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The WebMarketCentral Blog

The official blog of, the web marketing portal, covering B2B lead generation and marketing, Web 2.0 social media, business blogging tools, micromarkets, interactive PR, and web marketing tools and resources.

Updated: 2017-08-22T15:03:00.227-05:00


Six Ways to Produce Quality Online Video on a Small Scale Budget


Online video is hot. (Yeah, and people gamble in casinos, I know; what a profound observation of the blatantly obvious.) According to, YouTube had nearly 86 million unique visitors and more than half a billion site visits last month. Business-friendly video sites like Vimeo, Viddler and are also seeing impressive traffic growth.But small businesses who want to take advantage of online video can be caught in a quandary. Shooting a basic home-video style piece with a Flip Mino or Samsung SMX-F34 (my personal favorite YouTube-friendly camcorder) may not project sufficient sophistication, while a professionally-produced video costing $8,000-$10,000 or more is simply not in the budget.Here are six options for producing reasonably high-quality online videos, or at least something beyond standard home video camera fare, at a modest cost.Convert PowerPoint to FlashWhile Flash programming is a challenging and specialized skill few business people probably want to master, almost everyone can use PowerPoint. There are several tools available for converting manual or self-running animated PowerPoint presentations to Flash, with or without narration. Robin Good reviews three tools: E.M. PowerPoint Video Converter ($46), Lecturnity ($215), and iSpring PRESENTER. Other options include PresentationPro's PowerCONVERTER ($149) and PowerFlashPoint ($199). Your best bet is take advantage of the free trials offered by most vendors to find out which product works best for you.Capture Screen Action with Camtasia or CaptivateBoth Camtasia Studio ($299 from TechSmith) and Captivate ($799 from Adobe) enable you to capture any on-screen action (e.g. a software demo, PowerPoint presentation, online video) along with narration, edit the production, and output the final result to a variety of common file formats including Flash. Captivate offers greater options for interactivity, but also a significantly higher price tag. Either will work for basic screen-to-video production.JingFor really limited budgets—and simple needs—Jing Pro provides the ability to capture any on-screen action (including web video), add commentary, and upload it to YouTube with one button. The negligible $14.95 annual fee even includes a free 2GB Screencast account. Editing capabilities are limited, but the price makes it worth checking out for straightforward needs.FaculteThough technically more of a video distribution platform than a production tool (similar to Flimp), Faculte does offer some useful video assembly functions, such as the ability to upload video and images; arrange the elements; add narration; and add notes, drawings and annotations to the video mix. Pricing starts at free, which includes full video editing/production features, but is limited to 200 views. The $50/month base plan allows 4,000 views, plus adds advanced viewer tracking, the ability to use a unique URL for the video, and faster load times than the free option.ArticleVideoRobotGot the need for speed? ArticleVideoRobot will turn any written article into a narrated video in minutes, no camera needed. The basic package ($47/month) provides basic editing capabilities; one-click distribution to 17+ video sites including YouTube, Metacafe, Break, Vimeo, etc.; and a choice of "human-like" voices to narrate your video. The Pro package ($97/month) offers higher video quality, a Flash output option, and an advanced video editing tool. Since you aren't recording your own narration, the results can be...interesting.SlideSixWith SlideSix , you can upload a presentation (e.g. from PowerPoint or OpenOffice), record audio and narration, attach external video files, and create a widget to share your SlideSix presentations on your blog. Though editing, distribution and formatting options are more limited than with other tools, SlideSix is free. Here is an overview of how to use SlideSix, enjoy!With the explosive proliferation of online video, the key to making your video stand out is creativity. To maximize the impact of your video production, think beyond conventional ideas both in ter[...]

SEO Tool Review: Take your Efforts to the Next Level with SEMRush


SEMRush offers a powerful suite of SEO and search marketing tools, particularly for those who've already done the basic SEO work and perhaps have an AdWords program running, but want to take efforts to the next level.The suite includes tools for:Google Keywords (shows what terms a site shows up for on Google, along with search position, search volume, AdWords CPC cost for those terms and other stats)AdWords Keywords (for sites already running SEM campaigns)Competitors in Google (helpful for finding potential link partners and online advertising opportunities)Competitors in AdWordsPotential Ad Buyers (for sites that sell advertising space)Potential Ad SellersOne particularly helpful report for SEO purposes is the Google Keywords report. In this example (with only identifying information removed), notice that this particular site is showing up on page two of Google for a number of key terms. It's great to be able to identify such terms; with a bit more onsite optimization and link-building, the site could be moved up to the first page on Google and get a significant traffic bump.In another example of the same report, this site shows up very well for a number of key phrases, though again there are page two opportunities identified. Identifying all of the page one terms can also spark ideas for additional key words and phrases to target with SEO and SEM efforts.The tool also provides a "related keyword report." So, if you have one particular key phrase that is central to your website, business service management in this case, SEMRush will supply data on similar terms to prioritize for targeting.The companion SEOPivot tool identifies additional potential high-traffic keywords for a domain, along with the current Google position of the site, average search volume and expected traffic.All reports can be exported to Excel for further sorting and analysis.The SEMRush tools provide value for almost any website that gets 1,000+ visits per month (lower-traffic sites may not be in the tool's database). For consultants or agencies managing multiple sites, the cost is easy to justify by spreading it over several clients.The free version of the tool has extremely limited functionality, but at the very least it gives webmasters an idea of the depth of data the tool will be able to provide for their website(s). For the fee-based versions, pricing ranges from about $200 per year for the light (organic search data only) to $500 for the Pro (includes AdWords information) offering.Bottom line: the SEMRush suite is a valuable toolkit to help SEOs and search marketers identify new keywords, advertising and optimization opportunities they may not otherwise discover.FTC Disclosure Notice: The SEMRush tools were provided free of charge for 60 days to facilitate this analysis and review. There was no other exchange of value.*****technorati tags: SEMRush SEO tools search marketing tools SEM tools AdWords Google keywords SEOPivot tags: SEMRush SEO tools search marketing tools SEM tools AdWords Google keywords SEOPivot icerocket tags: SEMRush SEO tools search marketing tools SEM tools AdWords Google keywords SEOPivot Contact Mike Bannan:[...]

