Search Engine Optimization – A Guide To Increasing Organic Traffic

2021-06-30T14:03:40-05:00

 

Introduction

 

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is simply the act of manipulating the pages of your website to be easily accessible by search engine spiders so they can be easily spidered and indexed.  A spider is a robot that search engines use to check millions of web pages very quickly and sort them by relevance.  A page is indexed when it is spidered and deemed appropriate content to be placed in the search engines results for people to click on.

 

The art and science of understanding how search engines identify pages that are relevant to a query made by a visitor and designing marketing strategies based on this is called search engine optimization. Search engines offer the most cost effective mechanism to acquire “real” and “live” business leads. It is found that in most cases, search engine optimization delivers a better ROI than other forms such as online advertisements, e-mail marketing and newsletters, affiliate and pay per click advertising, and digital campaigns and promotions.

 

 

What On Earth Is An Algorithm?

Each search engine has something called an algorithm which is the formula that each search engine uses to evaluate web pages and determine their relevance and value when crawling them for possible inclusion in their search engine.  A crawler is the robot that browses all of these pages for the search engine.

 

GOOGLE Algorithm Is Key

 

Google has a comprehensive and highly developed technology, a straightforward interface and a wide-ranging array of search tools which enable the users to easily access a variety of information online.

 

Google users can browse the web and find information in various languages, retrieve maps, stock quotes and read news, search for a long lost friend using the phonebook listings available on Google for all of US cities and basically surf the 3 billion odd web pages on the internet!

Google boasts of having world’s largest archive of Usenet messages, dating all the way back to 1981.  Google’s technology can be accessed from any conventional desktop PC as well as from various wireless platforms such as WAP and i-mode phones, handheld devices and other such Internet equipped gadgets.

 

 

Page Rank Based On Popularity

 

The web search technology offered by Google is often the technology of choice of the world’s leading portals and websites. It has also benefited the advertisers with its unique advertising program that does not hamper the web surfing experience of its users but still brings revenues to the advertisers.

When you search for a particular keyword or a phrase, most of the search engines return a list of page in order of the number of times the keyword or phrase appears on the website. Google web search technology involves the use of its indigenously designed Page Rank Technology and hypertext-matching analysis which makes several instantaneous calculations undertaken without any human intervention. Google’s structural design also expands simultaneously as the internet expands.

 

Page Rank technology involves the use of an equation which comprises of millions of variables and terms and determines a factual measurement of the significance of web pages and is calculated by solving an equation of 500 million variables and more than 3 billion terms. Unlike some other search engines, Google does not calculate links, but utilizes the extensive link structure of the web as an organizational tool. When the link to a Page, let’s say Page B is clicked from a Page A, then that click is attributed as a vote towards Page B on behalf of Page A.

 

Back Links Are Considered Popularity Votes

Quintessentially, Google calculates the importance of a page by the number of such ‘votes’ it receives. Not only that, Google also assesses the importance of the pages that are involved in the voting process.  Consequently, pages that are themselves ahead in ranking and are important in that way also help to make other pages important. One thing to note here is that Google’s technology does not involve human intervention in anyway and uses the inherent intelligence of the internet and its resources to determine the ranking and importance of any page.

 

Hypertext-Matching Analysis

 

Unlike its conventional counterparts, Google is a search engine which is hypertext-based. This means that it analyzes all the content on each web page and factors in fonts, subdivisions, and the exact positions of all terms on the page. Not only that, Google also evaluates the content of its nearest web pages. This policy of not disregarding any subject matter pays off in the end and enables Google to return results that are closest to user queries.

 

Google has a very simple 3-step procedure in handling a query submitted in its search box:

 

  1. When the query is submitted and the enter key is pressed, the web server sends the query to the index servers. Index server is exactly what its name suggests. It consists of an index much like the index of a book which displays where is the particular page containing the queried term is located in the entire book.

 

  1. After this, the query proceeds to the doc servers, and these servers actually retrieve the stored documents. Page descriptions or “snippets” are then generated to suitably describe each search result.

 

  1. These results are then returned to the user in less than a one second! (Normally.)

 

Approximately once a month, Google updates their index by recalculating the Page Ranks of each of the web pages that they have crawled. The period during the update is known as the Google dance.

 

Do You Know The GOOGLE Dance?

 

The Algorithm Shuffle

 

Because of the nature of Page Rank, the calculations need to be performed about 40 times and, because the index is so large, the calculations take several days to complete. During this period, the search results fluctuate; sometimes minute-by minute. It is because of these fluctuations that the term, Google Dance, was coined. The dance usually takes place sometime during the last third of each month.

 

Google has two other servers that can be used for searching. The search results on them also change during the monthly update and they are part of the Google dance.

 

For the rest of the month, fluctuations sometimes occur in the search results, but they should not be confused with the actual dance. They are due to Google's fresh crawl and to what is known "Everflux".

 

Google has two other searchable servers apart from www.google.com. They are www2.google.com and www3.google.com. Most of the time, the results on all 3 servers are the same, but during the dance, they are different.

 

For most of the dance, the rankings that can be seen on www2 and www3 are the new rankings that will transfer to www when the dance is over. Even though the calculations are done about 40 times, the final rankings can be seen from very early on. This is because, during the first few iterations, the calculated figures merge to being close to their final figures.

 

You can see this with the Page Rank Calculator by checking the Data box and performing some calculations. After the first few iterations, the search results on www2 and www3 may still change, but only slightly.

 

During the dance, the results from www2 and www3 will sometimes show on the www server, but only briefly. Also, new results on www2 and www3 can disappear for short periods. At the end of the dance, the results on www will match those on www2 and www3.

 

GOOGLE Dance Tool

 

This Google Dance Tool allows you to check your rankings on all three tools www, www2 and www3 and on all 9 datacenters simultaneously.

The Google Web Directory works in combination of the Google Search Technology and the Netscape Open Directory Project which makes it possible to search the Internet organized by topic.  Google displays the pages in order of the rank given to it using the Page Rank Technology.  It not only searches the titles and descriptions of the websites, but searches the entire content of sites within a related category, which ultimately delivers a comprehensive search to the users.  Google also has a fully functional web directory which categorizes all the searches in order.

 

Submitting your URL to Google

 

Google is primarily a fully-automatic search engine with no human-intervention involved in the search process.  It utilizes robots known as ‘spiders’ to crawl the web on a regular basis for new updates and new websites to be included in the Google Index.  This robot software follows hyperlinks from site to site. Google does not require that you should submit your URL to its database for inclusion in the index, as it is done anyway automatically by the ‘spiders’.  However, manual submission of URL can be done by going to the Google website and clicking the related link.  One important thing here is that Google does not accept payment of any sort for site submission or improving page rank of your website.  Also, submitting your site through the Google website does not guarantee listing in the index.

 

Cloaking

Sometimes, a webmaster might program the server in such a way that it returns different content to Google than it returns to regular users, which is often done to misrepresent search engine rankings. This process is referred to as cloaking as it conceals the actual website and returns distorted web pages to search engines crawling the site. This can mislead users about what they'll find when they click on a search result. Google highly disapproves of any such practice and might place a ban on the website which is found guilty of cloaking.

 

Google Guidelines

 

Here are some of the important tips and tricks that can be employed while dealing with Google.

