mailing lists, statistics, and opt-in / out functions.

Caveat: Sending commercial e-mail messages to people who have not agreed to receive your mailings can result in severe fines and penalties from the federal government per terms of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Newsletter content should appeal to your defined audiences, with industry- or product-related news and events, company-specific news and events, practical reference information, and interesting statistical and demographic information. The newsletter copy should publicize links to appropriate pages within your website.

You will need to maintain one or more separate lists for the purpose of sending targeted messages to particular audiences (see Other Announcements below). You may combine all your lists to send a monthly newsletter, and send other bulletinletters to past or potential customers as appropriate.

Other Announcements

Other announcements are e-mailings that can consist of press releases, coupons, special notices, or anything you want to communicate specifically to members of one or more e-mail lists.

Search Engine Marketing, Pay-per-Click and Display Advertising

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization means constructing a website that is easily crawled by search engine spiders, and it encompasses a variety of techniques designed to improve your site's (or page's) ranking in the search engine results page. The goal is for your site to be found by searchers who are looking for sites related to a certain keyword or phrase, for example "little red wagon" if you are in the business of selling toy wagons. SEO can be divided into on-page activities (eg, amount of content, metadata, links, programming methods and structural issues) and off-page activities (most importantly, obtaining links from other websites to your site).

Pay-per-Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click advertising refer to text ads displayed on search engine results pages (versus "organic" results achieved by SEO) and other sites, usually in the margins. In the case of Google AdWords and Microsoft's adCenter, you can open an account and specify the keyword (s) that, when searched for, will generate an ad that links to your website. You pay only when a searcher clicks an ad and is directed to your site. In the example below, the key phrase is "little red wagon," and pay-per-click ads are located at top (in yellow) and in the right-hand column (subtitled "Sponsored Links"). The first organic listing is "Little Red Wagon Foundation."

A few of the benefits of PPC advertising are that you know exactly how many people view your ads, how many of those viewers click through to your website, and (if you're using a site analytics tool) what they do once they reach your site . You can also start and stop running ads at a moment's notice, experiment with any number of ads you like, and fund your campaign with as little as $ 10 to start.

Display Advertising

Display advertising, also called banner advertising, means purchasing ad space on another website and placing a text and / or graphic ad with a link to your site. This technique is generally more complex and expensive than pay-per-click, but can be very powerful if the right message is shown to a tightly focused audience. To achieve optimal click-through rate (CTR), advertise on websites where you gather your target audience is visiting, rather than a general interest website. Most marketers do not purchase ad space directly from another website, but use a banner ad network to automatically place ads on appropriate websites. A couple of the largest names in display ad serving are DoubleClick and BurstMedia.

Social Media and Networking

Social networking is the latest buzz in the modern marketing arsenal. If you have any doubt about its impact, especially on the under-40 population, read this list. Small businesses with limited resources should weigh their time spent and the potential benefits carefully, however. It can also be difficult to measure the return on your investment for some of these tactics.

The general principle of "marketing" on social networking outlets is that people who have similar interests will naturally congregate around Web content that discusses that interest. They may be interested in product information in the form of reviews or personal opinion, but hard sale approaches are mostly discouraged and unproductive. Your goal is to become a trusted advisor-which usually means revealing your identity and at least some part of your personality. If that promise makes you uncomfortable, you may still find social networking sites valuable for market research purposes. Find out what people are buying and why, then use that information to help shape your other marketing activities.

The following section describes the more popular social media outlets and sites, but keep your eyes open for new virtual spaces where you might get more attention by getting in on the ground floor.

YouTube, Facebook, Etc.

YouTube allows you to post videos on your own "channel," a distinct Web page that can be customized and allows for posting links back to your own website. A major positive aspect of this venue is that the number of views is posted and viewers can submit comments, so you know whether your videos are popular and why.

Facebook is considered the model for modern social networking sites. Facebook allows you (individual, corporate, non-profit, etc.) to create a page, attract "likes" and reviews, communicate with followers by posting status updates, photos and videos, and so on.

Although the previously named sites are the most popular in terms of visitors, there are a couple of business-oriented networking sites that may be more useful for making business connections. LinkedIn helps you develop a network of clients, service providers, and subject experts; find business opportunities and partners; post job openings; and more. More detailed advice on best practices for using LinkedIn can be found in many online articles and blogs.

Twitter

Think of Twitter as a mini-blog (see below) that allows you to broadcast messages of 140 characters or less. The messages appear to your "followers" on their phones or computers, as well as on Twitter.com. The biggest challenges are to gain a useful number of followers and to think of something engaging to write to them. If you are a speaker, writer, or performer Twitter can be used to let your fans know what you're doing and when. If you have a retail store you might let your followers know that you're offering a discounted item or running a special sale. You should post a Twitter sign-up link on your website, and within your signature line in outgoing e-mail messages. You can also gain followers by following people who work in or comment on your industry, as some Twitter users will follow those who follow them.

