Thursday Topics: Over Optimization & Social Media Marketing

Optimization Strategies
What happens if you overkill your optimization strategy? I just saw a short interview clip with Matt Cutts on a SEOBook article about this very subject. Although Matt claims that you won’t necessarily get penalized, it’s obviously not ideal to over optimize. Google optimization is a delicate task and the key is to make your efforts look as natural as possible. This means doing away with duplicate content (your own and content “borrowed” elsewhere) and mixing up the keywords you use on a single page. If you feel like you’re using a particular word a little too much, you probably are. This not only looks spammy but it makes it annoying for your average reader.

Have You Checked in with Foursquare?
Whether you love or hate social media marketing, you’ll certainly be at a disadvantage if you ignore it. The internet is abuzz over the Foursquare phenomenon and that’s cool, but I don’t really get it. I mean I “get it” from a marketer’s point of view so I guess we’ll expand on that note. Like local search, Foursquare pulls in customers to drive business. But, how does it work? The jist of it is that customers “check-in” on their smart phone using the application to keep track of the various locations they’ve visited. Depending on the amount and variety of places you’ve visited, users can earn badges that showcase their accomplishments.
Interesting… but what’s the point? Social Media Examiner shows how businesses can implement loyalty programs and build relationships using the app. By using the ‘check-in’ feature, customers can take advantage coupons and promotions available for locals. It’s beneficial for all, so why not? Foursquare, and the lesser-mentioned Gowalla, are fun and engaging new ways to use location based services to connect with customers.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

3 Social Media Problems

Social media marketing isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. I’ve recently ran into a couple problems and it’s taken me awhile to

1) Problem: You want to clean up your Twitter account but are stuck with too many inactive, irrelevant followers. Maybe, you’re following too many people who aren’t reciprocating.
Resource: With ManageTwitter, you can quickly go through your followers and weed out the inactive ones. It’s a handy tool and sure beats doing it manually.

2) Problem: Your business isn’t showing up right in Google’s Local Business Center.
Resource: Check out the Google forums and you’ll see how many other business owners are in the same boat. We haven’t figured out a better/fast solution so if you have any insight, please let us know!

3) Problem: You don’t know where to start with link building
Resources: Look no further than Lee Odden’s open letter to spammers and 101 ways to build link popularity

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Social Media Things to Keep in Mind

Going Overboard

Twitter. Facebook. YouTube. Blogger. Tumblr. WordPress. Vimeo. MySpace. People can tend to go a little overboard when it comes to social media nowadays. It’s not a bad thing to be everywhere, but you may be spreading yourself thin. Instead, examine the right platforms for your campaign. Having a Twitter or WordPress is pretty useless you’re active. No one said it was easy, but it does take time and effort.

Overlooking Google Profiles

With all the profiles you currently have, who as the time to consider their Google Profile? It is always worthwhile to take advantage of free resources to make sure that your latest info is updated. While Google may have failed with Orkut, they have many social innovations that have grand potential. Google Wave is a favorite among web designers and other busy professionals, while Google’s What’s Popular is looking to rival Digg. There are new social media sites coming out all the time, but it’s especially worth it to keep your eye out on Google products.

Someone’s Always Watching

A little creepy? But yes, we should all be a little more careful with our personal information on all these social media sites. It’s common sense and yet, it can’t be reiterated enough! Facebook’s founder recently claimed that we’re no longer in the age of privacy. According to Zuckerburg, he would make all private info public, if he launched Facebook today. Although many oppose his remarks and Facebook’s recent privacy changes, the best we can do is guard our online identity. Another sketchy source came out saying that Facebook knows who you stalk. Not sure how you guys feel about all this, but I just like to be aware of what’s going on.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Customize your Google News Home Page

Customs Sections Directory

Google News has recently made it possible for you to customize your Google News home page! They have created a Custom Sections Directory, which can be modified and changed by its user. Simply click on the “Add a section” link on the far right side of your Google News page and you will be relocated to your custom sections directory where you can begin making modifications.

