Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can You Increase Traffic Without SEO ?

Yes, but it takes a lot of creativity, ingenuity and content creation.

First off, create a constant flow of good, quality content. Update your website content everyday. Include links to outside sources and use high quality graphics (.png). New revolving content is KEY. Content is king. New content updated daily will catch the search engine's attention. You must do one thing: provide a daily flow of content.

More traffic without SEO tips also include:
  • Search for an aggregator within your vertical and see if they will pick up your content. Contact the editor. Get a conversation going through email. If your selling something (retail), try and get a coupon aggregator to pick you up.
  • Make sure you have an RSS feed subscription. Make it easy for visitors to get your daily updates.
  • If your using a WordPress (publishing platform) site, download and install a SEO plugin at the WordPress Plugin Directory. Let the plugin do all the work. You don't need to know a damn thing about SEO to install one of these plugins. This is easy and will help get you that low hanging traffic fruit. Good WordPress SEO plugins include: Meta SEO Pack, SEO Ultimate, SEO Tools, Platinum SEO Pack.
  • Get users to comment and engage in some sort of discussion on your site. This generates more content and more search engine juice. If your starting out and don't have any users, create numerous dummy email accounts and post comments thru these accounts. Make sure you add/post a DIGG, Reddit, Gbuzz, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Tweet your website and every content post.
  • Pay for online ads (Google, Facebook). This is good if your selling a product, but bad if your just promoting a content site that isn't selling anything but click-through ads. SPAM tends to gravitate towards paid online ads promoting content while trying to get paid through google ads or banner advertisement clicks so be careful. Go with PPC (if your budget permits) if you have an actual product or service to sell.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This Symbol Will Increase Your Opt-In Subscribers

Are you having trouble adding new subscribers to your opt-in newsletter/email list? Is your opt-in page design similar to that of your optimized landing page? By adding this simple lock icon below, your conversion rates will increase. This is basic opt-in marketing 101. Let me explain.

First, when someone signs up to receive your emails or newsletter, what do you think they want to know? They want to know how you will protect their email address from others and they want to know how you will guard their personal info . A "lock" is a symbol of trust, credibility, and security. This simple symbol instills confidence. This is a differentiation between spam and a credible request. It's also important that you include 1 or 2 sentences about your privacy policy near this “lock” symbol. There have been several surveys that have captured 70% of users will abandon opt-in marketing campaigns because there is an issue of trust. Its the same with an e-commerce shopping cart. A recent poll of online shoppers by the National Cyber security Alliance (NCSA) found that when they abandoned a shopping cart, 63 percent of the time it was due to concerns about the lack of a security symbol. When designing any opt-in marketing email campaign, make sure you back it up with a lock symbol.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

10 Tips for Landing Page Optimization

  1. Make sure the landing page loads FAST, otherwise your Google quality score goes in the tank. Page should take no more than 7.5 seconds to load. I would avoid Flash as it adds to load time.
  2. Make it obvious which button to click to complete an action.
  3. Make sure there is white space. This improves the user experience and makes your call to action stand out. Your call to action button (link) should be 20% larger than your logo. Place button at top of page (left). Web readers tend to track through content in a rough F-shaped pattern. So format important images flush left. Display the secondary action below the primary action.
  4. Catchy headline (create a powerful hook) and few exit navigation options. Keep it simple.
  5. Make sure your images are catchy, contextual, and load FAST. Optimize your images! Descriptive image file names, ALT tags, file size, Anchor text.
  6. Privacy policy and sitemap at the bottom.....and put some "testimonials" or endorsements on the page if you have room. 
  7. Check keyword usage. DO NOT spam keywords.
  8. Remove all possible distractions. Your design layout should be very clean, crisp, and clear. Get creative. No stupid redirects. Use a single dominate image or photo.
  9. If you use WordPress and have no experience in optimization, just add a WordPress optimization plug-in.
  10. Concentrate on the upper 300 pixels of the page. Half of your visitors will not scroll "below the fold."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Las Vegas Social Media Review Revisit

After numerous requests, I decided to revisit and update my original "Las Vegas Hotel/Casino Social Media Review" from March 25, 2009. There were many changes in the last few years in the social media marketing side of the industry. Many more Las Vegas Hotels and Casino's have jumped on the bandwagon and even "pushed" it to the "next" level. I also received a lot of requests from "Clubs" to be a part of this update. The club side of this review is equally important in that most Las Vegas "clubs" are either owned or operated separately from the host Hotel/Casino. Some Hotels, Casinos & Clubs are not fully up to speed with the new online marketing techniques. I will be looking, in no particular order, at the following social media marketing practices:

  • Facebook company pages.
  • Blogs + update frequency. How many comments? Comments show some level of engagement. Trackbacks, Pageviews.
  • Website. I would like to track "traffic" but I'm only interested in sales. Traffic can be misleading. As they say "Traffic is for truckers and sales are for satisfaction"
  • Twitter efforts and participation. Tweet & retweet update frequency and # of friends or followers. If you only have 15 followers, but all of them take action, is that a better metric than having 150,000 followers and 200 take action? 
  • LinkedIn company pages.
  • Location "aware" participation i.e., foursquare, Google Places, etc.
  • Mobile phone participation (Android + Apple apps, online room rate coupons, Groupon, etc.).
  • Sell thru techniques using Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Groupon).
  • Social Media sentiment. I may use this’s difficult to fully quantify. The only way to track sentiment, which I see as important in determining the effect of the message is sales, leads, and members (some sort of email sign-up). But in the end, who cares if we're devoted and passionate about the message?
  • Participation in SXSW in some shape or form?

I will be contacting hotels, casino's, and nightclubs in the next 1-3 weeks. Since there are many of them in Las Vegas these days, I will ONLY review the ones that wish to be reviewed. If you respond back and do not wish to be reviewed, I will leave you out. If you DONT respond back at all, then I will take it you’re not interested and leave you out as well. I will probably contact the hotel, nightclubs, & casino's via their PR, Twitter, or contact email. I live in the SF Bay Area (Silicon Valley) so I cannot meet face-to-face (unless you fly me down). Most interviews will be done via phone, and email.

Putting together a comprehensive review like this will take time. I will post a huge spreadsheet with grades for each business. I would also like to throw in social media graphs, twitter freq graphs, website stats, etc. Anyone can reach out to me via email or