Thursday, November 27, 2014

Online Marketing Partners: Amazon launches new service for local businesses

Online Marketing Partners: Amazon launches new service for local businesses
In case you haven't heard yet, Amazon is now getting into offering local services to local markets.  The BIG PIECE of this is that they are going to be selling services too. Amazon is know for physical products (books, CDs, movies) so seeing them get into offering local services is a major step.

There are already similar services out there now. For example,  Angie's List offers a local business rating service and hangs it claim to fame on being a place to find reputable referrals for just about any type of service in any community.

IMHO, this new Amazon service will probably knock Angie's List out of business.  Don't forget Angie's List charges a fee to both users (people like you and I who want to view the local business directory) and to businesses (folks who want to have their businesses rated by people using Angie's List).

But, don't expect this to shake out overnight. A few days ago I was on Amazon Services to examine setting up how to use one of their web sites to sell my SEO, Blogging, and web site design services. They let you do a 30 day trial without charging you which is nice. But, my oh my, setting up a web site with them - going through the steps to build it online - is not so easy and uses an "old school" interface.  To have a site with them will cost you $79 a month plus a percentage of your sales. But, they do process all the sales for you, have millions of customers around the world, and an excellent reputation.

If you are just wanting a free web site, you can always one of those with Google.  To recieve some serious web exposure though, you are better off using the free blog (blogger.com) service provided by Google and then applying your own domain to it. Why? Those blogs do better with SEO (search engine optimization) than a free web site does - as I said in a previous post - blogs in Google have a SEO advantage.

I don't think there is any rush to get listed with Amazons local business services. Since they just launched it last week, there will be some time needed to fix the process bugs. On their site, up to last night, they just want you to submit your name and phone number so they can call you. I didn't find any clear documentation explaining how the listing process works or a fee schedule (other than the web site cost).

If you want assistance or have questions about expanding your sphere of influence on the web, lets have a chat about it.




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Comparing Online Marketing Methods

Comparing Online Marketing Methods
As a small business owner, you have to know how to get the most for your marketing efforts. The battle between Google and Facebook (FB) to be King/Queen of the pile will be interesting to watch over the coming years.

#1 Google+ rivals FB since Google already has millions (billions?) of gmail users that can easily activate their Google+ accounts.  It is free to list your business with Google and create a Google+ account with it.

#2 Blogger (blogger.com) is a free blog service that is owned by Google. And, yes, all those blog posts are automatically distributed to Google+ users. FB posts stay in FB and get little, if any, attention in Google, Bing, or Yahoo search results.

#3 Google is the number one search engine used around the globe. Do you think their search results favor Google+ accounts and posts made with Blogger?

Proof is Here....
The other day I logged into my gmail account and searched, in the Google search engine, for a local business - using a key phrase not their business name. On the first page of search results, I found their web site and two of their recent blog posts. Yes, they are using blogger.com for their blog.

Here is the interesting part, when I logged out of gmail and performed the same search again, the web site was still on the first page of results but the blog posts were not.

How many people do you know that stay logged into their email account all day? Most of the people I know do that. When means, if you are using blogger for your blog, you are more visible to those millions of gmail usersI think that is a significant advantage over FB - today.

If you want info on refining or expanding your online marketing,
click here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Faceboook vs Google: how can your online business benefit?

Faceboook vs Google: how do you win?
Facebook (FB) is expanding it's perception beyond a social network. What this means is pretty important if you are a small business owner wanting to sell more products. You already know that goofy "Thumbs Up" icon where everyone can bless you or hate you courtesy of FB.

Imagine a world where you can sell your products online to anyone in FB. That means accepting payments online through FB - what a concept. That is in motion now as FB ramps up its' FbStart program, literally giving selected  businesses $30-60K to develop FB apps.

Some say this eliminates the need for a web site or blog. Really?  Sure, FB has some advantages to doing networking. It's difficult to measure the clients it generates for business pages listed there. I see it more as a free "Angie's List."  I have never met a new client using FB, and only know of one business who has.

