The Wheel of SEO

The Wheel of SEO

Lately, a lot of people have been asking me about SEO at work. While I know the basic mechanics of how it works, I cannot say definitively how it is employed. Google is king on SEO, so I am using a SEO manual as reference to better understand how Google operates its search engine.

Content is very important to a website that keeps the visitors coming back. Some things that will make content on your site better are optimizing your keyword placements, keyword density and keyword prominence.

According to How SEO Works Manual, your keywords work best if you place them within the first two lines of your opening paragraph. In order to create keyword density, you should repeat your keywords within the content several times and bolding or italicizing the most important keywords will make the words standout. In order to optimize your content, you should also pay attention to the length of the text on your website, people need to be able to follow the message and become engaged but they do not want the message to continue forever. If it is a long article on your website, make it engaging enough that viewers will come back to it later if they cannot finish it right then and there. Stop regurgitating the same information that everyone else is spewing, at least put a new spin on someone’s information to make it appear like your own thoughts. Another great idea for building better content is to make videos available. If you have a catalog of original video content, it will make your website more unique because no one else has this content. Of course there are other things to consider in order to make your website more prominent on websites but I believe content is key. Anyone can pay for their listing to be ranked high on a search engine but the easiest way to help your website grow organically is to create a worthwhile website with interesting or useful content.

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Doesn’t everyone have at least one social network account? It is not uncommon for people to be chatting online at their office desktops; it is almost acceptable. Even businesses have social networking accounts (like I have mentioned in previous posts). What I find most interesting about most of these sites like FaceBook, LinkedIn etc., is that these have become the ultimate business-networking tool for finding employment. People make the mistake of telling too much on these sites, this information is always traceable and may or may not lead to them being hired at a company. These are sites are also great hubs for finding subcontractors to help with company projects that do not require a full-time employee. Companies are even advertising their services and job openings on these sites. These sites seem like pretty popular online water coolers, so why isn’t the online advertising on these sites seeing revenues equal to their popularity with the public? Some experts state that these social networking sites create more ad inventory than they can sell and that people are less willing to click on ads in this type of environment.

How Social Networking Works.

How Social Networking Works.


Here is some social networking facts provided by USA Today (May 2008):

“MySpace: Since it scored a $900 million, three-year deal with Google in 2006, MySpace has been profitable. And it has given News Corp. a nice turn on its $650 million acquisition in 2005; Richard Greenfield, an analyst at Pali Capital, expects MySpace to haul in $700 million to $800 million in revenue in fiscal 2008, mostly in advertising.

Facebook hopes to double its revenue to $300 million to $350 million this year, its fourth of existence. Google’s revenue soared fivefold, to $440 million, in its fourth year.

LinkedIn: The business-contact site has built a booming business in five years through banner ads from the likes of Porsche and Microsoft; subscriptions; job postings charged to corporations and small-business owners; and corporate sales to Symantec, MTV and others. LinkedIn is developing other revenue streams, including research services to locate experts.”

Market Vox estimates that ad spending in the United Kingdom will grow substantially by 148% by the year 2012. Ad spending is expected to peak at 285 million Euros ($533 million) according to the Marketing Vox website. It seems like the UK is dominating ad spending in the Western World. They seem to enjoy more profits from their investments than in the United States. Rarely, do you hear of any glory stories about how much these social networking sites profited in the United States. Marketing Vox reports (June 2008), “Though social sites account for only a tiny portion of UK online ad spending, social network ad spend will rise 77% this year (2008). Social networks have been part of the UK internet landscape for several years, and the UK dominates social-network spending in Western Europe with 68% of the market. eMarketer expects the UK social-network market to enjoy slightly greater ad-spending percentage gains than that of the US”.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth

I found an interesting article from the Direct Marketing Association talking about how to regulate Bluetooth marketing. Do the same rules apply to Bluetooth as it does to Mobile Marketing? Surprisingly, the rules defined for Mobile do not apply to Bluetooth.

“Many users and even industry experts are still confused with the technology and the surrounding regulation and anti-SPAM laws that enter the picture anytime marketing messages are “pushed” to users via a Bluetooth connection”, states the Direct Marketing Association website (2009).

One could easily assume that Mobile Marketing rules apply to Bluetooth because you use one technology in conjunction with the other. In 2007, the Information Commissioner cleared the air on Bluetooth and said that Bluetooth is not apart of the “mobile network” and the previous 2003 regulations created for Mobile Marketing do not apply. Email regulations also do not apply to Bluetooth Marketing. Both of these marketing practices use opt-in consent from the consumer to receive messages from advertisers. While no one has defined the rules on Bluetooth, I believe it is safe to assume, that you better find a way to get the express permission of the consumer before you start bombarding them with advertising messages.

