1 06, 2011

Watching your site’s content for Google isn’t enough anymore

By | 2017-08-15T15:55:16+00:00 June 1st, 2011|Categories: Digital Marketing|Tags: , , |

I found this article very interesting (and annoying??) and wanted to share: FYI: Your site’s email newsletter affects your Google rankings.  What’s next???  Maybe they will start checking Google maps to make sure we have sufficient numbers of cars parking in our lot each day??  Groan!

Full disclosure– Google rankings isn’t my area of expertise, but my colleagues in our Web Marketing department are experts in this area, so be sure to contact us if you have questions!

P.S.  Apparently there’s been some controversy over this article since it was original posted on May 31  and some alternate and contradictory views have been posted on the same site, including some input from Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, so be sure to get all the sides on this issue!

4 02, 2011

Caught with the Hand in the Cookie Jar?

By | 2016-11-18T14:46:54+00:00 February 4th, 2011|Categories: SEO|Tags: , , , |

There’s in interesting war of words going on between Microsoft and Google regarding search. An article at Search Engine Land alleging that Microsoft was copying search results from Google was the first salvo in the war. Microsoft followed up by accusing Google of click fraud.

The gist of Google’s claim, seems to be that Microsoft’s uses the data collected from the suggested sites/Bing toolbar feature to populate Bing’s search engine results even if the search results come from Google’s website.

Microsoft’s defense appears to be that they do incorporate the results into Bing, but it is one of many parameters when ranking a link. That the scenario Google executed was not legitimate since Google created false links to nonsensical search terms and then had there employees click on those links.

Who’s right and who’s wrong? Well both are right and both are wrong. Google’s honeypot essentially peeled away Microsoft’s aggregating of the parameters used to rank sites. By using uncommon search terms, Google was able to populate a false relationship between the search term and the site. If a popular term had been entered, the other parameters would have minimized the ranking. Microsoft however is using the search results from a competitor as part of it’s ranking algorithm. They are just letting their end user’s be the means of populating the data. Google’s honeypot just showed that when the other parameters are not relevant, then Google’s results will appear.

20 01, 2011

Mobile Display Ads Will Take You Further Than You Think

By | 2016-11-23T11:20:48+00:00 January 20th, 2011|Categories: PPC|Tags: , , , |

Is your company currently engaging in paid display ads throughout a content network in Google or MSN?  For most of you, the answer should be yes if you are trying to increase revenue and your brand awareness.

How many of you are currently running display ads on mobile devices?  My assumptions is that not many of you are- but you all should be.  Did you know that 93% of the 307 million people within the US have mobile devices, and that 40% of these people have smart-phones, mobile internet devices or mobile-web-enabled feature phones? Mobile users range in age, gender, and income level as can be seen below.

Below are some reasons why you should begin to think about the option to display pieces of rich media or banner ads on mobile devices through Google’s Admob Network.

  1. Campaigns are set up similar to other display content campaigns and Google is the king of simplicity within their user interfaces
  2. Working with Admob you gain the experience they have as they help you manage the complexities that might scare you concerning the wide world of mobile, making it easy for you to target and serve ads to the complete mobile audience
  3. You have the ability to target as broadly as possible given your campaign goals. You can even target by OS and have an ad serves specifically to Android users.

Click on the link below to see all the cool stuff you can do within Google’s Admob Team.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV5-w1OgoeM&feature=channel

17 01, 2011

Switching to orange means more green

By | 2017-08-15T15:53:23+00:00 January 17th, 2011|Categories: Google Analytics|Tags: , |

Quick Disclosure:  As the latest addition to the Beacon team, the last two weeks have been spent adapting to all the things that come with starting out with a new company.   I’m really excited about my role as an Account Executive and I look forward to digging in and being a productive part of the team.  With that said, I must admit that having to contribute to the Beacon blog has caused me some anxiety as I have never wrote a “professional” blog post before, so please show mercy…

A year or so ago, I downloaded the Coupon App on my Droid.  It’s an awesome application.  My favorite by far as it has made me aware of a bunch of great deals.  The best deals have been their free magazine subscriptions.  I have a hard time turning down the offers, so I am now the proud subscriber of everything from Spin to Forbes.  I get so many magazines that I struggle to keep up.  Over the holidays, I vowed to work through my growing backlog of reading and stay on top of it in the New Year.

In reading through the January 17th issue of Forbes, I came across a really cool article on how the CEO of the Teaching Company, Brandon Hidalgo has used marketing metrics to grow his business to $110 million/year in sales.  The article speaks to specific instances of how seemingly subtle tweaks to his online and offline marketing campaigns based on the behavioral data of his customers has increased sales anywhere from 5% to over 20%.

