Archive | October, 2010

Email marketing can generate new sales leads

28 Oct

Existing customers are not the only people who may be engaged by email marketing campaigns, as they can also generate new sales leads.

Dan Forootan, president of EZ Publishing, suggested that email marketing provides a significant return on investment “without putting undue stress on your staff or breaking your marketing budget with high priced advertising campaigns”.

In an article for, he argued that because email newsletters, coupons, or announcements can all be forwarded on to others at the click of a button, email marketing is also a good way of reaching a much bigger target market without any further expenditure.

“If you do want to expand your reach, you can purchase supplementary lists to send your information at reasonable costs and a high return on investment,” Mr Forootan added.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, many brands are failing to embrace the tools necessary to measure the volume of sales generated by their email campaigns.



How To Allow Google to Crawl your AJAX Content

28 Oct

Today we’re excited to propose a new standard for making AJAX-based websites crawlable. This will benefit webmasters and users by making content from rich and interactive AJAX-based websites universally accessible through search results on any search engine that chooses to take part. We believe that making this content available for crawling and indexing could significantly improve the web.

While AJAX-based websites are popular with users, search engines traditionally are not able to access any of the content on them. The last time we checked, almost 70% of the websites we know about use JavaScript in some form or another. Of course, most of that JavaScript is not AJAX, but the better that search engines could crawl and index AJAX, the more that developers could add richer features to their websites and still show up in search engines.

Some of the goals that we wanted to achieve with this proposal were:

  • Minimal changes are required as the website grows
  • Users and search engines see the same content (no cloaking)
  • Search engines can send users directly to the AJAX URL (not to a static copy)
  • Site owners have a way of verifying that their AJAX website is rendered correctly and thus that the crawler has access to all the content

Here’s how search engines would crawl and index AJAX in our initial proposal:

  • Slightly modify the URL fragments for stateful AJAX pages
    Stateful AJAX pages display the same content whenever accessed directly. These are pages that could be referred to in search results. Instead of a URL like we would like to propose adding a token to make it possible to recognize these URLs: . Based on a review of current URLs on the web, we propose using “!” (an exclamation point) as the token for this. The proposed URL that could be shown in search results would then be:!state.
  • Use a headless browser that outputs an HTML snapshot on your web server
    The headless browser is used to access the AJAX page and generates HTML code based on the final state in the browser. Only specially tagged URLs are passed to the headless browser for processing. By doing this on the server side, the website owner is in control of the HTML code that is generated and can easily verify that all JavaScript is executed correctly. An example of such a browser is HtmlUnit, an open-sourced “GUI-less browser for Java programs.
  • Allow search engine crawlers to access these URLs by escaping the state
    As URL fragments are never sent with requests to servers, it’s necessary to slightly modify the URL used to access the page. At the same time, this tells the server to use the headless browser to generate HTML code instead of returning a page with JavaScript. Other, existing URLs – such as those used by the user – would be processed normally, bypassing the headless browser. We propose escaping the state information and adding it to the query parameters with a token. Using the previous example, one such URL would be . Based on our analysis of current URLs on the web, we propose using “_escaped_fragment_” as the token. The proposed URL would then become .
  • Show the original URL to users in the search results
    To improve the user experience, it makes sense to refer users directly to the AJAX-based pages. This can be achieved by showing the original URL (such as!state from our example above) in the search results. Search engines can check that the indexable text returned to Googlebot is the same or a subset of the text that is returned to users.


Google to Offer Free SEO Review, Analysis, and Advice for Your Website

26 Oct

It is not uncommon for Google staff to provide advice about how best to organise a website to assist you with your Google rankings. After all they want the best websites up there. Until now though, this only really happened at live clinics and conferences and for some people that get a little over excited at the latest Matt Cutts video. Now though, Google have issued a call via their Webmasters Central blog for people to submit their site to get a free once over with their SEO advice scrubbing brush.

