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Archive for September, 2009

Online advertising overtakes TV in UK

September 30, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Online advertising spending in the UK has overtaken television expenditure, a report has said.

Outlay grew 4.6% to £1.752bn between January and July, according to the study by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The recession saw overall advertising slide by 16% in the period, according to the study.

E-mail campaigns, classified adverts, display ads and search marketing are all classed as online advertising.

The recession had accelerated the migration of advertising spending to digital technology – from more traditional media such as print, radio and television advertising to online, according to the report.

Technology firms were the biggest spenders on online adverts, making up about 19% of the market, the report said, followed by telecoms firms, the finance sector and entertainment and media.

Online display advertising – such as banners – had “performed notably well against its peers in TV, print and radio”, said Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Dr Search at the Search Clinic said “It’s amazing the change that the credit crunch has made to UK businesses. Those businesses that didn’t have a website see their competitors moving forward online. And those that have websites wont to make money from them. Both ways increase our own business.”

If you want some help with your online marketing, please let us know now.

Google tops video charts with 10 Billion views in August

September 29, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Google dominates the online video charts in August with both Google and YouTube.

According to comScore, more than 10 billion videos were viewed across Google sites in August, with YouTube accounting for 99% of these. This is an increase of more than a billion views in just one month.

video views in August 2009

What’s even better news for Google is that there are no serious contenders threatening to take away their market share. Microsoft sites are only bringing in 546 million views per month at 2.2% of the market. While the NBC/Fox owned, Hulu only produces 488 million views and 1.9% share.

Some other interesting statistics from the report include:
    * 81.6 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
    * The average online video viewer consumed 9.7 hours of video (582 minutes) in August.
    * 44.9 million viewers watched 340 million videos on MySpace.com (7.6 videos per viewer).
    * The average Hulu viewer watched 12.7 videos, totaling 1 hour and 17 minutes of videos per viewer.
    * The duration of the average online video was 3.7 minutes.

West End online for a virtual Christmas

September 28, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

The streets and stores of the West End of London are to be placed online in the world’s first virtual shopping district, enabling consumers to browse in the comfort of their own homes.

Oxford, Regent and Bond streets, as well as Leicester Square and some of the back streets of the West End, will be simulated in 3D online. Internet shoppers will be able to wander down streets, click into stores and browse the items for sale.

The virtual world will be as realistic as possible, with even weather conditions reproduced in real time. Buses will drive through the shopping strip, while news stands will reflect breaking stories. Content from films being screened at cinemas in Leicester Square will be streamed on billboards.

However, shoppers will be spared the more unwelcome aspects of a real-life visit to the West End, such as gridlocked traffic, litter and beggars, not to mention chuggers (“charity muggers”), the street fundraisers who seek direct-debit donations for good causes.

Alex Wrottesley, the project’s creator, said that it was the first time a city had been recreated via a website. He added that social networking would be critical to its success, and that a link with Facebook would allow users of the site to meet friends and go shopping together.

NearLondon will be launched in November, in time for the Christmas shopping period. When the West End Christmas lights are turned on, they will also appear on the site.

The retail industry says that the project will change the way consumers shop online, since it allows them to browse an entire high street, rather than having to go to individual sites.

There are plans to expand the programme next year to include Covent Garden and the West End theatre district. He will also seek a tie-up with Transport for London to create virtual bus routes and timetables.

Google closer to victory in trademark keyword ads legal battle

September 25, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Google moved closer this week to an important victory in its legal battle with brand owners over its goldmine pay per click advertising system, after a preliminary opinion in Europe’s top court found that its activity did not amount to trademark infringement.

Google's search engine logo
The judgment is a big boost to the AdWords service, where advertisers pay for publicity to be displayed to internet users once certain words are fed into the search engine.

Brand owners have been concerned that the system allows some competitors to “piggyback” on trademarked names. In the UK, Ireland, US and Canada, Google explicitly allows rivals to buy trademarked keywords. In countries such as France it has discouraged such practices, but Louis Vuitton has argued it has not done enough.

