Our Offices Will Be Closed on April 21st and April 22nd for Passover Observance. To contact us please complete the contact form and we will get back to you on April 23rd. Email urgent@ajaxunion.com for immediate assistance.

The Future of Facebook

online marketingWith the uprising importance of the digital world and the relevance of social media in the online marketing industry, Facebook has been an obvious game changer. Initially deemed as a social network used for finding friends, posting pictures and creating up-to-the-minute status updates among other things, Facebook has evolved into so much more, especially in the industry of online marketing.

Facebook users are provided with an assortment of features that act as helpful, productive and efficient online marketing tools. Beyond the function of personal use, Facebook has tapped into business branding, image, marketing and success. Nowadays, potential clients and consumers expect companies to not only have a professional website, but an active Facebook page as well.

Advertising on Facebook has proven to be an effective and results-worthy marketing tool. One advantage is that ads can target a specific type of individual or group. Ad targeting is sorted by gender, age, geographic location, education, language, relationship status, broad categories and even precise interests. This tailored ad targeting can lead to substantial quality fan gain. Having quality Facebook fans is an important step to the online growth process. Not only is your page follower number increasing, but it opens up opportunity for sales, revenue, interaction and fan engagement. Another advantageous part of Facebook advertising is that ads are very customizable and can promote a range of landing pages: Facebook Timeline, Facebook Apps, company website or any URL address.

Facebook has made the advertising process easier to use and more effective. It is an excellent online marketing tool that will help to brand yourself and your business. Continuing to thrive in the business world, Facebook will surely be a large part of the online marketing industry in the future.

The Wonderful World of Keywords

SEO keywordsThe goal of online marketing is to push your domain to the top of search engines. By getting your domain into the top pages, you’re making it easier for individuals to find your business and in return, result in profit.

However, it can be a little tricky getting your business or brand to the top of the page. The most important thing to remember is that the keywords you choose mean everything.

How To Choose the Right Keywords:

The first step you need to take is to come up with an initial list of keywords that describe the content of your website. No one knows your users better than you do. Only you can correctly guess what they are searching for. Once you’ve created your list, you can run those keywords through the Google Keyword Tool.

What Is the Google Keyword Tool?

The Google Keyword Tool narrows your keyword list down based on relevancy and local or global search volume. In addition to narrowing down your list, it will help you think of a few out-of-the-box terms you might not have originally thought of. Be sure to keep your local search volume between 1,000 and 60,000. It is also important to remember that Google is only providing you with a tool. It is not guaranteed to improve your campaign performance, but it will lead you in the right direction.

Using the Keywords

After all is said and done, you want to come out with five top keywords that you will implement into your business. You want to make sure your site is keyword-rich. If you want to be searched for using these terms, the keywords need to be there.

They should also be used in all the posts and content that you are creating for your site. It is important to realize that it takes SEO about three months to actually be effective. Try not to stress out when your site isn’t on the first page of Google after 30-days.

Specialty Keywords

While it takes a few months to get your keywords ranking, it’s important to get them out there as soon as possible. If you have a business that features special products or deals during a holiday or event, you want to start using these keywords at least six months before the actual date. This way, if the work is done right, your keywords will be ranking in time.

Succeed at Email Marketing

email marketingEmail marketing is a very important aspect of online marketing, and success can only come if subscribers actually open and read your email. There are a few ways you can go about tempting users to open up your email, which include: solve a problem for them, give them a deal, teach them something, or entertain them.

  1. Solve a problem for them. Sharing news and information relevant to your readers’ industry is a great way to guide them closer to solving a problem they are having. Keeping it concise, clear, and informative is a sure way to guarantee their continuing subscription.
  2. Give them a deal. Everyone loves saving money; there is no doubt about that. Putting words like “free,” “save,” “sale,” or “free shipping” in subject lines is a smart way to entice readers. Figure out what best resonates with your subscribers and they will loyally check emails they receive from you.
  3. Teach them something. A great online marketing tactic is guaranteeing an informative angle. If readers believe they will become smarter from reading your emails, they will continue to do so.
  4. Entertain them. Including a fun video or infographic can do wonders! Informative videos and infographics will kill two birds with one stone. Not only are you teaching them something new, you are doing it a fun and quick way.

The only way an email marketing campaign is efficient is if people are actually reading your emails. You can either enlist the help of an internet marketing company, or try out these four email marketing tactics to not only get readers to engage with your emails, but to also keep them coming back for more.

Register For Our Free Webinar To Learn The Top Three SEO Strategies

SEO imageThe world of small business internet marketing has changed immensely in the last five years. With the constant updates and improvements to internet marketing tools, this can only be expected. On one hand, this means that your options are constantly increasing and improving. On the other hand, it can leave business owners more than a little confused.

