December 12th, 2013
In 2012, ICANN started the process for the introduction to new top level domains. For $185,000, investors could pick a generic top level domain (gTLD) name extension and register it. As a result, more than 500 gTLDs were approved. Now, the sunrise period for some of those domains has begun, which allows trademark holders the right to register their desired domain names based on trademark ownership.
After the sunrise period, a pre-registration period begins. Many registrars will charge premium prices for people who want specific domain names on these gTLDs. After that, an open registration period begins.
There are legitimate reasons for wanting a domain name on one of these top level domains. I wouldn’t say SEO benefit is one of those reasons. Branding, yes. Strategic marketing, yes. Reputation management, maybe.
Before you go rushing off to pick up a domain name on one of these new domain name extensions, you should do your due diligence and figure out the value of the TLD as well as the domain name that you want. You should judge its personal value to your brand as well as the business value on the market. Chances are, some of those domains may do well in the search engines. However, many will not.
Search engine ranking policies change over time. I would suspect that Google and Bing would not rush to allow these new extensions to rank well right off the bat.
Likely, what will happen is the search engines will wait to see how these domain names are used then tweak their algorithms accordingly to discourage spammy use of them while encouraging legitimate use of them. Don’t think about buying a new domain name if you think it will give you a search engine advantage. It likely won’t and you will be stuck with a domain name that holds no value.
December 11th, 2013
If you own a local business and you don’t track your sales, online website traffic, social media metrics, and offline conversions, then you are missing out on important information and important opportunities for your business. You should install an analytics program on your website and pay attention to the statistics that drive sound decision-making.
Here are 5 ways analytics are important to local businesses:
- Track local engagement – Your website sits on the World Wide Web, but your business is local. You can track your local visitors, reach, and local engagement with analytics. You can create custom reports that filter out unnecessary data so that you can focus on the information that is really important.
- Increase your revenue – The whole point of analytics is to provide you information for making decisions that will lead to an increase in revenue. Focus on that information.
- Mobile traffic is relevant – Mobile engagement is not going away. Mobile traffic is growing, and if you don’t have a responsive website in 2014, then you are way behind the online marketing curve. You should be tracking your mobile traffic and increasing your engagement with mobile users. Mobile marketing and local business go hand in hand.
- Offline conversions are important too – There’s a good chance you still get walk-in traffic and offline business. Many people will visit your website then visit your store. Track your conversions by making them a printable offer they can bring in with them.
- Determine your cost per customer – You should know what it costs you to acquire a new customer. This is the most important use for analytics. You can determine that cost by focusing on the relevant data.
Learn how to make analytics pay for itself with relevant, useful information.
December 9th, 2013
Businesses that establish a sales funnel swear by e-mail marketing. You should too. Plain and simple, if you capture e-mail addresses of your website visitors and clientele, you are more likely to see an increase in sales as a result.
Think of it this way. You have a website and you receive 10,000 unique visitors per month. Those visitors show up and leave. Some of them may not come back, but what if they do? They’ll show up and leave again. If you have a mailing list that you send out an e-mail to once a week, you can ensure that a good number of your visitors will revisit your site on a regular basis. And you can better close them on sales.
Let’s say you capture just 1% of your visitor traffic e-mail addresses. That’s 100 new e-mail addresses every month. After one year, you’ll have 1,200 e-mail addresses.
Now, let’s say you send a newsletter to your list every week. If you make an exclusive offer once a month and get a 1% response on those offers, you’ll make 12 new conversions each month. If your average conversion is $20, then that’s an additional $240 of revenue each month. Now multiply those numbers by ten.
Can you see where I’m headed?
Capturing e-mail addresses allows you to market to your customers more efficiently and more often. It’s a lot easier to sell to a warm list than it is to a cold list. Your subscribers are opt-in, which means they have given you permission to contact them. You couldn’t ask for anything more.
December 6th, 2013
Much has been said about link building and guest blogging. What many new content marketers don’t understand is that the two go hand in hand. Guest blogging can be a useful form of link building as long as you focus on quality and not just on acquiring links.
The links you get from guest blogging are usually in your author bio, which is published at the bottom of your articles when you get them published.
Your bio links are a benefit of guest blogging, not your purpose. The reason you want to be a guest blogger is to share your expertise with new audiences and establish yourself as an expert in your niche. But you want to do that on blogs that exist within your niche and that have a high authority rating. Stay away from low quality websites. That’s very important.
It isn’t necessary to write a guest blog post every day. You can do it once or twice a month and build solid links over time. Quality is much more important than quantity.
Before you start writing guest posts, look for potential publishers for your guest posts and make a list. Compile a list of publishers within your list that accept guest blog posts and make that your first step. From there, you can begin contacting them with article ideas. Be careful that you focus your articles on quality content no matter where you publish them.
December 4th, 2013
Google Trends has announced some new innovations in its research tool. Specifically, they’re working on reducing ambiguity in search terms.
The example they use is a comparison in search data between “Harvard University” and “Rice University.” If you just input “rice,” then your data could be skewed by search results data that isn’t related to university comparisons, but a new beta announcement seeks to remedy that shortcoming. Also on the table are some improvements in the trends tool to celebrity searches. These improvements could also affect other types of searches such as geographical searches and other name-type searches (e.g. places, buildings, characters, books and movies, etc.).
If a searcher misspells an artist’s name, for instance, the old Google Trends wouldn’t include those searches in its data. The new Google Trends will.
The changes are supposed to make the research data more meaningful for users. It looks like they’ll certainly be effective in doing that and if you aren’t a Google Trends user, then I suggest giving it a try. With the death of Google’s free keyword research tool and “not provided” information, webmasters need to find more useful ways to conduct keyword research. Google Trends has always been one way of obtaining useful related keyword data for content producers. It looks like its getting better.
December 2nd, 2013
With so many changes happening at the search engine level, this is a trying time for many online marketers. That’s especially true where SEO is concerned because it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to measure results. Google no longer provides a free keyword research tool for non-PPC customers and they no longer provide keyword data to webmasters who are trying to measure the traffic to your websites and where that traffic is coming from.
Absence of data means webmasters have to go elsewhere for the information they need – if they get it at all.
Besides these big changes, you add personalized search to the mix, undisclosed social signals, and inbound links being discounted left and right, it might seem like SEO is broken. But it’s not.
Google still ranks web pages by keyword. They just don’t report the data that webmasters used to rely on to measure ranking success. The challenge for webmasters today is not in performing SEO but in tracking SEO results. That doesn’t mean you should give up on SEO.
Webmasters have to learn to get a little more crafty in finding the metrics that mean something to them. There are two things to consider here:
- The possibility that you might be measuring the wrong data;
- and The possibility that you might be measuring the right data the wrong way
Metrics is a necessary part of SEO. If you can’t measure it, you can’t change it. Google seems to be making it harder for marketers to measure their results, but it’s not impossible. It’s time to get creative.