This video, from Google’s Matt Cutts, is a very useful indication of what to expect from Google in the next few months in the area of search engine optimisation.

Cutts refers to the next version of ‘Penguin’-Pengin 2.0- as being pretty significant.

One thing seems constant though from the video: quality content will be rewarded, and if your site is committed to publishing quality content you should have nothing to worry about.

If you are link spamming or buying links or involved in any other ‘black hat’ method of trying to obtain page rank and search position, it could, to quote Cutts, be an ‘eventful summer’.

Marketing professionals from the offline or non digital world can be guilty of a common mistake when they go online. The mistake arises from a fundamental misunderstanding of how search engines and the internet actually works and how best to help their clients to market their business online.

 

search-engine-marketing

The mistake is to think of marketing online as pretty much like advertising in the “offline” world.

 

It isn’t.

 

It is completely different and the common mistake arises from the attempt to do what traditional advertising does, stimulate demand, to what the Yellow Pages does which is fulfill a demand that is already there and for which somebody is looking for a solution to a problem or a service provider or whatever.

 

If traditional marketing professionals looked upon the internet as one big directory like the Yellow Pages rather than like a medium such as television or newspapers or magazines in which they can generate demand they would be far better off, and serve their clients better.

 

Let me give you one simple example…

 

I recently built a site for a client which had a content rich home page replete with the types of words, phrases, synonyms, and jargon with which you would associate the business in question. Even with minimal search engine optimisation the likelihood of the search engines firstly indexing (remember the Yellow Pages directory analogy) and then ranking this page for a good number of these phrases/keywords was very high.

 

The search engine spiders/robots have become incredibly efficient at identifying what pages are about and then indexing and ranking them very, very quickly.

 

However a traditional, professional, “off line” marketer insisted that the “message” was too long and should be cut right down in size to ensure clarity when the reader lands on the page. This is the type of thinking that you need to engage in when you are buying advertising by the word, line, or square inch to reduce advertising cost.

 

This is not the mindset that you need online because there is no shortage of space…you are only using electrons after all but you must remember that the directory is controlled by Google.

 

And Google ranks pages in the search results based on relevance of the on page content, amongst other factors. But the on page factors are the predominant factor in determining whether the page ranks or is buried deep, deep down in the search results…where nobody looks.

 

However the problem is that the brief, clear, “on message” new home page without all of the relevant keywords and phrases is unlikely ever to be found because it simply won’t rank well or rank at all for the removed phrases.

 

How could it? Those phrases/words are now gone from the page.

 

How does the site owner then get traffic to his website if his site doesn’t rank in the search engines.

 

There are really only two ways to get traffic to your website worth talking about: paid traffic or organic/search traffic.

 

This site owner will then have to pay Google via it’s pay per click advertising programme, Google Adwords, to drive traffic to the site. However there is a problem here also: pay per click traffic can be very expensive and click through rates (ctr) are very, very low.

 

For example Facebook ads show 5 clicks per 10,000 impressions (the number of times your ad is shown).  Display ads generally show a click through rate of 1 click per 1,000 impressions.(See table below)

Region Overall Click-through Rate Percent (%)
North America
Canada 0.09%
United States 0.10%
EMEA
Austria 0.11%
Belgium 0.13%
Denmark 0.12%
Finland 0.05%
France 0.12%
Germany 0.11%
Greece 0.17%
Ireland 0.10%
Italy 0.10%
Luxembourg 0.09%
Netherlands 0.14%
Norway 0.11%
Spain 0.12%
Sweden 0.08%
Switzerland 0.12%
United Arab Emirates 0.18%
United Kingdom 0.07%
JAPAC
Australia 0.07%
China 0.12%
Hong Kong 0.17%
India 0.18%
Malaysia 0.30%
Singapore 0.19%

Source: DoubleClick by Google for Advertisers, a cross section of regions, published July, 2010.

 

So this website owner is going to have a hard time getting anybody to his new website, apart from family and friends.

 

The best way, by a country mile, of using your website to generate new business online is to focus on

  1. search engine marketing and
  2. email marketing.

 

These two options are closely related and at it’s simplest involves firstly getting traffic to your website through ranking well in Google search.

 

Then funneling that traffic into a list of interested subscribers.

 

However you cannot do this with web pages that are devoid of quality, unique, helpful content and which rely on a clear but regrettably invisible message or mission statement.

Filed under Search Engine Marketing #

Bullying on social media sites is all too common nowadays. The most recent tragic case in Donegal at the weekend leading to the tragic suicide of a 13 year old girl shows the insidious and harmful nature of such bullying.

social-media-bullying

Listening to Morning Ireland this morning on RTE Radio 1 I heard the advice being given that “doing a screen grab” was necessary to gather the evidence necessary to confront the bullies.  And it struck me that many parents and children may not actually know how to do this.

