Selecting a Search Engine Optimization Company

A Search Engine Optimization Company can be an invaluable
asset in your Internet marketing campaign. They specialize
in knowing how to raise your search engine positions,
monitoring those positions on the regular basis, and
adjusting their strategies to account for undesirable
results in any given month. Since this takes a lot of time,
effort, and specialized knowledge, it can be in your best
interest to go to an outside source rather than try to
maintain high search engine positions on your own.

However, like every business, there are good companies and
there are lemons. Knowing the right questions to ask and
the criteria to look for will help you in choosing an
affordable, effective search engine optimization company.

When looking at different companies, begin by considering
the approach they employ to raise your search engine
positions. Steer clear of companies that use cloaked,
doorway, or bridge pages to raise your positions. These
techniques violate most search engine policy, and in the
worst case scenario, will only get your website severely
penalized, if not removed entirely from a search engine's

A cloaked page is a page that is created which is invisible
to the regular visitor to your website. The cloaked page is
coded to detect a search engine spider and divert them to
this special page, which is set-up to artificially boost
your search engine position. Doorway or bridge pages
utilize the same concept, but often reside on an entirely
different server. Google, one of the largest and most
important search engine on the Internet, will remove your
website from their index if they detect you have cloaked
pages. Never, never employ any company that uses this

Another important element is to get a guarantee that the
company you hire will not work with your competitors while
they are working for you. Obviously, this would seriously
compromise the effectiveness of the search engine
optimization campaign. Be aware that some companies will
use the success they achieve for your website to sell their
services to your competitors. So get your guarantee in
writing, and make sure it is legally binding.

Of course, one of the most important factors you want to
check out is the company's track record of results.
However, don't take the company's word for it. They will
undoubtedly be slanting their results in order to sell
their services to you. To go beyond their simple statement
of success, ask them a few pertinent questions, and verify
their answers.

Ask them which engines they have achieved the best results
on. The ones that are important are the most popular
engines, and these are the ones you want to see good
results on. Since the popularity of search engines can
change with the landscape of the overall Internet, check
out the Nielsen Netratings page at Search Engine Watch. You
can access this at

Next, find out what keywords and phrases they are claiming
great results with. It's easy to get high rankings with
unpopular words. For instance, the keyword "cat leashes"
will get high popularity ranking because no one else would
think of using it. What you are looking for is good results
using popular keywords. Check out the software Wordtracker,
available at You can order a free
trial, or a subscription ranging from 1 day to 1 year. This
software rates the popularity of keywords and phrases based
on actual search engine use.

Next, look for good results over an entire site that the
company claims to have successfully worked for. You want to
see a wide range of positions over a number of different
search engines using different keywords or phrases for the
entire site. Request a report for any client the company
claims to have done well for. This report should show good
positions on a number of the most popular search engines
for a variety of different, popular keywords and phrases.

When you are checking out search engine optimization
companies, make sure they have actually done the work they
are claiming to have done. Some companies will use other
company's results in order to get you to sign on with them.
If you are in doubt, call the company they are showing you
results for, and ask for the name of their search engine
optimization company.

It's important to keep in mind that a successful search
engine optimization campaign will result in maximum
exposure across a wide range of popular search engines
using a variety of keywords and phrases. This is the
formula for a successful campaign, and you should keep it
always in the forefront of your marketing strategy.

Ask the search engine optimization company you are
considering for a report that shows you rankings across a
number of popular search engines for a period of at least
six months. Remember: search engine marketing is a process
that is continual, and you need a company that not only
understands this, but keeps constant tabs on your search
engine positions. That company must also be able to adjust
its strategy in the event that search engine rankings drop.

Since search engine marketing is an on-going process, your
positions must be constantly monitored. If you want your
search engine optimization company to do this for you,
request a sample of a monthly report. It is essential that
this report should show rankings for the most popular
search engines. Don't be impressed by a report that only
shows great results for a limited number of small search
engines. These are fairly easy results to acquire. Also
confirm that the popular search engine results they are
showing you are indeed the popular search engines

Be sure the sample report the company shows you is in a
format that you can easily understand. For example, it
could be in the form of a chart that covers a period of at
least six months and presents data such as the top 50
positions broken down on a monthly basis or the top 5 pages
each month. Then, ascertain that the company you are
considering actually monitors these positions or pages
every month, and that the sample report they show you
includes findings and recommendations for the specific
site. This insures that the company will actively monitor
and make adjustments to their strategy on a continual basis
rather than simply gather statistics on your positions. You
need a company that is actively participant in your search
engine marketing campaign, not just an information

Obviously, your finances have to figure into your choice of
company, but bear in mind that a search engine optimization
company is crucial the success of your marketing campaign.
It is not just a casual accessory. If you cannot afford a
company that will do a thorough and reliable job for your
website, you might consider waiting until you do have the
finances in place.

If you have to find a company and can't wait for your
finances to catch up, you may be able to find an affordable
company that will also be able to supply quality, reliable
work, such as a fairly new company. Just remember that
there are risks involved with using a company without a
proven track record - and that risk is your money! Don't
take that leap unless the company can supply you with a
least a few references.

References are the most reliable indicator of a good
company. Don't use a company that won't show your
references because of any reason, confidentiality included.
Remember - even doctors will provide references! The firm
you choose should provide you with a minimum of two
references, one that is from the past, and one that is

When you contact these references, be prepared to ask
precise, specific questions so that neither of your time is
wasted. Ask them what their experience was like with the
company, such as their availability to answer questions and
deal with problems and their ability to meet deadlines. Ask
the reference to rate the overall performance of the

Find out if the company requested that the reference make
significant changes to their web pages that affected the
visitors coming to their site. You are looking for a search
engine optimization company that can balance the needs of
both search engines and site visitors without compromising

The most essential question to ask is whether the work of
the search engine optimization company resulted in higher
profits for the reference. Without profits, it doesn't
matter whether your positions are at the top of the list or

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Protecting Your Search Engine Rankings

Your website's ranking on search engines is a vital element
of your overall marketing campaign, and there are ways to
improve your link popularity through legitimate methods.
Unfortunately, the Internet is populated by bands of
dishonest webmasters seeking to improve their link
popularity by faking out search engines.

The good news is that search engines have figured this out,
and are now on guard for "spam" pages and sites that have
increased their rankings by artificial methods. When a
search engines tracks down such a site, that site is
demoted in ranking or completely removed from the search
engine's index.

The bad news is that some high quality, completely
above-board sites are being mistaken for these web page
criminals. Your page may be in danger of being caught up in
the "spam" net and tossed from a search engine's index,
even though you have done nothing to deserve such harsh
treatment. But there are things you can do - and things you
should be sure NOT to do - which will prevent this kind of

Link popularity is mostly based on the quality of sites you
are linked to. Google pioneered this criteria for assigning
website ranking, and virtually all search engines on the
Internet now use it. There are legitimate ways to go about
increasing your link popularity, but at the same time, you
must be scrupulously careful about which sites you choose
to link to. Google frequently imposes penalties on sites
that have linked to other sites solely for the purpose of
artificially boosting their link popularity. They have
actually labeled these links "bad neighborhoods."

You can raise a toast to the fact that you cannot be
penalized when a bad neighborhood links to your site;
penalty happens only when you are the one sending out the
link to a bad neighborhood. But you must check, and
double-check, all the links that are active on your links
page to make sure you haven't linked to a bad neighborhood.

The first thing to check out is whether or not the pages
you have linked to have been penalized. The most direct way
to do this is to download the Google toolbar at You will then see that most
pages are given a "Pagerank" which is represented by a
sliding green scale on the Google toolbar.

Do not link to any site that shows no green at all on the
scale. This is especially important when the scale is
completely gray. It is more than likely that these pages
have been penalized. If you are linked to these pages, you
may catch their penalty, and like the flu, it may be
difficult to recover from the infection.

There is no need to be afraid of linking to sites whose
scale shows only a tiny sliver of green on their scale.
These sites have not been penalized, and their links may
grow in value and popularity. However, do make sure that
you closely monitor these kind of links to ascertain that
at some point they do not sustain a penalty once you have
linked up to them from your links page.

Another evil trick that illicit webmasters use to
artificially boost their link popularity is the use of
hidden text. Search engines usually use the words on web
pages as a factor in forming their rankings, which means
that if the text on your page contains your keywords, you
have more of an opportunity to increase your search engine
ranking than a page that does not contain text inclusive of

Some webmasters have gotten around this formula by hiding
their keywords in such a way so that they are invisible to
any visitors to their site. For example, they have used the
keywords but made them the same color as the background
color of the page, such as a plethora of white keywords on
a white background. You cannot see these words with the
human eye - but the eye of search engine spider can spot
them easily! A spider is the program search engines use to
index web pages, and when it sees these invisible words, it
goes back and boosts that page's link ranking.

