Has Your Website Been Flashed by Google?

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While searching Google, you’ve probably become familiar with the magnifying glass icon to the right of each keyword listing. Clicking the icon offers a glimpse of the related page before you choose to visit it. The function is respectively called Google Instant Preview, which was released in November.

Google released some interesting news, they are integrating Flash support into Instant Previews. This enables the visibility of Flash sites within Instant Preview. Instead of the blank box where Flash files are embedded, the viewer sees an image. This doesn’t mean the Flash file will be playing in preview; Google’s new utility retrieves a snapshot of the site, and then renders the image. Posting static images of Flash files preserves search speeds, thus increasing fundamental interaction.

Web designers continue battling with search crawlers and optimization, as they are able to read Java Script and not Flash files. However, the update is not for SEO; it’s to improve the searcher’s engagement. Google has offered a list of tips for those with Flash sites, and who wish to take advantage of the new Instant Preview. These are the two most important:

  • Create a version of your site without Flash, for those who are not Flash enabled. This usually requires an HTML version that will show up if the browser’s plug-in cannot read Flash.
  • Keep the file size small! Maintaining smaller files increases speed and load times, this should be part of common practice even with static images and Java.

For a full list of features and tips, go directly to Google’s Web Master Tools Page.

Building a better web experience for visitors, both on and off site, are important elements of website design and web development. By incorporating these methodologies, your website rises to the top, gaining visibility in an ocean of competitors. Instant Preview is another part of optimization, and represents the proverbial carrot dangling in front of the horse.

Why Join The Foursquare Social Media Marketing Platform!

Bruce Aristeo

Bruce Aristeo

With over 8 million users and a third of the US consumers owning smart-phones, businesses have a free opportunity to increase traffic by offering incentives to those who check-in with Foursquare. Winning the race for the best geo-targeted social media app for business, and riding the tails of Facebook places, Foursquare developers have made it easier of businesses to get on board. A number of marketing features have been built into the Foursquare platform that will give business owners more power over understanding their client base.

One such feature is the “Add Your Venue” option in the dashboard. If you are familiar with Foursquare, then you might have added a venue for a business or location that you wanted to check-in to but it was not listed on the mobile app. You can certainly correct what others might have added, but it’s best to get your own listing in so that it displays properly, but most importantly, so you can add and control the specials and incentives for your business.

Foursquare developers included a number of verification features into the back end so your business’s information is always secure. Once prompted through the verification process, you can then begin a campaign. Some of the campaign names might sound a bit odd, but remember, we all thought email was odd when it first began.

Here’s what you’ll be prompted for when selecting your campaign:

  • Swarm Special: Your incentive or special is unlocked when a specified number of people check-in at once.
  • Friends Special: Your special is unlocked when a given number of friends check-in at the same time.
  • Flash Special: The first X amount of people get a your special
  • Newbie Special: A special to first timers
  • Check-In Special: Incentives for each check-in
  • Loyalty Special: A special for every Nth visit
  • Mayor Special: Only the mayor gets the goodies

Once you’ve selected your campaign, you’re done! It’s that easy, and immediately you have access to the analytics. What are analytics you say? Well, you’ll have access to the total number of check-ins at your location, the average daily number, the social reach such as how many people shared their check-in on Twitter and Facebook, the most popular time of day most checked-in, and finally, gender and age breakdown.

There are so many options available, you can run live campaigns, combine them, and run campaigns that reach into Facebook friends. I invite you to spend time on the Foursquare website, create an account, do some research, and try running a campaign or two. Start with something small, simply to get a feel for the system and it’s robust dashboard and feature list. Let your imagination run wild and create a reason for customers to chat up your business!

Text Message Marketing and SMS Software for SMBs

Bruce Aristeo

Bruce Aristeo

Part One of our 5-part Series on Mobile Marketing for SMB

In our opening post of this series, we briefly mentioned and introduced the primary features of mobile marketing. They are Text Messaging, SMS Software, Bar and QR Codes, Mobile Websites, and Mobile Apps. This follow-up article introduces you to Text Messaging and SMS Software.

SHORT CODES AND SMS:

Short Codes or SMS… isn’t it easier to say text message? SMS (Short Message Service) has become the wave of communication. Since unlimited text plans have been in full force for the last decade, using minutes is no longer an issue. Personally, I have NOT gotten used to seeing children texting at the dinner table, or couples sitting together in a restaurant looking at their phones. I can’t think of any other way to be less personable, can you? Why look at each other when we can text across the table? But, text etiquette is not why we’re here, we’re here to find out how to use this rich resource to generate leads and increase revenue.

Once you have signed with a mobile marketing provider, you’ll receive two very important pieces of information: a Short Code and a Keyword. The short code is a short number that is used in place of a phone number, and the keyword is the text you send to that number. Why a keyword? Well, you can have more than one campaign running simultaneously. The only way the texting system can differentiate between campaigns are by keywords. A campaign is a single event you initiate using a special keyword. This is similar to QR Codes (which will be explained in the next article) with fewer complexities, since an App is not required when sending a text. This system only returns information as a text message, it does not activate functions in your phone.

