Apr
18

Which SEM advertising platform is good for you?

Picking the search engine you want to advertise on is often a very difficult choice. Most people will pick by personal preference or by knowledge of current traffic share the search engine holds. Google generally being the most popular. I found after working for a search engine (which I will not name) that most advertisers won’t take into consideration the content networks behind the search engine they’ve chosen. For example the websites I recognize at first glance in the Google platform are:

Some of these sites may not be the best choice for you however the traffic from Google.com may suffice for you and your business; given the fact that there are 3 Google products in the top 5 most visited sites on the internet Google.com being number one. If you are looking for a specific audience then you may want to look into content advertising. This requires very relevant ads, which means you should have an SEO expert hired. I know from personal experience that the advertisements on the Bing.com content ads system require the utmost relevancy. Some people may be weary of the Microsoft adCenter platform because of the lower share in search engine traffic. Keep in mind that it is a fair playing field and each platform has its pros and cons. The adCenter platform serves ads for the Yahoo search engine as well because of an agreement that was made years ago.

Microsoft also paid $240M for a 1.6% share in Facebook which allows them to sell internet ads for Facebook outside the United States as part of the deal. Bing search also provides all search results on Facebook.com as well, apart from this fact they have quite a reputable content network as well which includes:

View the Microsoft Content Network

You may also find these article of interest:

Rumors of Microsoft purchasing Adobe
Adobe purchase of Omniture (Formerly owned by Yahoo)
Yahoo-Microsoft Search Deal: The Key Facts
Microsoft buys stake in Facebook
List of acquisitions by Google
Alexa Top 500 Sites on the Web

My intention in this brief article is to have no bias, and hope that all the information provided can help you choose the right advertising tactics for your business. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at my website. Here are the links to the advertising platforms discussed in this article:

Google AdWords

Microsoft adCenter

Apr
15

New algorithm released globally to all English-language Google users

More than a month ago now Google released a new search algorithm that changed the SEO world, as of April 11, 2011 it will affect the entire English speaking community. When the first stage of the algorithm was released many sites saw dramatic changes, while others that followed strict guidelines seemed to not be affected. If your SEO efforts are no longer showing any results after the recent algorithm change, then it is likely that your SEO Company is not following the rules.

There are many evolutionary changes being made, such as user feedback that contributes to the algorithm by incorporating data about the sites that users block. This feature may evolve outside of the search engine with the Google Chrome extension that allows users to block sites directly from their browser. Think of both the extension and the search engine feature as having an adverse effect to the Google +1 button; however they do work in many different ways. Keep in mind that Google does collect data from the Personal Block List extension and incorporating the data into the algorithm is very likely because they’ve already compared the data to the sites users have blocked on their search engine.

You may be asking yourself what this might mean for you if you’ve lost traffic recently. This means you simply need to re-evaluate your SEO method and see where you might not be following the rules. Don’t be scared of the change, I say embrace it and take the time to learn something new! If you don’t have the time to learn something new, hire a professional! Here are some articles you may find helpful in researching the changes, and re-evaluating your SEO strategy.

Finding more high-quality sites in search

High-quality sites algorithm goes global, incorporates user feedback

Hide sites to find more of what you want

Webmaster Guidelines

Apr
13

How will HTML5 change SEO?

I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about html5, and you may be wondering how this is going to affect seo. As a SEO expert, you are most likely interested mainly in those changes in the HTML 5 specification, which will affect your work. Here are some of them:

  • Improved page segmentation. Search engines are getting smarter and there are many reasons to believe that even now they are applying page segmentation. Basically, page segmentation means that a page is divided into several separate parts (i.e. main content, menus, headers, footers, links sections, etc.) and these parts are treated as separate entries. At present, there is no way for a Web master to tell search engines how to segment a page but this is bound to change in HTML 5.
  • A new <article> tag. The new <article> tag is probably the best addition from a SEO point of view. The <article> tag allows to mark separate entries in an online publication, such as a blog or a magazine. It is expected that when articles are marked with the <article> tag, this will make the HTML code cleaner because it will reduce the need to use <div> tags. Also, probably search engines will put more weight on the text inside the <article> tag as compared to the contents on the other parts of the page.
  • A new <section> tag. The new <section> tag can be used to identify separate sections on a page, chapter, book. The advantage is that each section can have its separate HTML heading. As with the <article> tag, it can be presumed that search engines will pay more attention to the contents of separate sections. For instance, if the words of a search string are found in one section, this implies higher relevance as compared to when these words are found all across the page or in separate sections.
  • A new <header> tag. The new <header> tag (which is different from the head element) is a blessing for SEO experts because it gives a lot of flexibility. The <header> tag is very similar to the <H1> tag but the difference is that it can contain a lot of stuff, such as H1, H2, H3 elements, whole paragraphs of text, hard–coded links (and this is really precious for SEO), and any other kind of info you feel relevant to include.
  • A new <footer> tag. The <footer> tag might not be as useful as the <header> one but still it allows to include important information there and it can be used for SEO purposes as well. The <header> and <footer> tags can be used many times on one page – i.e. you can have a separate header/footer for each section and this gives really a lot of flexibility.
  • A new <nav> tag. Navigation is one of the important factors for SEO and everything that eases navigation is welcome. The new <nav> tag can be used to identify a collection of links to other pages.

