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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Increase Visibility welcomes Marcus Couch

Marcus Couch, Chief Technology Officer

We are happy to announce the arrival of our new Chief Technology Officer, Marcus Couch. Marcus has been an innovative force in SEO and Internet marketing for the last decade. He has initiated successful campaigns for Sony, AOL, Yahoo Business, Godaddy.com, Columbia Pictures and hundreds of other prominent companies. As the former Director of Marketing for Entrepreneur Media, Marcus lead digital marketing operations for entrepreneur.com, Entrepreneur Press and Entrepreneur magazine.

His winning SEO techniques have been featured in several internet trade publications including Search Engine Journal, the industry standard for SEO. In addition, Marcus is one of the founding pioneers in the technology of podcasting and new media.

Marcus has been building our new technology lab, where we have developed innovative new techniques and capabilities for SEO, Social Media and PPC. “This is among the most technically savvy SEO and marketing campaign platforms in the world. We’ve spent a lot of time crafting the perfect linking and analytics platform in which to provide our customers with bigger, faster and stronger campaigns” says Marcus. “We offer our clients a whole new range of exclusive Internet marketing services, all under one roof, all based in the USA.”

What Can Be Learned By JC Penny’s Black Hat SEO

Can You Afford To Use Black Hat SEO?

The PC Magazine article (and thousands more) JC Penney Fires Back at Google and New York Times Over SEO Controversy explains how JC Penney’s SEO agency used unethical SEO to profit over the past holidays.

If you haven’t been following the JC Penney gaming of Google, how JC Penney’s SEO allegedly manipulated the search results to make itself the top listing for numerous generic terms. Black Hat Search Engine Optimization SEO firm SearchDex apparently created artificial websites that linked to JC Penney’s site. The links helped push JC Penney pages to the top of Google search results; one known aspect behind Google’s top-secret page-ranking algorithm is that the more times your website is linked, the higher up you rank in a search result.

It’s the most ambitious attempt I’ve ever heard of. This whole thing just blew me away. Especially for such a major brand. You’d think they would have people around them that would know better,” said Doug Pierce of Blue Fountain Media, who analyzed J. C. Penney’s black hat SEO.

As a top SEO firm, Increase Visibility has to deal with competitors that break the rules, and rank higher than our clients. How many times have you searched for something and found an inappropriate site at the top of the results?

When someone tricks Google’s algorithm, we all lose. The whole idea behind getting a great search ranking is that you have content the searcher would find useful in fact, the better your content is, the better your website will do. This fact is overlooked by a lot of people that only want great search rankings because they believe this alone will make them profitable.

“When someone is looking for information on Google, we want them to find the most relevant answers possible. Our search algorithm relies on more than 200 signals to help people find the answers they’re looking for, and when websites violate our published webmaster guidelines to try and game the system, that’s bad for users and we are willing to take manual corrective action,” a Google spokesman said.

We’ve dealt with industries that, as a rule, puts great effort into getting to the top of Google.. both legitimately and illegitimately. It’s frustrating, and a test of patience when you know you have a great website, and all the SEO is in place where it should rank well… but doesn’t.

JC Penney probably can’t be faulted for this, as most clients want top results, and unfortunately, their SEO company put ethics aside. This is why it’s important that your SEO company is ethical and works withing Google’s guidelines.

Our advice is have patience and keep working towards providing the best offers and content for your target audience.You’ll win out in the long run.

The cheaters do get caught, and the results of Black Hat SEO can be devastating to a business that’s been built off of illegitimate search traffic.

Gogo Offers Free Facebook to Increase In-Flight Wifi Access Sales

Gogo Offers Free Facebook to Increase In-Flight Wifi Access Sales.

Gogo Inflight Internet is offering free access to the world’s most popular site – Facebook.  This is a great example of how giving something free leads to increased sales. The offer of free is still the best offer online.

