Monday, September 18, 2006

Read the Search and Prosper Article in Fortune Small Business

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2006
CONTACT:
Kamau Austin
973-655-8866
Kamau@SearchEnginePlan.com

Black Parents and Autistic Daughter Make Fortune Online

Montclair NJ - Just 5 years ago Kamau Austin was too poor to afford a computer. Today Austin is being featured in the September issue of Fortune Magazine Small Business as one of the few Black American experts on marketing on Google and other major search engines. This is a far cry from a few years ago when he didn't even know how to login to the Microsoft Windows Operating Systems. As an additional challenge, Austin and his wife Carol's daughter was also diagnosed with autism.

At first, they were devastated by their daughter's early diagnosis. Then they experienced a period of denial. Then Austin decided to focus on being a stay-at-home dad; to achieve this goal, he developed a website design business and later also developed a successful search engine marketing business. While his wife sacrificed to keep the family afloat with her stable job and benefits, Austin spent his time developing an innovative Internet marketing strategy. Their daughter made slow and steady progress with early intervention and specialized education to ameliorate her condition.

Despite financial and medical struggles that would strain any family, the Austins are still together and making tremendous strides. They hope to encourage other Black families with similar challenges. Their daughter has been mainstreamed into general classes and school curriculum. The Austins credit her success to outstanding teachers, their aides, and responsible staff and principals. The Austins also spend a lot of time on helping their daughter with her homework, reading with her, and getting her involved in extracurricular activities.

In the business and financial world, Kamau Austin has grown his business enough to be able to outsource work to nine independent contractors. He is also the first African American to author, print, and publish a book on search engine optimization and marketing entitled Always On Top - How to Get the Highest Search Engine Ranking for Your Website - Every Time! Moreover, he had developed Always On Top into a full book and video training system, The Search Engine Efficiently Maximized eBusiness-the S.E.E.M.e. training system. Always On Top (ISBN# 0-9786678-1-6) was designed to encourage African Americans and other small business people of all backgrounds to become Searchpreneur©s (a word he copyrighted) and grow their business with both peak and deep visibility on the search engines. Austin feels "the search engines are the greatest free media promotion vehicle of our lifetime-and maybe ever!"

The Austins have been receiving recent national media because of their past struggles and their success. Today Kamau and Carol own real estate and other investments. Austins's search engine company www.SearchEnginePlan.com presently runs search engine marketing and online PR campaigns for both small businesses and some multimillion-dollar companies. Out of respect for those companies and their online strategies, Austin refuses to divulge their names.

Not everyone is convinced Internet marketing offers strong business opportunity. Brian Scott, an established tax preparer, has seen some of his clients lose a lot of money in Internet businesses. However, Austin's expertise is evident in that one of his sites is number one in the world and competes daily against 44 million other websites. He makes tens of thousands of dollars alone from advertising he carries on his site from Google's Adsense program. Best selling author Walt Goodridge of Turn Your Passion into Profit considers Austin one of the top 50 Internet marketers in the world. Andrew Morrison, who became a millionaire before his 30th birthday, has appeared on Oprah Winfrey, and who has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, and countless media outlets cites Kamau Austin as "his new inspiration on Internet Marketing."

Austin explains that "the search engines drive over five billion people to websites a month. One billion of those searches every month are for local businesses." The Internet economy is a trillion dollar industry. Therefore, Austin wishes African American media would focus more on the opportunities in this burgeoning industry. He notices the major business media is constantly illustrating the promise and potential online and wishes Black media would do more of the same. Austin invites those who want to know more about search engine marketing opportunities to take his free online course or pick up his book and video training system at: www.AlwaysOnToptheBook.com.

Check out the Fortune Small Business Article click here.

How to Prosper Beyond Virtual Real Estate

By Kamau Austin, Stay-at-Home Dad and Searchpreneur©

In my last series of articles on "Prosper with Virtual Real Estate and Digital Assets - Parts 1, 2, and 3 I defined virtual real estate and digital assets. We explored virtual real estate (VRE) sites as sites primarily embedded with Google Adsense™ or Yahoo Publisher's Network (YPN) ads. The purpose of these sites is to be monetized with PPC advertising from Google, Yahoo! and new players in this industry. We did try to discuss this new industry with the realism. We revealed the love and hate relationship Google and the other search engines have for these sites in this regard.

For a recap of this series visit the Search Engine Plan Blog at:
http://www.searchengineplan.com/blogs/seoblog.htm

Despite the fact that these VRE sites may make Google close to 4 Billion dollars this year it is in a war to stem the tide of Adsense™ with quasi-content or duplicate content overwhelming quality and unique sites within the Google index or database. In short it doesn't want duplicate or low quality content miring its organic results within the search engine result pages (SERPs). Needless to state the resistance to Adsense™ focused sites by Google will make it difficult for most people to make a windfall of cash within the program despite the assertions of some Internet gurus who claim to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in the Adsense™ program.

Furthermore, I explained despite the aforementioned difficulties generating VRE cash, at least with the assistance of Google's free organic search results, this industry was here to stay! Google and Yahoo! will soon be generating 5 or 6 billion dollars with these burgeoning industries. Moreover, since most people only check up to the first two or three pages of the SERPs this gives the search engines somewhat limited inventory that has high value.

With only 3 pages worth bidding on (although for a seeming unlimited amount of keywords) the search engines need publishers to provide them unlimited inventory to display their advertising. In short Google and YPN need online publishers in order to expand and make more money for their stockholders. Google will never make its targeted goal of 100 Billion dollars in revenues without a ubiquitous visibility on the over 20 million business websites presently online.

The ambiguity in which Google™ views and treats VRE sites has created tension within the Google culture (I call it the warring souls of Google) and threatens to tear it apart. For many in the web marketing community Google seems to be almost schizophrenic demonstrating a multiple business personality. On one side you get the kinder "do no harm" Google and on the other side you get the all power seeking "Google Gods".

Despite these challenges, in my last series of articles I suggested ways to prosper with VRE sites using deficient search engine marketing.

Most importantly we developed a working definition of what is a digital asset. I hope you would agree that VRE sites could qualify as digital assets. This is because they can work to make money for you -- without you physically having to be there working. As we pointed out in our last series of articles digital assets and virtual real estate making just a few hundred or thousand dollars a month can generate as much or more cash flow as traditional real estate. Just think about it, you would have to invest tens of thousands of dollars and commit to a mortgage of hundreds of thousands of dollars to rent units that generate the income of even small VRE sites. Plus with VRE sites you don't have the landlord tenant issues.

We will finish our discussion of building digital assets tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Prosper with Virtual Real Estate and Digital Assets – Part 3.

Prosper with Virtual Real Estate and Digital Assets – Part 3.

By Kamau Austin, Stay-at-Home Dad and Searchpreneur©

In the first two articles in this series I explored the rise of the virtual real estate (VRE) industry. I also wrote about how promising this industry is and the major players like Google and the Yahoo Publisher’s Network (YPN). Then I showed that Google is trying to stem the tide of Adsense™ focused sites because it feels too many are hurting the integrity of its search engine result page (SERP) results. The resistance to Adsense™ focused sites by Google will make it difficult for most people to make a windfall of cash with the program despite the assertions of some Internet gurus.

Therefore I ask the question if the road to riches with VRE sites something that most website owners should pursue? I feel you shouldn’t quit your day job just yet. In a poll that Adsense Expert Joel Comm conducted the overwhelming majority of his subscribers were making less than $500 a month in Adsense™ Revenue. However, you shouldn’t give up the hope of VRE and other digital assets making you a full time living online.

If you look at the VRE strategy as a long term business investment, and perhaps just one part of your overall plan to develop digital assets it could be quite worthwhile. Consider the fact that in many parts of the country traditional landlords charge rents for apartments at $600 a month. Imagine if you had 2 or 3 Adsense™ sites generating just $500 or $600 a month in revenue. You would have a virtual real estate business that rivals many traditional Landlords who hold real estate valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Plus you would be more profitable because you wouldn’t have the problems with tenants and the constant up keep of homes. You wouldn’t have to put up $10,000 or $20,000 dollars in a down payment to own virtual real estate.

