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There’s more to search engine marketing than merely a full force pay-per-click campaign. We strongly believe that search engine marketing should be a comprehensive and holistic marketing endeavor involving various methods of marketing online. Pay per click is just one method, albeit an important one.

The advantage to using pay per click marketing in your search engine marketing plan is that you have more control over your budget and your message. You can also drive targeted traffic to your website much more quickly with PPC than you can other methods. But I’d never use PPC as the only marketing method online.

Natural SEO is still very important and you want your natural SEO efforts to compliment your PPC efforts, and vice-versa. But you might also incorporate other methods of marketing into your search marketing plan.

Usually, companies don’t think of social media marketing as a part of SEM. But it can be. If you engage your prospects in such a way that it affects your SEO and overall SEM efforts then it can be an integral part of your overall search engine marketing strategy. The key is to keep it all consistent.

One of the most important aspects of doing business online is reputation management. But what is that precisely?

Many people have their own definitions of reputation management, but in nutshell it is simply the process of marketing yourself or your brand to the search engines so that you have mostly positive search results. Too many companies think about reputation management after it is too late. They’ve got a few negative search results appearing for their name or brand name and all of a sudden want help removing them. It’s not quite that easy.

For one thing, you can’t just take the results away. They are there forever. But you can influence rankings so that negative results slip down in the rankings while positive results rise. That’s the essence of reputation management anyway.

The best time to start reputation management is before you need it. Preferably, you start it the moment you go online and start publishing and doing business. The sooner you start the more difficult it will be for your critics to gain a foothold for your name and brand. Make it harder for them, not yourself. Be aggressive in protecting your reputation before you need to.

Many would-be Internet marketers are a little confused about pay-per-click marketing. It is assumed that because it is keyword-based like SEO then the rules are the same. That’s actually not the case.

With search engine optimization, you are judged by how well your website is optimized by both on-page and off-page factors. You are judged by things that are both in your control and outside of your control. With PPC, you are judged entirely by things that are within your control. However, your placement on the page is judged by things outside of your control.

Let me explain.

A good PPC campaign begins with a list of keywords. You first have to build a landing page that is optimized for your keywords. Maybe not all of them, but enough of them. Next, you write an ad that is designed to drive traffic to that landing page. You set a budget and bid on keywords and let your ad go live. The search engine will give your ad a quality score. That quality score is based on how well your ad and landing page work together AND whether or not visitors to your landing page stick around – your bounce rate.

You might say, wait a minute, I can’t control what my visitors do. But before you say that, consider that your visitors are reacting to your copywriting skills. If they leave your site because it is poorly designed or doesn’t meet their expectations then it’s because of what you did. You have control over that.

But even if you do everything right and you get the best quality score, your placement within the search engines is dependent upon the search engines. You may be placed high on the list due to your quality score, but if someone else achieves a higher quality score, which you can’t control, then they may actually achieve a better positioning than you.

So your ad is judged by what you do, but your placement is judged by a combination of what you do and what your competition do. Those are some things to keep in mind when planning your next PPC campaign.

Internet marketing is a broad science. There is more than one way to accomplish a goal. What works for your company may not work for someone else’s. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a wise counselor on your team who can help you navigate the confusing waters of the World Wide Web.

Over the years, Internet marketing has moved from a rather primitive form to a much more sophisticated strategical art. Savvy marketers incorporate many aspects of marketing online and are willing to experiment in order to reach the markets they wish to tap. From e-mail marketing to viral video, a good well-rounded team of experts can help you choose the right marketing vehicles for you. And marketing online is best done when you have an array of complimentary tactics that you use to push traffic right to where you want it.

If you are a business new to Internet marketing tactics and not sure where to go for help, you might try calling a consultant with experience and get a real, honest evaluation of your situation.

When it comes to competitive intelligence, there are a number of  things that you want to know about your competition. One of those things is number and type of inbound links.

Inbound links are important for a number of reasons:

  • It tells you how popular your competitors’ website is in other places on the web
  • You can see the quality of websites that consider it worthy of links
  • You’ll get an idea of how long it might take to build your own link portfolio and the types of links you should seek
  • You can analyze your competition’s inbound links for anchor text value
  • Check on potential link partners for your own website

Overall, inbound links are important for any website’s SEO. By studying your competition’s links you can get an idea of just how competitive they really are. Then you can design a strategy for overtaking them in the SERPs.

Learn more about competitive intelligence strategies.