How to Customize to your Interests

The directory includes various sections to choose from such as “Social Networking,” “Computer Security,” “US Foreign Policy,” etc. By adding particular sections you find interesting, your Google News page will become more personalized to you and your interests. The custom sections directory also allows you to sort by: highest rated, most users, and newest. Starting there can give you a sense of what other users are finding to be of interest. If you wish to browse the directory according to category, this is possible as well! Simply click on the category of your choice and find exactly what you are looking for. The categories include: business, science, technology, sports, entertainment, health, politics, and society. Within these categories are sub-categories so that you are able to narrow your preference down to specifics. Also offered is keyword search. If you wish to create your own customs section or sections this is also possible! Simply enter your city, state and zip code to create a local section or enter a keyword and they will be added to the public directory.

News Worth Reading

After you have completed customizing your Google News home page, the sections you have requested to add will be visible as links on the left-side menu. They will also appear on the bottom of your Google News home page. Customize your Google News home page today and enjoy the convenience of reading about what you want!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Competition Among Top Search Engines

Google Dominates

Google continues to dominate as the top search engine in the United States. While a select few reign over the search engine industry, there is a great range between the top three largest companies. As of September 2009, about 70.5% of users use Google, 17% used Yahoo! and 9.3% sided with Bing. With such discrepancies, the number two and three search engines are losing a great deal of market share to the Google giant. In the past, Google and Microsoft have been fiercely competitive. From competing web browsers to applications, Microsoft has jumped directly into Google’s game with the unveiling of their new search engine in summer of 2009.

Does Bing Size Up?

The commercials seem promising, but does Bing really size up to Google? Formerly Windows Live Search and MSN Search, the new search engine has boldly labeled themselves as the “decision engine”. Some experts believe that Bing is a great improvement from what it used to be, and that it has the potential to threaten Google’s success. While the size of that threat is arguable, Bing offers relevant results that are competitive to those of Google. Another obstacle for Bing to overcome is attempting to win over loyal Google users. Bing is relatively young to Google and time will tell whether or not their technology and measurable marketing efforts will pay off.

New Competitors

Although Google is all we hear about when it comes to search engines, the market outside of the United States is drastically different. For example, did you know that AltaVista is the number one preferred search engine in Canada? The Swiss prefer Abacho, while China is no stranger to altogether banning access to Google. Google is great at recognizing competitors and making valuable additions to their company. Did you know that Google acquired Google Earth from a smaller company in 2004? New technology is emerging all the time and Google is definitely keeping their eyes peeled for new competitors.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Making Use of Local Search Results

Local Search Marketing

Increasing advances and improvements have made local search engine results more relevant than ever. When you’re browsing online for restaurants or hot shopping spots, you want results that are relevant to your geographical location. Google recognizes consumer demand for this relevancy and is working hard to become more local. With that being said, it would be foolish for businesses to downplay the importance of local search. A focus on your local search efforts means taking a close look at your campaign in specific geographical locations. As a small business owner, your recognition on the Internet relies on how well you do in local search results. Even on a nationwide level, a corporation, such as World Gym, can greatly benefit from ranking higher on local search results.

Improving Your Results

There are simple steps that you can take to improve your local search results. First, take advantage of free local Yahoo! and Yellow Pages business listings. You can make sure that your business is listed in other local business directories and listings from your local Chamber of Commerce. When it comes to keeping your website updated, always make sure to include your address and local telephone number, along with an 800 number. This way, customers and search engine results can easily tell exactly where you’re located. Local SEO efforts will also be appreciated in the long run. It can be as simple as adding your city to title pages and including in keywords and while link building.

What the Future Holds

Local search will only get more accurate with time. Earlier this year, Google has even begun to add pictures to their local search result pages. While this will help put local businesses on the map, it means This means that businesses will have another task of monitoring their activity on local search results and websites. If that’s not enough for you to keep up with, there’s much more. Twitter’s search engine allows users to search in real time. When local search is integrated with real time technology, who knows what the future holds!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

How long does it take to improve the Google Quality Score?

google quality scoreWe’ve been working on improving our client’s Google Quality Score for our paid search clients and we recently asked our dedicated Google team the following question:

How long does it take to improve the Google Quality Score?