Blogs

The word blog originally came from the term "Web log." There's no real standard for what a blog is, but most commonly authors use them to comment on (and link to) other online news items, websites, or other Internet content. For the most part, direct selling on a blog is frowned upon and is probably a recipe for driving away potential readers. What do you write about, then? Well, if you run an Internet marketing firm you write about trends in Web marketing, what the search engines are up to, tips for do-it-yourselfers, or what you thought of the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Seriously, read some blogs and you will find all sorts of personal opinion mixed in with professional advice and commentary. The goal of your blog, however, should most likely be to establish yourself as an expert and trusted advisor in your chosen field.

You may also pursue getting your products, services, or website referred in related blogs by other industry experts. When a high-visibility blogger mentions a website on his or her blog, the site is exposed to a potential audience of new viewers. Often, blog postings are simply press releases that are picked up by sites that discuss topics related to a particular product or industry. More opportunities (and traffic) in this arena can be realized by developing relationships with individual bloggers.

Additional Tips:

  • Post an article that was written by someone else, just be sure to provide a link to the original article and give credit to the person written it. You can then give your comment on the topic of the article or find a way to refer the information to local trends or challenges.
  • Ask colleges to be "guest bloggers" by writing articles for you to post, again giving them credit and adding their byline and a link to their website. Using links is a good way to drive additional traffic to their sites so it's a good trade-off for both parties.
  • Nick Francesco of AskNick.com said, "A blog gets people's attention and Twitter keeps it." Consider using these two outputs together.

Forums & Discussion Groups

A forum (also known as discussion group, message board or bulletin board) is a component of a website where users can ask questions, offer advice, or share experiences with others about a certain topic or topics. Nearly every hobby on earth has a number of popular forums wherein members offer their thoughts and feelings on all aspects of their favorite pastime. Contributing a comment (with a link to your website) in discussion groups related to your products or services can create a small surge or spike in traffic, but usually has little long-lasting effect. To maximize impact, target forums on high-traffic sites that have 1,000+ users, and reply to topics with larger numbers of views (relative to other posted topics).

You can easily build your own bulletin board / forum component on your site with free or low-cost software. User forums have the potential to greatly increase the "stickiness" of a site, given a critical mass of traffic required to generate new discussions and keep participants interested in returning. You can start by "seeding" topics on your own, but there will not be any results until traffic is directed to the forums. The conundrum for small businesses may have the time required to moderate a forum once it becomes successful. One solution is to seek out a volunteer moderator who exhibits a keen interest in your field. A sample of a baseball trading card forum is shown in the screenshot shot below.

Article Placement / E-Zines

Another avenue for generating incoming links and traffic to your site is the free article market. Article submission (or e-zine) websites allow you to publish articles on a variety of topics. Examples include EzineArticles and ArticleCity.com.

Depending on terms of use, these articles may be used as content on other websites, or collected on the site where submitted. The main objective of most article contributors is to increase their search engine rankings with the placement of backlinks on other reputable sites. Providing reliable and accurate reference information is secondary, and the traffic potential from article readers is questionable.

Obtaining links from article submission sites is not likely to improve your site's search engine rankings much. However, existing content from a print newsletter or other written material can be re-purposed with a reliably small time investment. Be aware that creating articles from your website's content verbatim may cause search engines to penalize your site, as the search engines take a dim view of text that is republished multiple times ("duplicate content" in search engine optimization terms). Submitting articles to sites with the most traffic will give your site the best chance to be discovered by new readers.

Caveat: Once an article is submitted, you have little or no control over who uses your content and for what purpose, depending on the copyright policies of the site on which the article is posted.

Other Internet Marketing Outlets

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is, essentially, an online encyclopaedia. The unique aspect of Wikipedia is that users generate the content, although content must be approved by volunteer editors. Traffic will grow if and when others link to the entry. If you add content, your time commitment will be reliably minor, and the benefits may include improved search engine ranking and a slight increase in traffic to your site. As with other forms of Internet communication, a Wikipedia entry that is essentially a commercial for a product, service, or company will not be viewed positively and is unquestionably to be approved by editors.

Directories

Online directories allow Internet users to browse through categories of topics to find websites related to a certain subject. There are directories for businesses, blogs, websites in general, and more. Many directories are free, and some only list you if you pay. The mother of free directories is the Open Directory Project, and by all accounts the best paid directory for business is the Yahoo! Directory ($ 299 annually). Be aware that you might wait a long time for some of the free directories to list your site, as they may rely on volunteer screeners. Directories not only allow consumers to find you in their listings, they also help get your site indexed in the major search engines. If you submit your site to a directory, make sure to read the submission guidelines and follow them exactly.

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Local Search Engine Optimization Tips

Search engine marketing needs a new local search engine optimization feature to enlist better Google, Yahoo and Bing results. Search marketing optimization services have changed priority with Google’s places local search optimization causing many former page one websites to drop. This local marketing opportunity means that search marketing can be achieved by using better effective local search engine optimization allowing for lesser ranking websites to be seen on many page results. Google local places search engine marketing takes priority of websites using local optimization and address optimization. The if your business is closer to the pointer of Google maps it could mean higher ranking for your website. Social media marketing, directory, review results. A sample of local search indexing, local social media sites is below.

