John Galianos

Affiliate Marketing & Blogging Tips, News & Reviews

Search Engine Optimization and Advertising

In today`s net-savvy world it has become common for any business to have a website which they use mostly for advertising their products and services. With the advent of search engines it has become even easier for the customers to search for the stuff online. For a website to be successful its link should land in the first three pages which the search engine brings and the rank of the page should be high which means many visitors come to the site. This can be achieved by applying search engine optimization or popularly known as SEO. This is a marketing strategy which increases the quality and quantity of traffic flow to a particular website via search engines.

SEO not only affects the search engine results, but also image search, video search and industry specific vertical search engines. It determines how a search algorithm functions and searches what is popular with people. When a website link is submitted to a search engine, a spider crawls through a page to gather links which lead to other pages and stores those pages on the server of the search engine. The information collected from these pages is sent to the indexer, whose job is to extract information from those pages such as the keywords and their weights, the location of the page and other links that are stored for the spider to crawl in future.

In the beginning, the search engine optimizer algorithms were dependant on the keywords, Meta tags, and index files provided by the Webmaster. Meta tags provided information about a particular page, but using them for indexing the pages didn`t prove to be successful as some Webmasters added irrelevant Meta tags to increase the number of hits and earn huge ad revenue. They even changed the HTML of the web pages to achieve a good rank for the page. But this was a case of abuse as it fetched irrelevant pages.

Search engines then began utilizing complex ranking algorithm, which were difficult for the webmasters to manipulate so as to provide web surfers with genuine results. The rank of the web page was calculated mathematically by functions using strength and quantity of the inbound links. The higher the rank of the page the more chances it had to be viewed by a person. Later algorithms were developed which considered various other on-page factors such as rank and off-page factors such as hyperlink. Since the webmasters couldn`t manipulate the page rank, they began exchanging, selling and buying links, which lead to link spamming and even creation of numerous sites dedicated for this purpose.

Algorithms became more complex by every passing day and top search engines kept their algorithms a secret. As the cost of SEO increased, advertisers were roped in to pay for it, which finally resulted in high quality web pages. Although investing in SEO is very fruitful, but at the same time is risky because with out any prior notice the algorithms being used are bound to change and the search engine will stop directing visitors to the page. Many consultants are available in the market that provides SEO services. They manipulate the HTML source code of the web site like menus, shopping carts and sometimes even the content of the website to draw more traffic. Search engines like Yahoo has algorithms that extract pages not according to the page rank but according to the cost per click or set fee, that is if a advertiser desires that the page containing his ad be displayed, he is expected to pay money for it. This is a point of controversy, as only the big businesses will be able to increase the number of hits of their page but not the small business who might be having a better quality page.

Google Ad Words explores ads which have words typed in the search box by the surfer. The Million Dollar Homepage started the concept of Pixel advertising, which is a graphical kind of advertising. Depending on the pixels, the space is sold to the advertiser. Keyword advertising involves advertisers who buy URLs of a site and place their ads at that location. Thus SEO is a market in its own which is yielding great results for businesses on Internet.

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Research in Advertising

Research in advertising is done in order to produce better advertisements that are more efficient in motivating customers to buy a product or a service. The research can be based on a particular advertising campaign or can be more generalized and based on how advertisements create an effect on people`s mind. Lots of approaches are involved to go about conducting an advertising research like economical, psychological, demographical and sociological.

When designing an advertisement for a particular product many things should be researched like where it should be displayed, whether the advertisement can be printed in newspapers or magazines or broadcasted on television or radio or published on the Internet. Many methods are undertaken to collect relevant information. The research itself is of two kinds, syndicated and customized. Syndicated research is a single research done by the company that is available to other companies as well. Customized research is research based on certain criteria and is done for a particular company and its results are available to only that company.

Pre-testing or copy testing is a type of customized research that determines the in-market efficiency of an advertisement before it is released or before the final production. The more the pre-testing is done the more likely that it will be a successful advertisement and each pre-testing should be applied number of times. This can done by studying the level of attention the customers have, motivation, brand linkage, communication and entertainment. Flow of emotions and flow of attention are broken down and studied individually. The results are applied on the advertisement that is still being developed to recognize the weak points and replace them. A reliable feedback loop can guide the researchers, client and the agency to work in harmony. Tests should be applied during the storyboard stage of ad making. This is an early stage and the results are highly predictive. During this process images are selected and used as integrated campaign print ad.

Post-testing or ad tracking studies are either syndicated or customized. Studies are done over a period of time or continuously. The in-market research is done to understand a brands linkage, performance, awareness, and preference along with product attitudes and usage. They are done by, conducting interviews either on phone or Internet. Testing the finished advertisement provides the confidence and gives an idea whether it is following the strategy.

All the above studies should facilitate the client`s advertisement development make the end product easier to achieve. The study should contain rational information having not only surface knowledge but also provide deep in-sight that will open window to a customer`s mind. The customer, too, should provide precise information based on facts and not based on imaginary thinking and self-delusion. He should be able to explain the role of advertisement in the whole marketing plan. Working in vacuum doesn`t get the desired result.

The basis is to provide in-depth understanding about the consumers for improving on the advertisement techniques and other marketing decisions. The traditional methods of qualitative and quantitative techniques have been improved to analyze the information with good insight.

The rapidly changing likes and needs of the customers are difficult to track, but should be studied in order to increase the quality of advertisement. The changes are because of the huge number of options offered to them by the market.

