Monday, December 10, 2007

Web-Video Campaign Creation 101

Everyone knows what television commercials are, how long they are, and what the various formats and styles consist of, ranging from the hard-sell detergent ads to the soft-sell feel-good stuff.

Most people, especially those addicted to late night television also recognize the standard infomercial format with the familiar over-enthusiastic host, obnoxious pitchman, the ebullient paid shills, and the fabricated, fantastical demonstrations. And of course, let's not forget the ever-present "But wait there's more! Call now and get even more..." There are many ways to effectively deliver a marketing message and this is not one of them.

What's a Web-video Commercial Anyway?

Maybe it's just us but I'm finding more and more clients open to the idea that Web-commercials need to be something different, something entertaining, something informative, and most of all something memorable. It isn't about creating something viral for the sake of being viral but rather something that is worth the time and effort to sit through.

If you start your video project with a television mindset, you are going to waste a lot of money on bad ideas and expensive production costs that add nothing to the delivery of a memorable message.

Big production costs may enhance the reputation of the video producer or feed the ego of the executive suite but they rarely sell more stuff. And worst of all elaborate productions generally cause the client to cut back on the number of videos created for the campaign. One video doesn’t have the same lasting impact as a series of videos with a similar theme and message. To use poker legend Scotty Nguyen's favorite expression, "It's about the campaign, baby!"

So without further preamble here is Web-Video Campaign Creation 101.

Web-Video Campaign Creation 101 - The Plan

1 Define Focus

Your marketing message must be focused on a single idea. If you try to cram everything you can do, or provide, into one video presentation all you are doing is diluting your core marketing message, the element that makes you different and superior to your competition - you are superior to your competition, aren't you?

One reason some companies have such difficulty with this concept is that they have been trained to focus on the old feature-benefit rationale. This is a game that I guarantëe you will loose unless you are the biggest, best financed, and most ruthless cutthroat company in your industry. Maybe that describes you and your business, but that's unlikely.

For any small or medium-sized company that thinks this is the path to success, read Sergio Zyman's book, "The End of Marketing As We Know It". Mr. Zyman is the former Chief Marketing Officer of the Coca-Cola Company and the guy responsible for New Coke. It's not that Mr. Zyman doesn't know what he's talking about but rather, there is only one Coca-Cola and I dare say most businesses don't fall into the same category. Unless you're a multinational corporation, trying to run your company like one is a prescription for disaster.

So, if you shouldn't be reciting a bunch of facts and features, what should you be focusing on: emotional value-add. It's the key to hitting a nerve in your audience's psyche. Focus your marketing on the psychological advantage you provide, and your competition will be left in the dust.

2 Build A BME Structure

If you want viewers to remember what you are saying and hopefully respond, then your videos have to tell a story that paints a picture in the viewers mind that they'll nevër forget. Without beating a dead horse, you just can't throw up an animation with a bunch of bulleted points or a series of stock royalty-free images that have been used more times than the ladies in the local red-light district and expect it to be effective.

In order to effectively deliver your core marketing message you must structure your videos around the BME story format. Simply put, a story must have a beginning, middle, and end.

This is not rocket science, but nevertheless it is a simple method that seems to elude a lot of entrepreneurs and business managers. Your story must begin with a problem that you can solve; proceed to a level of frustration or exasperation; and end with a solution; a beginning, a middle, and an end. Now that wasn't so hard, was it?

3 Create Signature Personality

Why do you watch certain programs on television and not others. Sure certain genres appeal to some and not others, but the success of any television series is based on the connection that the audience has with certain characters. If you like the characters on 'CSI' (Las Vegas) I dare say the characters on 'CSI Miami' are a complete turn-off and perhaps vice versa.

The point is your brand, whether represented by your company or by a particular product, must have a defined personality. That personality like the difference between the Las Vegas and Miami CSIs is sure to generate both positive and negative reaction, and that is good.

If you think you should only generate positive reactions from your marketing, then you will nevër be a successful marketer because you'll nevër say anything memorable or interesting. Some people absolutely hate David Caruso but that doesn't stop the people who like him to make his show a consistent top ten ratings performer.

4 Create Dialogue that Resonates

If you want a web-video marketing campaign produced for an affordable production budget, you have get past the old bromide followed by the traditional movie and television industry - show it, don't tell.

First of all, showing is always more expensive than telling and it doesn't have the nuance and sophistication of communicating through the face and voice of a real human being. With apologies to all aspiring John Woo's, words have meaning, speech has impact, people sell product. We are making a commercial, not a feature film or television show. There are similarities but there are also differences.

The script is the critical element in making your point, delivering your message and creating that elusive brand personality we've talked about.

5 Add Appropriate Memory Prompts

So now that we have our focused psychological value-add, our story structured with a beginning, middle, and end, our signature personality, and a dialog scripted to present it all, we now need a few enhancements.

A successful web-video campaign is definitely not a PowerPoint presentation ported to video nor does it have to be one of those overly produced television ads the car companies like. Delivering the message is all about connecting with your audience, that is why the script and choice of presenter is critical, which brings me to the point of using the company president or sales manager as spokesperson - forget it. It is a bad idea, a very bad idea. First of all your sales manager will probably be working for the competition in a couple of months and other than the president's spouse, no one really wants to listen to, or look at him or her let alone be convinced of anything they have to say. Actors and voice-over talent know how to look, and how to deliver a line, that's what they do.

Depending on what the particular scenario being presented is, there are certain techniques that can help a campaign connect with its audience.

Music can be a major factor in enhancing memory retention but only if it is used properly. The caveat that I expressed for royalty free imagery applies to royalty free music. One of my favorite Web-campaigns is the Christmas gift series. This series of video commercials is extraordinarily funny and I think effective, but its tagline incorporates the infamous "F-word" and that will definitely turn some people off. The music that they used as their signature theme recently cropped up on a new Christmas ad campaign for a local jewelry retail chain. As I was watching this commercial play twelve times during the evening, all I could think of was the tagline. Not exactly what the nice middle-of-the-road, don't offend anybody retailer was trying to achieve.

Music has an enormous psychological effect on the viewer, it provides mood, enhances personality, and if scored to the presentation can stress certain key points that get embedded in the viewers memory because of the musical emphasis.

Another key use of music is as a signature logo-tag, like the familiar Intel tag that accompanies every appearance of their logo or the famous three-note NBC sound-tag.

Voice-overs are another way to create character, personality, and memory enhancement within a video presentation. Cutaways of appropriate images or montages, or on-screen text prompts are also effective ways of enhancing the memory retention of a presentation. All of these techniques enhance and emphasize if used properly, but if they are misused as is so often the case, they get remembered for all the wrong reasons.

6 Be Bold or Save Your Money

This is the Web we are talking about, an environment where it is critical to standout if you expect to get heard, let alone make an impact. You can not, I repeat you can not, be coy. Be bold or forget it. Unless you are some deep-pocketed multinational with more dough and market share than ideas then you have to make a statement, clearly and decisively. It is the only way, if you want to be successful on the Web.

Being bold may seem like it's alienating some potential customers, but what it is really doing is qualifying leads.

7 Create Campaigns Not Ads

How do you know if you've come up with a good concept that will make an effective Web-marketing advertisement or commercial? If the concept 'has legs' meaning that you can roll that idea out into a minimum of at least six similar but different presentations then you know you've got something.

It is taken for granted that everyone understands that you can't just present an advertisement once and expect it to be successful. It should also be understood that you have to present your concept in varying configurations in order to maximize its ability to be remembered and to penetrate the Web's clutter, not to mention the need for the investment to be cost effective.

After all, the hardest part of developing a marketing campaign is to come up with one that has legs. Why waste a great idea on a one-shot effort, when you should be milking it for all it's worth.

The End

So there you have Web-Video Campaign Creation 101: seven simple steps that will give you a shot at having an effective marketing campaign.

About The Author

Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that specializes in Web-audio and Web-video. Visit, and Contact at or telephone (905) 764-1246.

Web Usability and Accessibility Are As Important As Search Engine Prominence

So you've optimised your website, done the keyword research, got the backlinks and everything is ethical. You're sitting proudly on the first page of the search results. Or you've set up a pay per click campaign, bid on your keywords, created some ads and performance tracking is in place. Again, you're at the top of the pile. Either way, you're visible and people are visiting your website. But visitors aren't converting into leads, prospects or customers. What's going wrong? Well your website may be visible, but is it connecting?

