A Look at Internet Marketing in 2010

This year the rate of change to internet marketing has increased exponentially. Whether it is the explosion of social media, the localization of Google or the inflow of advertising dollars online, 2010 will be a year to remember. I have listed my top 10 changes that effected internet marketing this year.

1. Google to Facebook: The internet spotlight has switched from Google to Facebook this year. Thanks in part to the hugely successful feature film “The Social Network”, which I think for people outside of internet marketing actually helped them understand the magnitude of social media. Plus all the privacy issues helped to keep Facebook top of mind in the public’s eyes. However, Facebook still has a long way to go to before it can be a Google killer.

2. Social Media: The use of social media as an SEO tool is now officially in every SEO’s tool box. Even offline marketing has adopted social media. It seems like every commercial I see on TV has a Twitter and Facebook Icon in it, with a call to action saying “call or click for more information”.

3. Yahoo & Bing: The merger of Yahoo and Bing was a big announcement that took way to long to actually happen. Now that Yahoo and Bing have merged they have a combined market share of 28%, which for most advertisers finally makes it worth while to advertise on Adcenter.

4. Localization of Search: Google’s changes to the way that they display local search results now pushes non-local search results further down the page. You had better have a serious local search strategy in place for next year or you will may be pushed right off the first page of SERPs.

5. Like Button: The use of the “Like” and “Tweet” button has really replaced the use of social bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious and Stumble Upon. This also illustrates the spread of Facebook’s influence on 3rd party sites.

6. Paid Social: The use of paid social media such as Facebook Ads and Sponsored Tweets has ski rocketed.

7. Mobile: Time to jump on this band wagon. Some of my clients are getting 30% of their traffic from mobile. I personally switched from Blackberry to iPhone and probably do half my searches now using the iPhone.

8. WordPress as a CMS: WordPress is one of the fastest growing content management systems in the world. Which is a big change from just being a blogging platform. You can now easily build yourself a full blow website in WordPress in a matter of hours for free. Hosting providers like GoDaddy actually allow one click installation of WordPress on your domain in a matter of minutes.

9. Ratings: are now showing up more and more in the search results. These ratings come from either you Google Places listing, Yelp or e-commerce system. Watch for more growth and weight to be put on ratings in the future. In Adwords you can already integrate ratings from your Google Products account into you Ads, which significantly increases CTR and Conversions rates.

10. Site Speed: Well it is official Google wants the internet to be faster, so if you site is slow you will now be penalized for having a slow site which lower rankings.

My advice is to put aside time each week to read internet marketing blogs, so that you can stay on top of all the changes, or hire a internet marketing consultant who will stay up to date for you!

Local Search Optimization in Canada

Google has changed the way they show search results containing local search queries. Local search queries usually contain a “product or service + city name” or are conducted from mobile devices. The algorithm now pulls even more information from your Google Places/Business listing and displays that information in the first 3 to 8 spots in the search results. Previously, you would have seen these results beside a Google map in the results but they have now moved the map to the top right hand corner and given the Google Places listing the top left position. This is bad for PPC advertisers because the #4 spot in the sponsored results used to be amazing for ROI . Below I will show you a few ways to optimize your local presence.

Local Search Optimization in Canada

The great thing about optimizing for local search is that it is usually free and just involves a bit of work on your end. The problem with the Canadian local search market is that it is dominated by Yellow Pages. In the US you can sign up for Bing Local Business Center and Yahoo Local but here in Canada Bing, and Yahoo get there local feed from Yellow Pages. (FYI the Yellow Pages Group is the number one Canadian owned site for unique visits according to ComScore)

Sign up for local listings on:

  • Google Places
  • Yelp Business
  • Yellow Pages
  • Create a Facebook Page and bookmark the address in Facebook Places
  • Local directories that are specific to your industry are also good but stay away from spammy sites

Pimp out the listings

  • fill out as much info as possible
  • add images and videos that help build trust
  • add the correct categories and test out secondary categories
  • note if your store is called “Steve’s” then your should add in a category keyword eg. “Steve’s Hardware” which will help the search engines place you in the correct category
  • get clients and friends to review your listing of Google and Yelp

This is just phase one of local’s influence on search results, as people use their smart phones more it will be increasing more important to optimize for local. Social media metrics like reviews and “likes” on Facebook will also become huge factors in rankings. On the Pay Per Click side of things you can already incorporate reviews into your PPC ads, if you own a ecommerce site. More to come on optimizing for local paid search.

If you would like help with your local search optimization or paid local search let me know.

Pay Per Click Consultant

I may be a pay per click consultant and an expert when it comes to internet marketing. However, I am always looking for ways to refine my consulting skills. I have read a few consulting books that all seem to focus on a similar consulting process.

Here is the consulting process that can be applied to ppc consulting or any consulting for that matter:

  1. Define problem: most clients have a problem, whether it is traffic, leads or sales  and this is the first tasks an internet marketing consultant has to clearly define. If you don’t properly define the clients needs then you are in big trouble (needs analysis for marketing folks) Read more

Social Conscious Internet Marketing

As an internet marketing company in Vancouver, you don’t often come across a project that actually tries to make the world a better place, but I think I have found one. Sumaq Rugs is a company based in Vancouver that sells custom alpaca rugs from Peru. The thing that makes them unique is that the rugs are made the traditional way by using looms and 5% of every sale goes directly back into the weavers community.