Webmasters may be brilliant and sometimes devious, but
search engines have figured these tricks out. As soon as a
search engine perceive the use of hidden text - splat! the
page is penalized.

The downside of this is that sometimes the spider is a bit
overzealous and will penalize a page by mistake. For
example, if the background color of your page is gray, and
you have placed gray text inside a black box, the spider
will only take note of the gray text and assume you are
employing hidden text. To avoid any risk of false penalty,
simply direct your webmaster not to assign the same color
to text as the background color of the page - ever!

Another potential problem that can result in a penalty is
called "keyword stuffing." It is important to have your
keywords appear in the text on your page, but sometimes you
can go a little overboard in your enthusiasm to please
those spiders. A search engine uses what is called
"Keyphrase Density" to determine if a site is trying to
artificially boost their ranking. This is the ratio of
keywords to the rest of the words on the page. Search
engines assign a limit to the number of times you can use a
keyword before it decides you have overdone it and
penalizes your site.

This ratio is quite high, so it is difficult to surpass
without sounding as if you are stuttering - unless your
keyword is part of your company name. If this is the case,
it is easy for keyword density to soar. So, if your keyword
is "renters insurance," be sure you don't use this phrase
in every sentence. Carefully edit the text on your site so
that the copy flows naturally and the keyword is not
repeated incessantly. A good rule of thumb is your keyword
should never appear in more than half the sentences on the

The final potential risk factor is known as "cloaking." To
those of you who are diligent Trekkies, this concept should
be easy to understand. For the rest of you?cloaking is when
the server directs a visitor to one page and a search
engine spider to a different page. The page the spider sees
is "cloaked" because it is invisible to regular traffic,
and deliberately set-up to raise the site's search engine
ranking. A cloaked page tries to feed the spider everything
it needs to rocket that page's ranking to the top of the

It is natural that search engines have responded to this
act of deception with extreme enmity, imposing steep
penalties on these sites. The problem on your end is that
sometimes pages are cloaked for legitimate reasons, such as
prevention against the theft of code, often referred to as
"pagejacking." This kind of shielding is unnecessary these
days due to the use of "off page" elements, such as link
popularity, that cannot be stolen.

To be on the safe side, be sure that your webmaster is
aware that absolutely no cloaking is acceptable. Make sure
the webmaster understands that cloaking of any kind will
put your website at great risk.

Just as you must be diligent in increasing your link
popularity and your ranking, you must be equally diligent
to avoid being unfairly penalized. So be sure to monitor
your site closely and avoid any appearance of artificially
boosting your rankings.

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Search Engine Keywords Selection

Search engines are the vehicles that drive potential
customers to your websites. But in order for visitors to
reach their destination - your website - you need to
provide them with specific and effective signs that will
direct them right to your site. You do this by creating
carefully chosen keywords.

Think of the right keywords as the Open Sesame! of the
Internet. Find the exactly right words or phrases, and
presto! hoards of traffic will be pulling up to your front
door. But if your keywords are too general or too
over-used, the possibility of visitors actually making it
all the way to your site - or of seeing any real profits
from the visitors that do arrive - decreases dramatically.

Your keywords serve as the foundation of your marketing
strategy. If they are not chosen with great precision, no
matter how aggressive your marketing campaign may be, the
right people may never get the chance to find out about it.
So your first step in plotting your strategy is to gather
and evaluate keywords and phrases.

You probably think you already know EXACTLY the right words
for your search phrases. Unfortunately, if you haven't
followed certain specific steps, you are probably WRONG.
It's hard to be objective when you are right in the center
of your business network, which is the reason that you may
not be able to choose the most efficient keywords from the
inside. You need to be able to think like your customers.
And since you are a business owner and not the consumer,
your best bet is to go directly to the source.

Instead of plunging in and scribbling down a list of
potential search words and phrases yourself, ask for words
from as many potential customers as you can. You will most
likely find out that your understanding of your business
and your customers' understanding is significantly

The consumer is an invaluable resource. You will find the
words you accumulate from them are words and phrases you
probably never would have considered from deep inside the
trenches of your business.

Only after you have gathered as many words and phrases from
outside resources should you add your own keyword to the
list. Once you have this list in hand, you are ready for
the next step: evaluation.

The aim of evaluation is to narrow down your list to a
small number of words and phrases that will direct the
highest number of quality visitors to your website. By
"quality visitors" I mean those consumers who are most
likely to make a purchase rather than just cruise around
your site and take off for greener pastures. In evaluating
the effectiveness of keywords, bear in mind three elements:
popularity, specificity, and motivation.

Popularity is the easiest to evaluate because it is an
objective quality. The more popular your keyword is, the
more likely the chances are that it will be typed into a
search engine which will then bring up your URL.

You can now purchase software that will rate the popularity
of keywords and phrases by giving words a number rating
based on real search engine activity. Software such as
WordTracker will even suggest variations of your words and
phrases. The higher the number this software assigns to a
given keyword, the more traffic you can logically expect to
be directed to your site. The only fallacy with this
concept is the more popular the keyword is, the greater the
search engine position you will need to obtain. If you are
down at the bottom of the search results, the consumer will
probably never scroll down to find you.

Popularity isn't enough to declare a keyword a good choice.
You must move on to the next criteria, which is
specificity. The more specific your keyword is, the greater
the likelihood that the consumer who is ready to purchase
your goods or services will find you.

Let's look at a hypothetical example. Imagine that you have
obtained popularity rankings for the keyword "automobile
companies." However, you company specializes in bodywork
only. The keyword "automobile body shops" would rank lower
on the popularity scale than "automobile companies," but it
would nevertheless serve you much better. Instead of
getting a slew of people interested in everything from
buying a car to changing their oil filters, you will get
only those consumers with trashed front ends or crumpled
fenders being directed to your site. In other words,
consumers ready to buy your services are the ones who will
immediately find you. Not only that, but the greater the
specificity of your keyword is, the less competition you
will face.

The third factor is consumer motivation. Once again, this
requires putting yourself inside the mind of the customer
rather than the seller to figure out what motivation
prompts a person looking for a service or product to type
in a particular word or phrase. Let's look at another
example, such as a consumer who is searching for a job as
an IT manager in a new city. If you have to choose between
"Seattle job listings" and "Seattle IT recruiters" which do
you think will benefit the consumer more? If you were
looking for this type of specific job, which keyword would
you type in? The second one, of course! Using the second
keyword targets people who have decided on their career,
have the necessary experience, and are ready to enlist you
as their recruiter, rather than someone just out of school
who is casually trying to figure out what to do with his or
her life in between beer parties. You want to find people
who are ready to act or make a purchase, and this requires
subtle tinkering of your keywords until your find the most
specific and directly targeted phrases to bring the most
motivated traffic to you site.

Once you have chosen your keywords, your work is not done.
You must continually evaluate performance across a variety
of search engines, bearing in mind that times and trends
change, as does popular lingo. You cannot rely on your log
traffic analysis alone because it will not tell you how
many of your visitors actually made a purchase.

Luckily, some new tools have been invented to help you
judge the effectiveness of your keywords in individual
search engines. There is now software available that
analyzes consumer behavior in relation to consumer traffic.
This allows you to discern which keywords are bringing you
the most valuable customers.

This is an essential concept: numbers alone do not make a
good keyword; profits per visitor do. You need to find
keywords that direct consumers to your site who actually
buy your product, fill out your forms, or download your
product. This is the most important factor in evaluating
the efficacy of a keyword or phrase, and should be the
sword you wield when discarding and replacing ineffective
or inefficient keywords with keywords that bring in better

Ongoing analysis of tested keywords is the formula for
search engine success. This may sound like a lot of work -
and it is! But the amount of informed effort you put into
your keyword campaign is what will ultimately generate your
business' rewards.

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Paid URL Inclusion

There are many ways to promote your website and one of the
most efficient ways is to use search engines. Search
engines are the first stop for most people trying to find
information, services, and products online. Because of
this, it is essential that your website appears quickly in
search results.

The Internet contains numerous search engines, some of
which offer what is known as "paid inclusion." This means
that you pay the specific search engine an annual fee for
your web page to be included in their index.

Of course, every search engine already has an automated
program commonly called a "spider" that indexes all the web
pages it locates online, and it does this for free. So
whether you pay or not, your web page will eventually be
indexed by all Internet search engines, as long as the
spider can follow a link to your page. The major issue is,
then, how quickly your page is indexed.

A search engine that offers a paid URL inclusion uses an
extra spider that is programmed to index the particular
pages that have been paid for. The difference between the
spider that indexes pages for free and the spider that
indexes only pages for a fee is speed. If you have paid for
inclusion, the additional search engine spider will index
your page immediately.

