Category Archives for SEO

Internet Marketing Minute – XML Sitemaps

The Internet Marketing Minute

The Internet Marketing Minute

In today’s episode of the Marketing (almost) Minute I’m looking at the importance of a correctly formatted and updated XML sitemap. Often times this is poorly implemented on a site.

There are a number of “optional” tags meaning you can get away without implementing them but I strongly recommend you make sure you are implementing a full URLSet.

Keep in mind that if you are running a dynamically generated site, this becomes even more important. In order to keep up with the changes on your site you’re going to want to get the Google Sitemap Generator and install it on your server. More details in the podcast. Click the image below to Play the podcast.

Note: This is a pretty “grass roots” podcast 🙂 In time it will become more refined but for the time being keep in mind my main motivation for doing this is to give out some good tips that you might not find everywhere else in the universe. I’m refining the links I place in the podcast itself as clicking them will take you away from the site. For now these are the links in the podcast:

Sitemaps XML Format

Third Party Sitemap Generators

Google Server Side Sitemap Generator

Here’s the example for the suggested format:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">

   <url>

      <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc>

      <lastmod>2005-01-01</lastmod>

      <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>

      <priority>0.8</priority>

   </url>

</urlset>

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Internet Marketing Minute Podcast

The Internet Marketing Minute Well I’ve finally decided to get things in gear with my Internet Marketing Podcast. I’m thinking of the following format:

  1. Limited to (around) 1 minute each and every day. This makes it manageable for me personally as I’m swamped with both Honeypot Marketing and Natural Traction.
  2. Low production value. I’m not going to spend hours tweaking intros and outros – I’m not really a radio guy in fact. I’m thinking you want the information in the minute not a minute of music.
  3. Highlight one strategy each and every day. This is will be a focused podcast not one about last great conference I went to and how I met up with Matt Cutts and we got drunk. There are enough podcasts like that.
  4. Stay out of SEO rambling debates and debates among arrogant designers who think there is no value in SEO or Internet Marketing.

Now I am thinking one thing here. Since I have years of online gambling marketing and sportsbook internet marketing experience I could focus on that here and then do a more general podcast on Honeypot Marketing. I’m actually thinking of leaving it up to you all out there.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Basically it comes down to a niche podcast versus a generic podcast. I’m thinking out loud and need some input.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

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Your Bing Strategy

Yahoo is being Bing-ified – What is your strategy?

Sometime next year, Microsoft will fulfill a planned integration to power Yahoo’s search results with Microsoft’s Bing Engine. The move will effectively consolidate 28% of the US search market, giving both companies a platform upon which to seriously battle Google.honeypotmarketing.com, To Bing or Not To Bing?, Aug 2009

You should read the whole article over at Honeypot Marketing.

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Building Great Links

Link Building is always a topic of conversation for anyone in the world of Internet Marketing. People who push only organic SEO tend to be quite focused on the overall process of building masses of links with target anchor text on sites which may pass link juice.

Personally that’s a narrow minded point of view that really limits your overall link building goals. The reality of the situation is that links drive traffic, reputation, new visitors and potentially new customers. A well thought out online promotional program will assist you in your organic SEO link building efforts. But you need to have a holistic view of link building.

We build links to achieve a number of goals:

  1. Promote the site. We produce great content and we want the world to know about it.
  2. Highlight other sites we think are great. We do this by commenting on articles we love, participating in discussions.
  3. We are promoting a contest or promotion based around a product. This could be considered link baiting but it’s also showing people how creative and fun we might. When I was Director of Internet Marketing for BetUS we had alot of fun with this great link bait program – it was flattering that Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz thought it was genius marketing. We had fun doing it and it was very successful.
  4. We are building links to increase our search rankings. When I was at Bodog we built links for SEO specifically but tracked it with Clicktracks and optimized from there – times were very different but it was (and is) an effective tactic – it certainly worked there. Check out the case study on Lyris.
  5. We are participating in a community such as StumbleUpon, Facebook and Twitter. This isn’t for the purpose of building links directly. It’s promoting our product, service or just talking to people. We generate content, talk to people and they shockingly enough they may link to us directly but that’s not the initial goal (we don’t whack people over the head).

I just finished watching Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday on the same subject. I strongly suggest you check it out:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/3609778[/vimeo]

What other link building tactics do you use now? Let me know what you think of my take on link building awesomeness. Have a great Friday the 13th!

Cheers,

Dan Nedelko

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SEO Return On Investment

I am pretty active on LinkedIn and have been for quite some time. I really do my best to try to answer one question per week and participate heavily in that community. It’s a good way to connect with others, make contacts and also use it as a sounding board for input to my ideas and thoughts on SEO, Search Marketing, Internet Marketing and what I do for a living both with Honeypot Marketing and with my own projects.

I figure since I am posting there I should also share some that with this audience. So the question that was posed from LinkedIn was this:

“How can you calculate the ROI of further SEO Investments for online project? Is there a model that can be used?“

That is a darned fine question since typical ROI models do not stand up well when it comes to SEO and Organic Search for a couple of reasons:

  1. Investments are indirect. You invest in link programs, content etc and it doesn’t directly drive traffic. The engines drive the traffic but the investments are there to help increase your authority in those engines. It confuses alot of people as to the logic.
  2. Most companies fall flat in terms of customer acquisition models. They are not correctly tracking a converted visitor from search, which makes it impossible to optimize your converting terms from the engines. I have seen many instances where terms which you wopuld not think are big converters in fact are massive converters (especially in tail of search). If you dont know this information then throw out your ROI model, you’ll be guessing anyhow – you could lie I suppose but then again that would be even worse and since SEO’s never ever lie (I’m ducking from the lightening!) that would never be a problem. :mrgreen:

Given those two factors I’ve come up with a fairly decent model that I find works and here for your viewing pleasure is the overview. If you disagree with me or if you think I’m wrong then register and comment or email me.

