Category Archives: Search Engine Marketing

The Future of DuckDuckGo as a Viable Search Engine

Ever since the World Wide Web came into existence, the business of creating the best of the best search engine has been never-ending. When someone asks a question they do not know the answer to, a typical response is, “Why don’t you just Google it?” Obviously, Google has elevated its brand to be a proprietary eponym, a product that is so successful, that has come into general use to refer to the its generic class of objects rather than the specific brand type. Google is trusted by millions of Internet users around the globe.

Duck Duck Go Search EngineSoon though, there may be some new competition in the world of search engines. Instead of saying, “Google it,” you may hear people saying, “Duck it.” This is because DuckDuckGo is climbing the ranks in the search engine business and only time will tell how far it will get up the usage and acceptance ladder.

With so many search engines available, it seems that everyone has their favorite go-to engine for any information they may be seeking. Aside from Google, some of the other top search engines that the average Internet user knows include Ask.com, Bing, Yahoo, and YouTube (of course, it is owned by Google). Even Twitter and Facebook are used extensively for search. So what would make a user of any of these well-known search engines try out DuckDuckGo? Is there something that makes this newer search engine different? Is there something that clearly sets it apart from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the others? Quite simply, the answer is, “Yes!”

DuckDuckGo has something known as Zero Click Information that provides you with info that goes above the traditional search results. It’s called Zero Click Information because you get what you are looking for right on the search page without having to click on a link unless you need further information. The information you get with this Zero Click technology includes, but is not limited to, a summary of the topic, images, and direct answers to whatever your questions are.

In addition to the perk of the Zero Click, there is also what is known as semantic topic detection. This technology lets the search engine take your questions and quickly sort through all available links, but only showing the topics it detected in your queries. For example, if you input a vague search item such as “apple,” DuckDuckGo actually inquires which meaning you want. Are you looking for information on fruit? Do you need some stats about the company Apple? This allows your search to be better targeted for the optimal results. And perhaps the biggest reason that DuckDuckGo may beat out other more popular search engines in the near future is that it is much less cluttered than other search engines. They have fewer advertisements and their spam is at the bare minimum. Clutter reduction is one of DuckDuckGo’s top priorities.

So, how is DuckDuckGo quacking along? Numbers don’t lie and when it was first introduced on September 25, 2008, the web traffic went up 50 percent in only eight short days. And if the above reasons aren’t convincing enough to convince you that DuckDuckGo is real competition to the other search engine giants, check this out: DuckDuckGo is not putting out a track on you. That’s right.

Duck Duck Go billboard adUnlike its competitors, such as Google, DuckDuckGo has a stellar privacy policy. And unlike other competitors, such as Yahoo, DuckDuckGo does all it can to simplify your search experience. You know how Yahoo and Google add suggested links at the top of your search? DuckDuckGo doesn’t do this. They actually WANT you to find what you need without a hassle. How refreshing is that?

It will definitely be interesting to see where this new search kid on the block ends up…at the front of the class or at the back of the bus.

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Filed under Marketing, Search Engine Marketing

Use a Mutual Fund Strategy to Counter Google

Diversify your search portfolio

Diversify your search portfolio

Investors learned the trick long ago. Place your hard-earned money in just one stock and it is win big or go home. Diversify your monies and invest in multiple stocks through mutual funds and minimize your risks. It’s a winning strategy eCommerce marketers should look to as well.

Why Build a One-Legged Stool? 

When it comes to search engine marketing, conversations drift towards how tactical efforts will affect the search engine result page ranking on Google. Of course, there are Bing, Ask, Dogpile, Duck Duck Go and a bunch of other search engine “also-rans,” but with two-thirds of all searches being conducted on Google according to comScore, they are the tail that wags the dog in search.

The attention given solely to and dominance of Google is not a good thing. Having all your marketing eggs in one large search basket places too much pass-fail risk in one channel. And, it’s one channel you can’t control. (Think of the next Google Panda or Penguin update.) This is similar to what investors learned to circumvent 80 years ago. Marketing diversification is the key to long-term growth and success.

Broaden Your Definition of Search 

Sure. Google is the #1 most visited web site according to Alexa rankings with its primary purpose being search. Facebook is #2 and is primarily a social network. But, at the very top of the Facebook site, there’s a search box! How does your product, brand, or service rank when searched on Facebook?

There’s a search box at or near the top of #6 Wikipedia, too. And #8 LinkedIn, #11 Twitter, and #12 Amazon. Of course, there’s Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, SlideShare, and dozens of other heavily visited web sites that all have search engines. Does a click on their search engine result pages lead to your site?

