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Showing posts from October, 2007

Seven More Essential SEO Tools

Optimizing your website for organic search is a matter of doing the right things, and doing those things right. Utilize SEO best practices, and use free online tools to track and improve your results. Here are a handful of tools that can help analyze and improve your efforts on both counts.

First, you need to know how well you site ranks today across your list of key search phrases on the most popular search engines. Two tools that automate this process are:

Search Engine Rankings from Mike's Marketing Tools

Search Engine Keyword Position from SEO Tools

To optimize your rankings, your most important keywords should have a density in the range of 3-5%. To check keyword density, use this tool:

Keyword Cloud from SEO Tools

Page content is the single most important determinant of your search engine rank, but crafting proper meta tags is also critical. Meta tags aren't difficult to write for anyone with a basic knowledge of HTML, but you use an automated tool to create them such as:

Meta …

What is the True State of Search Marketing?

On Wednesday this week, MarketingSherpa hosted a presentation on Search Marketing Trends and Tactics (that's the link to the PDF; the audio is here). The same day, Bill Gadless at the B2B Web Strategy Blog wrote a post on The True State of B2B Search Engine Marketing. Combining information from the two paints an interesting picture of the current search marketing landscape.

Bill notes the gap between high interest in search marketing and the low actual adoption. In his words, "everyone’s intrigued; but very few are yet investing much of their budget with the help of a professional SEO firm." He concludes by writing, "The lack of attention SEO and PPC are receiving from B2B marketers is troubling."

Research from MarketingSherpa, on the other hand, demonstrates that the businesses who are investing these areas are seeing substantial ROI and increasing their spending. Overall, roughly 40% of web marketers plan double-digit increases in search marketing with Google n…

Book Review: Value Acceleration

The central contention of Value Acceleration: The Secrets to Building an Unbeatable Competitive Advantage by Mitchell Goozé and Ralph Mroz comes down to three points: 1) virtually every functional discipline in the modern organization (accounting, engineering, production etc.) is now run using established processes; 2) marketing and sales organizations are broken because they lack such processes; 3) companies can create an "unbeatable" competitive advantage by incorporating an overarching sales and marketing process, borrowing principles from the manufacturing realm.

GoozĂ© and Mroz argue that marketing (defined as the entire process of determining customer needs, guiding product development based on customer and competitive intelligence, promotion and sales) is the central function of every company—it aligns marketplace needs with the organization's core competencies. Therefore, "An integrated-process model and objective management methods to manage that process lay …

New on WebMarketCentral: Marketing Careers and Events

Two new sections have recently been added to the fastest-growing web marketing portal—a Marketing and Sales Career Opportunities section, powered by CareerBuilder, and an extensive calendar of Marketing Events.

The Career Opportunities area enables you to search for jobs by category, including Advertising, Public Relations, Graphic Design and B2B Sales. You can refine searches by location and keyword, and access a variety of job-seeker tools. For those who are hiring rather than looking, this section also provides an array of tools for employers.

The Marketing Events calendar features marketing-related event dates and descriptions from around the world, displayed by week and frequently updated. Use this page to make sure you don't miss any important events (such as the upcoming Blog World & New Media Expo in Las Vegas) or to promote your events.

These two new sections continue to expand the B2C and B2B marketing resources available on WebMarketCentral, including the top marketing…

Blog Marketing for Non-Bloggers

Rarely do I drop what I'm doing to read a newsletter article, but that's what happened when I came across Elge Premeau's Using Blogs to Attract Attention (Without Having Your Own) in the RainToday newsletter. Premeau accurately points out that while writing your own blog is hard work, promoting your company, product or service through blogs doesn't have to be: "60% of bloggers have not updated their blogs in the last 60 days...So, why not tap into the audiences other blogs attract (presumably the blogs that are updated more frequently) and participate in the blogosphere without doing the hard work of creating and marketing a blog?"

Premeau recommends commenting on popular (and relevant to your business, obviously) blogs as a way of getting exposure and demonstrating your own thought leadership in your field without making the commitment to your own blog. She helpfully provides advice on how to find relevant blogs to comment on, track them, and write appropriat…

WMC Interviews: Dale Underwood

This week I caught up with Dale Underwood, CEO of EchoQuote, an automated lead capture web service provider. EchoQuote enables B2B companies to automatically create customized price quotes based on the requester's email address and distribute lead information to an internal sales team or channel. The philosophy behind the product is simple: between your website, analysts, publications and social media, prospects can now learn pretty much everything they want to know about your product or service before ever contacting you—except the price. EchoQuote fills that gap, on a pay-as-you-go pricing model that minimizes risk.

WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before EchoQuote? What’s your background?Dale Underwood (DAU): I’ve been directly involved with information technology my entire career.I started out as a datacenter operator (I worked in the computer center at Virginia Tech while in high school), turned programmer, sales engineer, salesman and finally business owner.In 1998 I c…

The TruthLaidBear Comes Out of Hiding

If you're not familiar with The Truth Laid Bear, it's a kind of cool blog tracking site that's been for the past three years by the eponymous N.Z. Bear (no one knows what "N.Z." stands for except that it's not "New Zealand"). Today, the Bear came out publicly. Here's the bulk of his message:
Folks:

I hope you’ll forgive a brief commercial interruption. After five+ years as a pseudonymous ursine fellow online, the time has come for me to step out from behind the curtain.

Hi ! My name is Rob Neppell. You may know me from such websites as The Truth Laid Bear and Porkbusters. I’m not actually a bear, but I play one on the Internet.

The occasion? I am now ready to publicly announce the real "big thing" I've been hinting at for some time: TTLB is now part of my new company: Kithbridge, Inc.
I’ve described Kithbridge as follows:

Kithbridge, Inc. was launched as an evolution of one of the blogosphere's original and most successful blog-track…

The New "Relations" in Interactive PR

The umbrella term of "public relations" (PR) has always covered a number of specialties: media relations (primarily), investor relations, analyst relations, community relations, even employee relations. The social networking of Web 2.0 and interactive PR has added two new "relations" to the mix—let's call them market relations and blogger relations.

Market relations is the practice of writing news releases (not press releases) that are targeted directly at your prospects rather than journalists (though media folks may pick up on these as well). This is a central concept of David Meerman Scott's recent book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR (reviewed here). While press releases are about you—you've released a new product, or hit a milestone, or signed a new partner alliance for example—news releases are about the interests of your market. They aren't designed to promote your product or service directly, but rather to position your company as a thou…

How to Improve SEM Conversion Rates

To optimize the results of a Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing or other SEM program, start with best practices in search engine marketing. I've written previously about typical SEM click-through rates (CTR), which are important—balancing your budget against driving as much traffic as possible to your website.

Ultimately, however, what's really important isn't raw traffic, but conversion of that traffic into buyers or B2B leads. Dan Briody recently wrote a helpful article for Inc. magazine, Turning Browsers into Buyers: How to Improve Conversion Rates that provides some practical guidance.

From my own experience, here are a few basic practices to help maximize conversion rates (which average 3% according to Dan's article) and minimize your cost per conversion:
Keep content short. Your landing page should have one-two paragraphs (a couple of sentences plus 3-5 bullet points is even better) of compelling, straightforward copy: this is what my product/service will do f…

The Wrong Way to Build External Links for SEO

Anyone who's worked on search engine optimization (SEO) for any length of time understands the importance of building relevant external links to a website. But whether you do choose to SEO internally, outsource it domestically, or offshore the effort, it's important to get this process right. If you're doing it internally, follow established best practices for this effort (including the information below). If you outsource your SEO, ask your vendor exactly how they perform their SEO work.

I frequently receive reciprocal link requests for WebMarketCentral.com. Some of the requests are well-written, some inelegant, some spammy. But I recently received the following message, which was among the worst I had ever seen:

Subject: Link exchange

Dear Webmaster,

My name is (name), and I run the web sites.:

http://www.clickatest.co.uk/(PR>2)
http://www.clickajob.co.uk/(PR>3)
http://www.freshpromotion.com/

I recently found your site and am very interested in exchanging links. You can ad…

An Online Presentation Tool for Sales Pros?

Online presentation tools such as WebEx and LiveMeeting are helpful for collaboration, and GoToWebinar or ON24 are great for webcasting, but these services generally aren't practical for the typical road warrior, bag-carrying sales rep. Now, Alan Hill of IPresent2You.com, a 20-year sales veteran, believes he has the answer—a set of software tools that enable sales people to deliver web-based presentations, customized on the fly to address the specific needs and interests of individual prospects.

The I Present to You! software provides an interesting set of capabilities that separate it from most online collaboration and webcasting tools:
There is no software or plug-in for the viewer to install; it's 100% browser-based.
Yet, like other online presentation tools, it enables you to demonstrate virtually any other third-party application from with the tool, as well as transfer control of the presentation to any other individual.
It lets you create a personalized microsite portal f…