A little flavour of what's in store...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

January – month of seo and ppc experts

In the UK, you know it's January when you can't change a TV channel without seeing a holiday advert. It's the same when you run a busy e-commerce website, you know it's January when you get inundated with calls from various SEO companies and PPC management companies offering their services.

And the personalised photo jigsaw / personalised photo gift industry is not exempt it seems. Here at Fabulous Photo Gifts, we've had our share of calls the last few weeks.

Not that I've anything personal against them. Many do a very good job for their clients I'm sure, but if your a smaller on-line trader, then every penny counts. Budget that may get soaked up in optimisation fees could be better spent on your own managed PPC campaign. If you have the time, why not manage your own as opposed to paying someone to do it for you.

It's important to realise that the great arsenal of methods available to SEO's is also diminishing as Google and others catch onto link farms, false index pages that divert and duplicated content.

SEO companies may promise you top position but on what search phrases and is it reasonable to expect that your potential customers will type those exact phrases in anyway when looking for your goods or service?

It may not be the easiest task, but the only way to get good page rank and position is with solid, well written copy that is key-worded without spamming and good inbound links from industry related websites.

It's well documented on various forums that the opinion on links from non-specific websites is at best ignored and at worst considered a 'spamming' technique and so penalises rather than promoting.

These same forums often discuss the best place for key worded text. The general consensus seems to be on placing the most key worded text at the top of your page, preferably within h1 and h2 tags for maximum visibility.

Style Sheets (CSS) can help greatly here. To allow search engine crawlers to get to the meat of your website, try cutting down on the amount of html in their way by replacing many table and font attribute tags with one style tag.

Again, if you haven't already, visit a few forums and see what others are saying on the subject.

I digress – back to the topic in hand, there is a lot you can do to promote your own website without others. Explore optimisation methods yourself and make appropriate changes to your text and coding as appropriate. Is your main key phrase in your page title? Sounds obvious but you'd be amazed.

Look at PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns on Google etc yourself. It's relatively straight-forward to set your own campaign up. Experiment with the functions and get help selecting the right keywords to sponsor etc. Set a low daily budget if you're not sure just to gauge response. What are your competition doing?

You can further promote your own site with Blogs, RSS feeds and even MySpace profiles. If you've read any of my previous 'articles', you'll know I'm big on the social networking idea and pretty soon every on-line retailer will be running to catch up with those who started. And because it takes time to reap any benefit from such strategies, they'll have plenty of catching up to do.

Don't know what a Blog is? Spend a few minutes searching and you'll be amazed. Don't be put off by the fact that many seem irrelevant, personal 'drivel'. Those same 'drivelings' attract quite a following amongst their own communities of followers – all you've got to do is attract your own community of potential customers.

Amongst the personal Blogs, you'll also find a lot of topic specific ones (a bit like this one) from professionals and enthusiasts alike. The main thing is to keep contact with your social networks, or at least be regular with your contributions (something I know I sometimes forget to do myself).

Finally, don't be discouraged if after all your efforts, you see no particular increase. Visitor numbers will creep up slowly but surely and so improve your chances of making a sale.

And if all that's cost you is a little of your own time, then that's got to be money well spent.

Jonathan C Crouch

About the author: Jonathan is an I.T. Professional responsible for the on-line marketing and website design for Fabulous Photo Gifts – personalised photo jigsaws and Purple 13 – digital photo art of Award Winning Artist Mandy Collins.

Please feel free to link to this article or copy and use on your own. Please credit the author and link to http://purple13.blogspot.com

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