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10 Online Marketing Mistakes To Avoid (1 of 2)

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1. Keyword Spam

Most people think the fastest way to getting your website ranked is to fill each page with keyword relevant data. This is only partially correct. While filling your website with content that reflects the search terms you want to be found for, you must be careful not to overdo it.

Google and other major search engines have become hip to keyword padding and will treat your “keyword rich” content as spam. A very useful keyword density tool can be found at: http://www.webconfs.com/keyword-density-checker.php

A keyword density of 1-5% is a successful average. Anything abnormally over that total is subject to being treated as spam.

2. Using Site Submission Tools With Impunity

There are many tools available online that claim to “submit” your website to thousands of search engines, blogs, social networking sites, etc. This is another nefarious practice that search engines have become aware of, consequently blocking most mass submissions made.

If you have a regularly updated website with genuine content, you will get indexed anyway. There needs to be less focus on a quick fix and more work towards building sustainable indexed content. You can no longer trick search engines into indexing your site with keyword overloaded text. The higher quality content you create and the more often you create it, is what gets your site indexed.

3. Using Backlink Services

One of the most important online marketing tactics for getting your site indexed is having other websites link back to yours. Again, there are many free and paid services that claim they will build links for you. These sites generate spam and the backlinks they create are unsustainable.

Here, quality content is again the king. Writing an interesting blog post about the state of your industry is much more likely to generate a quality backlink. The more readers your content receives, the higher chance someone shares your content. By providing value to your audience, you make an investment in yourself.

Check out how many backlinks you have using this free online utility:

http://www.online-utility.org/webmaster/backlink_domain_analyzer.jsp

4. Building A Website Entirely Out Of Flash

While having Flash components on your website can add some flair, be careful not to imbed important content like keyword rich text or pictures that you want indexed. When pictures or text are embedded, search engines do not index this data. Your Flash photo gallery may look pretty, but it’s useless if no one can find it when they search.

Flash has also just become available on the iPhone and the most recent Android OS phones, but the technology is not nearly up to par with personal computers. This results in Flash based websites being incredibly hard to use on mobile devices. If you are going to use flash, you should have a mobile version of the website.

Having an HTML alternative with code that recognizes if the user’s browser is Flash compatible will save your non-up-to-date customers from viewing a broken page.

5. Not Utilizing The <h1> Tags

An <h1> tag is the html code for the most important heading on your website. <h1>An important heading looks like this in the code.</h1> Whatever content is wrapped in that header tag is the first thing search engines look for when indexing your website. This is where your company name and tagline should go. It is also what is viewed at the top of the web browser window, so make sure it’s unique to your company. For example, having “The Best Agency Ever” is cute, but doesn’t tell me much about you. A better <h1> title would be, “My Company Name – This Is The Product We Give You”

These are just a few tips that will help you avoid the common pitfalls of online marketing. Stay tuned for part two of this article, where we cover five more common errors in online marketing.

What To Do If Your Website Has a Google Penalty: New Website Changes

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If you have made any website development changes over the last 6 to 12 months, go through all those changes. Identify any new content that might have a bit too many keywords listed in it. If you have updated any links to any of your pages make sure you did not add too many links pointing to sites that Google does not like. Per Google guidelines a web page should not exceed fifty links. You don’t want to make too many changes backwards just yet. Make some and then wait and give it some time to see if that was the issue. Once you have a penalty it could take some time along with trial and error until your website development team finds the problem.

What To Do If Your Website Has a Google Penalty: Google Webmaster Tools

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If you don’t have Google webmaster tools installed on your website yet even without the penalty this should be the very first step you take. Google webmaster tools allows you to see what types of links are pointing directly to your site. This will be a very good and important starting point for your investigation. Once Google webmaster tools is installed take a step back and go through all your links. Make sure none are pointed to any spammy or irrelevant websites. If you have found any that might not be right for your website you will have to contact blog and website owners to remove the links. By installing Google webmaster tools on your site you also show the search engines that you have nothing to hide and you welcome them to look at your efforts.

PPC is the Best Internet Marketing New Jersey Advertising Strategy

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If you plan to begin a pay-per-click search engine marketing NJ campaign, you need information. Some critical information to run a proper campaign is where to publicize and how much to promote.