Having attracted visitors to your website through prominent search engine placements, it is vital not to lose them by failing to connect. Different visitors will have different priorities and levels of satisfaction. In order to reach and retain as many as possible and to maximise the chances of conversion, you should consider your site's usability and accessibility.

Web usability

Usability is all about providing your visitors with an effective, efficient and satisfying experience. It's common knowledge that visitors tend to glance at, and scan, pages rather than study them in any great detail. If the message and options are not clear, they may leave. If they don't leave, the chances are that they will click on the first link that seems to be most relevant - it may not be the right one. Repeat the process a few times and soon a visitor can be lost, confused and frustrated. Either way the result is the same - missed opportunity and little likelihood of a return visit.

The more self-evident your pages are, the greater the chance of converting the visitor into a prospect or customer.

12 simple tips for a more usable website

1. On the home page make it clear what the site is all about.

2. Make the purpose of each page obvious.

3. User hierarchical headings to give clear structure to the copy.

4. Make the navigation and links obvious.

5. Use clear unambiguous wording.

6. Make the options and next steps obvious.

7. Remove any wording or imagery that is unnecessary, confusing or distracting.

8. Use consistent conventions throughout.

9. Include site search and a site map.

10. Make information such as contact details, pricing and delivery charges clearly accessible.

11. Make the pages printable by including a cascading style sheet for printing.

12. Don't allow careless errors to make your site look unprofessional.

Browsers create their own set of problems

One more tip - just because your website works fine in your browser of choice, do not assume that it will work equally well in all browsers. In fact it is not even safe to assume that it will work equally well in different versions of the same browser. Web designers who have had to cope with the incompatibilities of IE5, IE6 and now IE7 will no doubt testify to this point. It is vital to be sure that your website works on all the popular browsers. As well as IE and Firefox, don't forget Netscape and Opera on Windows and Safari on the Mac. And just to muddy the waters a bit further, Apple have recently announced Safari for Windows.

So now your website is usable, but is it usable by everybody? For some, usability is just a small obstacle when compared to the barrier of accessibility.

Web accessibility

All businesses in virtually all countries have a legal obligation to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities, otherwise they are discriminating. Given that something like 15% of the population have some sort of disability, that's a sizeable market proportion. If you're not reaching them, your competitors probably are.

One of the many myths surrounding web accessibility is that blind people are the only ones who need to be catered for. Whilst blind people and their use of assistive technologies to read web pages are an obvious and important example, consider also people with other visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive and neurological impairments.

How does a colour-blind person cope with page colours?

How does someone with a mobility impairment manage without being able to use a mouse?

How does a deaf person gain access to auditory content?

How does someone with attention deficit disorder make sense of the pages?

Web pages should be accessible to all of them. And it's not just disabled people who will benefit. Older people, people with low literacy levels, people who are not fluent in the website language, people with low bandwidth connections, people using older technologies and people with short-term injuries and illnesses will also benefit.

9 tips for a more accessible website

1. Provide all images with an alternative text description. If the image does not convey any information, provide null (blank) text rather than no alternative text at all.

2. Provide transcripts of audio content.

3. Ensure that the contrast between text foreground and background colours is sufficiently strong.

4. Do not use colour alone to convey information. There should also be some other form of visual indicator such as additional characters, images or font changes.

5. Place column headings in the first row of a table and place row headings in the first column. If headings are ambiguous, use the HTML scope attribute to clarify.

6. Never use the HTML blink and marquee elements. For animated GIFs or other moving objects, the flicker frequency must be less than 2 Hz or greater than 55 Hz. But better to have no moving content at all.

7. Link text should clearly state the purpose and destination of the link. Phrases like Click Here may mean nothing to someone listening to a screen reader.

8. Provide an option to skip navigation on all pages. This will save screen reader users from having to repetitiously listen to the same navigation, and keyboard users from having to repetitiously tab through every item. Use hierarchical headers to provide the same benefit and to enable navigation through copy.

9. On forms, always associate prompts with controls so that each control is adequately described. Use the HTML fieldset and legend tags to give structure to complex forms.

The importance of web standards

Usable, accessible web pages can only be achieved through strict compliance with the standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium. They provide a platform for consistency, compatibility, stability, flexibility and extensibility. Implementing standards throughout a website's design will address many usability and accessibility issues by default.

Last and certainly not least

Usability and accessibility alone will not suddenly convert all your visitors into customers. Content is vital to a website's delivery capability. But at least those visitors may now stick around long enough to look at the content.

About the Author: Eugene Mulligan is a search engine marketing consultant based in Somerset, UK. Operating through his company, Egn Webcraft (, he provides search engine optimisation, pay per click management and web development services to organisations seeking to improve their website's visibility and capability.

The Top 10 Dumbest Web Site Decisions

Having worked with web sites for the past eleven years, I've seen a LOT of errors, poor judgment and embarrassing gaffs on the web. Sometimes they are the fault of the client, the web designer, the IT Manager, or the SEO, but human error is always to blame. The saddest thing is that the problems are usually preventable.

Here is a líst of what I consider to be the Top 10 dumbest web site decisions ever, in reverse order, David Letterman style :

10) Misspelling a Domain

Back in the glory days of the late 1990's when I was working for a large Internet agency, the web designers had responsibility for the registration of domain names on behalf of clients. One particular designer had a face to face meeting with a major client, during which the client asked him to register (or so he thought!). The staffer did a check and was delighted to see the domain available. He made the purchase and proudly emailed the client.

An hour later his boss called him in to his office to say that he'd had a call from a very frustrated client who *actually* wanted him to register Needless to say the desired domain wasn't available and the whole office dined on his mistake for months.

9) Letting the Domain Name Expire

Now what type of company would allow their domain to expire a month after site launch? A very large one, that's who. I'll save the company some embarrassment and won't reveal their name but the site was offline for a total of 2 days while they scrambled to pay their registrar, sort out DNS propagation and cover their tails.

8) Flashing your Cyber Underpants

One of the most common web site management platforms provided by hosting companies used to store the site statistics in a common folder called /statistics/. You could password protect this folder, but the default was to leave it open to the public and so many unwary webmasters unwittingly published full traffic data for their site on the Internet, open to any person who knew where to look.

I learned this the hard way in a public forum from a member who said he had just reviewed my traffic for the previous month and was very impressed. Publishing site statistics for all the world to see is what I call flashing your cyber underpants and I haven't let it happen again!

7) Publishing Sensitive Company Information

Quite a few companies have been guilty of doing this, including AOL, who published a search data report in 2006 that contained the private details of thousands of AOL customers. Although the report was taken offline within a few days, it had already been mirrored and distributed across the Internet. The fallout eventually led to the resignation of AOL's Chief Technical Officer.

Although not quite as serious, an ex-client of mine once published a page that had notes on it from the Sales Manager about the best way to strong-arm a customer into purchasing a higher-ticket item. Apparently the web designer didn't realize the hand-written post-it notes were not part of the web page copy. Duh!

6) Using an Insulting 404 Error Page

I clash with the web design team of one of my clients on a regular basis. Earlier this year, my client completely re-designed their web site and so I recommended they ask their web design team to design a custom 404 error page in case visitors navigated to a page on the old site that no longer existed.

Their web design team put up a message that read:

"404 Error. You've obviously typed in the wrong URL. Either that or the page you are looking for no longer exists."

That was it! No apology for the missing page, no recommendatíon to use the navigation to find what they were looking for, just an insulting message that accuses the visitor of being an idiot. Persons viewing that page would be clicking the "back" button as fast as they could.

5) Taking a Site Offline for Maintenance

I find it fascinating that very large sites run by intelligent people still get taken offline for maintenance on a regular basis. Search engines don't understand the "Back in 15 minutes" sign and the longer the site is down, the bigger the risk.

If search bots try and index a site while it is down, they will most likely assume the previously indexed pages have expired and drop them from the search index. This means that all your hard-earned rankings could be flushed down the toilet until search engines can successfully re-index your site. Surely a mirror site for maintenance periods isn't that difficult to set up?