Internet Shoppers Leverage Amazon Reviews 

Why Amazon Matters Now More Than Ever

Why Amazon Matters Now More Than Ever

Forrester Research recently published a report called, Why Amazon Matters Now More than Ever. The study surfaced that, in 2012, 30% of online consumers were already using other approaches to search for and research products, like reading Amazon customer reviews, before making a purchase decision.  These shoppers were not necessarily making their purchase on Amazon. This behavior is on the increase. According to the study, only 13% of online users are researching a potential product purchase solely online through search engines like Google. Chalk one up for including Amazon in your search strategy. Be sure to add other review sites like Epinions.com, Buzzillions.com, ConsumerReports.org, ConsumerSearch.com, and CNET.com to your search marketing strategy list.

Smile for the Camera 

With more people than ever carrying smart phones with mega-pixel cameras embedded within them, consumers are being trained to digest image content quickly and easily. Three of the four top social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) have the same common characteristic – they place an emphasis on sharing images. The recent rapid rise to success of Pinterest and Buzzfeed only adds testaments to the viral power and search potential of image-based content.

Mean Stinks Photo Sharing

Mean Stinks Photo Sharing

Proctor & Gamble leveraged this trend recently with their “Mean Stinks” Secret deodorant campaign by creating a photo searching and sharing application to spread an anti-bullying message.  According to P&G, over 1.5 million girls spread awareness about girl-to-girl bullying through the generation of these images.

Successful brands that receive the most social image shares also have another common characteristic. They know how to pepper in some well-placed, creative images into their written content that drive consumers to search for them to share.

Spread the Wealth 

A solid search engine marketing strategy creates content that aims to improve the search engine results page rank for as many visit driving sites as possible, not just Google. Both what you do with content on your own web site, as well as these other web sites, can have a positive impact on many ways people can find your business or service when they search. Having a diversified content strategy in place also insures your site against being at the mercy of the next Google Dance, when your rankings on just that search engine slip a bit.

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content, Content Marketing, Marketing, Search Engine Marketing

What is Bing’s Subjectship and How does it Compare to Google’s Authorship?

UPDATE 2015: Google’s Authorship was scrapped by the end of 2013. We believe My Web Writers was a voice that contributed to this end. In an article, Forbes details the finale. Read My 2013 SMX Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship. About that time, Bing’s subjectship faded into an abyss, as well.

By Natalie

Authorship screen shot

Webmasters are always looking for the next great SEO boost. Google Authorship was launched this past year, so it was only natural that Bing would fire back with its own version, Bing Subjectship. Understanding the two and how they compare can help content writers and other authors and readers decide which they prefer from the world’s two favorite search engines.

Google Authorship

Although just a youngster, Google Authorship is proving itself as a successful tool to drive traffic to websites, especially blogs.  Look at the Google search to the right for “Google Authorship.” The photos you see are the authors of the articles.

Since Google added Authorship to its articles, the click-through rates are much higher than they were before.

Bing’s Subjectship

Bing decided to compete with Google via Bing Subjectship. Instead of seeing a picture of who wrote a specific article or blog post, you’ll see a picture of the subject matter.  If I wrote a popular blog post on a famous singer, my picture would show up next to the search result in Google, but Bing would show a picture of the famous singer and the picture might not be one I even used in my post.  Subjectship appears to be in an experimental stage.

This video further highlights some of the differences between Authorship and Subjectship:

After we contacted Bing for more information about Subjectship, we received the following reply.

It’s me again Docs from Bing Technical Support. We apologize for the delay of our response. We would like to provide you an update from our product group about your inquiry on Bing Subjectship. Allow me to discuss this with you.

Bing Support provides assistance for customers needing help with Bing and the features within Bing. We are unable to provide any additional information regarding Bing Subjectship nor any future plans and releases pertaining to Bing.

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in Bing.
Best Regards,

Docs
Bing Technical Support

So which do you find more appealing- a photo of who wrote the article or blog post, or a photo of who the post is about?

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Blog Writing Tips, Content Marketing, Holiday Blog, Pictures, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Linking

Maslow’s Hierarchy in your PPC Copy

By My Web WritersMaslow's Hierarchy of Needs

PPC (pay per click) campaigns are all about finding customers who are interested in the advertiser’s product, and then about enticing those people to click on the link, and finally to purchase the product or service offered.

Sounds simple, but the reality can be more complex. That’s why it’s helpful to find tools that will make the task easier. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy in your PPC copy is one way to increase the success of a website or ad campaign.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

What exactly is Maslow’s hierarchy? It’s a psychological theory proposed by AbrahamMaslow in 1943. The hierarchy is represented by a pyramid. Maslow suggested that people must meet needs at the base of the pyramid before they can worry about moving higher on the pyramid to meet the needs found there.

As one moves up the pyramid, the needs become less necessary for life, but focus on reaching ultimate fulfillment. The pyramid ranges from basic physiological needs at the base to self-actualization needs at the top.

