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.