Yahoo has recently launched a new tool called Yahoo Clues. It is basically a keyword tool designed to give an insight into the demographics of people searching for the keyword along with the popularity of keyword over a period of time and additional keyword suggestions.

Yahoo CluesYahoo Clues shows the graphical representation of change in keyword popularity over the last one month without giving any exact numbers. Its main use lies in the predicting searches by gender and age, income level and geographical location. The Search Flow at the bottom of the page can also prove to be useful in determining user’s search pattern. It basically shows you most probable previous and next user searches for a given keyword. You can enter two keywords to compare them.

A quick Search Marketing tip to drop your way on the subject of Google Local search results.

Google has launched yet another new advertising format for local business owners known as Google Boost. This new PPC ad format will be available for advertisers in Google Places (Local) account and Ads will be appear in sponsored results in Google search results and Google Maps.

Advertisers only need to add business name, a small description, relevant categories and monthly budget. The relevant keywords for which the ads appear will be automatically selected by the system.

A minimum budget of $50/month is required to run the ads and as per Google, no ongoing campaign maintenance is required after initial setup.

Unfortunately as all things Google are constantly in beta or being innovated, Google Boost is only available in some selected locations in the United States. It will be released to wider audience soon.

Google launched Google Instant Search interface on the 8th of September 2010, which shows search results as you type, in real time.

Many search engine marketers (SEM), including your house-hold searchers, have reacted sharply to the new Google Instant interface. Google Instant is being sold as a faster and better User Interface, and the feedback leans in the other direction of the new interface as distracting, confusing and even annoying.

Matt Cutts from Google says that the change is more about rolling out a new User Interface (UI) rather than an algorithmic change. Matt attempted to allay the fears of the SEM industry by suggesting “SEO is not dead” but may change due to instant search query feedback to users, which in turn, may change their search behaviour. He believes that the searchers will diversify their queries within the scope of the original intent. Read more

2010 – another year, and another round of changes expected to come in the new year. From Googles pending dance that could shake up the Search space, to a foreseen boom in mobile advertising (likely in 2011), to some who tout conversion rate optimization being the big thing in 2010 (IMHO was covered in 2008/09). Unfortunately I don’t get to write on here as much as I’d like due to demanding clients ;-), though I thought it would be timely to cover a few points that touches on what the crystal ball holds for 2010.

And with Google dance around the corner, and the push on conversion optimization, what better time than to touch on some of the essential metrics that SEO (search engine optimization) specialists, marketers and business owners should be tracking and reporting. Its essential to know these metrics so you know your SEO ROI is being attained, or at least paying back some dividends. And yes, there are a number of important metrics to benchmark and that provide valuable insight…but these are the areas I see as ‘essential’ in you business intelligence SEO tool box, especially if our crystal ball vision is true with Google’s dance and conversion rate optimization. Read more

google local listings for vancouver internet marketingYou’re finally on board with some of the changes and new features Google’s rolled out over the last few years, along with watching the suitors as Yahoo and Bing (MSN) follow suit. You’ve come to grips that if you plan to succeed in your online business, you cannot let your online marketing sit idle. Investment into your online strategy is a necessity as the digital marketing landscape has evolved over time; Search, Email, Social Media have all drastically evolved the last couple years.

Searches evolution provides a significant source for lead generation and new sales for businesses on the web. And this evolution didn’t stop simply with organic / natural search rankings.

Google Local, launched in 2004, is one of the latest advancements by Google to undergo an evolution and compliment the various channels within Search that a visitor will use to find your business on the web. Its finally recognized in the arsenal of tactics with Search strategist to leverage in natural / organic search to accomplish top search rankings, and increased Search market share. One will hedge their bets a major shift in Google Local we’ll soon see is the evolution of Google Maps and Google Maps Street View. Read more

Google Local Listing AnalyticsYou read right. Adding to the arsenal of website and business intelligence tools such as Google Analytics, Google launches in October the new beta analytics view of Google Local Business Center.

Operators and owners of websites who have already created a Google Local Listing, can now view the performance of their Google Local listing directly within the Google Local Business Center.