Let’s recall our definition of a digital asset from part 2 of this article. A digital asset is something that works for you to make you money without you having to constantly be there physically. Like a good stock and bond portfolio or traditional investment real estate. These investments work hard to make you money.

Well isn’t an Adsense™ site making you $500 or $600 dollars a month on autopilot a digital asset in the truest sense of the term? Isn’t it ironic that two or three good Adsense™ websites could be actually more of an asset than your home? For instance Robert Kiyosaki points out that many homeowners mistakenly consider their home an asset. He feels if you are paying a mortgage into your home without making any money from it your home it is actually an asset for the bank -- and not for you.

Even if your equity increases the value of the property he doesn’t really see it as being an asset in the truest sense of the term. Unless you actually collect rents enough to make a profit on your mortgage, or you can flip the property for a nice profit Kiyosaki dismisses your house as a true asset. He seems to think primary of a positive cash flow investment property as a true real estate asset. Along this same thinking an Adsense™ monetized site can bring you passive income without you having to always work on it.

Your biggest problem is overcoming the love and hate relationship that Google has with Adsense™ sites. This is not an easy task given Google’s large budget to protect what it sees as the integrity of its search results. It is no secret that doing SEO on Google is more challenging than it is on the other search engines. However here are some tips on getting Google to give your site a high ranking and send you traffic. These aren’t “black hat” or quick tricks on getting traffic from Google. These are strategies for the long term building of your virtual real estate towards acquiring assets of a true business.

Tips on Getting Traffic from Google and other Search Engines

* Find out what information people are searching for on Wordtracker.com or similar service.

* Build websites or blogs with keywords with a high KEI and high PPC value

* Research unique content whether you have to write it or outsource writing to others

* Develop search engine friendly websites or blogs with high KEI and PPC value

* Get plenty of one-way links from traditional and especially blog directories

Remember the best way to get traffic from the search engines is to give them what they want. That is content that their users are looking for especially if a lot of sites are not yet providing that information. Do deficient marketing. Research with WordTracker.com search terms that people are looking for in considerable numbers but there are not large numbers of sites providing this information (KEI).

Check the bid tool at Yahoo Search Marketing for a couple of weeks to determine high paying keywords. Then over time provide the best content possible to satisfy both the search engines and site users. This is the best long term business strategy. Remember good content can be great articles, web applications to help site visitors accomplish a task, or even screen capture videos to teach them something. Make it in the search engines best interest to rank you high and send you traffic. Then you really will have a future in the lucrative virtual real estate industry for years to come.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Prosper with Virtual Real Estate and Digital Assets – Part 2.

By Kamau Austin, Stay-at-Home Dad and Searchpreneur©

In the first article part of this article we described the burgeoning virtual real estate market (VRE). We explained that this industry was spring-boarded by Google’s business strategy to allow website owners (resellers) to get a cut of the commissions from pay-per-click (PPC) ads displayed on their sites. This program is known as Google Adsense™. I also alluded to the fact that Google generates almost 40% - 50% of its 7.5 billion dollars ad revenues with the Adsense™ program.

With close to 3 billion dollars being generated in ads posted on publisher’s websites Google’s Adsense program is more than just a cottage industry. In fact it is probably the first true sales channel in which Internet advertising will ever get its share of the 175 billion dollar ad industry along the side the likes of television, radio, cable, and print advertising.

Despite its potential to further its profit at least on the surface Google seems to have ambiguous feelings towards the rapid growth of VRE sites. In its canned corporate responses on this topic Google forbids creating sites just to make money with Adsense™ revenue.

The Two Dueling Souls of Google

Borrowing a social construct and applying it to Google’s corporate culture of W.E.B. Dubois (the first African-American to get a PhD from Harvard), Google seems to have two warring souls. This especially seems to be the case after the IPO and it going public.

On one hand Google is the “do no harm” company that wants the web to be an innovative place to facilitate the research, organization, communication, and retrieval of information. In this the company is one of the Internet’s and worlds most respected and almost deified brands with a loyal almost rabid fan base.

On the other hand Google is the iconic business powerhouse that dares to shape the world to its image and will. Google is seen as full of arrogant hubris in issues on privacy, copyright, and business issues. Many feel Google is becoming the next Microsoft. In my opinion Google is far more of a potentially intrusive business concern.

To quickly make my point it was reported in the New York Times that the US and other national governments throughout the world had to seek relief from Google Earth from showing aerial shots of their capitals. Their fear was these photos could be used by terrorist in their planning.

Organizations of publishers and writers are currently involved in disputes with Google over their scanning efforts of books and other copyrighted information. Google is challenging their rights to scan certain works under fair use legal loop holes. But more to our immediate concerns Google is becoming a challenge to web marketers and even their core advertisers. It started with Google attacking popup ads with its toolbar and restrictions on advertisers not to use them.

Even one session pop-ups with a cookie to regulate them was a no-no for Google. Any net marketer knows that pop-ups used in a responsible way are the most effective way to get new subscribers. Although many people were abusing the popup there were many who only use them once per session. However Google and its supporters argued usability being the long term good of killing pop-ups. Since know one but web marketers like pop-ups the objections are muted. I don’t like TV commercials either but it is the price I pay for free or cheap content delivery.

In the last year it is making SEO, blogging, and RSS visibility in its search engine more difficult. It is really cutting down on duplicate content and has strengthened a time based delay filter commonly known as the dreaded "Google Sandbox" to stop the get rich quick gold rush mentality of many Adsense(tm) entrepreneurs. For example if you start a new site it will usually take your 6 months to a year to get any decent rankings in Google.

Finally Google finally added insult to injury with the latest modification to Adwords criteria. This latest round of restrictions cut to the core of some of the most profitable practices of web marketers. In a round about way Google is attempting to marginalize the squeeze page, the sales page, and Adsense Arbitrage sites. These sites are effective ways to get visitor conversion.

The squeeze page is a page where the sole focus is to get a site visitor to opt-in to an email list before getting information. Google doesn’t like this type of site because it makes their search engine less user friendly and relevant for searchers.

The sales page or mini-sites primary focus is to sell a product (usually info product) with the secondary focus to get people to sign up for an email list. Google doesn’t care for these sites because they offer little useful information to searchers other than to sell products.

Adsense™ Arbitrage sites are bidding on low cost search terms to draw traffic to your site in order to show more expensive ads with hopes site users will click on those ads. The term arbitrage is taken from a term in the financial markets of buying undervalued or under priced stock or assets and selling them for a simultaneous profit in other markets. Google doesn’t like this practice because it encourages the development of low quality magnet sites that draw traffic but offer any useful content. Why would you create useful content if you only want people to click on ads?

All the resistance from Google to these sales and money making tactics raises the question whether VRE - infoproduct and affiliate sites really have a future for new net marketers and website business owners. But enough about Google it isn’t the only player to consider in the VRE market.

Despite the fact the YPN network was late to the contextual ad potential of the online real estate of millions of partner reseller or affiliate sites it is making up significant ground.

John Reese rumored that from his own testing and others in his circles YPN pays a better percentage than Google. Since both these companies cloak their payment policies without full disclosure it is hard verifying these facts. However it is something you should test on your pages.

Although an Internet business can be started cheaply it is very time consuming building and developing your site into something profitable. This is especially true given Google's tough filters and algorithms. Despite a lot of Internet hype to the contrary most people won't run a business on the Internet that makes a fortune over night.

Since Google is such a schizophrenic partner in business and YPN still such a newbie in the VRE space is the ad reseller path worth going down for the average website owner. Sure people with long standing websites might make a fortune with VRE sites like Joel Comm. But what about the average new website owner, can they ever make significant income doing VRE sites? I illustrated building profitable VRE sites will not be easy, given the major search engine vigilance to protect their most prized real estate - the first 3 pages of the search engine result pages (SERPs). Google and other search engines are increasingly viewing VRE sites as a threat to the integrity of their search results. We will explore these and other critical questions on our journey to find solutions to build profitable VRE sites and digital assets.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What is Virtual Real Estate?