  1. Yelp
  2. CitySearch
  3. InsiderPages
  4. YahooLocal
  5. DealerRater
  6. JudysBook
  7. TripAdvisor
  8. Edmunds
  9. Zagats.com
  10. OpenTable

Also

  1. UrbanSpoon
  2. DemandForce
  3. Kudzu
  4. Yellowbot
  5. CityVoter
  6. DexKnows
  7. SuperPages
  8. MenuPages
  9. LilaGuide
  10. Vitals.com

Search engine marketing is based on link structure or link popularity with links coming from outside sources. Local search engine marketing now relies more on local social media links to rank websites and local social media. Social media marketing can utilize local marketing with Facebook places, Google places, Google maps and local tweets from twitter. What is the best SEO strategy? Search engine optimization and on page keywords was the former strategy and until very lately backlinks were the main focus of search engine optimization services, now a website say for “cosmetic surgeon marketing company” or “Attorney SEO company” can achieve page one results with a small amount of backlinks. Google places look at local websites yelp, yahoo local, and local listings, Google maps and local social media marketing websites as a major link to local business. Plastic surgery, lawyers, attorneys, law firms, are all viable local based business services which will benefit from local SEO.

Local search engine optimization is still best to keep a website optimized for keywords beyond local search marketing needs. SEO services will offer local listings as part of their services but many only provide the most obvious map, yahoo optimization. Social media marketing along with local search optimization has reached a point of equaling of trouncing many SEO strategies. Search engine marketing or SEM is also a candidate for local search engine marketing strategy. Search engine marketing can culminate in lead generation for professional services say attorney or doctor, plastic surgeon. These services require Local SEO to land the potential client to the website and then proceed to actually sell the services. How is this done? Client lead to client sell is a symbiotic strategy involving the services knowledge, reliability and pricing structure to lure the client to the best services possible.

If your services provides the best possible scenario for the client, sales happen. What can be a simple internet search from a potential client seeking say ” best SEO company ” and finding them on Google maps and then looking at the SEO firms reviews on yelp or a video tutorial on YouTube means the clients last stop may be the actual website yet they are already keenly interested in the vortex of experience, results and price of SEO. Local search SEO is probably the most cost effective local optimization. Competing with huge budget SEO was a severe challenge only a few months ago. Also outsourcing SEO has changed in as much as search engines can see local IP addresses and what is obviously a non American or U.S. IP address. What does this mean to SEO? It means SEO services from abroad cannot utilize local search marketing as before, it also means the social media used by outsourced SEO cannot mitigate to local indexing like a US. based IP can.

SEO in many larger cities can be adapted to local search optimization along with social media marketing, video marketing, multimedia enhancement to not only rank pages higher but to generate real client conversion and sales on the internet. Search optimization companies who do not supply video production, local search optimization and social media marketing services are at risk of leaving their clients out in the cold in terms of local leads and brand awareness. Video marketing Facebook marketing and twitter real time updates all contribute to creating user trust and awareness. Video production and informational marketing strategies sets the tone for creating authority in your field. Clients want to know who they are dealing with in important matters of legal and medical services. Video can bring real trust and brand awareness right to the clients choice of “keep watching” or ” move on” in a way this is like giving a consultation without the hassle.

If a potential client see’s your face, likes what they hear the next contact will be a strong one. If a potential customer has decided they simply do not like your face or demeanor it would be a waste of your time to consult anyway. SEO services are abound all over the internet for the search ” best SEO company” however taking into account practicality, face to face client trust and testimonials along with price structuring for almost any services we are the best choice for local search marketing, local optimization, social media marketing and SEO

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Keywords in Your Site

I have decided to write this article about keywords, because some webmasters seem to underestimate the value of correctly written content. Search engines have to decide and refer your site into some category, sub-category, and sub-sub category (and so on, if they can). For example, if you are selling hookahs, your site will probably be categorized as "middle-east", "hookahs" and maybe some other niches.

This is done, because modern search engines want to know, which sites of those, linking to you, are from a related topic. Related links carry much more "weight" – increasing your position in search results more, than a non-related link would.

The only way, that search engines can categorize your site, is recognizing words in your site. What words appear in more percentage, what words are in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on places. So, as a webmaster, you have to realize, that it is your duty to carefully pick those words.

Titles, headers, text – it all has to be in your niche, and contain keywords, that you think relate to your topic. For example, general hookahs store will contain words like "hookah", "sheesha", "charcoals", "tobacco" and so on. According to those keywords, search engine will try to understand what this site is about, and calculate its rating. But please, be aware, that "keyword stuffing" (putting too much keywords in text) can hurt you. Proposed keyword density is about 3-4% of the text.