We know that it is often not feasible to sign up for every marketing strategy you hear about. Stretching your resources that thin is rarely a good idea in the long run. But, what do you need to sign up for? What services will get you the most results for your money?

Ajax Union Vice President Sarah Mogin and Agency Manager David Gscheidle are prepared to answer all of these questions, and more, in the free webinar they are presenting on Wednesday, April 10. The Top 3 SEO Strategies for 2013 webinar will include topics such as how to set realistic (yet, ambitious) goals for your marketing campaign, where to start, how to track your campaign’s effectiveness and conversion tips. Sarah and David will explain how each of these work, how they can work for you and why you will lose the competitive edge without them.

Mark your calendar and register now for this informative presentation. Your business’s bottom line might depend on it!

Why You Should Blog

bloggingBlogging is a way for writers to have their say and speak their minds on the internet.  The accessibility of the internet means a greater chance of one’s work being exposed to the public and a lot more people seeing it.  Besides paying a fee to access the internet, setting up an account to blog only costs you the time and effort it takes to input your email and deciding your pen name.  It’s simple really.

So why blog and how is it valuable to internet marketing?  Since 2006 blogging has become an important avenue for business marketing over the internet.  Blogs are typically posted on a daily or weekly basis and allows the business to reach out to its community.  Blogs can showcase products and features, announce new products, and generally allows a business to create an active dialogue with its consumer base.  Businesses can use the blog to gather customer feedback on a regular basis.  They can gauge interest in their products and services and respond accordingly.

In terms of cost it is a relatively inexpensive way to advertise to a large market.  As mentioned earlier a lot of people are using the internet so a good blog post with the right combination of good content and search engine optimization with keywords will bring a good many of them to the blog and subsequently, to the main website.

Facebook Cracks Down on Breakup Notifier App, Heartbreak Ensues

breakup notifier

Facebook just disabled one of our favorite apps in recent history: Breakup Notifier, a nifty tool that sends email updates when your friend’s relationship shatter. Until a couple of minutes ago, all you had to do was add the app on Facebook, select the friends you want to keep tabs on and check your email obsessively until your crush of the moment changes their relationship status from “In a Relationship” to “It’s Complicated.”

The problem? It’s complicated. Reps from the app recently tweeted that “Facebook emailed saying that they’ve disabled us… We are working for a fix, but ask @facebook to put is back online!” — which implies that the app violated some portion of the social network’s terms of service.

Already covered on Geek.com, PCWorld, ABC News and other top outlets, Breakup Notifier is a promising — albiet creepy — app that we hope to see back in action soon.

Play Nice: Search Engine Friendly Websites

SEO

Search Engine Watch posted a great article yesterday about the difference between SEF and SEO — search engine friendliness and full-on search engine optimization. And despite the old maxim “Nice guys finish last,” in the online marketing world, it pays to keep it friendly.

Search engine friendly websites are those that can easily be optimized for better rankings. They have simple, easy-to-define page URLs (i.e., www.yourstore.com/womens-purses/chanel-purses), as well as flexible image elements and URL, meta info, header tags, etc. This kind of flexibility may seem like a given, but many content management systems for Ecommerce are simply not built for in-depth optimization.

The bottom line: If you don’t have a search engine friendly website, get one. This is step one in optimization game, and the whole process (off site SEO, social networking, press releases, etc. etc.) hinges on the off site content’s relevance to the content on your site, as perceived by Google. If you’ve got clunky URLs and poorly optimized images dragging you down, outranking your competition is going to be very difficult.

After you’ve got a search engine friendly platform, it’s time to start thinking about SEO. The biggest step here is prefacing any changes with thorough industry keyword research — looking into the terms buyers are searching for and those your competition is ready targeting.

Do you think search engine friendly websites are important? Let us know at the Ajax Union Facebook.

Video SEO: 2 Quickie Video Ideas

video SEO

Video SEO is the wave of the future, yes, but not all of us have fancy recording studios — or even video cameras — to create the next Piranha 3D. To tap into the potential of video SEO without investing in new resources, consider the following two quick fixes:

1. Create a Search Story.

Remember that 2010 Google Superbowl commercial that left many a chip-muncher unexpectedly in tears? Google Search Stories makes it easy to create your own heartstring-pulling tour de film and upload said creation directly to Youtube. We even made one for Ajax Union!

2. Tap Into Animoto

Featuring stock photos, video clips, music and more, Animoto allows users to create 30-second videos for free — or longer ones, if you pay for an account. Grab some photos of your company and create your own slideshow ASAP.