4) Buying a Dot Bíz When the Dot Com Was Available

Ok, I'm putting up my hand on this one. I'm not going to reveal the domain but yes, I registered a dot bíz domain back in 2000 when the dot com was actually available. The dot com version of my domain was bought by Yahoo a short time later and turned into a product site. Ack! My excuse is that, at the time, dot bíz sites were rumored to be the next big thing and all companies were being urged to choose them over dot coms. Ok, I was wrong!

3) Allowing a Customer Complaint to Remain on a Site for 12 Months

When I was working as a public relations consultant, I was given the responsibility of re-writing the web copy of a large real estate client. One of the areas I was asked to re-write was the welcome paragraph on the Customer Feedback page where existing customers of the estate agent chain could login and leave comments about their experience.

While writing the copy, I scanned some of the customer feedback and came across an aggressive message left 12 months earlier by an obviously unhappy customer. She had used some of the most colorful language I've ever seen (and some that I hadn't) and very detailed descriptions of how she was going to take her revenge on the company for allegedly allowing a tenant to destroy her house. Nobody in charge of the web site had even noticed the comment and I still wonder how many potential customers would have been put off from using the estate agent after reading it.

2) Switching a Web Site Off for a 3 Week Christmas Vacatíon

Yes, many moons ago, an ex-client of mine decided to take her entire web site offline (without telling me!) while she was on a 3 week vacatíon over Christmas. Only a month earlier, she had paid me $5,000 to optimize it for search engines.

It had just achieved some impressive top 10 results and all the carefully optimized pages were attracting good traffic when she shut it down and replaced the entire site with a 1 page sign that said "closed until after Christmas". I noticed the traffic and search ranking declines in her stats and was completely flabbergasted when I found the site gone. Her response when I confronted her? "Why didn't you TELL ME this could happen?"

And the dumbest web site decision I've ever witnessed?

1) Promoting a Domain Name You Don't Own:

My Alma Mater, the University of Newcastle, have spent thousands of dollars on television advertising here in Australia, marketing their new site for online post-graduate coursework: GradSchool Dot Com. There's only one problem. The domain for this site is actually They don't even own!

Sadly, this glaring marketing error seems to have totally escaped them and they are happily referring to their brand as on all their marketing material and throughout their domain. It's tragic to think of all the potential students typing in expecting to find the University program. I see that whoever purchased has slapped up some AdSense code on it so at least somebody will reap the benefits of those thousands of advertising dollars wasted by the University.

Don't let any of these web site tragedies happen to you. Make sure that your site decisions aren't in the hands of dummies!

About The Author

Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College - an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How to Create Search Engine Friendly Title and META Tags (Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I defined Title Elements and META Tags and took you step-by-step through how to create an optimized Title Element. Now it's time to create your optimized META Description Tag.

Create Your META Description Tag

Take your líst of target keywords and phrases and open another text file. Again, you can use an existing sample META Description Tag as your template. Let's say our existing description is:

<META name="description" content="Miami Florists create beautiful floral bouquets, arrangements, tributes and displays for all occasions, including weddings, Valentines Day, parties and corporate events. Deliveries throughout Florida.">

You can make your META Description Tag as long as you like, but only a certain portion of it will get indexed and displayed by search engines. According to Danny Sullivan in his (old but still relevant) article, 200 to 250 characters of the META Description gets indexed but less than that gets displayed, depending on the search engine. So you want to make sure all your important keywords are listed towards the start of the tag.

Now take your líst of keywords for the home page in order of importance. For our fictional florist these were:

- florists Miami

- florists Florida

- wedding bouquets

Now you need to create a readable sentence or two describing your web site and incorporating these keywords so they make the best use of the keyword real estate available.

Because search engines often display the contents of the META Description Tag in the search results, it is very important that your sentences make grammatical sense and are enticing enough to encourage readers to clíck on your link. Let's start with:

If you're seeking a florist in Miami Florida, Funky Florists create unforgettable wedding bouquets, floral arrangements, tributes and displays for all occasions.

Ok, so that's around 150 characters long and gets our three important keyword phrases included. But it's a bit bland. We need to add something to entice the searcher to clíck on it. How about:

Order online for a 10 percent discount!

So now we have the following completed META Description Tag:

<META name="description" content="If you're seeking a florist in Miami Florida, Funky Florists create unforgettable wedding bouquets, floral arrangements, tributes and displays for all occasions. Order online for a 10 percent discount!">

Our new tag is optimized for our keyword phrases, it's around 200 characters in length, it describes our site accurately, it speaks to the reader and it (hopefully) entices them to clíck on the link and view the site.

Create Your META Keywords Tag

We're almost there. Now it's time to create your optimized META Keywords Tag. Let me stress here that this Tag is quite unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Not many of the search crawlers even support it any more. You can see which ones do on this page. If you have the time and you really want to create META Keywords tags for your pages, then go ahead, but if not, then leave them out of your code altogether. This tag will have very little impact on your overall SEO campaign.

Assuming you do want to create a Keywords tag, take your líst of target keywords and phrases and open another text file. Again, you can use an existing sample META Keywords Tag as your template. Let's say our existing Keywords Tag is:

<META name="keywords" content="flowers, roses, weddings bouquets, florists, floral arrangements, flower deliveries, Valentines Day gifts, Christmas decorations, Mother's Day, tributes, wreaths, clutches, sprays, in sympathy, funerals, corporate functions, parties, floral displays, Miami, Florida">

You are just including a líst of related keywords to include in this tag. Now take your líst of keywords for the home page in order of importance. For our fictional florist these were:

- florists Miami

- florists Florida

- wedding bouquets

Because you have a lot more room in this tag, a good rule of thumb for creating a META Keywords Tag is to include the keywords and phrases you are targeting with your site content, as well as some terms that you don't necessarily want to use in your site copy but are still relevant to the site content. For example, the site copy, TITLE and META description tags would include the most important search keywords, but the META Keywords Tag could be used for keyword variations and combinations that don't appear in the visible site text, but that people may also search for. Examples include plurals, contractions, slang, variations, misspellings, cultural nuances and industry jargon.

For our fictional florist, these may include things like:

- wedding flowers

- roses

- wedding roses

- Valentine's Day roses

- sympathy gifts

- Mother's Day gifts

- funeral wreaths

- flower deliveries

- floral arrangements

- birthday gifts

- flowers

- flowers for wedding

- wedding decorations

So now we have the following draft META Keywords Tag:

<META name="keywords" content="florists Miami, florists Florida, wedding bouquets, wedding flowers, roses, wedding roses, Valentine's Day roses, sympathy gifts, Mother's Day gifts, funeral wreaths, flower deliveries, floral arrangements, birthday gifts, flowers, flowers for wedding, wedding decorations">

However, when creating your Keywords Tag, you should not repeat any particular keywords within your META Keywords Tag more than five times and I would recommend excluding commas so that all your keywords can be indexed in combination with each other.

So we need to fix the draft tag to remove the excess repetition of the words "flowers" and "weddings". This is easy to do because some of the keyword phrases already incorporate these single generic keywords.

For starters, we can lose the single "flowers" as it is already covered by some of the other phrases like "wedding flowers". Next, we can drop "roses for the same reason. Then we can combine some keyword phrases together to save space, e.g. "flowers for wedding" and "wedding decorations" can be integrated to become "flowers for wedding decorations" so we can lose the extra instance of "wedding".

So now we have the following completed META Keywords Tag:

<META name="keywords" content="florists Miami florists Florida wedding bouquets wedding flowers wedding roses Valentine's Day roses sympathy gifts Mother's Day gifts funeral wreaths flower deliveries floral arrangements birthday gifts flowers for wedding decorations">

Tailored TITLE and META Tags

While some webmasters remember to include a META Description and a META Keywords Tag in their home page HTML code, many forget to include them on every page of the site that they want indexed. Or worse, they duplicate the homepage TITLE and META Tags on all other pages. To give a web site the best ranking ability possible, it is highly recommended that each page of the site include a unique TITLE tag and unique META tags, individually tailored to the content of that specific page.

For example, our fictional Miami florist may have a page devoted to wedding bouquets and another devoted to funeral wreaths. The TITLE and META tags for the first page should include keywords relating to weddings and the page about wreaths should utilize keywords relating to funerals and sympathy.