Twin Cities Top 10 Titans in Social Media Announced


Judy Grundstrom at the Just JudyJudyJudy blog yesterday announced the Twin Cities Top Ten Titans In Social Media 2009, chosen by a distinguished group of judges.It's a very interesting list. The winners come from a variety of backgrounds, including politics (Dusty Trice), broadcast media (Jason Matheson and Alexis Thompson of FM 107.1, Jason DeRusha of WCCO TV), the arts (Kate Iverson), corporate marketing (Kelly Groehler of Best Buy), and PR agencies (Blois Olson and David Erickson from Tunheim, the brilliant Jennifer Kane, and,, among others.You can find details of the top five and 6-10 winners on Judy's blog. It's quite an honor to be named to this list, and it helped me pick up a bunch of cool new local Twitter friends (I still don't like the term "followers," sounds too Kool-Aid-drinking cultish) like Aimee Cheek, Allison Janney, Tara Olson and Morsekode.Judy also discussed some of the winners on the December 9 Jason & Alexis show on FM 107.1.If you live in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area, want to make some connections here, or just want to keep up through social media on what's happening here in frozen tundra, the Top 10 Titans list is a great place to start. Thanks Judy!*****technorati tags: Judy Grundstrom Just JudyJudyJudy Twin Cities Top Ten Titans In Social Media Dusty Trice Jason Matheson Alexis Thompson Jason DeRusha WCCO TV Kate Iverson Kelly Groehler Best Buy Blois Olson David Erickson Tunheim Jennifer Kane Minneapolis St. Paul tags: Judy Grundstrom Just JudyJudyJudy Twin Cities Top Ten Titans In Social Media Dusty Trice Jason Matheson Alexis Thompson Jason DeRusha WCCO TV Kate Iverson Kelly Groehler Best Buy Blois Olson David Erickson Tunheim Jennifer Kane Minneapolis St. Paul icerocket tags: Judy Grundstrom Just JudyJudyJudy Twin Cities Top Ten Titans In Social Media Dusty Trice Jason Matheson Alexis Thompson Jason DeRusha WCCO TV Kate Iverson Kelly Groehler Best Buy Blois Olson David Erickson Tunheim Jennifer Kane Minneapolis St. Paul Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom[...]

137 Twitter Marketing Tips for Small Business Trying To Go Big


In case you missed it (as I did), Anita Campbell a few months ago published 137 Twitter Tips: How Small Businesses Get the Most from Twitter, based on input from the readers of Small Business Trends.This report provides a treasure trove of guidance for marketers who seek to increase their brand awareness, credibility and business results using Twitter. The tips are categorized into six sections. Among the recommendations provided, by section:Getting StartedMatt McGee provides tools (such as Tweepz) and other methods for finding local Tweeters to follow, and getting them to follow back.Joseph Manna notes the importance of commitment, and recommends spending at least a half hour per day discovering and Tweeting.John Joyce and Becky McCray offer guidance on useful tools (e.g., Twitter search and Twellow) for finding local or industry-relevant people to follow.Staci J. Shelton advises following people who retweet your content in order to build relationships with people who value what you share.Smart MarketingTravis Campbell recommends finding a valuable blog post referenced on Twitter, leaving a comment on the blog, then retweeting it. "This further endears you to the author, while making a more meaningful connection with your followers."Joel Libava suggests tweeting one of your recent press releases or blog posts daily, mixed in with other links to useful and relevant articles and blog postings.Rick L'Amie helpfully advises creating a strategy before jumping into Twitter. What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to reach? Lack of a strategy is one factor leading to high abandonment on Twitter; you'll never achieve your goals if you haven't defined what they are.Another contributor notes the value of participating in #followfriday, but explaining why each person you recommend is worth following rather than just listing other Tweeters.Observing EtiquetteI couldn't agree more with this one from Robert Brady: "Automated DMs aren't worth sending. If you won't invest a few seconds to compose a 140-character message, I don't want to invest 5 seconds reading it."Tim Milburn has a clever formula for crafting a worthwhile T.W.E.E.T: "Timely, Worth reading, Educational, Entertaining, and Tweople-connecting."Jonathan Bacon of The Betty Factor advises trying to create real conversations, and remembering that everything you do on Twitter represents your brand.Spreading Your MessageVicky of Remarkable Parents writes that when asking for a retweet, leave at least 15 characters free so others can RT your message without having to shorten it.Anita Cohen-Williams and others note that best way to get retweeted is to post content that has value, such as useful blog post.Maria Marsala suggests putting "Pls RT" at the end of tweets, asking others explicitly for what you want. Interestingly, Anita Cohen-Williams advises specifically against doing this—if your tweets are interesting, others will retweet on their own. Who's right? Every group of Twitter followers is different, so TEST this with your followers to see what works best for you.Time ManagementTwitter can be a big time sink. To avoid spending too much time with it, Lisa Picarille recommends checking Twitter first thing in the morning, then spending about 10 minutes on it at two hour intervals to keep up with the most important tweets.Echoing Lisa's advice, Sharon Trombly suggests tweeting periodically throughout the day, such as with your morning coffee, at lunch, at the end of the work day, and in the evening.Advanced StrategiesTJ McCue recommends using TwitterBar, a tool that allows you to tweet directly from the address bar in your browser.Michael Hartzell suggests creating a unique landing page to link to from your Twitter profile with a greeting and introduction that is a "secret page" only for your Twitter followers.Gil Yehuda advises setting up several free listening services to determine who is talking about you and where so you can participate in the conversations. Among the tools he c[...]

Social Media, Cell Phones, Online Shopping and Big Brother


Is Big Brother watching you? Books like George Orwell's classic 1984 and films such as Minority Report and Eagle Eye present a nightmarish vision of an omniscient government watching our every move. The reality is far different story, paranoia about the Patriot Act notwithstanding. As recently as 2004, FBI agents still used laptops with Intel 286 processors.But is it possible that the government simply doesn't need hidden cameras, high-tech listening devices and secret agents everywhere in order to know the intimate details of our lives—that we're doing it for them?Consider a few technologies that have become part of daily life:Cell Phones: these can not only be used to take pictures virtually anywhere—and instantaneously upload them to the Internet—with GPS tracking, they can also be used to record our every move and pinpoint our current location.Credit Cards: the credit card companies, and services they report data to, know what you buy, when, where, and how much. If government-run healthcare ever becomes a reality here, Washington bureaucrats may be very interested in any "suspect" lifestyle purchases: tobacco, alcohol, fast food, ice cream, scuba lessons, rock climbing gear...Social Media: This is a treasure trove of information for any Big Brother-ish entity. You're telling the world what you think, where you are, who you know, how well you know them, who they know, and more.It isn't just overweening or Orwellian government agencies that may take advantage of the increasing amount of voluntary online exposure of personal information of course. Scammers and criminals can take advantage of such data as well. MediaPost recently reported that Facebook is cracking down on ad networks that display misleading advertising or promote scam offers through its site. Facebook can even get a person killed.Of course, the news isn't always so grim. Facebook can also be used by a crime victim to track down an assailant, and it kept this teen out of jail. How big brotherly.Our online lives are also of interest to private companies. Social media is now used routinely in the hiring process. That can be good or bad, depending on what recruiters find about you. It isn't just HR professionals, however, who may be monitoring your tweets or other social media use however; Facebook cost one woman her insurance benefits.And then there's Google. Searchers and consumers love Google for its simple interface and relevant results, and marketers love Google for the traffic it drives to their websites. We'd all best hope that Google never abandons it's "Don't be evil" mantra given the amount of information it has about your online life.And as the search giant increases its activities in mobile, it knows not just what you're doing online, but where you are and where you've been. Shelly Palmer finds this creepy, and Hillel Fuld worries that with the Chrome OS, cloud computing and other recent developments, "it seems Google is collecting a little too much information on my every move, and it is starting to make me uncomfortable."So what's a person to do? Shunning new technology and going back to a pre-Internet lifestyle really isn't an option. There is too much convenience, too many new opportunities and capabilities presented by social media and other online tools to adopt a Luddite mindset.The answer, rather, is just to be smart and sensible about the use of social media and new technologies:By all means, share your professional background and accomplishments online so that those who may hire you, as an employee or consultant, can find it. But be careful about how much and what type of personal information you post.Never disparage anyone by name online. The information will be there forever. There is no profit in burning bridges. If you feel compelled to report a bad experience with a company or product, make the criticism fair, accurate and factual. And if the company addresses your issues, give them credit, in the same venue where yo[...]

