E-Marketing Internet Marketing www.quirk.biz
Chapter 1 - What is eMarketingHow is it better than traditional Marketing? • Marketing has pretty much been around forever in one form or another • When humans first started trading • Marketing was the stories they used to convince other humans to trade. • The methods of marketing have changed and improved • we’ve become a lot more efficient at telling our stories and getting our marketing messages out there. • eMarketing is the product of the meeting between modern communication technologies and the age-old marketing principles that humans have always applied.
What is eMarketing • eMarketingor electronic marketing refers to the application of marketing principles and techniques via electronic media and more specifically the Internet. • The terms eMarketing, Internet marketing and online marketing, are frequently interchanged, and can often be considered synonymous.
Types of e-Marketing • Banner Ads • Pay Per Click • Social Media • Viral Campaigns • Search Engine Placement • Affiliate Marketing • Email Marketing • Spam • Target • Opt In Opt Out
What is eMarketing • eMarketing is the process of marketing a brand using the Internet. • Encompasses all the activities a business conducts via the worldwide web with the aim of • attracting new business • retaining current business • developing its brand identity.
Why is it important? • When implemented correctly, the return on investment (ROI) from eMarketingcan far exceed that of traditional marketing strategies. • Whether you’re a “bricks and mortar” business or a concern operating purely online, the Internet is a force that cannot be ignored. • It can be a means to reach literally millions of people every year. • It’s at the forefront of a redefinition of way businesses interact with their customers.
The benefits of eMarketing over traditional marketing • Reach • The nature of the internet means businesses now have a truly global reach. • While traditional media costs limit this kind of reach to huge multinationals, eMarketing opens up new avenues for smaller businesses, on a much smaller budget, to access potential consumers from all over the world. • Scope • Internet marketing allows the marketer to reach consumers in a wide range of ways • Enables them to offer a wide range of products and services. • eMarketing includes, among other things, information management, public relations, customer service and sales. • With new technologies becoming available all the time, this scope can only grow.
The benefits of eMarketing over traditional marketing • Interactivity • Whereas traditional marketing is largely about getting a brand’s message out there • eMarketing facilitates conversations between companies and consumers. • With a two way communication channel, companies can feed off of the responses of their consumers • Making them more dynamic and adaptive.
The benefits of eMarketing over traditional marketing • Immediacy • Internet marketing is able to, in ways never before imagined, provide an immediate impact. • Imagine you’re reading your favorite magazine. • You see a double-page advert for some new product or service, maybe BMW’s latest luxury sedan or Apple’s latest iPod offering. • With this kind of traditional media, it’s not that easy for you, theconsumer, to take the step from hearing about a product to actual acquisition. • With eMarketing, it’s easy to make that step as simple as possible, meaning that within a few short clicks you could have booked a test drive or ordered the iPod. • All of this can happen regardless of normal office hours. • Effectively, Internet marketing makes business hours 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for every week of the year. • By closing the gap between providing information and eliciting a consumer reaction, the consumer’s buying cycle is speeded up and advertising spend can go much further in creating immediate leads.
Demographics and targeting • Demographics – age, income, education, location, ethnicity, gender etc.. • Psychographics – interests, opinions, what do they ready, watch, habits, values etc.. Where do they get their information from? • Generally speaking, the demographics of the Internet are a marketer’s dream. Internet users, considered as a group, have greater buying power and could perhaps be considered as a population group skewed towards the middle-classes. • Buying power is not all though. The nature of the Internet is such that its users will tend to organize themselves into far more focused groupings. Savvy marketers who know where to look can quite easily find access to the niche markets they wish to target. • Marketing messages are most effective when they are presented directly to the audience most likely to be interested. The Internet creates the perfect environment for niche marketing to targeted groups.
Adaptivity and closed loop marketing • Closed Loop Marketing requires the constant measurement and analysis of the results of marketing initiatives. By continuously tracking the response and effectiveness of a campaign, the marketer can be far more dynamic in adapting to consumers’ wants and needs. Also referred to as Metrics. • With eMarketing, responses can be analyzed in real-time and campaigns can be tweaked continuously. Combined with the immediacy of the Internet as a medium, this means that there’s minimal advertising spend wasted on less than effective campaigns. • Maximum marketing efficiency from eMarketingcreates new opportunities to seize strategic competitive advantages. • The combination of all these factors results in an improved ROI and ultimately, more customers, happier customers and an improved bottom line.