The use of tailored TITLE and META Tags on each page creates multiple entry points to a web site and enables relevant content to be found in search engines no matter where it resides on a site. For example, instead of relying on visitors to arrive via the Home Page, the optimization of individual site pages makes each page more visible in the search engines, providing additional gateways to the site's content. The more pages optimized, the wider the range of keywords and phrases that can be targeted and the more entry points are created to a site.

About The Author

Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College - an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.

Planning Your Publicity For a Good Site

Now that we're at the end of the year, it's a great time to plan your publicity for Comming years..

With all the talk about the immediacy of a story, and the unbelievable speed that news pieces make it onto TV and radio, we often forget that for most media, lead times are crucial. Lead times can vary from a day to six months depending on the media you're pitching. Generally women's magazines have the longest lead times, sometimes as much as four to six months.

If you want to find out what magazine lead times are, call their advertising department and get a copy of their media kit. This will not only tell you when advertising deadlines are (signaling your submission cut-off) but it will also show you what stories to pitch when. Generally magazines will try and coordinate advertising to coincide with their themes, so if you have a story about the benefits of yoga, you might want to dig through the advertising calendar and see if they're planning to address it in a future issue.

Once you define your publicity targets and get an idea of what to pitch when, you'll want to open up a calendar and start circling dates that will matter to your story. Get creative with this! Often dates are overlooked because they may seem too small (like peanut butter and jelly day) but everyone's competing for the biggies: Valentine's Day, Christmas, etc. so why not add some off-beat holidays to your pitching calendar and see what happens? If you're looking for every holiday under the sun (including international ones) try downloading the Calgoo calendar - this is a free program used to sync Outlook with your Google calendar - but an additional benefit of it is that it comes loaded with every imaginable holiday. A great tool to start your planning session!

Once you define holidays/seasons/events you want to pitch your story to, you'll also want to be cognizant of the appropriate seasons and what the media is looking for. Here's a brief outline of all four seasons as well as suggested targets/pitches. Keep in mind that breaking news stories and global events may slant these times considerably, but barring that, the seasonal angles tend to remain fairly consistent.

January - March

The first season of the year is pretty quiet. The holidays are over and much of the media is looking ahead and looking to summer with getting fit and weight loss stories, as well as New Year's resolutions, getting organized and of course - the looming tax season. This is a very "anything goes" time of year, so if you weren't able to sell fluff pieces during the holidays, you might want to try and repitch them now.

April - June

With major companies releasing their first quarter earnings (and hogging all the news space) this could be a tough time to get in. As April 15th looms out there you'll see a lot of stories addressing taxes, saving on taxes, and everything financial, but once that date comes and goes the media will start looking ahead to summer stories and "spring fever" pieces.

July - September

With summer in full swing we'll see a lot of lighter business stories, celebrity stories, trend pieces, and back to school. This is a fantastic time to pitch since many pr firms and media folk are on vacation. They still need stories but have less people pitching and less folks to field those pitches so if you can get your story in and it needs very little work you could be a shoe-in to get some coverage.

October - December

Many pr people think that this is the heaviest time of the year, but I tend to disagree. I think that the media is hungry for anything related to the holidays, end of year perspective, getting your life in order, New Year's resolutions (yet again) as well as the next year's prediction stories, etc. You'll also see a lot of best and worst of for the prior year. Relationship experts - now is your time to shine! With all the family gatherings there's a big call for getting along, making family relationships better/stronger as well as navigating the busy holiday season and still keeping your sanity.

Keep in mind that while we've only addressed media, these rules apply to online media as well as events you might do. It's much easier to get someone interested in something they're already interested in, and by coordinating your efforts, you'll have a much stronger and focused campaign. Planning your media for the upcoming year is one of the best things you can do before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. It'll not only keep your campaign fresh but also tightly focused. With a plan in place, you'll be ready to hit the ground running after January 1!

About the Author: Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a book marketing and media relations expert whose company has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Impact of SEO Web Design on Search Engines

SEO web design is a concept which emphasizes great architectural design principles based on how the search engines determine relevance and site information. The design should be able to give out the information that the user is seeking and at the same time be easily navigable. This is part of search engine optimization because the SEO web design should also be able to satisfy robotic crawlers and spiders in their quest for information regarding the website and other data.

SEO Web Design and Site Optimization

Search engine optimization is more than just a trend nowadays. It is used and applied by almost all sites on the internet that aim to make money and reach online popularity. Among the many strategies of optimizing a web site, SEO web design is one of the topmost priorities.

The impact of the design of the site on search engine robotic crawlers or spiders can help raise the ranking of the site. This is where SEO web design comes in. There are many ways to make the web site more attractive to robotic visitors and human visitors alike. Actually, spiders and crawlers from search engines do not mind the overall aesthetic value of the site. All these robotic crawlers need is the information it can get from the site. The tricky part is how to put relevant information in the site in order for the crawlers to properly index the site due to its relevance. SEO companies who specialize in optimizing web sites must also know how to put a site in front of others in order to bring it to the attention of the Internet users. The search optimizers who will handle your site must be able to know the right strategies to place the web site ahead of others in its field through accepted methods of optimization.

SEO web design is a competitive area where web designers, or what I prefer to call website architects, work hard to come up with ideas and designs that are aesthetically appealing and relevant at the same time. There has to be consideration for ease of getting around the website, being appealing to a wide range of visitors and finding the right place for the website. Making a basic, visually appealing site is easy with the many technological advances available today, but the problem with these advances is that they are sometimes quite tricky to use thus making your website difficult to navigate. SEO web design should be easy to use and friendly to both human and robotic browsers.

Easy navigational access can be done by making the pages of the site easy to navigate to and having easy to understand and use button or labels to click on. The pictures and images on your SEO web design should be just the right size and scale to enable users to see them promptly after clicking instead of taking a very long time to download. Waiting for images and other graphics to load can be off-putting for most visitors and will eventually lead them to another site which is more optimized and easy to view. Even spiders and crawlers will give up on a site which is not easy to navigate and get into.

The overall appeal of the SEO web design should not only be focused mainly on the niche that it is targeted to but also for Internet users who might have stumbled onto the site. SEO web design should have a universal appeal even for the most specialized type of sites on the Internet. Some webmasters or website owners could opt for specialized SEO web designs and these can also be done with the targeted audience in mind. It will also benefit the site if it is indexed as it should be. You might want to have a specific SEO web design which is built around the entire concept of your site and this can add to the ranking if you are quite specific with what you aim to sell or market. If you are marketing a specific product or information, SEO experts can focus on this product or information and build the SEO web design around it.

Another aspect of SEO web design that needs to be considered is what your competition is doing. The saying "know your enemy" is the key here. You do not want to have the same boring marketing strategies as the competition. Why? Because it is a good idea to keep abreast with what they are doing and how well they are doing in this field. There are many site optimization tools that can help analyze and determine what is needed for the site. Hence, in regard to the SEO web design process, content is one of the prime needs and tools of making the site rank high in searches. Finding out or identifying the right keywords to integrate into the site can be crucial in making the site among the top ranking ones. Keyword search tools and having keyword rich content and titles can help to optimize a site efficiently.

SEO web design experts should also bear in mind that there are web strategies that may be unacceptable for search engines. Using these underhand or black hat tricks to perpetuate a site in rank can cause the search engines to ban the site and also the SEO web design company that did the search engine optimization work for it no matter how well the SEO web design is.

About the Author: Moe Tamani is a Marketing expert with a leading SEO Company specializing in Organic SEO.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

12 Handy Webmaster Site Checking Tools & Sites

How Well Do You Really Know Your Website? If you're like most webmasters, you have probably spent years building your site. You have spent years adding content, building links and cultivating traffíc - but how well do you really know your website?

How well do you know the intricate details of your website's traffíc? Where do your site's visitors come from? How long do they stay on your site? Just where do they go to on your site and how well do they convert into buyers or subscribers?

Do you know your site's rankings in the major search engines? What are your site's top keywords? What's your site's Google PageRank? Who are your IP neighbors? What your site looks like in other browsers? How much is your site worth?

These are just some of the questíons you should know, mainly because the more knowledge you possess about your site, the better equipped you will be at improving it. So here's a simple líst of free site checking tools/sites that will let you "Big Brother" (monitor and watch) your site.