PPC, or pay-per-click, is a great way to advertise a website, service, or product. By placing pay-per-click advertisements on search engine results pages, you are encouraging potential customers to gain knowledge of your product through their search queries. Like all New Jersey advertising, it only works if it is directed at the right people, at the right time, and in the right way. However, as a result of millions of people searching for any single thing at any given time, you can surely count on getting to the right people. With the amount of people on the Internet using any search engine at any given time, you can be sure that you will build website traffic; and given that your website development team has set up your website properly, you can be sure that your online conversions will increase dramatically.

The larger the search engine is, the higher the price will be per click. Additionally, the keywords used will also effect the price per click. Each time a searcher clicks on your ad, you will have to pay that price. So you must make sure that you make every click count by making the buying process on your website simple.

Marketing Solutions Company the Wave of the Future

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The New Jersey advertising agency of the future will have to adapt to the changing ways of the business world.  Instead of distinguishing themselves between specific disciplines, such as just a reputation management company, or just a database marketing company, or just a website development company, or just a mobile marketing company, New Jersey advertising agencies of the future will have to broaden their horizons. They will have to become full on all-solutions marketing companies. A recent post on a great blog called Actionable Insights by Covario explains in full detail why a simple advertising agency may be a thing of the past. In the future, a marketing solutions company will be the answer to a business’s problems.

You can read the full blog entry here.

Local Search Made Simple Continued

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In the last post, I wrote about optimizing your website to tell Google and your visitors where you are and what you do. But another important online place where it’s absolutely critical to clearly identify where you are and what you do is your local business profile on Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.

Your Categories

In Google Maps, you can categorize your business in up to 5 categories. They may be standard categories that are provided by Google Maps or those that you can create yourself. Use 1-2 of the standard Google Maps categories that best fit your business, and then create 3-4 that contain your best keyword terms plus the geography terms for which you want to be found.

For example, as a New Jersey online marketing company, we classify ourselves in the already established categories of Advertising, and Internet. For our other four categories we use the top keyword phrases for which we want to be found, such as SEO NJ, Internet marketing, or automotive search engine marketing.

The categories you choose may be based on any criteria that are important to you. Some suggestions are your most profitable procedures or the categories in which your strongest competitors have categorized themselves. The categories may also be based on some other criteria known only to you.

Use geographic terms in your categories in order to make it completely clear to Google where you do business. Using the names of nearby areas may also help your site rank better for those searches. For example, our office is in Westfield, NJ, but most searchers use “New Jersey” or “NJ” in their queries, so we use New Jersey terms in our categories instead of Westfield terms.

However, Yahoo Local and Bing Local do not allow you to create your own categories. So you must choose as many categories as you are allowed, picking the most appropriate and most important first.

Your Descriptions

Also use geography terms within the description area of your profiles, where you have complete control of what is written. These descriptions are crawled and indexed by the local spiders, so make certain they find your most important geographic terms within them.

Your Attributes

Attributes (only in Google Maps) allow you to go crazy with terms to tell spiders and humans what you do and where you do it. You can, in essence, create and name a field whatever you want and then populate it with terms describing that property.

Almost every business pulls people from both its immediate location and surrounding areas. So, you could create a field named Locations Served and list the towns and neighborhoods near you and from which your business typically draws customers.

Some business, like plumbing, carpet cleaning, lawn care, and pet sitting go to the customer instead of customers coming to them. For a business like this, you could title a field Service Areas and list the places where you are willing to travel to provide your services.

You can also include attributes that allow you to use keyword terms that contain geographic modifiers. For example, if you have an online agency in New Jersey, you could create a field titled Online Services and populate it with terms like “New Jersey internet marketing”, “online marketing in NJ”, “SEO NJ”, “SEM experts NJ”, “NJ website development”, and “New jersey reputation management”. This is an effective way to help you rank for long-tail terms that apply to where you are and what you do.

Your Coupons

Although not every business type has been traditionally associated with coupons, creative entrepreneurs are finding ways to use them to their benefit. Nearly every business can offer some sort of discount or value-added coupon for its goods or services. For inspiration you can look around to see what your competitors are doing with coupons. Then, when you create your coupons, include your best keyword terms plus your location in the offers.

It’s highly likely that attributes from Google Maps Local Business Listings and coupons from all of the platforms are pushed out to other places on the Web, such as Google Base and coupon Web sites, so the impact can be very far-ranging.

Local business listings are designed to help searchers find businesses in particular geographic locations. Make it easy for Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local to tell where you are and what you do to increase the odds they will find your business when a relevant search is made.

