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In case you’ve been dying to know the answer to this question, the answer is both.

A personalized, custom built Website gives a business many freedoms concerning structure, content, and additional applications, such as shopping carts, forms, dynamic flash interfaces, and more, plus a very fresh, from-scratch, start. While many of these things may be available on a self hosted Blog, there is a difference between having a recognizable format and having one that may very well cause a user to bounce from your page. Self hosted Blogs, while capable of hosting many things that a website can, have an expected format, and should be used primarily for content. Content refers to onsite, html readable text, and links. This includes headers, footers, side bars, body text, posts, etc.

Now, what is the meaning behind this question, and more importantly, why the need for both?

The simple answer:

Blogs are becoming increasingly popular, to the point of absurdity. Every other person who is active on the internet these days has at least one blog to which they contribute, and many have two or three. Still, some have more even than that! So why join the crowd?

First of all, all the well tuned on and off site optimization in the world will not turn leads into conversions. For your sites ROI (return on investment) goals, more than likely there is a thank you page, order confirmation page, or some similar page which contains a tracking code. This is how you tally conversions, and when pitted against clicks, impressions, or monthly budget (depending on your campaign), you can measure ROI. There is a key factor between the initial lead and the conversion: Your Website

I’ve discussed how your optimized keywords and on site content need to relate to eachother, but these things should also be related to the design and structure of your website. If a lead comes to your site expecting to find a list of available products, easy to use shopping cart and easy checkout, more than likely, they will not find this on a Blog.

Another example, on the flip side, is content. While your site’s page content is crucial to optimization, suppose there is a good deal more information pertaining to your business that you wish to share with your potential clients or customers. Having all this information on a website that is also being used for checkout and browsing may bog things down for the user because,  as I mentioned earlier, the quicker and easier it is for them to order and pay, the better the chance they will do just that. Adding a link on your site to a Blog about your company and it’s products, as well as news about upcoming products or services, is the best way to share large amounts of information without interfering with their shopping or browsing experience.

Additionally, having “sister sites” which link to eachother, one of which being a Blog containing feeds, news, links from Social Media Blog profiles, and lots of key content, is a good way to increase relevance and page rank, as well as targeted traffic. You can link relevant posts in the Blog to product pages on your site (and to other relevant posts within the Blog itself), give the user more opportunities to contact you with questions, and provide more than enough information that may already answer their inqueries.

There is a good deal of optimization that goes into a successful Blog (be it Sponsored Ads or Natural Search), but the beauty is, traffic coming to one site will lead to the other, and there is a clean, concise, well designed format which makes it easier for your leads to convert to sales.

A lot of people aren’t familiar with the method behind how Google ranks pages, which can generate a good deal of confusion. Often times, they think that a high page rank means that they will show up higher in search results for keywords related to their site’s content, but this is not neccessarily true. In fact, it is not uncommon for a page with a higher overall rank to show up below another with a lesser rank, for various key words.

The best example of this would be Google’s home page, which is ranked 10/10. If you search for “googly eyes” on Google, no page even containing a “google” related URL will show up in the top results. The reason for this is that the Google home page contains no content related to googly eyes and, furthermore, contains very little content at all. The Google home page contains next to no specificly targetted content, and yet the page is ranked 10/10. Of course, this is because Google owns many other sites, and therefore it is possible that a page beloning to Google, containing information about googly eyes, will return a related page from them, due to the general page rank of their pages.

While higher page rank does weigh in on search results, the relevance of your site to the particular key word or key phrase triggering a search is equally, if not more important – and it’s a two fold process. Even with a high overall page rank, if your on site SEO is well executed, just because you’re site contains “Teak Furniture” in the title bar, header tags, meta tags and body content, this does not neccessarily mean you will rank well for the keyphrase “Teak Furniture”.

Since inbound links generate rank, it is important to know what anchor text to use, and to which page those keyword links should point to. Also, where those links are coming from can be very important as well, as links coming from related pages are more beneficial.

If you are optimizing your home page, linking keywords related to your other pages is important, as they may contain more relevant information related to that keyword, and also because each one of those sub-pages are (or should be) linking back to your home page. Internal linking is not as important for page rank or keyword rank as external linking, but for navigation purposes, it is crucial.