Virtual real estate or a VRE site is a term coined by the online sales success John Reese. John Reese is also known for his legendary 1 million dollar sales day selling his traffic secrets course. He also covers industries with promising virtual real estate potential in his monthly membership site The Reese Report. You can check out my review of the Reese Report.

VRE sites according to Reese are a website or websites that become valuable because they can carry and be monetized with Google Adsense(tm) or the YPN advertising network of Yahoo! The Virtual Real Estate or VRE business sector is becoming a burgeoning industry online. This began in earnest once Google started to allow website owners or publishers to carry Adsense™ contextual based ads on their sites.

In the past if you had a site that wasn't a viable ecommerce site you were out of luck doing business online. The only other options was to sell on eBay or do affiliate programs. Running a business based on ad revenue was really the domain of major traffic sites like the MSNs, Googles, and Yahoo!s of the world.

The tide has turned in this regard and now small website owners can make significant income by placing Google Adsense(tm) or Yahoo! Publishers Network (YPN) ads on their sites. The VRE industry is more than a cottage industry. I have read reports from reliable sources that Google presently generates about 40% - 50% of its ad revenue from Adsense(tm). Since Google is like a 7 Billion dollar company you do the math.

This means some savvy web marketers will become millionaires marketing and reselling Adsense(tm) ads and related services. One such person is the Adsense go to Guru Joel Comm. Joel Comm is one of the most successful netpreneurs to profit and then leverage the earning potential of the Adsense(tm) windfall. Comm used extensive research on his sites with Adsense™ presentation to develop Adsense best practices to maximize the earning power of the ads.

Joel recounts how he started out only making less than 10 dollars a day in Adsense(tm) and later was able to make a 6 figure income on Google's ad program. Next Comm wrote an Adsense ebook that became a best seller on Click Bank. He then leveraged his knowledge to write a print version of the book to become an Amazon, New York Times, and Time magazine best seller moving over a reputed 4 million copies of his book! Joel Comm's insights are now standard Adsense™ conventional wisdom used by millions of sites to generate more click-troughs. You can see a short review of Joels Adsense Book .

On the other hand many Internet purists have disdain for the VRE gold rush and feel it is just a flash in the pan or fools gold. They make a point that too many Adsense(tm) supported sites are cluttering up the Internet with useless, valueless, and duplicate content. Even Google's criteria forbid people starting sites just for the purpose of generating Adsense(tm) revenue.

In the last year it is making SEO, blogging, and RSS visibility in its search engine more difficult. It is really cutting down on duplicate content and has strengthened a time based delay filter commonly known as the dreaded "Google Sandbox" to stop the get rich quick gold rush mentality of many Adsense(tm) entrepreneurs. For example if you start a new site it will usually take your 6 months to a year to get any decent rankings in Google.

Despite the fact the YPN network was late to the contextual ad potential of the online real estate of millions of partner reseller or affiliate sites it is making up significant ground.

John Reese rumored that from his own testing and others in his circles YPN pays a better percentage than Google. Since both these companies cloak their payment policies without full disclosure it is hard verifying these facts. However it is something you should test on your pages.

Although an Internet business can be started cheaply it is very time consuming building and developing your site into something profitable. This is especially true given Google's tough filters and algorithms. Despite a lot of Internet hype to the contrary most people won't run a business on the Internet that makes a fortune over night.

Since running an Internet business is so time consuming you have to make money to stay in the game and Adsense(tm) seems to provide a way to a least play in the high stakes Internet game. Adsense(tm) was my first true way to make any decent money online. It has made running an Internet business more than just a pipe dream but an obtainable reality. I shared my experience in this regard in a recent feature article with Fortune Magazine Small Business. You can see an excerpt at the Fortune Magazine web presence click here.

In the next part of our series we will examine if VRE sites are real digital assets for the average Internet marketer or just another sale of swamp land in Florida. You will find why we are just scratching the surface of the awesome power of virtual real estate that goes far beyond the Adsense(tm) and YPN discussion or debate. We will look at another good reason VRE sites become valuable with link brokering, online PR, and affiliate programs. Until then I hope and pray you are "Always On Top" in both your business and personal life.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Prosper with Virtual Real Estate and Digital Assets

By Kamau Austin, Stay-at-Home Dad and Searchpreneur

A growing but underground movement is quickly gaining steam online. Others outside the Internet world may be taken off guard by this expanding industry.

Since the dot.com boom and later bust many people outside the Internet marketing world haven't taken the net as a realistic path to riches. Almost a billion people around the world use the net as an information gathering, ecommerce, or more recently social networking resource.

In stark contrast many people are into real estate as their first asset of choice. They would probably scoff at the notion of net based assets being compared to something as valuable as real estate.

Can you image trying to convince Donald Trump that internet based virtual real estate may for some people be as valuable as traditional real estate? But just look at the billions Google, Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo! are generating with their digital assets and even the Donald may have to take another look this booming industry.

For many other people as well wealth with digital online assets may be true in the near future with some savvy planning. In the next 2 weeks I will reflect on how digital assets can begin to build a virtual real estate empire for you in some create ways. In our next blog we will introduce the concept of what is a digital asset and virtual real estate.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You can't make Adsense(tm), YPN, Affiliate Or eCommerce Money without Traffic!


Every one is talking about making money with Google Adsense. People seem crazy with the prospects of making passive income in virtual real estate. However to make any money in Adsense, affiliate programs, ecommerce or any business online you need traffic.

Search engines are one of the best ways to get traffic. And there are two ways to market on the search engines: (1) Peak results and (2) Deep results.

Peak results focuses on getting top rankings for popular keywords. Deep results focuses on getting comprehensive exposure on the search engines by leveraging the real estate of other sites.

Peak results are tied to top ten listings on the search engine result pages (SERPs). Deep results are in relation to you getting your content, links, and articles on other sites which send you search engine traffic.

Since so many people are interested in getting search engine traffic I have created a 12 Part FREE course entitled...
Win the Search Engine Sweepstakes with Blogs - RSS - and Online PR Click Here

Monday, July 17, 2006

Win the Search Engine Sweepstakes with Blogs - RSS - and Online PR

Please forgive me for not blogging since April. However I have been working on one of the most in-depth free eCourses on search engines, blogs, RSS and Online PR.

The course should be ready in about a week. I will be notifying all my email subscribers and posting more about it here soon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Google Paranoia or A Cause for Concern?

By S. Housley

Anti-Google sentiment is on the rise. Web pundits have
tossed around monopoly theories and privacy advocates have
warned of a day of reckoning. While Google has made friends
on Wallstreet, it has disappointed the technical evangelists
who were once its fiercest followers. Google has grown into
a big scary company and web watchers are expressing their
concerns about the information Google gleans from their
various services.

Google Analytics is free, no one can beat the price, but
what is the real cost? The cost is your data. While not
terribly important when analyzed alone, when aggregated with
other information Google has access to, it could be
damaging. Data mining has made the collection of data
meaningful. It has become easier to find patterns and trends
in large volumes of data.

While any of that information independent of other data,
might be non-threatening or irrelevant to someone doing
analysis, when combined with other data Google has access
to, it can paint a very clear picture of how, not only
individual companies are performing, but the aggregate data
could possibly paint a picture of how entire business
sectors or industries are performing.

The big question is how will Google use this information?
Will it affect search engine ranking? Will it influence
keyword costs?

Paranoia? Lauren Weinstein doesn't seem to think so, her
blog post entitled "The Dark Side of Google"
http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000108.html , paints a very
clear picture of the danger of a single entity possessing
all of the data.