The debate over paid URL inclusion centers around the
annual fee. Since the regular spider of these search
engines would eventually get around to indexing your web
page anyway, why is a renewal fee necessary? The fee is
necessary to keep your pages in the search engine's index.
If you go the route of paid inclusion, you should be aware
that at the end of the pay period, on some search engines,
your page will be removed from their index for a certain
amount of time.

It's easy to get confused about whether you would benefit
from paid inclusion since the spider of any search engine
will eventually index your page without the additional
cost. There are both advantages and disadvantages to paid
URL inclusion, and it is only by weighing your pros and
cons that you will be able to decide whether to spring for
the extra cash or not.

The advantages are obvious: rapid inclusion and rapid
re-indexing. Paid inclusion means that your pages will be
indexed quickly and added to search results in a very short
time after you have paid the fee. The time difference
between when the regular spider will index your pages and
when the paid spider will is a matter of months. The spider
for paid inclusion usually indexes your pages in a day or
two. Be aware that if you have no incoming links to your
pages, the regular spider will never locate them at all.

Additionally, paid inclusion spiders will go back to your
pages often, sometimes even daily. The advantage of this is
that you can update your pages constantly to improve the
ranking in which they appear in search engines, and the
paid URL inclusion spider will show that result in a matter
of days.

First and foremost, the disadvantage is the cost. For a ten
page website, the costs of paid URL inclusion range from
$170 for Fast/Lycos to $600 for Altavista, and you have to
pay each engine their annual fee. How relevant the cost
factor is will depend on your company.

Another, and perhaps more important, disadvantage is the
limited reach of paid URL inclusions. The largest search
engines, Google, Yahoo, and AOL, do not offer paid URL
inclusion. That means that the search engines you choose to
pay an inclusion fee will amount to a small fraction of the
traffic to your site on a daily basis.

Google usually updates its index every month, and there is
no way you can speed up this process. You will have to wait
for the Google spider to index your new pages no matter how
many other search engines you have paid to update their
index daily. Be aware that it is only after Google updates
their index that your pages will show up in Google, Yahoo,
or AOL results.

One way to figure out whether paid URL inclusion is a good
deal for your company is to consider some common factors.
First, find out if search engines have already indexed your
pages. To do this, you may have to enter a number of
different keywords, but the quickest way to find out is to
enter your URL address in quotes. If your pages appear when
you enter the URL address but do not appear when you enter
keywords, using paid inclusion will not be beneficial. This
is because your pages have already been indexed and ranked
by the regular spider. If this is the case, your money
would be better spent by updating your pages to improve
your ranking in search results. Once you accomplish this,
you can then consider using paid inclusion if you want to
speed up the time it will take for the regular spider to
revisit your pages.

The most important factor in deciding whether to use paid
URL inclusion is to decide if it's a good investment. To
figure this out, you have to look at the overall picture:
what kind of product or service are you selling and how
much traffic are you dependent on to see a profit?

If your company sells an inexpensive product that requires
a large volume of traffic to your site, paid inclusion may
not be the best investment for you; the biggest search
engines do not offer it, and they are the engines that will
bring you the majority of hits. On the other hand, if you
have a business that offers an expensive service or product
and requires a certain quality of traffic to your site, a
paid URL inclusion is most likely an excellent investment.

Another factor is whether or not your pages are updated
frequently. If the content changes on a daily or weekly
basis, paid inclusion will insure that your new pages are
indexed often and quickly. The new content is indexed by
the paid spider and then appears when new relevant keywords
are entered in the search engines. Using paid inclusion in
this case will guarantee that your pages are being indexed
in a timely manner.

You should also base your decision on whether or not your
pages are dynamically generated. These types of pages are
often difficult for regular spiders to locate and index.
Paying to include the most important pages of a dynamically
generated website will insure that the paid spider will
index them.

Sometimes a regular spider will drop pages from its search
engine, although these pages usually reappear in a few
months. There are a number of reasons why this can happen,
but by using paid URL inclusion, you will avoid the
possibility. Paid URL inclusion guarantees that your pages
are indexed, and if they are inadvertently dropped, the
search engine will be on the lookout to locate them

As you can see, there are numerous factors to consider when
it comes to paid URL inclusion. It can be a valuable
investment depending on your situation. Evaluate your
business needs and your website to determine if paid URL
inclusion is a wise investment for your business goals.

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Monitoring Search Engine Positions

Since search engines are the first stop for people on the
Internet looking for goods or services, the position your
website appears in search results is an important factor.
If your URL shows up far down the results list, the chances
of the consumer never finding you increase incrementally.
Once you achieve a high search engine position, it is
essential that you make sure you maintain the high ranking
you have worked so hard to achieve.

This means you must come up with a strategy to monitor your
search engines positions. This strategy is crucial to the
success of any marketing campaign. Think of your search
engine positions as your online portfolio. Would you let
your stock portfolio be ruled by chance and market
fluctuations, or would you keep close tabs on your stocks
so you could buy and sell when the time is right? This is
the way you must consider your search engines positions.

Be aware that at first, after you have launched your search
engine campaign and done all the right things to increase
your rankings, you will most likely see a continual upward
climb. What you need to be on the lookout for is the moment
that upward climb reaches a plateau. When this happens,
your search engine position campaign moves into stage two,
the monitoring and protecting stage.

In stage two, do not be concerned about the short-term
fluctuations in your positions. These are similar to the
subtle rising and falling of stocks in a portfolio.
Short-term movement is an integral part of the whole
process. It's the long-term changes that you must watch for
and prepare to act on immediately.

Analyzing the long-term trends of search engines positions
is imperative. The way in which search engines rank
websites may change at the drop of hat. If you are unaware
of these changes - many of which are subtle yet can be
deadly to your ranking - your position may drop to the
bottom of the list before you can get your bearings. To
prevent this kind of precipitous drop, you must create a
system to monitor your positions on a monthly basis. Devise
a chart to keep tabs on your top ranking positions or your
top pages, and make sure to watch "the market" closely.

Each search engine uses a formula to compute website
rankings. When a search engine changes this formula in any
way, it may raise or lower your ranking. Some search
engines use a number of different formulas, rotating them
so that a formula doesn't become overused or outdated.
Depending on which formula is being applied, your search
engine position may suddenly drop or rise in rank
significantly. Therefore, you must check your positions
frequently in order to catch when a search engine changes
formulas and what effect it has on your positions.

You must also deal with your competition - a crucial factor
you must always be vigilant about. Your competitor's
position may suddenly rise, automatically lowering your
position. Or their position may drop, pushing your position
higher. Each month, expect position changes due to the
continual changes that are occurring in your competitor's
position, and be prepared to adjust your marketing strategy
to compensate for decreased rankings. Monitoring these
fluctuations will also give you vital information about how
to improve your website to increase your position in search

Of course, you must discern what the most popular search
engines are in order for your monitoring efforts to be
effective. Right now, there are ten popular search engines
that direct most of Internet traffic to your sites. The
challenge you face is that these top ten may change from
month to month.

This means that your must not only monitor your search
engine positions, but you must also keep track of the
ranking popularity of the search engines you are
monitoring. Find out which search engines people use most
frequently every month and be sure to live in the present!
People are fickle about their favorite search engines, and
it takes constant vigilance to follow their dalliances. The
search engines they loved when you first launched your
campaign may be old news in the next few months. You must
adjust your list of engines according to the whims of the
Internet users. Check out
for a current list of website favorites.

Another factor to monitor carefully is a sudden drop of
your positions in all search engines. This is not the same
as monthly fluctuations - this is a neon red warning sign!
It could mean a number of different things.

It all your search engine positions have plummeted, it may
indicate that search engines spiders - those sneaky
programs that seek out your site and rank their positions -
have found some type of problem with your website. If you
have recently changed the code, for instance, the spider
may become utterly confused and consequently drop your
positions disastrously. If a spider creeps up on your
website when it is down for adjustments or changes, you may
actually disappear from a search engine index entirely. Or
a search engine may drastically change its formula, and
suddenly all of your website come up as irrelevant. If that
search engine is a current favorite, it may create a domino
effect, causing all of your position to drop in all search

Some search engines rely on the results from other search
engines, and it is vital that you know which engines these
are and keep track of all the engines they influence. The
biggest problem here is that search engines will sometimes
change affiliations, and this can create a major shift in
the geography of the Internet. For example, recently Yahoo
decided to display only results gleaned from Google. So you
must not only monitor your own positions, but you must keep
abreast of seismic shifts in the landscape of the Internet
as a whole.

Finally, pay attention to your keywords. Keywords are the
foundation bricks of the entire search engine system, and
they demand individual scrutiny in your monitoring efforts.
If you have found that a number of your positions have
plummeted, it may mean that a page of your website has
become invisible or inaccessible to search engine spiders.
Or the competition for that particular keyword or phrase
has recently rocketed into outer space. In either case, you
must act quickly and efficiently to regain lost ground.

