Monthly Archives: December 2009

Why Press Releases Work Well For Online Search

A commonly overlooked fact about press releases is that they are great way to drive traffic to your website from the search engines, while spreading the word about announcements your business has.

One of the most important marketing tools for a business is where you rank on the search engines, which in turn drives customers to your website. For most businesses though, achieving results are extremely competitive and challenging. Essentially press releases allow you to “hitch a ride” with the search engine and news results, and with some linking strategies inside the press release and where you distribute the announcement is just as important as the content. It does you as a small business no good to write a press release, get distributed to major online news networks, but you did not optimize the press release for certain key terms that you would like to rank for on the search engines.

If you have any questions on how a press release should be written, a social media company or search engine optimization firm can help you optimize the page and also consult you on how to get your press release distributed through other networks like the AP, Twitter and other social media networks. With the inclusion of real time search results in Google along with their social search beta, which will definitely move out of beta, press releases along with other social media tools are extremely important for a small business, but are you even doing them, or if you are, are you doing them right to maximize results?

Windy City Strategies account managers have been in the Internet marketing industry for over 10 years and will improve your online marketing with our industry leading Internet marketing consulting, search engine optimization and pay per click campaign management.

Annotations For Google Analytics

Do you ever notice weird trends in your Google analytics, and you have no idea why? Well, Google has now created a new program that allows you to annotate directly into your analytics account as long as you have access.

Now you don’t have to run around the office trying to find out why you only received 25% of the clicks you normally get because the server went down for most of the day or when the new website was launched, so you can determine how if performs compared to the old website.

With more and more companies utilizing analytics to supplement their Google AdWords management, this is great because hours of research can now be eliminated as long as the annotation was made. Essentially, your Google analytics annotations can be a log book for all online marketing that was started and/or halted or new website design actions.

Now running many marketing teams, having agencies working on something or something new a webmaster has done, you can see why your conversions or clicks increased or decreased.

Windy City Strategies account managers have been in the Internet marketing industry for over 10 years and will improve your online marketing with our industry leading Internet marketing consulting, search engine optimization and pay per click campaign management.

The Two Biggest Internet Marketing Mistakes Companies Make when they launch A New Website

So, you’ve decided that it is time to invest in a new website or drastically upgrade your existing website – that’s great, however there are some best practices when it comes to Internet marketing that you might not have thought about that you should consider before you go live.

One of the biggest mistakes that Internet Marketing Consultants notice from clients who launch new websites is that they completely forget to check their organic positioning and the existing pages that have managed to place well in the organic search results. Chances are good that your new website will not have the same file names for web pages. When the search engines “bots” come back to look for an old file name like “blue-widgets.asp” and it no longer exists, they will remove that page from their index and with it any organic positioning that it managed to achieve. The fix is simple, have your designer use 301 redirects to the appropriate new pages. Better yet, if the old page has placed well for important keywords, I would recommend copying the text and other page elements as close as possible and keeping the same file name. It’s amazing to me how few web design companies actually bring this to their client’s attention. Take charge and make sure you don’t lose any hard earned organic positioning.

The second common mistake is forgetting to notify your pay per click Management Company to update your ads with the correct new page locations or URLs. There is nothing worse than having a brilliantly designed new website with well targeted landing pages go live only to have your sponsored search campaigns still point people to old page names. The often embarrassing result is that you pay for clicks that lead people to error pages. You not only lose money on the clicks, you fail to gain new visitors, and subsequently lose leads/sales. Remember, it is not your marketing person or pay per click management companies responsibility to constantly check destination URLS. It is the responsibility of the company to update any necessary individuals or companies to the new landing pages.

Sure, these concepts seem obvious; however you would be surprised how many people fail to consider either situation before launching their new website.

I always recommend that BEFORE you even start to design your new website or landing pages, that you contact your Internet Marketing consultant and ask for their input. Often, very basic landing page elements and Internet Marketing “best practices” are forgotten in new designs, and your fancy new website could become an expensive step backwards. Unfortunately, while many web design companies tell you that their websites are “SEO Friendly” or “take Internet Marketing into consideration”, almost all of them fail in this regard.

Your Internet marketing consultant should be kept in the loop during the entire build process. His/her advice can make a huge difference in the conversion rates of your new design.

Google AdWords Conversion Tracking Basics

Conversion tracking might very well be one of the most important aspects of your Google AdWords campaign management.

Google AdWords Conversion tracking is the process of placing a very small JavaScript on a final page of a monitored process. For example, this could be the final receipt page of your shopping cart or even the “Thank You” page after a contact form has been filled out. When this page is loaded into your visitors’ browser it will track to event back to the search phrase that originally brought them to your website. This is very valuable data that allows you to make educated decisions based on performance when it comes to your Google AdWords campaign management.

It is worth mentioning that Google AdWords Conversion Tracking is NOT Google Analytics. While they both have the ability to track events (Google Analytics calls these “Goals”), Conversion Tracking imports the data directly into your AdWords campaigns while Google Analytics only displays data in the Google Analytics account. Both tools are very valuable and we do recommend to all of our clients to implement both whenever possible. Google Analytics is a whole different animal and I will leave that topic for a later BLOG.

