Saturday, August 30, 2008

7 Advanced Google Tools For Internet Marketers

Search professional or business analytics that is responsible for Internet marketing and search strategy? The following are 7 advanced Google tools that will help you be a better marketer:

1) Google Analytics - shows you how search rank correlates with conversions and revenue for every keyword you buy or rank on in natural search results.

2) Google Analytics URL Builder - Building URLs for Google Analytics so you can keep track of campaign source, medium, term, content, and name.

3) Google Local Business Center - Help customers find your business on Google Maps.

4) Google Webmaster Tools - Improve your site's visibility in Google search results, diagnose problems on your site, discover your link and query traffic, and share information about your site with Google.

5) Google Website Optimizer - Google's newest tools to test copy, layout, images, and buttons to convert the best.

6) Scholarly Papers Written by Googlers - A partial list of publications by people after joining Google about Algorithms and Theory and more.

7) Google Insights for Search - Compare search volume patterns across regions, categories, and time frames.

Monday, August 25, 2008

2009 Search Trends: Like BK, Have It Your Way

If you are used to walking into Burger King and having it your way than you are going to like the 2009 trends in news search and content consumption.

Eight years ago MSNBC and many other 24 hour news TV channels got a much needed boost in viewership, launching them into what we now know as "news all day, every day." Four years ago bloggers and online news portals got the boost they needed to go mainstream with the shear amount of political news readers that shut down servers left and right for online news website including and The Onion.

What is in store for late 2008 and 2009?

Live streaming news, lets you keep up-to-date with the presidential election (and shortly after everyday news). Internet television is in it's infancy and many of us are watching movies and television shows on demand with services like NetFlix and Websites offering live streaming news mashups will help you keep track of your news (and have it your way).

How about those that aren't iPhone enabled?

Personalized news search, think RSS feeds, widgets, and personalized home pages. How can you capitalize on this future trend? Content consumers will get used to building their personalized home page with iGoogle, chocked full of RSS feeds and widgets. Help customize their content consumption and news habits with your own RSS feeds, widgets, and iGoogle gallery submissions.

As social bookmarking begins it's decline and users become less satisfied with traditional online news sources, what will reign supreme this election year 2008? Bet it sets the standard for news consumption for the next four years.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

10 Google Tools For SEO Professionals

As a Search Engine Optimization professional you can always use a few good Google tools. Here are 10 Google tools for SEO professionals, that will actually help you optimize websites.

1) Google YouTube Video Channel - Google updates their official YouTube channel on a daily basis with product demos, guest speakers, webcasts, and more. Get Google news and information from the source.

2) The Official Google Blog - "Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture."

3) Matt Cutts Official Blog - Learn from Matt Cutts about gadgets, google, and SEO. Some very informative information about Google, the Google algorithm, and SEO for more prominent search rankings.

4) Google Developers YouTube Video Channel - Are you a web developer? Want to get some information and news directly from Google developers? Watch videos about coding, learn about Android, and set by the CampFire with Googlers.

5) Google Webmaster Central Blog - "Official news on crawling and indexing sites for the Google index."

6) Google Dance Tool - Ping three different Google data centers and see if Google is updating their search algorithm.

7) Google Maps for Enterprise - Web-based mapping technologies to internal websites for any organization to use.

8) Google Mini - Access to relevant and secure searches across intranets, file servers, and business applications.

9) Google Ad Planner - A free Media Planning Tool to help refine your online advertising.

10) Google Search Appliance - Integrated hardware and software product is designed to give businesses the productivity-enhancing power of Google search.

Friday, August 22, 2008

37 Google Tools to Enjoy the Internet

Google SketchUp - 3D software tool for intelligent drawing.

Google Pack - A free collection of software for your computer.

Google's Blogger - Free and easy blog creation and hosting.

Google Web Accelerator - Speeds up your computer for searching on the web.

Google Docs - Free web-based word processor and spreadsheet, for online collaboration.

Google Maps - Driving directions, interactive maps, business search, local search results.

Google News - News aggregate and news search engine.

Google Video - Search and watch millions of videos from all over the Internet.

Google Groups - Search over 700 million Usenet postings and speak with Google experts in a Q and A style forum.

Google Earth - Maps and satellite images for regional search.

Google Image Search - Search for photos aggregated from the Internet.

Google Toolbar - Add extra functionality to Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Google Book Search - Search a collection of digitized books from old to new.

Google Scholar - search scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, books, abstracts, and articles.

Google Code - Official weblog about Google development projects.

Google Finance - a broad range of information about stocks, mutual funds, public and private companies.

Google Translate - Free online language translation service to translate text and web pages.

Google Desktop Download - Sidebar for your desktop with a news widget and feed reader widget. Customize with the Google Widget Gallery.

Google Mobile - Google's mobile search and product offerings.

Google Gmail- A free email services and email hosting.

Google Labs - Showcase of your favorite Google ideas.

Google Store - Get all your Google gear, apparel, and accessories.

Google Checkout - Complete online checkout and shopping cart software solution.

Google Health - Medical records online organization software.

iGoogle - Create a personalized landing page from your Internet experience.

Google Notebook - collect information as you browse the internet on your web notebook.

Google Patent Search - Search for patents easily and quickly, the full text of US Patents.

Google Product Search - Product search aggregate for products to buy.

Google Calendar - Organize and share your events with family and friends.

Knol - Google's platform to share what you know.

Orkut - Google's social network platform to keep in touch with friends and meet new people.