Chapter 2 - The Arrowsin the eMarketer’s quiver • In Chapter 1 of the eMarketing 101 series we told you: • What eMarketing is, why it’s important and the benefits of eMarketing over traditional marketing methods. • In Chapter 2, we’ll be looking at the weapons an eMarketer has in their arsenal. • SEO, PPC, ORM, WebPR – the acronyms are going to be coming thick and fast. • What are they? How do they benefit you and your business? That’s exactly what you’re about to find out.
Search Engine Marketing – SEM • Daily search volumes run into the hundreds of millions and Search Engines drive a huge proportion of all web traffic. • Search is usually the first port of call for anyone looking for anything online. Those who seek online, search. • Fundamentally, what makes SEM so effective is that you get found by potential customers looking for the service you offer. • So, provided you’ve got your keyword strategy right, you’re getting targeted traffic.
Search Engine Marketing is divided into two distinct categories • Paid Search and Organic Search • Paid Search and you’re talking Pay Per Click or PPC. • Organic Search and the focus is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. • They’re similar enough to be classified together under SEM but they’re different enough to warrant separate explanations.
PPC – Pay Per Click • Simple. Targeted. Effective. • You buy sponsored adverts on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), often displayed either above the normal “organic” listings or across to the right hand side. • The beauty of the system is that you’re paying purely on a performance basis, that is, when the ad is clicked on.
A few points on PPC • Advert positioning is based on a bidding system. At its simplest, the highest bidder gets the highest ad placement. • A PPC campaign is a dynamic strategic process. It needs to be closely monitored and managed to ensure maximum ROI. • An appropriate keyword strategy is imperative to ensure the clicks you pay for are as targeted as possible. The more targeted your traffic, the greater your conversion rates, and the better your ROI.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization • Why pay for your clicks when you can get them for free? • SEO is PPC’s roommate in the house of SEM. (I warned you the acronyms would come thick and fast.) Strictly speaking, SEO is about optimizing websites to achieve high rankings on the Search Engines for certain selected key phrases. • Sometimes called "organic" or "natural" optimization, SEO involves making changes to the HTML code, content and structure behind your website, making it more accessible for Search Engines, and by extension, easier to find by users. SEO rewards relevant, helpful websites that add value and give visitors what they’re looking for. • SEO is an extremely cost effective way of generating new business to your site. • Once your site ranks highly on a Search Engine Results Page, you don't pay for any traffic that arrives at your site from that listing. SEO is a continuous process though; both to maintain rankings and improve rankings for other terms that may bring in relevant traffic. • Free clicks! • Well, not quite. But you’re not paying per click, so over time, ROI is excellent. Ideally PPC and SEO work synergistically to maximize Search Engine traffic.
Online Advertising • Eyeballs. They’re a large part of the traditional advertising equation. For brand awareness, you need your brand to be seen. • Online Advertising is strongest on - adverts on websites, email newsletters and other electronic publications and is generally paid for on a Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) basis. • Unlike some of the other eMarketing techniques we’ve looked at, online advertising is not biased towards directly measurable ROI. Rather, it provides a means for combining the brand awareness bias of traditional advertising techniques with the immediacy of eMarketing.
Affiliate Marketing • What if you could combine the performance-based cost element of PPC with the brand awareness potential of Online Advertising? • In a manner of speaking, that’s what Affiliate Marketing does. • At its simplest, Affiliate Marketing uses affiliate partner websites to display your adverts, and pays them on a Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) basis. Advertisers earn a commission on sales generated. • So while you’re increasing your brand visibility, you are only paying for results. • Additionally, you create revenue making opportunities for many other online publishers, helping to grow the eMarketing industry, giving you a warm fuzzy feeling.