With many text messaging campaigns, the consumer hears or sees an ad to send a code to a particular texting number to receive information, service or download a ringtone. Usually on television commercials, the disclaimer is written in very small type at the bottom of the screen or spoken very rapidly at the end of the commercial. In radio, where I have practice, we tie our texting campaigns to an advertiser. The listener hears the promotion, i.e.: “Text “Pizza” to 11111 to receive your free medium pizza from Fred’s Pizza”. After the listener does this, they automatically receive a canned-spam declaration to their phone and have to respond (hit reply) once more. While this seems like an annoying task on the part of the consumer, it clearly expresses that the consumer is consenting to the advertising and receiving future messages from that advertiser. This seems easy enough, so why is it not applicable to Bluetooth? A person receives the advertising message wirelessly through the Bluetooth device and the message is displayed or downloaded to their phone. I think the reason why no laws have been passed yet on Bluetooth is because people realize there is major money to be made on this technology. Everyone (major technology companies) wants to make sure they understand how the technology works completely and understand all of the potential uses for the technology before they create rules that will limit their interactivity and profits with the technology.

Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth Technology

People are still trying to figure out Bluetooth technology and how it works. Honestly, I may still be a little mystified on the complete uses for Bluetooth. Here is a fairly new feature…Bluetooth Proximity Marketing. There are many companies offering technologies that allow an advertiser to target their own consumers by creating hotspots. These are supposedly secure connections where the advertiser can interact with the consumer by sending them offers or any other incentive via their Bluetooth device on their mobile phone. These Bluetooth technologies allow advertisers to create content rich graphics, send MP3s, ringtones and even movies that are available for the consumer to download.

A company that I found offering Bluetooth marketing is Bloozy Bluetooth Marketing Systems. This company claims that the software detects a consumer’s Bluetooth connection and sends them the advertiser’s information for downloading. One downside is that the Bloozy system will keep sending the message to the consumer until the consumer accepts the message or it reaches a limit (which is set by the advertiser), which could ultimately make this a less than favorable practice to consumers.

The reason for bringing up such technologies is that it is a great way to connect with people, especially in concentrated areas like a shopping mall or a concert. In a shopping mall, advertisers using this system could send messages to consumers within so much proximity to their store. This could act as an incentive to the consumer to visit the store and if a person is already in the store, this message may act as an incentive to make a purchase. In a concert scenario, this technology would work well for a music artist to connect with the audience and do special contesting during the show to win free backstage passes etc. Messages could be created in advance with relative ease and duplicated without incurring great expense.

Many states are passing laws to make operating a motor vehicle while talking on the phone illegal. More and more people are purchasing Bluetooths just to obey the law and make driving safer while they hold conversations, so why not embrace this technology? While there are many regulations still to be ironed out, this technology is still worth investigating. This technology is one way to literally speak directly to the consumer.

Philip Markoff at his arraignment.

Philip Markoff at his arraignment.

The brilliant playwright William Shakespeare wrote the phrase “something wicked this way comes,” over 400 years ago. While this phrase was written under different context for the play MacBeth, I believe it is applicable to something I see beginning to crest on the horizon. Let me preface my thoughts with a definition of the word “ethics” before I continue.

ethics
Noun, pl
1. a code of behaviour, esp. of a particular group, profession, or individual: business ethics
2. the moral fitness of a decision, course of action, etc.

Noun
the study of the moral value of human conduct

By being able to define to the word “ethics” there should be no trouble in figuring out what is unethical. I say all of this because lately the news media has been souring my stomach with stories of killers stalking their prey on websites and advertisers still willingly advertising on the site and for free! In case no one has heard about the “Craig’s List Killer” let me give you a brief overview. Phillip Markoff is suspected of killing one female and robbing and battering several others in the masseuse/exotic dancer/prostitution profession so he could pay off gambling debts. It is a pretty scary story and while I know strange things happen, I feel that somehow Craig’s List should at least be remorseful. They were not the culprits of these hideous and ridiculous crimes but they did help facilitate the crime even though the site creators had no idea this was going to happen. I call this crime ridiculous because Markoff’s reason for killing the woman and battering and robbing the others was not because of some psychotic disorder (but will probably later turn into one from his criminal defense team) but instead, as he admits, to pay off a gambling debt. He made the debt and feels as though he can take money from women with less than reputable employment to cover his own behind! This is quite infuriating and I do not condone prostitution but I am not on this earth to judge.

