Posts Tagged Internet marketing

The Twitter Distraction

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It’s been just over a year now since I’ve been using Twitter as part of my daily routine. For the initial few months I was regularly updating Twitter with some interesting and some not so interesting tweets.I would set aside at least 15 mins a day to network with people on Twitter or at least post about an article I’ve found or written.

Now however, things have changed quite drastically. I can’t remember the last time I posted a decent tweet or one at all! I know it was sometime last week and it was more of a demonstration to a client as to the power of posting a link on Twitter. Although I want to tweet, I’m increasingly finding it hard to find the time or the will to post something on Twitter. It’s not that I don’t believe in the hype surrounding Twitter, it’s more that I don’t have the time to work at networking through this medium. Sometimes it’s just easier to ring someone and ask them to go for a coffee rather than spend time looking for an opportunity to network with people you know, whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.

Clearly, I’m not the only one feeling this way. In October 2009, the Irish Twitter community was devasted when it appeared that the much loved (and hated) Damien Mulley was no longer using Twitter. How could this be? they asked… One of the most respected online marketing experts in the country had simply given up on Twitter and disappeared into oblivion. It didn’t help of course when he didn’t post on his blog for weeks either. But the reality was, that this wasn’t really the case as he explains on his blog (read here). Damien brings up other things such as privacy in his post which opens up another a whole new can of worms. It’s sad to think that someone can’t just disappear for a couple of says because of their popularity on Twitter!

I read James Forbairts blog today, who too has decided to take a look at the time he spends on Twitter. He takes a more frightening reality on how much time he has “wasted” on Twitter over the past couple of years (read here). To see the amount of time he has spent on Twitter really begs the question as to how worthwhile it really is.

The biggest problem with Twitter is, like every other form of networking, it’s extremely difficult to quantify the value of the work you put into it. One thing is for definite, you will get some sort of return. The problem is you just don’t know how much of it was worth it.

It’s so easy to get distracted by Twitter – I personally use Twhirl to receive all the tweets from people I am following. Most of the time, I completely ignore the pop up messages that appear on my screen each time Twhirl collects the latest tweets for me. But every now and again something does grab my attention and I’m hooked.

Has it been worthwhile for my business – well I guess so, I have got work from it. All of us in business network so people get to know us and hopefully recommend us to someone when they encountered someone looking for our services. The more people you know, the more people are promoting your business and vice versa. Was my conversion ratio high? Not at all, the reality is I’m probably in minus figures at this stage! But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t me in the long run.

Twitter has now become more spammy than email in terms of my inbox. Most spam emails to my account are filtered out before they even reach my inbox, but the new 5 odd followers my account gets a day go straight into my inbox! Out of courtesy I check out these peoples profiles. The majority are spammers.

Does this mean Tom Doyle now thinks Twitter is dead? Not at all – it’s a new medium and I need to understand it more to enable me to get the most out of it. You need to find the right strategy for your business in order to maximise it’s capabilities. There are numerous examples of how Twitter can help a business promote themselves or “engage” with their clients. But on the flip-side – you can see how quickly people will begin to bore with it.

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Google local business search – how important is it?

I had a conversation recently with a respected SEO expert, that shall remain nameless for the moment in relation to Google‘s local business search. I told him how I felt that I had yet to fully crack how results appeared at the top of these search results. Of course I’d read a lot about how in theory it worked, but hadn’t yet (with my own tests) seen examples of it actually working. For

Something he said to me triggered my thought process and I made a few changes to 2bscene’s listing to see how it affected it. Within days I was ranking in the top local business search results for “online marketing dublin“, “internet marketing dublin” and a phrase we hadn’t ever ranked for before, “web design dublin“. We’ve been there for the past week now and have had time to assess the value of it to our business.

The reason this SEO guy brought up the local business search with me was to see if I was getting any business or even traffic from it. During our conversation, I obvioulsy couldn’t help, but now with some statistics behind me I can give some indication of its use in terms of traffic and business development for people visiting our own website.

In the past week – we’ve seen an obvious increase in visits from people finding us through Google local search. I can only truly say that one of the 10 odd visits from these searches has turned into business. This isn’t bad considering we weren’t appearing for that search phrase until last week.

I know this is very little to go on so we will be working with many other clients to help them get to the top of the local business search on Google, as I do and get more meaningful data, I will let you know how important we feel it is for your business.