Your search engine marketing campaign is an investment. If
costs you time and money on a continual basis. Protect this
investment as diligently as you would your financial
portfolio. In the same way, track your positions from an
objective perspective, and monitor your positions on a
regular basis. Make sure your time and effort reap rewards
by keeping your eye on the big picture - your long-term
marketing campaign.

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Increasing Your Search Engine Ranking

The methods employed to increase your search engine
rankings may seem like rocket science to you, so you have
probably avoided dealing with this issue. I am here to tell
you - the time has come to face your website! A high search
engine ranking for your website is so essential that if you
have the slightest desire to actually succeed in your
business, there is no way you can continue to avoid this

At least 85% of people looking for goods and services on
the Internet find websites through search engines such as
Google, Yahoo, and MSN. The idea of optimizing your pages
for high search engine rankings is to attract targeted
customers to your site who will be more than likely to make
a purchase. The higher your page comes up in search engine
results, the greater the traffic that is directed to your
website. That's what search engine optimization is about.

You can immerse yourself in all the technical information
available online to figure out how to optimize your web
pages to achieve higher rankings. Or you can look at a few
simple items on your pages, make some small adjustments,
and most likely see improved rankings quite rapidly. The
first item you should examine is the title bar on your

The title bar is the colored bar at the top of the page.
Look at the words that appear there when you access your
home page. To increase search engine rankings, the words on
your homepage's title bar should include the most important
keywords or phrases, one of which would include your
company name.

Then click on all your links and examine the title bars on
the pages you access. Each title bar on every single page
of your site should contain the most important keywords and
phrases taken from the page itself. However, avoid very
long strings of keywords, keeping them to six words or
less. Avoid repeating keywords more than once in the title
bars, and make sure that identical words are not next to
each other.

The next item to put under your microscope is your website
content. Search engines generally list sites that contain
quality content rather than scintillating graphics. The
text on your site must contain the most important keywords
- the words that potential customers will be typing into
search engines to find your site.

Aim to have around 250 words on each page, but if this is
not desirable due to your design, aim for at least 100
carefully chosen words. If you want to achieve a high
ranking on search engines, this text is essential. However,
the search engines must be able to read the text, meaning
that the text must be in HTML and not graphic format.

To find out if your text is in HTML format, take your
cursor and try to highlight a word or two. If you are able
to do this, the text is HTML. If the text will not
highlight, it is probably in graphic form. In this case,
ask your webmaster to change the text into HTML format in
order to increase your search engine rankings.

Next we come to what is called meta tags. I know this
sounds like something out of science fiction, but it is
really just simple code. Many people believe that meta tags
are the key to high search engine rankings, but in reality,
they only have a limited effect. Still, it's worth adding
them in the event that a search engine will use meta tags
in their ranking formula.

To find out if your page is set up with meta tags, you must
access the code. To do this, click the "view" button on the
browser menu bar, and select "source." This will pull up a
window revealing the underlying code that created the page.
If there are meta tags, they usually appear near the top of
the window. For example, a meta tag would read: meta
name="keywords" content=. If you do not find code that
reads like this, ask your webmaster to put them in. This
may not do much for your search engine rankings, but any
little boost helps.

Lastly, we come to the issue of link popularity. This is a
factor that is extremely important in terms of search
engine rankings. Almost all search engines use link
popularity to rank your website. Link popularity is based
on the quality of the sites you have linked to from your
links page.

If you type in "free link popularity check" in a popular
search engine, the search engine will then show you what
sites are linked to your site. In the case that there
aren't many sites linked up to yours, or that the sites
that are linked up have low search engine rankings,
consider launching a link popularity campaign. Essentially,
this entails contacting quality sites and requesting that
they exchange links with your site. Of course, this
requires checking out the rankings of the websites you want
to link up with. Linking to popular, quality sites not only
boosts your search engine ranking, but it also directs more
quality traffic to your website.

Search engine rankings are extremely important for a
successful Internet marketing campaign. Before you go out
and hire a search engine optimization company, try taking
some of the simple steps listed above, and see if you can't
boost your rankings yourself. Don't ever ignore this
all-important factor in Internet marketing. Remember, the
higher your search engine ranking, the more quality
customers will be directed your way.

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Increasing Link Popularity

Search engines are the gateway to the Internet; they are
the first tool that potential customers use to find the
products and services they need. This is why link
popularity is so imperative. If the customers do not find
your website, you have no possibilities of making any

You're probably wondering what the blazes is popular about
a link! Well, in a word - plenty! Link popularity refers to
the ranking assigned to your website by the search engines,
and it determines the ranking your page gets when keywords
are entered into a search engine. So, you're probably
wondering, how do I make my link popular?

Search engines are discretionary, giving status and ranking
to sites that have links to their pages from related,
quality sites. It's a simple formula, but a very important
one. Google created the system, and now virtually all the
most popular search engines employ it to rank your web
pages in their indexes.

The more commonly used your keyword is, the harder it will
be to achieve link popularity, but without achieving this
step, it is almost certain your site will never rank highly
on any search engine. But don't be discouraged; there are
tried and true ways of achieving link popularity using the
most competitive keywords.

There are a few things you should be aware of. The first is
that just linking up with a large number of other websites
will not achieve link popularity. In fact, it may have
quite the opposite effect. This is particularly true when
pertaining to websites that are nothing more than "link
farms" - pages containing line after line of indiscriminate
links. Search engines may aggressively discriminate against
your website if you are associated with a link farm, so
steer clear of them!

The next thing to bear in mind is the quality of the site
you are linking to. Never link to a page you have
reservations about your visitors seeing. The last thing you
want your website to appear as is indiscriminate and cheap.
Linking to sites of poor quality will only lessen your link
popularity, if not completely destroy it.

So let's get to what you need to do to achieve supreme link
popularity and improve your rankings to stellar status on
all the popular search engines.

The first step, and the fastest way to get your foot in the
door, is to get a listing in a popular directory, such as
Open Directory Project and Yahoo. If your site is
business-related, you will want to be listed on Yahoo, and
despite the fact that it will cost you around $300 a year,
it will be money well spent. If your site is
non-commercial, the listing will be free, but it will take
time and follow-up to actually get it listed. Open
Directory is gives you a free listing whether you are
business-related or non-commercial, but be prepared to make
a lot of follow-up inquiries before you see your site

You are aiming to get listed in the highest level of
appropriate category, and this just takes some common
sense. For example, if your company ships Alpaca wool from
an Alpaca farm located in the middle of Nowhere, Tiny
State, do NOT submit your listing to "Retailers from
Nowhere, Tiny State." BIG MISTAKE! All you have to do is
look a little deeper - and submit your listing to the "Fine
Alpaca Wool" category. You will not only associate yourself
with culture and quality, but you will be listed in a
national category.

The next step after you have attained directory listings is
to locate other quality sites that will increase your link
popularity. Try to find sites that are in some way related
to yours, so not only will your link popularity increase,
but your customer base may also be expanded. You want to
avoid your competitors and look for sites that are useful
to your site's visitors. Let's look at the Alpaca Wool site
example. Linking up to a site that sells knitting supplies
would be helpful to your visitors, and the chances of the
knitting supply site wanting to link up to your site are
also greater. By linking to a related site that will be
relevant to your website's traffic, you are increasing both
of your site's business prospects - and both of your sites'
link popularity.

Not all sites want to link to other sites, so you will have
to do some research when you are looking for possible
linking partners. Google is an excellent starting place for
your search. Make sure you enter keywords that you think
quality customers will also enter to find your own site.
Remember, your criteria are quality, highly ranked,
non-competing websites that have a links or resources page.
Go to these sites and objectively assess them. Look at the
quality of the product, the graphics, and the ease of use.
Then check out the other sites they are linked to, and
determine if your own site would fit in with the crowd.

When you decide you have found a good prospect, you must
set out to woo them. The first thing to do is to add a link
on your own links page to their site. This is an essential
first step; it shows good faith, and ups your chances
significantly of their reciprocity. After you have added
their link, you must contact the webmaster of their site.
Since this is almost always done by email, you want to make
sure it is immediately clear that your message is not junk
mail. This requires that you tell them right off the bat
that you have added a link to their page on your site. A
hook like this almost always insures the reader will read

Next, be sure to be flattering and let them know how much
you appreciate their website. Make sure you emphasize that
you have actually visited their site, and that their site
is not just a random pick. Give them the address of your
links page, and ask them to check out the link for
themselves. It's a good idea to mention that they will not
only benefit from the increased traffic your website will
direct their way, but you will also increase their link
popularity. Briefly, explain why link popularity is so
essential, but do this in a sentence or two so you don't
sound like a professor! Finally, tell them you would
greatly appreciate if they would reciprocally add a link on
their own links page to your website.

