Happy Valentine’s Day, valued WebiMax readers. Are your customers headed, straight as an arrow, toward your site’s services and products, not just today, but each day of the year? Search engine optimization facilitates a love connection and the endless search for brand attention. Brands engineer goods and services to meet the needs of valued customers. Online marketing helps align and spark brand-consumer connections.
Online marketing has become diverse (offering an array of separate yet intertwined initiatives), yet ‘separate’ services ‘connect,’ working well together to create online success. For instance, copywriting (an essential SEO need) is complemented well by social media usage (gives content further extension and exposure). Let’s consider more search engine optimization, inter-service love connections:
Technical SEO < —— > Pay per Click
Technical SEO addresses the on-site needs of a Web property such as meta data, ensuring search engines properly read a site’s pages and understand what on-site elements are ‘communicating’ to engines and users. This helps a brand’s exposure on the search engines; as Comscore’s January SE data reflects, users mainly leverage Google (Google Webmaster tips) for search at the moment.
Addressing technical needs helps search traffic and PPC (pay-per-click) services complement technical notions well, giving brands immediate opportunities for increased exposure. While PPC demands meticulous attention to ensure ROI, it’s a good service to leverage while natural SEO efforts gain momentum.
VSEO < —— > Web Design
I read a good post today on Google+ by Erica McGillivray. If you’re using Google+ (Rand Fishkin urges all people in marketing to develop a strategy), you’ll notice personalized search results and interests of others in your circles. Undoubtedly, you’ve noticed more videos finding way into SERPs. Video production is another method of conveying information; in some cases, video can better communicate than text (think about DIY projects). A number of vendors opt for video production and VSEO (video search engine optimization), allows for better exposure.
Your brand may love the idea of VSEO, deciding to host a number of on-site videos. Web design services invigorate and improve the design and usability of Web properties. While your brand is producing videos, it is necessary to improve the look and function of its associated online properties. Videos intrigue attention while Web design implementations aesthetically please browsers and improve user satisfaction.
Copywriting < —– > Social Media
Great content is essential for every brand. While video, infographs (see infograph of StumbleUpon success via Distilled), podcasts, and other varieties of media are expanding our interpretations of ‘content,’ copywriting (have you been paying attention in copywriting class?) remains an integral part of a successful SEO campaign.
Of course, brands desire increased readership and traffic. Social site, like Google+ above as well as Twitter and Facebook (read Todd Bailey Facebook tips). Social media sites allow for real-time sharing and increased exposure to Web site content and properties. If a brand is producing content, social media becomes a complementary process it can’t afford to pass over.
Thanks for reading – Happy Valentine’s Day
When Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke that the United States Senate hearings back in September, he was asked if the company’s methods could be a bit more transparent. The CEO of the search engine titan replied “There is a limit to the amount of transparency – it is proprietary and if it was more open it would be heavily gamed”. He did however then state that “we can do a better job describing our changes”. Perhaps the most recent evidence of the “better job” came last week as Matt Cutts stated “Weather report: expect some Panda-related flux in the next few weeks, but will have less impact than previous updates”. This statement is of course referring to the Panda update that was first launched in early spring of 2011.
The Panda update is on every search marketer’s mind and for good reason. The Panda (which is updated on an almost monthly basis) is an algorithm change that acts to weed out poor sites that lack sufficient (and valuable) information. It strikes websites that are considered “spammy” including linkfarms, content farms, and the like.
The enhanced transparency has its advantages and disadvantages with the Panda update. First of all, search marketers know exactly what they’re doing when optimizing a site using “black-hat” SEO tactics. Black-hat SEO includes using unethical and unscrupulous tactics to improve a website’s visibility. Ever heard of steroids in baseball? As Cutt’s recent tweet stated, “expect some panda-related flux in the next few weeks”, the black-hat SEO firms know they better change their methods so they don’t get affected.
The advantages, however, mostly steer to combat the arguments that were presented at the U.S. Senate hearings that suggested Google controls everything on their search engine, and thus prohibits fair competition amongst firms. The Senate feels as though increased transparency and communication may rid the company of any unfair competitive edge they have with what gets published on their search engine and why.
As of now the exact changes have not been released however there is a margin of error that affects reputable websites including Forbes, TheTodayShow.com, and PR Newswire as of recent.
More updates to come as we find out!
