Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Google’s response to article marketing spinners and other dubious SEO techniques

When you think about it Google is always looking for ways to improve its users experience when searching for relevant content.  More and more sophisticated algorithms are being developed  by  Google as it constantly battles with dubious search engine optimisation techniques.  Search engine optimisation methods which are in effect ensuring that the user experience searching for quality and relevant information is less rather than more satisfactory.

One such dubious method is article spinning.  The idea behind article spinners is that you can write one quality article and then use alternative words and phrases to make many copies of the article with specifically designed software for the task.  In effect the basic content or message  of the article remains the same only the words are changed for the benefit of the search engines.  This assumes that Google, Bing and other well known search engines are incapable of detecting that the article is just one of many other similar copies of the original.  Google’s answer to techniques like this is the recent introduction of the Panda algorithm.  Considering the computing power  available to Google perhaps it is a little naive to believe that changing a few words and phrases could fool the processing power available to one of the most powerful organisations on the web.

In principle the idea of unique well written high quality, informative articles on a subject which is relevant,  by a person who is qualified to write it, is all that anyone searching for information could possibly ask for.  However, when searching the web we often come across search results which lead us to low grade or useless sites.  Why does this happen?  Well anyone familiar with search engine optimisation knows that you can raise the awareness of  your site by a number of legitimate and perfectly legally recognised methods.  In principle this involves amongst other things using relevant keywords in headings and in the content of your web page.  Whilst this is useful for search engines in itself it doesn’t necessarily mean that the information is either relevant or useful for the reader.  For instance there are websites which are littered with relevant keywords appropriate to a  search query but whose primary aim is promoting something completely different to a search, say for business information, by promoting  something completely different such as footwear.  In this case the search leads to a website with absolutely nothing to do with the search query other than the misuse of keyword optimisation.

Google is always wanting to ensure that we continue to use its services and knows that ultimately relevancy and quality are the keys to ensuring that continued customer loyalty.  The fact that Google is so dominant is because at all times it is striving to ensure that searches remain relevant and helpful to the Internet user.  Again and again Google has made it absolutely clear that any site containing quality information has nothing to fear  from the development of ever more sophisticated  search engine algorithms.  So any  website which has useful and relevant content doesn’t need to worry about new algorithms from Google.  However since the development of the recent Panda algorithm even  some well known previously high ranked web sites have experienced a significant down grading in their ranking.  Many high profile article marketing sites such as Ezine Articles have been impacted by the use of the new Panda algorithm because of the overall nature of their content.  Google is concerned that many articles on article marketing web sites, which purport to be written by experts are in fact nothing of the sort.  They are also concerned about the fact that these sites contain thousands of short articles of 300 to 400 words which are really nothing more than general information with no depth or genuine quality to them.  These articles appear in many cases to have taken no more than ten or fifteen minutes to write and are generally of poor editorial content.  Often the same subject is written about in perhaps a round about way in ten or fifteen articles by the same author.  The information in the articles is substantially the same and if you have read one of them then you are probably going to find the rest are merely regurgitations.  These authors have not used article spinners for these submissions as they know that the best article marketing sites have software to detect this.  However they can get round this by writing articles on the same subject which are  basically covering a specific area again and again with very little new material in them.  These articles have one purpose only: website promotion.

However this should not detract from the real power of article marketing.  After all, well written and informative articles can provide a steady source of  visitors for a website for a very long period of time.  This is verified by the fact that some articles which were written years ago still command very high positions in organic searches  because of their relevancy and quality.  If you write articles like that for a website like that Google will be you ally rather than your enemy. So the message is straight forward provide quality and relevancy on your website and Google will only be a help not a hindrance.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Is Hotmail’s Sweep facility the answer to an overcrowded Inbox?

Is your inbox always full of new mail even if you have only cleared it hours before?  Well perhaps the new option from Hotmail called Sweep is what you have been waiting for.  Sweep will automatically put mail into folders you designate  so you can keep your inbox uncluttered.

If you have lots of mail from sources which you would not currently define as junk but at the same time don’t want to read every time they  send  you mail then Sweep is the answer to your problem. Sweep will put all their output into the folder you tell it to.  This can be a specific folder for that organisation or individual.  Alternatively you can choose to send the mail to a general folder such as finance, sport or whatever you deem will define the content.

