Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category
Here in Metropolis, online advertising is at a premium. You have to make sure it is catchy and if it isn’t, you have to sign a superhero (or villain) to a contract to endorse your product. It’s a cut-throat world and in constant change.
So how does Superman stay at the top?
I’ll tell you how… he has a great SEO guy.
Mind you, the hero won’t tell me the secret identity of the genius behind his online image, but it is clear that he knows what he is doing.
Owning Keyword Phrases
It’s always important to own your keyword phrases especially your company name. If you don’t own this, then you are going to lose money faster than Lex Luthor lost his hair.
Superman’s SEO guy understands this and has spent hours ensuring that the word “Superman” points straight to the superherp. Open up Google and type “superman”. He owns the first three pages. Don’t you wish you could get the same for your client?
Try typing some other phrases.
- “Superhero” – The third link should be to Wikipedia. Who is the first hero that they mention? Superman.
- “big blue Boy Scout”, “dc” and “daily planet” – He is listed in the description of the first link.
- Even if you put in “Lois Lane”, you get info about Superman.
To do this, you need good content, effective META tags and strong H1 tags. (And it helps if you save a school bus or two to get some good buzz.) This just goes to show that writing good content with great keywords can do you wonders.
The Importance of Good Link Campaigns
It also helps that Superman’s SEO guy has spent time building legitimate linking campaigns throughout the web, starting with Wikipedia. Inputting a legitimate page on Wikipedia became a goldmine! There are 8,756 pages linked to the Wikipedia page. Fourteen of these links are from inside Wikipedia, creating some excellent inner-linking campaigns. If you branch out and check all fourteen of these links, you’ll see that there are thousands and thousands of secondary links built in that eventually lead back to Superman.
Are Taglines or Mottos Important on the Web?
You bet they are! If you are known for a certain catch-phrase, then use it to your advantage. That’s what Superman does.
The Man of Steel? The Man of Tomorrow? The Last Son of Krypton? All of them lead to Superman.
Faster than a speeding bullet? More powerful than a locomotive? Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Even though all of these phrases contain common words, the SEO guy has spent years flooding the internet with the phrases in content near the word Superman. You can’t go to the web and type in those keywords without seeing Superman on the page.
The Love of the People
Because of his noteriety and high visibility, Superman shows up all over the place on forums and community message boards. Don’t forget that this can be extremely valuable. Those messages usually stay on the web forever and if you get a link in there, it will build history. Who knows? Maybe it will even gain you new fans.
History, History, History
Speaking of history, did you know that Superman is 70 years old? He’s also been on the internet since its inception and continues to build up his reputation with Google. I hope Google still knows who I am in 40 years. Heck, I hope they still know who I am in 10 years! You can’t buy that kind of history.
We can all take a lesson from this ingenious, unnamed guy who continues to retain his secret identity (until some villain uncovers it). He has taken basic SEO principles and applied them in a manner that is natural and unassuming. It’s almost as if he has super powers.
This article was written by Kimberly Carrillo, an SEO Specialist with IF marketing & advertising and IF Development and is also the resident comic book nerd of the company. Kimberly has spent much of her adult years reading comic books and continues to get annoyed when someone forgets to put them back in the protective bags. IF marketing & advertising is an agency in Austin, TX that specializes in making you and your website a superhero on the WorldWideWeb.
by John Kim & Kimberly Carrillo, SEO Services, IF marketing & advertising
Our web design firm has “secrets” to get you ranked on top of Google!
Because Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is both a science and art, many vendors promise “first page rankings!” to unwitting businesses owners. This claim is the equivalent of “make a lot of money from home with no skills and no money down – with my real estate secrets!”
Really? If you fall for this, you just may deserve to have your money taken. More often than not, these vendors have sales agreements that do NOT back up any guarantee, or include pay-per-click advertising as a “first page ranking.”
Ask any vendor promising search engine success one question – do they have any track record of building an online business themselves? Most successful online marketers bring corporate or entrepreneurial track records having built web-based businesses from the ground up – not just designing websites and “SEO’ing” them. If they can’t build their own web business (other than selling SEO & web design) how are they going to do it for you? This reminds me of the “start-up consultants” that arose in the dotcom boom in Silicon Valley – the irony being that while they charged fees to advise one on how to build a successful start-up business – they themselves had never done it.
Any SEO firm that promises results should be approached with a wary eye. No different than the real estate infomercials at night that promise million dollar results for the fee of an over-priced book. They might make you feel good and full of initial optimism, but they probably won’t make your business a single cent.
