Category Archives for Digital Marketing

Throw out your keywords and go creative with your blog titles

For choosing your blog titles, here’s the advice I’m sure you’ve heard:

  • Build a keyword list of your blog’s main topic.
  • Choose some criteria to pick the most promising keywords (search volume, evidence of long tail, competition or CPC)
  • Write a post that has the keyword term in the page title, post title and at least a couple of times in the post body.
Spike in Traffic shown by Google Analytics

Google Analytics doesn't lie - Sex Sells

While I’m not saying the above doesn’t work, some of my most popular posts did not use the above methodology at all. Case in point: Recently I noticed people “frictionless sharing” an article from the Washington Post titled “4 Things You Do To Kill Her Sex Drive” on Facebook which I’m sure many were unaware that the Facebook social reader app was posting on their behalf. So I wrote an article on Facebook Social Reader Apps and recommended people review their app list in Facebook and take action to not broadcast to Facebook their browsing habits.

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Hiding Affiliate Links in WordPress

Pretty Link WordPress PluginAffiliate links just look plain ugly and there is always the chance that someone will be petty enough to gyp you out of your commission by stripping out the tracking code. As a tangent I noticed a while back, these days Clickbank has a new URL that no longer include the Clickbank username (but still a tracking id). Wonder whether that is working out any better. To avoid this problem you want to hide the original affiliate link with a pretty link. This is what many mean by “affiliate link cloaking”. But cloaking has another meaning, which is showing different content and links to the search engines versus to the humans. That’s really not what I’m talking about here, nor am I going to touch on the topic of hiding affiliate links because Google doesn’t like them. I don’t really have a lot of affiliate links compared to all the content I have, so I’m not worried.

I was looking for a couple of features:

  • Ability to redirect a pretty link to an affiliate link
  • Ability to add a nofollow to the link

I had heard good things about GoCodes and was planning to install it. However it is no longer available via the plugin WordPress repository search and hasn’t been updated since 2009. Too bad as it was a nice solution.

One nice alternative is the Pretty Link plugin, which comes in a free version (Pretty Link Lite) and an enhanced version (Pretty Link Pro) which gives you the ability to use javascript to mask your links which might be attractive to the “cloaking” crowd. Not only does it satisfy the above requirements but it gives you tracking and a bookmarklet.

It’s worth pointing out that Google will still follow the link, even if you put a nofollow tag on it (confusingly nofollow doesn’t mean “don’t follow” but rather “don’t pass page rank”, so you aren’t “hiding links from Google”. If that is your goal, you can check into the paid version’s javascript feature.

The Brave New Fontier of Mobile Web Marketing

Click to Call Mobile AdAre you ready for the new frontier in online advertising? Mobile marketing in the guise of SMS marketing has been around for a few years, but it’s reach has expanded to the web. Now that smartphones are becoming more common, Comscore reports 6.8% of all US web traffic is now over mobile devices. However even if your target audience isn’t the digerati toting the latest iPhone, keep in mind that many non smartphones are WAP capable, giving them some internet abilities. In fact Google Adwords allows you to create WAP ads specifically.

More and more users are turning to their cell phones for search while they are on the go, or even while sitting in front of the television. With some people, the cell phone might as well be attached surgically to their body. With mobile web advertising you can target your ads to these mobile searchers.

Searchers with a phone can do one thing that a desktop computer can not, which is to actually make phone calls. This creates an opportunity for mobile ads to have a button or link that actually places a phone call when tapped or clicked. This is known as Click-to-Call.

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Which is better? SEO or PPC?

Deciding between SEO and PPC?Once you have a website launched, the next question you need to answer is how you are going to get traffic to it.

Today you have a lot of options you can choose from. One way to get traffic is to pay for advertising with the search engines and other networks (such as Facebook). Or instead of paying for advertising, you can focus on getting your website found when people search for a solution that your business provides. You can also attract interest with social media. In this article we are going to look at advertising using PPC and ranking using SEO.

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Email Marketing Selling Guideline

infusionsoftJust back from Loral Langemeier’s Alumni conference in San Diego. While not specifically focused on internet marketing, there were several internet marketing sessions there, including a panel that included Geoff Zimpfer from Infusionsoft. Infusionsoft if you are not aware of it, is the uber online customer management system. It’s a CRM (customer relationship management), EMail Marketing and eCommerce system all in one. It’s pricey, but a quite a nice system and surprisingly intuitive.

Geoff said something interesting that I wrote down. I think we all can agree that with email marketing it needs to be a balance between providing value and selling. But what’s that balance? Geoff proposes a point system. For each email you send out that delivers value to your audience you get a point. An email that is a sales pitch, you deduct 7 points. So he’s recommending you strike a 7 to 1 balance here.

I think he is right that a balance needs to be struck, however I’m not sure I agree with the math. Why would 5 to 1 be less effective? If you deliver great value and it in general is more frequent than the sales pitches, does the 7 to 1 ratio need to be rigorously adhered to? My suspicion is that he based the comment on statistics that Infusionsoft has available to it, so I don’t think we can dismiss the comment lightly.