“Eh…what?” …said every SEO professional on the planet…

Google Site Clinic

Google Site Clinic

Don’t worry, there are rules. You can only submit your site if it is a strictly non-profit or government site and they will be posting all the advice with screen shots of the websites etc so that all can benefit from their analysis and advice. Plus the offer is aimed at helping ‘beginners’ so will probably not uncover anything professionals don’t know already. Google has in fact already held a few of these clinics in Spain, India and Norway. Plus they have been providing similar SEO advice through a number of mediums for years so this really shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

If you have the right category of website then you can submit your site for the clinic by filling out a form. To be eligible you must:

  • Be a registered non-profit organisation
  • Must verify that you own the site via Google Webmaster Tools
  • Make sure you site meets the webmaster quality guidelines.

If you fail to meet any of these points and you just have to get some inside SEO advice, you might want to try kidnapping Matt Cutts. Although he is a ninja so watch out…


Image optimization: Why images can help you to get more visitors

26 Oct

Google Images has indexed billions of images. If your image can be found for the right keyword, then you will get targeted visitors to your website.

Why images can help you to get more visitors

Depending on the search query, Google displays several images above the regular search results. For example, try this search for German Shepherd Dog:


Image Optimization

Image Optimization


How to optimize your images so that they can be found

If you have a website about German Shepherd dogs, then wouldn’t it be great if an image from your website was listed above the regular results? You’d get many additional website visitors then.

There are several things that you can do to improve the position of your images in Google Image Search:

  1. Use a file name that contains the keywords for which you want to be found. In this example, the file name german-shepherd-dog.jpg would be a good idea. Separate the words with a hyphen.
  2. Use a descriptive Image Alt attribute text. It usually makes sense to use the same keywords that have been used for the file name. In this example, the Image Alt Attribute would be “German Shepherd Dog”:

    <img src=”german-shepherd-dog.jpg” alt=”German Shepherd Dog”>

  3. In the same way, you should use the Image Title attribute:

    <img src=”german-shepherd-dog.jpg” alt=”German Shepherd Dog” title=”German Shepherd Dog”>

  4. The textual content on the web page before and after the image also impacts the position of your image in Google’s Image Search. In this example, the text “German Shepherd Dog” should appear close to the image.
  5. Bigger images seem to get featured more often on Google’s first result page. The bigger your image, the easier it is to get at the top of Google’s regular result page. Include the Width and Height attributes in your image tag to show search engines the size of the image:

    <img src=”german-shepherd-dog.jpg” alt=”German Shepherd Dog” title=”German Shepherd Dog” width=”600″ height=”400″>

  6. Optimize the rest of your web page for the chosen search term. If the complete web page has been optimized for a keyword then it is easier to get good listings for images that are on the page.

Read more:

Google Predicts More Social, and Profitable, Display Ads

12 Oct

Google might be late to the display advertising game, but it wants Madison Avenue to know that it will be ahead of the game in the future. At the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mixx conference in New York on Tuesday, Google made seven predictions for display advertising that the company thinks will happen by 2015.

Neal Mohan, the vice president for product management responsible for Google’s display advertising products, and Barry Salzman, managing director of media and platforms for the Americas at Google, who runs display ad sales, envisioned a Web where the ads are more social, mobile and real-time — and a lot more profitable.

1. Google announced two new kinds of video ads for YouTube and predicted that half of display ads would include cost-per-view videos that viewers choose to watch. On YouTube, people will be able to skip video ads they don’t like after five seconds (and the advertiser won’t pay for those views) or choose which of three ads to watch.

2. Half of the audience will be viewing ads in real-time, Google predicted. That means changing elements of ads on the fly based on things like location, the viewer’s interests and the weather. Google demonstrated technology from Teracent, an advertising company it acquired, that changes a car ad depending on whether the viewer is in a sunny or rainy place, is a woman or a man, and prefers shopping or sports. The technology would allow “millions of possible permutations,” Mr. Salzman said.

3. Google has been talking for a while about mobile being a priority and predicted that cellphone screens would be the No. 1 screen for viewing the Web by 2015. In display advertising, that means using phones to bridge the gap between a magazine ad and an online ad. An app called Google Goggles already lets people take photos of things like a landmark to search for them on Google. Eventually, people will be able to take a cellphone photo of a print automobile ad, for instance, and see the car in 3-D, zoom in and visit the company’s Web site.

