Monday, June 30, 2014

Transcriptions and Captions for Video SEO

Transcriptions and Captions for Video SEO

Your website audience may prefer to watch a video over reading the transcript of the material presented but search engines prefer plain text. So video represents some special challenges to search engines. They have to find ways to attach relevance and significance to different videos. They do that using signals like velocity of comments, number of views, keywords in the title tag and so on. We can help the serach engines and rank much higher if you can supplement the video content with text, transcripts, captions and annotations about the video content.

A transcript is a word for word copy of what's said in the video. You can upload a transcript directly to YouTube and you can put it directly on the page on your site where you embed your video. Either way it's giving the search engines an accurate copy of the video. This will give search engines a full text version to crawl and use to classify both the video and the page.

Youtube may try to transcrib the video but the technology to do that isn’t quite accurate enough to be used as a classification tool. So if you put the transcription on the page in your website where you embed your video. It will provide Google with a very powerful signal as to the content of that video.

Google will assume the text on the page is related to the video itself. Plus it can help you with conventional SEO because you put more content on that page. If you upload the transcript to YouTube then we know for a fact that Google crawls and indexes that text. Google uses that text when it's classifying the video and deciding where it should rank.

Captions are different. Captions are time based and they're synchronized with the video so that the transcribed words or other information appear on the screen right when the actor on the screen is supposedly saying those words. This is much, much harder to do. Captions take a little more effort because they have to be synchronized and delivered in a certain format.

So captions have to be connected directly to the video. If you add captions, remember to put a copy on your embed page as well otherwise they may not provide the same relevance. Use captions if you're going to have a lot of users using mobile devices because they may be in places where there's too much background noise to listen to the audio of your video.

Another way to supplement the content in a video is to use annotations. An annotation is a bit of text that's added directly to the video itself and appears in the video at a particular frame.

While it's not 100% clear how or if these directly impact rankings, they're a useful tool and they can indirectly help video SEO. They do that by providing a call to action. Maybe providing a link to your website or otherwise adding details to the video that isn’t there.
So you can use annotations to create links to other resources on your website or elsewhere. You can point out important details in the video. And you can provide a call to action. So you can provide something at the end of the video like share this video with your friends or rate this video below. Or you can combine it with a link and say visit our Facebook page and like us there.

Use annotations when and if they make sense. Unlike transcriptions and captions which we know get crawled and indexed by Google and therefore impact the rankings. Annotations have a secondary effect on SEO. They get people to take action. Be mindful of that when you invest effort and focus on the transcript or captions first. Then move on to using annotations. Captions, transcripts and annotations are always to supplement your video content.  If you put in all the time to create and upload a video, take the extra few minutes to annotate it and pay for a transcription or a caption. You'll see the results in your rankings.

Steve Steinberger

Friday, June 27, 2014

Social Media Hashtags

Using hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other Social Media

If you're new to social media marketing, you might be wondering exactly what a hashtag is. So let's tackle that first. A hashtag is a word or phrase that you append to your social media posts that allows users to easily search like-minded content and participate in large format discussions on those various networks. They are always prefixed by a pound “#” sign or a number sign, and usually appear as a link inside the post that they're attached to. This makes it easy for someone to click on that link and access more information or a thread of conversations about that topic.

Hashtags and Social Media
Hashtags and Social Media
Hashtags were first used on Twitter as a way of accessing threads of information and conversations, but have since made their way onto other networks like Facebook and Google+ as well. On Google+, you have the option of tagging your post yourself with hashtags. Or simply letting Google search your content and find relevant keywords and having it append the hashtags to your post for you. If you were to click on any one of these hashtags that's associated with the post it's going to take you to a search page where you can see all of the pages, posts and trending topics related to the hashtag that you clicked on.

Facebook works much the same way that Twitter does. You actually have to manually add the hashtags to your posts in Facebook in order for it to recognize it. If I were to click on that hashtag, it's going to take you to a page where you can see all of the relevant information containing that particular hashtag or posts from the company or person that it's associated with.

So why would we want to use a hashtag in our social media marketing efforts? Well, by using hashtags, you not only can convey your brand message but you can also make your brand become part of a larger conversation. This allows you to participate in discussions with your customers in a much different way and also reach other potential customers that might be searching for that hashtag on a given network.