There is a great tool, called Google Webmaster, that helps you analyze your keyword density. Use it, and you will not have unpleasurable surprises. Here are some examples of mistakes, that could easily happen:

# 1 One of my sites had a combo-box, that allowed user to choose a country. Country list has about 19 islands "* Island" or "* Islands". This way, my site's first priority keyword was "island", and it did not have any relation whatsever to islands.

# 2 One of my sites had a translator plug-in with several pictures of different country flags. If a user clicked that flag – he would get translation of a current page. The problem was, that every flag had an "alt" tag with values ??like: "flag_en", "flag_de", "flag_it" and so on. This menu appeared in all of my pages, and had several languages ??turned on – making the word "flag" second most important keyword on my site. Bad, is not it?

# 3 My friend had a site, with several flash gadgets embedded, each one checking whether Adobe Flash was installed. This way, his 3 most important keywords were "Adobe", "Flash", "Player", which is total nonsense.

Remember to plan your site carefully, think about what keywords you want to dominate, put them in titles, headers, do not forget the "alt" tag in images (as we see from my example # 2 – they are equally as important) , check the keywords density, to avoid stuffing (there are online tools, that are easy to find, for this purpose), and get yourself a Google Webmaster panel. It strongly helps keeping track of your site's SEO condition.

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SEO for Local Business: The Emerging Business Promotion Tool

SEO for local business is the new buzz among brands and business that target mainly local businesses. If you are a business and most of your revenue comes through local customers then optimizing website for local business is something that they should consider. There are many reasons why a business should consider optimizing their website for search engines and with rest of the article we are going to highlight some of those points. We will also highlights some points about how a brand should promote themselves online and what strategies marketers should follow while optimizing a website for local customers and clients.

Local SEO: Why is it Needed?

With Internet and social media it has become indispensable for brands and companies to make an effective online and digital presence for their brands. According to various reports from marketing gurus this has come to the light that almost 70 percent of American people use Internet to search for their products and services. When it comes to buying for some household commodity or goods customers are relying much on local businesses than somewhere else. Viewing the importance and significance of online marketing it is necessary for marketers to optimize their website for local customers.

SEO for Local business: How to do it effectively

There are various ways that marketer and businessperson can leverage to optimize their website. The first and the foremost step in the process of online branding is the “Search Engine Optimization” or commonly known as SEO. This is the process of making readily available to search engines for indexing and crawling. Optimizing a website for local customers involves placing your websites to Google-places, Yahoo local search, local yellow pages, foursquare and other local marketing platforms. Another important thing that marketer can do to optimize their website for local search is by placing their website son various local directories. It is a known fact that search engine like Google pulls a major chunk of their search from these local directories so if you are there on local directories you are likely to rank higher on the search engine result page.

Social Media to Complement your Local SEO Effort

Due to manipulation and abusive use of search engine algorithms, search engines are relying much on signals and metrics that are coming from social media spaces. The more active you are on the social media space higher are the chances of getting ranked earlier on the search engine ladder. The best ways to leverage this goldmine of marketing is by creating effective social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Quora and You-tube. However selection of social media platform depends on the nature and taste of the niche you are in. Businesses that are in the arena of B2B marketing want to target LinkedIn as their social media platform while those marketers who are in the service sector you should target Facebook. Quora is another important tool that marketers can leverage. It is the best social media networking platform to get acquainted with leaders in your niche.

Conclusion: So what marketers can do to get most out of their local search engine optimization campaign and the whole journey starts with searching and locating the best Search engine optimization service provider that have enough experience in offering seo services for local brands. They know every delicacy of this niche and can undertake campaigns that are result-oriented.

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How Much to Pay for SEO Services?

The question comes up often. Many people have been burned by SEO Services, but many have also been rewarded by SEO Services. Like any business transaction or purchase you should only spend your money when you feel comfortable. Your comfort zone should pull from various dependencies, such as how well do you know this business, how long have you been doing business with this person or entity, what is your first impression, how do you personally feel about this person or entity ability to provide this service, and how well have you done your homework.

The truth about SEO services is that it is normally not hard work, but that doesn’t mean its easy. It still takes time, dedication, effort, strategy, technique, method, skill, and experience to perform quality SEO services. Anyone can use SEO services because it is within your reach to learn, but not everyone can apply sensible strategy to make SEO work. That is why SEO engineers are needed to accomplish the almost impossible, but the question is how do you know you are making the right choice and not overpaying for SEO services?

I can honestly say for the most part SEO service providers are on the up and up who want nothing more than to do professional business and provide quality SEO services. Identifying every shady SEO service may not be possible, but I have some recommended advice which should help anyone get a fair and quality rate for SEO services.

