26 March 2010

Paypal Launched in South Africa - Ecommerce Websites set to Boom!

What we have taken for granted for so long in the UK, has finally arrived in South Africa. Paypal the largest internet payment solution in the world has signed and agreement with FNB to make their payment solution available in South Africa. Johannesburg - FNB announced on Thursday it has entered an agreement with global e-commerce group PayPal to make the service available to the group's South African banking clients.
The agreement would enable FNB customers to sell to PayPal's global customer base of more than 81 million active accounts and move the proceeds to their FNB accounts, the bank said.
"This new service allows customers to top up and withdraw funds to their qualifying FNB accounts from their PayPal accounts," a statement read.

"We are especially pleased to make this announcement on the eve of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, as South Africans will be able to join the global e-commerce marketplace."
 We are expecting a surge in the amount of e commerce websites, as now any one can sell their goods online. So if you have always wanted to broaden your client base, how does 81 million new customers sound to you?
Contact us today  for a free quote for building your e commerce website, with paypal payment solution.

17 March 2010

Social Media Marketing versus SEO

There are many different methods of marketing your business website, on-line shop or e-commerce website, but for many business owners there seems to be a bit of confusion between what is considered generic back link building and what is a true social marketing campaign, and more to the point what is the aim of each marketing strategy?
Different SEO and web marketing companies will of course employ different methodologies to promote a site and more often than not you get what you pay for so to speak. Equally there is bound to be a crossover in campaign strategies the debate of which could go on for months, but the purpose of this article is to highlight the key differences and aims of each type of campaign not what any single campaign should contain.
Generic Search Engine Marketing
Typically the aim of a generic search engine marketing campaign (SEM) is to develop relevant and targeted anchor text back links to specific pages on your website to increase your site’s link profile and authority in the eyes
of the search engines.
This of course is all aimed at improving your website ranking and to ensure your website becomes “known” in the search engines for the particular key phrases you are most interested in ranking for.
Low level or cheap link building services often include article marketing, content distribution and directory submissions, although most professional SEO practioners will probably dismiss directory submissions as the quality of these links is generally very poor at best and sometimes dubious also.
Low level or cheap link building services can also take advantage of what have become known as social websites; typically these are in the form of blogs and other Web 2.0 properties and even low level social bookmarking sites. Forum posting just for the sake of links would also fall under this category.
The quality of budget link building services can vary wildly but they are not to be sneezed at though, as in many cases especially in less competitive or tight niches, they can prove to be very effective indeed and are often all that is needed to rank a site well.
Social Marketing Campaigns
Social marketing campaigns are quite different to generic search engine marketing campaigns although there can be a degree of crossover in many cases. A true social marketing campaign is much more focussed to generating leads and brand awareness as well as meeting the targeted marketplace in its own backyard.
A social marketing campaign however is also generally considered to be much further up the evolutionary tree of link building so to speak and while it will still develop and reward you with good quality back links to your site, social marketing campaigns are generally of much higher quality in both their make up and also can require a significant amount of planning and preparation.
Typically social marketing campaigns will take advantage of prime and highly focussed Web 2.0 properties and business networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ecademy and so on, as well as other complementary web sites and social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and Del.icio.us to name but a few.
The aim of a good social marketing campaign is not to specifically develop back links per se (although this is bound to happen) but to develop either brand or business awareness in a defined market place where the products or services you or your company supply will or could be in demand.
It is also to establish you or your company as an industry authority, go to person or trusted advisor, or even a business that can help other people solve their own problems or critical business issues by the provision of quality goods and services.
The Downside of Social Marketing Campaigns
While the advantages of a social marketing campaign are undeniable, there are a number of downsides which it pays to be acutely aware of.
The main downside of social marketing campaigns is the sheer amount of time and work that needs to be maintained to develop a business’s authority or profile across many sites.
These types of campaigns are very hands-on and involve ongoing social networking and subtle promotion of a business or brand as well as the generation of useful/helpful relevant content either for general publication or for posting on your own site as quality information pages or blog posts, or as donated content for other complementary sites that are not in direct competition to your own.
It may be for example that you want to develop a profile on forums relevant to the markets you are trying to penetrate by posting quality useful help and advice (not just a link post), but if not kept up-to-date or live these profiles can quickly lose ground and your on-line identity will fade.
Most businesses pursuing social marketing campaigns as an ongoing strategy will be spending at least 10-20 hours plus a week in one form or another and although this can be outsourced (often at considerable cost), typically this is done in-house by either the business owner or the marketing person, primarily because the business has the internal product or service expertise to maintain a long term focus and generate quality content.
What Is Right For Your Business?
The correct or most successful strategy required for each business will vary tremendously which is why most SEO professionals will not even conduct a web marketing campaign
without some form of initial consultancy or competitive market assessment.
If time is not one of your assets or your budget is tight, then a generic link building campaign may be all that is affordable to you, but if you are in a competitive market and serious about your on-line business then it simply does not make good business sense to second guess your requirements.
Bite the bullet and employ the services of an SEO consultant even if only for initial consultancy as the advice you receive more often than not will be highly beneficial to the success of your on-line venture.