When I talked to the owner’s Collis Verdicchio and Derek Beech, I asked them how they work the logistics of finding these families. They said that it was difficult finding Peruvian families with looms because only the wealthier families could afford them. There are no large manufacture plants for these rugs to be produced in, as they are all produced in family run workshops. Sumaq’s program is designed to increase the number of looms in each village. However, this would seem like a good business investment if it wasn’t for the fact that they pay “living wages”. This means that all the weavers are paid fare prices which allows them to provide for their families.

Another factor that makes this program a real success is the fact that it allows families to stay together. If these weavers didn’t have their own workshops they would be forced to leave their families and work at low paying manufacturing jobs in the large cities.

Getting back to the internet marketing side of things, for this project we are pushing social media, article submissions  with a small PPC campaign to try to get the word out about this awesome socially conscious company. I have only just begun on this project but I will keep everyone posted on their progress.

Google Display Network

The Google Display Network, formally known as the Content Network, will separate the men from the boys when it comes to managing PPC. Honestly there is no easy way to do well on the display network other than test and spend money. I have spoken to a few pay per click gurus lately and they have admitted that you have to set high CPCs to break in and get impressions.

Here are the best practices for setting up a display network account:

Read more

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Who Says You Need a Website to Run PPC

A client of mine was on a really tight budget and wanted to run a Halloween PPC campaign. The problem was that their main site needed a lot of work. There wasn’t enough time or money to create a whole new site. So we just created a stand alone page that contained all the basic information to get people into their store and buy Halloween costumes.

Elements of the PPC landing page:

* Halloween themed header
* Quick intro
* Simple product gallery
* List of Benefit
* Call to action
* Map to locate store
* Trust icons at the bottom

That is all you really need in a landing page….If you are looking for Halloween Costumes please visit their site, or should I say landing page!

 

Recommended Internet Marketing Books

I get asked all the time “how did you learn PPC and SEO?” Well you should probably read at least two books in any internet marketing field just to learn the basics. That way at least when you start reading blogs you will be able to spot the snake oil BS that is all over the net. I highly recommend the following books:

1. “Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing: An  Hour a Day”
by David Szetela is actually on my desk as we speak.

2. “Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing for Dummies”
by Peter Kent was my first PPC book

3. “Search Engine Optimization for Dummies”
by Peter Kent was also my first SEO book

4. “Web Analytics: An Hour A Day” and 5. “Web Analytics 2.0”
by Avinash Kaushik
I don’t care how long you have done web analytics for, you can still learn a lot from both these books.

Google Instant and its Effects on Adwords

So Google is changing up the search game by giving you instant results (or so they claim). This is how it works, when you start to type in a search query the search results will change right before you eyes. The idea is that you will only have to partially type in a query and Google will predict what you are looking for. This feature will probably be tied into your search history, in the near future, which will make the predictive nature even smarter and more useful.

I find it funny that Google thinks that someone would spend 30-90 seconds to type in a search query and that was their reason for the innovation. See their page on Google instant.

Any ways lets look at how this will impact Pay Per Click advertising. I was very nervous when I first heard that Google was going to show numerous search results for a single search result. This could really hurt your quality score and drive up costs. But Google has spelled it out that it shouldn’t effect your PPC campaigns at all, which is a relief.

The following is from the Adwords Help:

New predicted query

Although Google Instant won’t change the way ads are served, ads and search results will now be shown for a new “predicted query.” For example, if someone types “flow” into Google, an algorithm predicts that the user is searching for “flowers” (the predicted query) and therefore displays search listings and ads for flowers. Those results will continue to show unless the next letters that the user types lead to a different predicted query.

How impressions are counted

When someone searches using Google Instant, ad impressions are counted in these situations:

  • The user begins to type a query on Google and clicks anywhere on the page (a search result, an ad, a spell correction, a related search).
  • The user chooses a particular query by clicking the Search button, pressing Enter, or selecting one of the predicted queries.
  • The user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds.”

 

What is Google Adwords Pay Per Click?

Have you ever wondered what those funny looking sponsored links are when you search on Google? Well those are Google Adwords paid text ads. Google Adwords is an Internet marketing program that allows you to place advertisements on either search result pages or websites.

These ads are relevant to what the people are searching for. So yes these ads actually help people find what they are looking for. Most people don’t even realize that they are clicking on a sponsored link. This is good for you because they think you are showing up in the #1 spot in Google organically which gives you credibility.

So how does Google Adwords work?

How google adwords works

questions > >>> search for answers >>>> click on your ads >>>> find answers on your site

At the most basic level Google Adwords works by having the advertiser bid on keyword phrases that potential customers are searching for. When a potential customer searches for the term you are bidding on you ad will show up in the sponsored link section next to the organic rankings. Your ranking in the sponsored links is based on your bid and on how relevant your ad is to the searcher (AKA quality score).

The best part about Adwords is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. If people don’t like your ad and don’t click you don’t pay. Another benefit of pay per click advertising is that you can track the number of people that click, but most importantly take action on your site. This can be used to determine if Adwords PPC is right for you.

Why advertise on Google Adwords? Read more