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Monday, 21 April 2008

Web Site Traffic -- Marlon's In Depth Analysis of What'sWorking and What Isn't In 2008

"The 5 major traffic sources reviewed and analyzed in light of current developments and changes." By Marlon Sanders

This article reviews the latest developments ingetting traffic to your web site. I'll try to remove the fluff and just tell youwhat's going on.

-------------------------------1. Social marketing and web 2.0 properties--------------------


This is all the latest buzz. The idea is that you use web 2.0 sites like Propeller, Tumblr, Squidoo and others to create mini sites that target keywords. If the Google gods smile on you, they spider yoursite, list it at the top under your key word and all is well.


There are also clever bookmarking methods using services like onlywire.com that tag your site in a number of the sites. Bottom line? All of these methods are designed to getyou organic seo positioning. "Organic seo" is a term used to distinguish between the non-paid listings on left side of your Google search results and the paidlistings at the very top and the right side of your results.


So you have organic or non-paid listings. And you have the pay-per-click listings. Methods, secrets, tricks and techniques for gettingtop positions in Google have been around since day one.I have dozens of pieces of software on my box that originally were supposed to be the "magic bullet" of seo.


Now, they're not worth the space they take up on myhard drive. These methods DO work. But they also go out of stylequicker than fashion. If you have the money and timeto muck around with a method that may only get you a year of results, or less, go for it. I tried creating a bunch of these sites and links andnothing happened.


That means there's a substantial learning curve. On the other hand, creating the sites is free. So your main cost is the cost of buying the know howand the time to implement the methods. The best approach is to take the articles you createfor article marketing and spin web 2.0 properties fromthem.


Opinion: If you build these web 2.0 propertiesor sites with quality, unique content -- your sites will have staying power. If you outsource your content creation to the lowestcost bidder, well, keep your fingers crossed.


------------------------------------2. Article marketing------------------------


Article marketing in one form or the other has been working for years. It's still an organic seo game. The current vogue is to write articles and submit them to a small set of directories that get a lotof Google love. The downside is that tomorrow Google could changeits mind.


Google is like the proverbial sailorjoke: "You number one sailor. You number one." Then the next day... "You number ten sailor. You number ten." You have no control over fickle Google love. Having said that, article marketing has worked foryears and will continue to work. For a person on alimited budget marketing on a national or globalbasis, it's a good choice.


If you're marketing locally, I would think local pay-per-click ads would be a better choice. A lot of marketers are hiring others to write articlesfor them. I have mixed feelings about this. My guess is that in the long run, unique, valuablecontent will get Google love. And run-of-the-millcontent won't.


The current vogue is article spinning where you usesoftware or services to write variations of yourarticles, so you don't submit duplicate articles tothe different directories. It's a constant cat and mouse game between Googleand marketers.


Google started penalizing duplicatecontent, so marketers started spinning articles toavoid the penalty. The next move is Google's. I'm not really on board with the article spinning ideain that it isn't evergreen. However, some view it aswhatever gets traffic this month.


They'll worry next month about what it takes to gettraffic then. Opinion: Stick to evergreen article marketing methodsand provide the Google gods the unique, valuable contentthey request. If you outsource articles, go for higher quality writersand vendors who use a brain when they write. My opinionis that over time, Google will find a way to weed outmindless, low quality content. Opinion: If you have little or no budget, use articlemarketing.


-------------------------------------------3. Viral marketing----------------------------------


Viral marketing is good traffic when you can get it. But can you get it steadily and consistently? That's themillion dollar question. Of course, the best and brightest minds can. But whatabout people who are less than marketing gurus?


The best method of viral marketing I know of is still Mike Filsaime's Butterfly marketing concept. That means you create high quality content that is given away by others to their list for free. And youmake money from an immediate upsell, or as Mike callsit "the OTO" or one time offer. The reason this works is a lot of people will emailvaluable content to their list where they might notemail a pitch or offer.


As you'll notice, article marketing and viral marketingcome down to the ability to provide quality content. The good news is that with Elance and other freelancingsites, you CAN have content created. The issue becomes the QUALITY of the content.


The least talented and laziest people will have content created by the lowest cost bidder. And you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out others may notwant to email low quality, rehashed, brainless contentto their list. Opinion: Either hire writers who have a brain and useit or develop some expertise on a specific topic yourself.


If you zero in on a specific topic, it doesn't take longto learn more about it than most others. Opinion: Viral marketing has a higher skill level thanarticle marketing because you have to find people willingto email your content to their list. If you have your OWN list, and the content is compellingenough that your own members will spread the word, thenyou've reached the ultimate scenario.