“In February 2010 the Teaching Company changed the color (from pale green to orange) and location (from side to bottom) of an “Add to Cart” button on its website. Result: Sales improved 5.8%. In one mailing, replacing an image of Michelangelo’s God’s hand with one depicting the ruins of Petra produced a 21.8% lift in sales…”

I liked this article, because it helped me understand the business impact of what our team of Web Marketing Specialists do every day for our clients.  They share Hidalgo’s passion for metrics and use it to optimize the performance of our clients’ web properties.

If you have a moment, check out the article on Forbes.com – I think you’ll enjoy it!

31 12, 2010

2010 in Web Marketing…or What did I learn?

By | 2016-11-22T11:00:42+00:00 December 31st, 2010|Categories: Digital Marketing|Tags: , |

When you (or in this case, I) do something for 365 days, a few lessons should manage to sink in.

 

  1. The the plans and priority items that you set on the first of the year will likely differ greatly from your focuses on the last.
  2. Appreciate, but don’t fall in love with your analytics tools – something better will be available next year.
  3. Time on Twitter is rarely wasted – if it is important to your friends/followers, other people probably care about it too.
  4. It is ALWAYS possible to further optimize a PPC campaign.
  5. The only limits to testing are the limits to your own intelligence.  Okay, that is a little mean spirited, but not untrue.
  6. The Blue Ocean marketing strategy doesn’t exist [for long].  There always is [or soon will be] competition for any solid plan.  You cannot hide success.
  7. Complicated marketing strategies are like (old school) Christmas lights.  If done properly they can work great, but one missing item (bulb) can destroy the whole thing.
  8. Remember that your clients goals are often more important than actual quantitative results.
  9. Web marketing is about putting your client in the best position to succeed, but it’s not a guarantee for success.  This is actually an old marketing lesson, but it’s important to remember year in and out.
  10. Not caring about New Year’s festivities (and being caught in the middle of Oklahoma) gives one a good chance at making the final 2010 post on the company blog.
30 12, 2010

Conversion Tracking for Facebook Social Ads

By | 2017-02-21T11:46:51+00:00 December 30th, 2010|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , |

Finally! This great new feature is still in beta but it is exactly what Facebook marketers have been waiting for. Soon all of us will be able to track activity that happens on our websites as a result of someone on Facebook seeing or clicking on our Ads. Conversion tracking helps us see the whole picture and I am very excited to start using this on a future campaign.

Tracking is available in the Ads Manager Menu.

Fill out the form to receive script for your conversion page.

30 12, 2010

NCTA Partnership

By | 2017-02-21T11:24:58+00:00 December 30th, 2010|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , |

Beacon Technologies inks partnership with the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) to provide full scale web marketing for the association, including search engine optimization (SEO), blog development, social media marketing management, email management consulting and deep Google Analytics setup & consulting.  The objective of this agreement is to support NCTA in becoming the primary destination website for technology-related information in North Carolina.  Beacon will also become an Annual Investor and Sponsor for all the 2010 NCTA Events and the Emerging Technology and Trends Series across North Carolina (RTP, Triad and Charlotte).  Beacon will also sponsor NCTA’s weekly email campaigns.  “This is the first time in Beacon’s 12 year history that we plan to market our services more across North Carolina, primarily focusing on the 3 major business areas of the state,” says Mark Dirks, Beacon’s CEO.  “We are very excited about the relationship with NCTA.  They work very hard to help the technology sector of our state and sometimes they go unnoticed.  Our job is to bring them visibility, more members and more communication through their website – and ultimately, bring the organization and its members closer together.”

27 12, 2010

Push the Envelope

By | 2017-08-15T16:14:48+00:00 December 27th, 2010|Categories: Digital Marketing|Tags: , , , |

My internet experience dates back to 1995 while I was with AT&T’s HR Information Systems Organization.  I had been handling AT&T’s medical claims information system and I proposed using a corporate intranet to deliver summary level reports to executives and decision makers.  HRISO had implemented Peoplesoft (before it had a web interface) to support its 150,000 employees (worldwide).  We had a “research group” that, in my opinion, spent more time playing with the web over 2 years versus developing practical uses.  I was 34.  I was impatient.  I wanted to do something that meant something.  I was also too direct sometimes…well, often.  I will never forget that day while sitting in yet another fantasy discussion about the internet with decision makers when these words jumped out of my mouth before my brain had a chance to block them:  “Are we just going to talk about this forever, or are we going to do it?”  Deafening  silence.  Uh-oh.