But, FB is great as a search engine because it's a global repository of information where you can expand your sphere of influence by posting your information. Whether you can distinguish your business from the herd, depends on the tone you set of your web reputation.


Learn more about using Facebook in your online marketing strategy - click here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Google and Yahoo have announced big changes that will impact your small business

search engine rankings
Google and Yahoo have announced big changes that will impact your small business web site.


Several weeks ago Google announced the latest version of its' Panda Update — a filter designed to penalize “thin” or poor content from ranking well — has been released.



If you see some change, good or bad, in your web traffic or your search engine rankings you know where it came from. 



What Google is working towards, based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, is to  identify low-quality web page content more precisely. With that accomplished, there will be a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites in search engine results.



Meanwhile, Yahoo announced that it is closing the Yahoo directory after 20 years of operation. Sure, they will have the Yahoo search engine available but no longer will they be maintaining their own directory of web sites and blogs.



Over the years I have been comparing the search engine results between Google, Bing and Yahoo. Here are three useful SEO characteristics I found ….



1. Google updates the web site content you submit to them within a week - or sooner, once your site is indexed. 



2. Bing and Yahoo seem to have similar search results although not exactly, but they are much different than Google and not as specific.



3. Bing and Yahoo take longer than two months to update your site content submissions. 



All in all, I think Google is the best place to focus your efforts relating to SEO (search engine optimization). Sure, being indexed in Bing and Yahoo is necessary but you just can't rely on a quick turn around of your content updates in those two search engines.



Some of my latest client SEO results in Google include (without using quotation marks)….



Searching on “medford roofing” or “medford roofing contractor” you will find Skye Roofing and Rogue River Roofing Co on the first page of search results.



Searching on “medford electrical services” or “medford energy retrofit” or electrical contractor medford” or “energy contractor medford" to find Aztec Electrical Services on the first page of search results.
Learn more about effective SEO - click here.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How To Measure Your Organic SEO Traffic; a secret to internet marketing

How To Measure Your Organic SEO Traffic; a secret to internet marketingOrganic links  are the bread and butter to expanding your web site traffic. They are not a quick fix like the golden arches, but the rewards are very significant.

Organic linking is the development of hypertext links between web sites with or without an explicit agreement to exchange links. Organic links are more likely to appear in a context relevant to the subject of the target document, which makes them useful for search engines like Google search that rank pages according to their links.



In my opinion, one of the best ways to measure to overall success of your SEO campaign is to look at your organic SEO traffic. Rank just isn’t a good SEO metric for a variety of reasons including the increased personalization of search, the impact of social signals on the search results, the effect of local SEO on search results and more. A site’s rank changes too frequently to be a viable method of measuring your long tern SEO success. Looking at your organic SEO traffic, however, can give you a much better idea of what is going on.
 
How do you measure your organic SEO traffic that is a direct result of your SEO efforts?

1. Start with a traffic overview
Using your analytics tool (I prefer Google Analytics because you may as well get the data directly from the horse’s mouth), start with an overview of all the traffic that has come to your site in a given period including SEO traffic, PPC traffic, direct traffic, branded traffic and so forth. This number is the total amount of visitors that have come to your site. Google Analytics does a good job of breaking it down into traffic sources so you can see exactly which sources are sending the most visitors to your site.

2. Segment down to organic traffic
Now the trick is to weed out all the non-organic SEO traffic, so the next report you should pull should be strictly search traffic. It’s important to make sure that you are only looking at non-paid traffic so you aren’t lumping PPC visitors in with your SEO visitors.

3. Remove branded keywords
At least in Google Analytics, when you zero in on the SEO traffic, the report also pulls a list (up to 500) of the most used keywords to find your website. You can export this data into an Excel spreadsheet and organize it alphabetically by keyword. In order to determine your true organic SEO traffic, it’s important to remove any and all branded keywords from your list. While SEO can definitely help build your online brand and introduce it to whole new audiences, pure SEO traffic comes from non-branded keywords that drive visitors who have never heard of/interacted with your site before over.