It’s too hard to get on Google.
Actually, once your business gets hooked on revenues from being in the search engines, it’s hard to give up. That’s why your competition doesn’t want you as yet another entrant onto their cyber-turf and why Google’s stock price is so high – not because people like using their search engine, but because the websites that are listed on Google experience so much new business by being ranked at the top. Hence is Google’s power to build new businesses and new sources of income for companies that previously did not have large marketing budgets. Google works so well that businesses get “addicted” to the new monies Google brings them.
It’s too hard to get on Google if your search engine marketers do not have the experience of being a veteran in a space that is only 7 – 8 years old. Having said that, for most business owners with vision, one can NOT afford to ignore the rising power that Google brings to small businesses. Once you’re listed in Google and rising in the ranks – most likely your business will also get “hooked” on the new revenues and customers that this newfound visibility brings your business.
It’s a black box of never-ending costs to be on Google.
In most industries, the cost and effort to be ranked atop Google have reached the 3 P’s of the marketplace – price, parity, and par. Meaning that an average marketer may spend $35 to get each new potential customer from Google, but that $35 spent represents a 50% to 200% return in terms of the new business it brings in.
A smart marketer can take that and make it upwards of 400%. And what does it take to be a smart marketer? Like most things – experience. Search Engine Optimization is a relatively new field of software engineering & marketing, and because it’s such a new industry, it has a lack of experienced pros and a glut of fresh vendors eager to “cash in” on the search engine boom. The pros with track records charge an arm and a leg (because they can) and the fresh-faced Johhny-come-latelies offer low prices with “guarantees!” that often yield little to no results.
Compared to word-of-mouth, print advertising, radio, yellow pages or any other ad medium, search engines bring in a far better return-on-investment (ROI) than any other form of advertising. And unlike word-of-mouth, businesses can throttle their spending on Google up and down – generating as few or as many customers as needed, all on demand.
Buying a book on SEO will teach us what we need to know.
Even a competent webmaster can toil away for 2+ years and still not be successful at SEO. That’s because SEO requires a combination of technical mastery of websites as well as a creative element of designing SEO campaigns. Because there are no schools or degrees in SEO (yet) much of the information regarding successful web marketing is scattered and constantly changing. So no book could possibly stay atop the ever-changing search engine result rollercoaster.
That’s because the search engines themselves are continuously altering their algorithms (the mathematical formula(s) that dictate how websites get ranked) in order to keep the results relevant and fresh. This means that there is no “set it and forget it” or periodic “SEO treatments” that can have real affects on rankings. In-house SEO means touching the website on a periodic, if not daily, basis in order to stay atop the competition and regularly study the new trends in SEO.
If you’re going to optimize in-house, spend the first 6 months to get an SEO firm with experience to guide the in-house webmaster – otherwise the webmaster may waste 6 months to a year just “guessing” as to which strategies work best for your business situation, budget, and industry. Also, inexperienced link building strategies and optimization tactics can get your website banned from Google. You’ve been warned!
Working on website maintenance is a vital task that ensures fresh content and good SEO results. But what if you have 5 sites? 10? 100? Updates tend to become more of a chore. Setting up a good priority system for your maintenance schedule will help you to tackle updates and stay on top of the game.
Use Your E-mail as Your Personal Assistant
The key to good maintenance capabilities is organization. That word tends to scare many people. How do you stay organized when you are juggling 200 e-mails a day that include personal messages, legitimate edits, questions from clients and spam? And what about the changes that come over the phone or in person? Where does that fit in the mix? What about a change from another co-worker?
To keep all of this organized, you need to use your inbox as a tool, rather than a hindrance. Begin by creating the following sub-folders in your e-mail program: A, B, C, D and Personal.
Move all personal e-mail into the Personal sub-folder. Inform your friends and family that you would appreciate it if they did not send you e-mails at work unless they are emergency e-mails. If your work e-mail address is the same as your personal address, then tell your family and friends that you will not answer their e-mails during working hours unless it is something urgent. You need to set up this expectation and stick to it. You will be pleasantly surprised to find out what a relief it is to push those to the side. You should also consider setting up a filter that will send personal e-mails straight to the sub-folder so that it won’t clutter your inbox.
What is A, B, C and D?
These letters stand for your new priority system that will help you tackle your day. Each letter represents a different level of difficulty for your maintenance requests. You need to go through all of your e-mails and place them in the sub-folder that matches the level of time needed to complete the tasks.