Find more here:

Google’s New Service: URL shortener

8 Oct

Google gave its URL shortening service a standalone site on Thursday, allowing users to input and shorten links.

The service allows users to take any link and transform it into a shorter URL. Like the majority of Google’s services, the shortener will give users additional functionality if they sign-in with a Google account, such as a history of their shortened URLs along with analytics to allow them to track traffic.

The shortening service was originally announced in 2009 and plugged into Google’s browser toolbar and its Feedburner RSS service. Subsequently, the service was rolled out to other Google products including News, Blogger, Maps, Picasa Web Albums and Moderator.

The service will compete with other URL shortening services, such as and Twitter’s just-announced

Applications for the shortened links include transmission across microblogging services such as Twitter, which has a 140-character posting limit and encourages brevity. Also, by virtue of owning the system which transforms the links into shortened ones, Google will gain information about which links the consumer wants to make shorter.


Blog Marketing Tactics

7 Oct

I was going through this article and find very useful for us. Now a days everyone is looking for updates like Google recently launched Google Instant etc..After that most happening topic was “IS SEO Dead”. I went through lots of articles and came to conclusion that no SEO is not dead. SEO is becoming challenging after that. For SEO’s basics will remain same for site optimization. Here below there are some tactics for blog optimization.

1.  Invest in a custom design

In my own blogging from 2005 – 2009 I was using/tweaking various free themes, which did the job.  But hiring a blog designer to create a unique, custom theme is something you should do immediately.  Yes, blogs are best consumed through feeds.  But a unique design is still critical even in an increasingly real-time web.

The post linked in the previous graph describes why this is necessary in detail, but one item I’d like to highlight as part of design:  make sure to include multiple share/subscribe CTAs neatly throughout the theme so users can’t miss them.

On this blog, for example, there are 20 distinct share/subscribe buttons on each post.  But since they’re spread throughout the template, it doesn’t seem overt.  However you design your blog realize the single most important outcome for growth is that as many visitors as possible subscribe and/or share content and don’t just consume and move on.  Having share buttons below posts and on the right sidebar is well and good, but try to disperse them throughout the template so no matter how a visitor scans the page, they’ll see it.

2.  Take advantage of popular categories

Staying within your niche is limiting and there’s no reason you should worry about this.  Give your site a wide enough thesis you can explore content in various categories and pull in a mixed audience.  Niche is overrated, personality underrated.  In the mix of categories you do choose, make sure you choose at least one semi-popular category even if it’s complementary/supplementary to your main topic.  Remember, you need to write on topics that will generate organic links.  There’s no reason not to take advantage of more popular content categories where there are more active users threading the niche.   If you frame things properly, users attracted from the broader concept should still be receptive to more specific items in your content mix too.

3.  Provide relevant, timely information to established media

This is a really simple tactic I came up with as a PR strategist.  All you need to do is create an excel doc and add the email addresses of popular bloggers/journalists in your industry and brief description of what they cover (bonus points if you know these people well enough to do this without descriptions).  Then when you see something relevant – forward it to the right person in the list .  That content should not have anything to do with your business or a client, rather you’re providing something you genuinely believe that writer would use.  In many cases, (but not always) you’ll get credited as the information source.  As an example, see this link for a shout I received from Techdirt, one of the most popular tech blogs with more than 700,000 RSS readers simply by forwarding the blog’s editor an email.

4.  Connect with social web power users

Having been blogging for a few years before starting this site and moderating web forums/boards since 2000, I was already well-networked prior to starting this blog.  So I didn’t have to do too much work to get an initial community going.  If I didn’t have this already, I would have created a plan to connect with power users and get them subscribed to my site.  If you can build a group of social web power users who are your blog’s True Fans you’ll be in a position you can just focus on making awesome content – and your community will market your best stuff organically.