Which is Better for Capturing B2B Blog Traffic - Twitter or LinkedIn?


I recently did a little test to determine whether Twitter or LinkedIn was more effective at driving traffic to a few specific posts on this blog. While the results aren't scientific by any means, they are enlightening.

Various posts were promoted on Twitter (with retweeting encouraged) and to three relevant and popular LinkedIn Groups focused on social media, PR and b2b lead generation.

(image) The results? For a minimally retweeted post, Twitter drove about twice the traffic of LinkedIn. For a heavily retweeted post, Twitter provided six times the traffic of the LinkedIn groups. More specifically, on the day this article was posted, Twitter accounted for 60% of the total blog traffic, LinkedIn about 10% (the remaining 30% was mostly Google search plus a few miscellaneous referring sites).

Of course, your mileage may vary based on factors such as the specific LinkedIn groups utilized, the number of Twitter followers you have, and the influence of those retweeting the post. Still, the magnitude of the differences in this test seem to indicate that while both of these social networking tools can be helpful in driving blog traffic, Twitter produces higher volume.


Contact Mike Bannan:

Mastering SEO for Product Pages That Produce Profit


It seems like so much of what is written about search engine optimization (SEO) assumes that you're writing a blog post, or a news story, or the next great "how to" article that's going to be syndicated far and wide on article marketing sites.Sometimes that is what you're doing, but often writing for the web—and SEO—involves less glamorous pages like product or service descriptions. Of course, such pages are critical: no one will buy anything from you if they don't understand what you offer. It's just that, no matter how creatively written and carefully optimized, your "About Our Widgets" page is never going to make it to the first page of Digg. It simply can't compete with the latest Britney-Spears-abducted-by-a-three-armed-alien type story.So how do you add life, and SEO value, to a product page? Here are four complementary techniques:1) Use the words your prospects use. It doesn't matter if your product is technically more of a thingamabob than a whatchamacallit, if your prospects are searching for whatchamacallits, and that's the competitive set they place your product in, that had better be the term you're using. Use a keyword research tool to help identify which terms to use.2) Tell a story. Incorporate the keywords you just identified into a compelling story that helps your prospective customers quickly understand how their life will be better once they buy your widgets. Be as specific as possible, and link to case studies to support specific claims.3) Write detailed product descriptions, again incorporating keywords. The more detailed and vivid the description, the more appealing it will be to both human prospects and search engine bots.4) Use pictures if at all possible, and optimize the alt tags associated with the images, again using the keywords identified above. Photos and diagrams add interest and aid in understanding for your human prospects, while the alt tags communicate the value of the images to search engines. Also use keywords in the file names of your images.As prospects work their way through the research process, from general how-is-this-problem-being-solved-today research to specific types of products or services, make sure that your content fits their needs—and that the search engines can find it.*****technorati tags: search engine optimization SEO article marketing sites product pages keyword research tool product descriptions tags: search engine optimization SEO article marketing sites product pages keyword research tool product descriptions icerocket tags: search engine optimization SEO article marketing sites product pages keyword research tool product descriptions Contact Mike Bannan:[...]

Top Marketing Budget Priorities for 2017


Given the continued high unemployment rate and uncertain prospects for economic recovery, marketing budgets will be tight heading into the new year. Most B2B marketers are likely to find themselves with fewer dollars to spend but more pressure to spend them carefully.In this environment, what are the three or four areas where marketers should focus scare resources? One area clearly is organic search engine optimization (SEO). While it isn't necessarily cheap, it's inexpensive in comparison to most other types of online marketing and advertising programs, and nothing is more effective at drawing targeted website traffic at the time prospects are looking.According to eMarketer, SEO tops the list of effective web lead generation methods, as "Forty-eight percent of marketers (in a 2009 study by Forbes) said that SEO was the best method for generating conversions online." In addition, a 2009 SEMPO study found that SEO was second only to paid placement at producing the best ROI of any marketing tactic.Where else should scarce dollars be allocated? Check out Marketers Top Investment Priorities For 2017.*****technorati tags: B2B marketers organic search engine optimization SEO targeted website traffic eMarketer Forbes SEMPO tags: B2B marketers organic search engine optimization SEO targeted website traffic eMarketer Forbes SEMPO B2Bbloggersicerocket tags: B2B marketers organic search engine optimization SEO targeted website traffic eMarketer Forbes SEMPO B2Bbloggers Contact Mike Bannan:[...]

3 Reasons it's Tough to Measure the ROI of Social Media


Social media marketing is a hot topic, with 75% of marketers planning to initiate or increase social media use next year. With larger budgets and more time devoted to social media will come increased pressure to demonstrate ROI.While it's not necessarily difficult to show an ROI from social media, accurately measuring the return on investment is challenging for at least three reasons. First is the problem of "last click attribution." A recent study found a 50% CTR increase in paid search when consumers were exposed to both social media and paid search for a brand, but if the actual click comes from AdWords, good luck convincing your executives that social media efforts led to that click. Similarly, a click-through from Twitter or Facebook may have been influenced by any variety of other online and offline marketing efforts, so giving 100% credit to social media for lead may be overstating the case.For the complete story, read Three Challenges in Measuring B2B Social Media ROI on the B2B Online Marketing blog.*****technorati tags: b2b lead generation, social media marketing ROI, social media marketing research tags: b2b lead generation, social media marketing ROI, social media marketing research icerocket tags: b2b lead generation, social media marketing ROI, social media marketing research Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom[...]

