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  1. Warning: Google Apps and YouTube Don’t Mix!

    We had an issue with a client that is using Google Apps for their email and when they went to their YouTube account, it told them that since Google bought Youtube, their Youtube account info needs to be merged with a Gmail/Google account. It suggested merging with his Google Apps account, which Google now treats just like any other Gmail account. Well, guess what? Google Apps accounts don’t support integration with Youtube, so if you link them up you get a lovely “This service is not available” message and you’re locked out of your YouTube account!

    To fix it, you need to unlink your account which you can do here:

    http://www.youtube.com/my_account_unlink

    Then you can create a brand new Gmail/Google account here and then try to log in to your Youtube account using your OLD info and when it asks you to link the account with a Google Account make sure you link it to this new Gmail account – NOT your Google Apps account.

    Hope this helps some folks avoid an annoying issue. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Raleigh internet marketing experts at Page Progressive here.

  2. Tips, Tactics & Warnings with Link Building

    One very important component of having a successful website is the use of White Hat SEO practices.  These tactics involve the use of properly researched keywords, having a website that is user-friendly, and effective link building. In fact, many experts see link building as the SEO trump card. This is because links are the main way to have a web relationship and it’s these relationships with other sites that indicate to search engines how "reputable" your website is. So what exactly does link building entail? First, here are a few things link building is not:

    • Setting up a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account, and then forgetting about them
    • Link exchanges with people you don’t know – they often result in "nofollow" links or become devalued.
    • While pertinent, helpful comments on blogs and forums are recommended, the reverse is that spammy, irrelevant comments work against you.
    • Automated link building – There are programs out there that promise to get you tons of links for almost nothing. Beware, those automated programs almost always mean that your content is viewed as spam
    • link buying – this is heavily frowned upon in the Google Webmaster link building guidelines. So, use caution if this is your approach. If you pay for a link to be placed on another person’s site, it should also be for that person to review your site before endorsing it. This can be a grey area, however.

    6 Ways to Build Effective Links

    There are numerous ways to build effective links and the more of them you put into practice the better. Yes, this will take time but as you see your business grow, the time invested will be worth it. Of course, you don’t have to do all of the link building on your own. Hire Page Progressive to do it for you! We will be happy to implement the techniques below to make your website all you want it to be.

    1. Get Authority links from leaders in your field. These help get links directly from sources that are trusted and related resources. Begin with major search engines and find the sites that you know to be tursted authorities in your industry.
    2. One way links are often achieved through link baiting. This is a  White Hat technique where your website content targets a friendly audience. This type of link is high on the value scale. Link bait requires you to publish a new content rich page on the web and then wait for visitors to click through to your site. The ultimate goal is for the visitors to pick up the content then link back to your site because of your valuable content.
    3. Directories are great for inbound links and do not require regular monitoring. Just submit your site to directories that give free listings, as well as to quality listings and over time others will link with your site. You will also want to tag related sites on Del.cio.us. If you add valuable content, ask friends to "tag" or share your content with other social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon or Digg so that your content will be hopefully linked to from other sites.
    4. Meme trackers and social bookmarking is comprised of writing a lot about popular ideas and linking the articles. Use an attention getting titles and summaries so that people are drawn to your post. Ask others to comment on it so that it gains popularity and visibility along with numerous links to it.
    5. Article Bio links are achieved by writing an article, being sure to add the author bio resource (sometimes called a SIG box). Send the article to top article directories; as your article grows in popularity, your website will grow in traffic.
    6. Blogging and leaving comments is an effective way to natural inbound links. Consider having a blog or forum of your own that you can link back to. A word of caution: Be sure that your comments are useful and help to create a positive online reputation.

    7 Advanced Link Building Tactics

    Understanding what you should do is just as important as knowing what not to do. Effective link building is an ongoing process. In fact, it is time consuming and requires much dedication in order to have significant returns. And, while some link building practices are standard, here are some of the more advanced methods used by the experts:

    1. Search Yahoo, Google, MSN and other search engines for each of your keywords, then make it a point to get a link from each page listed. Sometimes this can be done with a personal e-mail, other times a hand written letter and, in some cases, a phone call.
    2. Find out what sites are linking to your competitors and ask them to link to you as well.
    3. Rent pages from authority sites within your industry then add content and links on the page to your own sites. Be sure to include anchor text in the format you select. But don’t be obnoxious about it.
    4. If your budget allows it, purchase advertising on sites that will give you good click through rates for at least 6 months. Be sure to avoid advertising in places where the seller does not have useful information, has low click-ough rates and few visitors.
    5. Offer unique tools and services on your site for free. Once you have determined and put into operation the tool/services, let industry leaders know about it, write about it and ask others to use and evaluate it on forums or social media sites.
    6. Press releases containing a carefully worded title, well placed keywords and a link to your site that is mentioned in the article subject can greatly improve your ranking. Keep in mind that a well written press release may even come to the attention of the industry’s biggest players. Two of the leaders for press releases are www.prleap.com and www.preweb.com.
    7. Natural link building, though somewhat unreliable, is what drives the Internet. It involves developing the best content and providing the best tools, prices, etc. in your industry.