So, in short, rank is measured in many areas, but two main ones to remember:

  1. General Rank – Pages linked to you, whether they use your URL as the anchor text, a string of coded numbers that leads to your site, or what-have-you. This is measured by incoming links.
  2. Keyword Rank – Before you even attempt optimization for your site, come up with a list of keywords – not too long, not too short – but all very relevant and specific to your site, what its purpose is, and what is contained within your on site content: title, headers, text, tags, etc.

Still confused about SEO? Have more questions about Internet Marketing? Contact Reciprocal Consulting fo any questions you might have. We like to talk about this stuff.

While Social Media Optimization may take a backseat to Search Engine Optimization, it requires an equal level of persistance to achieve your desired results. Just like SEO, SMO is an ongoing process, one which will not show immediate results. One of the biggest misconceptions concerning both SEO and SMO is that there is a definitive goal in mind. Sure, we aim to raise page ranks, and we certainly work towards getting sites to the top of search results for their niche and corresponsing keywords, but it doesn’t end when those goals are achieved, it must continue to be successful. Here’s why:

  • Web crawlers gather a lot of information. This includes times, dates, and other facts about your site that are relevant to your sites statistics, not just inlinks and on-site content.
  • Dates apply to rankings. The longer your site goes without new links pointing towards your site, the less relevant your site becomes to the current date and time.
  • Rank is measured not just by the volume of links. A bunch of links from a few of the same sites will not do much good, as this points to only a few sites that consider your site relevant. Continually getting links means a greater chance of getting more links from a greater number of different sites.

Now, how does this apply to your Social Media profiles? Optimizing these profiles is the same process as optimizing your site, with one catch: You are optimizing more than one site.

I find that often times, clients of our Internet Marketing Firm are generally less interested in SMO than they are in SEO because it seems like a waste of time and money to them, but consider this: Inlinks from higher ranking sites will do more for your site than inlinks from lower ranking sites, correct? Therefore, properly maintaining and linking to a Social Media profile that links to your page, which raises it’s own page rank is helping your site by raising it’s page rank!

For more information on improving your website rank and importance, or for any other Internet Marketing inqueries, please don’t hesitate to contact one of us from Reciprocal Consulting.

A simple way to optimize your Adwords PPC campaign, is to run regularly scheduled search query reports.

What is a “search query report,” you ask?  A search query report is available through the Adwords interface, and it shows the actual search queries people typed in before clicking on one of your ads. While the reports leave something to be desired in terms of their level of detail, they can still be very useful. The problem is that some of the keywords get lumped together under the heading, “x other unique queries.” That being said, the queries that are actually shown can be surprising and informative at times.

New Adwords users often think that their ads will only show up when someone searches for the keywords exactly as they enter them into Adwords, but that’s not usually the case. Whenever you “broad match,” or “phrase match,” a keyword, you leave the door open for many different variations on the search phrase to trigger your ad to display.

Broad matching in particular, gives Google a lot of room to show your ad for a wide range of different queries. I’ve seen where Google completely drops one of the keywords in a broad matched phrase. An example would be:

Keyword: bright blue widgets
Search phrase that displays ad: blue widgets

Google can also change your broad matched keywords based upon algorithmic ways that it defines concepts. This can get scary at times. To prevent your ads from showing up for keywords you don’t want, run search query reports regularly; and either use “negative keywords” to get rid of terms you don’t want, or take out the broad matched keywords replacing them with more accurate phrase matched keywords.

Don’t rule out the “broad match” altogether though, because broad matching can sometimes bring in cheaper conversion costs by showing your ad for search queries you hadn’t thought of targeting.

To run a search query report while in the Adwords interface, click on the “Reports” tab, “Create a new report,” then choose the “search query performance” radio button, and define the rest of the options.

Internet marketing takes years of experience to master and is constantly changing, therefore requiring dedication to continually grasp in full. However, there are a few basics that anyone interested in internet marketing should know. When it comes to understanding the fundamentals, it’s all in the terms. ROI, SEO, SMO, RM, CI, PPC, etc. These acronyms may mean nothing to most people but to us as an internet marketing firm they are our bread and butter.