As with any statistical data, volume is the key to accurate trending. While an experienced Google AdWords account manager might be able to spot trends with smaller amounts of data, and make minor adjustments to bid or ad copy based on this performance, it is important to understand that larger samples of data provide a clearer picture in regards to performance. In other words, just because a keyword received 5 clicks without a conversion does not mean it won’t work – you simply need more data to make that judgment.

As you would imagine, average conversion rates can vary depending on businesses and even for different websites in the same business. With that said, and as a general guide, average conversion rates tend to fall around 1-3%. What you might consider as an acceptable conversion rate/conversion cost will depend on your business model and profit margins.

The bottom line here is that conversion tracking will provide you with the data you need to make accurate adjustments to your Google AdWords account.

A New Internet Marketing Focus in 2010

It’s easy to become comfortable in the success of your online marketing efforts, however true growth and expansion require leaving this comfort zone and experimenting with new ideas and possible avenues of lead/sales generation.

It doesn’t matter if you are a do-it-yourself type of Internet marketer, or you have graduated to using a pay per click management or search engine optimization Company, you have to take the initiative and investigate the many new possibilities than a business has online to generate leads or sales.

Back in the day, you pretty much had only 3 options for Internet marketing; Sponsored Search, Search Engine Optimization, and mass email.

Today you still have those original concepts, although your options have expanded to include; Local Business Listings, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Video, etc.

The big question that many of my clients ask is “Which avenues of Internet marketing are we not using that could possibly work for us?”

The unfortunate truth is there is no magic bullet or direct answer to that question. As you might expect, different types of business will each receive different results. The only way to truly know is to try it and find out. You should experiment with the different possibilities, track the results, modify as needed, and focus your resources and budget accordingly.

The easiest way to begin is to acquire the consult of an expert in the field. Just as a pay per click management company can save you unnecessary grief by avoiding common mistakes and pitfalls that might not be as apparent to somebody with less experience, a social media marketing expert can provide some very good insights into best practices. Having the right Internet marketing expert/consultant in your corner can often make the difference between success and failure.

Experience is the key.

Some Internet marketing companies are quick to promote that they only focus on one aspect of Internet marketing. This never made any sense to me. As a business owner, I would want an Internet marketing consultant who was very well rounded in every aspect of Internet marketing with the deep resources and experience needed to provide the answers to all of my questions. Just as it would be foolish to think that relying only one aspect of Internet marketing is a solid foundation to grow a business, it would be just as unwise to acquire the consult of a Internet Marketing company that had such a narrow focus of skill sets and experience.

Clients of Windy City Strategies are fortunate in that our consultants are experienced in almost every aspect of Internet marketing and become a great resource to business owners looking to jumpstart 2010. Our clients enjoy the fact that we are experts in Pay Per Click Management, Sponsored Search, Search Engine Optimization, Shopping Feed Management, Social Media Marketing, Mobile Marketing, and many more.

Using Paid Links To Influence Page Rank

Most of the search engines which includes Google, Yahoo, Ask and Bing use links to determine the reputation of a website. An analysis of these links partly determines the ranking of a website at Google’s search engine and others. The search engines believe that this link analysis has improved search results drastically because users find sites that have value to them. The quantity and quality of links count towards these rankings, and quality is the most important.

Now as you can expect, there are people out there that want to try and exploit this. Many webmaster and search engine optimization experts buy and sell links that will in turn increase PageRank. You as a website owner should be very concerned with this, as these “experts” disregard the quality of a link, it’s source and what potential impact it may have in the long term. These “black hat” techniques can negatively impact a website’s ranking and worse yet, ban them from search results.

Now what should you as a website owner do? Be careful. If you here your SEO expert telling you that they will get a certain amount of links, find out where. If they do not share this information with you because they want to protect your business interests, I would be skeptical.

Not all paid links are bad, and they do not violate Google’s link policy. Yahoo’s directory is a great link, and is one of the oldest directories and cost a couple hundred dollars for the year. Other paid links that you can look at is association, clubs, forums, blogs, etc that pertain to your business.

Google works extremely hard to devalue links that they deem manipulative to website marketing and are meant to pass PageRank. Even as good as they are in stopping this practice, they keep popping up, so if you see a website trying to pass PageRank you can fill out this form, and hopefully will do their best to utilize this information to change the algorithm to detect these links.

Windy City Strategies account managers have been in the Internet marketing industry for over 10 years and will improve your online marketing with our industry leading Internet marketing consulting, search engine optimization and PPC Help.

Google Sidewiki Potential Impact On Internet Marketing

Google has launched a new tool on their Google toolbar called Sidewiki. The new tool is supposed to let you as a user offer helpful information to any website right on their browser, while searchers can read context about websites added by other users. This tool will also allow you as a user to share Google Sidewiki entries on Blogger, Facebook, Google profiles and Twitter.

Now it is important to understand that this is only on the Google toolbar and you have to download this, so the potential impact on Internet marketing is minimal as millions of people do not have the Google toolbar downloaded.

So what should you do as a website owner? Take ownership of Sidewiki now and set the tone. Set the expectations and standard that you as a website owner want. When Google puts a tool out, it is not very often that they will fail, so you must embrace this. Make this a daily thing for your social media. The search benefits of Google Sidewiki is still to be found out and that will take time, so remember a good offense is just as important as a good defense.

Windy City Strategies account managers have been in the Internet marketing industry for over 10 years and will improve your online marketing with our industry leading Internet marketing consulting, search engine optimization and pay per click campaign management.