Maybe easier said than done in the days of over-marketed,over-communicated, over-saturated markets. Still, it'sdoable. Opinion: Getting the software set up and running correctlyisn't a piece of cake. Do you use a stand alone installation?


Do you integrate with Amember or other systems? Whichsoftware? Do you create separate viral sites for eachproduct? If you use the email feature built into the softwareprograms, where do you host it?


----------------------------------4. Video marketing---------------------------


One of the latest crazes to hit the scene is creating videos and uploading them to the video sites. Software programs like Traffic Geyser (and others) will handle the uploading part for you. I know of one marketer getting 200+ opt ins per day fromvideo sites at no cost. Not a bad deal.


As more and more marketers all rush to use the same method,Google will undoubtedly show less and less love tothese videos. Part of the play is organic, meaning that Google hasshown these video sites its love. That love is likely fleeting..."You number ten sailor." However, these sites get a LOT of traffic. So videomarketing is likely here to stay, although the resultswill dilute over time. Matt Bacak is turning his articles into videos and uploading them. That's a sound strategy that leveragescontent in a rational way.


Opinion: Video marketing is here to stay but measure the results and watch your return on time and investment.


----------------------------------4. Pay-per-click marketing-----------------------


I hate Google. Sometimes. They keep turning the screws on marketers tighter and tighter,even for those PAYING for advertising. I really wish there was someone else in the game who hadtraffic and considered more the interests of marketers. Unfortunately, Google IS the game.


Well, there's Ebay.But they just put the clamps down on ebook marketing. So they're following the footsteps of Google. The good news is the instant traffic IS there and you CAN buy it. Until Google changes their ever loving mind again, the game right now is about relevancy.


Meaning the more closely your ad exactly matches the search term and the content on the landing page, the lower your CTR (click through rate). The WHOLE problem and issue with this is it takes awaythe advantage you had in pay-per-click to freakin' beginwith -- scalability. Now, the best and brightest minds do find ways to hack, get around, or comply with Google's whims and demands.


For example, one of my friends found that by sellingebooks for $17.00 on highly specific topics, he couldget the advantages of relevancy, positive revenue andscalability. I think he's onto something. This is the best strategy I'veheard about lately. Opinion: You can't trick Google in the end.


So you haveto find ways to create landing pages that match the searchterms. And then figure out how to scale that. My personal solution is to try to hire someone. My firsthire didn't work out. I'm going to round two. If you can'tafford to hire someone (perhaps overseas), you'll have to invest a lot of your personal time and keep your fingerscrossed that in an overnight Google slap your marketingdoesn't fall apart!


Opinion: Stay away from gimmicks, do your best to give Google what they want and keep it evergreen.


------------------------------------5. Affiliate marketing-------------------------------


The final option I'd like to discuss is affiliate marketing. For many years, this has been my chosen method for obtainingtraffic. The landscape has changed in Internet marketing. Nowadays, affiliates are driven by the launch of the week.


That means you aren't likely to get the continual trafficyou did in the old days. However, in protected niches, this isn't so. And affiliatemarketing can still be a huge tool for you. In the arena of Internet marketing, the competition foraffiliates to promote an offer is voracious. Mostly, it'sbuilt on small groups of friends and "inner circle camps"promoting each others offers.



Opinion: Affiliate marketing is still gold in niches.If you're in the Internet marketing arena, you better beready to run with the big dogs or you won't get much action. Opinion: Affiliate marketing has a higher skill level thanother methods because you have to network and get othersto take action. The payoffs can be sweet but it's a gamebest played by good networkers.


------------------------------------The final analysis-----------------------------


Social marketing -- Google loves these sites right now. Buthow long before Google withdraws its favor? Who knows? Article marketing has always worked and still works. Some of the methods change. Focus on quality content.

Viral marketing -- Not as simple as article marketing. Butthe basic "Butterfly Marketing" strategy has legs and willcontinue to work. Hey, people love free content. The keyhere is to have content high enough in quality that otherswill want to send it to their list.

Organic seo -- The rules change frequently. Are you smartenough and swift enough to keep Google's love?

Video marketing -- Video sites have big traffic. Watch yourroi. Turn your articles into videos and leverage your content. Pay-per-click marketing -- Focus on evergreen strategies.Find a way to outsource or hire talent so you can scale.

Affiliate marketing -- A more difficult game for newbies. Plays to the strengths of networkers. Still works in niches. A tough game in the Internet marketing playing field.

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"Marlon's Marketing Minute is copyright 2008, Higher ResponseMarketing Inc. All rights reserved. Visit my web sites at: http://www.marlonsanders.com/

1 comment:

cator said...

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