    2 Warnings about Paid Link Building

    Scott Moir recently wrote an article about paid link building. In it, he has two things to avoid should you opt to use paid link building. These are:

    1. If a link building company does not have a direct and serviceable phone number for contact, find someone else.
    2. Visit a company’s website (assuming they have one), if it looks outdated, is vague, has only an e-mail contact form, has an abundance of grammatical errors or does not have a "History" or "About Us" page, it is very likely that the company is not all that you thought it to be.

    Protect yourself by being familiar with the Google Webmaster link building guidelines. This will help you make the most of your time spent link building.

    Link building is a vital part of having a successful website. Of course, you want your links to have value-for both you and your customers. Look for the second part of this series on link building  to learn how to ensure the value of your link building. In the meantime, check us out on Facebook and Twitter, where you can keep up to date with the latest happenings at Page Progressive.

  3. Tech News Recap for Small Business

    Latest NewsThe world of technology is constantly changing. In fact, by the time you finish reading through this, chances are something new has been developed or released. However, here are some of the more recent advancements in technology, development and communication that you, as a business owner, might care about.

    Google:

    • Google announced the end of the Real Time
      Collaboration protocol WAVE which was introduced in 2009. WAVE was
      designed to replace e-mail and change online communication but was
      ultimately too complicated and confusing.
    • IE9 Beta was released
      Sept. 15. It has better graphic capabilities and allows you to pin
      websites to the task bar. In addition, IE9 offers improvements to CSS3
      selector support and a ledge for HTML canvas. For many, these changes
      are seen as too little too late as IE has slipped to 50% of the market share recently – a position it used to dominate.
    • Google Instant search- Search at
      the speed of type. Released Sept. 8, Google Instant Search takes what
      you have already typed, determines a likely completion and streams Real
      Time results based on these predictions. Google InstantI offers:
    • Relevant results quicker, so you can get what you are looking for faster
    • Results are listed before you finish typing; just stop typing, select and go
    • You can scroll to search, then see results instantly
    • Time
      saving-tests show that the average search saves 2 to 5 seconds per
      search, which translates into as much as 11 hours per second.

    Microsoft:

    • Bing Maps has a new interface with improved graphical tools for rich colors and better images.
    • Microsoft employees had a funeral procession for the iphone.Windows-powered phone and tablets are rumored to be on the way…somehow I doubt these new products will be sending the iphone to the afterlife, but it is good to see Microsoft in the news again 🙂

    Research in Motion

    • Blackberry announced what appears to be the first serious competitor for the iPad, dubbed the "PlayBook."

    Apple:

    • Apple recently recanted on their stance on allowing Flash to run on their iOS device. Now we wait and see if Adobe cares.
    • Apple
      X Code IDE can manage all testing devices, packaging iPhone apps with
      correct certificates, install apps on devices and has a remote debugger
      which connects to the devices in Real Time to help developers manage
      breakpoints as the app is controlled on the device.
    • Latest
      version of XCode is XCode 4 which is bundled with Mac OSX V 10.6
      allowing 7 new multi-tasking services which improve user experience. The
      IAd displays interactive content without leaving the app and has 1,500
      new APIs.

    Adobe:

    • Flash Player 10.1 for the
      mobile has been re-designed and optimized to reduce memory needs by 50%
      and has hand held features like accelerometer and smart zooming which
      scales Flash to full screen.
    • Adobe Air improvements provide
      better applications outside the mobile browser and across multiple
      operating systems. The key improvement is better working Flash on mobile
      devices which pleases both designers and consumers.