A Unique Approach to Integrated Advertising Campaigns: Nabbit


In March of last year, I highlighted Nabbit as a cool online tool for tagging songs on the radio using your cell phone. It still is, though there are now competing technologies available.But what sets Nabbit apart, and makes it interesting to both b2b and b2c marketing professionals, is the tool's ability to serve as a platform for integrated advertising campaigns.To learn more, I spoke with John Freund, CEO of Jump Technologies, Inc. (JumpTech), the creator of Nabbit and Nabbit Ads. Here's our discussion.WebMarketCentral (WMC): What exactly is Nabbit Ads, and how does it work?John Freund (JF): Nabbit Ads® allows advertisers to create integrated radio, tv, outdoor, print, mobile, digital and social network advertising campaigns. For example, a listener on the radio hears an ad from a coffee vendor (lets call it “Joe’s Java”) that says to text in the word “coffee” and receive a coupon on your phone good for a free cup of coffee today. When the listener sends in the text, an ad for Joe’s Java is automatically saved for them in their Nabbit account. If the listener didn’t have a Nabbit account, one would automatically be created for them and a follow on text message would be sent telling them about the account.If the listener has opted to share their Nabbs with their friends on Twitter or Facebook, a message would also appear there. For example, the message would say “Tom Pick just nabbed a free cup of coffee from Joe’s Java. Text Coffee to 545454 to get yours”. This is an example of a radio ad that drives a mobile coupon that launches a digital ad on as well as a social message on Facebook.WMC: What kinds of companies can benefit most from using this technology?JF: Any business can benefit from Nabbit Ads. At its core, Nabbit helps people remember what they heard on radio, saw on TV or read in print. I am sure you can remember a time when you heard an ad for a product or a service that you wanted to act on but couldn’t because it wasn’t convenient. Nabbit allows the consumer to Nabb the ad and act on it later.So, if you are a retailer and want to launch a coupon promotion, Nabbit Ads is a great tool. If you run a service group and want people to remember to go to your website, Nabbit Ads can help with that. If you own a restaurant and are looking to drive people into your store, Nabbit helps that tremendously. Again, Nabbit allows the consumer to Nabb the opportunity at the time they hear it, and act on it when it is convenient for them. Nabbing the ad sets in motion a sequence of events that spreads it in a very viral way through mobile, the internet and social networks.WMC: Can you provide some real-world examples of companies using Nabbit Ads and what results they’ve seen?JF: We helped Fox Television launch the Dollhouse series by adding tags to the end of their existing radio spots that said “To be reminded to tune into to the premier of Dollhouse, text the word 'Dollhouse' to 545454." Listeners who sent the text received a message one hour before the show started, reminding them to tune in. Listeners who requested the reminder also received an ad in their Nabbit account for a Dollhouse contest where they could win wardrobe from the show by answering a question during the show.We also either Tweeted or posted a Facebook news feed that alerted the listener’s friends and followers that they had just set a reminder to watch Dollhouse. The message also instructed the friends and followers to text Dollhouse to 545454 to receive their own reminder. Any person who responded to the Tweet or Facebook item also received the contest ad in their Nabbit Account.The contest was designed to cause the viewer to tune in live during the show. A question about the show was posted at The user saw the question by clicking on [...]

Best of 2009 (So Far): SEO Guidance, Part 1


This content has been moved to Best of 2009: SEO Tips, Part 1 on the Webbiquity blog.*****technorati tags: top search engine position SEO tactics search engine optimization SEOmoz Danny Dover updates robots.txt search engine tools Internet Marketing Driver Glenn Gabe Jon Rognerud eVision Online Marketing Blog George Aspland keyword research dirty SEO tricks Rich Cherecwich gray hat SEO practices HuoMah SEO Blog Ben McKay dofollow links nofollow links The Minority Report The Pasty Muncher SEO by the Sea Bill Slawski tags: top search engine position SEO tactics search engine optimization SEOmoz Danny Dover updates robots.txt search engine tools Internet Marketing Driver Glenn Gabe Jon Rognerud eVision Online Marketing Blog George Aspland keyword research dirty SEO tricks Rich Cherecwich gray hat SEO practices HuoMah SEO Blog Ben McKay dofollow links nofollow links The Minority Report The Pasty Muncher SEO by the Sea Bill Slawski icerocket tags: top search engine position SEO tactics search engine optimization SEOmoz Danny Dover updates robots.txt search engine tools Internet Marketing Driver Glenn Gabe Jon Rognerud eVision Online Marketing Blog George Aspland keyword research dirty SEO tricks Rich Cherecwich gray hat SEO practices HuoMah SEO Blog Ben McKay dofollow links nofollow links The Minority Report The Pasty Muncher SEO by the Sea Bill Slawski Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom[...]

How to Use Social Media to Leverage the Power of Google


Note: This is a guest post written by Christopher Angus, an award winning Internet Marketer.While Google and social media are two separate entities, they are closely intertwined. Google ranks its results based on several hundred quality signals. These range from website backlinks to the actual words on a particular page and whether a website has trust and / or authority. Many a SEO Company has tried to manipulate the results to their benefit. This is largely based on the fact that Google is a “backlink-based algorithm” and people would simply buy or find other means of artificially inflating their number of links. Of course, Google combats paid links or other “unnatural” links with its algorithm or in extreme cases penalising a website.As Google’s algorithm advances it has become far more difficult for business owners or SEO professionals to “game” the system and Google will continue to use other signals outside the normal margins to determine the quality and where a website should rank—these are starting to include the inflow of traffic to a website and possibly citations on other websites too. However, the most advantageous aspect to performing well in social media is that many people who frequent the sites are webmasters and blog owners. Should you have an interesting article, resource or any other item which may be of interest to them; they will link to your site from their own internet property. It’s these “natural” links which have a gargantuan impact on a website’s ranking on Google. This is particularly true when a popular website or blog picks up your story or other item and links to it, these top websites may include, BBC or generally any other high end news website.Many journalists cruise techy social media sites such as Digg and Reddit looking for interesting stories to cover and link too. Getting your story to the front page of these hugely popular sites is not hard if you have the knowledge. These top social media sites also have their own algorithms to prevent people manipulating their story to the front page. To get your story to the front page of a popular social media site you need to submit it to the site in particular and then ensure that your story gets sufficient votes to ensure it reaches the front page. To get several hundred votes you either need to have a large number of friends or get someone with an established network to submit your story for you. These Social Media Experts will usually charge a fee though for helping your story reach the front page of a particular site.Having your story visible on the front page of a social website for a short amount of time will bring several benefits. These include: Huge amounts of traffic, brand building and of course the all precious “backlinks”. We also believe that Google looks at what’s popular on social networks and gives the popular items a temporary as well as a long-term boost in its own rankings.To succeed on Google, webmasters and business owners now need to embrace social media and other internet communities or risk losing valuable rankings on Google.*****technorati tags: Google algorithm backlinks social media SEO natural links articles brand-building internet communities tags: Google algorithm backlinks social media SEO natural links articles brand-building internet communities icerocket tags: Google algorithm backlinks social media SEO natural links articles brand-building internet communities Contact Mike Bannan:[...]