Social Advertising, or placing ads in social media, shows huge promise. It is one of WebiMax’s “Lucky 7 for 2011″ Social Media opportunities.
Facebook Ads, in particular, offer some powerful advantages for online marketing:
• a huge universe (approaching 750 Million regular monthly users, or one in every 13 earthlings)
• over 70% of all U.S. internet users are on Facebook
• an audience of web-savvy consumers reaching their best earning years
• plays well to a mobile market that is twice as active on Facebook on average, thanks to widely-adopted apps
How important is the Facebook / Mobile connection? – 40% of cell phone users own a smartphone. 12.5% of all E-com is projected to be mobile by year-end. – 60 Second Marketer. 33% of Facebook updating is mobile – Dan Zarella
Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) have tripled their social media use in as many years – Search Engine Watch. SMBs plan to spend 19% of marketing budget on social media. – Hubspot. And where better to look for guidance than Facebook, which has made a mission of embracing Small Business, including a recent deal allowing businesses to buy Facebook Credits good for advertising through AMEX’s membership rewards program.
Facebook Ads leverage ‘interests’ as detected in profiles and activities, rather than merely ‘keywords’. This is a powerful targeting tool, contributing to Facebook Ad results, yet a WebTrends survey pegs Facebook Ad performance at about half that of typical PPC networks. There remains some skepticism among marketers whether Facebook Ads deliver in the B2B channel, yet some campaigns bring in staggering results (e.g. “88,000 Fans in 4 Weeks“)
Whose ads are likely to get the most (CTR) from Facebook? According to WebTrends research of 11,000 ads:
• Tabloids and blogs (0.165%)
• Media and Entertainment (0.154%)
• E-commerce (0.89%)
• Travel (0.86%)
• Automotive (o.82%)
• Nonprofits (0.77%)
• Start ups (0.74%)
• Cosmetics (0.072%)
• Retailer (0.70%)
• Restaurants (0.66%)
A Friend of a Friend is a Friend Indeed
A pyramid of an average of 130 friends is waiting to be influenced by each user that you impact. Targeting friends of Fans nearly doubles an Ad’s CTR. Setting up Facebook Ads gives SMB lots of options about who to target, but Facebook also enumerates users who fit your defined criteria, so you can plan around your target demographic.
Testing is the traditional way to tune ads, and this is so true for Facebook Ads. Testing Creative enables one to find the copy and image that motivates best. List selection chooses the audience most receptive and ready to spring, using Interest groups populated by users that have listed their pursuits. Once you have identified a responsive, passionate Interest, then try to narrow your scope by age, gender, relationship or education. Advertisers can now target by Zip Code. Thus, your campaign can attain maximum Clickthrough at the lowest Cost-per-Click or Cost-per-Action.
Manage your campaigns with an iron fist for fiscal responsibility. Establish a:
• target result (sell X number of widgets) and an acceptable cost (at $.50 per sale) that you will not exceed.
• Set a sustainable Daily Budget to control expenditure, and
• Schedule a term for your campaign.
• Choose whether you will pay for Click-Throughs (Cost-Per-Click, or CPC) or pay for ad impressions (Cost-Per-Impression, or CPM).
Since the ultimate result is what counts, some advise pay for impressions (CPM) and calculate your own Cost-Per-Widget-Sold with the data in the report provided by Facebook as a webpage or an Excel file. Facebook will E-mail notices of activity in your account, but during a campaign, you should be a frequent visitor to your account.
Ads must be approved by Facebook. The scuttlebuttt is that a higher bid and continual spending will get you more attention and faster approval cycles. Go figure. If you intend an E-Commerce result from Ads, Facebook offers a PDF “Guide to Tracking Conversions” with simple codes to track things like individual page views, purchases, registrations or downloads. Their Ads Manager presents conversion event data in Reports, divided among impressions that converted after seeing your ad, and others who converted by clicking it.
The Speed of Social Advertising
Facebook Ads may have a limited lifecycle, some say as brief as 24 hours, research indicates ad burnout after 3 – 5 days, so keep an eye out for the tailing of a campaign, as the expense can skyrocket and erase a campaign’s effectiveness. Be prepared to test continually during a compressed timeframe. Here is where an agency may be of great assistance, since an owner of a small business may have more pressing matters than repeatedly hovering over the reporting from their ad campaign.