 

Do’s

 

  • A website should have crystal clear hierarchy and links and should preferably be easy to navigate.
  • A site map is required to help the users go around your site and in case the site map has more than 100 links, then it is advisable to break it into several pages to avoid clutter.
  • Come up with essential and precise keywords and make sure that your website features relevant and informative content.
  • The Google crawler will not recognize text hidden in the images, so when describing important names, keywords or links; stick with plain text.
  • The TITLE and ALT tags should be descriptive and accurate and the website should have no broken links or incorrect HTML.
  • Dynamic pages (the URL consisting of a ‘?’ character) should be kept to a minimum as not every search engine spider is able to crawl them.
  • The robots.txt file on your web server should be current and should not block the Googlebot crawler. This file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled.

 

Don’ts

 

  • When making a site, do not cheat your users, i.e. those people who will surf your website.  Do not provide them with irrelevant content or present them with any fraudulent schemes.
  • Avoid tricks or link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking.
  • Do not employ hidden texts or hidden links.
  • Google frowns upon websites using cloaking technique.  Hence, it is advisable to avoid that.
  • Automated queries should not be sent to Google.
  • Avoid stuffing pages with irrelevant words and content.  Also don't create multiple pages, sub-domains, or domains with significantly duplicate content.
  • Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with hardly any original content.

 

Crawler/Spider Considerations

 

Also, consider technical factors. If a site has a slow connection, it might time-out for the crawler. Very complex pages, too, may time out before the crawler can harvest the text.

 

If you have a hierarchy of directories at your site, put the most important information high, not deep.  Some search engines will presume that the higher you placed the information, the more important it is. And crawlers may not venture deeper than three or four or five directory levels.

 

Above all remember the obvious - full-text search engines such index text. You may well be tempted to use fancy and expensive design techniques that either block search engine crawlers or leave your pages with very little plain text that can be indexed.  Don’t fall prey to that temptation.

 

Ranking Rules Of Thumb

 

The simple rule of thumb is that content counts, and that content near the top of a page counts for more than content at the end. In particular, the HTML title and the first couple lines of text are the most important part of your pages. If the words and phrases that match a query happen to appear in the HTML title or first couple lines of text of one of your pages, chances are very good that that page will appear high in the list of search results.

 

A crawler/spider search engine can base its ranking on both static factors (a computation of the value of page independent of any particular query) and query-dependent factors.

 

Values

 

  • Long pages, which are rich in meaningful text (not randomly generated letters and words).

 

  • Pages that serve as good hubs, with lots of links to pages that that have related content (topic similarity, rather than random meaningless links, such as those generated by link exchange programs or intended to generate a false impression of "popularity").

 

  • The connectivity of pages, including not just how many links there are to a page but where the links come from: the number of distinct domains and the "quality" ranking of those particular sites. This is calculated for the site and also for individual pages. A site or a page is "good" if many pages at many different sites point to it, and especially if many "good" sites point to it.

 

  • The level of the directory in which the page is found. Higher is considered more important. If a page is buried too deep, the crawler simply won't go that far and will never find it.

 

These static factors are recomputed about once a week, and new good pages slowly percolate upward in the rankings. Note that there are advantages to having a simple address and sticking to it, so others can build links to it, and so you know that it's in the index

Query-Dependent Factors

 

  • The HTML title.

 

  • The first lines of text.

 

  • Query words and phrases appearing early in a page rather than late.

 

  • Meta tags, which are treated as ordinary words in the text, but like words that appear early in the text (unless the meta tags are patently unrelated to the content on the page itself, in which case the page will be penalized)

 

  • Words mentioned in the "anchor" text associated with hyperlinks to your pages. (E.g., if lots of good sites link to your site with anchor text "breast cancer" and the query is "breast cancer," chances are good that you will appear high in the list of matches.)

 

Blanket Policy On Doorway Pages And Cloaking

Many search engines are opposed to doorway pages and cloaking. They consider doorway and cloaked pages to be spam and encourage people to use other avenues to increase the relevancy of their pages. We’ll talk about doorway pages and cloaking a bit later.

 

 

Meta Tags (Ask.Com As An Example)

 

Though Meta tags are indexed and considered to be regular text, Ask.com claims it doesn't give them priority over HTML titles and other text. Though you should use meta tags in all your pages, some webmasters claim their doorway pages for Ask.com rank better when they don't use them. If you do use Meta tags, make your description tag no more than 150 characters and your keywords tag no more than 1,024 characters long.

 

Keywords In The URL And File Names

 

It's generally believed that Ask.com gives some weight to keywords in filenames and URL names. If you're creating a file, try to name it with keywords.

 

Keywords In The ALT Tags

 

Ask.com indexes ALT tags, so if you use images on your site, make sure to add them. ALT tags should contain more than the image's description. They should include keywords, especially if the image is at the top of the page. ALT tags are explained later.

 

Page Length

 

There's been some debate about how long doorway pages for AltaVista should be. Some webmasters say short pages rank higher, while others argue that long pages are the way to go. According to AltaVista's help section, it prefers long and informative pages. We've found that pages with 600-900 words are most likely to rank well.

 

Frame Support

 

AltaVista has the ability to index frames, but it sometimes indexes and links to pages intended only as navigation. To keep this from happening to you, submit a frame-free site map containing the pages that you want indexed. You may also want to include a "robots.txt" file to prohibit AltaVista from indexing certain pages.

 

 

What Your Website Absolutely Needs

This section will go over some of the most important elements that a page that hopes to get high research engine rankings needs.  Make sure that you go through this while section very carefully as each of these can have a dramatic impact on the rankings that your website will ultimately achieve. Don’t focus solely on the home page, keywords and titles.

 

The first step to sales when customers visit your site to see the products they were looking for. Of course, search engine optimization and better rankings can’t keep your customer on your site or make them buy. The customer having visited your site, now ensure that he gets interested in your products or services and stays around. Motivate him to buy the product by providing clear and unambiguous information. Thus if you happen to sell more than one product or service, provide all necessary information about this, may be by keeping the  information at a different page. By providing suitable and easily visible links, the customer can navigate to these pages and get the details.

 

Understanding Your Target Customer

If you design a website you think will attract clients, but you don’t really know who your customers are and what they want to buy, it is unlikely you make much money. Website business is an extension or replacement for a standard storefront. You can send email to your existing clients and ask them to complete a survey or even while they are browsing on your website. Ask them about their choices. Why do they like your products? Do you discount prices or offer coupons? Are your prices consistently lower than others? Is your shipping price cheaper? Do you respond faster to client questions? Are your product descriptions better? Your return policies and guarantees better than your competitor’s? To know your customer you can check credit card records or ask your customer to complete a simple contact form with name, address, age, gender, etc. when they purchase a product.

 

Does Your Website Give Enough Contact Information?

 

When you sell from a website, your customer can buy your products 24 hrs a day and also your customers may be from other states that are thousands of miles away. Always provide contact information, preferably on every page of your website, complete with mailing address, telephone number and an email address that reaches you. People may need to contact you about sales, general information or technical problems on your site. Also have your email forwarded to another email address if you do not check your website mailbox often. When customer wants to buy online provide enough options like credit card, PayPal or other online payment service.