A favourable ruling on Adwords by the European Court of Justice would allow Google to develop the service more freely in continental Europe.

A senior legal adviser at the ECJ said he believed Google had not committed an infringement by allowing advertisers to select keywords corresponding to trademarks. Poiares Maduro, ECJ advocate-general, noted that in the word selection process no product or service was being sold to the public.

Mr Maduro’s opinion is not binding on the ECJ, but the court does follow advocategenerals’ advice in about three quarters of cases.

Less favourably for Google, however, the advocate-general said the company could still be held liable for content featured in the Adwords service – and so be vulnerable in national courts if an advertiser was involved in something unlawful.

A group of French brand owners – including LVMH’s Louis Vuitton Malletier – has challenged the inclusion in Adwords of keywords that correspond to certain trademarks.

They said searching on Google under some names brought up advertisements for sites selling counterfeit versions of products covered by the trademarks.

Meanwhile, Google said it was negotiating with the US Department of Justice over its ambitious plans for distributing out-of-print books, improving the odds of a settlement winning court approval.

Dr Search reminds readers that for every £100 that they donate to the Google AdWords casino, £85 will go to pay for the bubbly at the shareholders’ annual meeting.
 
So make sure that if you use PPC that it is correctly set up and used. The Search Clinic have managed to cut one client’s PPC budget by 93%- and he is still getting the same amount of traffic.

To find out more, please click PPC- save me money NOW.

Yahoo unveils ambitious new marketing campaign

September 24, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Yahoo on Tuesday rolled out its most ambitious marketing campaign in an effort to persuade consumers and advertisers that it can take on Google as an advertising power.

As we saw in yesterday’s post, Google dominates the market for search ads, which boast easily quantifiable results and have survived the recession well, leaving Yahoo to prove that a general campaign including display ads, an area in which it leads, can be just as effective.

Yahoo search engine logo

The $100m, 10-country campaign, unveiled by Carol Bartz, chief executive, showed off television, print and online elements at New York’s annual Advertising Week, underscoring the group’s need to reach the audience of professional ad buyers that drive Yahoo’s revenue.

“Advertisers follow consumers,” Ms Bartz said. “If you want to talk in a parlance of advertising, you always need to build circulation by having more and more engaged, users.”

Elisa Steele, Yahoo marketing head, told the Financial Times that half of the impressions in the campaign would be displayed digitally, and that the company would monitor results and shift the ads accordingly.

“One of our visions inside the company is to become our own best case study,” Ms Steele said.

Since Ms Bartz’s appointment in January, Yahoo has ceded its long battle to have the best search technology, striking a revenue-sharing deal to let Microsoft shoulder the expense and provide algorithmic results to users.

Instead, she has emphasised making Yahoo more helpful to consumers in its core businesses while selling off or closing ancillary sites so it can capture a bigger piece of the advertising market should a rebound occur.

Yahoo’s US audience grew to 158m in August, according to ComScore, up 12 per cent from a year earlier and was just behind Google. Most of the largest sites saw similar growth as broadband spread and people spent more time online. Google’s audience increased 11 per cent and Microsoft’s 5 per cent.

The ad campaign, scheduled to last 15 months, will start in the US on Monday and move to the UK and India on October 5. It will also reach Brazil, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea and Taiwan.

With a tagline “It’s you”, the company wants to emphasise the improved capability for personalisation and customisation on its home page and other properties.

Increase sales with Nick Usborne’s “Buy” button techniques

September 23, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Dr Search at the Search Clinic learns from Nick Usbourne- and suggests that you can too:

As your final call to action, your “Buy” button is crucial for response yet often genearic and uninspiring. Nick Usborne, author of Wordtracker’s Writing Kick-Ass Website Sales Copy, explains how to increase response by making your “Buy” button an extension of your headline.