Go through this process with as many appropriate sites as
you can find, bearing in mind the criteria of quality and
non-competitiveness. After you have emailed all relevant
sites, be sure to check these website frequently to see if
they have added a link to your page. Give it about a month,
and if no link appears, try another charming email. Then
give it another month, and if your site is still absent
from their links page, it's time to remove their link from
your own links page. The only time you want to pursue a
link further than this is if you believe a site is crucial
to your link popularity and your business needs. Just
remember to keep all your communications complimentary and

Then set up a schedule to check your ranking in search
engines frequently to see if your link popularity has
improved. This is not achievable in the blink of an eye. It
will take some time and a good deal of work. There is no
way around the labor-intensive quality of improving your
link popularity, which is why search engines regard it with
such importance.

By the way - make sure you have a beautiful, streamlined
site or you will never persuade anyone to link up to you.
Be prepared to keep plugging away at this process, as long
as it takes, until you achieve link popularity stardom!

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Evaluating Web Site Performance

Setting up a website is the very first step of an Internet
marketing campaign, and the success or failure of your site
depends greatly on how specifically you have defined your
website goals. If you don't know what you want your site to
accomplish, it will most likely fail to accomplish
anything. Without goals to guide you in developing and
monitoring your website, all your site will be is an online
announcement that you are in business.

If you expect your site to stimulate some form of action,
whether it is visitors filling out a form so a
representative can contact them, or purchasing a product,
there are steps you can take to insure that your website is
functioning at peak efficiency. One of the first indicators
of how well your site is working for you is finding out the
number of visitors in a given period of time. A good
baseline measurement is a month in which you haven't been
doing any unusual offline promotional activities.

However, just because hoards of people have passed through
your gates does not mean your site is successful. Usually,
you want those visitors to actually do something there. It
is equally important to monitor the number of visitors to
your site who made a purchase. This figure is called the
site conversion rate, and it is an essential element of the
efficacy of your website.

To find the site conversion rate, take the number of
visitors per month and figure out the percentage of them
that actually performed the action your site is set up for.
For example, if you had 2,000 hits to your site, but only
25 of them purchased your product, your site conversion
rate equals 1.25%. To get this figure, take your number of
visitors and divide that figure by the number of visitors
who made a purchase. Then divide that result by 100 (25 ?00 X 100).

If your website is set-up to get visitors to fill out a
form, make sure to then figure out what the difference is
between your site conversion rate and your sales conversion
rate. This is because not everyone who fills out your form
will actually become your customer. However, whether your
site is set-up to sell a service or product, or to get the
visitor to fill out a form, the site conversion rate will
measure the success or failure of your website whenever you
make changes to the site.

You may find that you need to implement some additional
marketing strategies if you find that traffic to your site
is extremely low. There are several effective methods to
improve the flow of traffic to your website, particularly
launching a search engine optimization campaign. This
campaign is targeted at increasing your position in search
engine results so that consumers can find your pages faster
and easier. You can either research the steps you need to
take to improve your search engine rankings, or employ a
search engine optimization company to do the work for you.
In either case, after your have improved your search engine
positions, make sure you keep on top of them by regular
monitoring and adjusting of your efforts to maintain high

Another factor to examine is how easy it is for a visitor
to your website to accomplish the action the site is set-up
for. For example, if your goal is for the visitor to fill
out a form, is this form easily accessible, or does the
visitor have to go through four levels to get to it? If
it's too difficult to get to, the customer may just throw
in the towel and move on to another site. Make sure your
buttons are highly visible, and the path to your form or
ordering page quickly accessible.

Finally, have a professional evaluate the copy on your
website. The goal is, of course, to get your visitor to
make a purchase or fill out your form. Website copy must be
specifically geared to your online campaign and not just a
cut and paste job from your company brochure. The right
copy can make the difference between profit and loss in
your online campaign.

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Getting started with videoblogging

Videoblogging is the next generation of posting ideas and products over the internet. Everybody knows about textblogging. Now they use videos for a better way of expression. This form of communication may entail a lot of resources, but it is all worth it. If pictures say a thousand words, videoblogging exceeds that by far.

A videoblog requires larger disk spaces on websites, a faster server, and a whole new set of programs to support it. Videoblogs can be fed through RSS. This is technology of syndicating your website to other RSS aggregators.

Videoblogging works with people on the internet expressing their selves. Now if you put this on a business prospective, you are up to a lot of benefits. Think of it as a powerful tool in making showing your prospective customers your line of products or your services. It’s just like showing a commercial all for free. And if you videoblog through RSS, then most probably you are getting your target market.

People like to see what they are going to buy. Some would like to see proof and be sure that they are getting their money’s worth before shelving their dimes on it. All of us know the influence of a thirty second commercial. The effect of videoblogging is similar to that. You show your product, people watch it. If they like it, they buy it. If you present it good enough, they’ll buy the product even if they don’t need it.

Now on the web, things are pretty much static, unlike in television in which all are moving. If you post something that is mobile, it would most likely catch attention. Now imaging your product parading in all it’s royalty through videoblog. You’ll get phone call orders in no time.

If your business is just starting up, you can create a videoblog right at your own home. All you need is your web camera, microphone, video software, and lights. For as long as you know how to use your camera, then you can create a videoblog.

Invest in a good web camera. The higher its resolution is the better the output. And you like to present your goods in the optimum way so get the best one possible. Make a short story, or just capture your goods in one go. Just make sure you are getting the best profile for each. Get those creativity juices flowing.

Lights are important in a production. Make sure you illuminate entirely the area you are going to use to create videoblog. The brighter the area, the crispier the images will be. You can also use lighting effects for added appeal to the presentation.

Should you require sounds for your videoblog, you need a microphone. Record you voice as a voice over for promoting the product and its benefit to consumers. Sounds are as important as videos on a videoblog. It is advisable to make your sound effects as enticing as the video.

Your video editing software can be any program. You need this to finalize your work. You can add sounds, delete some bad angles, or insert some still pictures in there too. Some programs are user-friendly and can be used even with zero knowledge on video editing. Even simple video editing programs should do the trick. Select your background carefully too. The light affects the presentation so make sure that the background and the light complements each other.

Videoblogging is a great tool but it also has it downside. It may slow down the computer so other may steer clear of it. Download time may also be time consuming especially if customer is still on a dial- up connection.

But don’t let those stop you. Let videoblogging be an alternative for you, though it is best to still keep the text and pictures present in your presentation to accommodate all possible viewers of your site.

Nowadays, the more creative you are in presenting your product to the market, they more you are likely to succeed. Videoblogging offers an interactive way of selling. You involve the customers. You instill in them the advantage of your goods. And at times, those are enough to make a sale.

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A weblog (or simply blog) is a website that 'publishes' or features articles (which are called 'blog posts', 'posts', or 'entries'), written by an individual or a group that make use of any or a combination of the following:

· Straight texts
· Photographs or images (photoblog)
· Video (videoblog)
· Audio files (audioblog)
· Hyperlinks

Usually presented and arranged in reverse chronological order, blogs are essentially used for the following purposes:

· Online journal or a web diary
· Content managament system
· Online publishing platform

A typical blog has the following components:

· Post date -the date and time of the blog entry

· Category - the category that the blog belongs to

· Title - the title of the blog

· Main body - the main content of the blog

· RSS and trackback - links the blog back from other sites

· Comments - commentaries that are added by readers

· Permalinks - the URL of the full article

· Other optional items - calendar, archives, blogrolls, and add-ons or plug-ins

A blog can also have a footer, usually found at the bottom of the blog, that shows the post date, the author, the category, and the 'stats' (the nubmer of comments or trackbacks).

There are numerous types of blogs. Some of them are the following:

1. Political blog - on news, politics, activism, and other issue based blogs (such as campaigning).

2. Personal blog - also known as online diary that may include an individual's day-to-day experience, complaints, poems, and illicit thoughts, and communications between friends.

3. Topical blog - with focus either on a particular niche (function or position) that is usually technical in nature or a local information.

4. Health blog - on specific health issues. Medical blog is a major category of health blog that features medical news from health care professionals and/or actual patient cases.

5. Literary blog - also known as litblog.

6. Travel blog - with focus on a traveler's stories on a particular journey.

7. Research blog - on academic issues such as research notes.

8. Legal blog - on law (technical areas) and legal affairs; also known as 'blawgs'.

9. Media blog - focus on falsehoods or inconsistencies in mass media; usually exclusive for a newspaper or a television network.