Hashtags also make your content relevant to issues in real time and allow you to be easily found on social media sites. Take some time to study the trending hashtags that relate to your brand, business, and the content that you're sharing. And then use that as a way of tagging your post to gain more traction across all of your networks.

There are some simple rules to hashtagging. Number 1, when you're hashtagging, never use spaces.  If you need to separate words, use capital letters instead of spaces.
That way you can easily identify each individual word. Adding capitalization does not change the search results for any hashtag. Numbers are definitely okay to use and I would actually encourage you to use them. Punctuation is NOT permitted either in hashtags. That includes periods, exclamation points and semicolons. All of that is off limits inside of hashtags
None of those are allowed inside of hashtags, they just don't work. Hashtags should always be short and sweet and relevant to the post that you're creating. Don't write a hashtag just for the sake of writing it. That just makes you look out of touch. Give your hashtag some context. 

Nobody wants an all hashtag post. They need to know why you're using the hashtags that you're using. So give your content some depth by adding actual text around it, and make sure that people understand why you're using it, when you're using it.

Now you understand how to use hashtags across all of your social networks and why using them can truly help you expand your reach and maximize your social media marketing efforts. 

Steve Steinberger

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Key Phrases for Video SEO

SEO for Video | Picking key phrases

What specific key phrases should you use in the video title, description and in other text elements of the video? There is an important distinction between a topic and a key phrase. A topic is your subject. For example, how to run a faster 5K? A key phrase is a specific phrase that you think folks will use to find videos on this topic. For example, “training for a 5k”.
The topic is very general. The key phrase requires you to look inside your audience's heads. You will need to anticipate how they're going to search for the answer to their question. To understand that you need to understand the words they commonly use, it's tricky, but there's some great keyword tools out there that can help. You can use the keyword data that various video hosting services offer.

You can supplement your YouTube query research with other tools as well. Like Google Suggest, YouTube suggestions will let you see the most popular searches relating to a particular phrase. So, you can start typing a phrase into the search box on any page of YouTube and see what appears in the little drop down. These are great suggestions for search phrases. There are lots of non-video tools as well.

Some commercial tools like WordTracker and Keyword Discovery can provide you with additional data to help you find the right key phrases for your video. I also like to use Google suggest as a broader check for questions and I like to use the Google Adwords keywords tool but again you have to keep in mind this is designed for advertisers. It's not designed for people looking for organic or natural search data.

Try Google Trends ( make sure you aren't catching a phrase as its popularity is trailing off.  You don't want to put a lot of effort into a topic or phrase and then find out that people are no longer interested.

Choose one or two key phrase. You don't have much room to optimize the title and description in your video. Use your audience's language. If you sell training programs for runners, don't talk about jogging, that's not the phrase runners will use to find you. They don't think of running as jogging, they think running as running.

Even if you think your audience is using the wrong key phrase, you still need to optimize for the phrase that they're going to use. You can always steer them in the right direction later on but you have to get them to find you first.

Steve Steinberger

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

4 Video ranking myths

SEO for Video ranking myths

First, the idea that you can buy popularity. There are a number of services out there that will let you pay to have people come to your video, click play, leave comments and embed your video on different sites. Or do things like give thumbs up, or favorites to your videos. You can do that kind of trickery and it may work for a short period of time. 

Video SEO
Video SEO | SEO for Video
Youtube, Google, and Bing have seen this before. It's not an original tactic. In fact, it's been going on for over a 10 years. If you get 1,000 views in three days and then nothing after that the search engines are going to know something's wrong. They look for anomalies. So, any anomalies in views or comments or anything like that could just get you pushed right down the rankings at best because your velocity tails off.  Worst case they'll find out and they'll actually penalize you. They'll push your videos down in the ranking or remove them. Its not worth it, so do NOT do it. The payoff is far too small unless you are going to be buying video views forever. It's very hard to be sneaky about it and it's impossible to sustain it or hide it from the search engines.

The search engines will find out.  The second myth is that, Google can automatically index the voice track of a video. While YouTube does have a transcription function, functionality like this aren't yet at the point where they can drive rankings. Inaccurate transcription may mean inaccurate classification. Classifications are a crucial element of video SEO. Make sure that you get your own transcript done.