D – 5 Minute Change
These edits should take you 5 minutes or less to complete. Examples may include fixing a spelling error, adding a link, changing punctuation or setting up an e-mail address.
C – 30 Minute Change
These edits take a little longer than D edits, but still don’t take all that long. Examples may include creating a graphical button and setting it up as a link on a page, creating a new page and adding content or adding a disclaimer to the footer of your website.
B – 1 Hour Change
These edits will take you the better part of an hour or one-eighth of your day. Examples may include adding a new menu item and page to the website, changing the font of your site (if you don’t use CSS) or major edits to the content.
A – 1 to 8 Hour Change
These edits will take longer than 1 hour, but less than 8 hours. Examples may include changing the colors of the website or converting the entire site to CSS.
What about verbal edits?
The first thing you need to do is to request all edits to be put into e-mail. Explain that this helps you to make sure you don’t miss something. Really try to enforce this, especially with your co-workers. That being said, there are going to be times when it is not possible to get e-mail edits.
TIP: Be sure that you always take notes when given verbal edits!
There are two ways to handle this. If the edits are short, go ahead and type them up and e-mail them to yourself. Then place them into the appropriate sub-folder. If the edits are long, then simply send yourself an e-mail that states the client name and a short summary. (EX: Willy’s Emporium – Work on content edits from conference call.) You can put the written edits into a folder that is kept in a designated area and file the e-mail in the necessary sub-folder.
What Should I Tell the Client?
The first thing you must do is set up expectations with your client. Do not promise them that you will have anything done in 5 minutes. In truth, that is next to impossible. Even with D edits. If the edits are D edits, tell them you will have them done in 1 business day. If they are C edits, tell them you will have them done in 1-2 business days. B edits are trickier. You can only do 8 B edits a day and if you have 8 of them, you will never get to anything else. Therefore, let your client know that it will take 2- 5 business days. Odds are, you will get to them faster than 5 days, but you never know what else might come up.
And now we come to A edits. These are nearly impossible to predict. Sometimes you will get an A edit that you think will take you 8 hours and it might take you 2 hours. Or you think an change is a C edit and once you look at the code, it becomes an A edit. In a perfect world, you shouldn’t schedule more than 2 A edits a week. The best way to approach this with a client is to let them know that you have placed them on the production schedule and their edit will be handled the week of ______. This will give you a break if you suddenly get an onslaught of many A edits. It might also help the client realize that if they have an upcoming change, they can get on your schedule ahead of time, rather than springing it on you.
It is important that you set up good expectations with your client. Consider creating a maintenance white paper with a priority schedule. Inform them at the beginning of your relationship about how many business days are required to make a change. This will alleviate a great deal of stress for you and also help you to avoid those uncomfortable moments when you are trying to estimate time.
I have all of my edits organized by folder. Now what do I do?
When you get to the office, do all of your D edits. Next, do half of your C edits. Then, work on 2 B edits. Work on A edits until an hour before you go home. At that time, finish off the C edits and then go to a B edit. If you have some more D edits come in during the day, refrain from making them until the next day. All of this goes out the window if an emergency edit comes through the door, but this should give you a good system to work with.
TIP: If an emergency change comes in, don’t be afraid to charge double.
Just be sure to let the client know at the beginning of your business relationship.
Start over the next day, making sure that you finish all of your C edits from 2 days previous.
What if a Change is Longer Than 8 Hours?
If you receive an edit that you judge will be longer than 8 hours, then you are not being asked to perform maintenance on a website. You need to approach the client about purchasing a web refresh package or something of that nature. In actuality, edits really shouldn’t take longer than 8 hours. Don’t let your services be sold for chump change. You perform an important duty to the internet community and your work should be highly valued.
If you create a priority plan and stick to it, you will have a system that not only flows well, but will also instill confidence in your clientele.
If you would like to speak to someone about purchasing a maitenance package, consider Intra-Focus, Inc. Intra-Focus is a full-service marketing company that integrates art and technology to deliver traditional and Internet marketing solutions. Leveraging marketing expertise and trend setting creativity, Intra-Focus helps its clients build brand strategy and market presence that generate qualified demand and quantifiable results. Intra-Focus provides innovative marketing solutions to businesses ranging in size from start-up to Fortune 500.