10. Religious blog - on religious topics

11. Educational blog - on educational applications, usually written by students and teachers.

12. Collaborative or collective blog - a specific topic written by a group of people.

13. Directory blog - contains a collection of numerous web sites.

14. Business blog - used by entrepreneurs and corporate employees to promote their businesses or talk about their work.

15. Personification blog - focus on non-human being or objects (such as dogs).

16. Spam blogs - used for promoting affiliated websites; also known as 'splogs'.

Blogging is typically done on a regular (almost daily) basis. The term "blogging" refers to the act of authoring, maintaining, or adding an article to an existing blog, while the term "blogger" refers to a person or a group who keeps a blog.

Today, more than 3 million blogs can be found in the Internet. This figure is continuously growing, as the availability of various blog software, tools, and other applications make it easier for just about anyone to update or maintain the blog (even those with little or no technical background). Because of this trend, bloggers can now be categorized into 4 main types:

· Personal bloggers - people who focus on a diary or on any topic that an individual feels strongly about.

· Business bloggers - people who focus on promoting products and services.

· Organizational bloggers - people who focus on internal or external communication in an organization or a community.

· Professional bloggers - people who are hired or paid to do blogging.

Problogging (professional blogging) refers to blogging for a profit. Probloggers (professional bloggers) are people who make money from blogging (as an individual blog publisher or a hired blogger).

Below are just some of the many money-making opportunities for probloggers:

· Advertising programs
· RSS advertising
· Sponsorship
· Affiliate Programs
· Digital assets
· Blog network writing gigs
· Business blog writing gigs
· Non blogging writing gigs
· Donations
· Flipping blogs
· Merchandising
· Consulting and speaking

The following are a few things that you need to consider if you want to be successful in problogging:

1. Be patient. Problogging requires a lot of time and effort, not to mention a long-term vision.

2. Know your audience. Targeting a specific audience or group is a key to building a readership.

3. Be an 'expert'. Focus on a specific niche topic and strive to be the "go-to" blogger on that topic.

4. Diversify. Experiment with various add and affiliate programs that enable you to make money online (aside from blogging).

5. Do not bore your readers. Focus on the layout. White spaces, line spacings, and bigger fonts make a blog welcoming to read.

Certainly, it is possible to earn money from blogs. One just needs to take risks, the passion, and the right attitude in order to be a successful problogger.

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Beginners Guide to Blogging

A blog is basically an online journal wherein you can digitally pen down your thoughts, ideas, opinions and practically anything that you want people to read. Blogs come in different styles, formats, and settings, depending on the preference of the user. Many blogging sites, offer built in features such as hyperlink, straight texts, pictures etc. Some blogging sites, even allow you to put video and mp3's on your blogs.

Instead of writing texts, some bloggers choose to make their blogs more audio friendly, by using spoken word entries. This is called audio blogging.

Basically a blog contains these features:

title- which allows you to label your post
body- this is the content of your post
trackback- other sites can be linked back to your blog
permanent link- every article that you write has a URL
comments- this allow readers to post comments on your blog.

One of the advantages of blogging, is that it is made of only a few templates. Unlike, other websites that is made up of numerous individual pages. This make it easier for blog users to create new pages, because it already has a fix setting that include: slots for title, body of the post, category, etc.

This is especially useful for first time users, since they can start blogging right away. They can chose from a number of templates that blogging websites provide.

Anyone who wants to start a blog can do so by becoming a member of a blogging website of their choice. Once they've become members, they automatically become a part of that particular blogging community. They can browse through other bloggers pages, and link them back to their own blogs. They can also make comments on other members' blogs.

Blogging is not just limited to personal usage. There are a lot of blogs that follow a theme such as: sports, politics, philosophy, social commentary, etc. These blogs espouse on their specific themes. This way blogging becomes a medium in which people can share their knowledge and opinions about a variety of themes and topics.

Some bloggers even use their blogs as a means to advertise. Some authors advertise their books on their blogs. While other bloggers, use their blogs to shed light to currents issues, events, news and catastrophes.

Nowadays in education, blogs also play an important part. Professors use blogging to document the lessons that they have discussed and taught. This way, students who who have missed classes, can easily catch up with their assignments.

A lot of entrepreneurs benefit from blogging by promoting their businesses on their blogs, with millions and millions of people logging onto the net everyday, blogging has become a lucrative move. Some bloggers who run online businesses promote their merchandise online. While others profit through advertisement.

But by far, the most popular blog type is the one that takes the form of a personal journal. This is the kind that is usually used by first time bloggers. Individuals who want to document the daily struggle of their everyday lives, poems, rants, opinions, find that blogging offers them a medium in which to express themselves.

Bloggers usually communicate within themselves. This is one of the appeals of blogging. It creates a community of people sharing their ideas, thoughts, and comments with each other.

Blogs varying in topics, themes, and set-ups, can be found in blog directories. First time users who want to get an idea of what the blogging world is all about can browse through a number of blogs using these directories. This way they'd get an idea of what these blogging communities are like.

Blogging is popular all over the world. Blog is short for the term weblog. There are no rules when it comes to blogging. Bloggers have the freedom to express themselves how ever way they want, and the best thing about blogging, is that most blogging sites are free.

There are numerous blogging websites to choose from in the net. This give first time users the option of joining a blogging community that appeals to their interests.

Just search any blogging directory and you'd get a listing of a lot of blogging sites that are available on the net. It's easy to search a blogging directory, because it is organized according to category. This way you would get exactly what you are after. Blogging is really for everyone. It is fun, simple and easy.

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Boost Your Business With Blogging!

Business blog is an incredible online marketing tool that saves you thousands of dollars but provides great business opportunities in just one click. Blogs are user-friendly, customized and flexible medium for disseminating useful information for effective positioning of your products in the market.

Companies engaging in business blogging have a definite edge over its competitors. Here are some advantages:
? Word-of-Mouth. In a survey, there are currently 14 million blogs with 80,000 more being added each day and about 30 percent of the 50 million users are blog readers. Imagine how much gain your company will have, if your products are advertised through blogs. With Internet, information spreads so quickly especially if an impressive write-up goes with your product. Soon your blogs will be passed on to hundreds of possible customers.
? Awareness and loyalty. Open communication with your customers creates trust and loyalty among them. Being there to respond to their questions and comments make them all the more willing to try your products and services.
? Feedback. Blogs is good for product research and reviews. It would be easier to improve on your products if you observe your customers’ thinking and behavioral patterns. You can also take immediate action to your customers’ concerns.
? Community halo-effect. Bloggers are reasonable, friendly and helpful. They are more than willing to create blogosphere of comments regarding your product. The only thing you have to do is embrace and take active part in the culture and your product will surely be considered in their next stop to the supermarket.

For better marketing results, actively promote your business blogs by submitting your blogs to blog search sites and directories. Do not forget to paste in with your blogs, your URL. Be sure that your blogs contain exclusive information with value and are always updated to keep readers popping in, read up your blog, move on to the next and click on again for updates.

Blog is like a setup booth in the biggest trade show on earth everyday. Marketing possibilities are just around the corner waiting to strike your sale scales up.

The Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds are important too in conjunction with your blogs to get the best benefits. Use effective keyword phrases to generate high ranking status in the search engine traffic. In this way you have better chances of people finding your website leading to your blogs. More traffic means more potential sales.

For this to be successful, you can use RSS for news update feeds which can be read through RSS reader application. This is a very useful tool for business and internet marketers as well.

If you are already convinced with the potentials of business blogs for marketing and targeting sales increase, your company is now ready to start blogging. But first, you have to be in tune with your company’s business objectives and determine if blogging will really help you achieve your goal.

1. Several blogs are dedicated to teaching people the do’s and don’ts of blogging, READ them! Include in your reading materials blogs that are consumer-based too to give you an idea.
2. Setup several test blogs right away.

If your initial try out with blogs worked well, you can now start setting up your blogs.

1. Study blog design. Blog hosting services provide pre-designed templates. But if you opt for paid blog service, you can ask your artist to design and layout your blog site to match the company’s identity and needs.
2. Choose a topic. Its good to have a line-up of topics you want for your blogs but be sure they are in consonance with your business objectives. This would be a test of your flexibility and open-mindedness since results may be going against the set objectives.
3. Remember the following safety measures in blogging:
? legal issues are sometimes involved in blogging; it is safer to include disclaimers and limitations of liabilities;
? corporate communication and legal department are responsible in educating the senior management on how blogs might affect business;
? create blogging policies; set limits on who gets to blog and what information are allowed to be made public;
? avoid outright marketing blog or you will shy away your readers;
? make content updated, relevant and fresh;
? reinforce the company’s core values; and,
? encourage employees to use it.
4. Start blogging and complete 20 posts before going to marketing.
5. Begin marketing.
6. Regularly monitor the coming ins and outs of readers and get updates. Then, measure your results.
7. Adjust if needed. You can always play with your designs in the blog site as long as it remains to match the company’s identity.
8. Strive to be consistent with your topic all the time.
9. Try to have unrelated topics with general and broad appeal.
10. Schedule updates regularly. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday would be best to update blogs.