What Do You Do and Where Do You Do It From? – Local Search Made Simple

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What and where? These are the two big questions that must be answered over and over again in local SEM.

Local searchers ask these questions implicitly and explicitly. In some cases, geo-terms are used and in other cases they aren’t. For example, search queries can be “SEM experts in NJ,” “SEO NJ” or simply “SEM experts” or “SEO.”

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo want to know the same things about your business that searchers want to know. Where is it and what products/services does it offer?

Are you answering these critical questions for your potential sales leads as well as the search engines?

Many times local businesses choose a website development firm based on the attractiveness of the websites they create without giving any thought to SEO. Even those website designers who know how to help with search rankings are rarely knowledgeable enough about the specifics of ranking for local search. As a result, the local business owner ends up with a beautiful website that never ranks for competitive keywords or attracts any new customers.

By following a few simple tips and tricks, you can prevent this from happening to your online marketing investment.

Your Home Page

You need to make it clear to people who land on your page what you do and where you do it. Simply because everyone in New Jersey knows where Broad Street is, it doesn’t mean that everyone who sees a Broad Street address on your website will know that you’re in New Jersey. The searcher may be entirely new to the area or just passing through, which may be the reason why someone may be searching for your business in the first place.

So, if you’re a New Jersey advertising firm, don’t expect people to look around to find that information on your site. Say it clearly near the top of the page and do it in text form, that way it is unmistakable to the search engines as well as to the searchers. Don’t assume anything! It’s important to make this information so clear that it can’t possibly be misunderstood.

Your Page Title

This is the most important ranking factor for SEM. And if that isn’t enough of a reason, then think about it from the human point of view.

Google displays the page title as the headline in the listing that appears for your pages in the SERPs. If someone is for searching for “search engine marketing new jersey” and the headline they see in the search results says “THE SEM experts in NJ,” it’ll grab their attention much better than a headline that says “Search Marketers”.

Google will also bold the words that were in a search query in the title when it appears on the page. So, for example, if a searcher in Central NJ asks for “co-op advertising” and your page title says “The Co-Op Advertising Professionals in Central NJ”, then your title will look like this to the searcher: “The Co-Op Advertising Professionals in Central NJ”.

Your Meta Tags

Along with your page title, these are also displayed in the SERPs. Meta tags are like the ad copy that entices people to click on your listings and go to your website.

Much like the page title, if your meta tags have the terms used in the search query then Google will bold these words on the SERPs. If the tags don’t contain the keyword phrase that was used in the query, then Google will pull a snippet off the page that contains that phrase.

It’s important to use your best keyword terms in your meta tags because, even though they may not help your pages to rank, they will likely encourage searchers to click through to your site.

In my next post, I will give more tips and tricks on how to clearly tell the search engines and the searchers where you are and what you do.

Experience is Key for Any Online Agency

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By now, all you small businesses must know that having an internet presence is necessary for your business to succeed.  It’s certainly not enough to just have a website.  You need an entire comprehensive internet marketing strategy.  A good online agency will offer a greatly scalable website, SEO capabilities, an SEM campaign, and e-commerce solutions, all tied together with trackability.  But how do you know which agency you should go with?

The first thing that comes to mind is experience.  Has the agency that you are considering had enough experience in the marketplace?  Is it capable of innovation when it comes to new and exciting marketing ideas.  Agencies with experience have had the time to develop strategies to keep up with the pace of the marketplace.  These are usually the agencies that are leaders in their areas of business.

The second thing is, of course, the online marketing services that the agency offers.  Does it just offer website hosting, or just website development?  Does it offer an entire comprehensive package of marketing tools?  It would be best for you if you can consolidate your marketing strategy into one agency and not have to go to a number of separate agencies for each service.  For example, if you are a car dealer, it is not enough for your agency to just offer automotive search engine marketing.  It should offer search engine marketing, along with organic search engine optimization, website development, website hosting, database marketing, etc.  Again, larger companies with more experience will most likely fit this bill.

Finally, the agency’s reputation for increasing not only web site traffic, but also traffic conversions should be the deciding factor if you’re still on the fence.  Being able to carry out a comprehensive internet marketing strategy is all well and good, but if it doesn’t increase your traffic conversions then what are you really paying for?  The ability to increase online conversions should always be the bottom line for any online agency.

Finding the Best Online Marketing Company

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Finding an online marketing company with good SEM experts is a lot like shopping for a car.  You definitely don’t buy the first car that you see.  You shop around, look for the best deal, the best prices, and the best product.  Well, you should go through that same process for hiring the best online agency as well.