Why video SEO?

Video SEO is valuable for both search rankings and branding, depending on where you post your videos. Host your files on Youtube, and you’ll be able to draw users to your Youtube page (and from there, possibly your site) from their Google search results — plus benefit from video networking potential. Host your videos on your site, and you’re creating another way for searchers to click to your page directly from Google.

Want to see all of our videos? Check out the Ajax Union Youtube.

BranchOut Facebook App Challenges LinkedIn to a Duel

branchoutNote: If you’ve ever been incriminated by a Facebook photo from the days of your alma mater, this blog post isn’t from you. If you haven’t, read on.

BranchOut, a new career networking tool for Facebook, is threatening to turn everyone’s favorite time waster into a productive site the likes of LinkedIn. With BranchOut, you can search a company name and see which of your friends work(ed) there. If your friends have added the app, you can see which of their friends work at that same company.

Besides for finding out who to ask for Urban Outfitters discounts, BranchOut might also be useful for job hunters and recruiters. The app is currently permitting free classifieds for 30 days to users within your network. In the future, BranchOut will offer app-wide classifieds for $30 per month.

So, is BranchOut the wave of the future? To many users, we suspect it will be — it all depends on whether you use your Facebook for work or play, or both. Many people these days even have separate Facebook accounts for business and pleasure.

How do you balance your social and professional networking? Let us know on the ‘book.

Google AdWords Blunders to Avoid

ppcTo the unenlightened, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising might seem as simple as choosing your keywords and setting a budget, but crafting a successful Google AdWords campaign requires a good dose of creativity  as well. Search Engine Land recently posted examples of 5 Bad Google Ads — a read that gave us a good laugh, and inspired us to dispense some quick tips for our readers:

1. Really target your keywords.

Do you sell used watches? Cars? Wheelchairs? Adding “used” to your keyword list is going to attract all of these searchers and more — many of whom are unlikely to click on an ad for your pre-owned whatnots. If you’re using a modifier like “used,” “free” and “cheap,” be sure to keep these words connected to more specific search phrases relevant to your business.

2. Be agressive. Be be agressive.

But seriously, informing searchers of your 200 job openings or veritable cornucopia of discount phone apps isn’t going to cut it — to earn those clicks, you have to tell them what to do: Find a job! Save on apps! Win a free phone! And so on.

3. Don’t be a haiku. (Or in other words, make sense.)

We all love our inbox haikus encouraging us to splurge on antivirus software and Viagra, but said literature has no place in Google AdWords. Make sure your ads make sense and contain proper spelling and grammar. Another tip: Keep your title and description lines separate — Google made them that way for a reason.

Got more PPC tips? Let us know at the Ajax Union Facebook!

How To Get Your Blog Post on the First Page of Google

blogging for SEOKa-chow! Let’s cut to the chase. Blogging is great for unwinding, ranting and testing out some ideas for the ole novel, but many of us have bigger ambitions than simply expressing ourselves — we want to express ourselves on the first page of Google. Area 203 just posted an awesome Guide to Blogging for SEO, which inspired us to write up some tips of our own.

STEP ONE: Choose a compelling topic. Anyone can write about what Natalie Portman wore to the Golden Globes last Sunday — what do you have to offer that’s special? Check out Google Trends to see what people are searching, but beyond that, try to provide some information or perspective that readers can’t find anywhere else. Maybe it’s a guide. Maybe it’s a rant. Maybe it’s a top ten list. Just be sure to make it unique.

STEP TWO: SEO-ify your titles. You don’t have to go crazy advertising Brooklyn NY Marketing Services or anything, but think before you write about adding a word or two here or there to better attract search engines. For example, in a post about Flock, Area 203 used the phrase “Flock Browser” in their headline — slightly less catchy, but more attuned to the wants of Google and the like.

STEP THREE: Enhance what can be enhanced. A successful blog post requires more than a SEO-friendly title. Be sure to enhance your images (file names, alt tags and title tags) with your keyword du jour, and likewise inject your paragraph headings, post tags and categories with some SEO flair. Even your post URL can be customized to include but a single keyword.

STEP FOUR: Pimp your WordPress. To take full advantage of your suped-up content, you have to make the most of your blogging platform — which, for us, is always WordPress. Download the All In One SEO Pack to let your titles and content reach their full potential. (Also, be sure that your WP theme is wisely header-ed — if your sidebar headings are H2s, you’re doing something wrong.)

Did we mention it’s Friday? Let us in on your weekend plans at the Ajax Union Facebook.

Does Google Favor Google?

google favoritism

When you search “maps” on Google, the top result is Google Maps. Coincidence? Ben Edelman thinks not.