– Set yourself a “realistic” marketing budget and goal

– Shop around

– Don’t buy until you feel comfortable

– Remember “cheap does not always mean better”

– Ask for references / referrals / portfolio

– Verify references / referrals / portfolio

– Ask for statistical growth and progress reports

Set Yourself a Realistic Marketing Budget and Goal

This simply mean do not kid yourself and think you can pay $200 and overnight you will make thousands. Instead, create a budget depending on your marketing needs, competitive industry, projected outcome, and length of time. If you are looking for your website to rank in the Top 10 search engine result page for a particular keyword or keywords then expect to pay in the thousands, often times tens of thousands, for quality, professional, and reliable SEO services, almost always depending on the competitiveness of the keyword. If you want to rank in the top 10 for the keyword “Google”, this in most cases impossible, but I am sure there are some SEO companies who will accept the challenge, but will charge in the thousands if not millions to attempt this insane marketing goal.

Shop Around

Find the most appealing SEO services and compare those to other competitive SEO services. Don’t settle for “cheap” or “inexpensive”, but settle for “effective” and “strategy”. Anyone can do SEO work, but not everyone can improve results using SEO services. This is because, SEO is about technique and strategy. It’s not about just throwing thousands a links around the web and sitting back waiting for the explosion. Its actually a lot more complicated than that, as it is about having strategy, technique, and competitive edge. You must find SEO services which live by this principle and can offer you the strategic road map you need for success.

Don’t Buy Until You Feel Comfortable

You should always feel comfortable with entrusting your money into an SEO service provider paws. If you have special needs such as you want to sign a contract, you want a specific pay schedule, or you have any questions, make sure you get answers and are comfortable with the projected outcome then move forward. I personally suggest getting a contract which outlines the projected outcome and any other bullet points, then also exploring the consequences or possibilities if the projected outcome is not met.

Remember “Cheap Does Not Always Mean Better”

This is a buyer beware notice. When someone offers $20 SEO services or even $200 SEO services, I would say “buyer beware”. There may be a handful of highly skilled SEO providers who can offer you SEO services at a discount or for extremely low rates, but most of the time these providers either do not know their service worth or know exactly what they are doing, but may have had a lucky streak. You will have to pay top dollar or aggressively, yet still affordable for quality, strategic, and experienced SEO services. SEO engineers is what I like to call them. These are SEO’s who understand the SEO concept, who pioneer SEO methods, and who don’t always follow the trend, but know the trends.

Most of the SEO engineers are not going to be cheap, but well worth every dollar spent. If you take into consideration other marketing and advertising platforms, such as television broadcast advertising, print advertising, large tradeshow/fair booth advertising, etc. internet marketing and search engine optimization cost peanuts compared to these other advertising methods and have a farther audience reach. SEO services can easily cost between $5,000-$25,000, it can even be much more than this, depending on your needs, but this is far more inexpensive and cheaper than other advertising platforms. So, next time you think that SEO service cost too much, think about the other methods of advertising and their rates, along with return on investment (ROI). SEO services come out on top every time when compared against these other advertising platforms.

Ask for References / Referrals / Portfolio

Any SEO service provider should be able to point you to their qualifying work. SEO service providers should be able to present you with affectionate websites which they have performed SEO work on. This can even be the SEO service provider personal website, they should be able to point you to their rankings in the search engine as well as some result driven SEO work within the site or across the web.

Verify References / Referrals / Portfolio

Verifying information is not always easy or accomplishable. You should attempt to reach out and verify what you can. If a shady SEO business was going to scam, then I am sure this is where they would start, with testimonials. I suggest verifying what you can, but don’t get overwhelmed with referrals because it may be the shady SEO business giving self praise. I actually have some good verification tips, but that’s another article all within itself.

Ask for Statistical Growth & Progress Reports

The SEO service campaign should include periodic progress/performance reports so you can track your website progress. Tracking your website progress is important in many ways. First, it tells if the SEO engineer is doing their job. Second, it tells you if the SEO methods, strategy, and technique is working or not. Third, it tells you how well the search engines are reciprocating your SEO efforts. And lastly, it tells you how much progress is being made and at what rate. All of this advanced reporting information and trend tracking can give you an overview of your website potential while giving you the opportunity to design or redesign your landing pages to increase your return on investment (ROI).

Okay, to wrap it up, just be sure you stay out of shabby internet neighborhoods and when making any online transaction, do your homework first. Also, remember “cheap does not equal better”. Think about it, would you rather pay in the thousands to one SEO company for quality SEO work, which will produce results and increase your website overall performance or would you rather pay cheap $200 to many different SEO’s who don’t ever really give you the results you deserve. If an SEO engineer can increase your website sales and exposure by 80% without your site ever reaching the top 10 search results then you still got a good deal. This is the effect of skilled and experienced SEO services. The only difference between your website and the websites in the top 10, is those websites have SEO engineers working for them who understand SEO.

Posted by Anwar in SEO, 0 comments

Uses of Social Media Management (SMM) Tools

Social media and modern day commerce

The social media epoch has formed a whole new way of networking, connecting dots between commerce and lifestyle, speeding up globalization and taming space for businesses to penetrate the market.