7 Essential Techniques for Advanced SEO Link Building


Basic link building involves getting your website listed on partner sites, quality online directories and do-follow social bookmarking / social networking sites. Depending upon your industry and the keywords you are trying to rank for, those efforts may be enough to get you a top spot on Google and the other major search engines.But if you've taken care of the "low hanging fruit" with regard to links and your site still isn't ranking well, you may need to try some more advanced link building techniques. Here are a half-dozen+1 more tactics to generate high-quality external links to your site.1. Link bait. Produce "linkable" content that others will be happy to link to. A page that's little more than an online marketing brochure is unlikely to attract many links independently. However, bloggers and other site owners will happily link to quality content such as helpful how-to articles, original research, resources such as useful lists, and cool online tools.2. Interactive PR. Write compelling news releases with key terms linked back to corresponding pages on your site. Create a social media release through PitchEngine. Distribute your releases through online press release services to increase your exposure. Consider both free press release services and fee-based PR distribution sites.3. Articles. Create your own external links to your site by writing helpful industry-related articles and linking these back to your site. Submit your articles to high-quality article directories.The next four tactics involve generating links through blogs, in order from the easiest but lowest value to the most challenging but rewarding techniques.4. Blog comments. Post comments on industry-related blogs. Make sure you comments are relevant to the post, add value (i.e. they aren't just about your company), and include no more than two links back to your site. One is better.5. Blogger outreach. Take the direct route—send notes to carefully selected bloggers pointing them to original research, compelling content, a useful tool or (truly) interesting news. Use proper blogger relations techniques, and avoid these worst practices in blogger outreach.6. Blogger relationships. Since bloggers who know you are more likely to link to you, try to establish relationships with some key bloggers in your industry space. Subscribe to their RSS feeds, follow them on Twitter, tweet their posts on occasion, write comments (see above), ask for advice, and, if possible, try to connect live at conferences where they are presenting or attending.7. Guest posts. Most powerful of all, once you've established a relationship with an influential blogger, offer to write a guest post. Make sure it offers valuable information; is not self-promotional; and appeals to the blog's readers. It's generally acceptable to include 2-3 links back to your own site between the post and the "about the author," but don't overdo it, and ideally the post should link to other information sources as well.They aren't quick or easy, but with patience and persistence, these techniques can create not only high-quality links for SEO purposes, but also new professional connections and even long-term friendships. Those personal connections are the most rewarding links of all.*****technorati tags: SEO link building top spot on Google advanced link building techniques link bait social media release PitchEngine blog comments blogger outreach blogger relations techniques guest posting tags: SEO link building top spot on Google advanced link building techniques link bait social media release PitchEngine blog comments blogger outreach blogger relations techniques guest posting icerocket tags: SEO link building top spot on Google advanced li[...]

5 Painfully Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid For Better Results


Every company wants their website to show up well in search engines, and their marketing teams understand the importance of search engine optimization. And after the thousands of articles and blog posts written about search engine optimization, SEO is no longer the black art it once was. It's still a blend of art and science, but the basics should be well understood at this point by web marketers and designers. To their credit, many have integrated this basic knowledge.Yet there are still a surprising number of sites that violate some of the most basic principles of SEO, and pay a penalty in poor search position. Here are a few still-common mistakes that are easy to avoid.Header Tag Abuse: Although header tags have declined somewhat in SEO importance, they still have somewhat of an impact on rankings—and they are an easy thing to get right. Sites that use words and phrases like "Overview," "About Us" and "Our Services" in their h1, h2 and h3 headers are wasting an opportunity. If you have a page describing your screaming blue thingamabobs, then "About Our Screaming Blue Thingamabobs" is a better header tag for SEO purposes.Graphic Design > SEO: For the sake of design, many sites still use bland, generic labels for site navigation buttons (e.g., "Products," "Services," "Technology" etc.). One-word terms may let your designer create cute little buttons, but they don't tell you site visitors much and don't tell search engine bots anything. If your product is precision machining doohickies, then that's what your "Products" button should say. After all, your navigation buttons are internal links, and descriptive text labels for internal links are still important for SEO."Company" Words vs. "Customer" Words: This is particularly an issue in technology companies, but can happen in any situation where proper keyword research is skipped. Someone will say, "Our product isn't technically a thingamajib, it's actually a whatchamacall it." That may be true, but if the product competes in the thingamajib category, performs the same functions as a thingamajib, and most importantly, if prospective customers will search for it using thingamajib, then that's the term that had better be used on the website.Sloppy Code: Search engine bots are lazy, so the best practice is to produce clean, minimalist code, for example by relying more on CSS and less on HTML tables. Another common error is to load pages up with lots of Javascript. Ugh! Javascript certainly has it's place, such as in creating drop-down menus, but the code should be stored in separate files and called as needed, minimizing the code on searchable pages.Ugly URLs: A URL like is much more meaningful to both search engines and humans than, or even worse, something like sixth mistake to avoid: build links to your site carefully, using a mix of directory submission, social media, direct outreach, PR and link bait. Avoid link spamming (or hiring a "bargain" SEO firm that engages in this practice); having a bunch of irrelevant, spammy links somewhere on your site is great way to get ignored by the search engines.*****technorati tags: search engine optimization SEO mistakes header-tag-abuse search engine bots SEO keyword research meaninful URLs link bait link spamming tags: search engine optimization SEO mistakes header-tag-abuse search engine bots SEO keyword research meaninful URLs link bait link spamming icerocket tags: search engine optimization SEO mistakes header-tag-abuse search engine bots SEO keyword research meaninful URLs link bait link spamming Contact Mike Bannan: mike@digit[...]