I went back to my office looking for available boxes to start packing up my stuff – certain that my AT&T days were numbered.  My boss came by my office the next day and surprisingly said, “We’re done talking about it.  You are in charge of developing a self-service model for all AT&T employees to use.”  I think this was management’s way of saying, “Put your money where your mouth is”.  They called me on it and now I had to walk the talk.  I was allowed to assemble what I still believe may have been the most awesome technical team ever (except of course, the current Beacon Team) and within 6 months we launched AT&T’s Employee Services Website.  It served ~150K employees worldwide.  It was ahead of its time.  It allowed employees to manage their own personal data, view their paystub online, access standard forms (vs printed versions that may have been in their desks for years), utilize online FAQs, contact the HR Help Desk and much more – all with a single, secure login & password (distribution of which was a very difficult component of this project).  Yeah, yeah…this is no big deal nowadays, but in the mid-90’s, it was cutting edge.   I was dubbed “Father of AT&T’s Intranet”, but it wasn’t me – it was an entire team that made this happen very quickly.  This team included John Scaramuzzo who has been my partner here at Beacon since we started over 13 years ago.  He handled the infrastructure, which in itself, required a mammoth effort.  There’s no one better than John to be at the helm of Beacon’s state-of-the-art web hosting services.  People forget that a website is worthless if its hosting infrastructure is poor and not dependable.  No news is good news for his team.  Our data center has been humming along now for 13 years.

Enough about me and John.  That’s really not the point of this post.  It’s more about my excitement about the mix of people in this terrific team we have here at Beacon as we head into 2011.  I have noticed a new energy in Beacon, one that reminds me of my days at AT&T in the mid-90’s when I “stirred the pot” or “rocked the boat” or “pushed the envelope” or whatever cliché works best for you.  Whether it’s creative social media marketing campaigns, new conversion optimization tools & techniques, unique technical solutions for content management, migration to virtual dedicated hosting solutions, utilization of cool aspdotnetstorefront plugins or the start of our new offering of IAPPS, Bridgeline Digital’s fully integrated platform for content management, ecommerce, marketing and analytics – the folks here at Beacon seem to always be thinking about how to take everything to the next level.  That’s how progress is made.

27 12, 2010

Give Your Site Some Season

By | 2016-11-18T14:24:57+00:00 December 27th, 2010|Categories: Cascade CMS|Tags: , , |

Many websites like to modify their logos or layout to suit the holidays or an event. Google’s homepage often features a modification to their logo relevant to the date. This can easily be done without the need to manage your images and stylesheets using PHP/ASP or Javascript. A script such as this determines to ouput between:

Standard Holiday

-And-

Holiday Standard

This is an attractive feature for e-commerce websites to highlight holiday products and content to visitors. Here are three working flavors of code to display a pre-made set of holiday images, which only requires to keep the images named respectively and that the directory structure correlate with the code. These can be changed by editing the “file” and “location” variables used below and adding additional else if statements.

PHP

ASP

Javascript

27 12, 2010

Reasons to NOT do SEO

By | 2017-02-23T17:47:21+00:00 December 27th, 2010|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , |

SEO is a term that is finally moving outside of tech circles.  Even most laypeople are starting to understand that it stands for Search Engine Optimization and the many advantages associated with having good SEO on a site.  Which begs the question, why are so many professional websites so bad at it?

Well, I thought long on this, and came up with the following possible explanations:

1)  You want to hide your site.  There are situations where I can understand this.  If you a Mexican drug cartel and want to start selling your wares online (this is the 21st century afterall), it would make all the sense in the world to nofollow all the links in your site and use misleading and unpopular title tags (i.e. “Cloris Leachman Nude”) to prevent search engines from putting you in their cross-hairs.  It would be best to limit your site to referral traffic only.  With bad SEO – that’s all you’ll get.

2) It’s too much time and effort.  The hours that you use every month to optimize your site and bring in hordes of potential clients take away from the days and weeks that are used to pick up leads through traditional methods.  Why waste time developing keyword rich content that will attract people who are interested in your product when you can cold call through the phone book and get less results in twice the time?

3) You’re an internet communist.  This is nothing to be ashamed of, you represent the pinnacle of netiquette.  Why does your site deserve to be at the top of high traffic search results?  Don’t your competitors deserve just as much exposure?  It is only fair that they be given every chance to sell their products to your customers as well.

4) You’ve sold numerous old ladies 50% of your sites future profits.  So long as the site loses money, you make money on the initial sales.  Otherwise, you’re a programming version of Bernie Madoff.

5) Customers suck.  Let’s face it, they are just a pain in the rear.  They have all these annoying questions about which of your products they should buy and how your products can improve their business/lives.  Most jobs would be great if it weren’t for all the customers.

Beyond this, I can come up with no good reason that a professional site shouldn’t engage in SEO.  If you currently do not make this a priority, rest assured that your competition does.

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