Most text plans are inexpensive as you’re only paying per keyword campaign. The better plans have options such as a mobile website containing as much information as a standard site, so your one keyword offers more data than a single text. The benefits to a text plan over using QR Codes is negligible, they each offer a similar method to delivering a message. The goal is this, you want to reach your clients the quickest and least intrusive way possible to get your message across, and text messaging is just that way!

In our third segment we will be looking at the use of QR Codes, which are a type of bar code that contains large amounts of information and which can be scanned using your smartphone with the right software installed.

5 Tips to Better SEO and Internet Marketing

Bruce Aristeo

Bruce Aristeo

I’d like to share 5 tips to better SEO, back linking and Internet Marketing! I remember the day I found out about a new way to communicate with others; it was through a service called AOL… Are they still around? My friends and family had AOL, businesses used the service, and everyone was talking about it. I joined not because I needed to chat with friends, or because I wanted email; it was because I could download small apps that would add new sounds and graphics to my computer system. Outside of AOL, a small network existed that I signed on to only to play a game. In this game, I drove a tank around an island looking for other tanks to shoot. I could build a fort by having the little man climb out and cut down trees to construct walls. If killed, another man would parachute onto the island and climb in my tank. However, if the man landed away from my tank, he had to run across the field while others shot at him. It was a blast! (No pun intended)

My question is, are we all business these days? We all know that simply building an aesthetically pleasing website is not the answer to gaining traffic. In addition, we know that a simple strategically placed keyword is not jetting us to the top of Google. So, how do we add fun and engage the perspective visitors? I visited a restaurant some time ago; they had the table covered with a large sheet of white paper. NO! Not a whitepaper… I sat for a moment, and for the life of me I could not figure out what the paper was for? Was the restaurant saving costs on washing regular tablecloths? Then, in the corner of the table behind the menus, I saw a small box of crayons. As they say in North Jersey, “Forget about it!” I went crazy drawing all over the table… In short, I had a blast! I thought about this after reading my 20th blog containing 5 tips to SEO. Simply a brief mention of a few minor points and not really slicing down into thicket seemed to cause sadness. I needed some intellectual stimulation with some quality and insight to the tips I was reading, I needed someone to blast! What have I become? Am I now the little guy jumping from the tank and being blasted by regurgitated material? I then stopped and laughed. Out of the blue I remembered the simplicity of the Motorola 19K bps modem I used back then, and being able to walk away from my computer for at least 5 minutes while it signed on to the network. Not really sure what the modem had to do with anything, it just came to mind and I’m laughing as I write this…

Internet strategies, inbound marketing, keyword research, rich content filled websites, blogging, and an unlimited list of methodologies to increase ranking are definitely one way to succeed, but where is the fun? What can I do to add content that will engage the part of a consumer who wishes to enjoy his/her visit and still keep it all business? How do I blast him to have fun and remember to come back?

So here are 5 tips to better SEO and back linking for fun!

  1. Misspell a title phrase and see who notifies you.  Whoever does, give them a reward.
  2. Hide a small graphic on the page, and whoever clicks it gets one-month of free service.
  3. Set up your pages with the same content on them; only change the first sentence on each.
  4. When a visitor scrolls down, have the page scroll back up automatically.
  5. Finally, a classic, set up a sound bite so when a button is clicked a funny sound is heard. You know what sound.

Let’s not forget how to have fun!

How Inbound Marketing Can Increase Your Business

Bruce Aristeo

Bruce Aristeo

In the not too distant past, finding customers consisted of physically putting yourself in the field and pulling customers in. Today, the field has changed into an arena where customers have shields and barricades to keep unwanted solicitations out.

Telephones have caller ID and Call Blocking technology, televisions now have the ability to record segments of time and by-pass commercials such as with TiVo, and we all know about junk email (spam).  In the past, pure intellect won battles and not brute force. So how do you get past the shields and barricades today? How do you reach the customers without them knowing you are reaching out to them? Simply pure intellect!

Using the Internet is using your intellect, and having an Inbound Marketing Strategy that incorporates the tools to slip through unwanted blocks is more productive than Cold-Calling. So, what is Inbound Marketing? Inbound means that prospective customers find you. It is the most effective and cost efficient way to capture or generate leads, and then funnel them into a lead conversion plan.

Inbound marketing relies heavily on understanding what stimulates your customer base into a purchasing decision, and then using that information to strategically position your products and services such that:

  • Visitors find your company online.
  • He/she is a qualified visitor and has an interest in what you offer.
  • They reach out to you and you not them.

This is the simplicity of an inbound marketing strategy that utilizes search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, standard marketing tactics, and the what rivals them all, social media marketing (SMM).

So, is gaining more traffic the solution to gaining more business? Is having a thousand more visitors riffle through your website the way to a better increased sales? The answer is no.

All businesses think they want more traffic, but what they really want is more lead conversions. What happens after a visitor comes to your site and offers their information is a whole other issue. Yes, you need a plan to change that lead into a conversion.

Generating leads for increased revenue demands an Internet marketing strategy. You must determine the needs and wants of your client base first, and then apply that knowledge to your goals through careful planning.  After that, implement the plan and monitor the data, and then adjust your strategy.

Are you bombarded with information about inbound marketing and how it can increase your sales? Are you seeing a positive change in other businesses that utilize inbound marketing? Call us for a free consultation!