Gogo hopes that by offering access to the website that most travelers use,  they’ll get frequent fliers hooked on their in-flight service.  Once you’ve finished updating your Facebook status, the urge to keep surfing becomes irresistible – leading to increased sales.

Gogo’s fee starts at $4.95 – more depending on the length of the flight – for full internet access. You can get online access through smartphones, PDA’s and laptops. Currently, not every airline or flight is wired for Internet, but most will be soon.

This is a great example of how you can ride the wave of popularity online.

4 Ways to a Successful Internet Marketing Campaign


SEO:
Competing for visibility among competitors on the web can be a tall order, especially if your site is new or if you haven’t yet invested in SEO. Taking the time to study how to apply successful SEO tactics to your site, or hiring professionals to increase your visibility, will be vital to your online marketing strategy as it’s projected that companies will spend billions on online marketing to maximize their presence.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING:
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr and YouTube. Not only are these online platforms all free marketing tools but they are all highly trafficked, making it easy for you to pinpoint and capture your target audience. The sky is the limit with social media. Leads, exposure and keeping in contact with potential clients are only a few of the reasons why investing in social media marketing management will be another way to beat your competition. Setting objectives is the key to success… so you are using the social platforms with a message that aligns with your goals.

VIDEO MARKETING:
Professional “video marketing” is somewhat like unlocking a code when producing and launching a viral video on YouTube. Though your chances of going viral are slim, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a legitimate stab at making and posting YouTube videos. Short videos are an excellent marketing tactic that adds a new dimension to your internet marketing campaign. Whether you do reviews on products that your online store sells or if you discuss different aspects of a service you offer, it’s just another fresh way to increase your visibility.

EMAIL MARKETING:
Though there is a fine line between effective and irritating email marketing campaigns… it is still a very effective marketing technique. There are so many opportunities for a company when sending out email to their clients/ prospects. Whether it’s a sale alert, coupon offer or just to remind them of upcoming events or introduce them to new products or services,  if you aren’t using email marketing, your missing out on business.

Optimizing Your Company’s Linkedin Profile.

Though Linkedin may not be the first social media platform you would choose to gain exposure through, the recently launched upgrade to the company profile pages have the potential to make Linkedin a more powerful social site for business.

Linkedin company profiles now have the ability to reach your audience in a much wider scope than before. The once-individually focused social site is reaching out to companies with an intelligent and interactive profile almost resembling a mini website, in hopes of adding more to their already 90 million users.

Though there has been some criticisms about the new version, I think the features offered are incredibly smart marketing tools that work well for entrepreneurs and companies alike.

Below is a quick list of the new features offered as well as a photo to more clearly illustrate just what Linkedin has done with their new profile design.

• You will be able to add a logo to the heading of your profile.
• A section for job offerings and listings will be available.
• Add contacts and include contact information for each.
• Below your logo, an option to add a paragraph about your company.
• Under a new “Products and Services ” tab, you are able to post a description and relatively large photo of each item or service offered.
• Probably one of the more exciting features is a rotating slide where you are able to upload a banner which is linked to your site as a sort of landing page and lead generator.
• A section of your profile is built specifically to display a video from YouTube. If your company dabbles with the power of videos or clips, this option has hefty potential.
• An area with administrative access for customers to add testimonials and recommendations.
• Through the ability to offer add campaigns you will be able to generate leads and traffic. Each company is allowed 15 campaigns at a time.
• Analytics are always helpful and Linkedin is now offering charts and graphs of tracked and monitored numbers. What’s even better is they’ve designed it so you can compare your company’s numbers, traffic, visitors etc to a similar company to yours.

This is an exciting and nicely executed option for companies who benefit from social media.

After this launch it wouldn’t be surprising if Linkedin become a better business to business alternative than Facebook.

Choosing Your SEO Keywords, Made Simple

One of the most important aspects of being successful when optimizing your website is choosing good keywords or phrases to optimize your content.

