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January 28 2009

Which Search Engine is the Right Fit?

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More often than not, clients (especially those brand new to MoreVisibility) ask which search engine they should allocate their online marketing dollars toward.   Right out of the gate, many will say they want to focus solely on Google.  This is understandable given that Google holds anywhere from 65 to 70% of the market share; depending on which publication you read. Although no one can argue that Google is most widely used, there are a myriad of other channels worth considering.

So how do you know which engine is the right fit for you? It’s all about testing, testing and yes, more testing. Some clients perform better in Yahoo versus Google. Others experience a much higher ROI in MSN and a large majority of Ecommerce websites tend to do quite well in shopping portals like Amazon, Biz Rate and Shopzilla. It is advisable not to limit your online marketing initiatives to just one channel. Every search engine offers certain advantages, based on factors such as age, gender, demographics, etc. When creating a search engine marketing campaign, the preferred strategy is to take certain steps to achieve a more favorable result. These steps include, but are not limited to the following:

Budget – Determine an approximate monthly budget you wish to target. Keep in mind that this figure can change based on your results. Once you have the ability to gauge your progress (hint hint, I am referring to testing again), it will be much easier to choose which engine to spend the majority of your budget.

Bidding Strategy — Not all search engines are created equal; bid prices can vary depending on engine, industry and overall competition. 

Keyword Research – It is mission critical to take the time to research keywords for trends, competitiveness and volume. Certain keywords perform better in some engines than others. One word phrases are too generic and therefore, not often recommended.  The more targeted the phrase, the more targeted the searcher.

Testing — I am not trying to beat a dead horse, but you must analyze your results. Otherwise, you could be spending good money on top of bad money. Every dollar counts, specifically in today’s tough economy. Utilizing an Analytics Tool is essential and will afford you the ability to make educated decisions with respect to your online efforts. MoreVisibility utilizes Google Analytics (GA) and continues to source GA on behalf of our clients.

The morale of this blog? Expand your (online) horizons. Just because Google is dominating the market does not mean that your site will not also perform well in other engines. Get your hands dirty! Test out a few engines and take advantage of how robust and comprehensive analytics tools are today.  You will find the right potion for your site; you just need to figure out the right ingredients!

January 6 2009

Keep Your Visitors On Your Site!

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With the Online Marketing Arena growing every single day, it had become increasingly important to not only market your website efficiently and effectively, but also to keep your visitors as engaged as possible once they have reached your site. Amidst a tough economic climate, every dollar counts and competition is fierce. This is true for all types of sites: Lead Generation, E-Commerce, etc. Whether you are doing SEM in the main search engines: Google, Yahoo, MSN, and/or SEO, where you have spent the time, money and energy to garner a coveted organic piece of real estate, you ought to do everything in your power to keep your visitor long enough to see what you’re about. Even better, to complete an action item (i.e. request a brochure, fill out a form, make a purchase, etc).
 
You might be asking yourself the question, “Well, how do I get them to stay on my site???” Here are a few helpful tips:
 
Offer clear action items at no cost or commitment: Newsletter Signups, Whitepaper Downloads, Brochure Requests, Online Forms to receive coupons, discounts, special offers, etc.
 
Have fresh and unique content. Visitors will be more likely to remain on your site if they are reading verbiage they have never read before. A blog is a great tool to deliver updated, relevant content on your website. Press Releases are extremely beneficial, as well.
 
SEO, SEO and yes, more SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a critical piece of the puzzle for any website. If you optimize your site correctly for the keywords and phrases you are seeking positions on, you have a much better chance of generating organic traction in the engines. It will not happen overnight, but the sooner you get started, the sooner you will reap the benefits.
 
KISS. Keep it simple stupid. 🙂 Make it seamless for your visitors to navigate and enjoy their experience. I cannot tell you how many sites take forever to load, have broken images, it’s virtually impossible to request a brochure; the phone number might as well be invisible, etc.

Get Social! By this, I am referring to Social Media. If you are not utilizing Social Media, you should be. Organically, the internet is a social platform, which is just one of the many reasons why online marketing is so effective. Encouraging participation on your site will allow your visitors to stay longer and also help boost your organic results.

Having Site Analytics is not an option; it is a must. Implementing analytics will afford you the ability to see what your visitors are doing once they reach your site. Are they staying long enough to download a whitepaper or request more information? Or, are they bouncing off the site without even seeing more than one page?

Being seen is not enough. Your website must “speak” to your audience; give them a reason to stay AND more importantly, COME BACK.

December 5 2008

Times are a changin’

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The internet has made our lives completely different! Almost everyone has an email address or the ability to access the internet in some fashion. Children as young as 3 along with seniors as old as 100+ are utilizing the internet for a myriad of purposes. Whether it’s for fun, general knowledge, or shopping…the place to be is online! Why bother to run out to the mall when you can likely get the same gift online for a better price, without ever having to leave the comfort of your home or office?

Take Ebay for example. Ebay offers the ability to shop online for practically anything your heart desires; usually for a reduced price. Not only is there an enormous inventory, you also get to participate in the auction element that Ebay is widely known for. The auctions are enjoyable for many people and can also be educational, for kids in particular. The thrill of being the highest bidder is truly a “win win”. A win because they got to pick out what they wanted; an added win because they are learning about how the marketplace works.

With the holidays fast approaching, sites like Email Santa are getting an increase in activity and are the perfect way for kids to tell parents exactly what they want!  As a consumer, you should know that there are many online retailers who will literally stop at nothing to win your business. Take advantage of that mentality, especially given the current economy. Be a savvy online shopper! As a retailer, you should capitalize on the busiest shopping time of the year by offering as many incentives as possible!

The internet has indeed become an integral part of our daily lives. For business or pleasure, for children and adults alike, the world is at our fingertips now more than ever!

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