The third one is that you have to use YouTube to rank a video on Google. This is simply not true. Many videos rank that were hosted on other sites. Although, YouTube is the primary search engine for videos. 
You might just want to use another service because you want to avoid ads or you want a more customizable video player. There are reasons that you might want to make that trade-off.

Fourth and arguably the worst of all the myths is that there's some magic formula. We get lots of emails from services and systems claiming they can draw thousands of visitors to our site by pushing my video to dozens and dozens of different video hosting services. This may work some of the time but more often your video ends up on dozens of low quality hosting services completely unwatched.

You're much better off directing your efforts and resources on a single hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo and real audience building. That's what this really boils down to. Shortcuts to getting our video ranked just do NOT exist. They're possibilities, but they don't exist as long term video SEO tactics.

So, do it right. Make it easy for search engines to classify your videos and work to build a natural audience interest in them. Focus on best practices and video SEO can be a great traffic driver.

Steve Steinberger

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I dont need a mobile website

Why You Should Convert Your Website into a Mobile Version

Are your product/service offerings and your customers in the same place at the same time? The connection between you and your customer is the necessary component.

Before the Internet and search engines came into play it was all about advertising. Getting the word out about your product through mediums like TV or newspaper ads, billboards, word of mouth and leaflets stuck on car door handles were the way you got to your customers. 

The general idea remains the same when used with local search marketing and just as advertising has evolved in the real world it has done the same online. In both instances, the evolution has come about in reaction to who is being marketed to. Years back as people began to use cars and drive on the highway, roadside billboards became more viable. The same thing is happening right now online as more and more people are consuming and searching for content online from their mobile phones.
local search on smart phones
Local Search on Smart Devices

As smart phones have evolved, mobile internet traffic has increased exponentially. In fact the gap between desktop and mobile searches continues to narrow and predictions place mobile searches in the United States ahead of desktop searches as soon as 2015.

Mobile phones view web pages differently than desktops. Smaller screens mean less viewable content at a time. You probably have used term "above the fold" to describe the information that is first viewable on a website. For a mobile device the information viewable above the fold is more like a newspaper being folded into a quarter of its normal size.

Mobile phones are used for local search. It is estimated that up to 80% of searchers research purchases online before shopping within 10 to 20 miles. Because of how well represented brick-and-mortar businesses are becoming customers is able to compare products online before going out to the store. Some will even compare pricing on their cell phone while in the store.

Mobile searches are much focused. More so than normal online searches. It's much more difficult to type into a cell phone compared to a keyboard so this lends itself to focused search queries. Combine this idea with searchers who are shopping in the physical world while they compare in the digital one and you are up against your first impression.

Websites are doing more to be mobile-friendly. Not every website can initially justify the investment that a mobile version of their site represents. But make no mistake, eventually all websites will need this ability. The best way to determine when this needs to happen is through the analytics of your website. Once your mobile percentage rises above 30% of overall traffic, you need to seriously consider a mobile version of your website. If a visitor is accessing your site and the site of your competitor and you're the one without a mobile site, then you've already lost.

Mobile websites act as a quick reference. Especially for service-oriented websites, having a mobile webpage that readily displays clickable, callable information means that your customers can quickly contact you when they need to.

So what should you do with your design?
Get responsive. If your site can automatically detect a device's screen size and pull up the correct design you are a step ahead of the game. Keep the same look, simplified. With a smaller screen, you are going to need a less complex design. That doesn't mean that you should ditch the design of your desktop site in favor of a white background and only text. Use the same color scheme and a simplified version of your header.
Responsive Website Design

Reduce the amount of text. No one wants to be reading a bunch of tiny words on their Smartphone screen. Cut out what isn't essential. From there, try to explain the essential elements in fewer words.

Mobile internet usage will only continue to increase and like a marketing strategy that doesn't evolve with its audience, any website that doesn't seriously consider this will be quickly left in the dust.