According to a recent USA Today article "In just seven
years, Google has emerged as one off the most influential
companies of the 21st century, a multinational whose recent
forays into classified ads, book publishing, video, Wi-Fi
and telecom make its data empire ever more powerful." The
article goes on further to quote Jeff Chester, head of the
digital Center for Digital Democracy saying "Google could
easily become the poster child for a national public
movement to regulate data collection".

Lets take a look at Google's new analytics tool. As a
reporting tool, Google Analytics offers good features and
functionality. Google Analytics tells publishers who their
website referrers are, what pages visitors are viewing, the
length of the visitor stay, what items are purchased. Google
Analytics data can be used to develop new technologies, and
optimize pay per term influence ranking.

Google wants to make money, and like it or not, data is a
commodity. Google will likely use the data from their
various ventures to develop new technologies and personalize
content. Conspiracy theorists believe that the Google's
aggregate data will also be used to optimize the fees
charged for pay-per-click, influence organic ranking or
worse yet sold.

Unbeknownst to many users, privacy advocates say that
Google's technology give Google the ability to collect
enormous amounts of data about interests and online habits
of web surfers. That said, Google's growth will continue to
motivate privacy advocates and those in the technology field
behind the Attention Truste movement to work together, to
improve how personal information and subscription
information is used online. I expect we will see a lot of
energy and effort in this arena.

Lets face it, Google wants to make money; no, now that they
are public they *need* to make money and like it or not,
data is a commodity. Whether Google will use your data or
not is still to be determined, but the fact remains they can
if they choose to. Google's storage capacity, is as deep as
its pockets, meaning that it is far ahead of competitors.
All of this has motivated privacy advocates and eyes are on
and will continue to be focused on Google and the type of
data they are capable of collecting.


About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for Feed for All software for creating, editing,
publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon
manages marketing for NotePage a
wireless text messaging software company.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Forget Cheap eBooks -- Why Selling FSBO Real Estate Should be Your Next Hot SEO Focus -- Conclusion. By Kamau Austin

In our earlier posts we talked about the great promotional relationship between search engines and real estate. We suggested that savvy marketers or creative sellers of real estate could use search engine marketing to bypass the middle man real estate broker.

We suggested that some home owners could acquire the services of search engine marketers or search engine optimizers to sell their real estate online. We also showed how search engine expertise could empower you to develop virtual real estate (Internet and digital assets like ezines, websites, ebooks, Flash Demos, and web apps) to generate money for your business 24/7.

I also suggested there could be a great synergistic and mutually profitable sales relationship between virtual real estate and traditional real estate driven by search engine Internet marketing. Real estate brokers already know about the explosive profits that can be made in SEO and both traditional and virtual real estate.

In this the last post in this series let's take it up on the importance on the subtle differences between traditional advertising of your FSBO real estate (For Sale by Owner) and Internet advertising/promotion.

If you list in the traditional media writing the advertisement for the property is a very tricky business. It is important to emphasize the outstanding qualities of your property, but you don't want to sound hollow and insincere.

A better option is to first research how to sell your FSBO real estate and sell it on sites like http://www.HomesbyOwner.com a good example would be http://www.HomesbyOwner.com/edison .

Your advertisement should carefully detail what your property includes. Details like swimming pools, landscaped gardens, kinds of stairs, marble, wooden floors, ceilings, ornamentation, and included furnishings are important to list in the advertisement so that the buyer understands the property's total value and can make an informed decision.

These sites often also include comparative studies on homes. Homes that are within the same price bracket are grouped together and easily accessible. Buyers can compare the prices and advantages of different homes and can look at multiple properties at the same time. If you are in the market for a new home, you are guaranteed to find a property that suits your needs.

The millions of properties that can be found on FSBO sites are from all corners of the country and are suited to almost every kind of buyer. The sheer range of properties available allows for freedom of choice, both for each home owner and each prospective buyer.

You can consider pointing potential buyers of your real estate to professional and helpful financiers like: Mortgages by Larry Stokes .

FSBO real estate frees both home owners and buyers from the hassles, commissions, and inconvenient visits of real estate agents. Most importantly it offers real opportunity for high ticket sales for ambitious Internet marketers.

Kamau Austin is a noted search engine marketer and author of Always On Top - How to get your business website on top of the search engines -- Every Time. Obtain his book at : Always On Top . He also does FSBO and Online Real Estate sales consulting at: Montclair NJ Real Estate

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Forget Cheap eBooks -- Why Selling FSBO Real Estate Should be Your Next Hot SEO Focus. Part 5.

In the last 5 posts we suggested that savvy Internet marketers might get involved in the lucrative online real estate market to build viable local search engine driven businesses. We explained the growth of the FSBO market and the web empowering home owners to sell their real estate without real estate brokers.

Today we delve further into the amazing opportunities available in the online real estate market.

If you have no experience setting up or selling your property via the search engines perhaps you can hire a professional search engine marketer to do it for you. Even if the setup and marketing on the search engines is an investment of $1500 - $5000, contrast that to possibly paying a realtor $18,000.

For those of you who are tired of selling $47 dollar eBooks, or building endless Adsense VRE sites to make a couple of thousand dollars, helping FSBOs or real estate brokers looking to have their sites listed highly on the search engines at $1,500 - $5,000 a sale could be -- a very lucrative new career for you!

It would be fairly easy for an Internet marketer with a little search engine experience to manage PPC campaigns or SEO campaigns for FSBOs or real estate agents. Look beyond selling $47 eBooks or making $27 on an affiliate program and get a real piece of the action with online real estate marketing windfalls.

The successful search engine marketing of a real estate property would require at the very least some knowledge of keyword analysis, search engine bidding setup experience, bidding strategies, site statistics and conversion software, linking strategies and of course good copywriting skills. You will also need good pictures or 3D real estate virtual touring software.

If you are knowledgeable in these areas by all means setup your own FSBO web presence. If not, go to eLance, Rentacoder, or Montclair 411 to consider obtaining a professional to setup your FSBO sale on the search engines.

In our next post we will conclude this series of blogs on SEO and FSBO real estate opportunities.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Forget Cheap eBooks -- Why Selling FSBO Real Estate Should be Your Next Hot SEO Focus. Part 4.

In our 3 previous posts we discussed the good marriage between search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing real estate online using for sale by owner (FSBO) listings. In this posting we quickly explore how effective marketing real estate can be on the search engines.

Here are some tips on selling your property.

Putting your property on the market is important, but it is even more important to market your property so that its best qualities are highlighted. Make it easy for the buyer to see for himself that this property has more to offer than the other homes on the market.

Online advertising is becoming one of the most effective ways to sell or rent real estate. If you do a search for local real estate in your area, you will notice that real estate brokers advertise heavily on the search engines like Google and Yahoo!.

According to one major real estate association more than 60 Billion dollars a year in real estate sales are driven by the Internet! My wife and I received ten (10) times more leads to rent our townhouse condo listing it on Google than advertising listings in major newspapers like the New Jersey Star Ledger and even the New York Times.

This is true despite the fact that newspapers are traditionally the places most people think of advertising real estate.

The New Jersey Star Ledger and the New York Times Sunday Editions (where our property was listed) have audited circulations of half million and four million respectively.

However, targeted search engine advertising totally outperformed them! This is why you should consider marketing your own real estate property online like your broker more than likely will.

In our next post we will share our thoughts on the great opportunities for search engine marketers and searchpreneurs to profit from the lucrative real estate market online.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Forget Cheap eBooks -- Why Selling FSBO Real Estate Should be Your Next Hot SEO Focus. Part 3.

The Internet has made the real estate boom possible. You can book and buy property from anywhere in the world in any corner of the world. If you are sitting in New York, the Internet makes it possible for you to view, price, bid, and buy property in Florida.

With the Internet, you can access hundreds of sites featuring homes of all shapes and sizes, budgets, locations, and custom features.

Home owners who want to sell their properties without the commissions or hassles associated with a real estate agency can register their properties on sites that are specially designed for sale by owner (FSBO) real estate. Most sites allow you to easily register your property.