1. Google Analytics

Perhaps one of the most helpful analytical tools you can use on your site. Google Analytics will give you a wealth of information about your site's traffíc. Where it comes from, how long it stays on your site, where it goes on your site, how well your content converts... invaluable information every webmaster should have in their possession.

2. NetMechanic Toolbox

Review your site's mechanics - find broken links, test browser compatibility, find bad HTML code, spot slow-loading pages, and review your spelling... all by using the NetMechanic Toolbox.

3. Keyword Suggestion Tool

This free keyword suggestion tool will tell you how many searches are done in WordTracker and Overture for your site's keywords. Extremely valuable information since much of the web's traffíc and ecommerce is keyword driven.

4. Iwebtool

This is another free site which offers many valuable webmaster's tools that will give you information about your/any site. Google PageRank, PageRank Prediction, Link Popularity, Search Engine Positions for Keywords, Backlink Checker... also Visual PageRank where you can see all the PR values of all the links on a given page - both internal and external.

5. Alexa Traffic Rankings

Alexa tracks the web's traffíc by using the Alexa bar in a surfer's browser. Most people know it is not an accurate assessment of the traffíc on the net but it is a handy measuring stick, nonetheless. It is also a handy tool for comparing sites and seeing the long-tern traffíc trends of different sites, including your own.

6. Your Site's Traffic Logs

Most webmasters know your raw traffíc logs are worth checking and reading. They contain valuable information about your site. Especially helpful, if you're checking for broken links on your site, you don't want to see those 302's everywhere. Close examination and regular checking of your traffíc logs and stats will point out the profitable keywords on your site.

7. BetterWhois

You can use this site to find out the domain information about your site. Do you have control of your domain? Many webmasters buy their domain name thru their web hostíng company. While this is not a problem in itself, if any dispute should arise, who has administrative control of your domain; you or your hostíng company? Can you change hostíng companies?

8. Google Alerts

Another valuable tool from Google which notifies you by email when your link or site is found anywhere on the web. Great for keeping track of any new links your site is getting. Many webmasters also use this handy tool to keep track of their competitors' sites. They also use Google Alerts to keep track of whenever their own name is mentioned anywhere on the web. This one would even make Orwell proud.

9. IP Neighbors

Many webmasters have their site hosted on shared hostíng plans, which means there can be hundreds of sites sharing the same IP address. This site lets you discover who your IP neighbors are. Why would you want to know your IP neighbors? Well like neighbors everywhere; there are good ones and there are bad ones. For example, if you have a neighboring site that uses email to sp@m, it could get your IP address blocked or shut down.

10. Any Browser

Use to this handy site to discover what your site looks like in different browsers; you could be in for a real shock.

11. Google Toolbar

The Google Toolbar can be placed on your browser so that when you're surfing you can see the Google PageRank of each page/site you're visiting. Many SEO experts believe Google is not giving us the true PR of a page and this bar is rather useless. However, like the Alexa rankings it is a handy measuring stick, nonetheless.

12. What Is Your Site Worth?

Please take this last analyzing tool with "a large grain of salt", but it is fun to use and to see how much your site is worth. Measurement here is done largely by the amount of links you have coming into your site.

In conclusion, all of these free handy tools/sites will give you a better, more complete picture of your own site. Remember, the more knowledge you acquire about your own site and your competitors' sites, the more equipped you will be to succeed. This is one case where being a "Big Brother" can truly benefit your site.

About The Author
The author is a full-time online marketer who has numerous websites, including two sites on Internet marketing. For the latest and most effective web marketing tools try: . Or why not try these excellent free training manuals and videos. 2007 Titus Hoskins. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

Google's Paid Search vs. Organic Results – A Rickety Wall of Separation

"Chinese Wall - The ethical (not physical) barrier between different divisions of a financial (or other) institution to avoid conflict of interest..."

"While Google nevër sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results."

Google's Webmaster Help Center FAQ

"NO pay for inclusion, and a complete separation of the search index part from the money part."

Google Chief Engineer Craig Neville-Manning, Search Engine Strategies 2004

The good people at Google have long maintained that there is a Chinese Wall between paid search results and organic results – that is, the department responsible for advertising is completely separate from the department responsible for organic search engine placement. The company insists that Google Adwords is a completely separate entity than the Google search engine, and nevër the twain shall meet. This all sounds very good, in theory. But do they live up to this ideal in practice?

You don't hear Google talking much about Chinese Walls these days. This is certainly in part because they have had great difficulty gaining traction in the literal and very competitive Chinese market (headlines such as "Google Hits Chinese Wall" or even "Google Advance Halted at Great Wall of China" were commonplace). But might there be other, more nefarious reasons? Is there a reason why we hear less and less from Google about the virtual wall that separates paid search results from organic search engine placement?

  What Is Google Really Doing for Its Big Spenders?

It has long been rumored that Google will provide technical assistance in achieving better organic search engine placement to those who spend more for paid search results. I know for certain that these rumors are true in at least two instances. In fact, I actually have the minutes from one of these technical assistance meetings after the company met with Google engineers. While the identity of these two companies is irrelevant, suffice to say that they are companies that you have almost certainly heard of and that they spend millíons of dollars on paid search words each year.

To be fair, based on the meeting minutes I have, the advice that the engineers gave to the company does not include anything groundbreaking. It is mostly common sense advice that a good search engine optimization firm already knows about organic search engine placement and other issues, and much of it is already covered in the publicly-available Google Webmaster Guidelines. This, however, is beside the point. Google has obviously decided that it must provide perks to its big paid search spenders to keep them happy (or rather, happy enough to not pull their advertising). Clearly, one of these perks is access to Google engineers and the ability to glean information about organic search engine placement, a luxury that smaller advertisers do not enjoy.

  Organic Search Engine Placement for Sale – The New Google Reality?

From a business perspective, this makes perfect sense, of course. Big-dollar advertisers make up the bulk of Google's revenue for paid search, and any intelligent business will take whatever steps they deem necessary to hold on to their most valuable customers. This is why larger advertisers already have a designated account representative from Google. I am willing to bet that this perk was not Google's idea. Rather, it almost certainly stemmed from the sense of entitlement that those spending large sums on paid search felt and the fact that technical help with their organic search engine placement is what they demanded.

Unfortunately, this reality leaves an advertiser with a small budget for paid search at a disadvantage. If Google is willing to provide this secret perk to larger advertisers now, what might they do in the future? Provide price breaks to larger paid search spenders? Raise the minimum monthly spend to squeeze out smaller companies and please the larger ones? It certainly has the potential to become a slippery slope, and I am interested to see where it goes next.

One final point – since Google is willing to give advice about organic search engine placement to companies that spend a great deal of monëy on Google advertising, is the phrase "While Google nevër sells better ranking in our search results..." truly accurate? I suppose this is open for interpretation. It may be technically true, but offering advice regarding organic search engine placement straight from the horse's mouth in exchange for millíons of dollars in monëy for paid search results isn't far from selling rankings, in my opinion.


Please don't get me wrong – I still believe that Google is the best search engine out there, I greatly admire the way that they are continually reinventing themselves, and I think they are still the target for those seeking the most benefit from organic search engine placement. They have the folks in Redmond constantly guessing and always three steps behind, and I love how they have started from humble beginnings to take on one of the biggest corporations in the world (and consistently win). I simply believe that they have played the underdog, anti-corporate card for too long, and that even if it has not outlived its usefulness, it has outlived its truthfulness. Google is now a huge multinational corporation that answers to its shareholders. To pretend anything otherwise is silly, but it seems that, for now at least, the charade will continue.

Google's overriding principle, one that they have been happy to espouse to the media, has long been "Don't Be Evil." Whether they still adhere to this principle since they have become a public company is another question that is open for interpretation. If you are a smaller advertiser and feel that Google's favoritism toward larger paid search customers regarding organic search engine placement is evil, it probably seems as though the "Don't Be Evil" principle no longer applies. You may conclude that the principles of "Don't Be Evil" and "Keep Shareholders Happy" are mutually incompatible, and that the latter has gained the upper hand.