As you see, the new tags follow the common structure of a standard page and each of the parts (i.e. header, footer, main section) has a separate tag. The tags we described here, are just some (but certainly not all) of the new tags in HTML 5, which will affect SEO in some way. For instance, <audio>, <video> or <dialogue> tags are also part of the HTML 5 standard and they will allow to further separate the content into the adequate categories. There are many other tags but they are of relatively lower importance and that is why they are not discussed.

For now HTML 5 is still far in the future. When more pages become HTML 5–compliant, search engines will pay more attention to HTML 5. Only then it will be possible to know how exactly search engines will treat HTML 5 pages. The mass adoption of HTML 5 won’t happen soon and it is a safe bet to say that for now you can keep to HTML 4 and have no concerns. Additionally, it will take some time for browsers to adjust to HTML 5, which further delays the moment when HTML 5 will be everywhere.

However, once HTML 5 is accepted and put to use, it will be the dominating standard for the years to come and that is why you might want to keep an eye on what other web masters are doing, just to make sure that you will not miss the moment when HTML 5 becomes the defacto standard.

From webconfs.com

If you’d like to see the capabilities of html5, here are some great demo sites by Google, and Apple:

http://www.youtube.com/html5

http://www.html5rocks.com/

http://slides.html5rocks.com/

http://studio.html5rocks.com/

http://www.apple.com/html5/

Apr
11

Is social media right for your company?

A lot of businesses are now taking advantage of the social media market, but does it really provide an advantage for your company? That depends on what you are offering.

“According to Adweek, there is bad news for brands who are rushing to social media sites. Young people don’t want to be friends with you! According to a new report from Forrester Research, just 6% of 12-17-year-olds who use the web want to be friends with a brand on Facebook.

Among Web-connected 18-24-year-olds, that figure doubles, which means that only 12% of 18-24-year-old think is ok to friend a brand. Even scarier for brands: Young people don’t want brands’ friendship, and they think brands should go away.”

“Young consumers are basically telling brands, when I interact with you I want you to listen to me and interact with you. I don’t want to interact (friend) a brand that just engages in a one-way conversation with me.” Social Media Optimization

It’s pretty agreeable that the vast majority of people do not want to be branded, but to simply choose the brand of preference. If you are offering a service, social media is absolutely for you because the product is based on customer interaction. When the customer interacts with your company on a social media network they are sharing the great experience they had, and not endorsing a product.  We’re not sales people, but we sure love to tell stories about our life experiences. If you’re selling a product it’s best to stick to SEM or standard marketing techniques to keep the power of choice in the consumers hands. Recently PepsiCo found out the hard way by dropping standard advertising all together, spending at least 50 per cent of its American branding budget on social media.

“Beverage Digest reported last month that the company’s flagship brand, Pepsi, had fallen to third place behind Coke and Diet Coke. Pepsi – known for its Refresh Everything goodwill campaign and a bevy of social media efforts – had ranked second for decades in that sales category. Some considered the slip an indictment of the brand’s embrace of social media and de-emphasis of traditional broadcast advertising – exemplified by its withdrawal from the Super Bowl last year.” Clickz.com

Find more information on Businessdailyafrica.com about PepsiCo and social media marketing.

The bottom line is, if you’re offering a product, social media could be a gamble for you; if it’s a service social media can do wonders for you! If you’re not sure, don’t be scared to talk to us, we’ll help you reach the most accurate demographic.

Apr
08

The difference between SEM and SEO

In the recent past I have run into many encounters where I will offer my SEM services and they will respond to me with questions about my “SEO” services. I personally don’t do SEO, but I do SEM and web design (You can see my site here). For all my SEO needs I go to Cyber Stampede! This lack of understanding the two terms generally causes a lot of frustration on both sides which is unnecessary; this article will hopefully clear up some of that confusion.

To most people SEO and SEM are synonymous or they feel the terms are interchangeable, this is not the case. The key to understanding the difference is knowing the difference between paid and organic listings. Paid listings are seen at the top and right hand side of the main results (3 on top, 5 on the right), the main results are everything else. SEO pertains to organic listings which are the most important because these results are based solely on relevancy as where paid listings (SEM) can shoot to the top with a fat wallet. Sometimes this is not the case, ads that are placed that have high relevancy will sometimes appear in a higher ranked spot because of their relevancy to the keywords they are targeting. If this sounds unfair to those who want to pay their way to the top; in all fairness advertisers want to show the most relevant ads to gain the highest revenue.

That being said you are probably beginning to see where SEO and SEM are similar, but not the same. SEO is actually integral to SEM, but can exist without SEM, in the long run SEM would fail without adequate SEO. Good SEO can save you money, and make you money if it is done right, and will also increase conversion rates (The ratio of customers that visit to the amount that actually make a purchase, or reach the goal point you’ve set). SEO is so important that some SEM ads will actually be rejected because of poor relevancy due to poor or lack of SEO.  As the definition below states ” Personally, I would start with SEO and then move onto SEM.”.  Here is a quick and easily understandable definition I found on another blog:

“SEO is the act of optimizing the HTML and other content of your website for relevant, targeted key phrases in order to attain higher natural listings than competing websites. SEO provides a cheaper long term solution for increased qualified traffic and generates customer inquiries that ultimately convert to sales. Now SEM is broader than SEO. It includes SEO and other areas to improve a sites visibility in search engine results pages, like paid listings and paid inclusions. You can think of SEM as more expensive and quite possibly more targeted, while SEO is free (not counting your time of course) and its purpose is to obtain better free search listings. Personally, I would start with SEO and then move onto SEM.” PageStrength.com

Be sure to come back on Monday!

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