Picassa - Find, edit and share your photos online

Google Reader - Get all your blogs and news feeds aggregated in one place.

Google Sites - Create your own free website or group wiki.

Google Talk - Instant Message or call your friends from your computer.

Google Directory - A DMOZ mirror site.

YouTube - Just when Google Video isn't enough.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Analytics is the Key To Search Success

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it make a noise? This is a very well known argument but illustrates my point about analytics. If you don’t see how many people are looking at your website, where they are located, the website that referred them and the conversion funnel that your readers took; than you can’t make any informed decisions about optimization or paid search strategy.

Free Analytics Packages

If you don’t have a lot of money (or you do have a lot of money) and need to keep track of your websites analytics register with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. With easy website verification and pixel placement, you can start tracking the traffic to your website.

Paid Search Analytics

It is very important to keep track of paid search traffic so you know what source is referring the most amount of traffic and conversions. By knowing exactly where your conversions are coming from you can make informed decisions about fund allocations. Set a Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) goal to guide you in your paid search strategy.
Finally, don’t let someone else keep track of your data and have exclusive rights, make sure you have access to your own analytics for future strategy. Having a full years worth of data can help you make better strategic decisions rather than starting from scratch.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Quantified & Forecasted

I just picked up my Magic 8-Ball and asked, “How many clicks and conversions will I get if I optimize my website for the search engines.” The Magic 8-Ball said, “Ask again later.” If you need to justify your Search Engine Optimization spend to your manager, you are not alone. Brand managers (and really all marketers) must quantify the value of their marketing spend. How do you keep track of brand awareness? How can you forecast future clicks and conversions?

Sometimes it is about creating a road map so you know the destination. Without knowing where you are going, you can’t figure out how you can get there. Set goals that are attainable but don’t over promise. But still, how can you forecast the gains from optimizing your website for search? Fortunately, SEO is data driven and the industry offers forecasting strategies and tools to help you quantify the ROAS for website search optimization.

Competitor Analysis Tips & Tools

Competitor analysis can help make quantifying the benefits of Search Engine Optimization easier (if they have optimized their website properly). Use competitor websites to forecast gains since they are in the same industry with the same target market. Don’t however put on blinders and only focus on your competitors. Why? You will miss out on all the new ideas other industries offer that can give you a competitive advantage.

How do I spy on my competitors’ organic rankings? You can manually pull search data for hundreds of keywords or you can use tools like Spyfu. Spyfu allows you to spy on your competitors for both paid and organic search. Keep in mind that this is a forecasting tool and may not be 100% accurate. Spyfu can however offer a good competitor benchmark to help you get started with forecasting and quantification of search optimization.

The Organic Search Delay or Sandbox Effect

You may have heard the term, Google Sandbox. This is a theory that Google will wait until your website “grows up” and stops playing in the sandbox before it will offer prominent rankings. This is partially true but the sandbox is just a time delay. Google has to crawl trillions of Web pages and may only visit some websites every week or so.

What does this means for your search engine optimization? On-page factors can offer quicker gains than off-page factors and external links. Once Google crawls your website (as long as you are not starting this website from scratch) it will use the new info about your website to improve rankings. It is however the external links that fall into the Sandbox Effect. Google will need to crawl your Web page and the external links that point to your Website. Then, crawl the external links to your external links (I think you get the picture). This takes time and the solution is to start building external links with a new website ASAP to quickly increase your rankings in Google. Take this in consideration when forecasting the gains you could receive from optimizing your website for search.

The Good, The Bad, and The Conversion

Search optimization will help you get prominent rankings; optimized organic ads will assist in click-throughs, but to forecast conversions and ROAS take a look at your website. Does it offer a clear path to conversion? Do people land on the best Web page and find the products and services they are looking for? This is an important consideration when making predictions about future search successes.

Under Promise and Over Deliver

If you have the ability to offer a range, this is the best scenario. Don’t offer a very large number as a goal unless you can actually meet this goal. Many times a 200% increase will be enough of a goal to satisfy upper management (and a client if you are an agency). Then you can work towards an increase of 800% in click-throughs and conversions. After reading this article, you pick up your Magic 8-ball and ask the same question. The Magic 8-Ball says, “Outlook good.”

Monday, August 4, 2008

Local Marketing Strategy – 11 Tips for Local Search Success

Looking to market yourself in your local area? Here are 11 tips for local search success:

1) Keep your data consistent across all local websites;, Google Maps, and your own website.

2) Optimize your website for local search queries; Include throughout your website keyword phrases about your service and geographic location.

3) Sign up and participate in industry specific social networks. Participants of social networks are actively looking for subject experts and additional information, fulfill their needs.

4) Improve the ranking of your website and name in the major search engines. When someone searches for you in Google you want them to find your website or name as high up on the search results as possible (ideally in Position One).

5) Include your website in all forms of communication; email signatures, business cards, etc.

6) Get customers to review your website on third-party review aggregates; Yelp, CitySearch, etc.

7) Optimize other media for local search queries on the Internet; videos, podcasts, webinars, press releases, blog articles,

8) Keep all of your local listings up-to-date if you change your business information quickly make the change so you don’t lose any potential customers.

9) Use geo-tags in your websites code to help the search spider index your website for local search queries.

10) Obtain external links to your website from professionals in your industry and your geographic location.

11) Make contact information easy to find to improve your conversion rate and requests for additional information.

For professionals in the legal, real estate, insurance, financial, and medical industries, local search marketing can be a great way to reach new customers and clients without spending an arm and a leg.