It is very simple. The video below shows you how to gather the necessary evidence by capturing screenshots of your computer screen so that you can give them to parents, teachers or Gardai.

You need 2 things only (and they are both free)

1. This button on your keyboard-the Print Screen button. It will look something like this..

PrtScn

SysRq

It is normally beside the f12 button.

2. Paint programme (preinstalled on the vast majority of computers)

Simply follow the instructions in the video and give me a shout if you have any difficulty.

Filed under Social Media Marketing #

Search engine optimisation (seo) should be a key factor in your content marketing strategy.

 

If you have never heard of content marketing or you are not using content marketing in your online marketing strategy you are sadly missing out on a great opportunity to market your business in a cost effective way.

 

content-marketing-search-engine-optimisation

You may be experiencing any or all of the following problems:

  • Embarrassingly small traffic numbers
  • Expensive pay per click advertising
  • The electronic equivalent of tumbleweed blowing across your website or blog.

 

A good content marketing strategy can be easily executed through regular blogging. But not any old blogging or navel gazing or ranting about topics which won’t help your readers with their specific problems.

 

Once you recognise the massive medium to long term benefits of content marketing you need to ensure that your website or blog is optimized for the search engines.

 

At it’s simplest, search engine optimisation is simply ensuring that the content on your site or blog is highly visible to the search engines and is ranking or capable of ranking well for keywords that are relevant to your business.

 

However there are a few critical facts that you need to understand about search engine optimisation from a content marketing perspective.

 

Firstly, and most importantly, the search engine crawlers (robots) can only read and “understand” text, the written word.

 

They cannot crawl or understand

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Images
  • Graphic content
  • Multimedia content.

 

All of these forms of content are vital for your website or blog. But the focus of your content marketing efforts should be on written text.

 

Keywords are..well..key

The keywords that appear on your website or blog are key. You should be targeting the keywords relevant to your business and market.

 

So the starting point of your search engine optimisation should be keyword research with the use of a free keyword tool from Google or Bing.

 

You need to focus on the keywords and phrases that searchers in your marketi are searching for. And these keywords are delivered up in large quantities by some simple research on the keyword tools mentioned above.

 

The characteristics of the keywords you choose to target on your site are as follows:

  • Relevant-they should be relevant to your market
  • Good search volume-there should be sufficient search volume to warrant the investment of your time or money or both
  • The keywords should not be too competitive.

 

Good content

Good content on your website or blog should be the modus operandi of your digital marketing efforts.

 

Good content is unique, specific, and of good quality.

 

And most of all, of value and interest to your readers.

 

You should also optimize your multimedia content by tagging, descriptive titles and descriptions, and alt tags for your images.

 

Providing transcripts of podcasts or audio files and comprehensive, contextual descriptions surrounding your videos are other ways to optimize the files which the search engines cannot read, watch or listen to.

 

Online Marketing Options for Small Business

So, you can choose any of the following options to market your business on the internet:

  1. Buy traffic
  2. Generate free, organic traffic through content marketing and search engine optimisation
  3. Buy into the bullshit of social media marketing.

 

Choose your poison carefully.

 

And then only after seeing some demonstrable evidence supporting your choice.

The violence that has erupted in the Middle East in the last week in response to a fourteen minute video uploaded to YouTube portraying the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizing charlatan has been stunning in it’s speed and virulence.

muslim-you-tube-video

More stunning again is the obvious lesson for small business owners when it comes to marketing their business.

Consider this:

  1. Virtually all of us have the power to upload video to YouTube.com. We carry it around with us in our pockets, handbags, school bags-the mobile phone;
  2. The “Innocence of Muslims” video took less than three minutes to upload;
  3. YouTube video channel accounts are completely free-you simply need a Google account to open one;
  4. Your video can be educational, informative, entertaining, utilitarian, promotional, or anything else you choose.

Video marketing for small business

No, your video in support of your small business marketing does not have to go viral to be effective. If it did, it would clearly be a bonus. But there are many other more prosaic but powerful reasons why you should be using video in your business including

  • The lifetime value of one new customer/client for your business
  • The opportunity to rank well in both the regular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing
  • The opportunity to rank well in the 2nd/3rd most popular search engine on the internet-YouTube itself
  • The search engine optimisation benefits of YouTube videos
  • The ease of creating and uploading videos to YouTube and other video sharing sites like Revver.com, DailyMotion.com, Vimeo, Blip.TV, and more.