Steve Steinberger

Monday, June 23, 2014

Real Web Links and Artificial Web Links

Link Building - Types of Links

Links can be thought of as fitting into two groups. We can call them REAL LINKS and ARTIFICIAL LINKS. What do we mean by real links? A real link is a type of link that the major search engines really want to see. It's a link pointing to a website from another site and it exists because the owner of that other website really wants to create a link. The owner has found a reference page to be in some way useful, amusing, interesting or engaging in some manner.

real web link building
Link Building | Two Types of Links
These are the sort of links that search engines are most interested in because they are genuine votes for your site. On the other hand is the artificial link. Not artificial in the sense that the link is somehow not real in the technical or structural sense. They are real HTML links. But artificial in a sense that the purpose for the link is fake. The link isn't there because the person owning the site linking to yours particularly cares for your site. The link is there because you want it there and have somehow managed to convince the site owner to place a link on his site pointing to yours. The site linking to your site has some kind of incentive to place the link there.

Let's say you created glossary of terms related to your business something genuinely useful to other people in your industry. A few bloggers discover the glossary and think it's worth talking about so they mention it in their blogs and the link to it. Thats a real links. This kind of link building encourages people to link to your site and is often known by the term "link bait". On the other hand let's say you buy links.

When you buy links, you pay other site owners to link to your site. Those are the artificial kind of links. The site owners don't really care about your site. They don't care what the link is pointing to. They're simply placing the link in exchange for money. Of course it's often difficult for the search engines to determine the difference between a real link and an artificial link.

How can Google tell the difference between a real link to really useful link bait and an artificial link to your not so useful site that was placed in return for cash? Often it can't. Which represents a huge problem for the search engine companies because on the one hand they try to discourage artificial links in particular purchased links. Yet at the same time they reward the strategy. 

In fact most link building campaigns are really artificial link campaigns. It's actually often the case that an artificial link is more valuable than a real link because of the problems the search engines have in distinguishing between the two. A real link from a low page rank blog will likely be less valuable than a paid link from a high page rank blog. In general a real link strategy is more valuable than an artificial link strategy for a variety of reasons.

First, the search engines are continually getting better figuring out the difference. When Google discovers a site containing paid links it often devalues those links perhaps totally ignoring the links and could even remove the page from the index. Another example is reciprocal linking. While many proponents of reciprocal linking would put such links firmly in the real link category claiming they provide value to site visitors. In fact most reciprocal linking is clearly done for SEO reasons and the search engines know it. Which is why reciprocal links generally have little value these days?

Links embedded into an article on really popular blog are likely to be more valuable than links placed in to websites that were created for the purpose of holding paid links or than links in web directories. There's a fine line between real and artificial links.

With links getting more valuable as you move along the continuum from paid links to link bait links. In a general sense it's worth being aware of these two basic link strategies. Real and artificial links and understanding that search engines are more interested in real than artificial and continually getting better at assessing the difference.

Steve Steinberger

Friday, June 20, 2014

Keyword Anchor Text

Keywords and Google Bombs

Lets discuss the importance of putting keywords into your link's anchor texts. The fact is you can have high PageRank pages but if they're not well optimized they still won't rank well.

PageRank merely tells the search engines that your site is popular but keywords in the links tell the search engines why. They tell the search engines what your site is about.

PageRank can't do the why. If we were to search for “canvas shoe design” we would find pages listed from the organic search results. If we were to look at the PageRank you can see starting at the top we have a variety of PageRanks and you'll notice that they're not in sequential order. There's no direct correlation between search engine listing order and PageRank. Clearly, something else is going on.

Keyword Anchor Text
Keyword Anchor Text
The search engines look at the anchor text of a link to get an idea of what the reference page is all about. If Google finds the words “canvas shoe design” in a link, you can be pretty sure that the reference page isn't about how to run your first 5K. It makes perfect sense that the reference page should have something to do wi
th shoe design. The text in links is usually closely associated with the subject matter of the reference page. It's such a simple thing but when you think about it it makes perfect sense.

The text in the link can be calls to actions such as click here. They can be the name of the website or the company that owns the website. The link text can be a URL that's common in many directories or listings of websites. Or they can be words that are somehow related to what the reference page is about. So it makes perfect sense that Google and all other major search engines should examine links for clues about the subject matter of the reference page.

