5 Common SEO Myths

seo mythsOld SEO myths never seem to really die and it doesn’t help that new ones are being created. Let’s take a look at 5 common myths about search engine optimization:

1) SEO is a set it and forget it processAre we done yet? Many online marketing services have a completion end date or end goal – web design project, PPC campaigns etc. But what about SEO? An effective SEO campaign is an on going process that never really ends. It helps to think of web copywriting and content creation as a regular process, like a more traditional marketing campaign that changes with the seasons and consumer trends.

2) More keywords will get you a higher ranking – More is NOT always better and this is exactly the case when it comes to optimizing content. You can’t just throw in random keywords because you want to cover as many areas related to your business as possible. Keyword stuffing isn’t going to impress people or search engines – not to mention that it’s a dead giveaway that your site is spammy page that’s not helpful.

3) Search engine rankings can be guaranteed – Have you ever had an SEO company guarantee you #1 positions? Talk about shady… As frustrating as it may be, there’s no such thing as a 100% guarantee when it comes to SEO. Rather than focusing on the top spot, a reputable SEO company will give you a detailed plan about how to achieve top rankings within a realistic time frame using white hat methods.

4) Once you reach the top, you’ll stay there – Search engine algorithms are changing all the time and you can bet that your other businesses are making changes to keep up. Success is possible but staying in the top ranks is a constant and time consuming process. Related to Myth #1, we recommend a consistent SEO plan so that you can stay in the top rankings once you’re there. If you stop your efforts after reaching the top, it will be a waste because your rankings could easily slide and your competitors will surely be thankful!

5) Linking Out to Other Sites Will Help Your Rankings: I’ve heard this more than a handful of times so it must be a common misconception! Some people believe that linking out to well-known sites and brands will help their rankings. Not sure where this idea came from but it’s definitely not true. Incoming links from relevant and trustworthy sites will give your site the link juice that you’re looking for, not the other way around.

Do you have any other myths about organic optimization that you’d like to share or debunk?

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.

Online Marketing and The Minor Details

The devil is in the details. We’ve all heard this saying before and it can relate to online marketing in so many ways. What this idiom means is that it’s the small details that can often make a relatively simple task more difficult and time consuming. As you look closer, there are more things that can be worked on and you’ll understand why an internet marketing campaign can always be changed and made better!

Here are a few minor but important aspects of online marketing that can be easily skipped over or even forgotten:

  • You only focus on optimizing for Google – If you completely skip out on Yahoo and Bing, you’re missing out on a smaller but still very important demographic. Ranking well on these sites will help your business if you’re struggling on Google.
  • You ignore free, local resources – I went kayaking at a local rental place after seeing good reviews on Yelp. However, I was surprised to see a comment by a customer stating that the address in the listing was wrong. This means that the business has not claimed the listing or bothered to correct this mistake. When resources like this are free and you’re already receiving numerous positive reviews, it can only reflect negatively on your business if you choose not to be more involved.
  • You focus too much on organic rankings – Search engine rankings can be volatile and unpredictable depending on competitors, search trends and even holidays. I’ve known people who obsess over their rankings on a day-by-day basis – as in yesterday I was number 2 but today I’m number 3, what happened? This is not an effective way to gauge your progress and your efforts can be more helpful to your long term brand presence in organic searches.
  • You always use exact keyword matches – It can be tempting to always use exact keywords when linking in anchor text. But with the Google Panda updates, Google is on the lookout. This mean that you can be penalized for excessive exact match anchor text. The bottom line is that Google wants more natural linking keywords that are actually helping people instead of just appeasing their Google bots.

These are just a few things I could think of at the top of my head at the moment and the list is never ending. Even if you don’t have time to sit down and digest all the details at once, it’s good to go over what you can from time to time so that you have a clearer view of the bigger picture. Don’t like the minor details overwhelm you!

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.

Mix It Up: Social, Email Marketing and More

marketing mixAccording to a survey by Pitney Bowes, 76% of small businesses believe that their ideal marketing mix should include a combination of both physical and digital communication.

