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Archive for September, 2011

Google Panda Part II: How is Panda Affecting My Marketing Campaign?

Google Panda has brought two major changes to the way Google ranks websites:Google Panda

  1. Reducing the rankings of content farms – websites that post stolen, recycled, keyword-stuffed articles or content spun from other sites with article spinning software to the point of being unreadable to humans.
  2. Increasing the value of content shared on social media sites or social bookmarking sites.

The changes affect an estimated 12% of websites that currently rank in Google, and users thus far are reporting that their search terms are bringing more relevant and high-quality results.

Will I Need to Change My Website and Marketing Campaign?
Most businesses concerned about their rankings or working on an SEO campaign will need to alter their efforts slightly to accommodate Panda.  One of the greatest concerns is repeat content, or content stolen from other websites.  Website owners should avoid taking content from other sites or blogs as well as using software that “spins” articles into unreadable or spam content.  Don’t stuff too many different keywords into each page of content – and don’t use the same keyword too many times on one page, either.  Write original content for each page, and write it as much for a human audience as for an audience of Google robots.

Beyond changing their websites, companies interesting in improving their search results should also focus more heavily on social media marketing.  Panda focuses more heavily on content shared on sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as pages bookmarked on social bookmarking sites like Digg, reddit, and Delicious.  Social bookmarking and commenting on the bookmarks can help transmit link value to your site.  For added benefit, update your blog regularly with original content and comment on the actual posts.  An internet marketing agency can help your company design and execute a Panda-friendly internet marketing plan to improve your search engine rankings.

Read What Is Google Panda?  Part I.

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Por que usar Social Media Marketing?

Las redes sociales son una de las maneras más rápidas para conocer gente en línea – y el Social Media Marketing se está convirtiendo en una de las mejores formas de comercializar su producto. Especialmente con un sitio web diseñado profesionalmente y hecho a medida, los medios sociales pueden ayudar a promover su producto dirigiéndolo directamente a la base de sus clientes.

Usando sitios como Twitter, usted puede establecer una relación de uno -a -uno con sus clientes por su propia cuenta o, con la ayuda de su agencia de marketing por internet. Puede elegir captar clientes en su área si es un negocio con servicio local, o puede analizar el target de clientes potenciales en todo el país, si se trata de un proveedor de servicios más grande.

También podrá obtener referencias en tiempo real de los usuarios de los medios de comunicación social. Cuando la gente “siga” o presione “me gusta” en una publicación suya, los amigos y seguidores también podrán acceder al enlace de su página.

Los comentarios que la gente realiza permiten a los usuarios de las redes sociales dar y recibir información, participando en un debate directo acerca de su producto, lo que ayuda a generar interés y mantenerlo en movimiento.

Los medios de comunicación social también ayudan a analizar a la competencia y hacer una investigación sobre sus propios productos y estrategias de las campañas de marketing; ya que usted será capaz de ver lo que sus clientes están diciendo sobre usted y sus competidores.

Considere unirse a LinkedIn también. Es una red social para profesionales que se pone en contacto con los reclutadores, otros profesionales, colegas, cazadores de cabezas, y los clientes potenciales. Usted estará en una ventaja competitiva mayor, y con el tipo de atención que se presta a su página, sus clientes la confiaran más  sus necesidades.

Aunque pueda resultarle un gran consumo de tiempo,  se pueden vincular todos los perfiles sociales juntos y actualizar los mensajes de forma rápida en una sola pantalla. Usted puede incluso utilizar su Blackberry o iPhone. Sólo recuerde añadir enlaces de su sitio web en cada una de sus páginas de perfil – y  a divertirse!

What is Google Panda? Part I

February 2011 saw a huge change to Google’s algorithm.  The change, dubbed “Google Panda,” was implemented as a way to fight irrelevant content and streamline SERPs (search engine results pages) by removing low-quality results.  The changes were fueled in part by the growing popularity of content farms – websites containing pages and pages of low-quality or keyword-stuffed articles, content “spun” from other content with article-spinning software, or material that was simply stolen from other websites.

The changes brought about by Panda are an attempt to reduce the rank of these websites by marking repeated content as “bad” and reducing the rank of sites that don’t place optimal content.  Pre-Panda practices that may drastically affect website rankings today include:

  • Copying and pasting content from another site, blog, or any other page that has been indexed by Google
  • Keyword stuffing – a.k.a. filling your content with keywords in awkward places
  • Using article spinning software to produce articles that are unreadable to a human
  • Creating (or posting on) content farm websites

Panda also places more emphasis on material shared and traded between social media users.  As a result, sites like Facebook and Twitter are seeing even more traffic, and your internet marketing agency will be focusing more heavily on getting its clients involved in social media marketing.

