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Posts tagged: social bookmarking

The Backlink Trifecta: Forum Posting, Blog Posting, and Social Bookmarking

There are a few SEO tricks that virtually everyone puts to good use when crafting backlinks for their website: forum posting, blog posting, and social bookmarking. SEO, at least off-page SEO, is devoted almost entirely to the art of developing backlinks to your website. There are three basic attributes that make a backlink a good one: authority, persistence, and relevance.

Authority
Authority means that the backlink comes from a webpage that search engines think is important. Getting a backlink from About.com or Wikipedia.com has a lot more weight to it than getting a backlink from mommasgottablog.com or blitheringidiocy.info. In general, the older the site, the more traffic the site gets, and the higher the site’s PageRank, the more authority it has.

Persistence
Persistence simply means that the backlink will continue to exist for a long, long time. Putting forth a lot of effort to get a backlink from a PageRank 8 authority site is all well and good, but if that backlink is going to get deleted in a few weeks because the page regularly rolls over and offers entirely-new content, your efforts are going to be wasted.

Relevance
This is common sense. If your website is about spiders, and you get a backlink from a webpage about chicken casserole, the search engines are going to be all like “Whaa?”, and they’re going to assume that the backlink is an accident or otherwise not actually important. Much better to get a backlink from a page about surviving spider bites.

forum postingLooking at these three factors, the power of forums, blogs, and social bookmarking should make itself immediately obvious. First, most social bookmarking sites (like StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Delicious) are authority sites by their very nature. More importantly, as you add more and more social bookmarks about a specific topic, the more the page becomes relevant. And of course, the entire point of social bookmarking is to create a persistent list of items that never goes away.

Similarly, forums and blogs offer such variety that finding relevant ones is pretty easy, and they’re designed to leave the comments and conversations around forever. The challenge is finding high-authority forums and blogs to comment on, but if you can accomplish that goal, you’re on your way to a plethora of high-quality backlinks.

Putting A Face On Your Website Using a Web Presenter

A web presenter is nothing more than an animated image of a person that appears on your computer screen and talks to you about the subject matter of the webpage you’re on. It’s akin to the old paperclip Office Assistant that came out first with Microsoft Word, only its human and doesn’t turn into a bicycle and roll off when you click the ‘X’. So what’s the big deal with these animated guides?

Well, it’s common knowledge that when a surfer arrives on a website, they only spend a few choice seconds looking for the clues that will tell them whether or not they’re going to click away or not. Videos have been shown effective in getting a surfer to stay and pay attention, but in many cases they take too long to load and the surfer is already gone. Web presenters tend to be quick-loading, and more importantly they instantly command attention by virtue of being unexpected — and unexpectedly human.

first page placementMost public speakers — and all politicians — know that 90% of human communication is nonverbal. It’s based on gestures, facial expressions, and posture. The way that people stand often tells you more about how they think of you than any amount of words that come out of their mouth. One of the things that makes a traditional text-and-picture website easy to click away from is the lack of that other 90% — the part of human communication that feels ‘personal’.

A skilled web presenter can add a lot of that missing communication back to your website. By giving it a face, a voice with human inflection, hand gestures, and inviting posture, a web presenter instantly gives your website much stronger ‘stick’.

Just as importantly, once the web presenter has the attention of your audience, s/he can direct that attention to other parts of the webpage. By communicating the essential message of your website in a human way, and then giving your call to action a bit more personality than the classic “only 7 left, 60-day guarantee, click here for a no-risk trial”, a web presenter can make the sale a much less jarring prospect for a surfer — and that means more conversions.

Creating a good web presenter with a quality presentation can seem like a lot of work, especially for a smaller web-based business, but professional teams of producers that are available online can get the job done effectively and at a very reasonable cost. The benefits are huge, and the process is relatively easy. Of course, you still need to get traffic to your site to make the web presenter fully effective, but once you’ve achieved your first page placement, the presenter will turn your natural traffic into hordes of conversions and sales consistently and without a lot of ongoing effort.