In the field of search engine optimization (SEO), writing a strong homepage that will rank high in the engines and will read well with your site visitors can sometimes present a challenge, even to some seasoned SEO professionals. Once you have clearly identified your exact keywords and key phrases, the exact location on your homepage where you will place those carefully researched keywords will have a drastic impact in the end results of your homepage optimization.

 

One thing we keep most people say is that they don’t want to change the looks or more especially the wording on their homepage. Understandably, some of them went to great lengths and invested either a lot of time and/or money to make it the best it can be. Being the best it can be for your site visitors is one thing. But is it the best it can be for the search engines, in terms of how your site will rank?

 

If you need powerful rankings in the major search engines and at the same time you want to successfully convert your visitors and prospects into real buyers, it's important to effectively write your homepage the proper way the first time! You should always remember that a powerfully optimized homepage pleases both the search engines and your prospects.

 

In randomly inserting keywords and key phrases into your old homepage, you might run the risk of getting good rankings, but at the same time it might jeopardize your marketing flow. That is a mistake nobody would ever want to do with their homepage.

 

Even today, there are still some people that will say you can edit your homepage for key phrases, without re-writing the whole page. There are important reasons why that strategy might not work.

 

The Home Page

 

Your homepage is the most important page on your web site. If you concentrate your most important keywords and key phrases in your homepage many times, the search engines will surely notice and index it accordingly. But will it still read easily and will the sentences flow freely to your real human visitors? There are some good chances that it might not. As a primer, having just 40 or 50 words on your homepage will not deliver the message effectively. To be powerful and effective, a homepage needs at least 300 to 400 words for maximum search engine throughput and effectiveness.

 

One way to do that is to increase your word count with more value-added content. This often means rewriting your whole homepage all over again. The main reason to this is you will probably never have enough room to skillfully work your important keywords and key phrases into the body text of your homepage. This may not please your boss or marketing department, but a full re-write is often necessary and highly advisable to achieve high rankings in the engines, while at the same time having a homepage that will please your site visitors and convert a good proportion of them into real buyers.

 

The Acid Test

 

Here is the acid test that will prove what we just said is right: Carefully examine the body text of your existing homepage. Then, attempt to insert three to five different keywords and key phrases three to four times each, somewhere within the actual body of your existing page. In doing that, chances are you will end up with a homepage that is next to impossible to understand and read.

 

One mistake some people do is to force their prospects to wade through endless key phrase lists or paragraphs, in an attempt to describe their features and benefits. The other reason they do that is in trying to please the search engines at the same time. Writing a powerful and effective homepage around carefully defined keywords and key phrases is a sure way you can drive targeted traffic to your web site and keep them there once you do.

 

If some people still say re-writing a homepage takes too much time and costs too much money, think of the cost of losing prospective clients and the real cost of lost sales and lost opportunities. In the end, writing a strong homepage that will achieve all your desired goals will largely justify your time invested and the efforts you will have placed in the re-writing of your homepage.

 

This section presents a recommended layout for your homepage in order to make it as search engine friendly as possible. This is where you set the theme of your site. Let's suppose the primary focus of your site is about online education. You also have secondary content that is there as alternative content for those not interested online education. There is also other content that you would like to share with your visitors. For example, this might include book reviews, humor, and links.

 

The top of your homepage, as discussed earlier is the most important. This is where you set the keywords and theme for the most important part of your site, the thing you really want to be found for.

Step By Step Page Optimization

Starting at the top of your index/home page something like this:

(After your logo or header graphic)

 

  • A heading tag that includes a keyword(s) or keyword phrases. A heading tag is bigger and bolder text than normal body text, so a search engine places more importance on it because you emphasize it.

 

  • Heading sizes range from h1 - h6 with h1 being the largest text. If you learn to use just a little Cascading Style Sheet code you can control the size of your headings. You could set an h1 sized heading to be only slightly larger than your normal text if you choose, and the search engine will still see it as an important heading.

 

 

  • Next would be an introduction that describes your main theme. This would include several of your top keywords and keyword phrases. Repeat your top 1 or 2 keywords several times, include other keyword search terms too, but make it read in sentences that makes sense to your visitors.

 

  • A second paragraph could be added that got more specific using other words related to online education.

 

 

  • Next you could put smaller heading.

 

  • Then you'd list the links to your pages, and ideally have a brief decision of each link using keywords and keyword phrases in the text. You also want to have several pages of quality content to link to. Repeat that procedure for all your links that relate to your theme.

 

 

  • Next you might include a closing, keyword laden paragraph. More is not necessarily better when it comes to keywords, at least after a certain point. Writing "online education" fifty times across your page would probably result in you being caught for trying to cheat. Ideally, somewhere from 3% - 20% of your page text would be keywords. The percentage changes often and is different at each search engine. The 3-20 rule is a general guideline, and you can go higher if it makes sense and isn't redundant.

 

 

  • Finally, you can list your secondary content of book reviews, humor, and links. Skip the descriptions if they aren't necessary, or they may water down your theme too much. If you must include descriptions for these non-theme related links, keep them short and sweet. You also might include all the other site sections as simply a link to another index that lists them all. You could call it Entertainment, Miscellaneous, or whatever. These can be sub-indexes that can be optimized toward their own theme, which is the ideal way to go.

 

Now you've set the all important top of your page up with a strong theme. So far so good, but this isn't the only way you can create a strong theme so don't be compelled into following this exact formula. This was just an example to show you one way to set up a strong site theme. Use your imagination, you many come up with an even better way.

 

 

One Site – One Theme

 

It's important to note that you shouldn't try to optimize your home page for more than one theme. They just end up weakening each other's strength when you do that. By using simple links to your alternative content, a link to your humor page can get folks where they want to go, and then you can write your humor page as a secondary index optimized toward a humor theme. In the end, each page should be optimized for search engines for the main topic of that page or site section.

Search engine optimization is made up of many simple techniques that work together to create a comprehensive overall strategy. This combination of techniques is greater as a whole than the sum of the parts. While you can skip any small technique that is a part of the overall strategy, it will subtract from the edge you'd gain by employing all the tactics.

 

Affiliate Sites & Dynamic URLs

 

In affiliate programs, sites that send you traffic and visitors, have to be paid on the basis of per click or other parameters (such as number of pages visited on your site, duration spent, transactions etc). Most common contractual understanding revolves around payment per click or click throughs. Affiliates use tracking software that monitors such clicks using a redirection measurement system. The validity of affiliate programs in boosting your link analysis is doubtful. Nevertheless, it is felt that it does not actually do any harm. It does provide you visitors, and that is important. In the case of some search engines re-directs may even count in favor of your link analysis. Use affiliate programs, but this is not a major strategy for optimization.

 

Several pages in e-commerce and other functional sites are generated dynamically and have “?” or “&” sign in their dynamic URLs. These signs separate the CGI variables. While Google will crawl these pages, many other engines will not. One inconvenient solution is to develop static equivalent of the dynamic pages and have them on your site.

 

Another way to avoid such dynamic URLs is to rewrite these URLs using a syntax that is accepted by the crawler and also understood as equivalent to the dynamic URL by the application server. The Amazon site shows dynamic URLs in such syntax. If you are using Apache web server, you can use Apache rewrite rules to enable this conversion.