Some mail arrives a daily basis but perhaps you only occasionally want to read the content. For instance if you know that you only want to read a weekly summary that always comes on a Saturday you can dip into the folder on that day to read the appropriate email and delete all the rest of that week‘s content.

Sweep can keep your inbox from becoming overwhelmed with all those communications you have subscribed to over time.  You don’t necessarily want to unsubscribe to these communications but just want to have them around in case they send you something which you may want to read.

So if you hate having a cluttered inbox and want to do something about it Sweep will put you in control  and let you decide what you want to read when you want to read it.

This however does create a problem for email marketers who are sending emails to Sweep enabled Hotmail accounts.  Now those catchy headlines will be buried in a folder which may or may not be looked at for days, weeks or maybe never.  Prior to Sweep there was a possibility that an email would be opened if the headline was sufficiently interesting.  But if the email is instantly assigned to what could be oblivion in a designated folder what good is the most enticing headline? 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Is auto blogging software a useful internet marketing strategy?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a way to completely automate your internet marketing business?  Well according to a lot of websites out there all you need to do is spend less than a $100 for a magical software program that will generate all the articles you could ever desire for your niche.  However, even the most basic research on Google shows that most who have tried these systems are at best disappointed and at worst end up having to remove such automated content from their websites.  Why? Well to put it simply Google doesn’t want to feed its users with information which is either a regurgitated  article or bits of different articles which have been put together by a computer and  just don’t read well. 

Then there are the systems which will basically  search the web for relevant articles for your niche and post them on your website automatically.  Google doesn’t rate this kind of activity very highly either and it usually results in your site being downgraded.  These auto blogging software programs can take somebody’s well written quality article and by changing a few phrases and words spin it into a new unique article.  However, this usually results in an article which is still very  similar in overall meaning to the original and this  process called spinning  is after all  just  a  form of plagiarism if you didn’t write the article in the first place.

So the bottom line is as always that if you are thinking that there is an easy way to make a living online by such methods you will be in for an unpleasant surprise as well as being out of pocket!  Whatever market you have decided to promote on line your best course of action is to research properly and then write something meaningful which will engage you prospective audience.  If you think you are incapable of doing this you should consider using one of the many on line services which will provide you with articles which have been specifically written on your chosen niche.  You could for instance save on the cost of employing a writer by doing some basic research before passing  this work  to someone who has the skill sets to provide you with a unique quality  article.  Surprisingly you will find that such services are reasonably affordable and much better value as an investment in your internet marketing activities than the computer generated variety.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Starting an internet marketing business the right way

Anyone seeking to make a full time income through internet marketing has a number of hurdles to overcome.  There is so much freely available information on the internet concerning making money by internet marketing that you could easily become overwhelmed and confused.

The number of different methods by which you could market a product or service often  narrows down to whether you want to use a paid for service like Google Adwords to promote your offerings or whether instead to want to rely on the benefits of good search optimisation techniques to give you free organic search results.

The danger which most face is in thinking that all that is needed for success is to put up a website, fill it with some relevant articles and wait for the revenue to flow in.  Unfortunately the internet is littered with sites which have been started by such na├»ve would be internet marketers.  They are usually dismayed to find that even when they do get a trickle of traffic nobody actually buys anything that they are promoting.

This is why it is so important to understand that internet marketing is as much a skill, which has to be learnt, as in any other profession.  Nobody would expect to spend a few hours learning how to practice law and expect to qualify as a lawyer  or spend a few days looking through medical books so as to qualify as a doctor.  Yet many think they can glean a few ideas from a couple of websites and end up making thousands of dollars a month with little or no effort in as little as a few days.

Actually that is the problem.  Internet marketing, especially if you intend it to be  a full time business,  is a profession and requires you to go through a considerable learning process if you wish to be successful. The reality is that whatever is worth having in life usually does involve a lot of effort.  As they say no pain, no gain.

Recently I visited a site Market Samurai which does contain a lot of useful information on how to start an internet business.  The site is promoting an automated method of creating and maintaining websites and offers a solid and sensible method for creating an online presence.  Even if you don’t want to commit to buying or even  evaluating their software you could visit this site for the many valuable video lessons it contains on how to start a successful internet marketing business.

