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November 6 2009

The Internet as We Know It

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Everything you know about internet url’s is about to change. Well, not everything.
According to a recent article in PC World, ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has given the green light for a change called IDN, also known as internationalized domain names.

IDN will allow non Latin characters to be used in the entire web address of websites. Prior to the change, domains could only use a few non Latin characters, but now their whole website name can be in non Latin characters. Some people are excited about the change because it will encourage more people around the world to use the internet. According to an article on CNET, “IDNs will let people who write in Chinese, Korean, or Arabic use their own languages to surf the Web, and is expected to jump-start Internet use in many regions across the globe.”  For many around the world, especially in China the change is more than welcome.

However, some believe it’s opening the door for mishap. Since, the IDN will allow users to create websites in their native tongue, this means some companies will have to do more policing of their site names across the web, in order to protect them. Imagine, Walmart.com having to make sure there isn’t an imposter using their name in another language. Plus homoglyphs (defined by Wikipedia as one of two or more characters, or glyphs, with shapes that either appear identical or cannot be differentiated by quick visual inspection) may become an even bigger issue. It may be a little harder to tell real sites from fake ones. Do you see the difference between these two websites at first glance- google.com and goógle.com?
 
It should be interesting to see the difference this change will make on internet users as well as companies. It may not be as easy to find the bargain site on the internet when the url changes to non Latin letters. On the other hand, it will allow more people to interact with different cultures. Whether you’re for or against it, the change is taking place.

 

October 19 2009

Who Gets the Credit?

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It’s been said, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” So, this is a squeak for search engine marketing. Many times companies underestimate and under credit the value of search engine marketing on their bottom line revenue dollars. A company will credit call-in sales and organic traffic but fail to realize that search engine marketing is a key component in driving sales from those mediums. 

Search engine marketing loses a lot of credit to inbound sales calls, especially if the person on the phone doesn’t ask the buyer how they heard about their particular site or product. Think about it, a searcher clicks on an ad and goes to a company’s website. They browse and find products that they like or want to buy. They are a little wary of putting their credit card info in because they are new to the site, so they pick up the phone and call. Another scenario, is that a searcher comes to the site, but feels that the online paying process is too tedious (that’s why you don’t make a searcher create an account before buying), and again, they pick up the phone and call. In both cases, search engine marketing didn’t get the credit. It’s assumed that they saw an ad on TV, heard a radio spot or came in from an organic listing. Sometimes, no one, except the advertiser thinks to credit search engine marketing.

With regard to organic traffic, search engine marketing plays a huge role in crediting organic traffic with sales. When a searcher is looking for a product, they see the ads that come up, even if they don’t click on them. Later on in the week, they remember seeing an ad and they do a search. Bingo, the organic listing comes up and they buy the product online. Search engine marketing drove the sale, but the organic traffic took the credit.

It is important for companies not to devalue the power of search engine marketing. Although search engine marketing may not take the spot light for sales all the time, it’s important to remember that it is doing its part in bringing in the sales.  It’s similar to the sports adage that says “Offense sells tickets, but defense when championships.” Don’t devalue search engine marketing or you may lose sales.

 

October 2 2009

Back to the Basics

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It seems that some people tend to think that search marketing campaigns are magic. That “If you build it, they will come.” In theory, that is true. However, building a search marketing campaign is only half the battle. The next steps are to analyze the data so that the necessary adjustments can be made to the campaign to create an even better outcome. Three key components to analyze and improve are keywords, ad copy and landing pages.

Keywords are necessary for any search marketing campaigns; however the right keywords along with the right ad copy are even more essential. Keywords direct users to your ad copy, which if clicked on leads searchers to your landing page. If your keywords lead a searcher to ad copy that doesn’t make sense, they’re not likely to click on the ad. What some fail to realize is that match type and keyword grouping also play a significant part in the success of keywords.  If you use broad match, for a general keyword, you’ll reach a lot of searchers, but a good percentage of those searchers may not be in the target you’re trying to reach. If you use phrase match, you will limit the number of searchers who see your ad, however the searchers will probably be more qualified. If you use exact match, you’ll only get the people who search for your exact terms, but you’ll miss a great deal of people who could have been potential customers. The best way to solve this is to test and to use negative keywords. Plus you want to make sure your ad copy is relevant. Ad copy plays a key role in the success of a campaign and leads the searcher to your landing page. 

Landing pages have a critical role in the success of a campaign because they have a great affect on how a searcher will respond. Make sure searchers are being sent to relevant landing page. It is very annoying to click on an ad only to be led to a page isn’t relevant.  This will cause searchers to leave a website as soon as they get there. Landing pages should coincide with the ad copy. If you’re a camera store and you’re advertising, Canon Powershots, send the user to the Cannon Powershot page, not the Nikon page. It will improve the results.

It may seem elementary, but if a search marketing campaign doesn’t get the basics right, it will fail no matter how much money is thrown at it. The best steps to take are to focus on the fundamentals; from there the results will follow.

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