You can provide prospective buyers with details about your property, photos of the home and the site, and your availability. There is even software you can use to take site visitors on a virtual tour of your home (you could never do this in traditional print real estate advertising).

Such sites provide home owners with the opportunity to reach a large pool of buyers simultaneously. The sites offer guidelines and tips for home owners to help them advertise their property successfully.

In our next post we will discuss why FSBO real estate and SEO is a good marriage made in heaven.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Forget Cheap eBooks -- Why Selling FSBO Real Estate Should be Your Next Hot SEO Focus. Part 2.

In our last post we suggested that savvy search engine marketers look past selling inexpensive eBooks in view of selling more expensive items like real estate online. Obviously real estate is a high ticket item that lends itself to online promotion. This is because of some of the following issues.

Have you ever felt your ideal home purchase was hassled or made more difficult by real estate agents or brokers commissions or motives to sell at the highest price?

If you've been down that path and disappointed with the results, then there is another way for you to either put your property on the market or buy property. FSBO real estate offers both buyers and sellers the opportunity to bypass the real estate broker.

FSBO real estate is real estate that is simply: For Sale By Owner.

It's a simple and effective concept. The owner of the property puts the property on the market himself/herself and does not list it with a real estate agency. The home owner does not pay the agent a commission and is responsible for finding prospective buyers on his own.

FSBO real estate may not have been possible a decade ago, but the Internet's ability to reach into everyday life has ensured that we can achieve what was once impossible. In other words, it is possible for a home owner to sell his property without contacting a real estate agent.

The simplicity and success of this concept is easy to see. Millions of homes and properties are available for sale online.

In our next post we will look further into the importance of search engine promotion of real estate.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Forget Cheap eBooks -- Why Selling FSBO Real Estate Should be Your Next Hot SEO Focus. Part 1.

By Kamau Austin, Searchpreneur

Does the mention of real estate immediately conjure images of fast-talking, slick, and not-entirely-reliable real estate brokers in you mind? Do some realtors even seem to actually show off their gift of gab at the expense of selling your property.

While some real estate brokers are very professional and helpful their fees alone can discourage you from wanting to list with their service. For instance a typical house selling for $300,000 will payout the real estate brokers a windfall six percent(6%) sales commission of $18,000!

You can see if the real estate broker sells just 2 or 3 homes a month they will easily gross about $500,000 - $600,000 dollars a year in real estate sales commission. This is a great career for people who are savvy sellers, but do you also feel they actually leave your pockets a lot emptier?

Our real estate is the first and most important investment most of us will ever make. Therefore it may be to your advantage to be able to market your own real estate online.

In our next blog post we will delve deeper into why SEO and Real Estate my be a field you may want to specialize in.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Top Ten Search Engine Resources -- Post 1.

The Internet has emerged as one of the fastest growing marketplaces today. Thus, it has become imperative for even brick and mortar enterprises to have a presence on the Web.

Optimizing search engines is the key to success on the Web because most people use search engines like Google and Yahoo! to find online goods and services. For example Google which accounts for about 47% of search engine traffic reportedly receives about 3 Billion searches a month!

Given the importance of search engine traffic the following resources will help you get better visibility, or create effective promotion strategies on the search engines and directories.

WordTracker is one of the best web applications available and is a must for every entrepreneur striving to optimize results from search engine marketing. Most search engines employ keywords. Users type a word or phrase into an online engine’s search bar. Then, the engine offers results based on that specific keyword or phrase. Thus, for an online marketer, keywords are the primary resources that provide them with good results.
WordTracker helps the marketer search for keywords commonly typed by users. The software provides a list of the most popular search queries.

In our next post we will list more outstanding tools to help you in your search engine marketing.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

How Will Diversification In Search Engine Marketing Affect Your E-Business? Conclusion

In our 5 prior posts we explored the diversification of various forms of information online. People searching for information may not want to be deluged with shopping information and vice versa.

Therefore search engines are diversifying into different search functions specializing in finding different types of information. Froogle is a shopping search engine and so is Amazon's A9. Google and Yahoo! have created ingenious and sophisticated local search tools. Even the auction engine of ecommerce eBay has developed awesome search functionality that is an invaluable tool for web marketers.

While these auction sites are a haven for the layman seller operating from his home, for a dedicated marketer, auction sites deliver targeted buyers right to your sales promotion. You do not need to search for buyers, they eagerly seek out competitive sellers.

These kinds of sites are self-regulated; buyers can post comments on the seller’s site that discuss his reliability and his product’s quality. The better the testimonials on the auction site, the better your sales will be generated from the auction site’s search function.

Although Google is the search engine king, and MSN and Yahoo! round out the big three, the future will definitely require diverse search function expertise to position e-Companies online.

Monday, March 06, 2006

How Will Diversification In Search Engine Marketing Affect Your E-Business? Post 4

Last post we explored diversification in search engine marketing and its potential to impact your business. We also mentioned how auction sites, a cornerstone of ecommerce, are developing sophisticated search functionality.

In short, eBay auction site search functionality is an important tool to do online marketing research. We will delve deeper into this factor today in this post.

Anything and everything is available on the online auction sites. You can buy anything from antique dollhouses to sport cars from these sites. The best part—especially from a buyer’s point of view—is the complete elimination of a middleman from this kind of online transaction.

eBay and other auction sites are very important ways of peddling goods on the online market. Once you are registered with an auction site, you can virtually put up any item for sale.

There are specialized sites for different categories; for example, there are auction sites devoted to books, antiques, electronic equipment, and so much more. However, your traditional SEO marketing techniques won't be very effective in this kind of a marketplace.

The biggest advantage of an online auction site is that it is both risk-free and not bound by the narrow limitations of regional sales. You do not have to risk anything when posting your product on the auction site.

As an advantage, buyers drive up the price by bidding on the goods. The best part is that the buyer has to take on the responsibility of paying for shipping costs. Also, the unique nature of this marketplace insures that just about anything can be sold here, from laptop batteries to iron beds.

We will wrap it up on diverse types of search engines and auction site search functionality.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

How Will Diversification In Search Engine Marketing Affect Your E-Business? Post 3

In our previous posts we explained how search engines are diversifying. Therefore, we strongly suggested that you diversify your SEO efforts accordingly. In this post we will briefly reveal the advantages to specialized shopping search engines. Even auctions sites are developing advanced search engine functionality that is invaluable as both a research and promotional tool.

Another advantage is that shopping search engines enable a seller to post images of their products. Buyers can view thumbnail images of the product offered. For example, you can put up pictures of an MP3 player in shades of green, orange, yellow, and white. This makes a buyer feel more confident in their choice and increases the likelihood of a sale materializing from the visit.

Auction sites like eBay are a phenomenon. Auction sites have evolved to have their own sophisticated search functions. The search function on eBay is an excellent source of market research. The search function will go beyond finding products, and actually tell you what products sold and what they sold for in the marketplace.

Armed with this information you know what products sell and what they will sell for in the eBay marketplace. This is invaluable info to have before you either invest in products or bid on them.

With the powerful eBay search tools it functions like a global online flea market on steroids. In our next post we will revisit the development of auction sites as a type of search tool.

Friday, February 24, 2006

How Will Diversification In Search Engine Marketing Affect Your E-Business? Post 2

In our first post we wrote about why search engines are diversifying. In our 2nd post we begin to share why diversifying your search engine strategy is the right move.

Webmasters need to realize the potential of shopping search engines to optimize online sales. For one, the interface of this kind of search engine is very different from the traditional ones; they sort goods by categories. For example, if you are looking for MP3 players, you can narrow down your search by citing brand names, player models, memory space, and price considerations.

However, merely optimizing your web site for the generic category will not yield concrete click through results. Webmasters need to bring about a drastic change in their search engine optimization strategies.

Keyword optimization must consider the unique format of shopping search engines. An advantage to the current situation is that searches can be confined to local areas. This is where you should wisely employ services like Google Adwords.