Viral marketing is a catchphrase in internet marketing circles that can mean a number of things. It’s true meaning is any marketing effort that catches on and creates a buzz about your business or products so that people in the marketplace are talking about you. Ideally, you want everything you do to catch on and go viral. Realistically, that’s not likely to happen. However, you can create viral marketing campaigns that catch and drive traffic to your website.

Tools that online marketers have used to create viral marketing campaigns that have been successful include:

  • Blogging
  • Article Marketing
  • Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
  • Twitter
  • Widgets or Gadgets
  • E-mail newsletters
  • Video
  • And more

Anything can go viral. But not everything will. So you have to plan your campaigns carefully. Is video right for you? Are articles? No two businesses are alike. Your situation is unique and requires a custom plan. What worked for your competition last year might not work so well for you this year. That’s why a professional consultation with a company that can implement a viral marketing plan successfully should be your first step.

Twitter is the latest fad in social media, only it’s not so much a fad as it is a new development and it seems to be taking over. I think everyone knows it. John Battelle certainly does.

I think the interesting thing is that Twitter has finally offered something for small businesses. It isn’t much. But it’s something. A subdomain.

The business.twitter.com subdomain currently has an introduction book for Twitter targeted to small business owners. So instead of spending $25 on that e-book for the total stranger, start with the book offered by Twitter. It’s an html book so no download and it’s free. You can get your introduction to Twitter straight from the company.

Beyond that, however, there are some things that you do need to know about Twitter. It isn’t Facebook and it isn’t Google. It has its own little personality. It’s own game rules. They’re not hard to learn, but you don’t want to break them. After reading the introduction offered by Twitter, find out about the ground rules from a consultant who knows Twitter and social media just like they know small business.

One SEO technique that very few webmasters employ that more could probably use to great effect is section targeting. Section targeting tells the search engine that a particular piece of text on the page is more important than the rest. You can use section targeting to draw the search engine’s attention to that text for SEO purposes. This is particularly helpful if you are running an AdSense site.

There are two ways to go about section targeting:

  1. Highlighting the positive
  2. Downplaying the unimportant

Remember, the idea is to tell Google which part of the page to focus on for keywords so that the search engine can more easily match your keywords with your content. If you’re really savvy, you can use both types of section targeting code to ensure this happens.

Highlighting The Positive

Let’s say you have a particular part of your page that uses your primary keyword more than other parts of the page. You want your ads to match that part of the page’s content. Use this code to tell Googlebot that this piece of text is important and that it should use it to match AdSense ads with the text:

<!– google_ad_section_start –>

<!– google_ad_section_end –>

Between those tags you can put a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire section. I would be cautious to include too much or too little, however. Google’s guidelines say to include a “significant amount” between those tags. Probably, for most sites, a two or three paragraphs is plenty.

Downplaying The Unimportant

If you want Google to ignore a particular section of your page so that it doesn’t match ads with content that isn’t optimized for your keywords or that is less weighty than other parts of the page then you can use this code:

<!– google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) –>

<!– google_ad_section_end –>

Not a lot of difference, huh? But that difference is significant in what it tells the Googlebot to do.

Try section targeting for better optimization and higher AdSense earnings.

Search engine marketing is an interesting topic.  There is some confusion as to what, exactly, it means. Some people use the term synonymously with search engine optimization. Other people use it as if it is synonymous with pay per click advertising. It actually encompasses both SEO and PPC as well as any other marketing that targets search engines, such as display advertising, paid placement, and contextual advertising.

The true definition of search engine marketing is any attempt to influence search engine rankings. That’s almost anything you do.

It’s important to understand there is no “magic pill” to search engine marketing. There is no “one way” to ensure that all web pages rank high for your targeted search terms. Every web page is different and every situation is different. What works for one website may not work for another. That said, there are some general principles that you can work with to ensure that your search engine marketing efforts yield the results you are looking for.

When you are ready for search engine marketing, be careful who you listen to. Not every firm that claims to be experts in SEM can prove they know the business.

Pay per click advertising is the misunderstood science. Too many Internet marketers and small business entrepreneurs are under the impression that it can cost a lot of money to run a PPC campaign and get a small return. While it can get expensive, the bright side is you control the budget. So you can set your spend limit and your ads will stop running once you hit your limit.

But advertising spend is the least of your worries when running a pay-per-click campaign. A good PPC campaign is only as good as the keywords upon which it is based. And that means you have to spend the proper time doing research.