About The Author

Scott Buresh is the CEO of Medium Blue, which was recently named the number one search engine optimization company in the world by PromotionWorld. Scott has contributed content to many publications including Building Your Business with Google For Dummies (Wiley, 2004), MarketingProfs, ZDNet, Organic Rankings, WebProNews, DarwinMag, SiteProNews,, and Search Engine Guide. Medium Blue serves local and national clients, including Boston Scientific, DS Waters, and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Download Medium Blue's latest exclusive whitepaper, "Adding Search to Your Marketing Mix," for more insight.

Having Trouble Improving Your Google Ranking?

Google is by far the most important search engine on the net. To rise to the top of their search engine, you need to improve your link popularity and you need to understand how they measure your link popularity (over 50% of all search engine traffic comes from Google, and if you can rise to the top, you will likely rise to the top of all the other search engines as well).

Link popularity is defined as the number of sites that are linking to your site. Some websites have thousands or even millions of sites linking to them, while others might have only a few. The search engines use the number of inbound links your site has as a measure of how important your site is, which translates into your search engine ranking.

The actual number of links to your site is not the only variable used to calculate your link popularity. The search engines also examine the relevance of the links to the subject matter of your site. For example, if a website that sells vitamins has 4,000 inbound links, but the source of most of the links are websites that have nothing to do with vitamins, then the algorithm that search engines use to determine link popularity will take that into account, and the link popularity score will not be very good.

It is possible for a website with a relatively small number of quality inbound links to be ranked higher than a site with a bunch of irrelevant or insignificant links. If I have a website that offers quotes for auto insurance, and I have 800 quality inbound links, then I might receive a much higher search engine ranking than another mortgage site that has 3,000 links that stem from link farms or Free For All (FFA) pages.

If you try to acquire inbound by using link farms or FFA pages, not only will it hurt your search engine ranking, but you might get permanently removed from the search engine listings. Links farms are sites where you can instantly exchange links with all the sites listed in that directory. FFA pages are pointless link directories. The search engines usually discount any links that come from either of these sources.

Now that we understand what link popularity is and how it works, we need to look specifically at how Google measures it. They use a number of variables in their algorithm to calculate your overall link score. The higher your score, the higher you will be ranked in the search listings.

One factor that Google uses in their algorithm, obviously, is the total number of sites linking to you. The more links you have, the higher your score will be. However, their algorithm is a little more complicated than that, and it is possible for a website with fewer links to be ranked higher than a website that has more links.

The reason for this is because Google also measures the quality of your links. If your website is about vitamins, and the site linking to you is a video game site, then that is not considered a quality link. The link still helps your score, but the link would help your score much more if it were from a website whose subject matter is the same as yours.

Also, Google gives a higher score to a link if it comes from a page that has actual content that relates to your keywords. For example, if your site is about jewelry, and another jewelry website has posted a link to your site on their links page, that link is not as valuable as a link to your site coming from a blog or a message board where a lot of information about jewelry is being written or discussed.

Also, they give an even higher score to a link if it contains anchor text that matches one of the keywords that describes your site. For example, if I have a site that sells lawnmowers, and a blog about lawnmowers has posted a link to my site, it helps my score even more if the link text (also known as anchor text) is LAWNMOWERS. To learn more about anchor text, go to a search engine and look up ANCHOR TEXT and you will be able to learn about it.

Another factor used by Google to score your link popularity is the diversity of keywords contained on sites linking to you. For example, if you have a site that sells handbags, and all the links to your site are from other sites that contain nothing but the keyword HANDBAGS, Google considers that to be abnormal. To get a higher score, you need to have links coming from sites that contain a variety of keywords related to handbags, such as BUY HANDBAGS, LEATHER HANDBAGS, etc.

It is difficult to increase your link popularity, but now that you understand how your score is calculated, you can devise a plan to improve your score. You might want to consider posting to forums and blogs that contain information that is related to your site, and when you post, include a link to your site.

About the Author: Jim Pretin is the owner of, a service that helps programmers make an HTML form.

How to Create Search Engine Friendly Title and META Tags (Part 1)

In this article, I'm going to show you step-by-step how to create search engine optimized Titles and META Tags. The TITLE Element

TITLE elements, (commonly called TITLE Tags), are one of the most important factors that search engines "look" at when it comes to determining the relevancy of a web page against a search query. In their ranking algorithms, nearly all the major search engines attribute a high relevancy weíght to the content of the TITLE tag.

In the HTML code of a web site, TITLE tags look like this one (for a fictional florist):

<title>Miami Florists - beautiful floral creations made to order.</title>

To view the HTML code of any site, choose "View, Source" from your browser toolbar or right clíck anywhere on the page and choose "view source code".

The META Description Tag

META Description Tags are designed to describe the content of web pages. Search engine robots will gather up this information when indexing web sites and often use it when referencing web pages in the search listings.

While not all search engines continue to utilize the META Description Tag, a majority of search engines rely on the content of this tag (together with a site's visible content) to provide information about a site that they can match with search queries. It is therefore important for webmasters to include keywords and phrases in the META description that they would expect searchers to use to find their site content.

In the HTML code of a web site, a sample META Description Tag looks like this:

<meta name="description" content="Miami Florists create beautiful floral bouquets, arrangements, tributes and displays for all occasions, including weddings, Valentines Day, parties and corporate events. Deliveries throughout Florida.">

You can view the META Description Tag of a site by viewing the source code.

The META Keywords Tag

While only indexed by a small handful of search engines these days, the META Keywords Tag is still worth including within a site's HTML code, if only to provide those search engines with as much information as possible about site content.

In the HTML code of a web site, a sample META Keywords Tag looks like this:

<meta name="keywords" content="flowers, roses, weddings bouquets, florists, floral arrangements, flower deliveries, Valentines Day gifts, Christmas decorations, Mother's Day, tributes, wreaths, clutches, sprays, in sympathy, funerals, corporate functions, parties, floral displays, Miami, Florida">

The current lack of support for the META Keywords Tag by so many search engines can be attributed to increasing sp@m abuse by ignorant webmasters. These webmasters thought the keyword tag was a good place to stuff hundreds of keywords in the hope of achieving a higher search ranking, thereby "sp@mming" the search engines with useless, non-relevant data. This prompted many search engines to filter out the META Keywords Tag or lower its importance within the ranking algorithm.

You can view the META Keywords Tag of a site by viewing the source code.

Create Your Optimized Tags

Now, it's time to create optimized TITLE and META Tags for your site. Let's start with the TITLE Tag for your Home Page.

Create Your TITLE Tag

Take the líst of target keywords and phrases that you want your web site to be found for in search engines. You should have already allocated them to the appropriate pages of your site to be optimized. I use a spreadsheet for this purpose, but you should use whatever works for you.

Now, open a text file in Notepad or something similar. If you like, you can use an existing sample TITLE Tag as your template. Let's say our existing Title is:

<title>Miami Florists - beautiful floral creations made to order.</title>

Now take your líst of keywords for the home page and put them in order of importance, with the ones you want to rank highest for at the top. For our fictional florist these are:

- florists Miami
- florists Florida
- wedding bouquets

Now you are simply going to combine these keywords into a sentence or short blurb so they make the best use of the keyword real estate available. Always try to use as few words as possible in your Title Tags, because each additional keyword dilutes the ranking relevancy of all the others.

In this case, I would initially combine the keywords as follows:

Florists in Miami Florida specializing in wedding bouquets

Notice how I've got the keywords in the correct order for the search queries? I've tried to include the most important keywords towards the start of the tag. There was no need for me to repeat the keyword "Florists" more than once because the sentence I've used covers both "Florists Miami" and "Florists Florida". Most search engines will ignore "in" as a stop word, so it shouldn't matter that we've included it.

Although it's tempting to put a comma between Miami and Florida, on some search engines commas act as a keyword separator, so we don't want to use one here because we don't want "Florists' and "Florida" to be separated.

Now, there is just one problem with this draft Title. Our 3rd keyword phrase 'wedding bouquets" is right at the end of the sentence, meaning it may lose some relevancy weíght (search engines consider keywords closer to the start of the tag as the most important). How do we fix this? Let's try this:

Florists in Miami Florida - wedding bouquets a specialty.

We don't want to use a period after "Florida" for the same reason that we don't use a comma. But a hyphen should not make a difference to search engines yet still allow the sentence to read logically to a searcher. So now we have our three target keyword phrases covered in a very short space.

