Sunday, October 12, 2008

#1 Marketing Strategy: SEO

No single internet strategy beats SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO creates a level playing field for businesses of all sizes, here is why:

FACT: Increases profits. A top 10 page rank will rapidly increase traffic, which ultimately leads to increased sales. 

FACT: Cost-effective marketing. Search Engine Marketing has a lower cost to gain customers than any other form of marketing including email, Yellow Pages, banner ads, and direct mail. Think less input and more output.

FACT:  Product category domination. SEO allows you to be percieved as a leader in your product category by dominating the search queries for your target market’s keywords.  Even though this may not be true in the offline world - online perception can translate into offline success. 

FACT: Makes you a household name. When you appear in the top 10 you become a conversation piece with regards to your target market.

FACT: Gain qualified leads. Remember, customers use the search engines the same way that they use to use the yellow pages.  This means your customers are searching for you. 

FACT: Increased brand awareness and credibility. Effective SEO builds brand awareness and every time you appear and re-appear in people’s search queries your brand is strengthened.

FACT: Long lasting payoffs. Once you spend the time and make the effort to reach your SEO goals, maintaining your top 10 status costs very little, if anything at all. With effective SEO, you can enjoy top online branding status for years to come with minimal cost or effort.

FACT: Outsmarts your competition. High page rank reduces your competitors’ relevance and increases yours. Wouldn’t you like to see your business ranking higher than the rest?

FACT: Twenty-Four-Seven advertisement. With good SEO your web site is constantly advertising for you 24/7, 365 days a year. Customers can find you anytime, anywhere.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mastering PDF Metadata for Better SEO

One of the most overlooked SEO tactics is optimizing your PDF's metadata. This is done to ensure that the PDF is correctly indexed by search engines which will drive more traffic to the document. To add metadata to your PDF using Acrobat do the following:

1. Open the PDF in Acrobat (not in Reader) and select File > Document Info > General.

2. Enter the metadata in each of the four fields:

Title - this field must contain the full title of your document (not the PDF filename).

Subject - this should be a concise (i.e. fewer than 254 characters), free-text description of the content and/or purpose of the document.

Author - this field should always contain the words of the author whether it be a person, company or institution

Keywords - this should contain keywords and/or phrases which describe the subject and topics covered by the content of the document. Use semi-colons (;) not commas (,) to separate individual keywords and phrases.

3. Click OK to apply the metadata to your document.

4. Select File > Save As and ensure the Optimize checkbox is checked. Click Save.

5. Note: If you just use 'Save' (don't use 'Save As') the PDF will become un-optimized.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What Makes Social Network Sites so Popular

People are often astonished as to how social network sites can be so popular with hundreds of millions of users today. Quickly here are the top features that make social network sites so popular with its users and sets them apart from other categories of sites on the net.

Ease of Use – User friendliness and speed of user implementation are absolutely central to a successful social network site. The site has to be so easy to use that any kid or adult can get his / her page up in minutes.

Search – The ability to search and filter down key components of any page are imperative to a social network sites popularity. The more flexibility and search power a social network site gives its users, the better.  Given how big some of the social networking sites have become, search is key to the first point "ease of use". 

User Profiles - The ability to personalize a page or profile through customization features is evident in the top social network sites in the world. The ability to bundle links to other profiles in the network by clicking another user’s avatar is key too. 

Security – Being able to block out uninvited visitors through a privacy feature is a must for any social network site. Equally blocking out spammers is important too. 

Support – Having 24 hour support with a real human as well as quick turnaround on support is imperative. Resources like FAQ, Instructional videos and forums are helpful too. The more support you offer the more users will be happy with choosing you for their social networking needs.

Theme – A social network site has to have a unique and relevant theme that speaks to its users in order for the site to sell its users on investing their time in using the site. A good theme starts with a purpose that is central to the characteristics of the group using the site.  Myspace uses music to attract its users while LinkedIn focuses on careers and jobs.      

Sunday, October 5, 2008

5 Reasons to Avoid Designing a Flash Based Website

Although Flash websites look flash they can be detrimental to your internet marketing efforts. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should avoid designing a Flash based website:

1. Flash requires a proprietary plugin meaning it does not work with older browsers that are not bundled with Flash.

2. Flash generally does not let users change font sizes or contrast settings using personalized settings.

3. Flash sites often do not have a working back function. Most users are used to being able to back-out of a site.

4. Flash doesn't provide a standard way of navigating without the mouse.

5. Flash is not easily indexed by the search engines.