Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Raise Your Website Traffic with RSS - Blogs and YAHOO! Part 1.

It is the trend du jour. They are the subject of pundit press, guru glare, and is ready for mainstream adoption. RSS feeds and their communication kin the blog -- are bandied about as the next big thing.

Everywhere you look there are articles and ebooks touting the electronic affinity and high value of these two forms of media creation and distribution. However can these two forms of digital media drive more traffic to your site, or -- are they just hype?

Blogs are short for web logs and are like daily dairies on the web. Blogs started out as ways for Internet reality types to share their lives with other people on the web, without having to learn very complicated web design applications like Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage.

While on the other hand RSS feeds are the natural extension of Blogs. RSS without getting into all the arguments over the name (for the purpose of this article) stands for Really Simple Syndication.

RSS feeds can take your blog postings and syndicate a preview of your blog headlines all over the Internet. Therefore in theory RSS feeds can drive traffic to your blogs and websites similar to how search engines have become major marketing channels.

If your blogs headlines are syndicated on major high traffic websites, RSS directories and Internet Portals it could be another major source of traffic to your website. But how effective is blog marketing to the average Internet marketer who doesn’t have a major personal brand name like John Reese, Yanik Silver, or Dr. Ken Evoy?

This question is reflected in the concerns of bottom-line focused Stephanie McIntyre, president of eSales Unlimited, an eBay Power Seller, auction trainer and coach. Stephanie has generated over $200,000 in profitable sales on eBay and has low tolerance for marketing hype.

"I am not convinced that blogging can really drive traffic or profitable sales states Ms. McIntyre. Internet Gurus like James Maduk haven’t convinced me that I can really make money with a blog."

She isn’t alone in her skepticism. Many online business people are confused why all this hype is being created about blogs and RSS feeds. Many wonder if they can really deliver in their potential to drive more traffic and sales to business orientated Internet websites.

In short, can blogs and RSS boost really boost our website traffic? I put the technology to the test in the last four weeks to get some definite answers.

I found blogs are having some major income impact on the bottom-line of some companies and business people.

Despite many reservations by some Netpreneurs blogs and RSS feeds have been boosting the bottom-lines of some marketers. Willie Crawford, a well known Internet marketer generates over $1000 dollars a day from mostly blog generated Adsense™ revenue. Blogging for Crawford has become yet another profitable part of his business.

Weblogs Inc., a publisher of almost 100 targeted niche blogs is noted as being on its way to generating 1 million dollars in Adsense™ revenue! This had to be a compelling reason for AOL to recently buy Weblogs Inc., for a whopping 25 million.

Still another very successful Internet business person I spoke with (who doesn’t what to be identified) uses blogs as a form of buzz advertising resulting in $50,000 in indirect eCommerce sales when properly timed. This business person does close to 17 million dollars in online sales.

I also have been having good success saving time and money by publishing quickly with blogs. My blogs generated good income for me however I wanted to see if the distribution of my blog headline via RSS feeds would bring in any new revenues.

One of the promotional ways blogs and RSS are purported to increase your online traffic is the strategy of increasing your website’s traffic with what I call horizontal SEO. Horizontal SEO is called "winning the search engine lottery" by Internet sales star John Reese.

Most SEO firms and web marketers focus solely on high rankings for popular keywords (Vertical SEO) . In contrast a more comprehensive search engine driven Internet marketing campaign would scale more horizontally or deeper with more rich keyword informed content pages.

In other words a horizontal SEO campaign would be like playing the lottery. Your odds of winning the lottery are greater if you have more tickets.

According to Reese "search engines algorithms change from day to day. Therefore your ranking will go up or down. But if you have more and more tickets in the SEO lottery you have a better chance of winning."

Blogs and RSS feeds give you the ability to create and distribute a lot of web information (content) on the fly that’s distributed throughout the Internet at myriad media outlets. Blogs and RSS feeds drive more traffic to your site by helping you win the SEO lottery with horizontal SEO.

Blogs and RSS can be the easiest and most efficient way to win the SEO lottery. They do this by creating lots of targeted niche content on your and other partner sites that carry your feeds.

