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Does it matter how much you pay for clicks? Pay per click advertising allows you, the advertiser, to pick your price. You bid on your keywords and pay the price that you are willing to pay for a click. But is there an optimal method for determining what a good click bid is?

The short answer is No. There really is no ONE way to determine the optimal bid price in pay per click. The primary reason is because there are many factors that can influence the market at any given time.

One such variable that is difficult to predict, particularly for new campaigns, is seasonality. If you’re in retail then chances are good that Christmas – or the three or four months prior to Christmas – will result in higher click prices for you. But other businesses might do well at other times of year. The travel industry, for instance, sees its peak in the spring and summer.

Aside from seasonality, however, other factors are important to consider as well. Obviously, you must consider the price of your product. Is it a low-cost item? Don’t spend too much on PPC or you won’t profit. How about click through rates and conversion rates? Those are important too.

Bottom line, PPC management involves constant tweaking and readjusting. You will likely not start off with the right bid price on any of your keywords. But by paying attention to what the market is doing and your own campaign performance you can adjust your aim and arrive at a bid price that is profitable and comfortable for you.

Internet marketing, like everything else, is constantly evolving. What works one year may not work the next. There are various reasons why this may be:

  • The search engine may change their policies
  • There could be more competition
  • Your niche may be saturated
  • Strategies could fall out of favor with your customers and clientele

These are just a few of the reasons. But we do know that the need for marketing a business online is growing. More and more every day.

There are strategies that have worked well since the beginning – article marketing, SEO, and link building. Then there are those that are late developments in Internet marketing – blogging, social media marketing. As a marketer, it’s up to you to find the strategies that will work for your business.

Because every business is different, and every website is different, you may need a different strategy than someone else. That’s OK. Do your homework. What have others done that worked or failed? What is your competition up to? What do your customers expect? Paying attention to the marketplace is a big part of any marketing plan, even Internet marketing.

When it comes to determining the best strategy for Internet marketing, the best one for you is the one that shows the best potential for marketing and branding yourself and bringing in new customers.

Competitive intelligence is just that – competitive (meaning you against them) and intelligent (what do you know?). The idea is to outsmart the competition and beat them at their own game. But how?

There are 4 steps to good competitive intelligence:

  1. Research
  2. Analysis
  3. Rallying
  4. Employment

You can remember these steps with a simple acronym – RARE.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the 4 RARE steps involved in competitive intelligence:

  • Research – Just as the name implies. In this stage you are collecting information about your competition. But before you do that you need to have a good idea as to what you’re going to do with the information. Responding to market needs, however, cannot be done without a good grasp of what your competition is up to.
  • Analysis – In this stage of the process you are attempting to answer the question, “What does it mean?” So your competition is up to X; great, what does that mean for you? For your customer? For the customer you’d like to win?
  • Rallying – It’s time to get your team on the same page and start putting together your game plan. How will you respond to the information you gather in the research phase now that you know what that information means to you?
  • Employment – So you’ve planned your actions, now it’s time to get them to working for you. The employment stage is the part of the process where you put your action plan to work. It’s time to test your competitive mettle and your intelligence.

Competitive intelligence is all about outmaneuvering the competition. Beat them to the playing field then knock their socks off. It starts with research and ends with work. Follow the RARE steps to competitive intelligence and be prepared to win.

The World Wide Consortium, also called W3C, is an informal group of web professionals who are trying to establish standards for web design and other aspects of Internet marketing. While there are no rules for web design compliance, per se, it is a good idea to measure your web design according to W3C standards.

W3C implements its standards through recommendations. They are largely technical in nature and so far, since 1994 when it was started, the W3C has issued over 100 recommendations for the worldwide web.

One of W3Cs most recent recommendations is a best practices paper for mobile web applications. Some of the recommendations pertaining to mobile web applications include:

  • Use Cookies Sparingly
  • Inform the user about automatic network access
  • Enable automatic sign-in
  • Use transfer compression
  • Avoid redirects
  • Minimize external resources
  • Cache AJAX data
  • Offer users a choice of interfaces

These are just a few of the best practices recommended by W3C for mobile web applications and it’s just one example of the type of recommendations that the consortium makes to webmasters involved in web design and development. While there are no penalties for not complying with these recommendations, it is a good idea to check your web design against the W3C recommendations to ensure quality in web design and development.

