Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why SEO/SEM isn't an Automated Service

The proliferation of questions that come to us regarding whether or not certain spam that businesses receive is legitimate, claiming to offer cheap, quick SEO-related link-building, leads us to offer an answer to the question "why SEO/SEM isn't an automated service I can buy".

The most recent spam question was particularly intriguing; a business was notified it had received a "business of the year award" in a particular category - while very impressive and legitimate-sounding, it was nothing more than a spam/scam to (1) attract more business and (2) build inbound links (to the spammer).

We recently went ahead and tested a 3rd-party inbound link-builder, who promised (quickly, for $25) 25 inbound links for three keywords. The results were less than good.

1 - Yes, 25 inbound links were created, though not all for the three keyword phrases we selected.

2 - Only 5, in our opinion, were from directories or bookmark sites that "matter", or would likely result in visits to our target site (a local NOVA business)...most were from very obscure sites, unrelated directories (for example "technology" sites instead of "home services" sites, like our keywords indicated).

3 - All bookmarks were simple URLs, with no supporting text, article, description etc. to help both readers and search engines understand more about the relevance and context of the backlink (and therefore increase its contribution to the search results)

4 - Many bookmarks orginated from lists or directories the provider (or their 3rd-party sources) created, with no particular topical focus - so that the links were mixed in with many other unrelated links, and therefore resulted in a directory page of no page rank at all. Additionally, the provider's own directories were the pages most positively impacted with all pointers using their own business name.

5 - While our keywords included a local designation (Northern Virginia), no backlinks were established from local sites (in fact, many of the backlinks were from obscure directories in Greece, Russia, etc.)

6 - Backlinks established on "news" or communication sites (like Digg and Twitter) did not include actual "news" or information at all - and will likely be buried.

7 - The 2 Backlinks established on blogs, as entries, contained zero supporting information or tags.

The results? On the one hand, it remains to be seen whether Page Rank is impacted - as it usually takes several weeks to months for this to be impacted. Page Rank impact will be neutral or even slightly negative (something that can be corrected fairly easily, with more good content), due to the fact that most inbound links are coming from irrelevant sources - though not a high enough number that would indicate spamming. Search results show a quick "blip" for the presence of items with our keywords, but got quickly buried as the rest of the the results were re-indexed over the week.

Therefore, the conclusion is that "quick hit", 3rd-party and automated approaches to SEO/SEM and in particular backlink-building DO NOT WORK, especially when targeting a local or regional market - what works is careful, methodical and honest creation of legitimate backlinks, from legitimate sites, associated with legitimate, useful and interesting content. There's no substitute.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Washington DC Local Advertising Entry Points - with SEO/SEM

Here's a rough illustration of the Washington DC local advertising entry points for most local/regional businesses, in terms of advertising and marketing costs vs. "engaged reach" - i.e. expected and realistic reach to people and eyeballs who would probably pay attention to the ads. This is based solely on our professional experience and findings. Note the clear indication that Search Engine Optimization and Marketing investments can greatly expand the reach of advertising/marketing campaigns, while maintaining much lower price points.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

4 Critical Services Required for Effective Website and Internet Presence

4 Critical Services Required for Effective Website and Internet Presence

Here's a quick and easy to digest summary of the four (4) critical services you need to procure to ensure your website and other Internet content is worth the money you paid for it - and is providing absolute value to your business in these very difficult times.

Don't fall into the trap of doing one without the other, or hiring a service provider who claims to provide all 4 - but doesn't deliver.

Business MUST consider and execute on ALL 4 services, to be guaranteed some level of success. After reading below, contact KME Internet Marketing for more information.

(1) DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia Web Design and Branding - this is what your website looks like, how useful and effective it is for users to navigate, the logos and branding elements, the colors and pictures, and the smart use of multimedia.

This service provides the "front window" to your business, and helps keep and convert customers who find and come to your site.

Many companies focus ONLY on this, and while claiming to deliver the other 3 services below, quite often are ineffective in these other areas. Test this out - check out the Google Page Rank of the websites that web design companies have in their portfolio - more times than not, it's quite low.

(2) Northern Virginia Internet Marketing and Social Media - this is how you attract customers to your website, using all kinds of techniques from Search Engine Optimization to Social Media Marketing, Blogging and Pay-Per-Click.

This service actually delivers the "right" customers to your website and business, through many Internet channels including search, advertising, directories, social media and news/press releases or communications. This service also includes management of marketing and advertising campaigns, along with analysis and tracking of web traffic statistics and website use.

This MUST be done by experienced professionals, in parallel with web design/build efforts - without experienced service here, no one will ever see your great website, and your web design money will have been wasted. This includes Internet AND "offline" marketing coordination and experience.

(3) Northern Virginia Web Technology and Hosting - this includes the underlying technology and programming required to run your website, from the eCommerce or Shopping Cart applications your website uses to the underlying computer services, security and performance your website needs. It's the computer Hardware, Software and Operations/Maintenance (O&M) needed to successfully run a great website.