5.  Drop subscription hooks everywhere

This is especially important if you are publishing content to places external of your site, which you should.  As one example – note that I end SlideShares such as this one on creating remarkable digital content with a call to action:

Ensure that if you’re implementing tactics such as guest blogging, interviews, publishing photos to Flickr, etc. you include links back to a place users can subscribe directly to your content as the main CTA.  External networks should be secondary calls-to-action. This positions you far better in the future than if you are relying purely on real-time services where you do not control the signal to noise ratio to direct attention.  Notice all those Twitter users with 20,000+ followers but no blog/website traffic?  Exactly.

6.  Create projects tagging others that are not blog posts

Tagging a large group of others in blog posts is all well and good.  But unless the content is something super interesting you’ll likely earn a Tweet – these days maybe a link if you’re lucky.  If you want to stand out and get others to not just notice you pinging them – but share you with their networks – do something that’s not a blog post but that will still ping them.  The reason this works is because it’s different than what everyone else is doing, thus more likely to peak interest.  When everyone is doing something (such as pinging influencers in blog posts) it starts to be less effective because it’s so common.

Here’s a quick example.  Throughout 2008, I gathered quotes from some of my favorite bloggers and published it: 22 inspirational quotes.  Except I re-read the quotes and decided they were too good for just a blog post.  So I made some Ignite-style slides out of them.  Then, I sent each blogger quoted their image along with a link to the presentation.  Several them including Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Eric Friedman and Leo Babauta – all A-listers in their categories – embedded the content/linked back.  Reusing the work you’ve already done to create something new is not only efficient, but the second iteration will likely be even better.

Sample image from 2009 blogger quotes project

7.  Use other social channels for distribution, but focus on your site

I don’t do too much to nurture followings in external networks, I simply feed content into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and focus my time on creating the best possible content.  Building up outposts is something I still struggle finding value in – as that’s at the opportunity cost of working on your own properties.  I’m not saying don’t use them, I’m just saying if you’re working with limited resources, allocate time where it will have the highest impact.  For individuals and SMBs, that’s likely original content.

Note some of the most popular bloggers don’t even use other social channels besides their blog.  Ultimately it isn’t a large following, it is the quality of your content that will make or break your blog.  Users have infinite choice on the web and they will always vote with their mouse.

The Future Buzz Facebook page is being used primarily as just another way for readers to get content

8.  Creativity first, data second

If I purely listened to data to make decisions on what I published here, this site content would look a far different than it does.  There is a lot of use for data with a blog and I absolutely leverage it.  But I’ll never let it get in the way of a creative decision I want to test or try.  One of the best parts of blogging is you can try lots of different ideas and see what sticks – and all it costs is time.

The more you understand your industry, trending topics and audience, the less you even need the data to be successful.  You can, in essence, get ahead of your audience and predict what they will want to read next.  That’s not to say don’t pay attention to data, but if you are embedded within an industry your perspective is worth a lot more than analytics from past content.  With that said – in categories I’m less familiar with or I’m working with clients I’ll lean on data more.

9.  Pull PR

Pull PR (or inbound PR) is exactly what you think it is – it’s the opposite of traditional PR.  Whereas traditional PR pros will push their messages to media and influences in the formats of press releases,  pitches, etc. pull PR is, in my opinion, a superior approach:  you draw media to you.

Here’s a quick example:  in May, a reporter from PC Today (a print pub) found my blog through search, saw I was a digital marketer, and thought I’d be quotable for her story on web success for SMBs so she reached out for a quick chat.  Check out a PDF of the print story.  But you’ll note from my quote below – they included the URL to my blog:

If you do use your content to attract media, do be cognizant of asking nicely that links get included.  The point of this is to get consistent mentions by trusted outlets to instill authority  as well as attract new, interested visitors.

10.  Make enemies

Without question, I’ve made some enemies since starting blogging.  Not the type that are likely to take me out via sniper – the kind that debate with me blog to blog.  It actually wasn’t a conscious decision, I simply disagreed with what people said and had my say.  What did I learn?  Enemies are vital – if you don’t have any, find a way to make some.