Viral marketing seems to be the new buzz word in Internet marketing. Everyone wants their content to go viral. Everyone wants to see their content get distributed across the entire Web, but not everyone understands just how to make that happen.

The bottom line for any kind of marketing is to ensure that your content is before the eyes of the people who will actually use it. That’s half the battle in viral marketing right there.

Viral marketing can often occur spontaneously. When you share something with a friend and that friend shares it with another friend then that friend shares with another. Now imagine that each friend shares your content with five other friends. It’s easy to see how quickly this process can multiply. Just look at how many friends you can reach after going five levels deep:

  • You – Share with 5 friends
  • Level 2 – Your 5 friends share with 5 friends each = 25 friends
  • Level 3 – Each friend’s friend shares with 5 more = 125 friends
  • Level 4 – Each Level 3 friend shares with 5 friends = 625 friends
  • Level 5 – Each Level 4 friend shares with 5 friends = 3,125 friends

After five levels of sharing, your content has reached 3,906 people including you and your five friends. Now take that one more level and you’ve touched 19,530 people. That’s how viral marketing works.

But what medium should you use to produce that can result? It depends. Where are the people you want to reach? Are they at StumbleUpon or YouTube? Try it there. How about social bookmarking sites like Digg? If that’s where your audience can be found then that’s where you need to submit your content.

The hardest thing about viral marketing is predicting how people will respond. Not everything that looks hot goes hot. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Social media optimization, or SMO, is about more than connecting with others on a social level. Sure, that’s important, but it isn’t the whole story. What SMO is really all about is getting the attention of people you would like to do business with. Strategy is very important.

At the heart of every effective social media campaign is an honest portrayal of who you are and what you have to offer potential prospects. Remember, you are engaged in “pull” marketing, not “push” marketing. That is, you are are drawing people toward you, not pushing your product on them. Television is push, social media is pull.

Pull marketing is much more subtle that push marketing. Therefore, social media optimization is about subtlety. The idea is to capture people’s attention. How do you do that? Here are a few tips that might help you:

  1. Speak their language – If you’re talking to teenagers, use colloquial lingo that they’ll understand. If speaking to professionals then try using their business talk. Be sure to speak the language of your prospects.
  2. Find out what they want – Don’t just jump out and start selling people stuff. Find out what your target audience is interested in. Offer them that.
  3. Show up at the right place – Nothing is as ineffective as marketing through the wrong channel. If your prospective client is more likely to be at LinkedIn then you should be there; if they are more likely to be at Facebook then you should be there.
  4. Yes, SEO still works – Just because it’s social media doesn’t mean that SEO won’t work. Social sites are websites. All the same SEO rules apply. They may require a little different implementation, but SMO and SEO do go together.
  5. Get your prospect’s attention – In social media you have to lay it on the table. You can’t just hint at something and expect every reader to get it. Make a big splash, but do it appropriately. You are vying against a lot of competition so make sure you attract the attention you deserve.

Social media optimization is about connecting. Do it appropriately, but connect with the right audience at the right place at the right time. That’s true SMO.

Search engine optimization is always changing, always improving, and that’s a good thing. One of the latest developments in SEO is that webmasters now have the ability to optimize PDF files. But how?

First, you have to ensure that your PDF files are not in a secure folder. Locked by security walls will cause search engines to be denied access and if search engines can’t crawl them they can’t be indexed. But other than that, there aren’t too many restrictions.

PDF files are optimized a lot like HTML pages. You can place your keywords in the headline of the document as well as in subheadings and throughout the document. You can also link out from PDF files to other pages on your website and use important anchor text for those pages. But more importantly, you can link inbound to PDF pages using appropriate and relevant anchor text to help improve their crawlability and ranking quotient.