Targeted Email Marketing Is Your Most Powerful Profit Leverage

Targeted email marketing sounds like exactly what it is — a marketing technique in which you send emails to a list that you have somehow chosen as your ‘target’ market. The idea of sending emails to get people to buy stuff has been around for about three days less than email itself — so clearly the trick in targeted email marketing is the targeting part.

Without targeting, you’re a spammer — something that is both ineffective and, in many places, illegal. Without the email part, you’re trying to reach millions of ‘net surfers without any real way of singling them out personally; it’s less akin to sending out flyers and more akin to posting a billboard — and equally ignorable. And, of course, if you’re not marketing, you’re just sending out a bunch of emails that may get read and provoke an interested response, but won’t ever make you any money.

But let’s assume that you’ve got the marketing and the email part down — you can write an email that will come off as genuine, interesting, and worth reading all the way through, and put a call to action in that will get some decent percentage of the readers to go click where you want them to click. How, then, do you make sure that this Email gets into the inboxes of the kinds of people who will actually give a damn?

There are a few different techniques. One of the least effective involves renting an Email list from someone. This happens more often than you might believe — there are companies out there whose sole business is collecting lists of email addresses and matching them with interests. It’s completely possible to go rent 500,000 email addresses that some company has labeled as “interested in sports”, for example. It’s the least accurate form of targeting, and it’s only marginally better than spam.

You can also put an informational site up on the topic of choice, and invite people to leave their email address in order to acquire more information. Sometimes that more information will be in the form of an email, sometimes a free short ebook, but the point is that they’ve expressed interest in the subject personally — which is much more accurate than some listrenter’s labelling. Of course, this means you have to put up some free information and engage a bit of website SEO to make sure that people actually SEE that information, but the RoI is quite worthwhile when done well.

Finally, if you have an online business, you can send marketing emails out to your own previous clients. This is the most targeted and effective kind of mailing you can send out, because the people in question have not only proven that they’re willing to spend money on your product, but they have a relationship with you already. Leaning on that will result in much better conversions than in the previous two groups.

Regardless of how you go about getting your list of email addresses, by marketing to a select list of folks that have proven that they’re interested in what you have, you can leverage that group to produce much higher conversions and more sales than any amount of unfocused, shotgun-style marketing attempts.

Small Business, Big Money: The Power of Local Internet Marketing

Local internet marketing — the term seems almost oxymoronic. After all, isn’t part of the allure of marketing online the fact that people from Poughkeepsie to Paris can find your webpage and learn about your business? Well, yes, but if you run a brick and mortar business, how likely is it that people will drive there from Poughkeepsie — much less Paris — no matter how awesome your website is?

Brick-and-mortar businesses can still benefit from internet marketing, but of a very different variety than is used by the infopreneurs, site flippers, and other money-from-nothing gurus of the ‘net. They shouldn’t be targeting broad keywords and trying to snag traffic from other continents — they should be focusing on locale-specific searches, trying to make sure that when someone from Sequim, Washington searches for “lavendar soap”, that their lavender soap making shop it the one that Google displays first.

That’s the essence of local internet marketing — marketing to local people that are using the internet. It seems almost tautological, doesn’t it?

local internet marketingBut for all that it makes sense, local internet marketing isn’t always easy. Depending on the location, “local” might mean a place with 50,000 people, or 5 million — and the more people, the harder you have to work to optimize your site for the search engines. Los Angeles SEO, for example, is a dozen times more competitive than Oregon SEO, which is still two hundred times more competitive than SEO for the aforementioned lavender shop in rural Washington State.

However, once you’ve made it to the top, the profit that comes through the door is astounding. Studies have shown that 70% or more of internet users look up products locally online, and they have a tendency to decide on a business based on their web presence more than on their phone voice or their yellow pages advertisements.

That’s why local internet marketing is so much more effective than an ad in the newspaper or handing out fliers. A properly-performed localized SEO effort will give you more bang for your buck than almost any ‘real-world’ marketing campaign, especially for a small business, and especially in a smaller town. It may be a small business, but with localized SEO services, it can be big, big money.