Viral Marketing • Word-of-mouth is probably the world’s oldest form of marketing. Back when humans first started trading the things they traded, they’d likely find out about where to get what they needed from others. • Collaboration and information sharing is a basic human trait and perhaps the one, which made us the dominant species. • Fast forward to the modern world • Word of mouth in an electronic context • Self-replicating distribution techniques • Exponential growth in campaign reach
Viral Marketing • Viral Marketing uses the connectedness of the Internet and the social networks characteristic of electronic communication to build brand awareness exponentially. • People pass on and share things that provide value, especially when the costs of sharing are low, as is case online. • Think funny video clips, interactive flash games, competitions, images, text – in fact, viral marketing is limited only by the creativity of the eMarketer. • Anything that truly entertains, informs, amuses or intrigues the recipient is likely to be further distributed. • A well-orchestrated viral campaign harnesses this basic fact of human nature for the good of the brand.
ORM - Online Reputation Management • More and more, consumers turn to the Internet for information about products, services and the companies that offer them. • Buying a new car? Check out reviews online. • Thinking of getting in a new eMarketing agency? Find out what others have said online about their experiences. • Your company’s reputation is out there on the web for all to see. Existing and potential customers care about that reputation. And so should you. • People are talking - Good things and bad things. Praise and scorn.
ORM - Online Reputation Management • Are you listening? • ORM means monitoring what’s being said about you. Listening to what customers are saying. • It also means responding. Let your customers know that you hear them. Earn their trust with honesty and openness. Most importantly, engage them. Make them feel included and important and considered. • By being aware of what’s being said about you online, you are able to react and put the necessary damage control strategy in place as soon as bad publicity pops up its fat, stupid, ugly head.
WebPR • Business has moved online and Public Relations (PR), that indispensable tool of brand awareness, has followed. • Now that most business is conducted on the Internet; the playground of PR has moved online. WebPR allows PR to reach its fullest expression because the potential for getting your brand 'out there' is limitless. • There is an assortment of ways to market your business globally through WebPR. • Various online channels like, Article Banks/Directory Sites, industry related sites, as well as local and international News sites are used to distribute content containing some element of your brand. • Online press releases must drive traffic to your site (your website is not a fancy brochure; it is a marketing tool that needs visitors to become customers). • To achieve this, press releases need to be optimised with the appropriate key phrases and links. • The link posted at the end of a press release or feature article is a valuable source of driving internet traffic to your website. Writing interesting, high-quality articles on relevant topics and submitting them to content distribution sites is a great way to effectively promote your website or brand.
Email Marketing • Direct marketing via electronic means - email marketing is very powerful. It’s also extremely cost effective, highly targeted, customizable, measurable and best of all, takes advantage of the consumer's most prolific touch point with the Internet, their inbox. • Email marketing is about building virtual relationships with existing and potential clients and maximizing the retention and value of these customers. Push your message out to your audience and let it pull them into contact with your company. • With a correctly built mailing list, you have direct access to a targeted audience. • Customize and tweak your message, then measure and test to see what techniques are most effective for your particular market. • Email marketing is about creating, building up, and capitalizing on the relationships you build with your clients.
Conversion Optimization • You’ve built a fantastic site. You’re bringing in lots of traffic thanks to the highly effective SEO, Email, PPC and WebPR techniques we’ve discussed. • Job done? Not quite. To maximize ROI, we need to make sure we turn traffic into customers. This is where conversion optimization comes into play. • A Two Phase Process - Before we can optimize, we need to analyze. • First we need analyze the collaborative effect of our entire eMarketing effort, looking at the combined effectiveness of all our tactics. • We need to analyze: • Website Usability • Site analytics • The relative ROI of each eMarketing technique used • Split and multivariate testing • Any other available measurable • This kind of analysis allows us to get a better idea for where the inefficiencies are. We’ve scoped things out. Now we need to…
Conversion Optimization • Simply put, this optimization process is all about minimizing the drop-off rate, and making the most of the traffic we’re getting. Conversion is the whole reason the website exists. • Based on what we found with our analysis, we make incremental changes to the most inefficient factors. Then we analyze again. And we keep doing so for each of the factors we’ve identified. • By doing this, we’re improving the conversion rate of traffic into customers. That means a lower CPA, and a better ROI.