Don’t be misled into thinking that video marketing for your business should be prohibitively expensive. You do not need professional standard recording or production values.

You need to communicate value to your existing or new customers in a straightforward way which offers a benefit to them and solves their problem or answers their question or shows them how to do something or how to use your product.

White House Requests Removal of Muslim Video

Google, the owner of YouTube, has resisted requests from the White House to remove the video from it’s site although it has temporarily restricted access, of it’s own volition, in Egypt and Libya due to the sensitive situation.

Digital Marketing versus Traditional Advertising

One thing is for sure: if you ever had any doubt about the potential of digital or internet marketing or if you still cling to the notion that the effectiveness of  traditional interruption marketing by way of traditional advertising hasn’t been significantly eroded, think again.

Filed under Video Marketing #

Starting a business in Ireland is a brave decision to take in the current fiscal and economic climate. However entrepreneurs are a resilient and driven bunch and once you decide to start your own business it is difficult to shake off the bug.

starting-a-business-in-ireland

Online Marketing for Your New Business

Not too long ago you would have had to factor a significant marketing/advertising budget into your business plan. Some sort of advertising spends in newspapers, magazines, radio, or television would have been a necessity.

The good news nowadays is that smart digital marketing can provide a fantastic return on your marketing efforts at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising spend.

Search engine marketing, social media marketing, pay per click, podcasting, video marketing through channels like YouTube, blogging, and various other cost effective guerrilla marketing tactics offer huge opportunities to smart small business owners.

However it is important that you are not bamboozled by all of these new marketing opportunities. Establishing a clear digital marketing strategy at the outset which is ideal for your particular business is vital.

Nobody knows your business like you do and there is no “one size fits all” strategy in marketing your business through digital channels. Each start up business is like a human being with an individual character and will require an individual and tailored approach into your target market(s).

And it is not a scientific process.

It will involve trial and error, tweaking, changes both major and minor and an evolving learning curve. It will require an emphasis on one or a combination of the various digital marketing opportunities available. What works best for your business will only become clear over time as you monitor the results of your marketing efforts. So, where do you start?

At a minimum I would recommend

  1. A website/blog
  2. Video marketing
  3. Social media marketing with the emphasis on the website and video marketing initially.

The success of starting a business in Ireland in 2012 can be significantly enhanced with a content rich website which solves the problems of your target market together with cost effective video marketing on your own YouTube channel. The start-up costs for this strategy is miniscule if you do it right.

Once you have a clear idea of what your website is trying to achieve and the type of useful information or product demonstrations or education your videos will cover you will have an effective and scalable digital marketing strategy.

This strategy can and should be tweaked and enhanced as your business grows and you monitor feedback and engagement with your website, YouTube channel, and whatever social media sites are best for your business.

If you want to learn how to use WordPress our individualized WordPress training might be just what you need. We provide WordPress training on an individual, one on one basis which ensures that it is geared specifically towards your needs.

wordpress-training

We have provided WordPress training to many groups of students but there is always a common problem: the needs, skills, and experience of many of the students have varied widely. This meant that the “one size fits all” approach was not ideal as it failed to take account of the different knowledge levels of participants.

We found that the basics of WordPress were very well received by beginners but those with some knowledge and experience of WordPress were, quite frankly, bored. And when we moved onto more advance material the advanced users were pleased but much of it went over the heads of the “newbies”.

This is the reason why we now concentrate on our one on one WordPress training. The advantages of this personalized training are

  1. It can be catered to your specific needs taking into account your current level of knowledge
  2. It can be delivered at a pace that suits you
  3. It can be arranged for a time that suits you in your own home or office including the evenings and weekends.

Why Learn How to Use WordPress?

There are many reasons why you might want to learn how to use WordPress including

  • To promote your business
  • To start an online business
  • To showcase your writing or photography or art
  • For community purposes-if you are running a local show or event a basic, Worpress site will allow you to get the word out about is and allow you to communicate easily with all participants
  • For sports clubs-GAA clubs, soccer clubs, rugby clubs. You can use your website to keep all members updated with latest news, results, upcoming fixtures, and more.
  • For personal reasons-you can create a personal or family blog and upload and keep safe all your photos and major events in the life of your family
  • For school
  • For communication in a work or community or school project.

The reasons are endless.

WordPress for Beginners

It doesn’t matter whether you are a complete, clueless beginner or someone with more experience-our Worpress training can address your specific needs at a pace that you are comfortable with.