About the Author
Kimm Antell is a Senior Web Programmer at Intra-Focus, Inc. She has been surfing the web since 1989 and has been a web programmer since 1994. Her experience includes several web design workshops as well as customer service workshops at the University of Texas at Austin.
Publishing press releases can support your internet marketing and PR program in several ways. Creating an entire online PR campaign opens up lesser known opportunities and also generate leads to direct inquiries from the media and prospective customers. Use the following steps to help you realize your online PR campaign.
Step 1 – The Press Release
The first step is to identify a topic for your press release. Popular topics include new or improved products, relocations or new locations, website or blog launches, or any other unique stories associated with your company. Be sure that you have a competent person create a professional press release that identifies your target audience. Be aware that writing for print media and writing for the web can differ. If you do not have an employee that can meet these needs, you should hire a marketing firm to write the article for you. You might be surprised at how little it will cost for this service!
TARGET AUDIENCE QUIZ
Which of these sentences would appeal to men aged 16 – 20.
#1. The new Speedster skateboard uses ionized paint to anticipate the retroactive artistic styles of master artisans of the past century.
#2. The new Speedster skateboard has a retro look that will appeal to your senses.
Both of these sentences say the same thing and are professionally written, but the first sentence will probably cause the target audience to immediately stop reading. If you do not have someone in your business to handle these duties, you should consider hiring a marketing firm that has a copywriter. You might be surprised how little you will have to pay for this service.
NOTE: Do not finalize the press release until it has been checked for spelling and grammar by someone other than the copywriter. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes!
Step 2 – Releasing to the Media
Once you have the press release finalized, it is time to release it to the media for release in their publication or electronic medium. Send your PR to prweb.com and prnewswire.com. These websites are two of the most sophisticated online press release services around and many media outlets use these two websites to find news. Your article might just get picked up by dozens of newspapers! By combining your marketing firm’s knowledge and experience with the powerful distribution networks of sites like PRweb, you can transform your press release into an online promotional vehicle with unlimited reach.
You should also send your press release to your local newspaper and any local television or radio stations. Make sure that they have good contact information for you in case they would like to use you in a feature story!
Step 3 – The E-campaign
At this point, you should strongly consider hiring a marketing firm to handle the creation of your e-campaign. If you used a copywriter to write the press release, see if they will also set up the e-campaign. (Better yet, try to get everything in one package!) The e-campaign should be attractive and eye-catching and have at least one link to a landing page. Make sure that the landing page contains a form for lead generation or, at the very least, a button for people to contact you.
An important item that is largely ignored is the size of the e-campaign. If you choose to send the entire press release in the e-mail, then the campaign should be no wider than 600 pixels. This will fit in most e-mail clients. If you choose to send a summary of the article or an eye-catching graphic that will go to the press release, then the campaign should be no wider than 600 pixels and no taller than 395 pixels.
Your marketing firm should also have a system that will track how many people viewed and clicked on the e-mail. Be sure to ask for reports. This is an excellent opportunity to not only judge the success of your e-campaign, but also to remove any defunct e-mail addresses from your customer database.
Step 4 – Updating Your Website
If you don’t have a news page on your existing website, you are missing out on a great opportunity to add fresh content and to expand your profile on search engines. Get your news section built and add your first article.
If you do have a news page, get your article up there with a dateline at the top and contact information at the bottom.
Be sure to link no more than five phrases in your article to other pages in your website. This is called an optimized press release and will be beneficial to your search engine optimization efforts.
Step 5 – To Blog or Not to Blog
This step is optional, but can bring great rewards to your online presence. If you have a blog, post your press releases with target phrases linked back to your existing website. Optimized press releases get a lot of visibility in the major search engines. They can also generate new links back to your website, as other sites republish your release. These "backlinks" play an important role in the overall search engine visibility of your website.
INDUSTRY EXAMPLE – Online PR Campaign (Intra-Focus, Inc.)
An online PR campaign was recently created for Jimmy Jacobs Custom Homes and their work on Extreme Makeovers: Home Edition. In addition to electronic press releases, they also created a special website to generate buzz about the project.
The world is becoming more internet focused by the minute and you need to stay on top of this technology wave or your company will drown. Don’t wait! Get proactive and start your online PR campaigns today!
If you are interested in getting a quote from a marketing firm or just finding out more about the process, you should contact Intra-Focus, Inc. Intra-Focus has a wealth of experience writing press releases, optimizing them for the search engines, and distributing them online. They can transform your press release into an online promotional vehicle with unlimited reach.