I particularly like the way it breaks the down the various elements of the process and enables you to target specific relevant and profitable keywords appropriate to your target niche.  The whole emphasis of the website is to ensure that you are promoting a web presence which is properly set up to target monetary success.  In fact there is a whole section of videos dedicated to monetization which is well worth watching.

If you are new to internet marketing and want to start making money on line, without making all the mistakes that most would be marketers make, I would recommend that you start by watching  as many of these videos as you can find time to.  Just remember that this is only the beginning of a long journey  and you will have to devote many hours, days, weeks and months to the process if you seriously intend to make a success of  your internet marketing business

Below is the first video on keywords which will give you some idea of the quality of the free training on offer.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The importance of creating effective call to actions in your email marketing campaigns

Despite all the current buzz around social media and the importance of using Facebook and Twitter email marketing is still a vital part of successfully promoting your products and services over the web.  Maintaining  a viable link with your customers and potential customers is best served through a well thought out email marketing campaign.

When deciding the what and when parts of your campaign do not also forget the importance of a good Call To Action in your marketing efforts.  If you are sending out a special offer to your list then you need to have a compelling message in the headline to ensure that as many as possible open the email.  This headline should be your first call to action because unless you offer a good reason to open the email, no matter how engaging the content. it will be of absolutely no consequence.

So make sure you spend some time thinking of informative and engaging headlines for your email messages.  They can be humorous, informative, intriguing, time related or whatever you feel will get a positive response based on your understanding of your subscribers’ tastes and interests. 

Remember that the reader is not going to spend more than a few seconds reading the headline. So unless it specifically answers the question: “what is in it for me as a reader”  you are not going to get past first base.

Assuming the headline has provided a good reason for the subscriber to open your email the next stage is to ensure that the message it contains is relevant, punchy and rewards the reader for opening it.  If you have decided to include graphics in your email make sure that you also include anchor text as an alternative as many email providers automatically block graphic images. 

Make sure that your email includes relevant calls to action whether they are textual or graphical in nature.  You should assume that the reader will at least read the first paragraph so make sure  that there is a call to action here as well as in the middle and end of the email. 

Whilst everyone has seen “click here” as the most usual method of call to action you could be more informative by also explaining why they should take that action.  For instance you could make them an offer of a free e-book or access to a webinar as part of the call to action.  So rather than just a simple “click here” you could put “for a free trial of ..” “learn more about our  ..” “have a test drive of ..” 

If you offer a free trial  it is best practice to avoid also making an offer of an e-book for example in the same email.  Keep the message on track with a single compelling  call to action for a specific offer.

Create a sense of urgency where possible by placing a time limit on the offer you are making in your call to action.  Also retain your credibility by making sure that after the specific time is over the offer is no longer available.  Otherwise your offers will be seen as meaningless if you make an special offer to finish this week and two weeks later it  is still available.

Whatever methods you employ to improve your email marketing strategies remember to continue to keep track of your results.  Then test and test again to ensure that you are making the most of email marketing as a means of communication.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The six step method of Internet Marketing

Recently I spent a couple of hours watching a web cast given by two well known and respected gurus of internet marketing.  One is from New Zealand and the other from the United States. The seminar was promoting a new course on internet marketing by the US guru.  He was formerly a chef who had worked long hours and not seen much return for his efforts.  However he loved to cook so that was some compensation for the long hours and low pay.  Now he is as successful internet marketer and guru earning in excess of $400,000 a year from his websites.  From the way the conversation was going he seemed to have followed the path of many successful gurus having spent a lot of time doing things the wrong way before finding success.

He bases his eventual road to success on the development of systems which are tried proven and tested.  He believes this  is  the way to achieve success at the highest level which is only achieved by 1% of internet marketers.  Part of the process is to develop websites which are niches only within well known market areas such as learning a skill, health, financial, hobbies, sports etc.  Whatever niche sites you create it is important to develop great content.  The business is based on publishing information and that information doesn’t necessarily have to be unique content.  The main thing is to ensure that whatever you publish to your website has been completely rewritten so that it is not just duplicate content.  One idea was to include quality information from YouTube which you could then write a synopsis on.  Google likes video as well as written content on websites according to the gurus.

The roads to success as an internet marketer are many as these two gurus have proven.  One believes in producing many websites in different niches whilst the other prefers to concentrate his efforts on just a select few.  Whichever method you choose they were both in agreement about the six step method of internet marketing.