Edelman, a Harvard Business School assistant professor and notorious Google opponent (he’s served as a consultant for Microsoft and is participating in a lawsuit against the big G) recently published a study on search engine favoritism. His results showed that Google favors its own services in results 19% of the time — for terms like maps, mail, video and email.

And while Edelman interprets these results to say that Google is favoring itself, our pals over at Search Engine Land beg to differ. SEL has many objections, the primary qualm is this: Maybe Google Maps really is the most popular and useful result for “maps” searchers according to Google’s algorithm. Maybe it’s not favoritism, just business as usual. After all, Google Maps also shows up first on Yahoo! and Bing.

What do you think about search engine favoritism? Let us know at the Ajax Union Facebook.

Is LivingSocial the New Groupon?

Confession: As card carrying members of the blogosphere, we have a soft spot for naming ____ the new ____.

But that being said, LivingSocial — a daily deal site offering bargains in restaurants, salons and the like — is slowly climbing the ranks toward giving Groupon a run for its money. The site made headlines this morning when it launched a 24-hour deal where customers can buy $20 Amazon gift cards for $10. Groupon did a similar promotion with Gap over the summer, reeling in some $7.5 million in sales.

In LivingSocial’s case, though, the partnership may run deeper. Amazon recently invested $175 million in the site, leading some to speculate that this whole gift card business might be subsidized by Amazon itself. But subsidization schmubsidization, having your name in lights next to Amazon.com is a big deal either way.

Can LivingSocial ever catch up to Groupon? The latter recently turned down a $6 billion buyout from Google and has been legitimately on fire as of late, especially in the wake of the super-successful Grouponicus holiday sale-a-thon. An overtake may be impossible, but it could be good news for LivingSocial to simply gain recognition as “the other Groupon” — standing out from the smorgasbord of daily deals sites competing for attention.

And no matter what happens, a Groupon-LivingSocial showdown would be good news for consumers. Heightened competition means better deals, after all.

Get A Leg Up from Your Competition

This is Sparta!

God, we hate those guys. Those other guys: the competition. But ignoring your competition is not going to make them go away — in fact, you’re better off studying them to discover their strengths and weaknesses.

What should you be looking for? Read on for some ideas:

  1. Perks: Evaluate the selling points of your competition, be they free shipping, membership discounts, daily sales, customer service, or whatever else. Can you incorporate any of these techniques into your business plan?
  2. Online marketing: Promoting your business online is a great way to get ahead of the curve, but sometimes the first step is catching up. Explore the marketing strategies your competitors are employing. Do they have PPC advertisements? Onsite SEO? An email signup form? Frequent press releases? Find out what they’re doing and match — or better yet, exceed — their efforts.
  3. Customer reviews: Nobody can give you the inside scoop quite like an angry customer. Try Googling each competitor’s name and see what reviews show up on the first couple of pages. Are their products defective? Their returns non-existant? Find out their weaknesses and exploit them!

One final note: Don’t be afraid to go incognito. This is Sparta, after all. And sometimes Spartans call up competitors posing as customers. (But you didn’t hear it from us.)

Share your strategies on the Ajax Union Facebook.

Vintage Google for Old-School SEOs

Change Is Bad!

Do you long for the search engine days of yore? The tranquil era before Pay-Per-Click advertising, Google Instant, or the even more instant Google Instant Previews?

At Ajax Union, we’re all about looking forward, but sometimes we enjoy looking back, in the fetal position, and recalling the days before the Wild Wild World Wide Web was won.

And you can too! To search the interwebs using a vintage-style Google, throw on your 1999 jean jacket and head to encrypted.google.com, a familiar-looking, bare-bones version of the Google of 2011.

Not into typing “encrypted”? We don’t blame you. You can also download extensions for Chrome and Firefox to subdue that nagging nostalgia.

But nostalgia aside, modern Google is pretty rad, don’t you think? Innovations like Google Instant Previews have given legitimate businesses new ways to out-edge their spammy counterparts (through design) — and as for Pay-Per-Click, we can’t imagine a world without Quality Scores and CTRs.

How do you feel about the evolution of Google? Let us know at the Ajax Union Facebook!

Why We Love Matt Cutts

seoMatt Cutts, Google’s Webspam team leader and all-around SEO advocate, has been a major resource for the online marketing community for a number of years. The video above is only one example of Cutts’ awesome advice, giving hope to the poor, huddled SEO masses and their long-tail keywords.