It isn’t enough to just pick a handful of keywords out of thin air. You’ve also got to group them well and pair them up with the right ad content. A well-written and optimized landing page ready to convert sales is perhaps your best asset. Drive all the traffic you want to your website, but if you aren’t ready to close them then it won’t matter. Your landing page has to be ready, or you’re not.

A successful pay-per-click campaign requires research, patience, and a good attitude. You can win if you run a good campaign and watch your budget.

Competitive intelligence isn’t spying on your competition. Many forms of espionage are actually illegal. You can’t, for instance, steal trade secrets. But you can use market analysis tools and other (legal) tools to analyze and compare yourself to your competition in order to make yourself more competitive. But how do you do that online?

The first step to real competitive intelligence is keyword research. Don’t just look for the best keywords for your business. Spend a little time analyzing your competition and see what keywords they are using. In some ways, competitive intelligence on the Internet is easier than in the real world.

But don’t just stop at obtaining a list of competitive keywords. You should also analyze those keywords to see if they are good fits for you. Just because your competition uses certain keywords doesn’t mean that you should. Maybe you can find better keywords for your business.

Competitive analysis also involves a careful study of other ranking factors such as link analysis, PageRank, search engine saturation, social media optimization, and social proof. All of these factors can give you an idea about where your competition stands in the marketplace. They can also give you an idea of what you need to do to be more competitive.

Once you gather all the information about your competitors then you need to analyze it and that’s the hardest part. What does your data mean? Just because a competitor appears to be beating you at search engine marketing, SEO, or another aspect of Internet marketing doesn’t mean that they are beating you where it counts. If you can get sales information and other marketing data on your competition then that will help too.

Reputation Management has been a buzzword for a couple of years now. But what does it mean?

If you listen to some Internet marketing gurus you’ll hear that reputation management consists of signing up for as many social media profiles as you can. Or you might hear something that sounds a bit like search engine optimization and it could leave you with the impression that search engine optimization and reputation management are one and the same. They are not.

While reputation management involves the use of SEO and social media, it would be a mistake to thing that this is all there is to it. Online reputation management is a way for business owners to maintain a positive perception of their business using Internet marketing tools. Those tools go beyond SEO and social media. They also include:

  • Your company newsletter or e-zine
  • Your blog
  • Forums
  • Display advertising
  • Other forms of marketing online

At the heart of reputation management is customer service. If you provide great customer service and treat your employees well then no one would have any reason to say nasty things about you. However, realistically, no matter how well you treat people, there will come a time when things just don’t go right and someone will attempt to mar your reputation. You should think about how you will manage that process before it happens. Reputation management is an ongoing strategy, not something you throw together when you need it.

Internet marketing is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and that includes offline industries.  It is all related to the massive growth in internet use by both customers and businesses. Bricks and mortar businesses are now establishing an online presence in an attempt to maintain or grow their businesses.

With so many businesses trying to attract as many customers to their sites as possible, progfessional internet marketing is becoming a necessity.  You can measure the worth of an internet marketing company across three distinct areas: skills, costs, and results.

Skills:  by using the a professional internet marketing company you are accessing the skills that have been developed over time. They know how search engines and social media work. They know how to find keywords that can be targeted economically and which social media, if any, can help your business.

Cost: cost is always an important issue for any business. A reliable internet marketing firm will help you start of as economically as possible and slowly build the campaigns as results start to build your business. They can often become one stop shops with the costs related to site building, maintenance and marketing all rolled into one account.

Results: the most important measure of any business activity is the bottom line. If a successful internet marketing campaign can grow your business without affecting your margin then you are on to a winning formula.

The only method you have to measure a potential internet marketing firm is by looking at past results, customer feedback and if possible, previous case studies.

Why should you use an internet marketing firm? The future is drifting to the online world and the consequences are that many individuals now shun paper based information sources. If they want to find something, they are becoming more likely to search the internet first. Will they find you? Using an internet marketing firm can almost guarantee they will!

The world we live in has taken to the internet like a duck to water. For many people, they can’t survive without getting online at least once each day – and that is not just to check emails either. The old fashioned snail mail is steadily dieing when it comes to personal communication – but what about marketing? Is the future of all marketing heading towards internet marketing?

A simple answer would be to say yes and no. For traditional bricks and mortar type businesses, you will never totally replace traditional marketing channels. They have worked well for hundreds of years and will continue to work into the future.

What we will see is a move to a balanced marketing strategy. This will  involve the more traditional offline marketing strategies together with an internet marketing strategy that is best suited to the business in question.