In the last 4 weeks I launched a website with a blog component without optimizing it in the traditional vertical SEO fashion. It doesn’t appear on top of any search engine results worth mentioning. I wanted to see if the blog powered by RSS feed would drive significant traffic to my site.

The results are amazing! I been totally blown away by the research. Check out why I have become a big believer in blogging and RSS in part 2 of this article. Visit: Search Engine Plan to stay informed on the latest blogging, RSS, and SEO developments.

Monday, October 24, 2005

1 Billion Monthly Local Searches -- How to Tap into This Astonishing Market Revealed

Search Engines Becomes the Preferred Way to Find Local Businesses! by Kamau Austin

Do you have a website that fails to generate decent traffic? Have you failed to make search engine marketing a part of your promotion of your business because you have a local business, or feel the Internet is not where your customer's will find you?

Recent reports in Emarketer daily, one of the top Internet business resources, reveal over 50% of the country are now online. More importantly twice as many people search online for local businesses than use their Yellow Pages to find businesses in their area.

You could be losing at least 20 - 50% of your potential market and customers by not having an Internet marketing plan with a strong search engine component.

- Local Search Becoming More Important!

For those business owners who once felt that the Internet wasn't necessary for their local business, you should especially take note.

Now is the time to learn to tap into the promotional power of the Internet for your local business.

Since consumers increasingly are searching online for local businesses, how will your businesses take advantage of this fundamental shift in customer behavior? The Internet has affected almost every facet of business and has driven the creation of new business models while forcing the evolution of others, writes Click4Talk's Dave Landa.

Landa goes on to state traditional printed yellow pages and local commerce are being drawn headlong into the Internet vortex. The surge in online local searches by consumers relative to traditional printed phone book searches has prompted tremendous business focus in this space.

Local search has become such a strong business Google has even gotten into the act.

- Google Outsourced the Selling of Local Search

It is a very important development that Google has outsourced the selling of local search PPC programs to Bell South last year. Bell South has a large sales force that can sell search advertising face-2-face to local businesspeople and merchants.

In other words Internet search will become a significant marketing strategy for local business. This is significant because 20% of searches online are for local information. This is a huge amount of monthly searches.

- 20% of Internet Searches are for local Information means approximately close to One Billion Searches a Month are being queried via the Top Search Engines -- for local searches. This One Billion local searches will create new local business models and propel visionary tech savvy local businesses.

In other words, if you once thought your local business didn't need to be on the Internet, it is time to get a new reality check.

To bring home the importance of this grand Internet marketing shift on how it will impact your local sales, consider a recent experience with me and my wife. We listed a real estate property in two of our major local papers (The New York Times and The Star Ledger of NY and NJ respectively). The response was slow.

Later we ran a targeted local Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign with Google and received more than 10 times the amount of leads from both The New York Times and the Star Ledger!!!

Local focused and targeted PPC advertising with Google had out performed Two major northeastern newspapers with established real estate sections by an amazing margin. By the way, the collective circulation of the New York Times and NJ Star Ledger was 5.5 million people for the Sunday Editions.

This rise in the search engines and major portal to find local business has come at a price to local newspapers, major newspapers, and the local yellow pages. With twice as many people preferring to use the search engines to find local business than the yellow pages, this obviously has shaken-up print media.

To further illustrate this point recently the parent company of the New York Times purchased About.com the popular Internet portal!

Your competitors will soon be introduced to the importance of local search via sales consultants from Bell South and other advertising rep firms. Don't get caught sleeping -- on move to local search!

My business has grown 3-fold in the last year because I made a focused decision to grow my business in my local area using the search engines. I know of some business associates that have created lucrative local directory type web businesses rather than putting their emphasis on general Internet Traffic.

If you are looking to increase your sales and profits maybe looking at the short view and local niches in your are is the quickest way to get there.

Kamau Austin is publisher of www.eInfoNEWS.com and runs www.SearchEnginePlan.com. He is author of Always On Top "How to Get the Highest Search Engine ranking for your website. See more about his eBiz strategies at Always On Top