How Much Should a Small- to Medium-Sized Business Spend on Marketing?

As a marketing agency specializing in online marketing, we get this question a lot. In this turbulent economic era, companies are now being challenged to adjust to unstable market internet markeitng agencyconditions in order to stay profitable. Those that do adopt new and better practices in order to remain profitable.

It used to hold true that word of mouth alone could generate a healthy level of prospective clients, but with purse strings being held tight launching a branding campaign can make all the difference.  The question then becomes how to identify the amount a company should dedicate to marketing. It certainly does still hold true that you must spend money to make money.

What is the industry standard for marketing budgets?
While suggested marketing budgets vary significantly from one industry to the next, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) suggests a marketing budget between 2% and 10% of gross revenue. However, budgets for Business-to-Consumer, retail and pharmaceutical companies can exceed 20%.

How much should I spend?
There are a few questions to consider when identifying a marketing budget for your business. Start with a 5% marketing budget, and keep in mind that that marketing is an essential ingredient for increasing profitability and sustaining growth.

A few questions to ask yourself:

Do you receive the majority of your clients through referrals?
If so (and you don’t foresee any future disruption in the current level of referrals), then consider staying around 5%.

  • Do you have any high-profit or cash-pay products/services?
    Consider investing more than 5%.  If your business depends almost entirely on high-end products or services, then you may be at risk of losing a large percentage of your customer base during times when they are very price-conscious. Investing slightly more in marketing can help you reach a demographic less affected by price.
  • Are you located in or near a major metropolitan area?
    You could benefit from investing more than 5%.  If you have the ability to draw from a large pool of customers – especially where competition is higher – you must have a sufficient marketing budget.
  • Are you losing market share to another business in your area?
    Invest more in marketing.  If you’re losing market share, introducing or increasing the efforts of a marketing campaign can help you win it back.
  • Are your current marketing efforts producing a positive ROI?
    Strike while the iron is hot!  If your marketing efforts are producing a positive ROI it’s an easy decision.  Identify which of your marketing campaigns have been successful, and spend as much of your budget as you can reasonably afford. Define why these campaigns have been successful in order to make sound decisions as to where to dedicate an increase in budget. Internet marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing and also offers the highest ability for precise ROI tracking.

 

About the Author
John Deutsch is the founder and CEO of internet marketing agency New Wave Marketing. Since 2001 he has specialized in healthcare marketing and has implemented hundreds of marketing campaigns. For additional marketing tips by John Deutsch, please read his blogs: www.johndeutsch.blogspot.com and www.medicalwebexperts.com/blog/.

How PageRank Determines Your Website’s Google Rankings

Google uses a number of methods to determine which websites rank on the first page of results for a given keyword and which sites get pushed to the back.  PageRank is likely the most important of these factors: it’s the basis of all of Google’s web searches.

PageRank

An SEO toolbar showing a PageRank of 7.

What is PageRank?
PageRank is a complex algorithm that ranks the importance of a website based largely on the number of links around the web leading to it.  The idea is that the more important and valuable a website is, the more people will link to it as a reference on their own websites – thus, the amount of links pointing to the site is a good way to judge its relevance.  The algorithm was invented by Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google, and introduced in 1998.  Google owns the patent on PageRank and has used it as the base method of ranking websites since then.

How does PageRank work?
Though PageRank aims to rank websites by the number of links going back to them, the algorithm is actually a probability distribution – a formula used to represent a person’s likelihood of ending up on a particular website.  It assumes that users are more likely to reach a certain web page if there are more links going back to it placed around the internet.

Probability is displayed mathematically as a decimal between 0 and 1, so PageRank is expressed the same way.  A website with a PageRank of .7 that has been optimized for the keyword “internet marketing agency” will rank higher in Google than a site featuring the same keyword that has a PageRank of only 0.4.  Some SEO toolbars, like SEO Quake or the Google toolbar, display PageRank as a whole number between 1 and 10.  These toolbars are often using PageRank values that are out-of-date and may not reflect the current value.

The best way to improve your website’s PageRank is to place more links to it around the internet.  An internet marketing agency can help design an SEO campaign for your budget that will focus on writing relevant content and placing it on important websites to boost your website’s ranks.  The higher the PageRank of the website you place a link on, the more value that link will have in boosting your website’s PageRank.