For those of you who are new to paid search, Google now provides your ads with a quality score. The above link goes more into detail if you’re interested. In short, Goolge wants to make sure that they’re providing relevant ads for the search and will reward you if your ad and landing page relates to the search phrase.

Here’s the response from Google:

There really isn’t a set time frame. All we know is that changes to Quality Score will not happen immediately. The system may take up to a few weeks to reassess the keyword’s Quality Score in the context of the ads and landing page. Please note that during this time you may see stronger fluctuations in Quality Score than usual, as the system processes the new information.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

The Importance of Keywords

The concept of keywords and keyword phrases seems simple on the surface, but when it comes to organic search engine optimization, it can get a bit tricky. A keyword or a keyword phrase is a descriptive word or a series of descriptive words that a person might type into a search engine in order to find a website that pertains to the particular word or words searched.

So how is it, you ask, that a search engine identifies these keywords or keyword phrases? Search engines work by matching up patterns. When you type in a word or a phrase into a search engine like Google, Google would look through portions of content in search of the particular keyword or keyword phrase. If you searched for the keyword “Labrador puppy” Google would view a paragraph on a website and the only words that would pop out as different would be “Labrador” and “puppy.” All of the other words would appear as plain text, no different from each other. If you tried searching “dog food” then Google would view the same paragraph this time with the words “dog” and food” popping out.

Google only sees the keyword or keyword phrase you are searching for. Search engine spiders look at where the keyword appears and how frequent the keyword’s appearance is on the particular site and then determines how pertinent or applicable the site is to the particular word or phrase.

Latent semantic indexing
is a tool that is progressing at a fast pace. Latent semantic indexing is something that search engines use to determine whether certain words are related or not. This technology is still processing and until it is complete, the simple concept of keywords and keyword phrases will do when it comes to search engine optimization.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

New Google Site For Advertisers

Well Google is at it again with another new site. This brings the Google site count up to 6,341*. Wow! There newest addition is for advertisers! There’s plenty of information on it which will help you in the advertising world. There’s a great case study on the home page which is a ‘worst case’ case study of a pet stick campaign. I love it! I’ve inserted the image here for a laugh. google-advertising-site1

The pet stick case study shows you the various tools you can use to market your product which I hope is better than a pet stick. Although I’m sure people would buy the pet stick! So from media planning, new keyword tools, buidling a social media site through OpenSocial, setting up ads on Google, creating a YouTube video, engaging YouTubers, (just learned this is an actual word) you can see how Google can help. The site gets into how TV and mobile ads work as well.

My favorite section was the free marketing section. We’ve discussed some of these tools in past posts, such as Webmaster Tools and the Local Business Center, but there are many more such as Product Search, FeedBurner, Gadgets, OpenSocial, Maps API, and YouTube. I recommend reviewing these free tools and making them work for your site.

larry-and-sergeyIt just occurred to me that a lot of these free tools were companies that Google bought out. We’re actually in the process of creating a tool for our clients so maybe Google will try to buy us out in a few years. We shall see! Please forward this blog URL to Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google Co-Founders) so they can start preparing for the buyout!

* just kidding – I’m sure there are plenty but I just picked this number out of thin air 😉

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Google search results are starting to include local results

Google's including local results
Google's including local results

Just heard through the search marketing grapevine that Google is starting to include local results for search queries that they think you’d like to see local results. Try a search for “cars” and half way down you’ll see local results based on where you’re searching.  This is based off the IP of your computer where you’re searching from so if you’re surfing the net from your office and the network has a block of IPs from a provider out of state you will most likely receive results based off of where that IP is located.

So with this in mind it will become more important to make sure your business is listed in Google Local. Click here if you need to get listed in Google Local.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.