A marketing mix is usually made up of 4 P’s:
Product, price, promotion and place.

The emphasis on this term is mix – meaning that there is no “right” combination of marketing methods. But the frantic nature of a  “mix up” is not always a bad thing. In the business world, it allows you to reach a different/wider range of customers.

Businesses Get Social

The popularity of social media marketing doesn’t mean that it is replacing all traditional forms of marketing but rather, complementing them. After all, small businesses can’t expect to find success by just using one marketing channel. That would be like having a website without SEO or PPC. Or distributing promotions without a website or customer service!

While social media serves as a great starting point for businesses to introduce themselves to customers, a small business cannot expect to succeed by solely relying on this channel. This will mean that you leave other customers behind. You’ll be surprised at the amount of customers who still rely on physical coupons, emails and even Yellow Pages listings!

Co-existing Marketing Channels

58% of small businesses in this survey use multi-channel marketing. While a slight majority of the businesses are optimizing their use of different marketing channels, that number may grow as owners see more options and opportunities available. The survey also suggests that 72% of small businesses would do more for marketing their business if they had the right tools for managing customer communication.

What are you waiting for? Take a look at our FREE whitepapers for a better idea of what you can do to help your business get found by using different marketing strategies.

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.

Life After Google Panda Updates and Link Building

link building

Love it or hate it, link building is still an important part of SEO after the massive Google Panda updates.

The quality of your inbound links is becoming more important as Google Panda updates have shown us.  Although these updates are aimed at getting rid of “content farms” and lower quality links, many people’s rankings have been hurt by the recent Google Panda 2.2 updates.  For example, many people who used to rank well for certain phrases using article submission sites have now seen drastic drops. Of course, you know Google is already preparing version 2.3!

Because of these updates and changes to Google’s search algorithm, quality links have become increasingly important. Overall, the point of these updates is to help you recognize and ultimately remove low ranking on site pages and off site content in order to improve user/customer experience.

And with the debut of Google +,  you bet that social media activity is becoming more important in determining your search engine rankings! Back to my point of link building – it’s crucial to continue your efforts on a consistent basis. Here are a few good link  building resources that are sure to be helpful.

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.

5 Pay Per Click Advertising Questions Answered

Emarketed pay per click advertising PPCAre you interested in learning more about how your business can benefit from a pay per click campaign? Join our PPC manager, Dillon Zachara, as he answers the top 5 questions about pay per click advertising.

1) What are some advantages of having an agency manage your PPC campaign rather than doing it yourself?

One, search agency’s have already gone through the process of finding certified professionals that have the skills to optimize and manage a PPC campaign in a way that will maximize business opportunities. An agency also has dedicated representatives at the major search engines that can be contacted directly and quickly when technical issues arise. Finally, web marketing agency’s generally have more resources and tools for research available than individuals do, leading to a higher quality ad campaign.

2) What are the top misconceptions that people have about PPC?

The top misconception is probably that you can just choose a bunch of keywords, toss them in one ad group and one campaign, write an ad or two, and let it run without tweaking it. While this may seem obvious to some who’ve done work with PPC, it isn’t known or practiced by many newcomers to the trade.

3) Tips for creating effective PPC ads?

Ad copy is incredibly important and often gets overlooked. Always A/B split test ads, having more than one running to test for the optimal copy. Everyone managing a PPC campaign should also look into new developments, such as adding addresses for local ads and sitelinks in ad copy. Also with mobile searches becoming increasingly popular, always add a phone number and enable the click-to-call option. Finally, make sure your landing pages look great, otherwise your money is being wasted on a click that won’t convert.

4) What are some common mistakes inexperienced marketers make regarding PPC?

In general, I would say the most common pitfall is just not checking a campaign enough. I like to look through what is happening both in Adwords and Analytics at least once/day for each campaign. That doesn’t necessarily mean that changes should be made that often, but each time the stats are analyzed, a bit more information is being gathered in order to make the correct change/adjustment when necessary.