 

One good tip is that you should prepare a crawler page (or pages) and submit this to the search engines. This page should have no text or content except for links to all the important pages that you wished to be crawled. When the spider reaches this page it would crawl to all the links and would suck all the desired pages into its index. You can also break up the main crawler page into several smaller pages if the size becomes too large. The crawler shall not reject smaller pages, whereas larger pages may get bypassed if the crawler finds them too slow to be spidered.

 

You do not have to be concerned that the result may throw up this “site-map” page and would disappoint the visitor. This will not happen, as the “site-map” has no searchable content and will not get included in the results, rather all other pages would. We found the site wired.com had published hierarchical sets of crawler pages. The first crawler page lists all the category headlines, these links lead to a set of links with all story headlines, which in turn lead to the news stories.

 

Page Size Can Be A Factor

We have written above that the spiders may bypass long and “difficult” pages. They would have their own time-out characteristics or other controls that help them come unstuck from such pages. So you do not want to have such a page become your “gateway” page. One tip is to keep the page size below 100 kb.

 

How many Pages To Submit?

 

You do not have to submit all the pages of your site. As stated earlier, many sites have restrictions on the number of pages you submit. A key page or a page that has links to many inner pages is ideal, but you must submit some inner pages. This insures that even if the first page is missed, the crawler does get to access other pages and all the important pages through them. Submit your key 3 to 4 pages at least. Choose the ones that have the most relevant content and keywords to suit your target search string and verify that they link to other pages properly.

Should You Use Frames?

 

Many websites make use of frames on their web pages. In some cases, more than two frames would be used on a single web page. The reason why most websites use frames is because each frame’s content has a different source. A master page known as a “frameset” controls the process of clubbing content from different sources into a single web page. Such frames make it easier for webmasters to club multiple sources into a single web page. This, however, has a huge disadvantage when it comes to Search Engines.

Some of the older Search Engines do not have the capability to read content from frames. These only crawl through the frameset instead of all the web pages. Consequently web pages with multiple frames are ignored by the spider. There are certain tags known as “NOFRAMES” (Information ignored by frames capable browser) that can be inserted in the HTML of these web pages. Spiders are able to read information within the NOFRAMES tags. Thus, Search Engines only see the Frameset. Moreover, there cannot be any links to other web pages in the NOFRAMES blocks. That means the search engines won't crawl past the frameset, thus ignoring all the content rich web pages that are controlled by the frameset.

 

Hence, it is always advisable to have web pages without frames as these could easily make your website invisible to Search Engines.

 

Making Frames Visible To Search Engines

We discussed earlier the prominence of frames based websites. Many amateur web designers do not understand the drastic effects frames can have on search engine visibility. Such ignorance is augmented by the fact that some Search Engines such as Google and Ask.com are actually frames capable. Ask.com spiders can crawl through frames and index all web pages of a website. However, this is only true for a few Search Engines.

 

The best solution as stated above is to avoid frames all together.  If you still decide to use frames another remedy to this problem is using Javascript. Javascript can be added anywhere and is visible to Search Engines. These would enable spiders to crawl to other web pages, even if they do not recognize frames.

 

With a little trial and error, you can make your frame sites accessible to both types of search engines.

 

STOP Words

Stop words are common words that are ignored by search engines at the time of searching a key phrase. This is done in order to save space on their server, and also to accelerate the search process.

 

When a search is conducted in a search engine, it will exclude the stop words from the search query, and will use the query by replacing all the stop words with a marker. A marker is a symbol that is substituted with the stop words. The intention is to save space. This way, the search engines are able to save more web pages in that extra space, as well as retain the relevancy of the search query.

 

Besides, omitting a few words also speeds up the search process. For instance, if a query consists of three words, the Search Engine would generally make three runs for each of the words and display the listings. However, if one of the words is such that omitting it does not make a difference to search results, it can be excluded from the query and consequently the search process becomes faster. Some commonly excluded "stop words" are:

 

after, also, an, and, as, at, be, because, before, between, but, before, for, however, from, if, in, into, of, or, other, out, since, such, than, that, the, these, there, this, those, to, under, upon, when, where, whether, which, with, within, without

 

Image Alt Tag Descriptions

 

Search engines are unable to view graphics or distinguish text that might be contained within them. For this reason, most engines will read the content of the image ALT tags to determine the purpose of a graphic. By taking the time to craft relevant, yet keyword rich ALT tags for the images on your web site, you increase the keyword density of your site.

 

Although many search engines read and index the text contained within ALT tags, it's important NOT to go overboard in using these tags as part of your SEO campaign. Most engines will not give this text any more weight than the text within the body of your site.

 

Invisible & Tiny Text

 

Invisible text is content on a web site that is coded in a manner that makes it invisible to human visitors, but readable by search engine spiders. This is done in order to artificially inflate the keyword density of a web site without affecting the visual appearance of it. Hidden text is a recognized spam tactic and nearly all of the major search engines recognize and penalize sites that use this tactic.

This is the technique of placing text on a page in a small font size. Pages that are predominantly heavy in tiny text may be dismissed as spam. Or, the tiny text may not be indexed. As a general guideline, try to avoid pages where the font size is predominantly smaller than normal. Make sure that you're not spamming the engine by using keyword after keyword in a very small font size. Your tiny text may be a copyright notice at the very bottom of the page, or even your contact information. If so, that's fine.

 

Keyword Stuffing & Spamming

Important keywords and descriptions should be used in your content in visible Meta tags and you should choose the words carefully and position them near the top and have proper frequency for such words. However it is very important to adopt moderation in this. Keyword stuffing or spamming is a No-No today. Most search engine algorithms can spot this, bypass the spam and some may even penalize it.

 

Dynamic URLs

 

Several pages in e-commerce and other functional sites are generated dynamically and have? or & sign in their dynamic URLs. These signs separate the CGI variables. While Google will crawl these pages, many other engines will not. One inconvenient solution is to develop static equivalent of the dynamic pages and have them on your site. Another way to avoid such dynamic URLs is to rewrite these URLs using a syntax that is accepted by the crawler and also understood as equivalent to the dynamic URL by the application server. The Amazon site shows dynamic URLs in such syntax. If you are using Apache web server, you can use Apache rewrite rules to enable this conversion.

 

Re-Direct Pages

 

Sometimes pages have a Meta refresh tag that redirects any visitor automatically to another page. Some search engines refuse to index a page that has a high refresh rate. The meta refresh tag however does not affect Google.

 

Image Maps Without ALT Text

Avoid image maps without text or with links. Image maps should have alt text (as also required under the American Disabilities Act, for public websites) and the home page should not have images as links. Instead HTML links should be used. This is because search engines would not read image links and the linked pages may not get crawled.

 

Frames

 

There are some engines whose spiders won’t work with frames on your site. A web page that is built using frames is actually a combination of content from separate “pages” that have been blended into a single page through a ‘frameset’ instruction page. The frameset page does not have any content or links that would have promoted spidering. The frameset page could block the spider’s movement. The workaround is by placing a summary of the page content and relevant description in the frameset page and also by placing a link to the home page on it.

 

Tables

When you use tables on the key pages and if some columns have descriptions while others have numbers, it is possible that this may push your keywords down the page. Search engines break up the table and read them for the content the columns have. The first column is read first, then the next and so on. Thus if the first column had numbers, and the next one had useful descriptions, the positioning of these descriptions will suffer. The strategy is to avoid using such tables near the top of the key pages. Large sections of Java scripts also will have the same effect on the search engines. The HTML part will be pushed down. Thus again, place your long Javascripts lower down on key pages.