From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Snapchat, people are spoiled for choices when it comes to getting in touch with the world. A single WhatsApp group could contain the real estate contacts and data of an entire area code. A YouTube channel can be a knowledgeable source of information related to fixing up your car. One Facebook post could go viral and demand support for controversial matters that require change. Thus, social media serves as the perfect pitch for commercial enterprises, whether starting out or already in the game, to exponentially expand their reach and simultaneously understand the market better.

Social media has grown to strengthen client relations with businesses and amplify brand loyalty. With numerous modes of social media, a brand can take several formulas to reach a wide range of audiences, thereby dominating markets with its presence. Social media relies on the ability to relate. The market works on the same principle for any business to take off. Arguably one of the best qualities of social media is that its persuasive publicity urges industries to bring quality products and services to a competitive market. As the forefront of many innovative steps in the entrepreneurial world today, social media is the digital compass that any business must crack to manoeuvre through changing trends and growing markets. This is where social media management (SMM) plays a key role and sets itself apart as a governing force in the field of brand promotion, advertising and gaining market approval. Excellent social media management techniques dictate the success of a business in the digital world. This is confidently translated to durable results in the market.

Social Media Management (SMM)

With the rise of technological prominence in every industry, social media management (SMM) is backed by a set of digital tools that lay off the burdens that come with the hefty task of reaching out to millions in an instant. Managing content and delivering the right material takes time, effort and loads of creativity. The goal is to appeal to prospects in the most innovative manner possible. As the web is already saturated with creativity, getting your point across becomes that much tougher. This is why certain tools and techniques are required in efficient social media marketing for businesses across the world. These carefully structured, user-friendly SMM tools help manage content on multiple social media platforms in a timely manner while bringing the best out of communication with viewers.

Social media marketing tools available online have redefined the way we can use social media to develop a brand. Immediate results and constant monitoring can be done while the right measures can be taken to approach varying types of markets worldwide. SMM tools make it easier for business to see their progress in real-time and captivate a potential marketplace. Although there are several tools used in order of preference, some tools stand out for their exceptional design and functions. The techniques and managing style differs from person to person and the internet is home to various kinds of SMM tools that suit diverse managerial standards. Based on use reviews and popularity, there are few SMM tools that appeal to a wider range of users across industries.

Popular Social Media Marketing (SMM) tools

As of 2018, here is a list of the top trending Social Media Management (SMM) tools that have revolutionized marketing online:

  • HootSuite

HootSuite allows you to manage all your social accounts on one platform at affordable rates, engage viewers on multiple networks and share insights across teams. Facebook business features can be optimized with the help of tools like HootSuite. This tool allows you to quickly resolve customer inquiries, collaborate with a team and expand reach with employee activism. By keeping tabs on the social return on investment, the SMM tool allows users to make informed marketing decisions at crucial times.

  • Buffer

Buffer is SMM software that eanbles users to schedule and send posts at various intervals called as timeslots. The tool also provides real time post statistics to keep updated with interactions on social media. Buffer is equipped with many productive marketing techniques and gives you the provision to unlock additional paid features. To make the most out of Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, Buffer is a pervasive SMM tool available today.

  • Sprout Social

When it comes to viewer association Sprout Social is a good choice for marketers. Primarily focusing on social care creates strong relations between businesses and audience. With many updated features, the most recent Sprout Social features also include enhancements in social care efforts. Although some social media websites such as Instagram don’t allow third parties to post visual media, Sprout Social’s ‘Smart Box’ records activity on Instagram posts as well. Facebook and Twitter feeds can be managed easily with this SMM tool.

  • Hubspot

Also a paid SMM tool, Hubspot has proven to be a favourite among marketers online as a social publishing. With countless features, HubSpot specializes in SEO techniques, advertisements and audience involvement to bring the best out of marketing stratagems. With several integrated techniques like email listings and automated marketing, users can attract, convert, close and amuse audiences with HubSpot.

  • MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is probably most known for its unique re-sharing option that allows automated content circulation. By recording social statistics the sky is the limit to growing your business online with MeetEdgar. Affordable, easy to use and effective SMM techniques make it one among the many stand out software used for social marketing purposes.

  • Agora Pulse

Agora Pulse has grown on SMM enthusiasts over the past few years as a dynamic social media marketer’s tool. With many useful features, Agora Pulse records viewer data and aids in crisp marketing policies, a prodigious social media publishing tool as well. Agora Pulse also utilizes a spam filter technique that resolves data traffic issues and regulates content on your social media posts.

With the growing demand for efficient SMM tools equipped with easy to use interfaces and exceptional functions, trending software such as these have revolutionized businesses with social marketing.

Role of SMM tools in marketing?

The applications of SMM software cannot be stressed in one go due to their manifold functions.

Time being the major concern; most users opt for SMM tools because they make use of time in the best way possible. With easy to use interface and time-effective management techniques, these tools help marketing professionals understand the market quicker and better as they delve deeper. From discovering new trends to conversation with prospects, these tools help control all your brand’s social media accounts on a single platform without having to individually log into multiple accounts. You can air information online within a set time frame and dictate the flow of customer interactions. Businesses witness drastic growth as the market presence is elaborated across diverse populaces. With SMM tools you can analyse and articulate continuous growth by building the unparalleled company profile.By segmenting a marketplace, businesses have authority over what information should reach which region and how much resource should be allocated for specific advertising endeavours. As a game changer, the commercial returns in terms of advertising and public relations is enhanced by maintaining a watchful eye over every step a business takes since inception and leap towards brand promotion.