If a search engine sees a company name in the link it's fair to assume that the reference page has something to do with that company. If the link contains the words “5k running”, it's reasonable for it to believe the page has something to do with running. And if it sees dozens or hundreds of links with the words 5k running  pointing to that page, it's convinced and it figures that the page is one that many people think is a good match for the phrase “5k running”. The search engine has in effect recruited website owners or gone social to help it find a good match for the phrase.

Even if the search engine sees a call to action, it's going to associate the page with that call to action. What happens if you search Google for the phrase click here? At or near the top you'll find the Adobe Reader download page. Open that page and search the source code for the phrase click here. You won't find it. This page is a truly terrible match for the phrase except for the hundreds of thousands of pages around the web saying something like if you need to download Adobe Reader, CLICK HERE.

This is an example of what has become known as a Google bomb. A Google bomb is created by linking to a specific web page using a particular keyword phrase often for political or humorous purposes. Sometimes it's used to associate an unpleasant or insulting phrase with a particular person or perhaps to cause a site to attacking someone to rise high in the search results.

Google bombs are alive and well and if you stop thinking of them as a mere trick you'll realize they're a technique. Your task is to Google bomb your own site with the keywords for which you want to rank well. So why is my competitors ranking higher than me? Your client's website might be better optimized. A link analysis will give you the clues as to why the competitor is ranked above you.

Call it what you want. Key worded links or Google bombing or keyword anchor text, the fact is it works. It's an extremely powerful mechanism for convincing search engines that your site is related to a particular keyword phrase that is the best match. What it means is you want to make sure that many of the links pointing to your site have useful anchor texts. Anchor text in the form of relevant keyword.

Steve Steinberger

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Canonical Tag

Canonical URLs

As search engines try to find and index all the pages that they find on the Internet they rely on unique URLs as pointers to each piece of content. While there should be a single unique URL for each page on the Internet often web pages can introduce slightly varied URLs for the same piece of content. This resulting in duplicate URLs in the search engine's index. A common reason for this is the use of URL parameters. These are extra bits of data that are appended to the end of URLs and they can be used to do a variety of different things. Typically these extra bits of data are found in shopping cart software.

Canonical Tag

        Canonical Tag

Sometimes they can actually control what content shows up on the page and in those cases the different URLs actually are different pages. Other times though they have nothing to do with the content. They could be used for storing session IDs or tracking parameters and while the URL may be different the content is unaffected. The problem is search engines can't assume which are important URL parameters for content and which are not. One way to resolve this issue on your site is to use the rel="canonical" meta tag.

This tag is something that you add to your page that acts as an instruction for search engines. It tells them that no matter what URL might be showing up in the address bar make sure to index this URL as the primary URL for this content. Another way to clear up any confusion about how your site uses URL parameters is to tell the search engines directly through Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. Here, you can instruct search engines on whether or not they can ignore certain URL parameters.

Another reason that duplicate content may exist is because content may have been moved from one location to another on your site. The old location and the new location could potentially be in the search engine's index at the same time. To avoid this situation, whenever you move content around it's important to implement redirect rules. There are a few redirect types that you or your webmaster can use but let's take a look at two in particular. The first is known as a 302, or temporary redirect.

This should only be used for short-term content moves, like when you want to show an alternate page while your site's down for maintenance. It tells the search engine that the page it's looking for isn't there now but will be back very shortly. So, please don't do anything to your index. For long-term or permanent content moves which search engines are really concerned with you will want to use a 301 or a permanent redirect. These redirects tell a search engine that although they may have indexed a previous URL for that content the old URL is no good anymore.

The search engine should take everything it knew about the old URL and apply it to the new one where that content now lives. Ensuring that the search engines know which URLs your pages live on and that you have unique URLs for each of them will help search engines index your pages properly and this is a building block on the path to the top of the search results.

Steve Steinberger

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

“Superior” SEO Strategies VS “Inferior” SEO Strategies

“Superior” SEO Strategies VS “Inferior” SEO Strategies

Marketers who rate the ability of their companies’ SEO strategy to achieve important objectives as very successful (“Superior Strategy”) show some different priorities than those who deem their strategies to not be successful (“Inferior Strategy”), according to a report from Ascend2 conducted in partnership with Research Underwriters. 