This MUST also be done by experienced professionals, in parallel with web design/build efforts. Very frequently, however, these services can be effectively "outsourced" to very reputable "hosting firms" (such as What's extremely important, however, is that you retain professional advice and services for the #4 critical service, below.

(4) Northern Virginia Information Technology Management - this is the MOST critical element of your website implementation, and is MOST frequently where website efforts fall short, expectations aren't met, and lots of money and time is wasted.

An experienced Information Technology Manager should be retained or included (on a project or consultative basis) to plan, manage and coordinate the efforts of all website development, operations and marketing activities. The Technology Manager should be experienced with BOTH "Technical Project Management" (i.e. making sure the resources, schedule, services and financing are all aligned, for the project and with your other company activities), AND "Internet Technologies" (i.e. in-depth knowledge of the kinds of technologies and services being used, including their risks, standards and best practices).

This kind of experience is MOST OFTEN the "missing link" to a successful website, and great return on your Internet Technology and Marketing investment.

This kind of experience is KME Internet Marketing's greatest strength - Technology Managers at affordable prices with BOTH regional marketing expertise AND decades of successful Internet systems engineering, architecture and online marketing experience with Globally-recognized firms, including EDS, IBM, Price-Waterhouse Coopers, and Accenture.

This critical Information Technology Management experience is typically NOT available (ask them!) from:

  • local web design and graphic firms
  • outsourced and offshore website development companies
  • Audio/Visual design and production companies
  • freelance designers, programmers or copywriters
  • traditional advertising, marketing and PR companies
  • ISPs/Domain Name registrars

This critical Information Technology Project Management, Digital Asset Optimization and Internet Systems Engineering experience IS available here, at KME Internet Marketing and Partners.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Advertising Costs - Online Marketing vs. Direct

This year more than ever saw the economics of online advertising become so much more apparent, as costs for direct publishing in newspapers, print ads, magazine etc. were driven much higher due to distribution and material costs...

Here's what this difference looked like by 2005:

The differences have grown even larger by 2008, as the proliferation of tools and services available, at little cost, have made audience reach and conversion even more accessible than offline print or broadcast media advertising. What's required to take advantage of online marketing capabilities, however, are professionals who thoroughly understand the tools, techniques, digitial management technologies and online marketing copywriting.

Start now - if you haven't already - your online marketing campaign.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Giving Online to Your Favorite Charity

Heading into the Holiday season, especially in this very dire economic climate, it's likely that donations to charity will be much slimmer this particular year. It is, however, much easier than ever before to donate online to your favorite charity or non-profit, and it very well may be a much more appreciated and needed contribution this year over others past. Here in Loudoun County, for example, the prospect of significant cutbacks in County services and philanthropic donations is pointing to 2009 as a year in which all charitable services and foundations will have to work harder than ever to keep up with expenses and fundraising while just maintaining basic services.

Consider establishing a personal or company-sponsored fundraiser - to help whatever charitable interest you're most concerned with.

For example, a friend of KME Internet Marketing set up a fundraising site with "First Giving" benefiting the Loudoun Education Foundation, as a gift-giving alternative on the event of Kelly's birthday. It's easy to use, easy to set up, and represents a very helpful way for individuals and/or companies to adjust their gift-giving intentions to charitable purposes in this difficult year.

This particular fund-raising site keeps on giving - it's open for a few months more, and you can participate by using the widget below... or create your own fundraiser online!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Full Lifecycle Digital Asset Optimization and W2M

....that's a bit of a mouthful, but it's a technical industry phrase that essentially encapsulates the breadth of services KME Internet Marketing offers. An illustration of this concept can be found over at our partner "Information Management Consulting" blog.

"Full Lifecycle" - creating, managing, distributing and monitoring use of web-based content, or any other digital assets (like documents or emails), is a "full lifecycle" proposition - businesses should make sure to consider activities and investment to professionally manage web content from inside their business to the "wilds" of the Internet.

"Digital Asset" - this term is typically used to describe business-owned digital content that's created, distributed and controlled specifically for revenue-generating or marketing purposes, like a white paper, a widget, a video. Businesses certainly generate lots of web content that isn't specifically tracked and managed as individual "assets" - but most web content can and should be. "Optimization" of these assets means applying SEO techniques to them, so that they (like web pages) can individually show up high in Search Engine results.

W2M - or "Web 2.0 Management" (this is our own made-up acronym, at this time, that seems to work well among the other related acronyms, like ECM, WCM, DAM...) - this refers to the "information and marketing management" activities that need to be considered for these digital assets specifically in the the "Web 2.0" arena; i.e. making sure the assets can or should be included in Web 2.0 mashups, distributing the assets via social media, and ultimately inserting these assets into the social media conversation and sharing environment.

Labels: , , ,