Affordable SEO, Not Amateur SEO

Affordable SEO is the heart and soul of any startup web-based business. Small businesses don’t have the budget to drop vast quantities of money on pay-per-click marketing — though it is usually smart to spend a bit on it, just to get your income kick-started. In many ways, smart PPC management is the perfect compliment to affordable SEO — you get the income fast from your PPC campaign, you spend it maintaining that campaign and investing in some inexpensive but effective SEO, and eventually, the SEO will take over and the PPC campaign can be dropped.

That’s the fundamental essence of an expert route to success online, actually — find a way to make some consistent money up front, often with pay-per-click marketing or some other method of expensive but high-volume traffic generation, and then use the money you make to create backlinks and other SEO substructure to get your website on the stop of the search engine results pages.

The problem that many webmasters have is that they hire an SEO freelancer for pennies per hour on ODesk or Elance, and then they wonder why it’s been seven months that they’ve been paying for a service and haven’t gotten anything out of it. The answer is that they hired an amateur. It’s possible — and common — for amateurs to spend hundreds of hours doing what seems like valuable SEO work, building backlinks, posting on forums, commenting on blogs, and writing articles, only to get no results at all.

Professional but affordable SEO services might charge a bit more than a freelancer, but the results will be evident from the first week. Professionals know how to perform proper SEO, often utilizing ‘tricks’ that make every effort they put forth perform multiple functions at once — like giving your site a high-quality backlink while also driving traffic to the site to create sales, or writing an article and submitting variations of it in different places that all link back to the main article, driving the article itself up in the search engine results and making it’s effect on your website that much stronger.

The lesson here is simple: when it comes to search engine optimization, not everyone can afford to hire a huge company to work for them and make them king of the hill overnight — but everyone can afford professional SEO services if they know where to look, and anything less is just a waste of time and money.

Organic SEO is Like Organic Food for Your Website

Organic SEO is, at heart, the practice of creating the circumstances that will make Google and other search engines show your webpage on their front page. It’s an absolutely vital practice to the success of any long-term web-based business — in a very real way, if you’re not getting natural traffic, your website isn’t healthy — it’s on life support.

Like a healthy diet of organic food, organic SEO doesn’t have instantaneous effects — the goodness builds up over time. No one expects that if they stop eating Happy Meals and start eating right, they’re going to magically become perfectly healthy overnight — it’s implicitly understood that building a healthy body takes time and continuous effort. Organic SEO is exactly the same.

organicSimilarly, like eating right, Organic SEO has some of the most profoundly positive effects on your business of any of the practices you could engage in. When you eat right and overcome your health problems, you wake up every morning feeling energized and ready to take on the world. When you have powerful backlinks driving your page to the top of the search engines, you wake up every morning to learn that you’ve gotten another thousand visitors, few hundred conversions, and dozens of sales overnight, and you’re ready to pay bills, set some aside for a rainy day, and go out for a night on the town.

For a small business SEO is even more important, because the budget is that much tighter and the profit margins are that much more critical. SEO represents that investment into your future, without which your business will be permanently hooked on ‘fast food’ — by which I mean paying for banner space, classified ads, and other expensive, less-focused traffic.

Like McDonalds, these alternate traffic sources are fast, easy, and they claim to be cheap — but in reality, in the long run, they cost you so much more than doing things right. Just like eating junk will eventually cost you more in medical bills than you could possibly save on your monthly food bill, paid traffic will always eventually catch up to you, wallet-wise, as your conversions suffer.

Far better to ‘eat right’ from the get-go, and achieve a truly healthy web-based business sooner rather than later.

How social bookmarking acts as a powerful marketing turnkey solution

Gone are those days when people stored their favorite pages in specific folders using the associated web browser. Not only is this process of bookmarking pages and storing information in folders highly cumbersome, but it also makes this stored data inaccessible to the user when they switch PCs. While the process described above is referred to as ‘bookmarking,’ today ‘social bookmarking’ is the way to bookmark pages and websites of your choice.