11 March 2010

Google Page Rank Explained

You've just built your website and you want to show up on the search engines. You start reading about SEO and one of the first things that jumps out at you is something called "Google PageRank." You know about the big dog of the search engines, but what is PageRank and why is it important in what you're trying to do?

Any good marketing coach can explain that easily. If your site is placing high in free (organic) search results, you're getting free advertising. Notice the word "free." That's always a good thing. Building a strong PageRank (PR) by getting good quality links coming in to your site takes time, but it isn't going to eat a hole in your pocketbook. 
You want to work on raising your site's PR to get "authority" with the search engines. A site with "authority" gets better visibility in search results. Really understanding the algorithm behind your site's PR will likely have you reaching for a bottle of aspirin. In the beginning, just concentrate on understanding the basics and how they relate to your efforts to promote your site.

How Is PR Defined?

Google says PR is all about the "uniquely democratic nature of the web" and "using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value." Basically, a link from one page to another is a vote for that page. However, not all votes in this democracy are equal. Some votes come from higher-quality pages and are weighed more heavily. (Other factors in determining PR include the relevance of search phrases on a page and actual traffic to the page.)

How Is PageRank Expressed?

PR values are expressed on a scale of 0 to 10. Sites from 0 to 2 are probably pretty new to the Web and have few incoming links. Sites that have made it to PR3 to PR5 are fairly well established; PR6 and above are really popular and have a lot of high-quality links. There are very few sites that make it to the PR7 to PR10 range.

The ones that are ranked that high are usually owned by big corporations or major media outlets like the Wall Street Journal (PR8). Improving your site's PR by getting relevant, high-quality, incoming links is one of the most affordable SEO methods at your disposal. Rather than trying to get to a specific number, just concentrate on improving your number.

Is My Site's Homepage The Only Page With PR?

No, each page in your site will be assigned a PR, something that is emphasized in marketing coaching as a valuable tool. You can use relevant interlinking to distribute PR throughout all your pages.

Huh? Well, just hang on to that thought for a minute. For right now, just understand the concept that some pages in your site may earn a higher PR than others, and that you can use that to your advantage. 
PageRank Passes From One Page To Another

Here's how it works. A page with a high PR passes some of its value to a low PR page over a link. You can use this to promote your site in a couple of ways. When your site's pages are interlinked in a relevant way, PR gets distributed more evenly throughout the site. Also, you can "court" relevant sites that belong to other people through your link-building campaign. This is really how your site starts to gain "authority."

Start By Building Your Index Page's PR

Generally, marketing coaches will tell you to begin by working on your home page's PR. This can be time-consuming, and not just because you'll be building relationships with other site owners. You have to do your time in what's popularly called the Google "sandbox." This just means that new sites like yours probably won't get any PR at all for the first few months you're on the Web. 

How Do I Check My PR?

There are a number of free, online tools for checking PR including PRChecker and SearchStatus. At PRChecker you type in a page's URL to see its PR. SearchStatus is a FireFox extension that shows a site's PR at the bottom of your browser. (It also shows your site's Alexa rating, another method to measure online "importance.") You can also install the Google Toolbar for Firefox or Internet Explorer and enable the PageRank function.

Is Building My PR All I Need To Do?

A marketing coach will tell you that having a strong PR is only one part of your SEO campaign. For instance, say you're looking around for a site to link to yours. You find one with a high PR, but it's a site that sells links. Move on. Their high PR number doesn't do you any good because a link from that site to yours will have a lower quality and will pass less authority to you.

Understanding the basics of PageRank is essential in putting together a high-quality link-building campaign for your site, but don't get fixated on the PR number and ignore other important facts. Just gain a basic understanding of what PR is and how it functions and use that to your advantage in building a reputation of authority for your site.

Scream Media currently has a page rank of 4/10, the new site has been live for only 6 months. If you would like to enjoy a similar page rank, contact Scream Media today on 021 559 0800

08 March 2010

The Need for Speed !