The perks of SMM tools are infinite. You can manage conversations and set up polls or improve ratings at the click of a button. With a Birdseye view over every event you can prepare, reconstruct and refurbish new marketing strategies. By recycling posts at intervals, a technique available in many SMM tools, you can create a repetitive sense of urgency among people who come in contact with your brand. The customer should see that your brand value is above opposition. Among the many features that make SMM tools worthy, whether open source or paid, is the fact that the results are guaranteed provided that the content is appealing. Even if you have to pay extra bucks to reach out to the right people, SMM guarantees this output. The brand appeal will definitely attract more customers when the creative aspect meets with the perfect management strategy. The right social media management tool can be a substitute for an employee in regulating information and keeping tabs on business statistics

Posted by Anwar in SEO, 0 comments

Difference Between SEO Services And PPC

SEO services are based on the web promotion techniques that are helpful when there is quality content. PPC is marketing technique that means pay per click advertising. There is always confusion in people about Search engine optimization and PPC campaigns. In Pay per click advertisements and prices starts to rise and shrink happens in margins. This encouraged websites owners and investors to start investments in organic SEO to a large extent. But these investments could prove frustrating if it is not a thought in the initial stages about it.

Generally in SEO services there is incapability in estimating the results and time to be consumed is not certain. PPC is faster but SEO is slower but different to PPC. To understand the SEO results it is essential to know how the SEO techniques are being implemented. Certain conclusions can be drawn form the optimized SEO techniques.

We can say that pay per click is a marketing campaign based on an advertisement model but it should be noticed that SEO Services are not advertising. In spite of this PPC and SEO are connected with each other.

The way online world has influenced people is a good trend that all online visitors are being informed about the information from the websites. This helps them in choosing them a particular product. People visit the website before shopping. The information in web pages also affects the customer daily. So content is very important for the online world. This content is an important part of SEO tool and search engine optimization but it is not in case of PPC.

PPC brings customers and along with it publicity to website. But it is the content and SEO that makes people to stay on the website and that affect their sales. To conclude we can say that PPC is an advertising model that performed with SEO and makes the people to visit and stay on their websites.

Posted by Anwar in SEO, 0 comments

Best Google Website Tools in 2018

Google Analytics

In this digital age, the importance of data to a business/website should never be underestimated. In fact, without proper tracking of website traffic, a business is literally lost, especially when it comes to how to optimize the website and make full use of it.

Whether your website is run in the form of a personal blog, news portal, business or corporate page, ecommerce store, Google Analytics is considered an essential tool for every website. The more you use this highly powerful Google tool, the bigger advantage you have.

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. You can create goals and conversion tracking to get the most of your analytics information and use it to improve your website’s content, user experience and optimization for better online sales.

Out of so many features in Google Analytics, I think the ability to identify the Source / Medium to your website is one of the best website tools. Based on the data shown, you can find out if your marketing efforts have been paid off or not. This can provide a solid reference for your next decision making in enhancing your website performance.

Google Data Studio

Trust me, for beginners, you might be overwhelmed by all the amount of data shown in Google Analytics. To be frank, sometimes you just need a simple report with chart, graph or pie to summarize the performance of your website.

Here is a free tool from Google called Google Data Studio, which gives you everything you need to turn your analytics data into informative, easy-to-understand reports through data visualization.

Analytics has always been a challenge for digital marketing, however, Google Data Studio allows you to create customizable data visualization and report. Besides, you can even share with your clients – a huge plus especially if you are working in a big group.

Quick tip: You can check out Google Data Studio Gallery to duplicate their samples and modify to your website use. After that you will be able to change and edit the metric according to your needs. Quite amazing, right?

Google Search Console

Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, now rebranded to Google Search Console, this free web service is designed for webmasters. It allows you to check the indexing status and optimize the visibility of your websites.

This free tool is a MUST for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The power to track your site’s search performance is the most precious data to understand what the audiences want for your site.

Once the website is tracked by Google, you’ll be able to view your organic search results right alongside the performance statistics for the organic search queries. This information helps you better understand how paid text ads and organic search results work together. If you analyse deeply enough, you will find many opportunities like identify relevant search queries that have low organic traffic volume and target these keywords in Google AdWords. This will increase your overall traffic, tailored to the objective of your website.

Google My Business

Are you operating a brick and mortar business? If you are, this free tools from Google is one of the most local SEO strategies to strengthen your website. Google My Business is a powerful tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, like Google Search and Google Maps.

As smartphone penetration in Malaysia approaching 100% by 2018, the majority of Malaysians are using smartphones for navigation, searching for instant answers or browsing social media platforms. Your business and brand need to be found online with the correct information.