We can cover everything from

  • installing WordPress on your hosting account,
  • setting up your hosting account,
  • choosing a domain name and the key considerations in this important step
  • choosing a theme which will dictate the look and feel of your site
  • how to set up contact forms
  • how to install video, images, and audio on your site
  • how to promote your site and get the word out
  • how to search engine optimize your site for the search engines
  • and so on.

What we will cover will depend on YOUR needs.

What to do now

Simply contact us through the contact form below.

Alternatively you can access our online video training course.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Those readers of a certain vintage will be saddened to hear that the Dandy will be printed in December 2012 for the last time. The Dandy is going online and “exciting developments” are in the pipeline according to it’s publishers, DC Thomson.

dandy-comic-online

The stunning fact that stuck in my mind when I heard this news was the drop in circulation from a high of 2 million weekly sales in it’s heyday to a low of 8,000 per week.

Yes, 2,000,000 per week to 8,000.

So if you are worried that Desperate Dan has eaten his last cow pie-fear not but future consumption will be online.

The adventures of Korky the Cat, Bananaman, Beryl the Peril will continue in a digital environment as young readers departed in droves to play computer games on the internet.

If you have ever doubted the importance of the internet and it’s role in changing the way business must be carried on nowadays surely the story of the Dandy is sufficient evidence that all is changed and a “terrible beauty is being born”.

If you are a small business owner the lesson of the demise of the physical version of the Dandy can only be ignored at your peril.

Filed under Digital Marketing #

Search engine optimisation is of critical importance in the ranking of your website for your target keywords or phrases. Many small business owners outsource off page seo work to external companies but you really do need to be careful about the work that is carried out on your behalf.

bad-backlinks-seo

Some of this type of seo work is useless but some is worse than useless-it can be harmful to the health of your website. The reason for this is because of the “quality”, or lack thereof, of the backlinks obtained to boost your site in the search engines.

 

I have examined the sites of two clients recently. Each client was paying top dollar to search engine optimisation service providers. However a close inspection of the type of backlinks being obtained and for which my clients were paying revealed the following:

  1. Backlinks which were placed on sites with no page rank or page rank of 0;
  2. Backlinks from less than stellar neighbourhoods such as Eastern European porn sites;
  3. Backlinks placed on link farms-set up on pages which were just long lists of links from completely unrelated industries.

 

These types of backlinks are completely worthless and will in all probability be discounted or ignored by the search engines. Links from porn sites or other “bad neighbourhoods” can lead to sites being deindexed or penalised by Google.

 

Good backlinks

The best backlinks to get are from high page rank pages, preferably contextually relevant and with as few as possible other links emanating from that page.

 

Two  things to note are

  1. The page rank of the homepage of the website on which your backlink is placed is meaningless (unless your link is on the home page). It is the page rank of the page on which your link is placed that is relevant.
  2. Contextual relevance is preferable. For example if you have a conservatory business you are far better off getting a link from a site that deals with home improvements, gardening etc. rather than a computer games site.

 

There are a number of backlink checking tools that you can use to see for yourself the type of backlinks you have pointing to your site. Once you find out where the links are coming from you can simply visit the site yourself and check it’s page rank and whether you are happy with your backlink’s placement.

 

One of the handiest and free tools you can use to check your site can be found at http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/ Simply put the url of your domain in the box provided and you will find plenty of useful information to allow you to decide whether your seo provider is delivering value and benefit to your website.

The title of this piece mimics one of the most famous advertisements in copywriting history written for the US Music School.

It was written by a copywriting genius called John Caples and the title of the original ad went:

“They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano-But When I Started to Play..”

The title of Caples’s ad works on many levels but the key task it accomplished was to get readers to read the body of the advertisement. The ad worked spectacularly well with some describing the ad as “arguably, the 20th century’s most successful” results-oriented mail order copy.

Before the internet-direct response copywriting

Suffice to say that before the internet there was mail order and the goal was to move the recipients of the direct mailing to purchase a product or call a toll free number or cut out and send in a coupon to the sender who would then follow up.

(You may be interested in our copywriting services)

To ensure that the mailings were not just cost effective but showed massive returns on investment top copywriters were paid massive sums of money to write great “direct response copy” that produced results.

Direct response copywriting and the internet

One critical parallel between direct response copywriting and marketing on the internet is the necessity of getting your message read.

The most important part of ensuring that your message gets read is the headline or title of your piece. With a great and/or effective title or headline you have a chance. Without one your message will be lost in a sea of noise, distractions, and more effective competing headlines.

Whether you are sharing your story on your website, blog, LinkedIn, Twitter or anywhere else for that matter your title or headline must draw the reader in.

If you read the first paragraph of this piece the title did it’s job..
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Filed under Copywriting #