Slinky Search | Internet Marketing

Online Marketing Advice, Tips & Strategies

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Internet Marketing – Microsoft Can Now Sic The Law On Its Competitors

We’re really trying not to sound like an end-of-the-world conspiracy blog this week, but there’s just been so many stories of dirty dealings by giant web companies that its difficult to avoid. Now there’s new complaints against Google in Europe, by three companies, two of which have ties to Microsoft.

The Google spokes-lawyer responds: “They were a long-time AdSense partner of Google’s, with whom we always had a good relationship. However, after Microsoft acquired Ciao! … we started receiving complaints about our standard terms and conditions.” Well, yeah, Microsoft does like its puppetry. Continue reading

Internet Marketing – A Blog Marketer’s Checklist

Setting up a blog to promote your marketing presence on the web is just half the battle. Once you get going, you have to keep going. But while you’re at it, be sure you aren’t just filling up space without attracting visitors. A few tips:

Fulfill the visitor’s expectations. – Posting regularly is important, as is keeping the content consistent. You want to draw the kind of audience who make best customers, and tailor your content that way.

Make the most of your traffic. – Social bookmarking icons, RSS feed icons within easy reach, and links to the rest of your site will help turn those one-time visitors into regulars.

Archive. – The worst thing you can do to a blog is make the past content difficult to access. Live Journal, we’re looking at YOU! Ditch the clumsy calendar and –, you too – maybe even the year-month-day tree structure too. Lists are your friend.

Watch the analytics. – Learn and adapt new strategies from watching the way visitors access your site. For instance, you might have a very popular image that appears in image search results. How about adding your website name to that image? Continue reading

Five Recipes For Linkbait

Linkbait is the social web term for the kind of content that regularly gets linked from social bookmarking and news-sharing sites. Think Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Metafilter, Yahoo Buzz, and even just plain blogs. The best link-bait is something that appeals to the lazy nature in all of us. After watching the social web for a few years now, here are the kinds of things you might post to your blog to more frequently get visitors from social sites:

Video – Number one with a bullet. Video content is extremely popular, especially if it’s under five minutes. Consider it for your next tutorial of handy tips.

Images – Especially a funny one. Even a vaguely amusing one. Heck, any picture at all. I’ve followed links to a picture of somebody’s shoes – regular ordinary shoes. But I had to click, because I just couldn’t believe that somebody would just post a picture of their shoes! Continue reading

Hits and Misses on Predictions for the Social Web in 2009

Over at Search Engine Watch, I just saw the 7 Social Media Predictions for 2009.

Now, you know we’re all just bloggers here, and my swami turban is just as pretty as SEW’s, so I figured I’d see if I can refine the list by picking which predictions will hit and which will miss.

1. Social Media Continues its Rapid Growth – Hit! Hey, like this is hard to predict?

2. Business Networks Surge as Economic Crisis Continues – Miss. I’ve been on the web since it started, and I haven’t seen walled gardens disappear yet. Companies like Yahoo and Apple tighten their grip, if anything. And do you think MSN Spaces will just help you pack when you move to Google’s Blogger?

3. Many Free Services Will Become Defunct – Miss! The thing is, web server space and tools are so cheap, you basically can run them out of your closet. And Open Source software has been with us since the 1970s. People can afford to keep doing it for a hobby. I can see more aggressive marketing, though.

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Could September Finally Be Over Soon?

Once upon a time, the web was a frontier of exciting possibilities and intelligent conversation. Then America Online (AOL!) started up.

The influx of American kids logging in from Windows 3.1 machines completely swamped online culture, and it hasn’t recovered since. And long past the time when you thought AOL should have died, it keeps going, like a possessed Energizer Bunny.

Those of you who count on American customers for your web business, you know you have to allow for AOL users in your digital strategy. They still make up a tiny percentage of the web traffic!

Now Time-Warner is going to spin off AOL after having absorbed it 8 years ago. Amongst other ballast they’re dumping, they’re selling off… wait for it!… ICQ.

It takes a special kind of chutzpah to put a $300 million price tag on ICQ, in these days of Twitter hype. Yeah, sure, ICQ will come back any day now! But for a company that got its start as a game subscription service running on the Atari 2600, and has since survived not only the video game crash but the dot-com crash too, chutzpah is its middle name.

Blogging: Seven Dead Blog Tropes

Of course, every website owner with even a passing interest in search engine optimization has had the word “blog” pounded into them until they can’t take it anymore and started a blog. Now, when blogs were first starting up yonder ’bout a decade ago, these tropes were excusable. but now, many of the things that people were doing with them are now tired cliches. Check your blog to see if it’s suffering from any of those symptoms – if so, it might be time for a scraping!