 Using Maslow’s Hierarchy in PPC Campaigns

Just as Maslow’s hierarchy helps us make sense of human behavior, a similar hierarchy exists for PPC campaigns. At the base of the PPC pyramid might be the ad campaign account structure: the first step, before writing PPC copy is even begun, is to set up an ad account. What types of payment will be accepted? Is there a theme that can be mentioned consistently through the campaign? Account structure issues must be addressed before moving up the pyramid.

The next step up the pyramid for your PPC campaign might involve keywords. Keywords are a crucial consideration, since the keywords you choose will directly influence how many potential customers reach the copy you will be writing. You can use Google Adwords’ Keywords Tool to determine keywords that your potential customers may be searching for. Aim for finding keywords with many monthly searches, but with low competition. Don’t assume your keywords will never change; you’ll want to monitor them often and tweak them as needed to keep up the traffic to your site.

Continuing our journey up the pyramid, we reach landing pages. These are the pages that potential customers will reach when their keyword searches lead them to your site. Design your landing page carefully, and look at it from a potential customer’s eyes: does it answer the questions your customer may be asking? Is there a call to action to purchase the product or service you’re offering? Spend time creating landing pages that will entice those who arrive on them.

Finally, we reach the pyramid’s pinnacle: the ad copy itself. It may seem surprising that we’re only now discussing the actual PPC copy, but just as Maslow’s hierarchy suggests that humans can only achieve self-actualization after meeting all the needs beneath, your PPC campaign copy can only be as effective as all the pyramid levels beneath it.

Your PPC copy should utilize the keywords you identified earlier. A call to action – often, to make a purchase – should be evident. Talk to potential customers. What phrases would entice them to move from interest to buying? Incorporate these suggestions into your ad copy to turn readers into buyers.  ~Susan

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Five Ways To Circulate Articles On The Web

By My Web Writers New Image

Within every article that we read, there is an author who has placed a great deal of time, energy and emotion into creating it. These are thoughts that are meant to be shared far and wide, so it’s understandably disappointing when an article only receives a few readers and little to no interaction. But long gone are the days where print publications and hand-to-hand circulation are our only options for gaining readership. We have at our disposal, the Internet, technology and social media to take any article around the globe in mere seconds – if only given the right platform. Here are five key ways to circulate your articles on the web and reach a larger, broader readership:

1.  Social Media

Publishing an article on your web site or blog and not sharing it on social media is missing out on one of the lowest hanging fruits for article circulation. Your social media networks are mostly made up of people who know you personally or have a pre-existing interest in what you have to say. This makes for a friendly and interactive audience that will eagerly read your thoughts and likely share them further. Definitely share your article link on Facebook and Twitter, but there are also many other social media platforms that are more specifically suited for article sharing. First, Digg.com allows you to easily submit a link to your article to be shared with their vast network. From here it can be liked and shared by people from all around the world and possibly even featured on their homepage. Next, Linkedin.com is a great platform for sharing intellectual material like articles. In addition to posting it on your personal profile, join Linkedin Groups that relate to the subject of your article and post it on their discussion board. Again, you’ll reach an audience far bigger than your own personal network. Finally, don’t forget to share your article on Google+. Everyone you’re connected with will be able to easily read and share.

2. Article Submission Web Sites

There are endless web sites that allow you to freely submit your own articles for their publication and distribution. Articlebase.com and ArticlesFactory.com are among the top recommended. They are both free and support a heavy readership. Most article submission sites shouldn’t cost you a membership or impose a fee, but they also won’t likely earn you any more either. Be sure to submit only articles that you’re willing to spread all over the world and link back to your personal web site in the “About” section where possible. This will help direct new readership back to you if they’re interested in learning more. If you want more (many more) options, here is a lengthy list of web sites that will accept personal article submissions. Be warned, though. While distribution will increase your viewership, there could be a SEO price to pay.  Search engines are looking for quality articles and not spins for the sake of rapid-fire marketing. Receiving links from questionable websites could actually reduce your traffic because of the Penguin update.

3. E-Newsletters

If you regularly write articles (on a weekly or monthly basis), consider starting an email newsletter that goes out to all of your contacts. By publishing your articles on your web site or blog, you’re only guaranteed to reach the people who subscribe or choose to visit your sites at this time. You’re missing out on reaching a far broader audience of personal and business contacts who don’t fall into this category. With an email newsletter, you can start by adding all of your email contacts to your distribution list (so long as you give them the opportunity to opt-out). This could get your articles in front of hundreds new readers who may never have stumbled upon them otherwise. It also allows for an easy platform for sharing. ConstantContact.com or MailChimp.com are among the most used and recommended e-newsletter platforms.