 

Link Spamming

 

Realizing the importance of links and link analysis in search engine results, several link farms and Free for All sites have appeared that offer to provide links to your site. This is also referred to as link spamming. Most search engines are smarter to this obvious tactic and know how to spot this. Such FFA sites, as they are known, do not provide link quality or link context, two factors that are important in link analysis. Thus the correct strategy is to avoid link spamming and not get carried away by what seems to be too simple a solution.

 

Conclusion

 

If you’re looking for some simple things that you can do to increase the position of your sites rank in the search engines or directories, this section will give you some hard hitting and simple tips that you can put into action right away.

 

What Should You Do Now?

 

It is worth cataloging the basic principles to be enforced to increase website traffic and search engine rankings.

 

  • Create a site with valuable content, products or services.

 

 

  • Place primary and secondary keywords within the first 25 words in your page content and spread them evenly throughout the document.

 

 

  • Research and use the right keywords/phrases to attract your target customers.

 

 

  • Use your keywords in the right fields and references within your web page. Like Title, META tags, Headers, etc.

 

 

  • Keep your site design simple so that your customers can navigate easily between web pages, find what they want and buy products and services.

 

 

  • Submit your web pages i.e. every web page and not just the home page, to the most popular search engines and directory services. Hire someone to do so, if required. Be sure this is a manual submission. Do not engage an automated submission service.

 

 

  • Keep track of changes in search engine algorithms and processes and accordingly modify your web pages so your search engine ranking remains high. Use online tools and utilities to keep track of how your website is doing.

 

 

  • Monitor your competitors and the top ranked websites to see what they are doing right in the way of design, navigation, content, keywords, etc.

 

 

  • Use reports and logs from your web hosting company to see where your traffic is coming from. Analyze your visitor location and their incoming sources whether search engines or links from other sites and the keywords they used to find you.

 

 

  • Make your customer visit easy and give them plenty of ways to remember you in the form of newsletters, free reports, reduction coupons etc.

 

 

  • Demonstrate your industry and product or service expertise by writing and submitting articles for your website or for article banks so you are perceived as an expert in your field.

 

 

  • When selling products online, use simple payment and shipment methods to make your customer’s experience fast and easy.

 

  • When not sure, hire professionals. Though it may seem costly, but it is a lot less expensive than spending your money on a website which no one visits.

 

 

  • Don’t look at your website as a static brochure. Treat it as a dynamic, ever-changing sales tool and location, just like your real store to which your customers with the same seriousness.
Search Engine Optimization – A Guide To Increasing Organic Traffic2021-06-30T14:03:40-05:00

The Twenty Business Books You Should Read In 2021

2021-06-08T11:16:52-05:00

1.The Lean Startup

Author: Eric Ries
This book is all about how Eric Ries defines startup. He also provide a scientific approach in creating and managing successful startups in an age when companies need to innovate more than ever.

2. The 4-Hour Workweek

Author: Timothy Ferriss
This book is all about what he refers to as “lifestyle design” and a repudiation of the traditional “deferred” life plan in which people work grueling hours and take few vacations for decades and save money in order to relax after retirement.

3. Rework

Author: Jason Fried and David Hansson
This book shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own.

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale Carnegie
This book contained sections providing colorful anecdotes and insightful wisdom. It gave instruction in handling people, winning friends, bringing people to your way of thinking, being a great leader, and navigating home life successfully. It takes Carnegie’s time-tested prescription for relationship and business success, and applies them to the digital age.

5. How Will You Measure Your Life

Author: Clayton Christensen
This book contained a series of fundamental questions everyone asks themselves at some point of time.

6. Linchpin

Author: Seth Godin
It’s a guide on how to become a linchpin at your company — that is, how to differentiate yourself from other “cogs in the machine” to become truly indispensable.

7. Presence

Author: Amy Cuddy
This book presence explains the ways that our brain’s self-perception can be manipulated to overcome insecurity to allow us to be more confident and assertive

8. Blue Ocean Strategy

Author: W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
This book proposed a system that would allow businesses to “create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant.

9. The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage

Author: Daymond John
This Power of Broke is an entertaining mix of practical advice, success stories and behind-the-scenes Shark Tank tales.

10. The Creator’s Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

Author: Amy Wilkinson
The Creator’s Code reveals six skills that make creators of all kinds of endeavors breakthrough. These skills aren’t rare gifts or slim chance talents. Entrepreneurship, Wilkinson demonstrates, is accessible to everyone.

11. Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business

Author: Paul Downs
This book is all about the experience of Paul Downs on how he survive his business. It’s a story of trying to figure it out, day by day, and all the mistakes and false starts every business runs into along the way.

12. The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World

Author: Aaron Hurst
A series of shifts are happening in our economy: Millennials are trading in conventional career paths to launch tech start-ups, start small businesses that are rooted in local communities, or freelance their expertise. We are sharing everything, from bikes and cars, to extra rooms in our homes.

13. The Richest Man in Babylon

Author: George S. Clason
The book begins with two men realizing that, while they lived a meager existence, one of their childhood friends had become known as the wealthiest man in Babylon. Despite growing up in similar circumstances, their friend seemed to have created a life of gold while they barely scratched out a living.

14. Think and Grow Rich

Author: Napoleon Hill
This book condensed the wealth of knowledge he’s accumulated into 13 principles for successful living.

15. The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical and Spiritual Steps So You Can Stop Worrying

Author: Suze Orman
In this acclaimed book, Orman challenges readers to face their financial fears and acknowledge the importance of planning for the future. With a three-pronged approach, Orman tackles the mental, physical and spiritual issues that keep people from reaching financial freedom.

16. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Author: Stephen Covey
This book takes a total approach to success and encourages growth and maturity beginning with self, which leads to stronger relationships and greater success at home and at work.

17. Lean Business Planning: Get What You Want From Your Business

Author: Tim Berry
This books focuses in creating a mega business plan, with lean business planning, Berry encourages readers to create a manageable plan that will help them achieve their goals.

18. Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big

Author: Julia Pimsleur
The author shares her own story of becoming one of few women to be backed by venture capital in this book. She also introduces readers to other women who have built powerful networks and raised capital for their businesses, pushing past the hump of being “mom and pop” and onward to huge growth.

19. Invisible Selling Machine

Author: Ryan Deiss
In his book, he shares marketing automation tools and tips you can use to generate more sales in your business.

20. No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust

Author: Joanne S. Black
In her book, you’ll learn how to hook potential clients to make them want more. She also includes selling scripts, presentation techniques, advice, and tips to help you get more referrals and sales.

How many of these books have you read? Is there something else that you would like to add on our list? Don’t hesitate to let us know.

The Twenty Business Books You Should Read In 20212021-06-08T11:16:52-05:00

Three Ways to Re-purpose Content and Connect with Serious Buyers through Social Media

2021-05-26T10:45:25-05:00

So you’ve created a Facebook page for your company and a LinkedIn profile. Your business has a Twitter profile and you might be considering Google+ or Pinterest. You have social media visibility, but do you have a presence?

It all depends on what you’re posting.