    Software & Development:

    • Magiq-This
      marketing tool can be used on any system. It allows you to collect data
      which can then be implemented into creating a site that is geared
      toward specific guests.  (e.g. Those who find your page by searching for
      a keyword will get a different homepage-if you choose such an option.)
      Or, you could base your homepages appearance on different text, images
      or a different search variable. The program uses "gnomes" that perform
      geolocation, image replacement and other tasks. Each time a gnome is
      employed you are charged-its minimum monthly cost is only a measly $790.
    • Firebug1.5/Firebug Lite 1.3
      FREE! This can be used with Firefox, IE6+, Safari, Opera and Chrome. 
      The Firefox extension is simple to use and gives you an overview of the
      page being considered. It has separate tabs for DOM, HTML and CSS so you
      can find what you are looking for easily. Also, you can enable specific
      panels to make checking JavaScript and others easier. On pages without
      scrutinization needs, Firebug automatically removes itself.

    WordPress:

    • Ability to sell both tangible and digital products with licensed keys
    • Ability to sell affiliate products with your or other affiliate products
    • Multiple payment options (PayPal, WorldPay, Cash @ Store…)
    • Custom shipping calculation
    • Information capture at point of sale

    Mobile Advances:

    • SendFlow-
      a web-based platform which allows users to design, broadcast and manage
      interactive SMS text and voice messages. Two-way messages can be
      answered in Real Time using land-lines, mobile phones and Internet
      transports, like Google-talk.
    • Percent Mobile- A fully hosted mobile
      analytics service that measures and analyzes mobile traffic to one’s
      website. Percent Mobile is designed to help you understand your guests
      so will better know how to serve them.
    • 2nd quarter
      data from NPD Group shows Android as the top selling OS in American
      smartphones. Google says that 200,000 Androids are being activated
      daily.

    Social Media:

    • Recent studies
      show that Twitter users are the most influential consumers on the web.
      Daily Twitter users are, compared to non-Twitter users:
    • 6x more likely to publish online articles
    • 5x more likely to post blogs
    • 7x more likely to post Wikis
    • 3x more likely to post product reviews
    • FaceBook advertising has increased 10-fold in the past year.
    • FlowTown
      This web based tool allows clients to import and connect e-mail
      addresses to real people on the social web.  Flowtown provides profile
      information such as location, age, and gender as well as any social
      networks that current e-mail contacts are using. FlowTown clients can
      use this information to better their marketing campaigns. MailChimp recently implemented a similar ability, called Social Pro.
    • Research by Nielsen Co. shows that Americans spend 22.7% of their time using social media sites.

     

    Sources:

    Website Magazine, October 2010; pages 6, 7, 42 & 43

    www.Googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/search-now-faster-thatn-speed-of-type.html

    Website Magazine, April 2010; pages 6-8, 16

    Practical Web Design, Sept. 2010

  4. Google Chief Economist Video Explains PPC Advertising

    Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, explains in this 10-minute video the basics of search advertising with Google’s Adwords program. Some of the key concepts covered include bidding against competitors, click-through-rate, or CTR, the ever-elusive quality score of an ad and how that all affects an ad’s "Ad Rank."

    What many people don’t know is that you can outrank someone who bids more on a key phrase than you if you have a better quality score. Quality score is determined by how closely your key phrase, ad copy and website’s landing page relate to one another. Google wants people to get relevant results when clicking on advertisements, so this is how they achieve that.

    The video is very basic, but it is a wonderful illustration of how a very complex system works.

  5. Google Apps Outlook Sync

    Google has just released a new product called "Google Apps Sync for Outlook" that allows people on Google Apps to continue to use Outlook, but not need a Microsoft Exchange server. See the details here. That is a great new addition as this could save businesses a lot of money by not requiring an Exchange server anymore to sync up company contacts, email and calendars.

    The only bummer is you have to have the Premiere Edition of Google Apps and not the free, "Basic" edition. 

  6. How Do I Get My Website to Rank Well in Google? (Part 3)

    Okay, so we’ve been discussing keyword generation, search engine optimization, link building and today we tackle the basics of paid online advertising…

    Online Advertising

    There are a lot of places you can spend your money advertising on the web. Some places yield better results than others. Find sites that rank well in searches, and don’t forget you can advertise directly on search engines using Google Adwords or Yahoo Online Marketing. Often it’s easier to pay for an ad for a key phrase than to rank for it organically. This is especially true for highly competitive phrases. The best part is you get almost instant results with paid advertising, unlike link building, which takes months to see the full benefits of your labor. Also think about sites where your target demographic are. Facebook Advertising, for example, has a great advertising program that let’s you target specific demographics.

    So that sums up our three-part discussion on online marketing. I plan to flesh out more specific details in future posts as well, so stay tuned!