Testing • If you want to know if something works, test it. Constant tweaking and testing means we can streamline our eMarketing techniques, fine-tuning them for our specific market. • In the long run, we’re maximizing efficiency by jettisoning the least effective practices and focusing on those that bring the most benefit. Darwin would be proud. • It’s evolutionary marketing – survival of only the fittest techniques.
Chapter 3 - BloggingEveryone else is doing it, so why can't I? • Most common form of social media – blogging • Social Media • The Internet and the software which has been developed to run on it have made it extremely easy for anyone to publish content and have it accessible to millions of people. In effect, consumers have been given a voice to air their views to a massive audience. • Something which before the Internet, they could never have done. • In recent years one of the biggest examples of this has been the massive growth of • weblogs (blogs), wiki's, podcasts, vlogs and moblogs - together they form what is loosely known as social media; the ability for anyone to publish almost any content without the typical costs and hindrances associated with traditional media. • This new publishing freedom has resulted in an explosion of new content. However the term social media, or citizen journalism as it is sometimes called, may be a misnomer as many companies can do it as well!
What is Blogging? • Blogging is currently the most common form of social media • As a matter of fact as of October 2006, about 100 000 new weblogs are being created each day - that's more than the number of books published in the US each year! • The word blog is derived from the term "weblog" which was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. We started using blog over weblog when Peter Merholz broke the word weblog into the phrase "we blog" in the sidebar of his weblog in 1999. • A blog is essentially a website typically driven by a content management system which features articles (blog posts) and comments on the blog posts. • They come in all shapes and forms - from personal diaries shared with friends and family, to arms of political campaigns, media programs and updates on current affairs. • They also range in scale from the writings of one blogger, to the collaboration of a large community of writers. • The world of blogs, bloggers and blog posts is commonly known as the blogosphere. • Blogs have given consumers and companies a voice and blogging has opened up a world of information sharing possibilities. • Blogs are not a fad that will lose popularity any time soon - they are here to stay and companies who want to be taken seriously by their consumers need to consider the benefits of starting a corporate blog or at the very least listen to what is being said about them in the blogosphere.
Blogging and RSS • Pioneered by Dave Winer, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) has taken blogging to a whole new level. • An RSS feed is an XML (eXtensible Markup Language) file automatically generated by a blog or indeed almost any website or Internet service. • Users are then able to "syndicate" or subscribe to this feed using a feed reader or aggregator. • When a new post is available, the reader fetches its contents and puts the headings and usually some or all of the content of the post into your reader or directly onto another blog. • When a blog is updated, its RSS feed is as well so information spreads very quickly and automatically. • In layman's terms, RSS eliminates the need for the user to constantly check a site or blog to see if it has been updated. Their feedreader automatically does this for them and presents fresh information as it becomes available. • This means that a user can constantly monitor potentially hundreds or even thousands of blogs and websites without having to spend the time visiting each one to check for fresh content. • Some examples of feed readers include FeedDemon, Newsgator and RSS Bandit.
Better Blogging • By October 2006, Technorati, a blog tracking engine, registered 57 Million blogs tracked. They also acknowledged a consistent pattern whereby the number of blogs doubles every 236 days. However despite the massive growth of blogs, most do not make it past 3 months. • According to Technorati, only 55 percent of bloggers are still posting 3 months after starting the blog with very few in comparison updating their blogs weekly or more. • In 2012 164 million blogs with a 150 million readers (source blog and retire ) • In order to ensure a blog's success it needs to be marketed. Here is a list of suggestions on how to go about doing so: • Search engine optimization: By ensuring that your blog is search engine friendly, search engines can be a major source of traffic. It is important that your chosen keywords are used in your blog headings, content and meta tags and that the search engines are able to spider all aspects of your blog. • Comments and trackbacks: By treating the blogosphere as a series of ongoing conversations and actively being a part of these conversations through comments and trackbacks, other bloggers will get to know you, link to your blog and a gradual stream of visitors will result. • List your blog in blog directories: Similar to search engines, directories are human edited and managed. Although the traffic volume is not as massive as search engines, many users do visit directories and this could be a great place for them to find out about your blog.