Once you have done all these things, you can now ultimately enjoy the benefits of business blogging.

(837 words)

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The Importance of Blog Design

Blogs have increased popularity over this past months. Many people have started to create their personal blogs to express their thoughts and feelings. Internet companies have also started their blogs to inform consumers on the latest product news and reviews.

Because of this, blogs are also being used as internet marketing media. Before, internet marketing is done by placing banners and links on popular websites, such as news and information sites. Links were also included on newsletters and marketing letters sent to the members of their mailing lists.

Many people spend time reading blogs. People read their friend's blogs, their favorite author's blogs, blogs on topics that they are interested in, and blogs on product reviews. With the increasing popularity of blogging, it is even feared that people rely on blogs to get the latest news.

While getting news reports from blogs isn't reliable, some people look for product reviews through blogs. In some cases, this is more dependable. While it is true that some media persons are being paid to write good reviews about a certain product, blog writers write about their actual experiences on products and services from a company.

Since there are many people who read and start their own blogs, blogs are a good medium to market a product. With the increasing blog traffic means increase in product sales.

Blog traffic can be increased by joining affiliate programs and sites, which will list your blog under a certain search category or name. You can also have your blog advertised in popular websites. This, however, will cost some money and is not advisable if you have just started blogging.

A writer who has just launched his/her blog will want as much traffic as possible to increase advertisements on the site. Also, some advertisers pay every time their link is clicked or the page that has their link is viewed.

When you have increased traffic on your blog, you should try to keep you visitors coming back and recommending your blog to friends and colleagues.

This can be done by having informative or amusing content and good blog layout and design. You may develop your blog's content or you can also acquire the services of a web content writer to provide you with the blog articles.

The blog's layout and design also plays a big role. While most of the companies offering free blog hosting offer pre-selected templates, there are also some that allows customization that if you utilize this feature correctly can increase your blog's traffic.

Here are a few tips to make your blog stand out from the millions of blogs out there that have standard designs.

* Customize the banner

The banner usually has the most generic designs that are common to the blogs from a blogging company or service.

You can personalize this banner by having a graphic with the dimensions of the banner. You can also edit the graphic so that it will also include the title of your blog.

In this case, you can create your own graphic or you can purchase professional looking graphics online for less than $10.

* Personalizing photos

Of course, most of the photos that you will be posting will be your own. However, if you don't customize the photos before posting them, you may miss maximizing the enhancing benefits graphics can add to the page. Adding photo borders can help the photo stand out from the page.

It can also add to the design of your blog. You can choose a standard border or you can also create your own border which can be associated with your blog's templates.

* Add a favicon

Don't you think sites with icons on the address bar before the website's URL are cool? Many people do. These favicons add a professional look to the URL. These easy to do using photo or graphic editing softwares.

* Check out blog templates, layouts, backgrounds, textures and skins from sites

There are sites that offer free blog templates, layouts, backgrounds, textures and skins. You can make use of these so your blog will not look generic like most of the blogs hosted by the service provider.

* Include RSS feeds

This is a cool way to inform people with newsreaders about your blog headlines. Tutorials on RSS feeds are available on the internet.

* Audio makes your blog more personal

Not only does audio personalizes the blog; it can also keep your visitors coming back. You can try having streaming radio stations, mp3 file or playlists loading with your blog.

* Advertisements

If you have signed-up with Google Ad-Sense, which I am sure you would like to do, make sure that the ads are conveniently placed that these will not hinder your readers' ease in accessing the information on your blog.

Try using these tips and you can definitely increase and retain traffic on your blog.

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Blog Software For All Your Blogging Needs

Today anyone who has writing ability or is dreaming to be a writer has written a blog in the net. There are blog soft wares that are simple and easy to use and a technically inclined and challenged individuals can easily acquire a blog online.

For some individuals, blogs are their projects of every day living, as they talk about their daily episodes as well as make tribute to friends and family. Furthermore, blogs assume a profound meaning written to compose and assemble political statements, endorse a product, supply information on research, and even offer tutorials. Any subject that are of your interests, you can be sure that someone has written a blog about it.

Blogs are now being written by musicians, politicians, sports figures, novelists, newscasters as well as other known figures. It is this blog fever that has raised controversy. The fact that anyone can compose and regarding any subject matter under the sun, complaints about certain write-ups are an issue. In a lot of blogs, names are being mentioned; do bear in mind that although you are entitled to write anything that interests you in a blog, you have to be very careful and take in a lot of responsibility. Do not make any statements which can become controversial; or else, be very prepared.

Why a Blog?

1. For personal acquaintances, relationships and hobby. A person can write a blog about his daily activities, what’s going on with his life as his way of telling his family and friends the things that goes on in his life. Likewise, one may also write a blog just so he can express what he feels about himself, or about a certain subject matter that is of interest to him.

2. Topical. Some blogs are committed to a precise topic, like computer hardware or politics. These are frequently read like magazines.

3. For marketing. Corporations are too, into blogging; when well written and implemented, this kind of blog can be a powerful instrument for business communications, forming eagerness and anticipation regarding their products and services offered, or used as tool within the company, keeping employees well informed about company issues and news.

Why someone else's software?

A lot of Web designer and creators will laugh at the belief and idea of utilizing the software of someone else. This is can be correct especially when each software greatly differs from the particular requirements that a client may have. Yet on the other hand, when it refers to a Weblog software, there is no reason for apprehension in the use of a package that is pre-written, as most packages were developed through years of study; not just knocked together over a couple of days.

In addition, one may study its feature set. For a developer, it would take a lot of time and effort to write and compose from “nothing at all” every single feature in the Weblog software packages of today. For most people, a blog is there for the main reason that chooses to publish or make known your literature and texts on the Web, so you want to spend your time more on writing than coding.

Hosted Services

If one wishes to start broadcasting on the Web, yet does not have web hosting, one can consider looking into a hosted service, which includes Blogger, TypePad, Live Journal, and more.

These services are operated or handled for an individual, so there is no need to concern one about technical upkeep of one’s Weblog; instead, one can concentrate on his blog's appearance and content. In just minutes, after signing for an account, one can readily start his own blog. Many such services are offered free, such as blogger. TypePad charges a minimal amount for monthly service fee.


When one has Web hosting on hand, or is eager to buy hosting, in which one feesl that the advantage will prevail over the problems of keeping up your own blog connection and installation, then you may want to take into account a package that is self-hosted, which includes Movable Type, Textpattern and WordPress.

Other hosting companies did construct the process of installation easier, permitting installation with just a click from a control panel that is browser-based. It is important that you check with a hosting company so you can view if this function is offered. Similar to hosted services, some self hosted packages are made available either for free or for a certain fee which is dependent on the type of package that you choose as well as the basis why you are using it.

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How to Increase Sales Through Streaming Audio

Many studies have proven that radio is a good medium for product advertisements. People listen to the radio for entertainment, usually to listen to the latest music or to their favorite radio program. In between the program, advertisements on products and services are being played.

For many years, this has been the trend in advertising. But now that the radio medium is almost behind the audio-visual medium, the TV, and the Internet, other marketing strategies have to be employed to continue the benefits of advertising through audio.

It is then that the benefits of using music on websites were discovered. Before, music on the Internet was just available in downloadable forms as mp3. Even through hosting downloadable music on their servers, companies were able to get much traffic on their sites. And everyone engaged in Internet marketing knows that website traffic plays a big role in boosting product and service sales.

However, there had been a problem with illegal music download in which artists, musicians and record companies have lost millions of revenues.

Then, came the popularity of Internet music streaming. Unlike the former, radio streaming does not allow download of the music files. Thus, the copyrights of the artists and record label owners are protected.

So, how can this be done? There are several ways to stream audio from your site. First, is to stream a radio program from your site or blog. You can find free affiliate programs that allow you to stream their radio content from your site.

What will this mean to you? This means that your site will have new audio content every time it is visited. What's even great is that the content is being updated even without much effort from you.

In this case, what you needed to do is to signup with an Internet radio station and have the link embedded on your blog or website.

Another way is to stream mp3s. To do this, you just need to upload your mp3files on a server and add the files' links to the page. When the link is clicked, the browser opens a media player window and plays a file. However, since the file is in mp3 format, it may also be downloaded. Downloading music files without the authorization of the copyright owner is illegal. Therefore, if you will be using this type of streaming, make sure that you have the appropriate permit to do so.

A third way to add audio to you blog or website is to stream music through organizing playlists. Playlists are m3u files, which if downloaded, will not play music if offline. Using this process, however, can be complex. Here is a short instruction on how to do it.

1. Save your mp3 or wma file on the server. You may skip this step if you know that the file exists on another server and know the link to that file. Make sure that the link has a .mp3 or .wma extension.