1. Replying to every comment.
You are right that sometimes you want to engage your public. Appending more of your bright, witty banter to the tail of a good, solid gem of linkbait is the sensible thing, especially while you’re soaking up all this adoration. But when you’re responding to every single comment, even if it’s only as brief as “hey thanks!”, you’re saying two things: (1) You have nothing to do. You’re not that busy. Your whole life is this blog. (2) Your ego is so starved that you’re gobbling up every crumb of attention as if it were the last human interaction you’d ever get.

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An SEO Expert’s Garden Of Lost Search Engines

Who cares about any other search engine but Google? Oh, OK, maybe Yahoo or Bing. But seriously, every single time you read a website marketing blog, it’s Google, Google, Google. It’s as if it were the only search engine in the world, as far as search engine optimization is concerned.

But what could we learn from optimizing for other search engines? And furthermore, what would the SEO world look like right now if we had one of these companies as the king of search instead of Big-Daddy-G?

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Getting to Know a Niche Market

One of the prime goals for an Internet marketer who wants to market within a specific niche is to get to know that niche. A specific market demographic is likely to have a whole culture around it, and you run into trouble if you get the culture wrong when composing your marketing materials. Leather, metal, motorcycles, and lager will go over big with marketing to bikers, but will flop with selling needlepoint kits to grannies.

One of the most important demographics is the youth market. Billion-dollar advertising companies exhaust years of research into study groups of kids and young people aged 14 to 21, to find out what they listen to, what they eat, where they go, and what their current slang is.

By all means, it’s necessary to become a part of this culture if you intend to market to it. Your best bet is to join Twitter groups, social bookmarking sites, and mailing lists devoted to your target culture and then remain very quiet about it. Spend more time listening than you do talking. Every time you see an unfamiliar term, look it up in Wikipedia or some other source to get the origin of the phrase. Continue reading

ALT Image Tags in Web Marketing

The “alt” tag as alternative text for an image placed on a web page, has a curiously evolved history.

It started out being the fix for web browsers that couldn’t display images – yes, they weren’t a given for the early web browsers. Just when we thought we could get rid of alt-text, the blind and visually-impaired community spoke up, “Whoa! We need those to read what the picture’s about!” and so now using alt-tags became a matter of accessibility.

And now search engines use them to index images. So alt-text is here to stay. To use it, you would put:

< img src=”http://mysite/image.jpg” alt=”our company logo” / >

And you can go one further and use a title tag, which makes text pop up when the user mouses over it. To see a title tag in action, visit XKCD and hover your mouse over a comic strip. Sometimes it adds to the joke, sometimes it explains it, and sometimes it’s a secret message!

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What if We Had a Global Economic Meltdown and the World Didn’t End Anyway?

Our reigning web entrepreneur guru, Paul Graham, is questioning how this recession will affect start-up markets. We’ve seen a ton of hand-wringing going on over the state of the world market lately.

Here’s the thing that I’ll say which is different from what everybody else says: We’re going to survive.

Yes, believe it or not, we’ll make it! We’ve seen this before during the Web Bubble. Lots of web companies died off in a hurry, but did you ever notice that these were companies which weren’t based on a very good idea to begin with? The hardy companies that knew how to really make money kept going; they even got richer during the worst of the Web Bubble!

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Lessons Learned From Twitter Hacking

It’s the kind of story that really gets your attention: Twitter, by any measure the most buzzed about network of 2008, got hacked by an 18-year-old!

With absolutely no skill or finesse involved, either. Anybody reading this could have done the same. You just download a free password-cracker program like Crack, John the Ripper, L0phtCrack, or Cain, point it at a log-in page, and leave it run for a couple of days. It’s that simple.

Dictionary attacks have been used since at least the 1980s, before the World Wide Web even came along. System admins have been scolding users for keeping easily guessed passwords around for almost that long. So the fact that you can be on the staff of a hip, trendy ‘Web 2.OH’ company and not know better just goes to show that this problem is never going away.

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Thinking Of Doing Black Hat SEO, Think Again!

SEO is necessary to achieve high rankings. But, there are certain ethics and guidelines that most of the webmasters must keep in mind. Though there is no specific definition for black hat SEO, yet there are some things that may be considered inappropriate for websites of different categories. Something may be allowed for a gambling site, but may not be allowed for a health care site. Black hat SEO techniques are mostly those, which may break search engine rules or are a poor user experience or may have unethical presentation of content.

Some of the things considered as Black Hat SEO may even have been considered as legitimate ones earlier, but after being taken a bit too far by some, these were blacklisted. Generally, the black hat SEO practices may offer short term gains, but they may be limited to the rankings.

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More On Black Hat SEO

Avoid SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, using invisible text etc that are considered black hat SEO.