PDF files also have author, tittle and description information that you can fill out when you create them. Use that information as the search engines may be able to use it for indexing.

Ensure that you when you create your PDF file that you do so using a text editor or word processing program like Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or CoffeeCup. Don’t create it as a .jpg or it won’t be crawlable.

Optimizing your PDF documents is not hard and can be done just as you would do for an HTML page.

Search engine marketing is the process of using search engines to drive traffic to your web pages, primarily through search and paid search platforms. Crafty Internet marketers do this by focusing on niche-related keywords in their marketing efforts. How does that work exactly?

For starters, you’ve got to build value into your marketing campaign in your keyword research. This should be your first step in the process. Look for the best and most profitable keywords for your niche and focus your marketing efforts on those. After you’ve identified the best keywords, put them into a list and build your web pages to focus on those keywords with each page focused on a primary and a secondary keyword. Then build links using your keywords as anchor text.

Try a PPC campaign as a test campaign on one or two of your keywords and attempt to drive traffic to a keyword-based landing page. As you do this, note your CTR. If you are getting a high CTR on any keywords then focus on those keywords for building more web pages and for increasing the search engine presence of others you’ve already built.

Search engine marketing is not hard, but it is tedious. You can build value into any niche if you know the basics.

Google has rolled out another product – one that hasn’t seemed to gain too much traction in the short time that it has been available but that has received it’s fair share of criticism. The main criticism hurled at it is that it is a ticking reputation management time bomb. Is this criticism justified?

Scotland SEO explains why they’re a bit shaky in the boots about SidiWiki. On the other hand, Nick at Search Engine Optimization Journal doesn’t seem a great deal concerned. And Paul at TalkBiz has a very detailed post on how Google is plotting to steal the Web. Is it really that big a problem or just a bunch of hype?

Well, I can’t say that the concerns many of these people bring up are not real. They are. But should webmasters go around singing “the sky is falling?”

Personally, I think webmasters should write the Google staff and request some modifications to SidiWiki – I do believe it could post some reputation management problems for a lot of people. But it’s nothing to go to war over – yet. Most of Google’s new products take time to pick up steam. If SideWiki is like any of the others, we’re a long way away from universal usage of the Google Toolbar.

Google is a great PPC provider. I wouldn’t knock ’em. But they aren’t the only gig in town.

In fact, I’d say that there are some drawbacks to using Google alone. For starters, Google is expensive. It’s very competitive. And no matter what niche you are in you are likely to be paying good money for clicks. It will be targeted traffic, for sure. But you’ll pay.

Sometimes, small PPC providers can deliver targeted traffic for much, much less. You’ll get less traffic. But it will be good traffic. Where you’ll pay 50 cents for a keyword at Google, you might only pay a penny or a nickel at some of the other PPC providers, so it’s worth it to try to parlay those services into some cheap traffic.

The best way to win at PPC is to use a small PPC provider to test ads and landing pages where you can do it inexpensively then, when you find a combination that works, you migrate your ads to Google. You probably should also up your budget at the small PPC company. At any rate, don’t just stick with one provider. Google is good, but they’re not God.

Is Internet marketing over-saturated? That’s a question asked by Tom Duong.

I suppose it’s a legitimate question. The answer, of course, is no way. There’s plenty of room for more Internet marketers. In fact, I’d say there’s lots more room. There will probably never be a small enough room for us all. As the Internet grows so too do the opportunities. That’s my view.

Just think. A few years ago, say 1995, there were only about 3,000 websites online. Only a handful of people were making money and they sort of paved a trail for the rest of us. But since then, opportunities have expanded in many directions.

Google has provided many opportunities for a lot of marketers. Yahoo! has made a few people rich. Facebook is making money. Twitter isn’t. But that’s OK, but a lot of other people are making money on Twitter.

I think the opportunities for Internet marketers is only going to get better. Every year, it seems, another great site launches that turns into a useful tool for someone. And a few turn into really good tools for everyone. So instead of asking if Internet marketing is overly saturated, we should be asking if there are enough people to fill the opportunities that arising. Why don’t you step up?