“Superior” SEO Strategies VS “Inferior” SEO Strategies
                         “Superior” VS “Inferior” SEO 
One of the most obvious differences between the groups is in their approach to social media integration: 38% of those with a “superior strategy” describe their integration of social with SEO strategy and tactics as extensive compared to just 2% of those with an “inferior strategy.”

Moreover, while just 5% of those with a “superior strategy” say they are not integrated fully half of the “inferior strategy” group have no integration at all.

The connection between social and search has been noted a many times recently. A Searchmetrics study found social signals to be the highest correlating factors with Google rankings. A BrightEdge survey showed 8 in 10 search marketers believing that social sharing of content will be a more important means to improve rank this year than last.

How else do successful SEO strategists differ from their struggling counterparts? The study suggests that those with a “superior strategy” are:

More likely to look at increases in traffic conversion rates, SEO ROI, and content development as important objectives and less likely to count increased web traffic, improved brand awareness and improved keyword management as top goals.

The successful SEO strategists are more likely to cite changing search engine algorithms as a critical obstacle to achieving their objectives (39% vs. 11%), and far less likely to point to the lack of a clear and concise strategy (6% vs. 58%) as a main challenge.

About 67% of the successful SEO strategists are more likely to say that creating original content is their most effective SEO tactic (55% vs. 33%). While also being more likely to say that keyword management and external link building are effective.

The two groups do share some common beliefs with both saying that. Improving organic search rankings is their top objective. The lack of budget and/or headcount is their top obstacle. Updating website content is an effective SEO tactic and website visitor traffic and trend is a useful metric.

Steve Steinberger

Monday, June 16, 2014

Email List?

Building an Email List?

You have a website. A brand new website, or it's a website that's existed for a while but you haven't focused on collecting email addresses. To get your content out to potential customers social media strategies and email communications are a succesful combination.
Building an Email List

Why Build an Email List?

The most obvious reason to build your email list is to maximize the value of your customers and your company revenue. However, it's also important to remember that your email list is a company asset. In the event that you want to sell your company a high-quality email list can increase your company's overall valuation. A high-performing email list can give your company additional revenue opportunities by giving you the chance to sell advertising space in your email products or send sponsored emails on behalf of partners or advertisers. You're not just building your marketing channel when you build email list. You're also building your company's total value. That's why it's worth your time to build a quality email list over time.

One of the first things that you'll need to deal with when you begin to build email list is the quality versus quantity debate. The larger your email list is the more potential you have to generate revenue from it. However, as with most marketing activities the quality of your leads is equally important. If you create a large email list by porting over old contacts or by buying or renting a large list you may have a great number of email addresses. However, you may have very few email addresses that are actually leads who are interested in interacting with your product, company, or brand. That's why it's often a better idea to start slowly and build email list over time. Focus on getting the best quality leads on your email list and then let the numbers grow as your business grows. While you ultimately do need to grow the largest email marketing list possible you also need to grow a quality list that will respond to your offers and increase your company revenue.

The most logical place to find interested email subscribers is on your website itself. If users are visiting your website (regardless of whether they purchase or make a transaction), they have an interest in the information or content that you're providing. Every page of your website should include an email sign-up box that allows users to join your mailing kist.

Customers who visit your website but don't make purchases or transactions are important email marketing leads. However, customers who do make a purchase or transaction are even more valuable email marketing leads because they've shown a willingness to purchase from you or entrust you with personal or financial information. Ensuring that you make it easy and inviting for users to opt-in to your email program when they purchase or transact with you will help you build not only a large email list but also an email list of valuable users with proven purchasing history.

Social media is becoming an increasingly prominent form of customer retention and brand awareness. With the right motivation and a properly designed email sign-up box, social media leads can often be solicited to become higher converting email marketing leads.
Growing your email list can be quite similar to advertising your business as a whole. Websites that have similar content or user demographics to your website can be great places to prospect for potential email list leads. You can do this in a number of ways. Ideally, you can cut a deal with the website on which you want to collect emails to promise them advertising space in any email that you send. This will save you from having to pay to advertise for your email list. You can also pay to advertise for sign-ups to your email list on other websites. You can do this by purchasing an impression-based or click-based advertising campaign, or you can offer to pay per valid email sign-up. Both are acceptable industry standard ways to pay for email advertising. However, if you are going to pay to advertise your email list and recruit email sign-ups on another website, you'll need to ensure that you have a firm understanding of what you can afford to spend per email sign-up is. To do this, you'll have to assign a value to an email name. The best way to do this is to keep it simple. Take a look at your last email send. If you had an email list of one 1000 people and your email generated $1000 in revenue, then you can spend $1 per email sign-up.