Better Blogging (cont...) • Ping web services with your updated content: Sites like ping-o-matic and FeedShark offer a service whereby they ping multiple web services, blog directories and search engines to let them know that your blog has fresh content • Content - know your audience: Your blog posts must be interesting and useful to your readers. Develop your unique voice and don't be afraid to post things others will not agree with. • Frequency: The regularity of posts is important, as there is a direct correlation to blog repeat visitors and the number of times it's updated. • Post 3-5 times per week at a minimum. Web sites and blogs that are updated often get spidered by Google • more frequently.
A Holistic Approach • Blogging works in synergy with other eMarketing services, once again proving that a holistic approach is vital to ensure success on the World Wide Web. • Blogs and SEO • You've heard it a million times... Content is king! Because search engines love fresh, relevant content, blogs are a great way to give them exactly this. • Essentially by writing one post a day, a blog allows you to add a fresh page of content to your website each day. • The nature of blogs also makes them an excellent source of links to your website. Provided your content is engaging, other bloggers will link to it and search engines view these links as popularity votes thereby assisting in improving your rankings. • It is important however that the blog is set up to be as search engine friendly as possible. Start by ensuring that all blog posts are assigned a unique page which is easily indexable by the search engines. This can be achieved by ensuring that each page has a link to it which the search engines can find and follow. • Pages must be tagged with keywords relevant to your SEO strategy. This means putting important keywords in your post headings, page URL and meta tags, particularly the title tag.
Blogs and Viral Marketing • In a similar vein to blogs being used as a natural link attraction tool, they can be extremely useful as a viral component to your online marketing strategy. • With valuable and engaging content, people will begin talking about and linking to your site. • The blogosphere is an interconnected environment and as a result items which are interesting or remarkable are talked about and shared amongst bloggers. • Over time this interest brings eyeballs to your site and ultimately awareness to your brand.
It's Not Always Happy Day's and Sunshine • Although word of mouth can have a tremendously positive impact on a brand, it can also cause immense damage. • One of the best examples of the blogosphere influencing brands negatively is the now infamous "Dell Hell" scenario. • It all started when blogger, Jeff Jarvis had a terrible customer experience with Dell Computers. In true blogger style he documented his experience on his blog and word quickly spread to the point where it was even covered in print by Business Week. • However Dell failed to respond to his musings and the bad customer experiences continued as did the negative comments on the blogosphere. Jeff's rantings become known as Dell Hell and a recent scientific study by responsesource.com showed first that Dell has sustained long-term damage to its brand image and secondly that the cheerleaders for the poor reputation of Dell's customer services, are bloggers. • With blogs wielding this level of power, it is critical that brands understand how to manage their reputation online and if necessary take proactive steps to limit the damage which can be caused by negative word of mouth. • Online Reputation Management is something all companies need to be considering - this fascinating topic will be discussed in Chapter 10. • On a final note, a great thing to remember about blogs is that a blog is simply a method of publishing content on the Web. Calling something a blog now is a focus on the technology used on the server, the content management solution . Of course, there's a significant culture that's grown around this particular technology, but that culture is bound to remain a subculture. • Not because the number of people who are involved in blogging is going to shrink but rather because the number of people reading content published using Movable Type, Blogger, or any of the other tools is going to grow. Fast.
Chapter 4 -A focus on natural search • In the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) section of Chapter 2, we touched on why SEO is important. We mentioned its effectiveness and how important it is to get the best from Search Engine traffic to your website. • In this Chapter, we'll be taking a closer look at what Search Engine Optimization is all about, what it entails and how is it done. • This chapter will not make you an SEO expert. It will however lead you down the path to the door of SEO knowledge. It will give you a good idea about what the SEO process involves, some of the key areas of focus, and explain some of the main concepts.
A focus on natural search • First, let's recap what we learned earlier on in the series: - Search Engines are major drivers of website traffic - SEO and Pay Per Click (PPC) are two separate components of Search Engine • Marketing (SEM) - SEO is focused on Organic Search - Organic Search rankings deliver targeted traffic
What's the Big Deal about Search? • The Internet is a very competitive environment, with literally billions of pages inexistence. So how does anyone find the page they're after? • Web users find what they need primarily via search with the daily search volume numbers in the hundred millions. • So, if you want your website to generate a significant amount of traffic, it needs to be listed on the major Search Engines and listed high up enough to be seen. • Statistics show that users are not likely to view listings beyond the first 30 results, with the top 6 (above the fold) listings enjoying the lion's share of clicks. • Beyond just traffic, a high ranking website is valuable for brand perception; web users often perceive Search Engine results as an indicator of authority.