Different sources provide different ratios for how much of your social media content should be self-promotional versus informational, but the verdict is clear on the necessity of both. Informational posts position your company as an industry expert and have the potential to expose your product or service to customers before your sales team even picks up the phone. The earlier you can make an impression in your customers’ buying process, the more likely you are to land the client.

So where is all of this quality content supposed to come from? Chances are, you’re already sitting on tons of it. Any technical material that your organization has produced to walk potential buyers through the purchasing process is ideal for social media posts. That can include everything from white papers and PowerPoint presentations to product brochures and sales scripts. The key to unlocking the power of these items as compelling social media content is knowing how to repurpose the message:

Use “teasing education”: Repurpose a product demo as a YouTube video and post only the first thirty or sixty seconds of it. Ask your community to visit your booth at an upcoming trade show appearance or check out your website to see the remainder of the demo.

Extract nine lives out of every piece: Turn a presentation or a product training video into a Slide Share presentation or a webinar (see “26 Webinar Tools for Small Business Owners” on SmallBizTrends.com for the how-to). Turn the webinar into a podcast. Turn the podcast into a blog post. Turn quotes from the blog post into attention-getting visuals for Twitter and Facebook. Comb through the feedback you get from all of these channels to find an angle for a press release. All of these make for valuable, informative social media posts.

Create and contribute guest posts: Do you have a channel partner or a vendor whose products or service compliments your own? Gain exposure with a new audience and expand your presence by taking any piece of repurposed content you’ve shared with your communities and share it as a guest post.

Does your organization use techniques that aren’t covered here? Share them in the comments. For more tips on how businesses of any size can cost-efficiently reach their customers, follow, friend and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Three Ways to Re-purpose Content and Connect with Serious Buyers through Social Media2021-05-26T10:45:25-05:00

5 Tips for Choosing Effective Marketing Content

2021-05-26T10:45:26-05:00

Content marketing is the best way to get information to your clients or customers. This is also the perfect way to gain the trust of your customers and increase your sales. The problem is choosing the most effective type of content and presenting it in an attention getting manner. Here are some tips on choosing the most effective content for your content marketing.

1. Point out your competitive advantages. People, in general, want to avoid painful experiences as much as possible. Pointing out all the ways your business overcame obstacles to make life easier for your potential customers works to your advantage. Top ten lists on this kind of thing such as “10 most common mistakes” or “10 things you don’t want to do” are especially effective in driving people to you, rather than your competitor. I’m not saying you should specify or point fingers at specific competitors here. That’s not professional. Instead, use general statements and point out what makes your company better than others.

2. Give out industry “secrets.” They are not really secrets but if you let people think they are then their trust in you grows. Create content with bulleted lists showing how to do things faster and easier or how to make something work better. People love lists about things because lists are easy to filter through and pick out those points that pertain to them specifically. They also help people retain the information.

3. Organize it for them. One of the biggest hurdles for some people is the organization of certain things. Do the work for them by giving them plans and ways to organize things to make their life simpler. If you can make something straightforward and easy for someone, they will appreciate it and repay you with their business.

4. Answer common questions. When you're discussing a common problem or situation, people tend to have the same questions. By providing the answers before someone even asks the questions, you make them feel more comfortable. It gives them the impression your company truly cares about them and their needs because you’ve taken the time to learn what they want or need.

5. Latest trends reports. This is a way to help your clients and customers keep up to date with the latest information from your company. This type of content lists the newest information or technologies and explains them in an easy to understand fashion.

Effective content marketing is all about continually giving the client or customer whatever information they deem useful. It demonstrates to prospects your company is paying attention to the needs of their clients and responding in an resourceful and expeditious manner. If the frequency and/or quality of information begins to slow down, your client base will begin to find another source of information, taking their sales dollars with them.

Making use of a freelance writing service is a good way to fulfill the needs of consistent and effective content writing. By using writers to help create your content, you can easily continue to provide fresh, new content. Once you have the articles, reports and other documents, offer them to your customers freely through email or a blog. Not only will your customers thank you in replies and comments but, more importantly, with their continued loyalty.

5 Tips for Choosing Effective Marketing Content2021-05-26T10:45:26-05:00

The 7 Most Common Marketing Mistakes

2021-05-26T10:45:26-05:00

When marketing your product or service, you need to have a firm understanding of your audience, the message you want to deliver, the offer you’re willing to make, and the optimal timing for your marketing campaign.

Too often novice marketers, even marketing veterans, make costly mistakes that result in poor performance of their marketing campaign. Common marketing mistakes can be avoided with adequate planning, attention to detail, and ongoing measurement and evaluation.

If you’re considering a traditional marketing campaign, an Internet marketing campaign, or something that’s never been tried before, be sure to avoid these common marketing mistakes.

1. Timing. You may have a great list, a fantastic offer, and even a well designed marketing piece, but if your timing is off, so too will be your results. As an experienced marketer, I have seen some very expensive marketing campaigns that were very compelling but failed to produce results. This is because the campaign reached consumers at a time in which they had no interest in buying the product. For example, trying to sell snow shovels in July would not be considered good timing.

2. Failure to Test Your Headline. As the first thing your prospect usually reads, the headline is essential for luring your prospective buyer into the message, your offer, and the action you want them to take. Regardless of the medium, you should continually test your headlines (or subject lines) by running split tests and evaluating response. This ensures that your marketing message attracts the largest number of prospective buyers.

3. Failure to Test Your Offer. In direct marketing, the offer is directly correlated to 40% of your response. If you have the right offer, people respond. There are other factors to consider as well, but providing a compelling offer is required in most instances. Offers can range from discounts to “hurry while supplies last”, but the commonality remains. Test your offers for optimizing response.

4. Having a Good List. Having the best offer and award-winning design is not enough. For many types of marketing campaigns, success is directly tied to having a targeted list. With today’s sophisticated list generation tools, you can acquire lists that are highly segmented based on demographics, psychographics, buying behavior, and many other characteristics. The key here is not to be penny wise and pound foolish. If you’re wondering where to invest your marketing dollars, spend them on developing a good house list (names you acquire on your own) or by renting/purchasing a well segmented marketing list.

5. Relying on a Single Communication. On average, consumers are hit with over 2,000 marketing messages everyday. In fact, recent studies have indicated that consumers need to see your marketing message an average of 12 times before they take notice. If there is any truth to the claim in part or in whole, it means that you must communicate to prospects on a regular basis. Placing a single ad in the newspaper or sending a single email cannot deliver effective results. Determine the media that prospects use to gather information and develop an ongoing campaign that works within your budget.

6. Not Measuring Campaign Effectiveness. Over time, your business is going to do a lot of marketing. Even if you are a small business wondering how you’re going to communicate to a prospective audience, you’re going to eventually have some type of communication. Regardless of the marketing campaign size or expense, you need to track your results. This can be done with a simple spreadsheet or a multi-million dollar CRM system. The bottom line is you need to record what works and what doesn’t so that you can improve your results in the future.

7. Failure to Continue the Dialogue. After consulting for a number of large companies, I’m still amazed at how many fail to communicate to customers on an ongoing basis. Often times, consumers or businesses only hear from the seller when its time to buy again. If you have an established customer base, chances are you’ve worked hard to acquire them. You should be spending some of your marketing budget to retain them. Be sure to open a dialogue with customers, solicit their feedback, and communicate with them regularly. This will help to build your business over the long-term.