This service allows you to choose the countries and areas where you want your ad to be displayed. Thus, you will not need to pay for ads being clicked through in Singapore when you can only sell your product in California. This translates into a more economic mode of operation for pay-per-click advertising (PPC).

In our next post we will reveal more advantages to search engine diversity in your marketing mix.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How Will Diversification In Search Engine Marketing Affect Your E-Business? Post 1

Search engines have become a fact of life on the internet. Most internet users continually turn to big search engine sites like Yahoo!, Google, MSN, and Ask Jeeves not only to search general topics, but to fulfill their shopping needs. It seems like a natural place for marketing but competing for space on these big search engines can be tough.

Many Webmasters have jumped on the search engine optimization bandwagon. Companies today must factor search engine marketing into your e-business marketing campaign. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for newer websites to get good page rankings on the big search engines. In addition, since these search engines are content-oriented, the shopping needs of users might not be fulfilled in the best possible ways.

Even the big search engine giants like Yahoo! and Google have realized that the traditional search interface may not be the best possible way to search for goods on the internet.

In response, these search engines have diversified into engines devoted to marketing merchandise online. While Yahoo! acquired shopping.com, Google has developed Froogle, an online shopping engine. Smart webmasters should take advantage of this opportunity and diversify accordingly.

In our next post we will discover some of the advantages to this search engine diversification.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Only 11% of Search Engine Marketing Dollars Spent on SEO

I have found it surprising that only about 11% of search engine marketing dollars are spent on search engine optimization (SEO). About 83% is spent on pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. The balance is spent on things like Pay-Per-Inclusion programs.

This information is very revealing and is explored and opined about by SEO writer Stoney deGeyter of www.SearchEngineGuide.com . He discusses why more companies are willing to invest in PPC and not SEO. He also feels they could be losing a golden opportunity to expand their business.

I agree with Stoney because the last time I read information on search engine click-thru rates about 60% of people click on the organic results before they click on the PPC ads. You can read the full article on: Search Engine Ad Dollars

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Raise Your Website Traffic with RSS - Blogs and YAHOO! Part 2.

By Kamau Austin

In our first part of this article, we raised the question of whether blogging and its distribution tool, RSS feeds, are really useful for Internet and Search Engine Promotion. Are RSS feeds and blogs really the next big thing in web marketing, distribution, and content creation—or are they just hype?

There is a lot of hype around RSS, blogs, and derivative technologies like podcasting. But are they really useful to the serious Internet marketer or are they just the subjects used by marketers looking to create new products to grab our hard-earned marketing dollars.

We also covered the objections and reservations from some Internet marketers about the usefulness of RSS feeds and blogs to the bottom-line of their ebusinesses. This can be contrasted to our discovery of people like Willie Crawford and companies like Weblogs, which generate 6- and 7-figure incomes from blogs, RSS, and related technologies with Google Adsense.

To illustrate if the typical Internet marketers—not just web gurus—can benefit from blogs and RSS feeds, I promised to share my experiences with my new sites not yet optimized for the search engines.
With virgin websites, I could observe the traffic pulling power of blogging, pinging, and RSS. If you would like to read or familiarize yourself with Part 1 of this article, you can read it at…
Raise Your Website Traffic with RSS - Blogs and Yahoo! Part 2.

To test the effectiveness of the ability of RSS feeds and blogs to attract and drive traffic to my web properties, I did some quick and insightful research on the topic. Brandon Hong’s Marketing Rampage with Blogs and RSS was the resource best enabling me to understand the techno-jargon associated with blogs and RSS feeds.

Believe me, I have a 10-year background in information technology, and I can’t make heads or tails out of the alphabet soup served up by tech geeks on blog and RSS media. Plus, I run a very busy SEO consultancy and virtual real estate (VRE Adsense™ and Affiliate Sites) side business, so I don’t have the time to muck around in nebulous articles on these topics.

If you even remotely feel like me about the complexity of blogs or RSS, do yourself a favor and obtain Brandon Hong’s multimedia ebook of screen-capture videos. You can read a full review of the book at…
The Review of Brandon Hong's RSS and Blog Marketing Book

I have been blogging for almost 3 years, but RSS feeds have been harder to grasp in terms of development and marketing. The easiest way to start blogging is to setup an account with www.Blogger.com or www.Bloglines.com. Blogger will actually walk you through the process.

Experienced web designers should not have a problem setting up a www.Blogger.com account. Blogger.com is actually a good initial choice because it provides an easy setup for RSS feeds. The setup can be done by going to the Settings Tab in Blogger, clicking the site feed link, and filling out the forms.

The next issue to consider is the complex RSS compatibility issue. You can sidestep the decision about whether to go with RSS version 2.0 or Google’s Atom standard by “burning your RSS feed” or making them more compatible with all popular RSS formats with a third party service like Feedburner.com.

After creating your RSS feed in Blogger, you should have it burned in the Feedburner.com service; it will guide you through the process. The optimized Feedburner.com RSS feed is then ready to be submitted to the major RSS directories.

I would suggest creating a few descriptions of your blog and then submitting both your blog and RSS URLs to the appropriate RSS and blog directories. My firm fast-tracks blog and RSS feed promotion by submitting them to about 90 directories that specialize in this type of media—including Yahoo! and MSN RSS content services.

Both the Blogger.com service and, more extensively, Feedburner.com can be configured to ping the major RSS and blog directories. This means they signal or alert these directories whenever you update posts on your blog in real time. Perhaps most importantly, you get traffic statistics about your RSS subscribers and readers.

The results of my RSS and blog traffic research over the last 3 months are amazing! I have been totally blown away by the research. I am excited about RSS and blog usage, despite the good and bad news:

The bad news: According to a White paper on blogging, sponsored in part by Yahoo!, 88% of Internet users don’t know what RSS technology is and 96% of Internet users stated they do not use it!

The good news: 27% of Internet users experience RSS feed content on their My Yahoo and MSN web accounts, although they don’t realize it! Moreover, 4% of Internet users actively use RSS feeds. This means 31%, or almost one-third (1/3), of Internet users in the U.S. read RSS feeds.

With almost 150 million U.S. Internet users and 600 million net users worldwide, you do the math on the large numbers of people reading RSS feeds (even if unwittingly).

More positive stats on RSS and blog usage, according to the Pew Internet & American life project:

- (1) Fully 19% of online Americans ages 18-29 have created blogs
- (2) 11 million American adults say they have created blogs
- (3) 27% of Internet users reported in November that they read blogs
- (4) This translates into 32 million American adults who read blogs

This information shows that RSS and blogs are growing technologies for serious Internet business people to adapt into their marketing mix. My personal research over three months showed that when I regularly updated my blog sites, burned RSS feeds pinging the major directories increased my traffic a whopping 25%!

Blogs, RSS feeds, and articles distributed regularly to major host sites and distribution services actually rivaled the traffic of my highly optimized top-ranking SEO and VRE sites. More importantly, traffic from blog, RSS, and article-driven traffic actually made twice as much income in sales and Adsense™ revenue than my traditional SEO sites.

Needless to say, once a skeptic, I am now a big believer in the power of RSS feeds and blogs to boost my bottom-line. I will leave you with a controversial statement for a SEO and Searchpreneur©.

Dr. Jakob Nielsen recently referred to search engines as “the leeches on the Internet.” He feels “Search engines extract too much of the Web's value, leaving too little for the websites that actually create the content. Liberation from search dependency is a strategic imperative for both websites and software vendors.”

With Yahoo! and MSN soon to enforce email postage, according to a recent article by the New York Times, RSS and blogging may become the best and latest arsenal for small business to continue to survive and thrive in the Internet economy.

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 strategies at Always On Top the SEO Book.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Yahoo and AOL to soon Charge email Postage for Business eMails.

It is the story of urban legends. Internet postage for email. There have been stories like this for a long time on the Internet without any merit. However, a new report by the New York Times claims that Yahoo!, AOL, and perhaps MSN will soon charge postage to businesses that send email.