What's the Big Deal about Search? (cont...) • What Search Engines do: - Crawl the web (via spiders) - Index web documents/pages - Process user inputted queries - Serve results based on an ordered list of indexed pages (rank) • What SEO does: - Identifies key phrases to target, based on search popularity or frequency of those terms. - Creates accessible content to target those key phrases • Builds links to lead Search Engine spiders to the content • Key questions that SEO needs to answer: - Is the content relevant? - Can the Search Engines' spiders find the content? - Is the content accessible for the spiders once they've found it? - Are our pages ranking? - Are we driving traffic with these rankings?
Creating Relevant Content • We're starting with content because really, content is the most important part of your website. Any value that it adds needs to be added through good, relevant content. • We do this by identifying the key phrases to target: • Keyword research tools allow you to get an indication of the popularity of various search terms. Additionally, you also need to check the level of competition for those terms. Armed with this information, you can now put together a comprehensive keyword strategy for your SEO campaign.
Creating Relevant Content • Various aspects of keyword research: • 1) Search volume - This is an indication of the popularity of a search term. • Some useful Keyword tools include: • - Keyword Discovery • - Wordtracker • - SEObook Keyword Tool • - Digital Point • There are lots out there. Give a couple of them a try and decide which ones you like. • A high-ranking on a popular term can deliver a lot of traffic but popular terms are also likely to be more competitive. • 2) Competitiveness - For very competitive terms, where there are many websites • vying for a rank, a strategic decision needs to be made regarding whether or not to target that term. • More competitive terms are usually set aside as part of a longer term SEO strategy, with the less competitive terms being favored in the short to medium term. • An SEO strategist needs to make these decisions based on the ratio of searches to competitors and decide on its viability considering that particular term's propensity to convert.
Creating Relevant Content • 3) Propensity to convert - Conversion remains the ultimate goal of any website. • We want our users to take a certain course of action. When selecting key phrases to target, it is important to consider the likelihood of those terms leading to a conversion. • To what extent does the search term give us an insight into the mind of the searcher? • At what stage of the buying cycle are they currently? • By creating a bias towards phrases with a high conversion rate, we maximize the ratio of visitors to customers. With your keyword strategy in place, you now know what kind of content your site needs. • Some important points about content: • Use your content to create an obvious site theme. • For more competitive search terms, you'll need to create a hierarchical structure of supporting content, again reinforcing the theme. • The better the quality of your content, the more leverage it will afford you for later on in the process. • Remember, conversion is your website's ultimate goal.
On Page Indicators of Relevance • Meta Data • Meta Keywords - Meta keywords were, a long time ago, pretty much the BIG thing in SEO. • These days the Meta Data are far more peripheral in their importance. • Primarily they act as an indicator of a webpage's theme. Keep them relevant to the content on your page. • Meta Description - Many Search Engines use the meta description paragraph as the descriptive snippet below your page link on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Bearing that in mind, these few lines of copy are perhaps among the most important of your page. The more compelling, the more likely you are to get a good click through rate (CTR). • Ultimately, this has positive repercussions for your rankings and traffic stats. • Title Tags • Title Tags are the primary indicator of what your web page is about. They are also important since they are displayed above your page description on the Search • Engine Results Pages. • Header Tags • Header tags like <h1>, <h2> and <h3> are used to create a hierarchical page structure and act as an indicator of page theme. You should be using these to structure your page and use keywords to indicate relevance to your chosen target phrase for that page.
