Larry Sivitz, founder of SearchWrite Search Marketing, shares some ideas on how online entrepreneurs can increase traffic to their website and best allocate their time and money during recessionary times.
He says, “Young companies receive a much stronger return on investment by improving their organic rankings on search engines than pay-per-click advertising. But that’s not the end of the story. Companies win only when increased site traffic converts into paying customers.”
He also recommends:
Link bait is any content or feature within a website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites. Matt Cutts defines link bait as anything “interesting enough to catch people’s attention.” Link bait can be an extremely powerful form of marketing as it is viral in nature.
Link bait in search engine optimization
The quantity and quality of inbound links are two of the many metrics used by a search engine ranking algorithm to rank a website. Link bait creation falls under the task of link building, and aims to increase the quantity of high-quality, relevant links to a website. Part of successful linkbaiting is devising a mini-PR campaign around the release of a link bait article so that bloggers and social media users are made aware and can help promote the piece in tandem. Social media traffic can generate a substantial amount of links to a single web page. Sustainable link bait is rooted in quality content.
Types of link bait
Although there are no clear-cut subdivisions within link bait, many attempt to divide them into types of hooks. This is a short list of some of the most common approaches with brief descriptions:
- Informational hooks – Provide information that a reader may find very useful. Some rare tips and tricks or any personal experience through which readers can benefit.
- News hooks – Provide fresh information and obtain citations and links as the news spreads.
- Humor hooks – Tell a funny story or a joke. A bizarre picture of your subject or mocking cartoons can also prove to be link bait.
- Evil hooks – Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger. Provide strong reasons for it.
- Tool hooks – Create some sort of tool that is useful enough that people link to it.
- Widgets hooks – A badge or tool, that can be placed or embedded on other websites, with a link included.
By: Douglas MacMillan
It’s tempting to compartmentalize social networking sites by the demographic groups most closely associated with them: MySpace is a party for teenagers, Facebook is for a hangout for college students, and LinkedIn is a conference for working professionals. But a steady influx of adult Internet users to all of these sites is altering their makeup at a surprising rate, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The research group found that some 35% of online adults now have at least one profile on a social networking site, more than quadruple the amount that did in February 2005, when the figure was 8%. Compared with teenagers – who flocked to these sites early on but then slowed down in adoption – the number of grown-ups jumping on the social media bandwagon has roughly doubled every 18 months over the past four years.
Online advertisers, are you listening? Sites like MySpace, found to be used by half of social networking adults, are now a viable place to pitch mature consumers with discretionary income – many of whom are not obsessed with Justin Timberlake or Twilight. Yet kiddy-geared ads continue to dominate the site.
“As you start to see more adults in social networking, I think [marketers] will have to respond,” says Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst with eMarketer. They want to be where their customers are. Williamson does allow that young people are currently much more engaged with these sites, while many older adults tend to join them “as a novelty,” to connect with old friends, and check back irregularly. But over the next couple years, she expects adults to spend more time on social networks.
Another surprising finding in Pew’s study is the prevalence of minority groups on social sites. The portion of African-American adults with an online social profile (48%) as well as non-white Hispanics (43%) both eclipse the portion of white adults on the site, just 31%. As Pew senior research specialist Amanda Lenhart points out, that’s mainly due to the fact that 18-24 year-olds, by the far the most socially wired group in the study, are more diverse in makeup – because of higher birthrates among minority groups, immigration, and other factors. Still, “those numbers are a reality,” she says.
With many brands ramping up efforts to court minority groups online, social networks appear to be a good place to start. I spoke with Marla Skiko, who heads up digital innovation at global ad agency Starcom Mediavest Group’s multicultural unit, Tapestry, and she said she’s noticed a “huge uptick” in the number of consumers her campaigns target using online social networks – particularly Latinos. “We are bringing more ideas in the social environment to our clients, and we hope that those platforms continue to refine their ability to target our consumer,” she says. MySpace Latino, a site launched by New Corp. last Spring, has already proved to be a valuable tool for reaching Hispanics online.
The audience is there, the verdict is out: Is social media a viable channel for online ads? If anything, these numbers give Web sites like Facebook, which have struggled to refine a business model, more time to find out. “If you saw usage rates stagnating, it would start to look like a fad,” says eMarketer’s Williamson. “As long as more people use social networks, the more time they have to develop that model.”