It’s a whole new way of accessing and organizing information. In social bookmarking, a user signs up for an account that is associated with a social bookmarking site. Once registered, the user can add their favorite pages directly to the bookmarking site. This enables them to access their bookmarks at any point in time and on any system that is connected to the Internet. Social bookmarking sites also allow users to categorize the pages of their choice by entering keywords or descriptive keyword phrases that aid the process of tagging the bookmarks, so the user can pick any page they choose to visit instantly. Just like online photo albums, users also have a choice of marking a specific bookmark either as a private or a public bookmark. This option allows the user to either share their bookmarks with their friends or enjoy their personal space and privacy. Some social bookmarking sites even alert their users if a particularly URL they chose to bookmark is no longer functional or available.

People can access these bookmarks based on a number of different categories. It could be a search based on a person, a specific tag or in terms of the classification and the popularity of the bookmarks. As these bookmarks are accessed by a large number of people and online communities on a daily basis, adding your website to well-known social bookmarking sites and tagging them with the appropriate keywords will not only help you reach a large audience of potential clients but also enhance the visibility of the products and services offered by you. This is how social bookmarking can be used by Internet marketers to promote their business.

Social Bookmarking: An Important Cog In The Marketing Machine

Many of today’s businesses are internet driven or rely on traffic to their website to generate fresh leads. Social bookmarking, while not as popular as tweeting or commenting on MySpace or Facebook, is a convenient venue for your more established customers to help refer you to new clients. Every time a new page is bookmarked several interested parties will follow that link to your site. What happens when they get there is up to you.

In order for social bookmarking to be a successful part of your marketing campaign you will have to hold the readers attention. The best way to do that is to offer informative and interesting copy. Most sites fail in this area. Quite a few site owners try to write their own copy or hire a copywriter based on the amount charged per hour. That is actually the complete opposite of what you need to do. The first consideration of copy is to make sure it is written in proper language—whatever language you are targeting. The next is the proper positioning and density of your keywords. Both of these can be checked by requiring work samples before you hire a copywriter.

Social bookmarking brings a nice bonus every time one of your pages is marked for the first time: a backlink. Since these links are all important to acquiring page position and page rank, this bonus is very important to a site’s owner. These are targeted backlinks and the traffic they generate is actually looking for the product they are exploring by following your link. Your percentage of sales from this traffic will be higher than a normal click through from a search engine. Every website owner is looking to increase their sales percentage.

The importance of social bookmarking in any web 2.0 marketing campaign is impossible to deny. On the downside it is a time consuming attack. The most popular sites have subscribed to some of the automated bookmarking programs, but not all of them. You can spend hour upon hour focusing a social bookmarking campaign and not be effective. This is one aspect of SEO that should be left to the experts.

The Benefits of Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is an interactive technology that allows users to store, classify, rate, comment on and search links to any websites or blogs within a close environment. Examples of social bookmarking sites are Facebook, Twitter and Myspace among many others. What is unique about social bookmarking sites is that it does not use search engines instead, it uses links through the site’s community of registered users thus transforming the navigation to a social experience.

Social bookmarking is a popular way to locate, classify, rank and share internet resources. The difference between a normal website and social bookmarking site when it comes to bookmarking of pages is that web browsers have the ability to bookmark pages only for those links that are tied to a browser or a computer. This means that if the computer or server is not online, there is no way to bookmark or access those sites.

On the other hand, social bookmarking sites allow you to access the site by means of an online account. This is effective since even if you are not logged on to the account people can still bookmark your site thereby increasing the traffic on your site. This is a new way to share new sites to a much broader audience.

Now, people save bookmarks as favorites to a public website so that they can be accessed from any computer or can be shared with other people. People can also bookmark the sites which are called tags to find a bookmark in most social bookmarking websites. This means that if you encounter a page that interests you, you can save it on your site so that you can share it with others thereby increasing the probability of that site will be bookmarked by other people as well.

Social bookmarking is a very simple way to ensure that your website is noticed and marketed to the right group of people. If you use your social bookmarking sites well and couple it with most major search engines such as Yahoo!, Google and MSN, then you will increase or drive the traffic more on your site.

It is a known fact, that these search engines give more weight on the content of the website in order for your website to have a first page placement of the search engine. Submitting your site on social bookmarking sites therefore allow you to generate greater volume of traffic to your site.