Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Important aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you want to be successful at the Internet Game you need to use these Internet Applications effectively. If you are missing even one of the applications in your marketing portfolio, you are loosing business.
* Website * Opt In * Key Word Selection * Email Marketing * Ezines * Banner Advertisements * Affiliate programs * Notifying Internet Portals and Directories * Search Engine Optimization (SEO) * Pay per click * Blogs * Chat Rooms * Message Boards * Opt In * Ebay
To give you a better understanding of why these applications are important, let’s briefly discuss each application.
Website
Your website content is one of the single most important aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It must be well thought out and structured well throughout your site. You will want to be sure you focus on how your product or service solves a problem or pain for the customer. This almost sounds too simple to work, but focusing on what you have to offer and how it solves the customers problem will pay substantial benefits for the long term.
Having a website will help you increase revenue, decrease expenses, and provide your customers with a higher level of service and support. Here are some examples of how your prospects will benefit from having a Web site.
* Open up a virtual storefront that creates an additional sales channel
* Sell products online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
* Introduce new products to the market faster
* Compete with big corporations based on service, price, and quality
* Capture the impulse buyer
* Accept credit card orders online in real time
* Optimize existing advertising (add a .com to ads directing customers to your dynamic, informative Web site) expose your business to new markets you may not otherwise reach
* Establish credibility with potential customers
* Provide fast, personalized service to customers
* Provide answers to frequently asked questions 24 hours a day
* Offer special packages or deals through your Web site
* Display testimonials from satisfied customers
* Send customers exclusive online coupons or discounts
* Allow customers to set appointments online
* Facilitate pro-active communication between you and your customers
* Respond to customers’ changing demands faster
Opt In
Confirmed opt-in has become the most rigorous method of obtaining permission to send email campaigns.
What does confirmed opt-in mean? And, is it for you? Well, first let's define the terms. Then, we'll discuss the advantages and disadvantages so that you can make your own decision - and I'll throw in my two cents.
Single Opt-In (with a subscriber acknowledgement email) is the most widely accepted and routinely used method of obtaining email addresses and permission. A single opt-in list is created by inviting visitors and customers to subscribe to your email list. When you use a signup tag on your website, a message immediately goes out to the subscriber acknowledging the subscription. This message should reiterate what the subscriber has signed up for, and provide an immediate way for the subscriber to edit her interests or opt-out.
Confirmed Opt-In (a.k.a. double opt-in) is a more stringent method of obtaining permission to send email campaigns. Confirmed opt-in adds an additional step to the opt-in process. It requires the subscriber to respond to a confirmation email, either by clicking on a confirmation link, or by replying to the email to confirm their subscription. Only those subscribers who take this additional step are added to your list.
ISPs and corporations are now doing everything they can to stem the tide of spam flowing into their users' email inboxes. Without a foolproof solution to turn to, some ISPs, like Road Runner (@rr.com email addresses), now require confirmed opt-in for email delivery. They do this because the subscription tracking capabilities associated with confirmed opt-in can help them differentiate legitimate commercial email from spam and protect their customers from receiving spam.
Is Confirmed Opt-in for You?
While usage of confirmed opt-in is not widespread today, and we can't tell just yet if it will become the industry standard, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of confirmed opt-in so that you can make an educated decision on what is best for your business.
The Advantages: In a nutshell, confirmed opt-in ensures that those who are receiving your email want to receive it; it can protect you against spam accusations; and it allows for email delivery to ISPs, like Road Runner, who require confirmed opt-in for email delivery.
The confirmed opt-in method prevents: Email address collection without permission, Accidental subscription due to email address typos, and Subscriptions made by an unauthorized third party.
Key Word Selection
Choosing the right Keywords to target is of paramount importance to your success in search engine marketing. Many online consumers know exactly what they are willing to spend when searching for retail products. You should try optimizing for products based on best value? Example: "bridesmaid gifts under $20" Example: "cars under $2000" Example: "timeshare resale under $1000" The above examples have low competition factors, so really think about how your target audience may be searching and optimize accordingly. More online consumers know exactly what they're searching for when it comes to retail products. You should try optimizing for products by part or model number? Example: nokia 8910 cell phone Example: hp deskjet 5550 printer Also, try adding "" quotes around your product and model number within the
Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available for communicating and developing relationships. But, email marketing can only be that powerful when it’s done well. Using your standard email client (e.g. Outlook, Eudora, hotmail, AOL, Yahoo etc.) to send a Bcc text or HTML message to your list is not doing email marketing well. Why not? Because your standard email client is not designed for email marketing and therefore has significant limitations that can actually undermine vs. aid your email marketing efforts. The good news is – you do not have to go it alone. There are Web-based email marketing services that are inexpensive and designed to make email marketing simple for the non-technical user. By using a good email marketing service, you can just easily avoid common mistakes and truly get the most out of your email marketing efforts.
Here are the top ten reasons you need an email marketing service. Coincidentally, these are also the top ten critical email marketing benefits that you will never get from any standard email client.
1. Are approved as bulk mailers
2. Follow professional mailing practices
3. Provide list hosting and management
4. Require no technical skill or support staff
5. Handle formatting
6. Create great looking emails
7. Get higher email deliverability
8. Deliver measurable results
9. Include frequent updates and enhancements
10. Comply with email laws
Ezines
An Ezine is a periodic publication distributed by email or posted on a website.