What are Google Local Listings? The Local listings by Google is a it’s a combination of Googles popular Google Maps and Google Local Business Listings, organic search results, and complimented with optional sponsored Search results from Google’s Adwords program (paid search marketing). Read more

Earlier this month we started down the path of “landing page strategy testing – is it worth it?“. Landing pages can be an extremely useful tactic to increase conversions in a campaign. Employing landing pages is typically utilized in paid search campaigns, internal conversion pages and more recently, email marketing campaigns.

This week I’ll continue the subject on landing page strategy and jump into the second step; Test Strategy – determining pages worth testing. Determine your target page for testing by working down the list in order of importance and priority of your defined goals.

Start with visitors who are already leads. These individuals are those who are in the “action-mode” and ready to convert (purchase/opt-in/download, etc). They have already begun the journey down your conversion path. Utilize your analytics (ex. Google analytics), ‘Goals’ (if set up) and the conversion funnels. The conversion funnel overview will provide insight into page attrition of the leads who area already in the conversion mood. By establishing KPI’s in the conversion path such as page attrition, will allow you to easily gauge any positive or negative impacts of visitors in the conversion path. This itself will speak volumes of where to begin testing and optimization.

Again, this may cover the conversion paths of your eStore checkout, or your opt-in page, or a paid search campaign. Whatever area you identify is most critical to the success of your goals, is the ideal place to start. Read more

Landing page testing and optimizationEnhancing a campaigns performance in the Search channels such as a paid search campaign, or even in an email program, if done properly can reap those conversion rewards, or whatever your defined KPI’s (key performance indicators) may be. Though when traveling down this path of designing, building and executing landing pages, the necessity to test is critical. Just as with a paid search campaign, email promotional or lifecycle campaigns, eStore check out sales funnel and your run of the mill homepage, the need to test to optimize is integral to maximize your online the outcome you’re seeking…whether it be increased signs ups, conversions, sales, opt-ins, opens, click thru’s etc.

Understanding what’s worth testing is that “ah-ha” many marketers face and tend to pull random ideas out of the hat. The issue I’ve found with marketers is not necessarily deciding if they should test…but rather understanding what variables they should test. While almost any variable on the landing page could be tested – raised CTA (call to action), key messaging above the fold, dynamic keyword population, localization to the visitors geographic city or region, larger images/buttons/text, content layout stemming from heat map reports, etc., the list can go on and on.

So what is worth testing? Here are my guidelines on what’s worth testing. Read more

2009 search engine marketing2008 is coming to a close, and you may have embarked on your first, well-overdue, search engine optimization (SEO) project for your business. Many steps were likely taken in your SEO project through the discovery phase of assessing how friendly your website architecture is for search, keyword discovery around your industry/market/brand/product/competitors, research where your visitors hang out online, the physical optimization and improvements to your site, etc. Now that your website is SEO’d for Google and others, what’s next? Read more

Joe the PlumberAre you a “Joe the Plumber”, or a new or small business owner needing to get Google to drive new business? Then grab a coffee and have a read as I plan to pack as much value into this post for you to get you started. And as always, any questions or comments, make a comment below or drop me a line.

Often in presentations and chats with small business owners, let’s call them the “Joe the Plumber” of the world ;-), we tend to get so involved in all the wonderful things Joe could do for his small business to bring in new business from the web, that we tend to forgot Joe is just getting their feet wet in the internet marketing pool. In these cases, we need to re-address our approach and language to put the wonderful internet marketing ideas into plain simple english, tailored to Joe the Plumbers specific needs.

Over a coffee with Joe we may go on about what search engine marketing could do drive new business to his website, or what an email marketing program could to do create and sustain dialogue with his customers throughout the year. We could get in-depth about how a Facebook business strategy could help get Joe engage and interact with his customers or how a media / pr tactics will gain him free publicity offline, as well as online while at the same time feeding his SEO strategy.

But in the end, Joe is a business owner in Vancouver BC, he knows his business best, and nothing or very little about marketing over the Internet. His needs are simple. He needs new business, needs to get the most mileage from his budget (which is the size of a jar of jam), needs a powerful impact on the web, and needs guidance and trust from someone who can understand his business and his needs. Read more