After taking a huge amount of trouble to optimize a sales page on our sites, all too often we finish the page with a button which says, “Add to Cart”, “Add to Basket” or “Add to Shopping Cart”. Is that really the best we can do?

Think for a moment of those pieces of direct mail you receive from time to time. Does the pre-paid response card simply say, “Add to Cart” or “Charge my Credit Card Now”? Never. 
If, for instance, you are being sold a magazine subscription, it might say something like, “Yes, please start my 30-day free trial of Online Copywriting Today.”
Nick Usborne

Your page has to keep selling, from beginning to end

Let’s assume you have started your online sales page with a strong headline. You have a compelling value proposition, and have left your readers with the belief you can give them something they want. 
You then write some great body copy which builds on the promise in your headline, builds confidence and dissolves any hesitation they might feel. 
By the time they get to that “Buy Now” button, they are almost ready to commit to the purchase. 
But as we all know, to our cost, there is a big difference between being almost ready, and being ready.

Use that “Buy Now” text to tip them over

When you lead someone by the hand all the way down the page, you deliver them face to face with a barrier. And that barrier is the final call to action…the link or button that will take them to your shopping cart. 
It is not enough to simply take them as far as the barrier and then turn around and abandon them. 
To say “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” is like shrugging your shoulders and walking away. They are such generic phrases. Too passive. Devoid of promise or specificity.

Your call to action is the tail of the headline

You need to add a little flick to that final call to action. And it needs to underline and reaffirm the basic promise of your page. 
That’s why it’s the tail of the headline. It is connected to the headline, and gives that final flick to get people into the shopping cart. 
The power of the flick depends on how well you can connect it back to the headline and the promise of the page. 
Of course, the challenge here is to write a line that achieves this connection, but in very few words. 
As an example, let’s say you have a headline that says something like:
Try our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans, with a FREE 4 ounce sample.
At the end of the page, instead of the button saying “Add to Cart”, try:
Get your FREE sample Now…
 
The line is a little longer, but it does tie back to the central promise of the headline.

Does this apply to every online sales page?

No. Online retail stores are a little different.
It can make sense to say something generic, like “Add to Basket”, or “Add to Cart” when you have a large online store and are trying to get your visitors to buy more than one item at a time. People are very familiar with the process. You also run into problems with products and models which have long names, like “Add Cuisinart DCC-2000 Coffee-on-Demand 12-cup Programmable Coffeemaker to Baske
t”.
The “tail” approach works best with pages selling subscriptions, memberships, events, special offers, services, downloads etc.

Concluding thoughts…

As writers we tend to develop some blind spots. We pay a lot of attention to some areas of copy, like the headline and body text, but then tend to just write the “usual” for functional elements of text, like on the “Buy Now” button.
Try testing some different text on those buttons, and track clickthroughs and conversion rates.
increase sales with sales button

Bing now has 10% of searches- soon to overtake Yahoo!

September 22, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

The latest search engine results figures have been released by Nielsen, and its more good news for Bing. 
According to their data for August 2009, Bing now captures a total of 10.7% of all U.S. searches. This strong figure also makes Bing the fastest growing top 10 search engine with an increase of 22.1% month-over-month for August.

While it’s all good news for Bing, the same can’t be said for Yahoo! with their search share declining 4.2% to a total of only 16% of U.S. searches. The full figures can be found below:


Bing to overtake Yahoo in search volumes
With the growing importance of Bing, website owners need to ensure they are claiming their share of Bing’s search traffic.

Brands and social web marketing

September 21, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Like most things I experience, we find that we need to focus on doing some very basic things across a vast scope and scale. The same holds true for social media marketing. 
Focusing on a very few, important efforts and doing them well across the company represents success for us and all big brands. So let’s isolate a couple topics and make sure we get them right.

Push all the right buttons

First, enable your site to support social media. Enable your users to join your network and promote your content. Your site needs links or buttons to follow the brand or product on Twitter and Facebook at the very least. 