First of all, you should find out whether the online agency actually does search engine optimization, or if they just claim to do so but do something else in reality.  I know that some SEO NJ firms claim to perform SEO services, but instead they just buy the sponsored links at the top of the search results page.  Anyone can do that, you don’t need an SEO consultation firm to do that for you.  The whole point of SEO is improving organic search results, that is to say, all the search results that come underneath the sponsored links.  Improving organic search results has nothing to do with buying sponsored links from Google or Yahoo.

Secondly, you’ll want to find out if the online agency only offers SEO services, or if they also offer all other types of online marketing services.  The other types of online marketing are SEM – search engine marketing (that’s where the buying of sponsored links comes in), email  or database marketing, website design, website development, and pay-per-click (PPC, sometimes referred to as CPC, or cost-per-click).  The best online agencies even do their own website hosting.  A great internet marketing campaign will utilize all aspects of internet marketing, not just one.

Your website will probably be the most important and powerful marketing tool that you’ll have, so make sure that your online agency is on the same page as you when it comes to long term success.  And as when dealing with any salesperson, pay attention to how your questions are being answered (are they actually answering your questions or just beating around the bush), ask for references, and most of all, trust your gut (human intuition exists for a reason).

Blogging for SEO to Get Online Conversions

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Blogging is not just for running public relations/reputation management campaigns.  It can and should also be used for SEO, or search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization is a way to get your business at the top of a Google or Yahoo search results page. This is the most effective form of search engine marketing, or online marketing. If you use Google to search for the service/product that your business provides, does your business show up on the first page of results? How about the second page? Maybe the third page? Does it show up at all? Chances are that your business is nowhere to be found.

Most people these days use search engines to perform product/service research before they buy anything. And more than half of the activity on the Internet is on search engines. So what does this mean for your business? You need to get indexed on search engines so people can see your business when they are searching for a product/service that they need. If you do get indexed, then you will probably have an almost exponential increase in business since the marketing potential of the Internet is unlimited.  You’ll increase your web site traffic and get more online conversions (which can be anything from form sign-ups to actual sales).

So how do you get indexed? Well, that’s where blogging comes in. But first you must understand how search engines work. Suppose you go to Google and search for “New Jersey advertising”.  Without getting into the technical aspect of it, especially since that would take up a couple of blog entries itself, simply put Google will run through the entire World Wide Web and find the sites with the most occurrences of the phrase “New Jersey advertising”. “New Jersey advertising” here is a keyword.

If you blog for your company, then you can utilize relevant keywords so when people search for the service that you provide, your business will come up. So the point of blogging is to win those specific keywords that are relevant to your business. And since blogging is very frequent, it is easy to win keywords since you can use them over and over and over again.  Industry experts, like these guys, agree that blogging may be the most effective form of search engine optimization.

But getting indexed on that first page of Google isn’t the last step.  After you’ve run a successful blogging campaign, which can take a while, your website needs to be able to get traffic conversions.  Let’s say your an online marketing company in New Jersey, like us.  Once you’ve been indexed on Google and someone searching for “SEO NJ” clicks on your site, your site needs to be able to make the sale or get that person’s information.  To get the maximum amount of online conversions, you can have people fill out submission forms for email newsletters, videos, and other things of that nature.  Then you can simply follow up on all your leads.  But that’s a story for another day.

Build Website Traffic by Keeping Your Website Updated

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The internet is a great forum to cultivate A.D.D. habits. Most people using it get bored very quickly. A big reason why a lot of websites start out good but then fall off the radar is that they are not updated. Any online marketing company can tell you that your website’s structure, layout, and content plays a big role in your online marketing efforts (that is why website development should be a part of your internet marketing strategy).  As a result, your website needs to be updated regularly. That doesn’t mean that you need to constantly add new content every second. But it does mean that it heavily depends on your industry.

Let’s say that you are a car dealer.  Automotive search engine marketing, or more specifically SEO, is almost necessary to build website traffic.  You need to keep your website updated with new car models, new deals, or even future concept cars from the manufacturer.  Your website’s job is to keep the audience interested and entertained.  Imagine if all the car enthusiasts in your area went to your website.  Even if they go there to just be entertained (by any interactive media you may have on the website, or just videos) chances are that they will buy from you when looking for their next car.  In other words, the more you keep your website updated, the more traffic conversions you will get.