The keywords and numbers you are left with are your organic SEO traffic numbers! In order to determine if your SEO is working, you can compare these keywords/numbers to the same time period in the previous year before you launched your SEO campaign. In addition to sheer percentage growth, it’s also worth comparing your keyword lists. What new keywords, either ones directly targeted on the site or long-tail variations of them, are popping up in the new data that weren’t there last year? Every new keyword that drives visitors is a results of your SEO efforts.
 

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Learn How To Measure Your SEO (search engine optimization) In Three Steps

Learn How To Measure Your SEO (search engine optimization) In Three Steps
In the last two weeks I have been swamped with calls from people offering me SEO services. Naturally, I talked with them to see understand their services and prices. My disappointment was hearing fees ranging from $99 - $199 a MONTH, without a guarantee. 

Here are three easy steps to measuring your SEO. It makes sense to decipher what your SEO dollars are returning to your business.

#1 Don’t base SEO results on finding the name of your business in search engines

Obviously, your potential new customers don’t know the name of your business, all they know is a service or product they want to buy or use. I have seen too many people get excited about finding their business name in search engines, paying for that kinda result is a waste of money.  Honest SEO results translate into people finding your business based on the description of your offering(s) AND your geographic location.

#2 Make a list of words/phrases that describe your services and/or products

Making a list of attributes of your product or service is an effective method to identifying your SEO strategy  Included in those should be geographic terms. To assist in your efforts make use of the the free Adwords tool in Google or Bing. Adwords are terms that can be purchased, by anyone, so that when someone searches on those purchased Adwords - an ad appears at the top of the search page page. 

I don’t suggest the use of buying Adwords as an SEO strategy. But, researching terms in the Adword databases will help you understand what words/phrases people are using to find products like yours.

Assuming you have compiled your list of attributes, along with selecting some terms from Adwords, the next step is to build that SEO material into the content of your web/blog pages and your meta tags. Once you have given Google about 45 days to digest your content, search it using your SEO material. Is your business displaying on the first page of the search results?  Taking that step is the only authentic method to validating your SEO dollars are accomplishing some results.

NOTE: Bing takes much longer to digest new content then Google.  For sake of ease, I suggest trying your SEO results on Google first and Give Bing 120 days for new content digestion.

#3  Use organic SEO methods for long lasting, beneficial affects in search engine marketing


The organic method means not purchasing Adwords, not buying clicks (users that visit your pages), or buying back links to your web site. Organic SEO relies solely on SEO material in your pages and adjusting your meta tags accordingly.

When you use organic methods in your SEO, as outlying in #2 above, you are putting an SEO strategy in place that will last through all the renditions of the software updates which make Google and Bing what they are - search engines.

Some examples of organic SEO results (don’t use the quotation marks) ….

Google “seo ashland oregon” and my company, Ez Web Manifesting, is the second or third result.

Google “placer mining consulting” and Gold Tower, goldtowner.com, is displayed at top of first page of search results.

Google “roofing contractor jackson county” and Rogue Valley Roofing Company is listed on the first page of search results. 

Google “universal pipe clamp” or “universal plastic pipe clamp” and Kwik Block has results from their web site and YouTube video on first page of search results.

My SEO services are guaranteed; a money back refund to you.  And, you pay a one time fee for a specific period of time.

Wishing you the best in your SEO endeavors.

Steu Mann

541 200 5269

Monday, June 9, 2014

Research: social media - how it helps grow a business

Research: social media - how it helps grow a business
We’ve all heard about the importance of social media marketing. But if you think good social media eliminates the need for a great product, great customer service or other traditional marketing, think again.

Vaynerchuk helped grow his family business, Shoppers Discount Liquors in Springfield, NJ, from a $3 million retail store to a $60 million success story. And he says social media was only part, though a very important part, of the process.

As Vaynerchuk recalls, it didn’t start with a video blog or the trendy social sharing so often talked about today. It started with good old fashioned sales and customer service.