Moreover, the Craig’s List website still has an adult section on its website and I find it hard not to find a connection between Markoff’s crime and this portion of the website. The section of the site was originally called “Erotic Services” but since the whole Markoff debacle, that portion of the site has been renamed “Adult”, which still has its immoral implications. There are state attorneys in South Carolina trying to charge the Craig’s List site with “aiding and abetting prostitution”, according to Media Post News (Friday, May 15). Craig’s List struck a deal with several state attorney general offices across the country by making advertisers pay $10 for an adult posting and will actively screen listings for any mention of illegal sexual activities. Will these actions be enough? I have an eerie feeling that we, with are media consuming appetites, are only fostering the ideal of a new generation of online convicts. These are not postings on Craig’s List for a roommate or for employment, these are postings for adult services. Of course, someone should have to pay at the very least to post for these scandalous listings and it should be way more than $10 per posting. At least when someone pays for the advertising, you know who is accountable and Craig List services are largely free. I have to pay to run a television campaign and if I goof up and state something that might do harm to the public in my television commercial, I am held liable.

Wi-Fi Statistics courtesy of the JiWire Website

Wi-Fi Statistics courtesy of the JiWire Website


Getting connected to the Internet is getting easier and easier with the right equipment. Take your laptop to the local café, find a cappuccino and connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi and chat with your missionary friend in Guatemala. I first noticed how popular Wi-Fi was several months ago while sitting in the Las Vegas Airport waiting on my luggage to spin around the luggage belt. I opened up my Mac and was immediately prompted to connect to the Internet via the Wi-Fi offered at the airport. What I noticed immediately after that was advertisements or sponsors of this Wi-Fi on the connection page. Next, I noticed Wi-Fi advertising on a Myrtle Beach Camp Resort Wi-Fi page last month on vacation. When you sign up and pay your $14.95 to use the campground’s Wi-Fi, they immediately bombard you with advertisements for area attractions and discounts to shows in the area.

Since last spring, the historic east end of city where I currently work and live offers free Wi-Fi and I have heard of this trend in larger cities as well. You can go to the Wi-Fi Free Spot website to learn where Wi-Fi is available in certain states and even cities and towns. Wi-Fi is a great advertising opportunity because someone has to go through a connection portal to connect to the Internet and in some cases register their computer to use the service, so they will at least be exposed to your advertising message. If you go to McDonald’s and use their Wi-Fi service ($3 fee), they have their own portal webpage about McDonald’s and many hotels like Holiday Inn do the same thing. I think the possibilities are endless for Wi-Fi because companies are creating so many devices that are compatible with the technology and these devices are getting cheaper and cheaper to purchase.

The JiWire website estimates that:
· More than 20% of the U.S. online population currently uses public Wi-Fi
· In 2009, all laptops and smartphones are shipping with embedded Wi-Fi capabilities
· Nearly 300 million Wi-Fi enabled devices shipped in 2007, and close to one billion are predicted to ship by 2012
· Wi-Fi chipset sales grew 26% to 387 million in 2008
· Wi-Fi users are highly affluent and mobile with above average income, 75% are between the ages of 25-49 years old and 65% hold managerial positions.

This doesn't really work.

This doesn't really work.


Currently, I am working on building a widget at work. This is something I have never done before and may be beyond my skill set but I am the kind of person who will try until I either figure it out or exhaust all possible options. There are several reasons for building this widget: (1) the glory of saying that I did it; (2) to show everyone I know more than they do, technology wise; and (3) really, so we can plug our radio station websites everywhere and have our listeners put them on their social networking accounts. I am a Graphic Designer by trade (and an undergraduate degree says so) but I have learned many things in my post undergrad days before even receiving my current position as an Interactive Program Director. My position is kind of a catch-all that really anyone could do with enough Internet-savvy. However, I feel as though I have to go beyond using and updating our existing websites for our radio stations with the webmaster tools that our webhosting company provides for us. I want to be able to develop applications in addition to just using them.

Let me give you a definition of a widget from the Widgets for Web 2.0 Website:

“A web widget is a mini-web application you can put in your web page, blog or social profile that can quickly and easily provide your visitors with, user specific information , extra functionality, and even a bit of fun and games.

A widget is available in a ready-to-use formats and are visually attractive and customizable by the user. It takes the form of pictures, graphs, statistics, summary, or just numbers.
Its a snippet of HTML code which is available from the the website which hosts the widget. you can “copy” that code and “embed” in your web page.”

