Archives for November 2008

Making SEO Progress on a Tightened Budget

With tight budgets these days I get asked regularly, “what can I do to improve my business online in 2009 even if I can’t expand my budget?”

I have found, many entrepreneurs and small business people are in the dark when it comes to gauging how successful they are with their web marketing. It’s not their fault. They wear a lot of hats on a day to day basis.

But here is something you can do for FREE that will have good implications for years to come. Google offers free traffic analyzation software. The sooner you get Google Analytics installed correctly on your web site, the sooner you will have a better handle on where your web business is headed.

If you install this software before 1/1/09 you can have statistics for the entire 2009 year. Because, it really takes gathering this information for a year before you can begin to compare and discover success or failure in your online efforts. For over ten years we have been supplying our clients with regular Search Engine Ranking Reports. In fact, of course, they ride along in our monthly newsletter to you ! What we are now beginning to see is the need for more decision making information than just “where does the website rank”. That is one part of the equation. But now that you have established a presence on the web, it’s time to improve ! That’s where analyzing same-month, year over year data can really come into play. A successful search engine optimization campaign should show an increasing amount of traffic from the search engines. So if you had 100 visitors from Google in January 2009 and when we get to January 2010, we find that you receive 125 visitors from Google a year later, that could be construed as a 25% increase in search engine traffic, year over year.

We would be happy to help you install Google Analytics, or consult your web developer. It is important that the tracking code be placed on every page of your site. And when you add new pages, that you include the code to them as well.

In concert with all of this, we are unveiling a new two-tiered Maintenance Package to our clients. Right now, our clients go into SEO maintenance after we have delivered three Ranking Reports. You pay a nominal amount and we continue to send you reports and are available for consulting on any web marketing matter, as well, as long as you tell us you have changed or added a web page, unlimited SEO work on those new and changed pages. This activity keeps your site fully optimized to capture the maximum possible traffic. Without this, your web site would slowly erode over the course of time until it was no longer optimized causing a loss of search engine rankings. Now, we will continue to offer this super, low priced retainer service. But additionally, we will offer a higher level of Maintenance to those clients wishing more. This level will consist of quarterly Analytics Review as well as annual Usability Review, designed to wring the most out of your Web Presence as is possible.

If you are interested in learning more about a more aggressive Maintenance package going forward into the new year, just drop us a line. But, even if you don’t, take a few moments to put traffic tracking into play before the first of the year, so you can have a full year of data to compare this time next year!

Chris Tucker

VIDEO: Google Analytics – Everything You Need to Know

Protect Your Brand a.k.a. CYA

Don’t know what CYA is? Keep reading!

This month I had the unpleasant task of wrestling with MySpace to recover a trademarked name that was being used on their network. MS was good about the whole process, and returned the account to its rightful owner – the registered owner of the trademark. A lot of valuable time could have been saved if the registered owner had performed a CYA maneuver two years ago when we discussed it.

Here are two CYA procedures that I highly recommend your organization perform immediately.

This Needs to be Done by Your Organization
1. Register your domain name in all the important extension formats. This includes .COM, .NET, .ORG, .BIZ, .US, and .INFO In addition, I am going to suggest covering the .MOBI and if you are a travel organization, you might consider the .TRAVEL. The reason for registering these is primarily to protect your brand from abuse. There may be some very good reasons for developing these into assets, now or in the future. Better “safe than sorry!”

Netrafic Clients can Receive Assistance With This Task
2. Register your trademarked brand or business name in all the popular social networks. If you are not using these now, you will be in the future. Here is a partial list of the top social networks to cover.

Flickr, Youtube, Squidoo, Hubpages, WordPress, Typepad, Blogspot, Myspace, Technorati, Delicious, Digg, Linkedin, Picasa, StumbleUpon, Twitter

You might also consider registering your brand name at Ebay, to prevent people from associating your brand with an Ebay seller.

Netrafic Tip: You can check your brand name vs. registration username for most top social networks on one website with the click of your mouse, visit usernamecheck.com – thanks to Scott Fish for that little nugget!

Still confused about CYA? Just Google it!

Travel Websites Experience Visitor Loss

Don’t shoot the observer … Shoot at the observation!

The online travel sector has experienced a general downturn in visitors looking to “get out of dodge” in the fourth quarter of 2008. Its easy to explain, but hard to deal with. Money’s tight, transportation costs are up, the economy is staggering, and attentions have been focused on politics, just to mention a few factors. Estimates from various sources inside the travel industry put the decline in traffic from 10% to over 40% compared year over year, 2007 to 2008.

Looking at some of the online travel blue-chips metrics courtesy of Alexa you can see an overall trending decline since summer.

Here we Compare Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz traffic trends for the last 12+ months.

Travel Website Trends

There is no quick and easy turn-around solution, but let me give you a formula for failure; Worry and Wait to see what happens. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the word, “Wait” as “to remain temporarily neglected or unrealized…” Now that’s no way to build your business!

Here is what are we doing over at Netrafic to help you fight this trend. Plus, some ideas to help you keep and grow your market-share during this stagnant period.

Build Organic (free) Traffic:

Netrafic Can Help With the Following:
Tune your organic SEO program to get the best positions you can.

Optimize your inclusion in Local Search

Build additional relevant pages about your market to attract more natural search.

Launch a blog, news feed, or article area on your site to keep fresh content in front of the search engines.

Socialize your brand by creating content on top visited networks like YouTube, delivering visitors.

Ideas You Should Explore Within Your Organization:
Create alliances with similar businesses in your market to swap banner advertising. Pick up the phone to expedite this.

Offer an incentive or discount; price conscious travelers are looking for saving.

Joint Venture with website owners that send out regular emails to your demographic. Ask for a plug, and return the favor by offering a link, a banner ad, or some other exchange.

Tap your email database to offer past customers incentives to return and revisit.

Re-market to your current visitors by offering an incentive to return this season, stay longer, or a “friends and family” style discount.

Increase Paid Advertising:

Analyze your Pay Per Click advertising for ad effectiveness and ROI.

Lower your PPC advertising cost by improving the quality of your landing pages. Google rewards websites that offer top quality content with a reduced cost per click, without losing position.

Improve the conversion potential of your landing pages by offering multiple methods of contacting you or finding out more about your service or offer. Keep it simple!

If You are a Netrafic PPC Client We Already Have You Covered!

The good times will roll again, things will get better, and businesses that market aggressively will survive. If your travel market segment is winter travel, pray for snow. If you are a warm weather destination, pray for more snow!

Travel Stocks, Now That’s Another Story…

Google Upgrades Analytics – Mo’ Beta!

The Google Analytics team is starting to roll out some nice new features that will appear in your Reporting Console in the near future. The deployment is in phases, so if you are not seeing the new features, don’t worry – they are on the way.

Cool tools and new features include Custom Reports Advanced Segmentation Motion Charts (a new data visualization tool,) an Integrated Reporting for AdSense, a data export API, an an updated user and administration interface. Additional elements are completely covered in the Google Analytics Blog.

Here is a screenshot of the new user interface:
CLIENTS ONLY: Need Help? Pick up the phone and give us a call.

Google Analytics

VIDEO: Google Analytics New Enterprise Features