Advertising your email list on websites other than your own site can be a great way to grow your email list. In fact, it can often be more profitable than simply advertising your website. If you can give users a compelling reason to sign up for your email (such as free offers or discount codes), it is a much lower barrier to entry for most people to sign up for an email list than to make an initial purchase. Just be sure that you understand how much you can afford to spend per email address and that you have a plan in place to identify which emails came from which advertising sources.

Similar to the process of advertising to build your email list on other websites, using search marketing to build email list can be equally effective. Build email landing pages specific to your email list and then optimize for organic search engine placement or paid, click-based search engine advertising. Again, however, if you do this, be sure that you have a handle on how much you can afford to pay per email sign-up as well as a way to track where email sign-ups came from. Many successful email lists have been built using search engines as the primary method for recruiting subscribers.
If you have a retail location you can collect emails when customers purchase or visit the store or other location. If you market by attending festivals or concerts you can collect emails at those locations. Offering to raffle off a prize and requiring an email on the raffle ticket can also be an effective way to grow your email list.

If you need to grow your email list quickly there are a number of services that will allow you to rent or purchase email names. Doing so comes with several risks. Most list purchases or rentals are somewhat expensive and you may not make your money back as quickly. A rented or purchased list means that you are buying email addresses of individuals who have not been exposed to or shown an interest in your brand or product. This may mean that they are less likely to respond to your email and may even mark your email as spam. This could create domain reputation problems for you with future email sends.

If you do choose to rent or purchase a list be sure to use a credible agency. If you rent or purchase a list that includes a high number of bad email addresses that will bounce or be undeliverable you will incur sender reputation penalties that will impact your ability to email market moving forward. 

There are also a number of black hat techniques for gaining emails, including spidering websites for registration forms. We cannot emphasize enough how much of a poor idea it is to participate in any black hat email techniques. Not only do you risk breaking privacy laws, you also risk your sender reputation and email future.

Growing your email list can take time and patience. However, a good quality email list not only gives you an opportunity to grow revenue for you company, it also increases your company's value as a whole. 

Take your time and build a solid email lead recruitment process. It will pay off in the long term.

Steve Steinberger

Friday, June 13, 2014

Comparing Content Management Systems

Comparing Content Management Systems

Let's discuss some of the things you'll need to consider when choosing which CMS is right for your needs. There are literally hundreds of CMSs on the market today. Most sure seemingly identical feature sets and all of them seem to make the same claims that they are easy to use, extremely powerful and that they give you total control over creating your sites. In fact I would bet that if you've spent any time at all searching for a CMS you probably became quickly overwhelmed by the amount of choices and features out there.

Here is some help so you can focus your search and give you a starting point for what to look for when comparing CMSs. First, take time to properly identify the needs of your company or organization. Often people are just guilty of saying to themselves, "A CMS sure would make things easier" without really stopping to think about what they need and how a CMS would fit into their business. Once those needs are clearly defined it becomes a lot easier to start comparing systems by focusing on the features that you really need.
Content Management Systems
Content Management Systems

Next, don't get caught up in simply ticking off the check boxes when comparing. Comparing CMSs by comparing only feature sets or seeing which CMS has more boxes checked in somebody's arbitrary list is a bad idea. If you don't take time to properly evaluate a content management system in its entirety, you will most likely not be happy with your choice in the end. Use feature sets as a way to narrow down your choices. Look at them as a starting point, not a decision-making point.

Another good way to narrow down your choice is to start with systems whose focus matches your needs. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, if you're university that needs systems to build online curriculums, you're probably better off starting with a CMS that focuses on e-learning. If you're trying to build a community-based site, explore systems that focus on social networks and collaboration. And of course this is not a hard and fast rule. Many CMSs have capabilities that put them in a multiple categories. Just be sure that the systems that you compare have the same focus that you do.