One of the most frequent, and successful, uses for a Facebook Ad campaign is to grow one’s Fan base, by advertising for “Likes”. Since so much hinges on the Landing Page or a Custom Tab on the Fan Page, it is certainly useful to have professional help for content writing and design. Motivation to evoke response often comes is sparked by a Contest, Vote, Survey, or other activation technique.
Setting goals is central to any business activity. What’s amazing is how many different goals have met with success on Facebook. Building E-mail and marketing databases. Nurturing Customer Relations with loyalty campaigns. Driving leads to website conversion. “Doing well by doing good” contribution campaigns. Promotions that gather user-generated content in return for exclusive entertainment. Invent a Pizza and share the profits.
Big bonuses await those businesses that enjoy the attention of a passionate following, are frequently the subject of conversation and give a great user experience. Some viral “Like” results have reportedly doubled campaign results.
What’s on the horizon?
The Facebook Deals product may one day be ideal for SMB with a Fan page. This digital discount coupon service available as a Beta test in San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Austin and Atlanta has been slowly building. Consumers sign up for Facebook Deals app, then Deals arrive one of 8 ways… home, a Deals page, sponsored ad that reveals friend who have partaken, messages and wall posts that friends share, by Notification, in their News Feed and via E-mail. A user purchase triggers a story to friends’ feeds, bringing a viral boost to Deal uptake. Five cities will be added to the beta. Deals are flexible and there are no minimum discount requirements.
The Other Gorilla in the Room
Meanwhile, Google is promoting discount Offers in Portland, NYC, and SF Bay Area, with plans to expand to five major metros, as it tunes the appearance and ways that the Offers are promoted. This could be a good sister to their Boost Ads, which have experienced reliability concerns impacting displays and rely on Places quality factors that can be damaged by multiple pages/accounts or even something as simple as including a placename in the company name.
Michael has been part of the WebiMax Team since April, 2010. Michael’s clients may draw from his experience in some of Philadelphia’s largest agencies and studios working on accounts from Fortune 500 to SMB. The perspective of a former business owner makes him a valuable asset as a WebiMax Project Manager. Recipient of the Best of the Web, PDMA Benny Award and John Caples Creative Award, Michael is Certified Internet Web Professional and Net+. This combination of experience, creativity and technical training informs his incisive analytics, insightful consulting and successful campaigns of SEO, reputation management and social media.
Kenneth C. Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax, announced today that the company was named the Fastest Growing Company in Southern New Jersey for 2011, by South Jersey Biz Magazine. The Mount Laurel, NJ based search engine optimization firm was reviewed on key factors including revenue growth, employee growth, products and services portfolio, and leadership. Wisnefski calls this “another distinction of the journey of what was once a small business start-up that has now become a nationally and internationally recognized SEO firm”.
South Jersey Biz Magazine is a monthly publication that covers businesses located in Southern New Jersey including Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties. Their “South Jersey’s Fastest Growing Company, 2011” was open to any South Jersey based business that wanted to enter the contest, however specific criteria had to be met, including presenting a positive growth in financials, employment growth, and expansion of services. The article can be found here (courtesy of South Jersey Biz Magazine).
“WebiMax is extremely grateful for the distinction that South Jersey Biz awarded us”, states Wisnefski. “When I founded WebiMax in 2008, I wanted to create a company that would truly help our clients grow their businesses by working with them more as a strategic partner than merely an outsourced vendor. What was at first a 4 person start up operating in 1 location, has now grown to 150 employees and 12 offices, including 8 domestic and 4 international”, exclaims Wisnefski.
The company has received several other distinctions since their inception in 2008. Notably, WebiMax is rated the #1 SEO firm in the United States and Australia. In addition, the company is also rated #1 in the United States in Local Search, Reputation Management, Landing Page Optimization, Web Design, Multilingual SEO, and Ecommerce by the same organization.
“Our company has grown tremendously over the past 3 years and continues to promise a bright future ahead. In 2011 alone, we’ve doubled our workforce to 150 personnel, and plan to add another 100 employees by years end. Rather than outsourcing our services to overseas firms (as the majority of SEO firms do), we provide all of our services in-house and continuously recruit and hire talented personnel in the U.S. job economy. Our revenue is up 217,000% from 2008. In addition to South Jersey Biz, I’d like to thank our dedicated team of employees that not only make WebiMax one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, but one of the best places to work”, concludes Wisnefski.