Your Search For Internet Marketing Answers is Over...


Here are the responses from Catherine Seda's Q and A session!


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Your Search For Internet Marketing Answers is Over...

Catherine Seda took questions from MarketingFind visitors in mid-February who were eager to gain an expert’s perspective on several Internet marketing areas. Here is a cross-section from the submissions received.

Keyword Rankings

How do you test your keyword rankings on all of the search engines? - Dave B

You really need two types of tools; one for organic rankings and one for pay-for-placement positions.

Check out Marketleaps free Keyword Verification tool to review your keyword rankings in algorithm-based search engines such as AltaVista, Google and Inktomi. WebPosition Gold software and Bruce Clays SEOToolSet also contain a ranking report feature (Note: do not run automated ranking reports constantly. Google warns Webmasters against using unauthorized computer programs, although unfortunately, doesnt list which programs are authorized. See http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html for details).

Are you looking to verify your positions across several PFP search engines, such as Overture, FindWhat.com and Google AdWords? Then a bid management program is your best bet; BidRank, Did-it.com and GO TOAST are a few examples. Their position report is a perk; the efficiency gained in managing your bids and placement cost-effectively is the real value.

Yahoo! Placement for SEO Help

Does paying for a “top” listing within Yahoo! under my keyword, give me any benefit for my natural search optimization on Google for the same keyword? - Al

Yes, being listed in the Yahoo! directory can absolutely help your natural rankings in Google, but the level of impact is not guaranteed. Google rewards sites with strong link popularity. This refers to the number and quality of Web sites that link to yours. You need links from sites that rank well with similar content to your site. Yahoo! is a well-respected directory and contains relevant categories for Web site listings. Even if your site doesnt receive significant traffic from being in the Yahoo! directory, the $299 submission fee may be worth the potential boost in your link popularity score. For more information on Yahoo! directory submission, go to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/suggest/ (buying a top Sponsored Listing on Yahoo! directly through Yahoo! or via Overture — will not help your natural rankings).

Does Overture Offer Contextual Advertising?

Do you know if Overture will get into the contextual ad game, similar to Googles AdWords/Adsense program?
- Chris

Its already here! Overture calls its program Content Match (http://www.content.overture.com/d/USm/ps/cm.jhtml). According to Overtures guidelines, sites that generate more than two million Web searches monthly can inquire about an Overture partnership. Even if you dont quite meet this minimum but you have a narrowly-focused site, contact them anyway.

If youre advertising on Overture, you should learn how Content Match (http://www.content.overture.com/d/USm/ays/ays_cm.jhtml) works because youre automatically enrolled in this program. A contextual ad program, including Overtures Content Match and Googles Ad Sense program, means that your search listings are displayed on Web site pages of publishing partners. For example, if youve purchased tax calculator your listing could appear on tax-related pages. Search ads and contextual ads can perform wildly different, so its best to track them separately. On Overture, click Account Set-Up within your account to enable or disable Content Match.

Max CPC (cost-per-click) and Google AdWords Positions

Can you give us insight as to how Google decides to list paid advertisers? Even when paying the max CPC, other companies appear before mine. There must be something I can do to ensure that paying the max CPC is worth the money, and that my ads are displayed more frequently than once every 15th refresh. Thanks!
- Seth B

How often do you edit your ad listing copy? On Google AdWords, an ads position is determined by its maximum CPC and click-through rate (CTR). Study your competitors listings for copywriting ideas. Then, go above the competitive advantage theyve stated. For example, if you notice several competitors promote free shipping, you could write 10% discount and free shipping. Watch for spikes and drops in your conversion rates with new copy. Theres no point in being #1 and paying for more visitors if they dont buy anything.

Even though youre paying the max CPC, also make sure that your daily budget is set to the amount Google recommends. If you reduce your daily budget, your ad may not be shown as often.

PPC (pay-per-click) copy

What balance should I strike between a strong corporate tone vs. detailed feature and product description within my ad copy? I am a small regional ISP and features are very important to our customers as are qualitative factors, like number of years in business, outstanding customer service, etc. Are some PPC directories better than others with respect to targeting a technical audience?- Jaclyn

In PPC, let your customers show you what sells them! When it comes to ad copy: test, test, and test some more. The Google AdWords program is especially helpful in this process. Run multiple ad listings for the same keyword and Google will rotate the ads. Monitor your results closely for 30 days. Delete the worst-performing ads (refine your ad listings by leads/sales, not CTR, if you have this type of performance tracking in place).

To answer your second question, dont exclusively focus on search engine advertising. The leaders paved the way in PPC/CPC pricing, and now many content sites offer this pricing model to advertisers. Go to the sites your technical audience goes for information. Ask about paid listings, article sponsorships or even newsletter ads, at a PPC rate which may be much less expensive than your current keyword buys.

Marketing a New Web Site

I have recently launched a Web site but Im not sure how to get it listed on search engines…what are the first steps I should take? Can I pay to be included in search engine results (specifically Google)?- Alice D

Want a quick and easy way, Alice? Bid for positions on Overture and Google AdWords. These two search engines reach a large Internet audience, plus feed their results to many Web site sites and other engines. For less than $100, you can open an account on both search engines, choose keywords, create ad listings and set landing pages. Bids for keywords start at $.05 or $.10 per click. The #1 position is generally awarded to the highest bidder, who is willing to pay one penny more than the highest bid. Only when someone clicks on the ad, is your account debited. Your initial deposit could last one hour or one month, depending on the competitiveness of your keywords. Read the FAQ page of top search engines in the pay-for-placement space: Overture, Google, FindWhat.com, Kanoodle, Enhance.com (ah-ha.com), and Sprinks.

Getting your site to appear in the natural search results is a longer, more tedious process than buying your way to the top. And rankings are not guaranteed. Search Engine Visibility, by Shari Thurow, is a very helpful resource for creating an SEO foundation through effective site design.


Quality Internet Marketing Companies

Finding Internet marketing companies is easy, but they could be fly-by-night operations. How can you find good-quality companies?
- Karen

Youre right; it can be difficult to assess the credibility of Internet marketing companies. I often wonder the same thing because Im constantly interviewing companies for my presentations or articles. Here are a few tips I follow:

Read industry articles to find experts
Go to your favorite news sites about a particular Internet marketing topic, and look for experts who write, or are quoted in, articles. For example, if youre interested in search engine marketing vendors, browse articles at www.SearchEngineWatch.com

Attend industry conferences to meet vendors
It can be easier to interview several companies at once. Attend local business seminars or national Internet marketing conferences (Search Engine Strategies.com is a leading conference for SEO/PPC marketers). These events give you a chance to connect with featured speakers, sponsors and participants.

Ask experts for recommendations
Small business owners frequently find they dont have the budget to work with a well-established marketing firm. If this happens to you, ask the marketing firm for vendor recommendations. You may be directed to an experienced company that doesnt yet have the brand name in mainstream media, or a well-trained yet inexpensive consultant.