In this video, Cutts discusses a handful of white-hat link-building techniques to enhance search engine rankings. Don’t have time to press play? Here’s a rundown:

  1. Content! Earn those links by giving webmasters a site worth linking to with compelling articles, blog posts, on-page contests, photos, videos, etc. And if you don’t have a blog, make one.
  2. Original research, products, and services. Offer your visitors something nobody else has. Whether it’s a study on the effectiveness of Bing Social Search or a WordPress plugin for better Twitter integration — if you post it, the links will come.
  3. Participation and social media. Reach out to potential links on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, in addition to advice forums such as Yahoo! and LinkedIn answers. Both of these techniques will allow you to connect to people that might not have otherwise stumbled upon your site.
  4. Create link bait. In moderation. Top 10 Web Design Tips. 5 Reasons Lady Gaga is a Man. Certain headlines are just screaming for links — especially lists and controversial pieces. Of course, you don’t want your entire site to go down this road, or you won’t really be offering quality content.

Got other ideas? Let us know on the Ajax Union Facebook.

Happy Birthday to Us!

seo

Ajax Union is three years old today! We’ve grown a lot since our start in 2008 and are looking forward to expanding even more in the years to come. We’d like to extend a thank you to all of our clients who have been with us through thick and thin — thanks guys!

What was your favorite birthday experience? Let us know at the Ajax Union Facebook page.

Even More SEO Tips for 2011

seo tips

Back for more SEO tips? We’re not surprised. Continuing on yesterday’s list, here are two other awesome suggestions for starting your 2011 online marketing campaign off right:

4. Become a master of your HTML 5 domain.

The new generation of HTML is relevant not just to designers, but SEOs as well. Currently, most web coding revolves around the <div> tag — navigation bars are divs, body text elements are divs, footers are divs. HTML 5 features a whole roster of new elements that function like <div> tags, except that their specific names allow search engines to better interpret your page layout. New elements include: <header>, <nav>, <article>, <section>, <aside>, and <footer>. Plus, HTML 5 is optimized for mobile devices like the iPad.

5. Convert your conversions.

When you work in SEO, it’s easy to think that your marketing campaign is all about traffic. But unless your traffic is converting, it might as well be non-existant. In 2011, boost your marketing strategies by analyzing that factors that can increase your conversions. Are you targeting the keywords of shoppers, or researchers? Does your website make converting easy and appealing?

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Let us know on the Ajax Union Facebook page!

Image courtesy of A List Apart.

Top 5 SEO Company Strategies for 2011

seo companyOnline marketing changes all the time, and in 2011, last year’s big ideas just aren’t going to cut it. Read on for our recommendations for five strategies every SEO company should employ:

1. Make new friends.

To maximize your off page exposure, reach out to the blogosphere — and the social networking-osphere — to promote your company message beyond your own blogs and profiles. Offer to guest post on some of your industry’s most prominent blogs, or work together with a relevant non-competitor for mutual online marketing.

2. Optimize your PPC — for real this time.

A/B testing is cool, in theory, but who has time to analyze their search engine marketing campaign in such excruciating detail? Answer: you. As SEOmoz pointed out, A/B testing is a relatively simple, if tedious, process — the perfect work to dump on an intern. The lessons you learn will be worth their $10/hour wages.

3. Master local SEO with microformats.

Micro what now? Microformats allow you to format your onsite content such as names, addresses and phone numbers so that Google can best interpret them. Instead of just plopping the information down and hoping for the best, Microformats labels each element so Google knows what is what. Learn more from the horse’s mouth.

Check in with our SEO company tomorrow for the remaining two tips!

January 2011 Calendar for Online Marketing

online marketingAh, the new year. ‘Tis the season to take down your Christmas tree (and stop saying “’tis the season”), pick up a new gym membership and bask in the glory of a fresh Hello Kitty calendar. And speaking of calendars, it’s time to think about your online marketing schedule for 2011.

Here are our suggestions:

  • Blogging: In order to perform well on Google and drive traffic to your website, your company blog should be updated weekly, if not daily. Be sure to incorporate SEO into your post titles, content, images and tags. No time to blog? Ajax Union offers daily and weekly blogging plans.
  • Social Networking: When it comes to social media, “the more the merrier” is the general rule — but you should also find out what works for you. For example, a gluten-free bakery would benefit from the huge #glutenfree community on Twitter, while a B2B tech company might fare better on a business network like LinkedIn.
  • PR & Reputation Management: A reputation is a terrible thing to waste. To promote good press around your company name — and push down the press — it’s best to distribute one or two press releases every month. You should also monitor your company name daily or weekly on Google Alerts to handle new negative feedback as it arises.

Feeling overwhelmed? You don’t have to be. Our search engine agency offers all of these services and more in flexible monthly plans. Give us a call today at 800-594-0444.