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How I doubled traffic to my blog

Webenso TrafficThis year I got serious about increasing the traffic to my blog. The result? Over three months I saw traffic double. For the month of June I got 1200 visitors, 1000 of that was organic traffic. Here’s the five things that I did:

  • Blogged twice a week. Used to be I would sporadically and inconsistently blog. Knowing that search engines love frequent and unique content. I started blogging twice a week. There have been weeks when it’s been once a week, like recently; but on the whole I’ve kept the discipline. Additionally for most posts I researched the best keywords to use in my page title and URL using the these Google Keyword Tool tips. I found that if I could blog on something relatively new, like my Pagemodo review and avoid “me too” content, those posts did well in traffic.
  • Be social To engage in the online community, most posts I tweeted. I also wrote a guest post on Panda that brought in some traffic and even some email signups and of course created a new backlink. Occasionally I would also comment on other blogs. I’m getting more comments and questions on my posts and I would respond to those. It’s great when the interaction gives you ideas for new posts. Special mention should go to Ann Evanston’s Blogger Monday, although that was more of a factor in traffic for me last year than this year. Who says no follow links from guest blog commenting don’t matter?
  • More linkbuilding. I submitted my blog to several Blog Directories.
  • Addressed duplicate content Google had more than 100 of my tag pages indexed, which was diffusing my good unique content with duplicate low value pages. So I noindexed my tag pages.
  • Improved bounce rate User engagement with your website is now a signal the search engines pay attention to. My blog had a high bounce rate (84% for the first three months of the year). So I installed two plugins: Yet Another Related Posts and Random Posts which suggest other posts a visitor might want to read. I also added a few nav bar items. My bounce rate is still high, but has come down to 73% for the last 30 days.

There is definitely more work to be done. I need to guest post more and get more of a Facebook strategy. I have additional blog configuration items to tackle and I need to focus more on linkbuilding overall. But it’s nice to get the feedback that I am on the right path.

My brief, unhappy experience with Google Adwords

Game Devil by Nicubunu

GAME OVER

To broaden my skill set I wanted to learn how to advertise with Google Adwords. I had been following a course from Armand Morin and wanted to put what I learned in practice. So, I set up an account with one of those free $75 coupons. It was not a happy experience. I ended up with a permanently suspended account even though no ads ever ran (zero impressions, zero clicks).

Perhaps I was just plain stupid in deciding to advertise via my Clickbank affiliate link. I had heard that most affiliates had abandoned Google PPC due to the strict quality guidelines and that it was very hard to get an ad approved. But I didn’t have a suitable landing page to advertise. And for my learning purposes, if none of my ads were approved I could live with that. Just the exercise in setting up a campaign would be useful. Apparently this was a fatal mistake.

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Survey says …

A while back I ran an online marketing survey that asked two questions:

  1. What is your top two questions or frustration about marketing your business online?
  2. Which of the following books would you buy? (choice of seven)

The sample size of the responders wasn’t significant enough to be statistically significant, but I thought some of the results were interesting so I’m sharing:

  1. Questions/Frustrations:
    • How to build a list
    • How to get traffic
    • How to tweak your website to get on first page of Google
    • Where to start and what strategy gets the biggest bang for your buck
    • How to engage website visitors to take the next step
    • How to establish creditability
    • How to measure ROI of your marketing
    • How much upfront cost is needed before you start seeing results
    • How to be seen by the right kind of customers
  2. Books:
    1. Most votes: Supercharge Your Profits by Getting your Business Online
    2. Second place: Designing a Social Media Roadmap for Your Business
    3. Third Place: The Business Person’s Guide to Web Technology

Which of the above questions do you have?

16 Blog Directories – The Good, Bad and the Ugly

I’ve seen several “top blog directories to submit your blog to” articles, however these lists are often light on details or out of date. Here are 16 blog directories that I went to take a look at. Like regular web directories, some blog directories will only list you for a fee, and yet still more request a reciprocal link before they will list you. Some are rather sneaky about it, you don’t figure out you have to reciprocate or pay until you are a step or two into the submission process.

That being said, just like web directories, it might be worth paying for a listing in some of these blog directories, however that analysis (choosing which one to pay for) is for another day.

For some of these you should be prepared to create an account and choose a category that your blog belongs to. Some ask for a full profile. Some have validation/ownership verification processes. It WILL take more time than you expect. Many of these will have a human review the submission before publishing it. That’s ok, in fact it is good, as google looks more favorably on directories that have editorial review.
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Google wants to sell your stuff

While there was quite a ruckus this past week on Google’s latest algorithmic update that appears to penalize “content farms”, Google watchers would be wise to watch a more fundamental shift that is occurring.

For years, Google has done a great job at delivering information to searchers. This fact was not lost on affiliates who built sites designed to rank for searches and then monetized through affiliate links. Some eCommerce websites typically have trouble ranking well. They lack informational content and are plagued by duplicate content problems. These are still problems, however Google is providing a way for them to have more attractive listings when they do rank.
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