If you’re new to marketing, have experience as a marketing professional, or simply want to improve your current marketing results, be sure to learn from the mistakes of others. To be successful, continually work towards improving your marketing effectiveness. Avoid the 7 most common marketing mistakes, and you’re on your way to delivering tangible results.

The 7 Most Common Marketing Mistakes2021-05-26T10:45:26-05:00

Brand Consistency At Trade Shows

2021-05-26T10:45:26-05:00

Corporations often need to exhibit at simultaneous trade shows in different locales and for different reasons. They often have two trade show exhibits in the same city at the same time. Going one step further, a company may even have two separate trade show exhibits at the same trade show.

Oracle is an example of a company exhibiting at two trade shows at the same time in the same city. Why does this happen?

Quite simply, each trade show appearance had a different objective. One trade show exhibit concentrated on new lead generation, while the other trade show display’s focus was on new product launches. Even though these trade shows differed, Oracle’s message needed to be consistent in presenting their corporate brand. Trade show visitors may have a different agenda for attending each trade show, but the corporate message must remain consistent and easily identified with the corporate DNA.

Every aspect of trade show exhibit presence also must match up with company promotional materials, advertising, public relations, online marketing, website and direct mail. Companies lose identity when they dilute their image with mixed messages. Marketing pros say the golden rule is to stay true to your corporate message, reinforce the brand, and let everything else follow suit.

Event Marketer Magazine advises corporate marketers to be wary of delegating trade show activities to their product development staff. Product teams understandably tend to focus on products rather than the corporate message. This can seriously undermine the corporate image agenda.

So, in order to avoid mixed messages, pre show briefings with all the trade show staff team are essential. Then be sure to keep communication channels open and ongoing. Be on guard for any off the wall, wacky surprises that could distort your presentation. Also, have company monitors drop in at the trade show booths on the trade show exhibit hall to assure that the discipline of your corporate exhibiting goals is maintained.

As an example, Event Marketer Magazine sites the experience of DaimlerChrysler. With some 60 national auto shows, DaimlerChrysler works with its eight business units to develop trade show programs for these multi-market trade shows. They then send staffers from zone offices to check on the execution at the trade show. “Although we all have the objective of moving the metal, we also have to maintain the brand consistency,” says director of global event marketing Don Schmid. “That doesn’t always fit into what the dealers want to do.”

The DaimlerChrysler zone staffers leave a show after a few days, and dealers are often tempted to add additional makes and models to the exhibit space. “They might try and move in 15 percent more vehicles, which makes the space look like a parking lot,” says Schmid. “We have to be ready at all times to play sheriff.”

When exhibiting at a trade show, here are a few things to remember about corporate image reinforcement and brand consistency:

Understand the basic objectives of the design your corporate look.

Adhere to the parameters of the corporate image guidebook. All visuals must meet specific guidelines. Be aware not only of the physical specifications of visuals but also how to incorporate them for trade shows with multiple audiences and products. Stay true to your corporate colors and fonts and be conscious of how the name of the company is used.

Be consistent in your brand “mindset” –whether it be upscale, sophisticated, young or old. Not only with the way your trade show exhibit looks, but also with the dress style and comportment of your trade show booth staff.

Be sure everyone who represents your company is knowledgeable about all communication aspects of the company. Be able to articulate the brand in trade show booth graphics, sales pitches, promotional hand outs, email and web messages, even on business cards.

Many brands such as Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, Apple Computer Inc. in Cupertino, eBay in San Jose, Google in Mountain View, Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto, Oracle in Redwood City, and Sun Microsystems of Santa Clara have distinctive logos and have a certain “personality” and feel about them.

Although they are all in the high tech industry, each of the brands is noted for their individual character. All have colorful and consistent images. Their brands are distinctive and successful, and their representatives have learned to speak with one voice.

Your company’s brand image will have a much great return on investment if you enforce these
basic disciplines.

Brand Consistency At Trade Shows2021-05-26T10:45:26-05:00

Grabbing Attention Outside The Exhibit Hall –

2021-05-26T10:45:27-05:00

To be competitive today, trade show exhibitors not only need to grab attention to their trade show displays inside the exhibit hall but also beyond the exhibit floor.

More and more, creative trade show exhibitors attract crowds to their trade show booth by using nearby venues as a springboard. Attracting attention at neighboring hotels where the trade show visitors are staying or public places where attendees frequent, is a good start. This goes for neighboring restaurants, bus routes, cabs and local night clubs as well.

Increasingly, instead of letting a custom or trade show diplay rental at the expo stand on its own, savvy marketers are adding value by identifying key places outside the trade show to tee up traffic to the trade show display arena.

Event Marketer Magazine spotted three brands that successfully made the tie-in connection to their trade show booth from sites outside the exposition hall.

The first was in Chicago. GE Healthcare launched their campaign, Healthcare Reimagined at the Radiological Society of North America trade show in Chicago in 2005. They were on the lookout for popular locations outside the trade show hall to enhance awareness of their trade show display presence. According to Sean Burke of GE Healthcare’s Diagnostic Imaging and Services, “We were looking for something different that would create word of mouth and buzz.”

The trade show had over 60,000 attendees staying in Chicago. GE came up with the concept of all-white-clad “molecule people” that roamed Chicago sites before and after show hours, in nearby hotels and on the RSNA bus routes, as well as at neighboring restaurants and night clubs.

Wearing branding for GE Healthcare, the all white molecule actors batted around giant inflatable molecule structures and used bubble machines to complete the look and feel of what they wanted to portray. They were able to visually and kinetically capture the health care aspect of GE Diagnostic Imaging. This played directly to the imagery created at their trade show exhibit.

The second was at a consumer oriented show in Washington DC. A month before the Auto Show, Chevrolet started its awareness campaign at sites around the capital city. They set up mini tailgating parties out of the backs of Chevy Silverado Hybrids at construction sites, George Washington University, Home Depot stores and commuter rail stations. Consumers got to drink coffee and play Xbox 360 games. Chevy representatives gave out cards to visitors they could redeem at the trade show for a chance to win a Silverado Hybrid.

Chevy wanted to drive traffic to the trade show display. It worked. The results were measurable and dramatic. Because the scan cards were handed out at dealers and at the tailgate parties, over 20,000 consumers visited the trade show booth or were able to scan their cards with Chevy reps in the convention main lobby. The scan cards brought in 1,900 dealer leads.

The third one was in Las Vegas. That city is a natural for all types of trade show display marketers every hour of the day. At the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas in 2005, Yahoo! wanted to draw attention to a custom auto web site among car enthusiasts. So they decided to customize two Mitsubishis inside their trade show display booth.

To complete their exposure they went outside to showcase their cars on the Las Vegas Strip. Yahoo! hit it big. Knowing that Las Vegas is always wide awake 24/7, they were able to shut down traffic on the Las Vegas Strip at 3 a.m. Even at that time, throngs of people watched their two custom Mitsubishis race down the strip. “We didn’t want to just do a booth and pass things out,” says Bennett Porter Yahoo!’s senior director-buzz marketing. Emulating Frank Sinatra, he continues, “We wanted to do it our way.”

The above are just a few of the examples of how you can use outlying venues to tie into your trade show display.