Looking Back at 400: Top 10 Posts


As I recently passed 400 posts on this blog, here is a look back at the 10 most popular items here of all time. The list has changed considerably since the last look back after 300 posts.#10: Best of 2007: Website Design, February 4, 2008Reviews of articles and tools on website design, including a couple of pieces from the brilliant and frequently cited Stoney deGeyter. Not sure exactly why this one remain so popular, but here it is at #10.#9: How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy, March 4, 2009A summary of research from MarketingSherpa, Eloqua's Steve Woods, and green marketer Lorna Li on how marketers should approach social media strategically. As the old saying from the financial world goes, no one plans to fail—but many people fail to plan.#8: Web 2.0 Social Tagging Sites, Part 4: B2B Traffic Building, May 15, 2007Original research on the quantitative impact of social bookmarking on b2b site traffic. Much has changed since then, and social media is now an integral part of SEO efforts. But this post was one of the first to provide hard data on the benefits.#7: How to Write a Strategic Marketing Plan, December 6, 2007A guide to crafting a strategic marketing plan, starting with target markets and working through high-level strategies, specific tactics, and the tools needed to implement planned actions.#6: How to Use Twitter for Business, May 6, 2009Detailed summary of an outstanding presentation (includes video) delivered by Chris Abraham of social PR firm Abraham Harrison and Anamitra Banerji, product manager at Twitter, on how to develop a targeted Twitter following, develop a strategy, improve productivity with Twitter tools, and other Twitter best practices for business.#5: The 8 Layers of a B2B Web Marketing Plan, October 8, 2008Another strategy piece, this one on working outward from a solid website design, SEO and SEM through broader marketing tactics and media.#4: The Social Media Email Signature, Septenber 18, 2008Thanks to some Twitter luv from Guy Kawasaki, this post produced the largest single-day traffic spike ever on the WebMarketCentral blog. It shows creative examples of Web 2.0 / social media email signatures from early adopters of the now increasingly common practice. A more recent post here explained how to create a cool graphic social media email signature.#3: Google AdWords Average CTR and Best Practices, September 20, 2007Hard numbers to help benchmark the performance of Google AdWords campaigns is hard to come by, which explains the popularity of this post. Based on recent data, the average CTR for b2b AdWords programs remains in the 1.1%-1.3% range, with a typical conversion rate of around 2.8%.#2: Average CTR for Banner Ads - New Data, September 16, 2008As with AdWords, benchmarking data for banner ad performance is also difficult to find. This review of MarketingSherpa data holds up well against more recent figures. Typical CTRs for banner ads remain in the 0.15% to 0.3% range, with any performance above 0.5% qualifying as outstanding. The conclusion presented here holds true: banner ads are primarily valuable for branding, not direct response.#1: Email Campaign, Newsletter and Banner Ad Click-Through Rates (CTR), August 14, 2007The all-time most popular post thus far on the WebMarketCentral blog remains this piece providing industry data to help set goals and benchmark the performance of email marketing, newsletter sponsorship and banner advertising programs. Clearly, marketers love benchmark data.*****technorati tags: website design Stoney deGeyter social media marketing strategy MarketingSherpa Steve Woods Eloqua Lorna Lu b2b SEO strategic marketing plan Twitter Chris Abraham [...]

Get Higher Ratings: SEO Best Practices To Follow


In SEO `Best Practices' Are Bunk, Adam Audette rants about the supposed uselessness of these tactics, and by extension the concept of best practices in any realm. Audette writes that "`Best practice' is a stale buzzphrase that offers zero competitive practice in the enterprise? To me, that is nothing but useless marketing-speak. It doesn’t say anything about creating a competitive advantage."The larger point of this article is spot on, namely that adherence to any set of static practices will, over time, erode the competitiveness of any enterprise. But, with no disrespect to Mr. Audette, who is a very smart guy, he sets up somewhat of a strawman definition of best practices when he writes:By definition, a best practice:is a static rulesetis a standard to be followedhas worked in the past (read: is old)has been popularized (read: is average)limits judgement, evaluation, and strategy (cornerstones of quality search marketing)That is, at best, a partial definition. First, once any practice is adopted by most of the firms in an industry, it is no longer a "best practice." Someone has already moved the needle. Second, mindful of this, great companies (and consultants) make constant tweaking and rethinking of current processes a part of their best practices.In SEO, best practices would include but not be limited to:Conducting keyword research to identify high-volume, low-competition search terms.Producing clean code (e.g. CSS and HTML, minimal Flash, Javascript in separate files, descriptive navigation, minimal use of tables).Optimizing title tags.Crafting URLs with keywords included.Including (but not over-doing) keywords in content and heading tags.Incorporating keyword links in page text.Basic link-building—social media sites, directories, business partners etc.Advanced link-building—blogging, commenting, content marketing, guest posting, blogger outreach, interactive PR, etc.Using all of those practices won't guarantee you a #1 rank for any term, but ignoring any of them will make achieving high rankings unnecessarily difficult. That's why virtually all successful SEO professionals use those practices, but don't constrain their activities to a static process. Search is constantly changing, and so are the techniques used to gain high ranking and organic search traffic.In short, best practices are dynamic rather than static. In 1908, Henry Ford's assembly line (an idea inspired by the meat packing industry) established a new best practice in automotive manufacturing, but from work cells to TQM to lean manufacturing, production processes have continually evolved since then.For the best companies, and SEO consultants, continuous innovation is the best best practice of all.*****technorati tags: SEO best practices Adam Audette competitive advantage keyword research link building content marketing interactive PR blogger outreach organic search traffic tags: SEO best practices Adam Audette competitive advantage keyword research link building content marketing interactive PR blogger outreach organic search traffic icerocket tags: SEO best practices Adam Audette competitive advantage keyword research link building content marketing interactive PR blogger outreach organic search traffic Contact Mike Bannan:[...]

Best of 2008: Cool Web Tools, Part 3


This content has been moved to Best of 2008: Cool Web Tools on the Webbiquity blog.*****technorati tags: cool web tools online project collaboration create animated GIFs DeskAway Basecamp Projjex Gickr Lexical Freenet OnlyWire Problogger Darren Rowse Digsby Camtasia SnagIt PeaZip Modern B2B Marketing Jon Miller Marketo Search Engine Journal Ann Smarty tags: cool web tools online project collaboration create animated GIFs DeskAway Basecamp Projjex Gickr Lexical Freenet OnlyWire Problogger Darren Rowse Digsby Camtasia SnagIt PeaZip Modern B2B Marketing Jon Miller Marketo Search Engine Journal Ann Smarty icerocket tags: cool web tools online project collaboration create animated GIFs DeskAway Basecamp Projjex Gickr Lexical Freenet OnlyWire Problogger Darren Rowse Digsby Camtasia SnagIt PeaZip Modern B2B Marketing Jon Miller Marketo Search Engine Journal Ann Smarty Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom[...]