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Advertising in Newspapers

Newspaper advertisements are as old as advertisement itself. Although, it`s an age-old method of advertisement, it still receives the same response and is highly successful. Both small and large businesses still choose this method to promote their products and services. Ask them and nearly hundred percent advertisers would select newspapers as their primary advertise medium.

In spite of registered decline in newspaper circulation numbers and advertisements featured in a newspaper, they are read by millions of people at their breakfast table. The rate of increase in price to place advertisements in newspapers is climbing rapidly when compared to radio, television and billboards. The main aim should be to get the desired attention from the advertisement and out do the competitor. Various factors should be considered and measures should be taken to ensure success, while keeping the cost low.

Many advertisers, who advertise through newspapers, design their own advertisements without any prior training. This has lead to the rise of larger number of retailers who think that making an ad by them is the only way to get it right. This approach saves a lot of money and is good for small businesses, only if they reach to correct customers. The one time cost of placing a small advertisement is $150, so the measures should be taken to place them effectively. It isn`t necessary to have a full-page advertisement posted in the newspaper. If smartly designed, even half page advertisement can do wonders; the money saved can be used to advertise concurrently in other mediums like radio, websites, etc.

Using colorful font can multiply the cost to many times and is not worth the return. If the budget is low and the matter is confident enough, black font will be fine. Regular readers read the newspapers daily; therefore, there is no sense in placing the same ad in the same paper everyday. The advertisement can be placed in different papers everyday. The frequency can be three times a week for a particular newspaper. But there is an increase in the number of readers on weekends, so more money can be invested on placing advertisement in the weekend edition. Don`t be disappointed if all the advertisement space is sold on weekend. Insert fliers in between the pages of the newspaper.

As many advertisers will be posting their ads on weekends in the local newspaper and the chances of your ad getting lost in the muddle, the conventions can be twisted a little to beat the competition. Place an offer coupon in the mid-week editorial and pay the local station to advertise and talk about the offer on their famous program. Ask them to specifically mention about the coupon placed in the newspaper. Out of the daily readers, only few of them go through the entire newspapers. Most of them view the first and last page. So instead of posting an ad thrice weekly in the middle pages, invest on placing the ad on the first or last page of the newspaper, once a week. Majority of the newspapers don`t give competitive protection, that is, an advertisement of a firm can be placed next to the advertisement of its competitor. Specify about this condition to the sales person and take the guarantee from them.

There is a decrease in the number of local newspapers every year. In United States, only about a thousand newspapers function on a daily basis. Local people are now relying on weekly papers or newspapers with the local section. Sometimes only one publisher controls many of the local newspapers. Newspapers for all the localities are printed at one place with only the front page being changed. When advertising in such publications, care should be taken on recognizing the audience that is being reached. All the effort and money is wasted if the wrong customer is reached and the result can go in loss. Mixing different medias instead one for advertising is a smart approach. One can take care of the shortcomings of the other and work in tandem to make the overall advertising campaign a huge success.

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Low Cost Advertising

There is no better advertisement campaign that is low cost and also successful at the same time. Great business ideas when utilized effectively can save lots of money. This is not only easy for those who work full-time as an advertiser, but also for those who work from home.

Advertising from home is also a low cost option, which involves making and distributing fliers. Usually potential customers will visit home for business dealing. Print good amount of fliers and give it to anyone who is visiting home like family, friends, mailman, etc. Business cards can also be distributed. Few selected people can be given sample of the product. For those who work outside home, employ college students to distribute fliers at supermarkets, community centers, or malls, especially on weekends, when there is a rush.

Spread the word by the mouth. Talk to everyone about the product and ask them to talk about it to others. It`s a very powerful tool to increase the network and doesn`t even cost anything. When receiving a casual call from family members and friends, don`t forget to tell them about the latest events, discounts and promotions and ask them about what they are up to. If the parties are into the business, it won`t hurt to promote each other. Joint ventures can be started with trustable people of the same trade. The only cost that will be incurred during the whole process is of printing fliers. For a better quality, professional can be hired to design them, as they will be able to play with colors and write motivating material.

Most of the businesses have company bulletin board that they use to put up company`s latest news. Fliers and business cards can be tacked on such bulletin boards. But before doing so, check out with the human resource department before placing the information as most of the HR departments make it compulsory to consult them.

Parents are required to be in regular touch with the teachers to know about the progress of the child and they have meetings from time to time. Do not miss this opportunity and spread the word. Hand them the business card and fliers personally at the meeting, instead of just giving the contact number.

Get involved with fundraiser at schools, as it`s a nice approach to market business. Prior to handing out the order received, collect all necessary information like business card pack, fliers, with proper information. Information can be based on what is the company about, what are the products and services provided, or how to get in touch with the company. In each individual order, carefully place all of them and seal the package properly. Presentation, too, is of importance and should be paid attention.

Voice mails can be put to good use, other than recording messages. They can help to deliver the marketing message. Greet with a brief message, following with website and email address, so that who ever calls will be already having the telephone number and they will be able to learn more about the business by visiting the website. When the company is providing special promotional offers and discounts, include information about those in the voice mail. Discontinuation of any services of products can also be informed about. Repetitive voicemails sound boring, so keep changing the voice mail frequently and add some creativity to it.

Most of the big businesses attach business cards or fliers with out going mail. This works for companies who send bills to their customers. For those who have customers paying online, they can send the information through emails.

Advertisements can be done, in the locality, by placing fliers on the bulletin boards of the local grocery stores, businesses, barbers, or butchers. People frequent these places and there is a possibility of getting a good response. Some businesses place a jar at the reception counter where the business cards can be dropped for future reference, while visiting them.

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