If you regularly update your website with new content relevant to your industry, you can seem like THE industry expert.  Most people don’t want to be sold, especially by any random schmoe who doesn’t know about the product/service itself, but rather knows only how to sell the product/service.  Most people want to know that they are getting solid, factual information from people who know what they are talking about.  By keeping your website updated regularly, you can be that person/business.  Your website can be THE place that people go to for information regarding your industry.  Take us for example.  We are an online marketing company that specializes in co-op advertising, database marketing, mobile marketing, automotive search engine marketing, reputation management, and website development.  We consider ourselves to be SEM experts.  As an internet marketing best practice, we keep our main website, which is other our blog site, constantly updated.  We blog about online marketing techniques, online marketing services, and current events in the world of online marketing.  Even though we really just got the ball rolling, by updating regularly we will soon have enough content on our site to be considered scholars or experts in the industry.  Once we’ve accomplished that goal, once we’ve established ourselves as industry experts, getting traffic conversions will be much easier.  When people think that you are an expert in your industry, they rightly assume that you know what you are doing.  You will no longer have to go out of your way to sell, as your expertise will sell itself.

So, depending on whatever industry your business is a part of, you’ll need to update your website daily, weekly, monthly, or whatever consumers of your industry demand (aren’t we all at the mercy of our customers). But beware, once you start updating your content more quickly, your site visitors will expect the content to be updated in that same frequency for the rest of your site’s lifespan. So be like the tortoise, start out slow and pace yourself. You can regularly update your site with new content such as pics, videos, or even text. That way, your regular visitors won’t abandon your site completely.

Have an Online Marketing Presence to Stay Alive in the 21st Century

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Let’s face it.  The economy is still not that great.  But there’s an upside to any recession.  Businesses now have the opportunity to position themselves for when the market turns around.  If you’re in the right position, your business will boom once the recession is over.  And even though the economy is down, people still need products/services.  So how do you position yourself properly?…DEALS!

“People need deals and deals need people.”  You remember that scene in “A Beautiful Mind” when Russell Crowe, er, I mean John Nash, says the best option is the one that benefits both the individuals involved but also the group as a whole?  In other words, you need to create deals for your product/service that are mutually beneficial for both the consumer and for you.  The economy will stabilize once we’ve reached equilibrium.

And how do we reach that equilibrium, you ask?  The WEB!  The INTERNET!  The entire ONLINE ARENA!  Online marekting is the wave of the new century.  And now is the best time, if any, to get your business into the 21st century.  If you do, you’ll be in the best position when people start buying again.  Why?  Because there are a lot more people using the internet right now than you think.  In fact, the internet is very quickly becoming the hub of all media.  The internet allows you to watch TV and movies, listen to the radio, or just download music, talk with friends (and even people you thought you would never see again thanks to a little something called social networking, i.e. Facebook, MySpace), buy pretty much anything you want, pay bills, do all your banking, and even get medical advice.  The virtual world is slowly replacing the real one.

Of course that is not to say that traditional media advertising has no place in your marketing strategy.  Traditional media, such as print advertising, television advertising, outdoor advertising, or direct mail, still serves the same function it has for years.  But the market is rapidly becoming fully virtual.  Instead of advertising your big savings deal in any traditional media, you can do it for alot cheaper through online marketing, such as by submitting an online press release, for example.  You can market your deals on your own website, on your competitor’s websites, on any search engine, or any industry experts’ websites in order to build web site traffic.  And the precision of internet marketing will maximize your ROI since potential leads will all be those that are already interested in your product/service.

In order to fully corner the market, I suggest that you invest in all media, both traditional and online.  However, the current economy may force you to be a bit more frugal with your capital.  If that is the case, then you should certainly focus more on your online marketing.

So when people start buying again, you better be prepared to meet them half-way.  And when people start buying again and go online to do so, if your business isn’t online it probably won’t survive.  In order to stay in business and meet the demands of the new century, you’ll have to have a basic web foundation.

Here’s a quick overview of how you can have a successful web foundation:

In the next couple of posts, I’ll give you some tips on how to get your money’s worth from the world of the Internet and online marketing.  We’ll go over what you’ll need in order to have a comprehensive web foundation, including a website, an email  database marketing campaign, a social networking campaign, a blogging campaign (for SEO and reputation management), and search engine marketing.  It’ll definitely be worth your investment.