That pitfall can go the other way too though, where businesses make way too many changes and don’t allow a campaign to find it’s ‘sweet spot’. PPC is all about finding the right balance between keywords, bids, ad copy, running times, and geo-targets. If you make a change and then undo it after only 20 clicks or so, you’re not letting the affects of that change be realized.

5) Favorite and least favorite aspects of PPC?

My favorite aspect of PPC is the amount of control and flexibility you can have over what is happening within the campaign. I love being able to change who sees any particular ad in a matter of minutes. Close after that, my next favorite aspect is the detail and specificity that you can get with reports in PPC campaigns. I also really enjoy monitoring the constant upgrades and changes in the industry. Right now is really an exciting time for PPC search advertising!

My least favorite aspect would probably be the fact that you can’t physically see who is clicking on an ad. Obviously this won’t be changing anytime soon, but the lack of personal interaction can be a little frustrating.

Learn more about how PPC consultants can help your business today. Dillon will be more than happy to answer some of your  burning questions, so feel free to ask!

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.

Intel’s Advertising Overhaul


Listened in to a webinar this morning with Corey Carrillo of Intel Corporation and Craig Macdonald of Covario about Paid Search and Big Brand Marketing: How Intel Coordinated Search Into a Global Ad Campaign. Most of the time, I find that big corporate presentations are kind of dry because they only cover really general topics and give broad details.

Anyways, Corey admits that Intel is lacking in their brand power presence when compared to Dell or HP. They began an overhaul of their advertising campaign which portrayed their engineers as “rock stars”. Across video, online, email and other advertising platforms, Intel used the same format with familiar characters. This gave their new image a consistency. I personally like these new ads and how consumers can relate.

Consumers seemed to enjoy these ads and found them entertaining. BUT… when directed to the landing page, customers quickly bounced. Like we’ve talked about before, this landing page looked really cool and was flash based. From the consumer point of view, it was too slow loading and they weren’t finding what they were looking for. After a simpler revamp, Intel’s ad campaign improved. They tested, measured and learned from their mistakes and it’s something we all can learn from.

As Corey reminds us the 3 most important things he considers when it comes to a paid search campaign:

  1. keyword selection
  2. ad creative used
  3. landing page

Lesson learned: Integrating your SEO and PPC campaigns are easier said than done, especially for big corporations.

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.

Tips from a Site Reviews Webinar

If you have an SEOmoz Pro account, you can submit your site for review and they just might include it in one of their upcoming webinars. There were about 100 people on the call and it was nice to see something different – analyzing user submitted websites. It’s a change of pace from other webinars who use Zappos and other big companies that make it hard for small businesses to relate to.

Definitely learned a lot from today’s webinar. Very useful info and I’ve bookmarked some tools for future research. These are definitely some things that you want to consider looking into:

  • Use Open Site Explorer to check the link popularity for your site
  • Learn how changing your meta tags strategy can be beneficial
  • Consider promoting embedded graphs or graphics as a way to get some link love (like Mint)
  • How to use hashtags to connect to more than one anchor link

The favorite part of these webinars is the Q + A section. I found it helpful that Rand Fishkin provided links and resources during the call. The chat box also allows attendees to directly communicate with each other. An hour and a half is a bit long for a webinar but I’m definitely looking forward to more helpful resources.

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.

5 Social Media Tips for 2010 Webinar with Sally Falkow

Just attended a great webinar moderated by Sally Falkow. Here’s an overview of some great tips she focused on:

1) Use news feeds to push and pull your content.
Make use of RSS (really simple syndication) to push info on your site. From blogs to content pages, search engines look favorably on your links when they show up in news feeds. On the plus side, news feeds can expose your content to new audiences and give your site more traffic.

2) Monitor what’s said about your company.
Whether it’s using Google Trends or a service like NetVibes, it’s important to stay updated on who’s saying what about your company.

3) Measure the effectiveness your social media efforts.
Using Google Analytics, you can track where your traffic is coming from. If your bounce rate is fairly high, you might need to update your content and make it more user-friendly. Make the most out of these tools to measure all your social media and marketing efforts.