Keyword stuffing is nothing, but packing your keywords onto the website. If you have a list of keywords to use, do not make liberal use of them in you website. Use tools, which can help you to find the keyword density. Maintain a standard of around 3% to 7% keyword density. Make use of synonyms and make yourself aware of LSI to ensure that you have a good page developed within limits of acceptable use of keywords.

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Tips To Write A Good Pay Per Click Ad

Pay per click is among the most popular and successful methods of advertising your online business. Although pay per click is known to be an effective advertising tool, it has to be used accurately, in order to get the desired results. With numerous entrepreneurs using pay per click Ad technique, you really need to think of creative and innovative ways of putting up your Ad. Your pay per click Ad has to be good, in order to turn huge traffic to your website.

Pay per click Ad is the first step of pay per click campaigns. You need to understand that a browser will choose to visit your site, purely on the basis of the text in the advertisement. At this point, they don’t really know, what your product or service is all about and how would they benefit from it. The Ad has to be eye catching, so that the browsers are tempted to click on it.

Thus making of a pay per click Ad is a crucial stage and requires uniqueness along with creativity.

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How To Make The Most Of Latent Semantic Indexing-LSI

Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI is a very significant technique used by search engines like Google to determine the topic of your website by looking at all the keywords and seeing how they relate.

LSI became popular with its use by Google, mainly for the purpose of detection of spam and for detection of excessive use of keywords to fool the search engines, to get a high listing. Earlier people have used it, to make use of rotating synonyms into which keywords could be multiple inserted. You can make good use of this technology, to get better rankings.

Web masters can make use of this technology, while developing content for their websites and ensure that they use keywords and terms, which are interpreted as expert and relevant content by search engines and the site given a high ranking. Using synonyms is preferable today, rather than using the same keyword to achieve certain keyword density.

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More On How To Make The Most Of Latent Semantic Indexing

Tools like Adwords from Google are freely available. It can be used to understand, what Google considers as synonyms. You may enter a keyword and check the “use synonyms” box and click on “Get more keywords”.

You can get a list of synonyms for the keyword. This way, you get some very relevant list of keywords. You can use these in your content without repetition of the same keywords. This can help you get good rankings.

Another use of this tool is that it determines the true meaning of words on the basis of various factors. It is used to determine heteronyms, polysemes and homonyms. Homonyms are spelt and pronounced the same way, but have different meanings. Heteronyms are spelt the same way, but pronunciations are different.

Polysemes are spelt the same way, but they come from the same root and are used in different context. When you are developing content, you have to keep this in mind, so that you are clear about what keywords you are using and what it is related to.

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Analyzing Your Competitors Website

When you develop your website to promote your products and reach out to relevant customers, you have to give due consideration to your competitors’ websites.

You should make a careful study of your competitors’ websites. It can give you an informative insight on strategies used by them to attract customers. You can form your own digital strategy based on relevant information to help you score over your competitors.

You have to know the value of competition.

Identify the leaders in your field. You can use Yahoo directory, which can provide you with a view of the major players in the field related to your own industry.

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The Importance Of Web Copy In Internet Marketing

Sales copy is part of traditional marketing and advertising activities and can be sent out to prospective buyers with the aim of informing them of a product or service.

It can inform them about how the product or service will benefit the prospective buyer and to provide relevant information in a way that may induce them to buy the product or service.

Similarly web copy is either long or short text in the form of web literature generally used for selling something over the internet.

However, despite the similarity of purpose, web copy differs a lot from a traditional sales copy sent by, say direct mail.

Though web marketing continues to apply the basic principles of traditional marketing it should use copy writing to successfully do the selling.

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More About The Importance Of Web Copy In Internet Marketing

While drafting and preparing your sales copy you need to be sensitive to the unique features of internet lingo. This will help you create effective web copy that readers will find exciting – and thus compel them to make a purchase.

Foremost among them is the style of writing. Netizens are more comfortable with information that is presented in a relaxed and informal way – unlike the type used in the usual direct mail sales material which tends to use hyperbole.

The writing style of web copy needs to be engaging and friendly with a soft-sell approach.

Web copy should describe the products with a personal touch creating a relaxed feeling in the reader. It shouldn’t sound like thrusting a product on a reader.

Internet users prefer a softer approach.

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All You Need To Know About Affiliate Internet Marketing

Affiliate marketing has gained popularity with the rising demand of online Internet marketing. It is an Internet based marketing that involves three parties:

– A merchant creator
– An affiliate of a particular merchant and
– The buyers

Affiliate marketing uses regular advertising methods, which include search engine optimization, email marketing, paid search engine marketing and display advertising. In affiliate marketing when one website is used to drive the traffic to another, it is known as online marketing. So, the key to success in Internet marketing is innovation. You have to make changes and create new ideas to earn profits and success in affiliate marketing.