In fact, the above sentence now covers the following keyword combinations:

- florists Miami
- florists Florida
- florists in Miami
- florists in Florida
- florists in Miami Florida
- wedding bouquets
- Miami wedding bouquets
- Florida wedding bouquets

When integrating your keywords, remember that their order is important. If you want your site to have the best possible chance of being found for the search query "Miami florists", you need to put the keywords in that exact order and not "florists Miami", because the spider searches the keywords in exact order. Unless they are stop words, also try to avoid using extra words between your keywords.

If you wanted to, you could integrate your company name into the Title tag, but (unless your company name is super short or includes a keyword), don't sacrifice a keyword to do so. Instead, try placing the company name at the end of the tag so you can be sure that all your important keywords will be indexed first.

In the case of our florist, let's imagine their name was Funky Florists. We could easily accommodate the name into the beginning of our optimized Title as follows:

<title>Funky Florists in Miami Florida - wedding bouquets a specialty.</title>

It may reduce the keyword relevancy impact very slightly, but including your company name enables you to brand your page, which may be more important to you.

The content of the Title Tag is also what gets saved in a person's Favorite's líst when they bookmark your site, so having your company name included is worth considering from a branding perspective.

In Part 2 of this article, I will show you how to create your optimized META Description and META Keywords Tags.

About The Author
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College - an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.

20 Things You Need to Know Before Optimizing a Web Site

One of the most important aspects of a search engine optimization project is also one of the most overlooked – preparation! There are some important steps to take in advance of optimizing your site that will make sure your SEO is successful.

Before You Start

Before you start any search engine optimization campaign, whether it's for your site or that belonging to a client, you need to answer the following questíons:

1) What is the overall motivation for optimizing this site? What do I/they hope to achieve? e.g. more sales, more subscribers, more traffíc, more publicity etc.

2) What is the time-frame for this project?

3) What is the budget for this project?

4) Who will be responsible for this project? Will it be a joint or solo effort? Will it be run entirely in-house or outsourced?

Answering these questíons will help you to build a framework for your SEO project and establish limitations for the size and scope of the campaign.

Ready: How Search Engine-Compatible is the Site Currently?

Something I find very useful before quoting on any SEO project is to produce what I call a Search Engine Compatibility Review. This is where I carry out a detailed overview and analysis of a site's search engine compatibility in terms of HTML design, page extensions, link popularity, title and META tags, body text, target keywords, ALT IMG tags, page load time and other design elements that can impact search engine indexing.

I then provide a detailed report to potential clients with recommendations based on my findings. It just helps sort out in my mind what design elements need tweaking to make the site as search engine-friendly as possible. It also helps marketing staff prove to an often stubborn programming department (or vice versa!) that SEO is necessary. You might consider preparing something similar for your site or clients.

Steady: Requirements Gathering

Next, you need to establish the project requirements, so you can tailor the SEO campaign to you or your client's exact needs. For those of you servicing clients, this information is often required before you are able to quote accurately.

To determine your project requirements, you need to have the following questíons answered:

1) What technology was used to build the site? (i.e. Flash, PHP, frames, Cold Fusion, JavaScrípt, Flat HTML etc)

2) What are the file extensions of the pages? (i.e. .htm, .php, .cfm etc)

3) Does the site contain database driven content? If so, will the URLs contain query strings? e.g., (containing "?" symbols), or does the site use parameter workarounds to remove the query strings? (the latter is more search engine friendly).

4) Are there at least 250 words of text on the home page and other pages to be optimized?

5) How does the navigation work? Does it use text links or graphical links or JavaScrípt drop-down menus?

6) Approximately how many pages does the site contain? How many of these will be optimized?

7) Does the site have a site map or will it require one? Does the site have an XML sitemap submitted to Google Sitemaps ?

8) What is the current link popularity of the site?

9) What is the approximate Google PageRank of the site? Would it benefit from link building?

10) Do I have the ability to edit the source code directly? Or will I need to hand-over the optimized code to programmers for integration?

11) Do I have permission to alter the visible content of the site?

12) What are the products/services that the site promotes? (e.g. widgets, mobile phones, hire cars etc.)

13) What are the site's geographical target markets? Are they global? Country specific? State specific? Town specific?

14) What are the site's demographic target markets? (e.g. young urban females, working mothers, single parents etc.)

15) What are 20 search keywords or phrases that I think my/my client's target markets will use to find the site in the search engines?

16) Who are my/my client's major competitors online? What are their URLs? What keywords are they targeting?

17) Who are the stake-holders of this site? How will I report to them?

18) Do I have access to site traffíc logs or statistics to enable me to track visitor activity during the campaign? Specifically, what visitor activity will I be tracking?

19) How do I plan on tracking my or my client's conversion trends and increased rankings in the search engines?

20) What are my/my client's expectations for the optimization project? Are they realistic?

Answers to the first 10 questíons above will determine the complexity of optimization required. For example, if the site pages currently have little text on them, you know you'll need to integrate more text to make the site compatible with search engines and include adequate target keywords. If the site currently uses frames, you will need to rebuild the pages without frames or create special No-Frames tags to make sure the site can be indexed, and so on.

This initial analysis will help you to scope the time and costs involved in advance. For those of you optimizing client sites, obtaining accurate answers to these questíons BEFORE quoting is absolutely crucial. Otherwise you can find yourself in the middle of a project that you have severely under-quoted for.

The remainder of questíons are to establish in advance the who, what, where, when, why and how of the optimization project. This will help you determine the most logical keywords and phrases to target, as well as which search engines to submit the site to.

For those of you optimizing web sites for a living, you might consider developing a questionnaire that you can give clients to complete to ensure you tailor the web site optimization to their exact needs.


So now you are clear about your motivations for optimizing the site, you know more about the target markets, you know how compatible the existing site is with search engines and how much work is involved in the search engine optimization process. You're ready to tackle the job.

About The Author

Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College - an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why Keywords Are Vital To An Seo Campaign?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the optimization of a web page in order that it ranks higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) for specific keywords or keyword phrases. The pages that rank higher typically gain the greater amount of search engine traffic compared to pages ranked lower for the same keyword.

The majority of web users click on one of the top 5 results on the first page when they complete a search. As such, the ultimate goal of any SEO (Search Engine Optimizer) is to gain one of these coveted top spots, with the number one ranking being the primary objective.

Targeting Keywords

However, a top position for any keyword won't suffice. In order to increase your ROI, it is vital to ensure that you target the most appropriate keywords for your pages, and for your business. While generic, or very general topic keywords, may have the highest number of searches conducted in a month they are also the most competitive and typically least productive.

Competitive Keywords

The more competitive a keyword the more pages that you need to compete with in order to benefit from an SEO campaign. Many of the pages that appear at the top of the list will also be well optimized and have a powerful link profile, making it difficult to rank highly.

Improved Conversions With Targeted Keywords

General topic based keywords have also proven to have lower conversion rates compared to more specific keywords. Targeted keywords generate targeted visitors, and targeted visitors are much more likely to be active while on the pages of your website.

How Keyword Research Helps

Keyword research helps you to identify keywords that are relevant, targeted, and preferably less competitive. By finding the right blend of these factors you can minimize the time it takes to rank well, actually increase the number of visitors, and improve your conversion rates. Targeted keyword research leads to better profit opportunities and improved ROI.

Tailoring Your Keyword Research To Your Needs

Every page of a website needs to be treated as an individual project, especially in terms of marketing. Each page will usually attract different visitors in different stages of the purchasing process. Deep product pages will often catch visitors while they are at their most profitable - when they're ready to buy. General pages and even product category pages can be used to attract more general terms, but they should still be properly researched and targeted very precisely to your target market.

Niche Keywords

Niche keywords are often talked about as being the ideal variety of keywords for a page. A niche keyword is a highly targeted, very specific keyword. It is geared towards a corner of the market in which you operate and typically has very few competing pages. Niche keywords don't usually create much in the way of traffic but the traffic that they do create is highly targeted and very active. It attracts excellent conversion rates ensuring that you get a good return on your marketing investment.

Long Tail Keywords

Many web pages will gain visitors from natural keywords within the text. These long tail search terms again produce highly targeted visitors and while each individual term will not produce more than one or possibly two visitors over the space of the month, they do all add up. It is virtually impossible to research long tail keywords because of their infrequency, but by using popular keywords you heighten the chances of seeing more on your website.