Make sure all the listed information is correct, up-to-date and reflect your business. Remember, those info will appear when people search for your office or physical store via Waze or Google Map. We often see some of the business hasn’t updated their address, phone number and business hours to the latest. Wish to gain my traffic to your website?

You should try the new the features from Google My Business called “Posts”. The published content will display your image and short description with call-to-action link to your intended URL. For example, blog post “Should I hide or even remove client inquiry on my Facebook?” will appear at the bottom of our business info.

Google Keyword Planner

Building a website without keyword research is exhausting and time wasting in long-term. In order to reach the right customers with the right keywords, you should use Google Keyword Planner to discover relevant keywords. Inserting those keywords into your website will ensure your content remains relevant.

*To access Keyword Planner, you need to sign in to your Google AdWords account at http://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner. Create the account is free of charge and fast.

Yes, it’s completely free, you can find new keyword ideas that are relevant to your product, service and target customers. Keyword planner will show you the search volume data in historical statistics which is one of the most important key factors for your website.

Furthermore, the data from keywords ideas is a useful tool for SEO to your website. Analyse the information and turn it to your next content marketing strategy. Based on the search terms data, you should have plenty of ideas what should can be inserted to your text to make it more relevant to your audience.

Google Tag Manager

This free tool helps you update tags and code snippets on your website and mobile app quickly and easily. You can insert JavaScript and HTML tags used for tracking and analytics on websites in Tag Manager without touching the back end of the website.

Many websites do not deploy tracking function or have unreliable data collection because of messy codes injection. To solve this, we highly recommend using Google Tag Manager to consolidate and manage all your tracking codes or scripts.

The best example of using this tool is to use Facebook Ads. While more and more businesses are spending on Facebook Ads, most of them do not install Facebook Pixel into their website for conversion tracking, optimization and remarketing purposes.

Facebook Ads is already integrated with Google Tag Manager for smooth and easy installation. All you need to do just click and follow the instructions given without any need for complicated coding.

Test My Site from Think With Google

In order to rank well in mobile Google Search, your website should have fast loading speed and a mobile-optimized website. Use the Test My Site tool from Think with Google to check your website score on mobile performance. After a few minutes, you will receive recommendations on improving website performance across all devices.

Nobody wants to wait for slow websites or browse non-mobile friendly websites. The suggested time is 3 seconds from Google, which means if your site doesn’t load completely within 3 seconds, most people will most probably go elsewhere.

Just insert your email address and you will obtain the detailed analysis about your website. The content of the report is simple, but provides valuable insight into how Google ranks your website speed.

The report will become a crucial reference to your webmaster or web developer to further optimize the website. If you need even more in depth report about how Google renders and indexes your website, you should use the PageSpeed Insight tool.

Google PageSpeed Insight

If you have web developers or web designers that really want to understand the factors to increase your website speed, give PageSpeed Insights Tool a try and check your score on your website’s speed and optimization.

The latest version now shows the data from your First Contentful Point (FCP), the measurement when a user sees a visual response from the page. DOM Content Loaded (DCL), as well as the measurement when HTML document has been loaded and parsed.

PageSpeed Insights is handy in providing insight on how Google indexes your website differently for desktop and mobile versions.

Here are some website speed optimization tips from PageSpeed:

  • Avoid landing page redirects

  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold contents

  • Enable compression

  • Leverage browser caching

  • Minify CSS

  • Minify HTML

  • MInify JavaScript

  • Optimize images

  • Prioritize visible content

  • Reduce server response time

Google Trend

Wish to see the latest trends and data from Google? You can search anything via Google Trends and even narrow down to specific country or category. This tool is useful to identify latest trends or viral news in your location.

Ideally, once you identified a trend, you can craft new blog posts, new promotions or ideas that reflect the said trend.

Don’t forget that you also can view the interest traffic of search terms using Google Trends.

With this, you can spot the best time to launch specific campaign. This is helpful for seasonal campaign or annual promotion because you can discover the best timing for your ad hoc digital marketing campaigns.

Google Alert

If you want to be aware of a particular topic and all the related information that bubbles up in the news, you can have them all automatically delivered to you with Google Alert and get notified every time when your keywords or phrases have new updates.

Google Alert is good for simple keyword monitoring, with updated on every mention of those keywords being sent to your email inbox for almost real time notification. Of course, you can choose the frequency at which you’ll receive them – once per day, once per week or even get them as they just happen.

A useful tip when creating the Google Alert is to avoid using generic keywords but create alerts that are more unique to your website. The more precise the keywords, the more relevant are your alerts. For that, you should utilize the search filters wherever possible, such as languages, region or sources.

Summary

So, that’s it, above are the 10 must-have free Google tools to improve the performance of your website. Make full use of all tools from analysis, research or monitoring to achieve the objective of your site.

What are your favourite tools from Google? Do you know any other Google tools that we should cover? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted by Anwar in SEO, 0 comments
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