The rationale for such behavior is to stamp out spam. The real motive is to create a new income source in my opinion.

It is reported that the Internet portals and ISP will charge 1/4 of a penny to a penny per email. This will make it very difficult for small businesses to run email businesses. Already small businesses have to pay a good deal of money with third party services like Topica to send out their email.

In my experience so called "whitelisted" email deliver programs like Topica still cannot get your email through the spam filters.

20% of opt-in email is trapped by the spam filters. The large Internet services will not guarantee that business email will get through the spam filters without digital postage.

This is an attempt by Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN to hold small business hostage for email delivery. Plus consumers will not be happy if their confirmation email does not get to them for products that they have ordered.

Furthermore a lot of personal emails will be lost because they originate from a business ISP or host. It is sad how big business has made the Internet's first killer app so unreliable. This will press for the need for more technologies like Blogs, RSS, and Instant Messaging.

I hope the Internet community at large doesn't stand by and watch email become subject to postage tolls because this is a slippery slope towards big business domination and subjugation. This highjacking of Internet communication must not stand!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Getting Extra "Value Added" Services from Your Search Engine Professional

I read and excellent article on receiving extra services from your Search Engine professional. As a search engine professional that has many years in advertising, sales, PR, marketing, writing, and technology I think this is probably the future of search marketing.

In an Information economy search engines are more and more becoming the way to navigate the great store houses of data and information worldwide. Search engine professionals are becoming full scale consultants on how to develop a business in the information economy.

This reader seems to think search engine companies are a dime a dozen. This is far from the truth however because I read that there are only a few hundred search engine companies worldwide.

My company provides many of the services mentioned here but I picked up a tip or two from this article. Read about Search Engine Value Added Services

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Search Sites Have Doubled the Conversion Rates of Other Online Promotional Efforts

A very informative article has surfaced from web analytic ASP Web Side Story. It shows traffic driven from search engines is almost double the sales conversion rate than other forms of Internet promotion.

In other words, people driven to sites from search engines are twice as likely to buy on a website. The only traffic the produced more conversions was bookmarks or direct domain requests from browsers. Read the whole Search Engine Sales Conversion Article

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Great Article On the Art of Asking for Links

This is a great article by one of my favorite SEO writer Jennifer Laycock on: Building Links with Relationships

Good Ideas on How Your Web Pages Ranking Influences Conversions

How your pages ranking in the search engines impacts your sales conversion rates. This point is made very lucidly in this DM News article. Click here to read the article: How Your Search Engine Ranking Effects Your Sales Conversions

Super Bowl Drives Search Engine Traffic

Did you know commericals in the superbowl causes keyword spikes for brands on the search engines? An eye opening article I suggest your read makes this abundantly clear.

This shows how TV, and other forms of traditional media can have a benefical synergistic relationship with the Internet. Read the article at: The Superbowl and Search Engine Traffic

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Search Marketing Standard Launches as First Magazine to Provide Inside Look at Search Marketing Industry

It was announced today that a brand-new publication -- “Search Marketing Standard” -- has been launched to cover the search industry. This magazine will be the first and only periodical completely devoted to the world of search marketing.

New York City, New York, January 26, 2006 -- It was announced today that a brand-new publication -- “Search Marketing Standard” -- has been launched to cover the search industry. This magazine will be the first and only periodical completely devoted to the world of search marketing.

“Search Marketing Standard” is expected to set a benchmark in the industry by offering a cohesive collection of timely advice and reporting breaking trends for online business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals who market themselves on search engines such as Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Microsoft Search (MSN), Searchfeed, MIVA (FindWhat), ePilot, Kanoodle, Enhance Interactive, Search123, Mamma, and many others.

The first issue of the full-color, high-quality magazine is set to be released in May 2006, and will be published worldwide on a quarterly basis. The publisher also announced that until February 28th, subscribers in the U.S. will be eligible to receive a free one-year subscription to “Search Marketing Standard” by registering directly on www.searchmarketingstandard.com. International subscribers will be charged a nominal fee.

“Search Marketing Standard” will cover pay per click advertising, search engine optimization, web analytics, click fraud, local and contextual search, and other search-related topics. Each publication will feature articles and advice from leading experts in the field, interviews with the who’s-who of the industry, reviews of the most popular tools and services, latest news and trends, and much more.

The magazine’s publisher, Boris Mordkovich, commented that, “The goal of the magazine is to bring all of the information that's floating out there to end-users that need it to improve their advertising campaigns in a simple yet effective way.”

Magazine’s parent company, MordComm, Inc. has long been known to develop innovative products and services for search marketers and online businesses, which include a popular tracking and click fraud monitoring tool -- AdWatcher , as well as free informational portals -- PayPerClickUniverse.com and SEMBooster.com. It has also published a best-selling book -- Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing Handbook. “Search Marketing Standard” is MordComm’s next venture in developing ground-breaking and practical tools and services.

For more information, please visit: Search Engine Standard

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Google Gets Heat On Anemic Start of Video Search

The company I love to hate Google is receiving much negative press about the release of its video product. I guess a lot of people are getting a jump start into video. People seem to be complaining that too many novices to video production are stinking up the new Google Video search engine's results.

A recent article by a writer in the New York Times stating that both "trash and treasure" were included in this latest Google foray. Google's video service is proven to be so far less than perfect.

But so what?

Everything Google is expanding and engulfing anything remotely related to information in any form.

Google is expanding recently into

- Site Statistics

- Classified Ads (with Google Base)

- Magazine Advertising

- Radio Ad placement

- Cable TV ad placement

- satellite Mapping Technology

and these business roll-outs are only the tip of the iceberg in what we presently know about.

Like any aggressive growth company Google does not wait to achieve perfection before rolling out new web services. It gets those services online and then perfects them (especially if they show promise).

Google teaches us small business people especially website owners a lesson. We shouldn't wait for the perfect site, web app, ezine, or digital video before rolling them out.

I now counsel my web clients to get out a preliminary site to age through the Google sandbox. We do this while we are perfecting a more complex site. If the Googles and Microsofts of the world can afford to be less than perfect so can we little guys.

Focus more on completion of your web products and less on perfection and perhaps you'll on your way to being the next Google or Microsoft.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Are Search Engines the Leeches of the Internet?

This is the opinion of well respected Internet usability expert Dr. Jakob Nielsen. I find it amusing that someone who is an insider of the web digerati is making a critical comment about some main fixtures on the Internet -- the search engines.

While I disagree with at least 50% or what I read from Mr. Nielsen in the past, He is usually worth reading. This is such a maverick position in contrast to most Internet gurus who read like apologists for everything the search engines embark upon.

His main point seems to be he feels the search engines are making a fortune off the content creators or web publishers without doing much in return. On the other hand, I feel Google and Yahoo are giving something back now in terms of revenues generated by their commission sharing programs like Adsense and Yahoo's publisher network.

More people are anxious to create good content because the content for the first time in recent years can be monetized with Adsense. It is encouraging however to see that an established Internet guru would hazard a critique of some of the main drivers Internet traffic and business -- the search engines.

You can read Dr. Jakob Nielsen full commentary of the search engines at: Search Engines as Leeches

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Good Guideline and Checklist of Getting Good Rankings with Google

I have been directed to a good resource to check your efforts for search engine optimization. This uses many of the tactics of successful SEOs. This page is an excellent resource and It can be found at: Google Checklist

Thursday, January 12, 2006

2 Great Articles on How Google Finds and Ranks Web Pages

Matt Cutts, Google's quality control enginner gives an inside take on how retrieves and ranks pages. You can read the articles at these links: Matt Cutts Article and Google's Explanation of PigeonRank

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The New Consumer: A Teen's Eye View of Search Engines, Online Purchasing & Travel by Patricia Brusha

Teens hate email, love instant message; favor Google and the majority feel they have a direct influence over the family's buying cycle for travel and consumer goods...a recent focus group uncovers what this means to advertisers.