Of course, if you have many products, like most big brands, you’ll need to point to different Twitter streams or Facebook pages that are appropriate to the respective product or service. As well, if you produce content on your site, at the end of your articles you’ll want buttons that promote your content to sites like Digg, Reddit, and Yahoo! Buzz.
Getting these buttons on your site will take some time and effort, not because the work is difficult, but because the folks who do the work will have many other priorities in their queue.

Once your site is enabled for social media, you will want to rely on your company’s biggest asset: your employees. One of the nice things about big brands is that we employ large numbers of people who are brand evangelists. 

That means that at companies, there are thousands of potential marketers for our products and services. If we all spend just a few minutes a day talking up our products and services to our respective social communities, the effect will be significant.

With social media, however, we need to be careful how we behave. Social media networks are fragile when it comes to commercial promotion. If your network thinks you are spamming them with commercial messages, they will likely ignore you and you will lose credibility within your network. 

Right now, the conventional wisdom is that it’s OK to talk about your products within your social network, but this should generally be done in the spirit of conversation. That is, when one launches its our homepage, it’s acceptable to post a link to it on my Facebook page and say “Hey everybody, what do you think about the new homepage?” 
In contradistinction to this, it is generally frowned upon to promote your own products and services through some of the main social channels such as Digg, Reddit, and Yahoo! Buzz. For example, if Yahoo! sports just broke a story about Shawne Merriman and Tila Tequila, I shouldn’t Digg it through my own account. However, it’s OK to share the story with my social network and invite others to “buzz it up.” You can imagine that if all my fellow Yahoos worked in this way we could really start to move the needle on our social media efforts.

Another great way to increase awareness and share best practices internally is to schedule small, informal meetings with the folks in your organization who are really interested in social media. Having lunch, brainstorming with other people, we developed a formula for putting this into practice. 

We’re calling it a “Social Social”. The idea is that we can have a small, targeted gathering where we can swap war stories and share strategies around social media. The goal is to make sure we’re executing in effective ways around the organization. The recipe is simple: Invite a small number of social media types. Pick a topic. Open with a Pecha Kucha. Add beer. Rinse and repeat.

Now that you’ve got the tactics down, you’re well on your way. Remember, with brands: do a few things, but do them well and do them everywhere.

European search engine marketing tips

September 18, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Search engine marketing for Europe is more than just using different languages.

If you ask any search marketer what the main issue is when trying to optimize your website(s) for Europe they will tell you: language. But there is more to keep in mind when trying to win over Europeans.

Europe consists of twenty seven countries. If you think that means you will have to optimize for twenty seven languages, you’re wrong. The European countries which are part of the European Union together already have 23 official languages. But that’s just the European Union. Count in the rest of Europe and you can add many more.

The “problem” of focusing exclusively on languages in Europe is that its not one country, one language. It’s one country, many languages. Take the Netherlands for example. With only 17 million people living on a little piece of ground which (41 thousand square kilometers, which is about 16 thousand square miles) the official language is Dutch, but Frisian is also accepted as a official language. Next to that there are about 8 or 9 dialects, but when optimizing for websites you don’t have to take those in account.

When traveling south from the Netherlands it gets more complicated. In Belgium there are three official languages: Dutch, French and German. For the Belgians its therefore is very tempting to copy and paste the Dutch, French and German content and think you’re done. 

Think again. Dutch spoken in Belgium is a different kind of Dutch than that spoken in the Netherlands. And the same goes for the French compared to what they are speaking in France.

Getting the picture? You can probably guess what I will be saying about the countries when traveling to the south even more. How many official languages do you need to handle in France? Surprise! Only one. The French are considered to be very stubborn and very proud of their country. 

That translates into the language where, though about ten times the size of the Netherlands and with five times more people living there, they only speak one language. A complete different situations than with their neighbors further south. In Spain Castillian Spanish is the official language, spoken by 74% of the population but the Spanish also speak Catalan, Galician and Basque.