2. Open your text editor and type the path to the file. Include the http:// and the file extension. Repeat this step until you have included all the links to the files that you would like to be included in the playlist.

3. Save the playlist with a .m3u extension.

4. Upload the m3u file on the directory where the music files are hosted or to your server.

5. Open your html editor and embed the link to the m3u file. Through this, you can also set if you want to have the playlist to autoplay if someone visits your site of if you want your visitor to control playing the music. You can also set the volume level.

After the code is embedded on the html file, and whenever your site is visited, the songs in the playlist will be buffered, streamed and played one after another. If your playlist has several songs, the user can skip forward or go back a song in the playlist using the media player controls.

Doing this setup works for many website owners. Through this you can customize the type of music being played on your site. You can even play recordings related to your product to boost product awareness.

It requires knowledge of html to be done. But if it will be the best way to increase traffic to your site, why not request assistance from programmers. After all, having audio on a website is a proven way to increase sales.

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All You Need To Know About Blog Hosts

Apart from the chat rooms, instant messengers and electronic mails created for communication and dialogue beyond turf are the emerging innovations that help man build opportunities for interaction. The need for a personalized and human face aspect of building online communities is slowly changing the technological landscape of the Internet.

Blogs / “weblogs” or blogging are the newest gift of Internet technology to people all over the world. These are updated posts, crop up entries or personalized life snippets, of mundane or bizarre in nature. For most, a “blog” is a personal, unedited, and authentic journal meant to be shared in an online community. Blog site is a place where bloggers can publish anything; his thoughts, feelings, photos, special events, experiences, comments on issues and so on. It is more of an online diary with videos, links, documents, newsletters and opinions on just about any topics you are interested.

Blogs are made to welcome the insights and opinions of all and therefore, should not be written to sound intimidating and too formal. This kind of blog is a sure way to put off the readers. In the basics of blogging, conversational tone would be more appropriate to reach the desired audience.

Blogging is all about individuals reaching out to other individuals. Having a blog has its own set of advantages:

? Freedom of Expression. If you want people to hear you out and give their own opinion, this is the best way to create a line of communication;
? Networking is at its best. Having a blog is a good platform for exchanging genuine ideas from consumers to you as marketer of a certain product. Sound opinion and point of view is better than just showing the price quote;
? Excellent advertising platform. Blogging is a new way to advertise products, a refreshing change from the traditional advertising outlets and it is cost-effective.
? Gauging public opinion on products and services. The key is nice and catchy titles with new ideas presented in your content. This is an assurance of quick and repeated responses from your readers. Blogs is an excellent spot for the exchange of ideas between the seller and the consumer. Good for measuring public opinion regarding services and products, even political and business matters alike.
? Useful tool for internal communication. This will help your company to build a knowledge-based community of employees. Also good for harnessing employee relations and identifying human resource issues in advance.
? Other benefits like search engine optimization (SEO) will help your blogs to be seen often by as many people as you wish. This is very good exposure for your products and services.

Many blog hosting services are available on the Internet. But the basic question is which one of the services will be the best to start off your business blog program? Business people are usually clueless to recent technological innovations which would help them maximize their marketing potentials. For these beginners, it is best to study first the services offered by blog hosts. An ineffective business blogging program may damage marketing opportunities instead of enriching them.

A company may decide to do the following depending on its capacity and needs: 1) Host their own blog service, 2) Pay someone else to host the service, or 3) Setup a “blog aggregator page” and ask the employees to select their blog hosting services individually. There are paid and free services available for individuals.

For business blogs, they are required to have the latest blogging features; if not, this will prevent them from maximizing their marketing, public relations and SEO potentials.

Keep in mind that blogs should have the following basic essentials:

COMMENTS. Welcoming comments provide opportunity for dialogue. In business blogs, they are a good customer feedback mechanism. This helps develop better customer relations based from loyalty and trust. Blogging is an innovative way to converse with your customers.
TRACKBACK. This helps in maximizing company and product exposure. Through this service, consumers can get back to you for more posts and updates without the difficulty of locating you. If your blog is popular in a specific online community chances are links going back to your blog site are everywhere online, other blog sites or even websites.
CATEGORIES AND TAGS. These both help in classifying blog searches for ease of navigation and on site search. Categories act as libraries because it classifies posts by subject matter such as business, distance learning, e-commerce, online auctions, etc. Tags, help in the classification, especially in the blog search engine Technorati. Possible customers and new clients locate blogs about certain topics of interest by just clicking the tags.
RSS FEED. Really Simple Syndication is the feed from your blog that is sent out over the internet, and collected through the various newsreaders and aggregators.

If your company is to establish a business blogging program, considerable options should be made available by the hosting companies shortlisted for the services. Free blog hosting services are popular but they are much appropriate for individual online journals. Paid blog hosting services offer unlimited packages best for your company’s needs. You may want to suggest checking out some blogs that use the host first, read and examine their layout and design. Another important thing to consider is a reliable technical support the host has.

After, choosing the blog host, a team should be ready to plan the design and structure of the blog: The team should:
? create a style that meets the needs of the audience;
? establish an open, credible tone;
? schedule weekly updating of blog - ideally, a few times a week;
? include weblinks of other website and blogs;
? blog post should be in the “first person;”
? focus on the business blog objective; and,
? maintain an honest, engaging conversational quality.

Remember, whatever the look, style and content found on your blog is a reflection of you and your company.

(990 words)

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5 Reasons Why Blogging is the New Internet Marketing Tool

Blogging is a concept that started in late 90s. It used to be a way to comment an existing webpage, an opportunity for visitors and readers to react or voice out one’s opinion on the said page. What started as a single-sentence commentary has evolved into pages of personal take on just about anything and everything under the sun. As it continues to move forward, online advertising has tapped into the blog’s potential. Here are 5 reasons why you should use blogging as an Internet marketing tool.

1.Blogging is simple. The simplest way to get your piece on the net is through blogging. No skills are necessary… an average adult can read and type, or at least click a mouse. It’s like having a virtual piece of paper and you just write your ideas, experiences, new products, and hope that the truth behind your articles comes out and entice your reader to also try your product. If you have a PC and an Internet connection (who doesn’t?) then you can blog and advertise.

2. Blogging is authentic. In this day and age where advertising saturate our lives, we question the credibility of promoters’ claims. However, in blogs, real people share their real-life experiences, unscathed by paid advertising. Reading blogs about first-hand product use is like talking to people about their first-hand experience. You definitely want to buy a tried and tested product.

3. Blogging is free. Because blogging is yet to be proven as a mainstream online advertising media, most sites see it as something to augment current marketing tools and thus offer it for free. Any opportunity for free webtime is definitely a bonus especially to businesses that are starting up. Needless to say, paid blog pages can generate more income for your seriously growing business.

4. Blogging builds credibility. As you get more and more into writing your experiences on a particular product or industry, your readers come to realize that they can depend on your posts for their own information needs. As such, you become an expert on it; as a consequence, more readers visit your site and more bloggers link to your blogs. As companies and professional organizations notice the growth of your readership base, they may soon get in touch with you for advertising on your blog page, or make you an affiliate, which pays for every referral generated from your blog site.

5. Blogging builds your market. Unless you are a Hollywood star, chances are, only your Mom reads your posts. Mom has a lot of friends, so she lets her friends know how interesting your blog site is. But you need not depend on Mom to increase your readership base. Look into the following ways to build your market through blogging:

-By using your e-mail. Today, blogging is overcoming the e-mail’s popularity in quickly and effectively reaching and expanding a market. In this age of speed and quick access, logging in and downloading e-mail is simply taking longer than clicking into a blog site. Let them explore your site by using a short e-mail message as teaser to your blog site. If your e-mail is on an entirely different subject, use your e-mail signature to give a link to the site.

-By using subscription. An easy way to get your readers e-mail is to give them an opportunity to subscribe to your blogsite. Keep some exclusive information for your subscribers to entice readers to subscribe and give their e-mail address. Just be responsible in using their e-mail address, as the last thing you want is a comment on your blog that you are a spammer.

-By understanding your readers. Conduct a simple survey for your readers to understand their profile and advertising preferences. Ask consumers to give you feedback on a post, an ad link, or a trial that you shared. In this way, it is like interviewing your readers without the commitment and intrusion of a face-to-face interview.

-By joining a blog network –A network of blogs maybe a collection of blog sites that share the same industry, interest, readership base, payment mode, etc. Consumers find credibility and convenience in clicking one link to several real bloggers about a single subject. Clearly, more bloggers are better than one.

-By using RSS. RSS is the fastest growing technology on the Internet today. As such, having RSS feeds to your blog is definitely another means of generating awareness for your readership base. Having a variety of feeds can add interest to your blog site.

Give your business a boost by effectively using blogging as an Internet marketing tool.

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