4. Guest Blogging

Much like your social media networks, your blog subscribers are made up of people who want to hear what you have to say and are familiar with your writing. To reach an audience broader than this, consider guest blogging for a reputable blog that has an established readership and possibly a different demographic. Starting by contacting the authors of blogs you subscribe to and enjoy reading. Rarely will guest blogging earn you any cash, but if you have the time and energy to write for a web site that’s not your own, the publicity it can bring you is a large return for your investment. If you’re the owner of a blog, be careful not to compromise the quality of your blog by choosing guest bloggers who don’t have a firm grasp on the content.  Matt Cutts addresses the benefits and drawbacks to guest posting in this video:

5. Paid Article Circulation Services

If you are very serious about getting your articles in front of the most eyes possible, then a paid service may offer you more emphasized results. Many of the free techniques mentioned above require dedication and patience in exchange for their low price. If you want results almost immediately then consider trying a platform like SubmitYourArticle.com. This service provides article marketing and submits your work to a high volume of web sites for you. Having your articles out on many web sites will increase your exposure, but do note that except for the convenience of not having to submit your own article to over 100 different sites (and create an account and login for each), paid services do not guarantee a certain amount of publicity or site placement.

Whether you have a growing list of articles sitting in your archives, or you’re just getting started on your writing adventure, be sure to use some of these key circulation tips to be sure your ideas are shared with the largest audience possible. You never know how one reader might be inspired by your words! ~Stephanie

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Filed under Content Marketing, Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media

Five Money-Making Tips for your PPC Campaign

by My Web Writers

Pay-Per Click (PPC) advertising can be an effective way to launch your business or spread the word about a special promotion. As a marketer, you must specify the amount of money you’re willing to pay per click you receive on your ad to programs like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads who promote your message to their vast audience. Setting a budget is a critical aspect to successful PPC campaigns, but just as critical is setting up your campaign keywords and demographics. These five following tips are often overlooked in PPC marketing, but can have a profound impact on turning your ad into future customers:

Pay attention to keyword matching – There is a very important difference between the settings “specific keyword match” and “broad keyword match.” The broad match option will show your ad for your chosen keyword plus any additional words or phrases that your advertising program feels is relevant. While your ad will appear more often with this setting, it will also appear before an audience who may not be your key demographic or at all interested in your business. In short, this is a waste of time and money. Instead, set your options to specific keyword match or specific phrase match so that your ad is sure to run before the eyes of those you’re actually trying to target.

Don’t be afraid to use negative keywords – Many advertising programs will offer the option for you to specify keywords that you do not want included in any ad placements. This is your opportunity to separate your keywords from other related keywords that are not at all connected to your target audience. If you’re advertising a business development program, but it’s targeted to established business owners not students or entrepreneurs, use “student” and “entrepreneur” as negative keywords to avoid wasting your marketing budget on clicks from this audience.

Limit your scope – In many instances you’ll have a very small and well-defined audience who is your target and your best bet for future customers. Use all the tools that you’re advertising program offers to limit your ad’s scope to reflect this audience. In what region, state, city or zip code do they live? What’s their age, gender and income level? Mostly all of the demographics you compile for your target audience can be incorporated into your ad’s scope in some way. Even if your ad calls for a broader focus, spanning several countries, you can still tailor the scope of each ad to its appropriate audience be creating separate keywords for each country. Don’t let your keywords, or your advertising dollars, get lost in translation. The time you spend on developing fine-tuned keywords to hit your target demographics and narrow your scope is time well spent in the long run.

Limit your runtime – Just like demographics, you can also specify at what time and how often you’d like your ad to run. Think again about your target audience. When are they most likely surfing the web or active online? These should be the key times you schedule your ad to run. If you don’t specify your runtime and leave it up to the advertising program, your ad may end up filling vacant slots at odd hours where they receive no attention, or attention from the wrong viewers. In either case, you can save money (and make money) by choosing an appropriate runtime for your ad.

Link to appropriate landing page – This tip may seem elementary, but if you were to click on several random ads running on Google or Facebook right now, you may be surprised by the irrelevant pages you land on. Only in very rare cases should your ad link to the generic homepage of your web site. Whatever you’re advertising or promoting should be the specific page you’re viewers are brought to upon clicking. Make sure your content is up to date!  If viewers clicked on an ad for your new book, viewers should be able to purchase this book on the page they land on without any additional clicks. If it’s an ad for a special coupon at your restaurant, link to the page with the coupon on it. While it may be tempting to take viewers to your homepage in hopes they’ll click on other links, it’s far more likely they’ll simply click “close” when they don’t immediately find what the ad promoted.

PPC advertising has the potential to propel your business forward if used appropriately. By placing your time and emphasis on developing a well thought out list of keywords and a defined target audience, you will maximize your advertising dollars and increase your chances of turning each click into a new customer!  

~Stephanie

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Filed under Marketing, PPC, Search Engine Marketing