In order to rank well, the keywords you choose will have to be those that directly describe the items, services or ideas you’re selling. It’s helpful to know the best keywords are 2-4 word phrases and constructed in everyday language. Being too specific or too general is also a mistake. Its best to keep is simple yet descriptive to your niche.

Below is a quick list of some very commonly made mistakes when choosing keywords which we will discuss more in-depth…
• One word “phrases”
• Words that are too specialized, which nobody searches for.
• Words that are too broad, which don’t focus on your niche.
• Words which are so highly-competitive that will be more than difficult to rank with.

Stay Away From Single Word Phrases:

Single word phrases are almost always ineffective when it comes to SEO and optimization because they’re too broad and much too competitive.

Try and think of what someone might type into their search engine when trying to find your site or product. Its unlikely they’ll type a single word. Rather a couple relative keywords. Get into the mind of your audience and create key words based on what they might be looking for.

It’s OK to be specific but not too specific:

The bottom line is, the more specific the search, the less competition for the phrase. Be smart about how specific the terms you chose. Terms that are too specific are useless because they rent searched for.

Below is an example of the more specific the easier it will be to search for you:

Number of Google Matches: Phrase:
178,000,000 dinner
19,200,000 mexican dinner
2,710,000 mexican dinner catering
867,000 mexican dinner catering los angeles

Tighten it Up. Be Careful Not to be too Broad:

Using phrases or words that are too broad will either not rank because they are just too competitive or will attract random browsers who searched the matching phrase.

But views and visitors are good even if they aren’t looking for what you’re offering, right?

Wrong.

There’s no point to attract visitors and accumulate site visits if what you’re offering isn’t what they’re looking for. Tighten up your keywords so those who are looking for you are more easily able to find you.

Choose Less Competitive Words:

You might have chosen a perfect word or phrase but , if too many other sites are ranking using the same combination, stay away from it because its very likely you will not be able to compete. Should you run into this problem a solution might be to choose a less competitive term and add a word or two to it, making it more specialized.

Now go choose your keywords!

Hate Writing Marketing Plans? Try Drawing Your Online Marketing Plan Instead.

If you’re like me, marketing plans can be tedious. Although I am not saying that a marketing plan should be overlooked, forming an effective online marketing plan is a lot easier when you draw out each step a prospect is taken through as they engage with your website.

Let’s start with a typical marketing plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Marketing strategy
  • Forecasts
  • Financial analysis
  • Measurements

Most of the elements involve research and soul searching on what you stand for, who you are trying to attract, and how you’ll profit – but if the marketing strategy is weak, the plan will fail.

Drawing each step allows you to visualize how you’ll create an experience online. On the Internet, it’s a cold place. People need to be captivated, motivated and encouraged to act now.

If your plan doesn’t include any elements that will encourage a prospect to act now – give you their information or buy – you’ll see discouraging results.

When drawing your online marketing plan, it should include:

1) Primary offer – is it a free trial, a free report, or a registration for a “club” that provides tangible benefits? This offer should be strong enough to drive allow all your advertising/marketing efforts to. You want to get the maximum momentum – so don’t try to please everyone – just your target market.

2) A communication plan for all those that take you up on your offer – an autoresponder email series, a series of one-time web page offers that you’ll drive them to, and finally un upsell program for every initial purchase. Offline and online selling strategy for the leads you capture.

3) A traffic plan to get the right people to your website’s offer: Social media, affiliate marketing, email marketing,  Search Engine Optimization, Pay-per-click, video marketing, offline marketing programs, etc. You need to drive drive traffic t be successful.

4) Testing plan. It’s relatively easy to test offers, copy and layout of your offer and home page. Use the tools Google provides for free, and get real time results.

Draw your plan on a whiteboard to start – put the ideas in boxes and connect each step. You’ll quickly see the flow evolve and what elements need to be added, or removed.

If you’re serious about applying a solid online marketing plan to your company’s Internet marketing, start with our free plan.

You’ll find it here.