So now you get the picture: Europe has many countries and many languages. Some say there are over 200 official languages to take in account. Others also look at the dialects and then count over a 1000. So language really is a big issue when optimizing sites for Europeans.

“Ok,” I can hear you saying. “Thanks! Now I know there are many languages, so let’s get to work and translate and optimize our sites.” Stop, wait right there. There’s more…

Language is one thing, but Europe is a strange continent in which you have other things to take in account when optimizing. For one thing, there is the cultural aspect. I’m talking about the differences in culture in the way people live and think.

Last year TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington was part of a panel discussing the differences between Europe and the US at the internet marketing event LeWeb in Paris. He decided to be his usual self and became somewhat “rude” when accusing the Europeans of being lazy. 

Wherever did he get that idea? Here’s how: the days before he was invited by the organizer of the event to join in on a “typical” French lunch. And that means it will take a couple of hours in which you wine and dine. Arrington believed that the French therefore were lazy, because they prefer long lunches to working hard.

He could not have been more wrong. Yes, the French do like to take long lunches, but they also work later towards dinner-time. In fact, dinner time in France is typically not before 8PM. But there was an even bigger mistake Arrington made: with his statement he showed he had no idea of what the differences in European cultures are. 
Taking a step back northbound for example, to the Netherlands, lunch time is very different than in France. There lunch most of the time consists of a sandwich which is eaten within half an hour. Then again, when its 6PM most Dutch will be out of the office, heading home to have dinner early.
So what is people eat at different times, what does that have to do with optimizing my webpages? Well, everything. The Europeans have different lifestyles, which means they also have different online behavior. They are online at different hours and most probably also looking for different kind of topics, thus searching differently.

Video submission to booost your inbound links

September 17, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Video submission is becoming one of the most recent trends in building backlinks and driving traffic to a website.

This process has of late become very popular among the savvy internet marketers as its easy to get started with it. Video submission is a process where you create a video which can be purely text based or containing a power point presentation and sound and then uploading and submitting this video to video submission sites.

The video you create can contain a description of your products or service offerings, new launches, or any other matter that is appealing and can drive more traffic to your site.          

The main idea behind video submission is that search engines assign more weightage to pages containing videos. For instance, if you submit a video of your product on Youtube, then when anyone searches for that product on the Internet, the possibility of your video showing in the top results is much higher when compared to not having any video.

Additionally, if you put a link pointing to your site in this video or under it, it can benefit you as well as your site. This is because when people watch your video, they see your products or services in it and if they are interested in what they see then they will visit your website to buy what they have seen and liked.

Advantages of Video Submission
Some of the key benefits of the video submission process are:

  •       It helps in getting more traffic to your website.
  •       It helps in building more backlinks for your site.
  •       One video can be submitted to several video submission sites.
  •       You can drive traffic from several video submission sites to which you have submitted your video.
  •       Search engines give more weight to videos.
How to create a video?
Since video submission is the most happening process to boost traffic to a site, it would be a good idea to start creating a video if you don’t already have one. If you have any text based content with you, it can be converted into a video by you speaking about it or creating a presentation out of it.

However, it is important to keep in mind that a video must be interesting enough to be able to capture the attention of your audience and keep them engaged. It can also contain a demonstration of how users can use the product or particular software for their business.

How to gather content for your video?
Once you have chosen the topic you want to create a video on, you can then start talking about it before the video camera. When you put yourself on the video, it adds a more personal touch and builds more credibility. Also, it instills more trust in people and increases the chances of them connecting with you.

Finding your audience
Once you have created your video, you need to upload and submit it to the video submission sites who will allow you to host your video free of cost. You can check out sites like YouTube, AOL Video, Google Video, and many others and sign up to create an account with them. Each of these sites will guide you on hosting your video, assigning keywords to them, putting them under the correct category, etc.

Another advantage of hosting your video on these video hosting sites is that you will free up your own disk space and not take up the bandwidth of your web server.