3 Reasons to Love PitchEngine for Social Media Releases


(image) For anyone doing interactive PR, PitchEngine has become a vital tool for creating, distributing and promoting social media releases. It's simple, fast, powerful and gets results. Here are three more specific reasons to love it:

Features—it's all there, the ability to easily add social networking links; links to other resources such as white papers, product sheets and webinars; branding elements; keywords; images; and online video.

Exposure—even for clients in very niche b2b markets (e.g. high-volume automated web publishing), these social media releases often get 100+ views in just the first few hours.

Search—based on experience, it can take weeks for Google to pick up a press release posted on a client website. PitchEngine releases are typically picked up with half an hour of posting.

PitchEngine is the most no-brainer, must-have PR investment my clients make. (And no, Jason Kintzler didn't pay me to write that! But I will let him quote me.)


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

Top 40 B2B Marketing Blogs - B2B Marketing Zone


Tony Karrer and I launched the B2B Marketing Zone (aka, The BMZ) on July 1 (see New Hub Site Focuses on B2B Marketing Intelligence). Since that time, it's been steadily growing in traffic and subscribers. The site has also been gradually adding the very best sources of content on B2B Marketing. Here's the list of the sources that represent the Top 40+ B2B Marketing blogs: B2B Sales and Marketing Wondering Out Loud Junta 42 FYIndOut Anything Goes Marketing Beyond B2B Web Strategy Content Marketing Today B2B Marketing Zone Posts Marketing-Gimbal B2B Marketing Savvy B2B Conversations Now WebMarketCentral B2B Lead Generation Blog Modern B2B Marketing Smart Marketing B2B Lead Blog B2B Marketing Blog Smashmouth Marketing grow - Practical Marketing Solutions Buzz Marketing for Technology Measurable Marketing B2B Content Marketing Market2Lead Reputation to Revenue PR Meets Marketing Fearless Competitor Marketing Interactions Marketing Edge Acquiring Minds My Travels on the Net Confluent Forms Sales Lead Insights Savvy B2B Marketing Marketing Genius Blog LeadSloth Direct Connections bizsolutionsplus Phoenix Rising Customer Experience Matrix Chris Koch Please let me know if I'm missing any blogs that produce great content around B2B Marketing. Beyond having the best blogs as sources of content, much of the growth has to do with the site's ability to generate "Best Of" lists such as: Twitter - Content - Lead Nurturing - Best of B2B Marketing Social Media - Twitter - Measurement - Sales - Best of B2B Marketing Zone Twitter - Content - Social Media - B2B Marketing Best Of June Subscribing to the Best Of B2B Marketing Zone is a great way to get the best from these sources. Tony tells me that he uses these Best Of posts as a way to see the very best from these 40+ blogs each month. "B2B Marketing is important to many of my clients, but I just don't have time to read all the posts from all these sources. The Best Of list is a great for someone like me."*****technorati tags: Tony Karrer B2B marketing Top 40 B2B Marketing Bloggers Twitter social media Junta 42 Gimbal tags: Tony Karrer B2B marketing Top 40 B2B Marketing Bloggers Twitter social media Junta 42 Gimbal icerocket tags: Tony Karrer B2B marketing Top 40 B2B Marketing Bloggers Twitter social media Junta 42 Gimbal Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom[...]

7 Ways NOT to Select an SEO Consultant


The importance of search engine optimization—helping websites stand out in an increasingly cluttered online world amid rapid growth in global search volume—combined with the fact that search is one of the few growing areas in an otherwise brutal economy has led to an influx of new providers in the space. Nothing wrong with that, competition is good! (Particularly for buyers.)The problem is that any business area or profession that experiences unusual growth (think ad-supported "free" online services in 1999, or real estate from 2002-2008) inevitably attracts, along with some very bright people committed to their new craft, a less savory crowd of opportunistic, incompetent or even unscrupulous entrants as well.Here are seven characteristics to help avoid hiring one of those types for your next SEO project.Irrelevant experience. Given the still relative newness of SEO as a profession, any SEO practitioner over the age of 30 probably did something else before SEO. Most of the good ones came out of either marketing or IT. Beware of those who tout their success in some completely unrelated field (e.g., real estate, automotive, wedding photography, sports writing, air travel, nutritional supplements) as evidence of their SEO prowess.Number of Twitter followers. I randomly checked the Twitter followers for 10 prominent SEO experts (the kind who present at the big conferences and whose writing is frequently noted in the best of SEO posts here). Of the 10, none have more than 14,000 followers; four have 3,000 followers or more; two have between 1,000 and 1,500; two have less than 600; and two aren't on Twitter at all! Bottom line? There's simply no relationship between Twitter following and SEO prowess. Someone who tries to impress you with their 20,000 or 30,000 Twitter followers is good at attracting lots of Twitter followers (likely of varying quality), but isn't necessarily any good at SEO.Guarantees. Other than Matt Cutts (who isn't for sale)—or perhaps someone with compromising photos of Google's search engineer—no one can guarantee any specific rank for a website on any given keyword. No reputable SEO consultant or firm will even offer such guarantees.Price. Yes, of course it's important, but as in most other areas of life—you (generally at least) get what you pay for.Instant results. If you positively must rank highly for a specific search phrase TODAY, buy it on AdWords. SEO is a longer-term investment. The search engines simply take time to reindex your website and all of your links. Granted, a news site may get ranked very quickly for a breaking story, but for a competitive term on a commercial website, it can take weeks to move search position appreciably, and months to get it into the top five. As with guarantees, cast a wary glance at anyone who promises instant gratification from SEO.Excessive ego. Not to suggest that self-confidence isn't a positive attractive attribute in an SEO consultant, or even that there aren't perhaps a few talented SEO practitioners with slightly overinflated egos, but if a consultant's web page or Twitter bio reads like a second-rate late night infomercial, approach with caution. Better to have someone versed in content development and link building than someone who's spent too much time at self esteem-building seminars. SEO is a complex and constantly changing field, so a certain degree of humility is in order.Excessive automation / "turnkey" package. Of course, good SEOs use a variety of tools to automate routine,[...]

Social Media, Email and Search: The "Elite Trio" of Online Marketing?