He explains:
“That was done through operations. That was me on the floor selling more. Then the website kicked in the momentum in 2000, 2001, 2002. Then search marketing 2002, 2003, 2004. Then kind of like just fixing, getting better at it in 2004, 2005. And then in 2006 started Wine Library TV which took it to the next place. And the reason it gets so much credit, even from me, is I went from spending millions of dollars, right? To spending no money, and using these new tactics, which is why I knew they would work for big brands.”

And herein lies the real power of social media, Vaynerchuck argues. Far from the only tool at an entrepreneur’s disposal, it is one of many, he says.

After spending plenty on rebranding, eCommerce, TV commercials and ads in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, social media was something new.



No, social media was not responsible for all the growth at Wine Library, Vaynerchuk says. But it was a way to cut costs even if it took more time. Because most entrepreneurs, he says, have more time than money.

Source: http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/06/value-of-social-media-marketing.html

Sunday, June 8, 2014

How much does a web site cost?

Pricing a web site is not as easy as going to  shopping for products at your local grocery store or box store.

In my web reputation consulting business I am regularly asked, “How much will it cost me to get a web site going?”  That question is similar to the question what is the best type of coffee to drink; there is not really a simple answer.

Here are the five reasons why a simple, concrete answer is difficult.

1. Web site design and development is a service and not a product.
A quality web site is something that grows over time. Technology is always changing, which means that in order for your web sit to stay current it needs to be modified. While it may be hard to believe, a web site is a service since it will require an ongoing effort to maintain.


2.  Building a successful web site is a complex undertaking.
There are the obvious parts of a web site like written content, images, store products, and the freebies you offer to entice visitors to connect with you. But there are also other components that are just as important as those, maybe more important. After all, what good is a web site, if it cannot be easily found by potential customers? Those other components include SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social networking, and some level of planing of internet marketing - even if it’s just a newsletter.

There are dozens and dozens of questions to designing the best web site for your needs. Are you willing to go through those? Are you willing to pay for the time to go through that data processing to arrive at your optimum site? Or, is it better to use a trusted resource, with a decent client reputation, who can reduce those questions and get your web presence up to speed for a fair price?


3. Web site quotes are very subjective.
There are numerous ways in which to build a quality and successful web site.  You can find this out by contacting five companies and getting a price from each one. The prices will be all over the road. I have been told by clients that they received quotes of $1,500 - $8,500 for the same work. How can this be possible?


4. The measure of success must be clearly defined.
The web site industry has lots of opinions and none are right or wrong. For example, one designer might think your web site should be built from the latest code, while another designer thinks your site needs to look like a piece of art, and yet another designer says to build your web site with a simple, direct approach that maximizes SEO and social marketing from the get-go. 

While there are many bells and whistles and features a web site can have, but the most important question is, “Is your web site fulling your business goals and objectives?”
The success of your published web site can be measured in terms of page rank or search engine results. It can also be measured in terms of simple numbers like page views and visitor statistics.


5. There are two ways to price a web site.
The only way to price a web site is 1) an hourly basis or 2) a project model.  In a project mode, or fixed pricing, quote you receive a set price of $3,500 for 12 months. And on a hourly price tag you would receive a bid for $80 an hour, for as longs as it takes to complete the project.  As a rule of thumb, a medium size web site, without a store, will take 30-35 hours to design and build the content.

Pricing by the hour means you are going to see a weekly report on what was accomplished and how long it took to get ‘er done.

In both instances you will be working on a time line with expected completion dates for the tasks being discussed in your meetings. 

As a third party reference, you can review the average salary of a web designer at http://www1.salary.com/Web-Designer-salary.html


6.  The web site industry has few Standards.
Because this industry is relatively new, there is no deep collection of set practices in place. As I mentioned before, there are many ways to build a web site, there are many features and services associated with a web site, and there are multiple programs available to build a web site. Since web technology is constantly evolving, the scope of web site methods will likely increase.