Last year, Google's Matt Cutts dropped the bomb (to put it in the exaggerated tone that many took the news in), that Google was considering taking site speed into consideration as one of many potential ranking factors for search results.

This of course freaked a lot of people out, but as Matt and Google as a whole has maintained, this would not trump relevance. It would be taken more into consideration when there are two sites of relatively equal relevance, but one site loads faster and delivers a better user experience.

  Maile Ohye, Senior Developer Programs Engineer for Google at SMX, offers some advice about website performance (speed), how that pertains to search rankings and the user experience, and some tips for making sure your site is up to speed, so to speak.

As far as site speed as a ranking factor, Ohye pretty much makes the same point as Cutts, and it's probably not going to be something where all of a sudden all of the faster sites are ranking better and the slower ones are doing worse. But it does enhance the user experience, and she refers to a study that found that an optimized site actually increased conversions by 16%. So if you're not optimizing your site's performance for Google, maybe that's a good enough reason on its own.

05 March 2010

SEO Tips

Frankly, the biggest search engine optimization mistake you can make is not doing any SEO at all. It's amazĂ­ng how many people believe "if you build it, they will come." Marketing coaching makes one thing clear. Just putting a site up on the Internet won't get you the traffic you want or need. By the same token, building a site and then thinking about SEO after the fact is a bad plan too. SEO needs to be at the heart of your Web plans from day one, and it's a job that isn't ever "finished."

Learn What's Bad For SEO And Don't Do It

If you take a drawing class, one of the first things you'll learn is that it's easier to look at the negative space than at the object itself. That means that as a beginner, you have a better shot at recreating the funky-looking space between the apple and the pear than drawing the fruit the first time you pick up a pencil. And you don't get so discouraged when your results aren't perfect. That's a good concept to carry into online marketing. 
Sometimes learning everything that can go wrong is a better place to start than trying to do everything right. Do-it-yourself, affordable SEO is too expensive at any cost if you're constantly shooting yourself in the foot. Some of the biggest mistakes novices make are really the easiest ones to avoid!

Bad Navigation And No Sitemap

It doesn't take a marketing coach to know that the entire point of "search engine optimization" on a site is to get that site crawled by the search engines. If you use images -- or worse -- Flash or javascript to design your navigation, the search engines will ignore you. (Also, any page that doesn't have an incoming link won't be crawled.)

Not having a sitemap is just as bad. Many website owners don't think they need a sitemap because people don't use them. It's not about people! Search engines love sitemaps. They literally crawl all over sitemaps. Even if you have to maintain the sitemap manually, have one and link to it on every page of your site.

Poorly Constructed Title Tags And URLs

There's nothing wrong with building your website, but pay attention to what your software is doing. Many site building packages and content management systems repeat the same title tag on every single page. Good programs of marketing coaching teach you that the title tag is probably the single most-important SEO element of any page. The title tag must fit the content of the page itself.

But, don't pay attention to the title tag and ignore the URL. This is especially a problem in content management systems and shopping carts. The URLs are full of numbers and letters. You need to be including your keywords in your URLs so the search engines pick up on them. Don't waste the invaluable potential in either the title tag or the URL. 

Banning A Search Engine By Accident

It's not unusual for a novice site owner to mess up their robots.txt file. The file exists in your site's root directory to talk to search engine spiders. You can tell them not to crawl pages or sections or send other individual instructions. Since the file is just plain text and is so easy to create, site owners wade in without really understanding what they're doing. If you're not careful, you can ban the search engines from your site altogether. Use Yahoo SiteExplorer or Google SiteMaps to make sure that your site can indeed be crawled.

Vague Anchor Text For Links

Using anchor text like "click here" or "next" is a waste. When you are cultivating incoming links or creating links inside your site, use useful, descriptive anchor text. You don't want to repeat the same phrase over and over again. Get two or three relevant, keyword-rich pieces of anchor text and also use your company name. Empty phrases are just that -- empty.

Doing accurate keyword research is fundamental to successful marketing. It's a huge topic in its own right, but you basically want to concentrate on phrases that are not overly general or that have too much competition. Good marketing coaches will spend a lot of time on keyword selection and you should too. Put that chore right up at the top of your SEO "to do" list.

In reading all the tips available on marketing coaching, you'll find that most articles and courses focus on the things website owners should do. It's also important to look at what you shouldn't do. A poorly constructed site that fails to make good use of readable navigation, workable behind-the-scenes code, solid naming structures, and relevant anchor text will have a tough time online. Consider the fundamentals of basic SEO from the planning stage of your site to maximize your results and get the traffic you want.

Still confused? contact Scream Media today for free no obligation SEO quote