You don’t need an online presence to benefit from internet marketing. With a high proportion of shoppers now using the internet to search for businesses prior to a shopping expedition, bricks and mortar businesses need to be found in those searches. The starting point of course is claiming a business through local search.

Search is only the start and there are many other internet marketing avenues available to promote your offline business. This includes channels such as social marketing and perhaps creating a presence with a blog or static website.

For businesses that are prepared to consult traditional marketing consultants to promote their business in the offline world, the time has come to consult online marketing consultants to promote their business on the internet.

Whether it is claiming your business in local search, creating an online presence or undetaking some other form of internet marketing, consult a professional internet marketing firm.

Search engine optimization is more than just finding keywords and ranking in the search results for them. In fact, that is probably the downfall of many a web site owners.

Sure, they receive swags of traffic from the search engines, however, their conversion rates are often extremely low. The end result is that a web site owner walks away from any type of search engine optimization program. Their pages then drop out of the search results further exascerbating the web site owners views on SEO in general.

Having failed to achieve any results with organic search, they then turn to paid search. Using common keywords can be an expensive way to gain traffic on any pay-per-click platform, search or otherwise. Common keywords are highly competitive – this drives up the price per click.

Let me let you in on a little secret – high priced pay-per-click keywords generally have a low conversion ratio. In fact, you can often get a far higher conversion ratio using keywords that are a fraction of the cost of the more common keywords.

They weren’t wrong to target the search engines for either organic or paid traffic. Their mistake was to target the wrong set of keywords. We are now living in a world where the internet is playing a role in the lives of almost everyone. Not only that, users are becoming more savvy when it comes to searches. The biggest rise in searches has been in the long tail search involving four or more words.

Finding the right keywords is the hardest part of any search engine optimization program. You want keywords that used by searchers because they want to act. Keywords that target casual surfers should be low priority. If you’re in business, you want action and that generally means sales.

One of the easiest and most cost effective ways of developing both an organic and paid search engine campaign is to hire a professional to work with you. Notice I said with you and not for you. That is an important part of the relationship.

A professional internet marketing firm has the experience, and the access to tools, that can help find the most appropriate keywords for your business. As a professional yourself you should be familiar with terms such as ROI. Internet marketing is about getting the best flow of converting traffic at the lowest possible cost per conversion possible – in other words, maximizing your ROI.

Look towards a professional internet marketing firm like Reciprocal Consulting. They can maximise your online presence and help you gain sustainable traffic that converts with the highest possible ROI. That equates to the highest possible profits – after all, isn’t that why your in business.

A reputation is a valuable thing. Businesses, both small and large, are required from time to time to defend theirs, while others provide such pristine service to their customers that they are virtually infallible. However, the best way to protect one’s reputation is to prevent slander from ever surfacing. While no one can control the information that is passed around on the Internet, via blogs, forums, articles and comments, there are many measures that can be taken in order to secure the name of your business in search results. From experience, many internet marketing firms have learned the importance of preventative Reputation Management versus that which must occur post-concern.

Hands down, it is always easier to prevent search results from returning bad opinions than it is to remove those that have already been showing up. The idea behind reputation management isn’t always to hide bad opinions, because there are many bad internet marketing practices in effect, and sometimes, slandering others is how some companies go about improving their own reputation. It’s logical – diminish the credibility of another and automatically yours will augment in comparison – but this is not an ethical practice, and like it or not, those of us whom actually market our businesses ethically must do so in the face of black-hat methods.

Since reputation management is not strictly preventative, there is hope. A significant portion of any effective reputation management effort does not come down to fighting fire with fire – in other words, and as an analogy to the political front, mudslinging will only fuel false accusations and unnecessary name-calling. Therefore, the key to effective reputation management is to take all the good things about your business or company and put them out there for the world to see, so that all the bad things will be shown in their true light as outliers in an otherwise, and formerly, unbalanced statistic-driven equation.

Blog posts, press releases, and reviews are just the start of all the examples of methods by which to distribute positive content about your business. A great way to show the public the truth about your business or company is to acquire the statements of satisfied customers and share them with everyone through any one of (or all) of the previously mentioned methods. There are two sides to the exposure needed to reach as many people as possible with these positive opinions – on one side of things, sending these opinions into high-traffic areas is key, while on the other end of things, performing techniques similar to SEO are required in order to present positive content to those searching for you by name.

All in all, depending on the circumstances, managing one’s reputation can be a task beyond the ability of anyone short of a professional and experienced Internet marketing firm, which is shy it is important to consult a firm like Reciprocal Consulting.