Step 1: Choose a profitable Niche.

If you choose a large profitable niche you stand a better chance of success than if you choose a very specialist area.  Always choose quality products to promote as your long term reputation is dependent on what you offer to your audience.  Look for opportunities that give you good rewards and have a known high conversion rate. 

Step 2: Create a report relevant to your niche which is of high quality.  This report should be a minimum of twenty pages long and should contain good relevant information on your chosen niche.  The report can be produced by yourself or outsourced. 

Step 3:  Build a website with free content of approximately twenty quality articles to start with.  Then build a squeeze page to build a list of interested subscribers.   This step  involves setting up an account with an email auto responder facility.  The most well known is Aweber.   You can then set up an opt in box  on your website which will collect email addresses to enable you to build a list of interested and potential customers.

Step 4: You will need to create a series of emails to send to your list.  This could consist of newsletters with relevant and informative information on the niche.  In these newsletters you could also provide links to relevant offers that could be of value to your subscribers although this should be done as a soft sell option.  Interspersed with valuable content you should also send the occasional email which is purely promotional and is more of a hard sell.  Remembering that you are doing this as a business proposition.  Some on your list may unsubscribe but that is to be expected.  After all if they are only after free advice and nothing more then they are better off not being on your list.

Step 5: This is the most important and critical step of all.  Drive traffic to your squeeze page.  There are  many tried and proven methods of generating traffic to a website.  The most obvious and the quickest way is to use a paid method such as Adwords.  Your website can begin receiving traffic within hours and as long as you have a reasonable website, a good opt in box, squeeze page and series of credible emails you will be heading in the right direction.  For the longer term free organic traffic will provide a steady flow of visitors but this will involve some serious effort on your part.  This will involve all the ways of applying SEO which is another subject you will need to consider.

Step 6:  Rather than take your commissions and spend the revenue as soon as it comes in  the gurus suggest that you reinvest these earnings in building more websites and developing multiple streams of income. 

So in taking these six step you could follow the advice of the ex chef and build five or six good niche sites and develop them exclusively or take the advice of  the other internet marketing expert and build forty or fifty sites generating smaller but steady income flows.  One thing is certain both these gurus  are very successful at internet marketing  and following their advice and taking action is what we should all aspire to do.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Do you need help with copywriting?

Facing a blank computer screen and wondering what you are going to write about?  Anyone wanting to communicate a message can face writers block and just wonder how to handle it.  Well you could take a short time out of your busy schedule to watch this video from Verticle Response which is both informative and entertaining.  There is a lot of good advice on how to overcome writers block and successfully manage all aspects of writing content for emails, blogs and social media.  The style of the presentation is easy to follow and is full of very good advice.  Well worth a watch!  Here is the link: Copywriting 101 Webinar

Saturday, 26 February 2011

The importance of an email marketing strategy

Internet marketing is simple in some respects and very difficult in others.  

Let me explain.  Firstly the concept behind internet marketing is that you communicate with potential clients via a website, blog or some social media method such as Twitter or Facebook.  This part of internet marketing is simple in that most beginners can quickly learn the basics of how to set up a website etc and then start to promote a product or service.

Now for the difficult bit. 

How do you attract customers to your web presence when there are millions of websites out there?  If search engines such as Google and Bing are involved then it is either through organic searches or pay per click.  Either way this will involve time and in the case of pay per click an immediate outlay of cash.

So you want to ensure that once you have obtain a visitor to your website you maximise what may be otherwise be a fleeting experience.  One of the most popular methods of ensuring visitors return to your website is to offer them an incentive via a free product or service.  This may be an e-book or a mini-series on the niche subject of your website.  Either way you want to ensure that the visitor gives you at least a first name and an email address via an opt in box so that you can start to build a relationship.

Only a  good auto responder package will ensure that your emails are delivered 99% of the time.  There is nothing more frustrating than having a poor auto responder which has a low delivery because your email ends up in a spam box.

Email marketing with auto responder software such a Aweber will provide you with the peace of mind in knowing that you will have a reliable and trustworthy partner in your internet marketing success.

For a 30 day trial for as little as $1 you can try out the benefits of Aweber.  There is more information on this special offer here.