Ezines are typically tightly focused on a subject area. Ezines in concept are reworking of the popular magazine format of monthly, or weekly topical publications, in an electronic format.
Ezines range greatly in size and scope, from irregular newsletters reaching a handful of subscribers to daily journals reaching hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
Writing articles for ezines increases your visibility on the Internet. By writing articles, you establish your credibility as a market leader. By including your name, company name and website address, you will drive traffic back to your web site.
Banner Advertisements
Probably the most popular method of online advertising is through the use of banner ads. These are the advertisements, most often in rectangular boxes, that seem to appear on almost every page you look at on the Web. In addition to banner ads, some other ways you can advertise your online business include having your ad placed with a newsletter distribution service, and inserting your domain name (www.yourbiz.com) in offline advertisements. If you are unfamiliar with the process of running a banner ad, then you'll be surprised at how fast you can actually start pulling in visitors with this medium. While in the offline world it can take months to actually get your advertisement placed in a publication, in the online world the whole process can be accomplished in a matter of days. Another advantage of online advertising is that you can change your ad in the middle of a campaign.
Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs offer you a way to make money for your online business by advertising for other online businesses. In their simplest form, affiliate programs establish a business relationship between your business and another business, where you will receive a percentage, or a fee, for the sales that you generate for the other business. In a sense, by joining an affiliate program, you become an agent for another business and get a commission every time you sell something for that business. For instance, let's say that you joined an affiliate program that paid you a 15% commission on every sale that you made. If you sold an item worth $100, then you would receive a $15 commission from the affiliate program.
In order to join an affiliate program and begin earning commissions, you will be required to show a banner ad, or text link, for the other business on your Web site. For instance, if you join the Amazon.com affiliate program, you would place an Amazon.com banner ad on your Web site, with a special identification code, that links back to the Amazon.com site
Notifying Internet Portals and Directories
Getting listed with portals, search engines and directories is the beginning of your promotional campaign. By having your site properly indexed in these search engines, you stand a good chance of getting some visitors to your site. However, don't expect to have the world knocking at your door just because you have gotten your site listed in all of the major search engines.
Getting listed with the portals and directories can be done easily using an auto-posting service. You simply type, or cut and paste, the keywords and description for your online business in the appropriate boxes of the notification forms, and the auto-posting service will take care of the rest. In addition to getting your Web site listed across the Internet, many of these services will also analyze your site for loading speed, browser compatibility, and its ability to distinguish itself from the "crowd."
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the technique of fine-tuning your website so that it appears more frequently and with a higher ranking in search engines, thereby increasing free traffic to the site. Each search engine compiles a database of web pages which are then ranked by relevance when a particular search term is entered. Every search engine uses different algorithms in order to determine a web page's relevance for a given search.
Pay Per Click
Google AdWords Select and Overture are the two leading Pay-per-click players, but there are over 400 search engines using this model. They all work in more or less the same way. You bid on keywords and phrases that your target audience may use to find your site in the search engines. When they do a search for those keywords your ad or "sponsored listing" appears in a special section near the top or side of the search results.
The position of your ad depends on the amount you bid and the competition for your keywords, so selecting the best keywords is essential. You pay only when someone clicks through to your site.
Blogs With a Blog, you can submit to the many Blog directories that exist online.
By submitting to the many blog directories in the proper category, you can expand your reach to targeted subscribers or readers who wants to read your posting on your area of specialization. Blogs promote relationship building and trust with your readers, as it allows you to interact with them. Your readers can refer a friend and imagine the traffic power that can be generated if each one of your reader make a referral.
Chat Rooms
Use online chat rooms to promote your web site. Find the right chat room where your targeted audience would gather. Announce to everyone in the chat room something interesting or free that's offered on your web site. This will draw visitors to your web site. Always be aware of chat room rules before engaging the visitors in a sales pitch that could be considered spam.
Message Boards
A message board (also called a discussion forum or bulletin board) is a web-based tool that allows a group of users to discuss topics of interest with each other.
The most important function of a message board is to create a stronger connection between you and your customers. You may have the best product in the market, but if you cannot get enough feedback about your product, you will never know what your customers really think about it. A message board can provide you significantly better feedback about your product by allowing many-to-many connections
Opt In
Opt-in email is the opposite of "Spam" email. When people voluntarily sign-up to receive your electronic messages, they are "opting-in" to your mail list. Because they have actually requested information from you, your messages are not considered to be junk mail, spam, or unsolicited email.
Sending messages and information to people who have given you permission to contact them is a great way to build the kind of relationships that will encourage a steady flow of traffic to your website... and greatly increase your online sales!
Ebay
On average, Ebay receives 40 million hits daily, and of that, it's average user views 17 pages. Most listings get at least 50 very targeted views. If you can get listed on eBay's "The Pulse" (most popular internet auctions) you are guaranteed at least 5,000 visitors to that listing, and many of them will click through to your site, affiliate link, whatever makes you money.
You can probably understand why you should consider eBay one of the most unique prospects on the internet. It's like the search engines USED to be, where you are guaranteed hits and visitors no matter what the field, and where being outrageous pays off.

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