Here is a basic rundown of our services and how they can help our clients:

These are just the basics. For more information about these services and others, please visit ReciprocalConsulting.com.

There are many ways to optimize your website through SEO and PPC, but even if your website is showing up at the top of search results, there are at least nine more ranking spots that could be pointing to you. So why bother joining the world of Social Media Optimization when you have the number one spot in search results?

  • An added online presence through SMO says more about your dedication to the internet community, which in turn shows that you care more about reaching your customers.
  • Depending on which SMO sites you utilize, you can reach potential customers outside of direct search results. If someone is searching Google for your niche they will be sure to find you. However, if they belong to a forum, online community or message board dedicated to that niche, they may not bother searching Google and, furthermore, anyone who finds you on those sites is guaranteed to show interest in your business and will subsequently be more likely to become a customer.
  • When coupled with SEO, SMO can push your profiles, posts and contributions to various SMO communities to search results beneath your website. This is an additional protection that falls under Reputation Management, but it is just one way to protect your name.
  • Having a presence on multiple SMO sites can generate more links to your website, which adds a layer of security to your top spot on searches.

Basically, Social Media Optimization is an extension of SEO that reaches a large number of more accurately targeted potential customers.

There are many things to consider before setting up an SMO campaign. Everything from which sites you utilize to what your avatar on your various profiles will be, these things all have an impact on your image. Also, choosing keywords wisely can become the difference between an excellent campaign and an ineffective one.

If you’d like to set up a Social Media Optimization campaign for your business, Reciprocal Consulting can help.

When evaluating site content, it’s vital to, have a look at the title tags when doing SEO. If the title tags don’t contain keywords relevant to the content of the web page, then it has a significantly lower chance of showing up in the search results. Unfortunately, many web designers these days don’t know anything about search engine optimization. A common misconception is that your site will show up for its keywords when you add them in it’s “Meta tags.” The truth is, that meta tags are one of the least effective things you can do to improve your site’s search results.

Below are a few guidelines for writing effective title tags, when we do SEO at Reciprocal Consulting, we evaluate many factor of “on-page” optimization, and help to make your site as search engine friendly as possible.

  • Don’t exceed 10-12 words in the title tag.
  • Make sure that the keywords you’re targeting are actually represented in content on the page.
  • For more competitive keywords, keep it short and sweet.
  • For less competitive keywords, or when you’re not targeting anything specific, shoot for the “long tail” by having longer title tags.
  • Think about clickthrough rates and visitor perception – the title tag is the first thing they will see in the search results, so it helps if it has meaning, rather than just a bunch of keywords mashed together. You want visitors to click on the search result, not ignore it as spam.

Blogging is a large part of the Online Social Network these days. There is no denying the power of one voice when a basic search will return multiple results from blog sites such as Word Press, Myspace, Live Journal, and so on. Needless to say, a single opinion can reach the online visibility of the website about which that opinion was written, and opinions will more often be negative. Generally, a satisfied customer is simply pleased with their purchase or service and moves on with their life. A negative experience, however, will motivate that dissatisfied person to tell as many people as they can about it, and in the world of blogging, friends and family are just the beginning.

While small business owners may not yet have to worry about masses of bitter, misinformed consumers slandering their good name, it is a good idea to plan ahead. A small amount of preparation can go a long way when it comes to preventative Reputation Management. Just as any SEO campaign takes time to build and refine, a Reputation Management campaign is based upon many of the same principles, and therefore cannot be an immediate fix to that latest high ranking negative blog post about your company.

The problem is, major blog sites rank very high in searches and many of them are free, making it very easy for anyone with a negative opinion to write a bad review of a product or service. Within days, hours even, that opinion could show up just below your website in a search. Sometimes even, that post can appear above your site, which definitely does not give a good impression of customer satisfaction.

It is a good idea to begin a Reputation Management campaign early in your company’s growth to ensure that later on, any negative opinions will be silenced before potential clients or consumers even have a chance to see them.

If you are concerned about your reputation, Reciprocal Consulting can help protect your good name.