How does affiliate marketing work?

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More About Affiliate Internet Marketing

It is better to promote products through affiliate marketing than selling products on your own.

– You don’t need to look after the customers’ complaints and queries.
– You can earn benefits from an established brand in the market.
– Billing and delivery of product can be taken care of by the affiliate program.
– You need not invest in stock.
– Usually refunds are absorbed by the program.

So, an affiliate marketer doesn’t have a product of his own because he starts affiliating by selling products for the merchant. Later on, he may start selling his own products. Affiliate marketing can be easily started with low investment. They don’t have to pay rent or hire utilities. Most of the affiliates start their business at their home as a one man operation. They outsource the projects, where they need help such as web design.

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Google Chrome Browser

Google’s goals for its new Chrome Web browser are simple: Make the Web experience faster and, by extension, make more money for Google.

Google’s Chrome browser is now officially available as a beta, offering the promise of increased speed, security and usability. During a conference call and Webcast with the press today from the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., Google trotted out a line-up of engineers to explain what is new for Web users and what Google hopes to gain with Chrome.

Internal Linking

Here’s a great example of how you can enhance your Web site’s usability and assist your SEO efforts.

Too often, you may have created a lot of Web pages but they don’t “speak” to each other. If a visitor is on my company’s Internet Marketing Services page, then they might also be interested in our web analytics services or our search engine marketing services.

So, we’ve added links to those pages on the Internet Marketing Services page. Simple stuff.

Linking like this creates great internal linking, which is great for the user experience. These internal links provide an opportunity to use a keyword-rich anchor text link to that page.

Internet Usage Up

Almost half of all internet users now use search engines on a typical day

The percentage of internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of just under onehalf (49%).

With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 60% of internet users who use email, arguably the internet’s all-time killer app, on a typical day.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project

Broadband use

Those who use broadband connections at home are significantly more likely than those who use dial-up to have ever tried using search engines at all, by 94% to 80%.

They are dramatically more likely to search on a typical day, and this difference persists when other factors, such as age and education, are held constant.

These are the percentages according to type of internet connections for those who search on a typical day: Broadband at home 58% | Dial-up at home 26%

Usability and SEO

The search engine’s job is to deliver the most relevant result against a given search query. In order to be seen as “relevant” to the search engines, you must first be relevant to a user of your web site.

There are no shortcuts here.

You need quality content and pages upon pages of supporting content.

Too often, people redesign their web sites to make them more “user friendly.” They believe this is accomplished by having fewer pages with less verbiage and more graphics.

If you think about it, though, people use search to read and research when they’re looking for your business.

Tracking seo results

Tracking the online traffic to your website is called – Website Analytics.

This should be given the upmost importance, after you have completed the search engine optimization process.

You have to be able to determine, which keywords and search items are helping you enhance the traffic to your website.

One tip for all you webmasters would be that search engine optimisation process does take time – so don’t be discouraged, if you don’t see any immediate results.

If done correctly, you will slowly be on your way to climbing up the search engine results page of major search engines like Google, Yahoo & Live.

Google algorithm and your SEO

Google is continually tweaking its algorithm. Often changes to the algorithm will change the position of search engine rankings.

It might be that one of the latest changes affected your website.

In 2007, Google released more than 450 changes of the ranking algorithm. That’s more than 1 per day!

Peter Brittain
Northland Digital

The secret to getting the best directory listing on the internet

By Peter Brittain – Managing Director Northland Digital & Slinky Internet Marketing

We all know that DMOZ is the famous Open Directory Project, right?

The Open Directory Project (ODP) is known as DMOZ because of its original domain name, and is a multilingual open content directory of web sites that is developed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors.

Being listed in the directory is free.
DMOZ uses a hierarchical system for organizing website listings. Listings are sorted into categories, which can then include sub-categories under them. Google uses DMOZ as a directory source so it is important to have your site listed in its index. Google’s own directory is actually the whole DMOZ directory. Robozilla which is DMOZ’s web crawler checks the status of all sites listed and periodically flags websites which appear to have moved or disappeared. This helps to reduce the link rot in its web directory.

Now, it has been said that without a DMOZ listing you will not rank well in Google. This is not true, but it is one of the best authoritative links around.

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Expanding on Mod Rewrite shopping carts for SEO

There are two types of mod rewrites. Each meet the same purpose, but the advanced URL rewrite is more search engine friendly. The following examples will give you an idea of the important factors.

Non-URL Rewrite URL

The above URL indicates to the database that the returned information should be from the category with id equal to 1 and the item id equal to 2. This works fine for the system because it understands the variables. Many search engines however do not understand this form of URL.

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