In addition to comparing features, take the time to compare support communities as well. If you're looking at proprietary or licensed systemsresearch the company's support tools, online forums, and documentation. Read through the forums and pay attention to response time, the type and frequency of problems, the user base encounters and whether support issues are simply left open. See if the CMS is a bug tracker and research how diligent the developers are in closing tickets and resolving issues. If a forum is empty or people seem to be having the same problems over and over again this can be a big warning sign.

If you're looking at an open-source CMS, spend a good bit of time looking into the community. Make sure there are lot of ways to communicate with other users and developers. Take a look at the help of the development community, the types or modules of extensions their building and whether there is any means to filter through those extensions for quality. If a CMS has an active and engaged community it's going to be a lot easier to learn how to use it, find modules that are outside the core functionality and engage a professional developer if you need custom content.

Reading through the forums will often give you an unbiased look at what life is like with a particular CMS. Never ever overlook the value of the CMS community. Finally, don't rush into anything. Often, you feel pressure to make a choice and start building something especially if you're the one making the decision for an organization or a company. Don't surrender to the temptation to pick the first CMS that seems to be right. Open-source CMSs can be downloaded installed locally or on a test server and tried out for as long as you like.

The developers of proprietary CMSs will almost always be happy to set you up with a demo site and let you try it out. If they won't, that's not always a good sign either. Have you ever bought a car that you didn't test drive first? There's no better way of knowing whether CMS is right for you than actually using it. So make sure you give yourself enough time to properly explore your options and become familiar with your top choices before making a decision.

Steve Steinberger

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Internet Marketing 24-7: Social Media Promotion

Internet Marketing 24-7: Social Media Promotion: Promoting your content with social media Social media can be a great way to let the world know that your content is out there, and ...

The Integrated Online Marketing Plan

Integrated Online Marketing Plan

When you start structuring your integrated marketing plan there are three parts that we want to keep in mind. Number one, we want to introduce content ahead of the trend. Ahead of the trend simply means doing your keyword research and determining when your key phrases are more likely to be search on.

If you want to be found in the search engines you have to have content on your site before the trend. Being ahead of the trend is usually 45 to 60 days before the trend peaks. The main reason is that is going to give you time to develop the content, create conversations on social media which will in turn create links from other website to your website. As you gain links and gain attention to that article on your site, it will increase the effectiveness and the relevancy of that article.

Integrated Marketing Plan
Integrated Marketing Plan | SEO Integrated Marketing
This will increase the possibility of it being found during the high search trend periods. Once that trend is in place and at the highest search period where people are looking for information, your ability to have conversation with people through multiple channels increases dramatically.  Once the trend is over you can use the information that you have learned and plan for either the next trend or for the next year.

Structuring your plan around the concept of introducing prior to the trend, developing during the trend and closing the trend helps you to be seen as an authority in your market because you know when to talk about important issues.

Its probably easiest to organize by the plan by months. This is typically where a spreadsheet with the next twelve months will work just fine. Next go over to  Google trends to find out when your keywords or key terms trend throughout the year.

If we use vacation and travel as our key phrases you can get a sense of when certain terms are trending. If you do a lookup in Google trends you can see that in January family vacations and beach vacations are at their highest search trend.  Write that on the  content calendar.  Inclusive vacations peaks in January.  Memorial Day vacations peaks in May and beach vacations has a second peak in June and July.

Now introduce the content that will reference these key phrases. You want to be online before the search trend hits so that you can build attention and gain links to your site. So  if you want to start ranking for articles about family vacations and beach vacations then you need to have content up on your site around mid November.

You can introduce the new content through a guest article, ask another blogger to guest blog your site. Maybe it's a article with a video that you can produce. If family vacations is what you are going after then videos are a great way to engage people as they're starting to research what type of vacation they want.  

You can publish the video on Youtube and of course embed the same video on your facebook page. Surround the video with content and possible asking people what type of vacation they are planning on for next year. You can see that we are introducing the content before the trend and then using it to leverage conversation up to the trend. Again, when you start introducing content, think about 45 to 60 days prior to the trend.

Remember, the trend goals are to get the search engines to index your content before the peak of your keyword trend.

Steve Steinberger