In the end, there is really no meaningful answer to the question, “How much will it cost to build my web site?” And, when you understand the subjective foundation of the question, you have a more informed approach to moving forward with your web site. 

Steu Mann is a web reputation consultant with over 10 years of working with businesses in build quality web systems to achieve specific business objectives. Send him an email - click here.

Research: internet users in 2014 in USA

Research: internet users in 2014 in USA
These represent users who may be using a computer, mobile device, or an email account.

Who uses the internet in USA?

87% of all adults (both males and females)

Age Group

18-29:  97%
30-49:  93%
50-64:  88%
65+:     57%

Click here to view all results.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Research: The Internet in 2025


research - internet in 2025
Internet experts and highly engaged netizens participated in answering an eight-question survey fielded by Elon University and the Pew Internet Project from late November 2013 through early January 2014. One of the survey questions asked respondents to share their answer to the following query:

As billions of devices, artifacts, and accessories are networked, will the Internet of Things have widespread and beneficial effects on the everyday lives of the public by 2025? Describe the evolution of embedded devices, "wearables," and "scannables" by 2025 - where will commercial and social applications of the Internet of Things most commonly and vividly be felt? What social and political difficulties will accompany its rise? Pleasediscuss what you believe the barriers are to the spread of the Internet of Things and the benefits that are claimed for it. Bonus question: Consider the ways in which people will most commonly interact with the Internet in 2025 and tell us what you think the fate of wearable connected devices such as Google Glass and the Samsung watch will be. What do you think of the future prospect that people will interact via their thoughts or other bodily signals such as eye movements?

These technologists, including the majority of the expert respondents here, predict the Internet of Things will be evident in:

- Bodies: Many people will wear devices that let them connect to the Internet and will give them feedback on their activities, health, and fitness. They will also monitor others (their children or employees, for instance) who are also wearing sensors, or moving in and out of places that have sensors.

- Homes: People will be able to control nearly everything remotely, from how their residences are heated and cooled to how often their gardens are watered. Homes will also have sensors that warn about everything from prowlers to broken water pipes.

- Communities: Embedded devices and smartphone apps will enable more efficient transportation, and give readouts on pollution levels. “Smart systems” might deliver electricity and water and warn about infrastructure problems.

- Goods and services: Factories and supply chains will have sensors and readers that more precisely track materials to speed up and smooth out the manufacture and distribution of goods.

- Environment: There will be real-time readings from fields, forests, oceans, and cities about pollution levels, soil moisture, and resource extraction that allow for closer monitoring of problems.

Read more: http://www.elon.edu/e-web/imagining/surveys/2014_survey/2025_Internet_of_Things.xhtml

Research: Social Media Update 2013

Social media update report 2013
42% of online adults use multiple social networking sites, but Facebook remains the platform of choice.

Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind.1 Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, but a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms. Some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites. In addition, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in to the site on a daily basis. These are among the key findings on social networking site usage and adoption from a new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.

While Facebook is popular across a diverse mix of demographic groups, other sites have developed their own unique demographic user profiles. For example, Pinterest holds particular appeal to female users (women are four times as likely as men to be Pinterest users), and LinkedIn is especially popular among college graduates and internet users in higher income households. Twitter and Instagram have particular appeal to younger adults, urban dwellers, and non-whites. And there is substantial overlap between Twitter and Instagram user bases.

Facebook and Instagram exhibit especially high levels of user engagement: A majority of users on these sites check in to them on a daily basis

In addition to being the most commonly used social networking platform of the five we measured,  Facebook also has high levels of engagement among its users: 63% of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day, with 40% doing so multiple times throughout the day. Instagram and Twitter have a significantly smaller number of users than Facebook does, but users of these sites also tend to visit them frequently. Some 57% of Instagram users visit the site at least once a day (with 35% doing so multiple times per day), and 46% of Twitter users are daily visitors (with 29% visiting multiple times per day).

More: http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/12/30/social-media-update-2013/