On Page Indicators of Relevance • Keyword Density • Keyword density is a measure of how many times your key phrase occurs on your page in relation to the total number of words. The key here is to keep it reasonable. • Keyword density is an indicator of relevance of your content to the targeted phrase. There's no magic percentage figure, but if you read the copy and if sounds overdone, then you need to reduce your keyword density. • Bolding/Strong and Italics/Emphasis • Bolding and italics serve a primary purpose as a means to indicate bits of text that should be emphasized. • In web copy, which is usually rapidly skimmed by users, bolding and, or italics make copy easier to read and understand. Additionally, they act as an indicator of relevance for specific terms. • So using these techniques helps both users and Search Engines, which should always be your aim. • Alt Tags for Images • Search Engine spiders can't read images. • So to help them along, we use alt tags to describe the images. With images that are relevant to the key phrase, we help improve relevance of our page when alt tags are used properly.
On Page Indicators of Relevance • Bullets • Bullet points make it easy to convey your point quickly and concisely. • This makes it convenient for your reader, looking to scan and get the just of your content. • If it's good for your users, it probably good for your rankings and that's the case in this instance. • Use bullet points for the layout of your content to make clear what the theme of your page is. • OK, so now the site has some great, original, relevant content. The theme of your pages is clear. I guess it's just a case of sit back and wait for the traffic, right? No! • The next most important step is to make sure that your great content gets found because even the best content is of no value if it can't be found.
Important Accessibbility Issues • Clean up broken links, invalid HTML and other code and minimize webpage file sizes. • With the basics taken care of, you can start worrying about the rest: • Clean URLs • Spiders don't like messy URLs - Your URL needs to be descriptive yet as brief and "clean" as possible. • Dirty URLs are those which use too many dynamic parameters. • These can be troublesome for Search Engine spiders, making it less likely that they will properly crawl your site. • Frames • Frames are evil. Don't use them unless you really, really need to. • Frames cause major issues for Search Engines, and as a general design technique, they're bad news. • The use of tables or CSS is far better. • Flash • Flash websites are another no-no. • Yes, they can look good, and are often visually impressive. • Unfortunately though, their content is largely invisible to Search engine spiders. • Clever designers incorporate flash elements into their content-based web pages, creating a site that offers both the visual strength of flash and the content bias of HTML based pages.
Feeding the Spiders - Links • Spiders crawl pages that they find via a link from another page they were crawling. • That's where links come in. Links play a huge role in SEO; • Inbound links (IBL) are perhaps the most significant single factor influencing rankings. • Outbound on page links help establish relevance to your page theme. • Interlinking of your pages, both via content and via your navigation, helps establish the relationships between your pages, bolstering the themes you are trying to establish. • Inbound Links • Search Engines want to provide users with results that are both relevant and important. • While to some extent relevance can be gauged by on page factors, as mentioned above, it's what other "people" say about your site that is a real indicator of what it's about. Inbound links are these "votes from other people". • Search Engines consider an inbound link as a vote for your site. Lots of votes from sites, which are in turn considered authoritative within your niche, create an indication of importance and relevance. • Outbound Links • Links on a page provide some indication of the theme of that page. • Lots of links out to irrelevant sites might be detrimental to your ranking. • Links to relevant authority sites can be useful to your visitors and help establish the page's relevance on the topic.
Feeding the Spiders - Links (cont...) • Interlinking • Carefully considered interlinking of pages is important for creating defined themes within your site. • For important and competitive key phrases, it's useful to create content pages which link to and support the pages you want to rank well. • Sitemaps • An on-site sitemap is a web document, which lists all the pages you'd like the Search Engine spiders to find. • This is a good method of getting a reasonably deep crawl on your site. • XML sitemap is a document submitted to a Search Engine, informing them of your content. • It's a bit like a note to the spider saying, "Dear Spidey, I've put out some yummy new content for you to enjoy. This is where you'll find it"
Link Building • The process of generating inbound links is a highly specialized and involved practice, which we cannot explore here in too much detail. • There are many different means of building links. Links are not all created equal and as a general rule, the most valuable links are not easy to obtain - if they were, they'd not be as valuable as they are. • The most valuable links are those which come from authority sites, relevant to your targeted key phrases. • Links can be gained by request, content exchange and a number of other initiated means. • Perhaps the best strategy for link building is to create content of exceptional value • - valuable content becomes a link magnet, attracting links by virtue of its usefulness to others. I • In a later chapter, we'll look specifically at link creation through valuable, viral content.