Why Keyword Research Is Important

Keyword research is an important aspect of SEO because it helps to identify the terms that surfers use to access sites similar to yours. This, in turn, enables you to optimize the pages of your site and your link profile in order to attract those visitors. By doing so, you may also improve the number of long tail searches that lead to your site, and these product highly targeted visitors for little optimization effort.

About the Author: Omaro Ailoch is a senior software engineer, an entrepreneur and the founder of OC IT Services a highly skilled California based web development, design, and search engine optimization firm.

The Big Google PageRank Slap - Perception Is Everything

Recently Google did a major PageRank update where a lot of sites were downgraded. Many experts believe this PageRank update was Google's response to link selling - sites which sell links lost points in their PageRank.

Google measures all web pages on a scale of importance from 0 to 10, which is shown in a small green pixel bar on browsers carrying the Google Toolbar. PageRank is "supposedly" measured by the number of backlinks to your site.

Online democracy in action, a link is a vote for your site. The more votes you have the higher your site is ranked. At least that's how it was supposed to work until a lot of high PR sites started selling links and put a monkey wrench into the whole system.

The latest update may be a smart move on Google's part to curtail this practice; who's going to buy a link from a PR2 or even a PR4 site? Besides this could be more than a warning that your site will go down even further if you continue to sell links.

Now this is more of a cosmetic change in PageRank than a real change in your true rankings in Google. Just because your PR goes down doesn't mean your keyword rankings or traffíc from Google also goes down.

I saw some of my sites go up, some stayed the same, but my major site took a big hit - falling from PR6 to PR4. This was more of a devastating blow than I expected mainly for psychological reasons than actual consequences. After years of building the best content you can muster and constantly getting quality one-way links, to see that PageRank drop was very disappointing and hits to the core of your online work.

I have been around for a while so I have experienced many Google Updates - anyone remember the Florida Update? I also keep my ears peeled to discussions of the latest updates in Webmasterworld and Stompernet, and I even read Matt Cutts when I get real nervous... so I knew not to panic just because of the sudden drop in PageRank.

I also knew what most of the SEO experts were saying was true because my major keywords stayed the same and my Google traffíc actually went up. But that's little comfort when you're talking about Google; you immediately go into overdrive and try to figure out where you went wrong. What caused the drop - because whether PageRank is meaningless or not, you're still going in the wrong direction.

I saw many of my competitors drop too, but many stayed the same and a few even increased in PageRank. What are they doing right; what am I doing wrong? I don't sell links but does Google think I am selling links was my main concern? I even moved one external link from my main page to another part of my site, just in case Google is mistaking that as a paid link.

Welcome To Webmaster's Paranoid Hell!

For SEO reasons I have very few external links on my main page. Can't see why Google downgraded my main site. I have been at PR6 for years.

Herein lies my main beef - with Google you don't really know where you stand; you are constantly walking on eggshells. No matter how good your content or your site is - one misstep and you could be in the doghouse. All your hard work can be taken away in a heartbeat.

It wouldn't matter so much if it was one of the other two major search engines downgrading your site but this is Google.

Free organic traffíc from Google is vital to any online site or business. I would take traffíc from Google over any other source of traffíc on the web, except for traffíc coming from my articles on other sites, and even that traffíc probably originated from a search in Google.

Google and Google PageRank have always been important to me - that's one of the reasons a sudden large drop causes so much concern. There's another important reason Google PageRank is important to me.

Most SEO experts mistakenly believe PageRank is meaningless because Google is not giving us the true ranking of any site or revealing all the backlinks, which is supposedly one of the major factors in how Google ranks sites. While this fact is obviously true, it has caused many to jump to another conclusion.

Because Google is not giving us the real ranking, many webmasters have dismissed PageRank as a vital element in their sites. Don't make the same mistake.

Google PageRank is extremely important if you're doing business on the web. The higher PR you have, the better. But it has nothing to do with keyword rankings or first page SERPs.

What many SEO experts fail to realize (not really their business) is the whole "perceived" value of PageRank.

Google, hate it or love it, has become the most respected company on the web in the eyes of the majority of the web's users. It carries enormous weíght and prestige. The "perceived" value of a high PR7 or PR8 is extremely valuable.

We are not talking about link selling; we are talking about how a perspective business partner or customer will treat your site or business.

Say you have two identical sites you want to do business with online and you discover one is a Google PR2 site and the other is a Google PR8 site - which one would you choose to do business with? Honestly?

From first-hand experience, I know any online company or marketer will get more business offers and be offered more partnerships/joint ventures if you have a high Google PR site than a low one. It will make a difference to your bottom line.

PageRank is important. PageRank has meaning. Even if it has little bearing on your SERPs rankings or Google traffíc, PageRank can greatly influence the success of your online site or venture. Don't ignore or dismiss PageRank as a meaningless relic that didn't quite work out as Google had planned for it in the first place.

High PageRank Will Always Be Valuable

The day Google gives its own site a PageRank of PR1 or PR2 instead of the current PR10 - that's the day you can dismiss PageRank as truly meaningless.

About The Author

The author is a full-time online marketer. For the latest web marketing tools try: Internet Marketing Tools or why not try these: Free Marketing Courses. Copyright © 2007 Titus Hoskins. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

Monday, November 19, 2007

6 Steps To Improve Customer Loyalty From Site Visitors

Online shopping has quickly outstretched high street shopping for popularity and overall spend. One of the big advantages that consumers gain is the ability to comparison shop for a better deal. However, for the e-store owner or service provider, this can make it difficult to survive without offering the lowest prices and the greatest deals. Decreasing prices has an obvious effect on your revenue and profit so it is vital that you aim for the right target market and attempt to build customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty means repeat business and repeat customers offer the lowest marketing spend requirements. As such, improving customer loyalty can vastly reduce your spend and increase your ROI. Many of the methods of retaining customers for your website are developed from tried and trusted methods used by large organizations and businesses offline.

Know Your Target Markets

By really getting to know and understand your target markets you will have a much greater understanding what it is that they're after. By learning this kind of information you will be better placed to send out relevant after-sales communication and entice your buyers to buy more.

Know Your Competitors

Knowing what your competitors are selling and for how much will help you determine the best prices for your own products. If you have a good customer retention rate it is often possible to increase the amount you pay for a new customer or reduce your prices without affecting your overall profit too much.

Customer Service

Perhaps the first aspect that many of us consider when looking at customer retention rates is customer service. You must supply a high level of customer service. If you go the extra mile for your customer, they will go the extra mile to come back to your site. Being polite in all communications is only a very small part of good customer service. Everything from your website content to complaint responses need to be well thought out and geared towards retaining customers.


The more synonymous your website becomes with the products or services you sell, the more likely that people will return to your site. Make sure that all of your web pages, emails, newsletters, invoices, and other forms of communication include your web address at the very least. Make it memorable and don't chop and change designs and logos unless a re-branding is deemed absolutely necessary.

After-Sales Communication

There is an art to after sales communication, and it is an art that you need to learn to master. So, your website operates online, but that doesn't mean that the whole of your business has to. If you sell digital products that are downloaded then ensure that emails and all online communication includes your branding. If you sell physical products, then your paper invoices, and everything down to your packing labels should also be branded.

Get Your Visitors Involved

Involving your site visitors will help to bring them back to your site time and time again. Web 2.0 applications provide a plethora of ways to involve site visitors. Blogs, forums, and any interactive tool will help to make your site bookmarkable. Even for visitors that don't take action while on your site, you will attract them back more frequently, and the more exposure a visitor has to your website, the more likely they become to make a purchase.

Why Customer Loyalty Is Important To Your Business Website

Return visitors or return customers are one of your greatest assets. You've already done a lot of the hard work with your preliminary marketing campaigns. Ensure that everything from your website to your email newsletter to your packing slips are effectively branded with your website details and always uphold the highest level of customer service and communication. If you can get your site visitors more involved in your site then you stand to profit even more from customer loyalty.

About the Author: Omaro Ailoch is a senior software engineer, an entrepreneur and the founder of OC IT Services a highly skilled Califoria based web development, design, and search engine optimization firm.