"A Couple of Chicks" invited 125 High School Hospitality Tourism Students to be part of a focus group on Search Engines, Communication trends and Travel. Watching my own daughter who is almost 15, it is becoming apparent that the next generation of consumers are adopting distinct opinions and habits early on. I have been constantly observing her behavior when it comes to the effect of online marketing and her impressions of the travel industry and the Internet as a source for research and purchase.

Given this group of individuals is not far off from being the next giant consumer base, I wondered if her peers had some of the same sentiments as she did regarding this topic.

If you have a teen running around your house, you will intuitively agree with the opening statements along with the remainder of the results presented here. However even those of you with teens may be surprised, as I was, with some of the answers as we take a look at a "teen's view" of the internet, and what it means to the future of marketing. The focus group of High School students took an identical survey covering topics related to the travel search process over the course of 5 class periods with the aid of www.surveymonkey.com. Survey Monkey calculated the results accurately in an unbiased way. After the survey each group was presented with an inside look at a searchers behavior as we interactively examined a sample search process that we call "Planning a Family Vacation Exposed!" Stay tuned for that article expose coming soon!

At 58%, the majority of the participants from this High School were 16 year old males with the remaining 41% females. Participants ranged in age from 14-18. Our research begins with how many computers in their homes had online internet access. (I have had the discussion with many people that had the impression that my home housed more computers than the average, given my chosen profession) Interestingly the results showed I was not an anomaly, kids today are connected fast, and command ownership over multiple computers.

Here comes the real meat, some of you who are scanning this might miss the good stuff, so read on because this gets good!

Just over 89% stated their computers were on a high speed broadband connection. Students who have 1 or 2 online computers tied at 34% each, with 19.5% owning 3 and an incredible 12% housing more than 3 Internet connected computers. "We need our own" a number of kids responded, "Our parents have their own and there is one for the kids." Teens with multiple siblings echoed those sentiments stating the same reason for multiple Computers. Wireless networks were another reason why having multiple computers is easier and cheaper than ever before.

When questioned if the wireless networks had a security key, most teens did not know. A few savvy Gen Y's knew that they had security keys, as their families had already been victims of identity theft with intruders hacking into their network. Security seemed to be a topic they hungered for more information about, as they readily admitted there is no one speaking to them directly regarding security issues over the internet.

When it comes to Search Engines, Google wins the race with Gen Y hands down, with a remarkable 85% claiming it as their favorite search engine, with Yahoo at 10% coming in second, and MSN securing only 4.5% of the territory. However the results were almost reverse when verifying what was the most commonly used home page. Yahoo was a more engaging home page for teens, as it allows them to customize their own content, with horoscopes, sports scores and news on games and movies. They readily admit that even though Yahoo has a search bar, they go to www.google.com when they want to search for something.

Think the younger generation is impatient when they are searching? A surprising 53% said they go to as many pages as they need until they find the answer, with only 18% sticking to the first page. With 79% of the teens stating they have never clicked on a sponsored ad, they told me that most of what they see on the first page is some sort of advertising. Hard for me to believe but they have figured out the deeper you dig, the closer to the "truth" you get! At least that is what they believe as 46% responded that they felt that most of the results returned, whether paid or natural, were some form of advertising.

"When I am not with my friends we talk over Instant Messenger," was a statement I overheard numerous times during the day. With 65% of the students participating said they always use IM to communicate and 28% said they use it sometimes, only 5 % of the focus group said they never used IM. "I love IM!" claimed one 15 year old girl, "You get instant responses where email takes too long, it's more like I am just talking to my friends." You parents are most likely all too familiar with the communication method of choice for this generation!

"IM is better than 3-way calling," another boy volunteered, "I've had as many as 10 conversations going at once! It's also a great way to meet new people." The students were equally split percentage wise at having 1 or 2 email addresses but claimed how much they hated spam. With hotmail being the number one choice of teen email, they told me how they quickly check their email then open up IM to see who is on. It has become the gathering place for Gen Y to hang out after school.

What about cell phones? An overwhelmingly 70% own a cell phone, however only 44% said they use Text Message sometimes, where only 21% of the group always used it. Text messaging seemed to be favored by girls over boys, where a number of them claimed to have the ability to text message without looking. "We do it in class all the time," stated one of girls age 14, "I can hold my phone under my desk and send a message without looking at the keys." In looking at multiple travel search related questions on the survey, Expedia has clearly done the best job of building their brand with Gen Y. Over 56% said their families had booked a vacation on Expedia with Hotels.com coming in second at 28%. Identical statistics were cited when asked if they had ever visited any Travel Websites. From a marketing perspective, teens were not at all familiar with Travelocity, Priceline, Hotwire or even the ability to book travel on Brand sites. In fact over 73% recorded they did not have a favorite hotel brand.

What does this mean to the present and future of online advertising for travel and tourism?

66% of the teens claim they have an influence over where their family travels, stating price and location equally as determining factors. One of the teachers revealed the following insight. "I have the students build their dream vacation on Expedia. What they find out is that it is not as easy as it sounds. When I ask them to write down the phone number of the hotel, they are surprised when they can't find it. Most of them never realized if you went to the hotel direct, Expedia wouldn't make any money."

So what will happen when teens start to book their own travel, not to mention their influence on travel purchases now? Brand sites were their lowest choice at 9%, with Search and Third Party Intermediaries tying at slightly below a third. What was the clear winner in the category? Word of Mouth. This follows the trend we are currently seeing in the current generations of travelers. The popularity of www.tripadvisor.com and other online review portals seemed to hold more credence than traditional advertising or content.

How will online marketing change as we begin to adapt to the needs of this new generation? Already they are bonafide consumers with 58% of the focus group admitting they have already made their own purchases online with almost 40% having made a purchase on EBay!

My recommendations on how to use this information; Brands and Third Parties have a long way to go to begin to build a loyalty with this base of future consumers. When was the last time you saw anything directly marketed to this demographic by either of the above? That being said, it is clear that a new form of marketing must be embraced. Now that Pay per Click and eblasts are perceived as "traditional marketing" to Gen Y, Interactive Marketing will be the direction to go moving forward.

Gen Y and their predecessors Gen X, want to be engaged, want to customize their content and are still willing to have direct advertising; but only if it is relevant, and they have chosen to have it.

These trends are currently being discussed by top industry leaders who are saying things like; "Consumers today are armed with iPods, TiVo machines, Blackberries, search engines, broadband connections and other digital technologies, and they have gained unprecedented control over their media, content and purchasing options. As a result, marketers are facing an increasingly complex web of challenges," says Geoff Ramsey, CEO, www.eMarketer.com .

Gary Stein, senior analyst for Jupiter Research recently presented an address on "Effective Internet Marketing in a Global Market Place." Stein noted that "8 out of 10 potential customers will go to sources outside their control, such as blogs and online reviews, and smart marketers need to make sure they know what is being said."

Does this make Content Syndication and Blogs the next generation of marketing tools? What it really boils down to is not the method of how the message gets there, but is the trigger that determines the purchase. Closely working with your web analytic partner to keep current with you customer buying cycle will clearly provide you the answers as to what differentiates the research stage from a transaction, and how to use that intelligence to more effectively target this future generation of consumers, and stay attuned to changes in the current one.

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"A Couple of Chicks Distribution Marketing" would like to thank the students and teachers of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Secondary School in Mississauga Ontario, for their participation in the survey and focus group. All information in this article was reproduced with the permission of those participating. Mt Carmel has invited "A Couple of Chicks" to return in 2006 to perform a similar study with the next semester's students.

Patricia Brusha and Alicia Whalen are the co-founder's of A Couple of Chicks , a newly "hatched" Internet Marketing, Distribution & Revenue Measurement Company. A Couple of Chicks E-Distribution Marketing specializes in using Creative, on-line Distribution tactics and tracking Technology to help you reach your customers. Look for part two of this article series, which will explore the relevancy of understanding the search process.