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Tag Archives: SEM

What the SEF is Your SEO Doing?

I’ve worked with a number of website designers and developers over the years, many of them good people with a plethora of skills I couldn’t even dream of having. But one thing gets under my skin: when developers claim to know SEO when they clearly don’t.

Many developers do have a solid grasp and understanding of SEO concepts and some even dig in to become tried and true SEOs as well. Those that fit this latter group are few and far between, and those from the former group know as much about managing an SEO campaign as a community organizer knows about managing a country.

Many (but not all) developers know what it means to create a search engine friendly (SEF) website. But that is not the same thing as optimizing a website for top search engine ranking performance. Think of building a website as building a car. You may have created a high-performance machine, but it’s not ready to compete in the Indy 500 when it rolls off factory assembly line!

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Is SEO a Long-Term or a Quick Fix Issue?

How fast can SEO work for my small business?Question: Is SEO a long-term process or can there be a quick fix solution?

Before all you SEOs raise your hand with the answer, lets take a minute to analyze the basis of the question for all the small business owners out there.

A lot of businesses are looking for ways to grow their companies without increasing long-term costs. They want profits, and in order to be (and remain) profitable, they have to keep expenses down to a minimum as much as possible. After all, the more you spend, the less profits you have in your pocket, right?

This is an unfortunate mindset when it comes to SEO and SEM. Instead of looking at them as an investment that will grow their businesses, owners hope that both SEO and SEM can provide quick-fix solutions that will bring an influx of new customers and soaring profits. And somehow, magically, that influx is expected to stay strong, even without any ongoing marketing efforts.

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PPC News: Ad Formats Changing Faster Than the Weather in Ohio

Google Correlate: A New Way to Research Keyword Popularity and Trends

Google has created a new tool to help you correlate search trends with any other data you might want to throw in.  It takes a look at your trending pattern and shows matching patterns.  You enter a data series and get back a list of queries whose data series follows a similar pattern.  You must remember that correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation, but can likely find some great insights here into search strategy.Continue Reading

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 2: Goals of Online PR

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search and Social

I started this series looking at the differences between print readers and web readers. This is critical to understand before moving forward with your online public relations material. We cannot expect to reach online readers the same way we reach those that are offline. We can’t just do the old-world methods in a new-world medium.

The differences between the two readers is vast, and, without that understanding, there will be no way to hit the goals you are trying to achieve. But once you have a firm grasp on who your online audience is, and how they react, you can begin to set attainable goals for your online PR.Continue Reading

Dynamic Keyword Research – Stay in Front of Your Competition

Google has this tool called Insights for Search.  At first glance, it looks like a pretty simple, fairly unsophisticated tool that just tells you if search volume is going up or down for a particular keyword or group of keywords.  Not many insights there, right?  I mean, all you really have to do for search engine marketing is keyword research with one of the many tools available to you out there and you can easily line up the keywords that you want to go after by search intent and volume, right?

But, here’s the problem with your keyword research.  It’s static. You get a number and you compare it to other numbers at a single point in time.  That’s great for that day, that month, or even that year.  But as you know, your industry changes.  There’s new advances, new challenges, new demands, etc.;  and part of winning is staying ahead of your competition. Continue Reading

Can't Afford SEO? Can't Afford NOT to SEO!

One of the questions that I keep hearing from small business owners every year is this: How can a small business like me afford SEO/SEM? It’s a fair question coming from budget-conscious business owners. Not everybody can afford SEO. But, nobody can afford NOT to SEO.

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Is Your Online Marketing the Camry or the BMW? Probably Neither.

Online marketing, like many other things in life, has several levels of, um… let’s call it “luxury”, for lack of a better word. You go from your basic model online marketing campaign (which is often someone who simply knows you have to edit some meta tags) all the way through to the most luxurious, no-holds-barred, damn-the-torpedoes, throw-everything-at-it-regardless-of-cost marketing that has everything you need (plus a lot of stuff you don’t).

The question is… what kind of marketing campaign is right for you?

I’ve written many times about website marketing being an investment. Over the years, however, I’ve realized that most people spend more money on their own entertainment each year than they do on business marketing, which is what puts entertainment money into their pockets in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of entertainment. I likely watch more TV and movies than your average Joe and I’m unapologetic about it. But I also understand that, in order to make money, you’ve got to invest in those things that will help you bring a return. For most of us, the television doesn’t produce money.

Enter SEO, SEM, PPC, SM, LB, RM, etc. et al. These are just some of the things you can invest in that will help your business make money online. The question is, are you going for the Camry or the BMW? Or, maybe just the orange Pinto?

Depending on the size of your business and your budget, you may think you have the Camry and are working towards the BMW. In reality, however, you really only have the Pinto and you’re reaching for the Yaris.

And believe me, it’s a very different world between them.

The problem is that many small business owners don’t know much about marketing their sites online, so that BMW they’re working towards is really only a Camry. And, what they are doing now is something much less.

But, why does it matter? What difference does it make what level you’re at, as long as you’re striving for something better?

That’s a good question, and for the most part, as long as you’re working to use what you have to work up to something greater, you’re on the right track. But, there is the issue of mindset. If you think you’ve got something comfortable, like the Camry, you’re less likely to see the immediate desire to move up. Sure, we all have dreams, but we often find a “comfortable” place to settle. If that’s not even the Camry for you, then you’re settling way below your mark… and that can be dangerous.

Years ago I was working for a church in the inner city of Seattle. One day the pastor brought the staff up to the fellowship hall to have us look around. He asked us what we saw when we looked at it. Well, we saw the same fellowship hall we’d seen week in and week out. Big open space, some game equipment, a few tables, etc. Our familiarity with the room caused us to overlook the collection of junk that had begun to pile up in the corner. That hall had become a storage place for everything that didn’t have a place to go. A large portion of the room had become the “junk drawer”, and it didn’t look pretty.

When you’re comfortable and familiar, you tend to overlook things. While we saw a fellowship hall, anyone not as familiar with the room would have seen a mess. If you are comfortable in the Pinto, you may hope to have the Camry or BMW one day, but you’re OK where you are… “for now”.

So, here’s where things get dangerous. Old cars don’t get better. The more you drive your old beater truck, that doesn’t help move you toward the nicer one. You may be spending a little on your online marketing efforts, and they may be helping a little, but all to often they won’t help you move to that next level.

I’ve seen it time and time again. People want to start small and work their way to a more robust campaign. Sometimes they do, but many times they don’t. Why? Because their small campaign brings a small level of success and they think, “Hey, this is working! I don’t need to invest anymore.” And, years later, when they realize that their competition is gaining or has blown them out of the water, they sit back and wonder what their online marketing company was doing wrong.

It’s not the SEO, it’s that your competitors are investing in the BMW while you’ve been content with the Pinto that you thought was a Camry.

Eventually, you’re going to figure out that you don’t have the marketing campaign you thought you had. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll be able to invest in a more robust campaign. But, until you do, you’ll be content with small measures of success that really are doing more to hold you back than propel you forward. Sooner or later you will realize that your minuscule efforts just got you lapped by an old lady with a walker.