One of the key things to consider is that calculating ROI on Organic Search is different than traditional media. Here is the layout I utilize:

A Total Amount of Search Traffic
B Total Amount of Converting Search
C Conversion Rate from Search
C Life Time Value of a Conversion (is it CPA or LTV)
D Converting Terms (focus on these)

Determine total Search Traffic = 1000
Determine the Converting Search Ratio: B/A (10/100) = 0.10
Use the Total Converting Search Numbers = 100
Determine the value of the Conversion: C = $200

You have profited $20,000 from organic search.

Total current budget : Link Building $1500 per month plus other monies spent (I am not sure what these are)/

[poll id=”4″]

Your profit of $20,000 from all search engine optimization programs is being generated by $1500 of spend to acquire 200 customers. Your cost per customer is $7.50

Your spend is generating a 13:1 profit to cost ratio. Now you know your budget to work with and you can shift your overall tactics to increase the overall number search joins as you wish.

I’ve used this model (with much more detail) successfully in the past on numerous projects in the online gambling industry including online sportsbooks, casinos, generic ecommerce sites, online dating, lead generation and ebook marketing industries. It provides for a strong ROI model, justifies SEO budgets and keeps the business people happy since they understand what the goals of the program really are.

I would love to get your input, comments and suggestions on expanding the ROI model for Search Engine Optimization. Please comment below and let know, even if you think I’m completely wrong!

Cheers,

Dan

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Subdomain Network

Search Engine Optimization is still a significant component of my daily Internet Marketing work. I refuse on this blog to discuss basic SEO techniques, I will cover fundamental concepts like Hilltop, LSI and techniques which will make your sites make sense to the engines.

I’m going to cover the idea of using a series of subdomains around a main domain to increase the breadth of search terms and the overall prominence of your site in the engines. From a number of perspectives creating a series of subdomains with related content can be an extremely powerful technique.

The example I am putting forward is this:

Splitting http://www.yourdomain.com into subdomains with an outline like:

http://news.yourdomain.com

http://images.yourdomain.com

http://shopping.yourdomain.com

http://forums.yourdomain.com

http://products.yourdomain.com

There are a ton of reasons why this is the case, and here are only a few of them:

  1. Content is segregated so that your customers understand where they are within your website. For instance shopping.mydomain.com or news.mydomain.com or press.mydomain.com can help to clarify the purpose of the area on the site.
  2. It allows for design and creative freedom within the various areas of your site. Look, feel, user interface design, visual appearance are all key to the process. SEO does not stop when the user hits the site, in order to be effective as a search marketer you must work through the process to the ’success event’ – whether it’s a join, deposit , purchase or signup, it doesn’t really matter.
  3. You have the ability to highly structure various areas of your site using various tools that exist. This includes blogs, forums, image galleries, content management systems (all using basic SEO techniques). This is a huge benefit for the search engines since when you strongly structure your site content the engines can quickly and easily index your site(s). This is of huge benefit for search optimization.
  4. Linking becomes incredibly simple since you can easily manipulate the inbound links to your site(s). You also have the ability to saturate the engines which means you can then attack major keywords without ignoring the tail of search at the same time. This is critical since if you have a decent ranking with a major keyword on the main domain then optimizing for the tail of search on the subdomains becomes simple. You can easily own those keyphrases on a massive scale.
  5. Modular site design. This is a straightforward concept that is quite often missed by the general design world. Keeping in that mind – having the ability to create a building block style site will make your life much easier. Both from a software development perspective (modularity is key) and also from an updating and urgrading point of view you will have the ability to update one module without adversely affecting any other portions of your site.
  6. Network structures are the hgh level model of many authority websites which is what you want to mimic in every single way possible. By modelling your site in similar ways to larger sites you are effectively telling an engine that your site carries the same properties as an authority site. Now don’t forget to do the rest of the things neccessary to make your site an authority.
  7. You have the ability to create multiple points of syndication from all areas of your site. I would strongly suggest you do this under any circumstances. XML and RSS feeds are beginning to integrate seamlessly into many aspects of both the internet, desktop computing and handhled devices. Creating numerous feed touchpoints is a huge point towards your search engine ranking.

Networks are important, fundamentally the internet is one giant network and the engines are the ones that trying to find site which are strongly related to specific content. The engines look for format, topicality, linking structure (both in and outbound).

Creating a structured solid network with subdomains can help to ensure that you are one step closer to seach dominance in your particular field. Also keep in mind that it is critical to structure each of the subdomains as if they were completely unique domains (pull them out and they would function independantly) then strongly link from there.

Good Luck!

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Craps How To Strategy Guide Lesson 3: Come Bets

I found this fascinating quote today:

Last week marked the beginning of our new casino game strategy series- the Craps How To Strategy Guide.  Lesson 1 covered the all important Craps Pass Line, and lesson 2 explained Craps Odds Bets, the gamblers best friend.  In Lesson 3 we’ll cover the Come Bet, which is integral to many craps strategies, and adds a new dimension to the game that gets your blood pumping and can send your bankroll through the roof!  So without further adieu, let’s get started.Craps How To Strategy Guide Lesson 3: Come Bets, Feb 2009

You should read the whole article.

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