However, before I can develop and employ this wonderful widget for station marketing purposes, I have to read through a phenomenal amount of reference material and download this and that application. Currently, I am using Yahoo’s Widget Engine as my initial reference guide, which is directing me to several additional websites to gather information and is filled with too much basic information about hexadecimal color values and file types. I am just going to take a deep breath, print out 18 manuals, download 5 applications and figure this thing out. The widget saga continues…

Here’s some Von Bondies to round out the night. I have been feeling run down lately and this pretty much describes my mood but it’s all good. (Of course I could not find the actual video which is way more entertaining.)

I cannot recall what it was but something reminded of that story from month or so ago about hikers trapped in an avalanche and one person’s desperate plea via Twitter for rescue. Of course, I try to Google this story and I cannot find it so I can read the article but I remember hearing about it. Perhaps, I was not using the most exact keywords for my search. Either way, what did come up in my search using keywords “twitter avalanche” were pages on commentary on a non-literal Twitter avalanches. Finally, when I tweak the keywords slightly to “twitter rescue attempt” I find the actual story. Turns out the real-life event did not border around an avalanche in the Swiss Alps but some unfortunate person falling into a ravine in the Swiss Alps. This proves my point that Internet searches are both an aid and a hindrance and most definitely a distraction. What this convoluted search did do was turn my attention to the “Twitter Avalanche” phenomenon.

It is safe to assume there are a lot of people “tweeting”. It is also safe to assume that all of these people have a Twitter app that they without hesitation embed onto every other website or social networking site they belong to. The new business trend is to do the same and people are calling this a “Twitter Avalanche”. The question that arises is whether or not businesses are joining the Twitter revolution to really stay in touch with their consumer base or are they just trying to hock another product, idea or service? I know that we joined Twitter at work because we were trying to do it before everyone else in our industry in the local market did. Is this advantageous for us? Well being in the media/entertainment industry, I would assume so because the more people we connect with the greater the chance that they will listen to our radio stations. Our advertising rates and ratings depend on these listeners and keeping them entertained and satisfied. Are we really providing some great service for these avid listeners who follow us on Twitter…NO. Twitter benefits both parties for different reasons and I can definitely say that when businesses use these social sites, there is definitely some agenda setting in place.

Just as popular Twitter is FaceBook and have you seen JCPenney’s Facebook lately? There are many regular customers giving praise to the company and in return JCPenney is sending them back some applause in the form of advertising. I am not sure if this proprietary information or not but this what the JCPenney FaceBook page looks like.

A Glimpse Into JCPenney's FaceBook...chock full of promoting products with little consumer engagement.

A Glimpse Into JCPenney's FaceBook...chock full of promoting products with little consumer engagement.

I am not bashing JCPenney or any other company who chooses to engage in interactions with their customers. Here is my personal plea – please act like you care about what these people are actually interested in and disguise the advertising, otherwise, it is just a gimmick.

I am on MySpace on a fairly regular basis and who has not experienced some band on the site, sending you a “nice pic” comment and then attaching a link to their music page? Honestly, I have done this myself to get people to look at things on web pages. While it is not completely ethical and you know you did not look at a picture on that persons profile at all, it is quite effective to some degree. This should be considered a form of interactive guerilla marketing or something; this is merely word of mouth relay via written language on the web. I have had several people put a comment on this WordPress blog (which I have never approved) who sent me a nice comment about a post and then plugged their own website. I guess the most appropriate term to use to identify this method is called link seeding.

There are people who probably get paid well to sift through web pages, online forums, and probably even social networking sites just to attach a link to these sites to redirect traffic to their site. While I generally have no problem with this there is a concern that some of these links are not genuine. Let some unsuspecting person obligingly accept the invitation to someone’s webpage based off of a link seed on MySpace only to get a virus downloaded onto their computer and that is where I have a problem. Are there any regulating bodies to stop people from doing this? These are not paid text links because someone is planting these links but this does not mean that the person is not profiting. Don’t these misrepresenting acts constitute a form of spam? As long as these text links are not misrepresenting, I really have no problem with link seeding because it is up to the user to actually click on the link and there is no effort wasted.

Link seeding is probably the most inexpensive form of online marketing. You purchase a domain from someone like Yahoo and then use their system to build your website for a nominal fee of $12.99 per month. Next, you create a free account on every major social networking site and every free subscription blog community and start sending messages like crazy and attaching your link to these messages. When you start seeing traffic to your site you begin selling advertising and even create a free Google AdSense account and make money off them when they place inventory on your site. Finally, you take your knowledge, turn around and become a link broker for other advertisers and set off a few link bombs and create great revenue for a minimal amount of effort. I knew there was money to be made off of text links. Here are a few text link FAQ’s for anyone interested in the link broker/seeding/baiting business courtesy of the Text Links Guide Website:

TEXT LINK FAQ's

TEXT LINK FAQ's

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RSS Media Post Marketing

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