Why Social Media Can Be a Bad Investment for Physicians

Social media marketing is the fastest-growing marketing technique.  With millions and millions of users logging on to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube every day, it’s one of the best ways to spread the word about your business and build brand recognition for your product.

However, some businesses will undoubtedly find a social media campaign more effective than others.  This isn’t necessarily due to the quality of the campaign or the work put in; rather, what kind of business you’re in has a lot to do with whether social media marketing will work for you.

What’s Your Target Audience?
It’s no secret that most social-sharing websites are populated by people in their teens, twenties, and early thirties.  Some of the most-followed brands on Twitter and Facebook include companies aimed at a younger crowd – like Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Disney, Whole Foods, Dell and Target.  These brands do so well on social media because it’s something fun to follow and discuss – teens and young adults love talking in real time about the product, asking questions, and making comments about what they like and don’t like.  Company profile pages can also post photos for commenting and make events.

Who Will Be Most Successful In a Social Media Campaign?
While younger people may be more inclined to use social media to check out a brand, internet users in their forties, fifties and sixties will generally use other online research methods (such as search engines or online directories).  The material users are looking for also influences whether they’ll crawl social media sites or turn to the search engines: people are more likely to look up information on travel, music, movies, or their favorite brand on social media, while people in search of medical information or legal help are more inclined to use a search engine.

The greatest social media success stories come from companies with a product aimed toward young adults or teens.  Travel companies, local restaurants, bars and clubs are businesses that absolutely need a social media campaign – with so much of the business riding on young people, it’s important to maintain a strong presence on the websites they spend the most time on to familiarize users with their brand.  Companies offering very professional services like law firms, tax services, senior citizen services, medical offices and healthcare organizations may not see such a huge following on social media.  While using social media definitely boosts any client’s web presence and helps their campaign, it may not help them reach their target audience.

If social media marketing isn’t working for your company, consider your target audience and whether social media sites are helping them see you.  The right internet marketing agency campaign for your business can help you boost revenue, build your brand, and increase your presence in the community you want to reach.

Strategy Matters: Link-Building for Google SEO Success

Changes to Google’s algorithm over the past year mean that link-building isn’t just about quantity anymore – it’s about quality, too.  Many SEO strategists have had to change their methods to adapt.

What is Link-Building?
In forming rankings (and deciding who gets the top spots), Google places a lot of emphasis on the number of links leading back to a Backlinkswebsite.  These links, called backlinks, have a lot of influence in moving a website further up in Google’s rankings.  Link-building is one of the pillars of an SEO campaign: by placing new backlinks around the internet that lead back to the client’s website, an internet marketing agency can bring a site from “unranked” status on a given keyword to the number-one spot.

Different Strategies
Links can be built in one of two formats:

  1. As a URL, such as http://www.newwavemktg.com/blog
  2. As an anchor text link, such as internet marketing blog

While a URL definitely has value in search engine rankings, an anchor text link is even more valuable.  By using keywords relevant to the client’s campaign (like “internet marketing blog”) and linking that keyword with the same URL each time, SEO wizards can encourage Google to associate that website with that keyword.  So when someone searches “internet marketing blog” in Google, our blog is more likely to come up.

The other strategy associated with link-building involves the websites on which backlinks are placed.  Old link-building techniques frequently revolved around link-trading, where two website admins would agree to place links to each other’s sites.  This required many hours of emailing and responding.  Often, links would be placed on completely irrelevant sites – for example, the admin of a car rental service directory would place a link to a dermatology clinic.  Many sites used to build links this way just appear “spammy,” both to humans and to Google.

How Link-Building Has Changed
To combat this link spam, Google changed its algorithm over the past year to discredit websites that crowd a page with too many links or accept link-stuffed articles.  It’s also now giving considerably less credit to links placed on sites that are irrelevant to the client’s website – so a link on a dermatology blog will offer more “link juice” than that car rental directory.  It’s also placing more emphasis on content, meaning that articles and blog posts need to come with those links.  This means that today’s SEO experts need a more targeted set of skills, namely writing.

Articles should contain no more than one link for every 110 words, and they can be placed on relevant blogs, news websites, and article resources with a high page rank (note, however, that Google has also been cracking down on “content farm” websites loaded with spam articles for the sole purpose of placing links).  Google’s algorithm continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, and SEO campaign managers keep changing their strategy to adapt and keep their clients’ sites at the top.