If you need help getting found in Google’s Local Business Search results – contact us @ www.2bscene.ie

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Making your website work for you during the recession

I have seen a huge upturn in businesses looking to improve their online presence since the recession has taken hold. However, most people approaching us just want their website to be on the top of the Google results. It’s as if they have swallowed a handful of books on SEO and all of sudden think this is all they have to do to generate business online.

I agree, being on top of Google for products or services that your business provides is definitely a key part of any online presence, however it doesn’t just stop there. It takes a lot more to make your website work for your business.

Since the recession took hold, I have seen that more and more people are increasingly beginning to shop around and they seem to be taking a lot longer to make their purchasing decision. The time has come for you to take a serious look at your website and see where you can improve it, to make money online through this recession.


 

  1. Design
    I am a believer that design is subjective, let that not be confused with “good design” which is more of a usability issue. I like blue, you like green, we’re all different, so our tastes will be different. However, keeping your website design clean, neat and concise is of the utmost importance.Think of it like this, who would you buy from, the shop with the messy shop front and interior or the one that is clean and presents itself well? So if your website looks like it’s “dirty”, talk to your web designer to see if there is anything they can do for you.
  2. Usability
    If the visitors to your high-street store can’t open the door or can’t find that beautiful pair of jeans in the window, you’ve quite simply lost the sale.It’s the very same on your website.If visitors can’t get to the areas that interest them quickly and easily, they will leave your website in an instant. So If you have an important message to get across – make it as clear as possible and provide plenty of call-to-actions so that they can interact with you as easily as possible.

    Access to key areas within one click (where possible) is extremely important. Avoid creating a situation where the user has to go all the way back to the homepage to get to another area of your site. Think of it like going into a shopping centre, can you imagine visiting each shop and then having to return to the entrance to find another store?

  3. Online Marketing / SEO / SEM
    There is so much you can do to promote your business online. Although I do believe that targeting the organic search results in the major search engines is one of the most important elements of online marketing, it is also one of the slowest and most time consuming. Fingers crossed we will begin to see the recession fade very soon, have you really got six months to wait until you appear on top of the organic search results?So in the meantime don’t be afraid to dabble in different areas of online marketing. Pay Per Click campaigns don’t have to be expensive if done strategically. Creating a simple Twitter special offer campaign can be thought up in a few minutes of brainstorming. Writing an article on your blog with inside information that will make people turn their heads and get exposure for your business. All of these are done quite simply and shouldn’t take more than a day to get it done.

So if you are sitting on your thumbs waiting on the next customer to come in the door, now is the time to reassess your web presence and see what you can do to improve things.

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Dear Google, please keep the search results as they are right now….

google-search-appliance
Image by jlori via Flickr

Just over 2 years ago, I took the brave decision to change our business domain name from 2bscene.net to 2bscene.ie

I did all the usual tricks from creating a 301 redirect from all the old pages, to changing as many backlinks to 2bscene.ie as I possibly could. But in reality, the change had a detrimental effect on our SERPs in Google.

I lost our top positions for “web design ireland“, “online marketing ireland” and “web designers ireland“.

I eventually got us back on page 1 for “online marketing ireland”, but could never budge past the 2nd or 3rd page for anything web design related.

I had nearly given up and even started a Google Adwords campaign to try and boost our exposure to web searchers.

The other night however, I noticed that there seemed to be some major shifts in the Google SERPS and that our site was doing pretty well. But, I didn’t want to count my chickens as it clearly looked like a Google Dance. I was right not to in  the end, as the very next day, the SERPs had reverted to their original positions.

But today, it’s back : 6th position in Google.ie – so I’m begging Google to keep it this way (although I doubt they will!)

So please please please Mr. Google – don’t change your SERPs for a while ! :)

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Searchers becoming more sophisticated with their searches

hitwise-search-percentage-us-clicks-number-keywords-january-2009The past year has seen an astonishing increase in the number of keywords used in a typical online search query.

People searching for keyphrases of 8 or more words increased by over 22% in the last year.

Searches with 5 or more phrases have increased 10% over the last year. The data comes from Hitwise with a sample of 10 million Internet users.

In our business we call this a “long tail” search. Long-tailing is something we have been talking about for years now and although it’s growth is surprising, most SEOs would have used long tail strategies in their online marketing campaigns. The reason is simple. The searches are more specific, therefore, there should be less competition and in turn this should result in more conversions. However, you are likely to get a lot less traffic for such specific searches.

So it’s probably time to take a serious look at your SEO keyphrase strategy! It looks like people are becoming more specific in their searches when seeking the information they require.

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