4) Use a branded video player.
Video views on YouTube are exploding as users are rushing over to the site over Google for their search needs. By using a service like Veeple, you can track real-time analytics of viewers watching your videos.

5) Integrate a social media newsroom into your website.
It’s a great place for bloggers, journalists, and readers alike. With a newsroom, it’s convenient to organize all your press releases, videos, pictures, and testimonials. Having ‘connect this’ buttons (like Digg and Twitter), makes it easier for readers to share your content.

Stay tuned for the next webinar in January!

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.

Results are in for Cyber Monday 2009

What’s the Big Deal?

With the post-Thanksgiving excitement of Black Friday, do you ever wonder how Cyber Monday sales compare to its popular counterpart? First of all, some consumers may not even be familiar with the term, as it was recently coined in 2005. For online shopping enthusiasts, Cyber Monday refers to the first Monday after Black Friday. During this time, retailers scramble to entice shoppers with a hungry appetite for deals. Although critics have slammed this virtual holiday as an overrated marketing gimmick, retailers can’t complain about the increase in sales that they’ve been experiencing.

Shopping Insights

– At first glance, the fervor created by Cyber Monday may seem too good to be true. Upon closer inspection, hardcore shoppers may be totally disappointed. Really, how good of a deal is free shipping or 10% off your overall purchase? Some criticize retailers for luring buyers in, but offering no real deals.
– Have you ever wondered what your productive workers are really doing? Research shows that about 57% of online purchases were made from the workplace!
– With so much internet traffic, online criminals are preying on easy targets. Here are some helpful tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of these increased cyber crimes.

A Takeoff That’s Soon to Level Off?

According to analysis of 2009’s Cyber Monday, research shows that sales were up almost 14% from last year. Consumer demand seems to be thriving and retailers are just as willing to take advantage of the situation. Although these numbers are awesome in the short-term, opponents question the effectiveness of this so-called holiday in the long-run. Some retailers may even be diluting the anticipation of their Cyber Monday sales by offering deals during November and even extending promotions until December. It’s only a matter of time before we can accurately assess the staying power of Cyber Monday. For now, feel free to browse but think twice before you make that purchase!

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.

Comparing Facebook Groups and Pages

The Facebook Fundamentals

Establishing your presence on Facebook is an important task whether you are promoting yourself or your business. Some may find that the process is not that straightforward. The first obstacle you will encounter is deciding whether to create a Group or a Page. For some businesses, choosing both is a possibility. So, before you put your time and effort in maintaining your new social media profiles, take some time to consider the pros and cons of each:

Facebook Groups

An easy way to think about Facebook Groups is that they are like any other group or club. A group administrator is in charge of providing members with information, news about events, and more. Other members can also be appointed to help facilitate information. Establishing a group is a great way to gain quick attention for a cause or event.

Pros
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Promote with ads
+ Create events and send reminders
+ Privacy controls (public, private, or closed)
Cons
– Not given any weight by search engines
– Unattractive URL
– No visitor information
– Limited to 5,000 members

Facebook Pages

In some ways, Facebook Pages are more informal than groups. There is no public administrator and users are called “fans”. With Pages, there are more options to track visitor information. Facebook pages are similar to normal Facebook profiles. But instead of a person, these pages are designated to represent a brand or celebrity. Some businesses opt for a Facebook Page to maintain a long-term relationship with fans.

Pros
+ Vanity URL
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Indexed by search engines
+ Ability to extend your SEO efforts
+ Can have over 5,000 fans
Cons
– Cannot send reminders for events
– No privacy controls, everything is public

Making Your Decision

Hopefully, some of these points have helped clear up any confusion. Experts generally agree that Facebook Groups are better for organizing users around a cause or upcoming event. Facebook Pages are useful for a company or celebrity to strengthen their online brand presence. Some argue that users feel more active as a Group member than an observing fan of a Facebook Page. Search marketers usually prefer using Pages because of their advantages in user statistics, while others may use a combination of both.

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.