So let’s say your firm is in the electronics field and you want exposure for your upcoming trade show appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area. With the high tech industry so heavily concentrated in Silicon Valley, California, many of the high tech leaders live there.

There’s Yahoo’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, Apple Computer Inc. based in Cupertino, eBay based in San Jose, and Google headquartered in Mountain View, to name a few. You can focus on Silicon Valley executives and market to them within close access to Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, and the Santa Clara and San Jose Conference Centers.

The hotels, restaurants, athletic clubs and other popular sites make them targets for high tech trade show tie in messages once the high tech trade show comes to town.

It’s smart to think outside the trade show exhibit hall box to compound your trade show exhibit investment.

Grabbing Attention Outside The Exhibit Hall –2021-05-26T10:45:27-05:00

Plan Your Digital Marketing Process

2021-05-26T10:45:27-05:00

Whether you are a one-map operation of a vast corporation (or any business operation that falls between the two), you need to plan your digital marketing process if you are going to have any kind of benefit derived from your marketing efforts. The bigger a business grows the more elaborate and sophisticated the marketing tools become. The thing is that these tools can help anyone but unless you are on the larger side of the business pool, you probably cannot hire twenty people to analyze the global market and present a report telling you exactly where your business is, where the competitors are, what they are doing, what you need to do, how to do it, and how much it will cost for how long.

However, just because it sounds so intimidating does not mean that you can it without further thought. You do not need an army of marketing gurus in order to plan your digital marketing process. All it needs a little common sense and business acumen, both of which can be acquired through education, training, and experience.

The best to go in case you are new to the whole digital marketing game is to do what is known as "micro level planning". Micro planning is a good way to knowing exactly where you are and where you wish to go from here.

Here is how to plan your digital marketing process using micro planning.

Being by asking yourself a simple question: Why are you marketing on the digital anyway? Is it to increase public awareness, to increase sales, just to build a community, or all three? Then you should note down how much of your marketing efforts would be online and how much time you intend to spend on online marketing tasks.

There are many strategies to help you plan your digital marketing process. Make a checklist of the ones that you would like to use including but not limited to Forums, eBooks, Newsletters, Contests, Banners, Articles, and Viral Marketing.

What type of analysis will your marketing be subjected to? What is the return on investment that you expect and how are you going to monitor it? What is your annual digital marketing budget and how will this be divided among the various marketing strategies that you have selected?

Timelines are equally important because they help you to set milestones. Without timelines you are in constant danger or falling behind or getting confused within your plan for digital marketing. Keep a strict note for dates and time all projects.

Plan Your Digital Marketing Process2021-05-26T10:45:27-05:00

Asking for Referrals – 4 Quick Questions That Get More Business

2021-05-26T10:45:28-05:00

Have booth staffers prepare questions that they can ask of attendees at the networking event for specific types of referrals. Most people are happy to help and make introductions. Here are a few examples they can use to start with:

  • Is there anyone here you can refer me to who needs a ____ type of product (service)?
  • I'm hoping to meet with ____, can you point me in the right direction?
  • Can you suggest people I can speak with about ____?
  • One of my goals for today is to meet someone who does/supplies (____). Do you know of anyone here who fits that description? Can you introduce me?
  • NOTE: Add specific phrases for your business to this list and provide to booth staffers.
Asking for Referrals – 4 Quick Questions That Get More Business2021-05-26T10:45:28-05:00

Trade Show Booth Staff Training Is Essential

2021-05-26T10:45:28-05:00

Never underestimate the importance of your trade show booth staff.

They are your front line ambassadors and the critical links to your overall trade show success. It makes sense that if you want to have a positive experience at your trade show display, you need to pay attention to all the elements of trade show exhibiting. By putting a premium on grooming and training your trade show booth staff, you can rest easy they will be performing at their best.

The first step in your company’s trade show venture, then, is to recognize the importance of the trade show booth personnel. The second step is to invest in the training of your booth people.

To launch this process, make sure you get executive “buy in”. If top management respects and values their trade show team, then face- to- face training skills become effective. Remember the key value of exhibiting at the trade show is to engage real people about real products/services in real time. A typical company representative can often hold meaningful conversations with about 3 or 4 people in a ½ hour at a trade show as opposed to spending an entire day in the conventional field selling process.

Not only are the number of prospect contacts at trade show increased, but the entire sales cycle can also be sped up as well. Trade show display training helps fine tune this process, making it a positive experience for prospects and your staff. What is the logical end benefit? A boost in sales productivity is more likely to follow. On the other hand, untrained booth staff can trigger negative reactions and turn prospects away.

According to Matt Hill, a trade show trainer and president of The Hill Group, in San Jose, California, “The finishing touches of booth staff training usually take place at a pre -show meeting either the night before the trade show begins or early in the morning of the first day of the show. The training covers all those fundamentals that a lot of people don't understand or don’t think to do.”

He says that research shows you must engage the person within 15 to 20 seconds of their presence at your trade show booth or lose them. What attracts people to the trade show booth is a friendly staff in addition to alluring exhibit elements such as sound, motion, and color. Your staff generates excitement by being enthusiastic and helpful. If one staff person cannot respond to a visitor’s inquiry, that staff member is trained to escort the visitor over to another staff person who has the answers and can be of help,” he adds.

Hill has conducted trade show training for many companies for shows around the world and closeby to home at the Henry J Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, to Moscone Center in San Francisco to Convention Centers in Santa Clara and San Jose. He has trained Silicon Valley companies headquartered in Cupertino, Mipitas, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, San Jose and beyond to Sacramento and throughout Northern California.

With regard to the nuances of booth staff training, Hill says, "A lot of technical people never thought their jobs involved anything but answering questions or talking to each other. We get them to look at the strategy of the trade show. The basic strategy of going to a trade show is to get face time with people who might become customers. It's really quite that clean and simple.”

Some booth staff behaviors to avoid include: talking to other booth members when they should be engaging prospects, talking rather than listening to booth visitors and making social mistakes that turn customers away such as chewing gum, avoiding eye contact, sitting rather than standing, etc.

Even when training is done properly, keeping the momentum going over 3 days of a trade show is a challenge, so here are some things for the trade show exhibit manager to consider to keep their trade show display staff motivated:

Give them the confidence to successfully understand and manage visitors by using sound training techniques

Give the staff constant feedback during the show. Give them a specific goal and tell them exactly where they are in reaching that goal.

Listen to their feedback – make them feel like an integral part of the show and that they are truly making a difference. Ask them what they like about the booth and what they would change.

Give the trade show display staff a say in what is going on

Give them incentives for a job well done

And provide lots of water to keep them hydrated

A clever incentive offered by Matt Hill is a $2 dollar bill given out when he sees someone doing something right. It is a real morale booster and even the CEO of a company who gets a $2 dollar bill gets a big kick from it. Hill specially orders the bills from the bank and hands them out to booth staff people who are asking the right questions of visitors or who do their work with style, enthusiasm and, of course, good boothmanship.

Trade Show Booth Staff Training Is Essential2021-05-26T10:45:28-05:00

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Eli’s expertise was developed through a series of successful ventures including B2B trade show development and management, developing and utilizing effective content platforms, in addition to automates sales and marketing adaptations. Additionally he has founded sales and service operations in the energy industry.

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