MarketingSherpa recently published this chart revealing marketers' opinions of where social media fits among what the publication calls the "elite trio" of Internet marketing: social media, search and email. While it's hard to disagree with the 97% of marketers who believe that social media will complement (not "compliment" — a rare MarketingSherpa word usage error!) email and search marketing, the position of the 49% who state that social media will never become as important as the other tactics is more questionable.The confusion stems from where social media fits in the marketing mix. Except in rare cases like Dell, which uses tools like Twitter for revenue generation, social media is primarily a PR-type activity rather than direct marketing.The three tools have much different purposes. Specifically:Social media is primarily a tool for exposure and credibility-building. Like traditional PR, it is a "top of funnel" tool. It's as much about reaching influencers as prospects.Search is for lead generation, or more accurately, name generation. It brings "suspects" into your funnel, contact information for people who may or may not eventually become leads and then customers.Email is most effective as a direct response medium for the prospects who have already "raised their hands." They've given you permission to communicate directly with them. Generally, 20% or more of the people on your house list will open your emails, while perhaps 1% of your Twitter following will see any given tweet. This makes email a far less hit-or-miss medium.The three tools need to be used in tandem in order to make them the "elite trio", each for its own unique strengths. Neglecting any one will reduce the effectiveness of the others. At least that's my take; what do you think?*****technorati tags: MarketingSherpa email marketing social media search marketing b2b Dell Twitter direct response tags: MarketingSherpa email marketing social media search marketing b2b Dell Twitter direct response icerocket tags: MarketingSherpa email marketing social media search marketing b2b Dell Twitter direct response Contact Mike Bannan:[...]

SEM: How To Keep Your Google Content Network Campaigns Clean


Google's content network can be a valuable addition to any AdWords search marketing program. It gives you the opportunity to very cost-effectively display text or graphical ads across Google's network of AdSense partner sites, many of them industry-specific online publications and blogs. These ads have both branding and direct response value. The click-through rate is typically lower (as it is for display ads in general, as prospects see your ads while reading content rather than specifically searching for your product or service), but conversion rates are generally similar.However, to avoid meaningless impressions, unproductive clicks and bogus conversions, it's critical to monitor which sites your ads are appearing on and keep the list clean. For whatever reason, Google doesn't seem to apply the same rigor to AdSense ad placements as it does to it's primary search algorithm.Case in point: among my SEM clients are two B2B software companies. Without revealing any confidential information, both companies develop business software, target department heads and directors in midsize to large organizations with their messages, and run their AdWords search ads only in North America. In both instances, their content network ads appear on a variety of relevant blogs and smaller industry publication sites, which is appropriate and productive. However, I check and clean both programs frequently, as their ads have also appeared on:Gaming sites—okay, granted, lots of IT folks are also gamers, but really, how likely are they to click on ad for business software while reading up on tips for World of Warcraft? Even worse, the ads sometimes show up children's gaming sites. Is little Johnny really going to suddenly develop an interest in document management while picking up cheats for Club Penguin?Celebrity gossip sites—the contextual relationship here escapes me. Britney Spears and office applications, Rihanna and IT management...hmm, just not seeing those connections.Country music radio station sites—apparently, Google believes that country music fans are great prospects for B2B software. Not hip hop, rock or talk radio listeners for some reason, though.Foreign news sites—again, both of these companies run their search ads only in North America, so it seems a bit bewildering why their content network ads appear on news sites in places like Ghana, Ethiopia and Nepal.Such ads can generate thousands of impressions in a short period of time, but rarely a click and never a conversion worth squat. Not a good deal for either for the advertiser or publisher.Here's how to check your content network and keep it free of nonsensical sites: 1. Login to your AdWords account, then click Reports under the Reporting tab.2. In the Report Center, click "Create a New Report."3. Click the radio button to select "Placement Performance" (View performance data for content network sites where your ad has been shown).4. Specify a date range for the report (use "Al Time" if you've never done this before).5. Name your report, then click the "Create Report" button.6. Once the report is completed, click on the report name in your "Report Center" list.7. Click "Export Report"...csv for Excel. This will open your report in Excel where it's easier to work with.8. In Excel, select the list and sort it by "Cost...Descending". This will show you which sites are costing you the most money in descending order. Check the URLs for your highest-cost s[...]

Best of 2008: Random but Interesting, Part 2


Looking for some off-the-beaten-trail ideas for driving more site traffic? Getting more out of those expensive marketing conferences? Doing a better job of training employees and qualifying leads? Meeting the biggest challenges in b2b marketing head-on?Then you're in the right place! You'll find all of that and then some here in my final list of brilliant but uncategorized posts from the past year.39 Actionable Ideas For Driving Traffic To Your Website by ForbesJason DeMers offers 39 ideas for increasing traffic to your business website, from focusing on long-tail keywords to creating a top 10 website post.Increase ROI From Marketing Conferences by TopRank Online Marketing BlogLee Odden provides an outstanding guide to making the most of marketing conferences. Networking, gaining knowledge and gathering material for blog content are just a few of his recommendations.How to avoid contextual tragedies by iMedia ConnectionJ. Brooke Aker writes that "Like semantic search, semantic advertising holds promise to improve the overall relevance of marketing." He then details several disturbing examples of semantic advertising gone awry (such as ad for Olive Garden showing up "next to an article about 250 people getting sick after eating at an Olive Garden restaurant in Indiana), along with recommendations on how to use this strategy to create more effective ads and placements.How to write the “classic direct mail package” by Direct Creative BlogDirect mail has taken a severe beating from email marketing over the past several years, and why not? Email is far less costly, better for the environment, and enables the recipient to respond with the click of a mouse. Ironically, however, it is the rapid proliferation of email marketing that makes direct postal mail more appealing than ever. Response rates for email are down as inboxes fill up and your message has a harder and harder time standing out; meanwhile, the volume of physical mail has declined to the point where a well-crafted direct mail piece has a better chance of being noticed now than it has in 20 years. This post details the almost-lost art of creating an effective direct mail package.Via Enquisite: PPC Agencies Make 45X What SEOs Do for the Same Value by SEOmozRand Fishkin has fun with statistics provided by search agency Enquisite to show that because organic results are more likely to be clicked on than ads for the same search terms, and organic visitors tend to convert at a (slightly) higher rate, SEO consultants are justified in feeling "undervalued and underpaid compared to (their) paid search compatriots." It's a provocative piece to be sure, but while I hesitate to attack statistical evidence with the anecdotal, my experience has been that when one accounts for the reasons PPC will always cost more than SEO, the actual labor costs of the two activities (when done right) are pretty darn close.Previous posts in this series:Best of 2008: SEO Guidance, Part 1Best of 2008: Interactive PR, Part 1Best of 2008: SEO Tools, Part 1Best of 2008: Search Engine MarketingBest of 2008: Web AnalyticsBest of 2008: Email Marketing TipsBest of 2008: SEO Keyword Tips & ToolsBest of 2008: Sales & Marketing CopywritingBest of 2008: SEO Link BuildingBest of 2008: Website DesignBest of 2008: WordPress Tools and TipsBest of 2008: Web & SEO CopywritingBest of 2008: SEO Guidance, Part 2Best of 2008: Social Media Optimization, Part 1B[...]