Posted by Elmer in Marketing on March 03, 2011


After receiving numerous complaints from content providers now under siege by content scrapers, Google update its mighty algorithm to target these type of websites. When I say content scrapers, I actually mean websites that publish content already produced by other sources. In many occasions, websites that originally create content -- fresh news or blog entries -- fall behind an army of site scrapers in the search engine ranking battle. Losing the positional tussle means loss of potential traffic they could have gotten had they been ranking more prominently.
Posted by Elmer in Marketing on January 19, 2011

Even before the concept of search engine optimization was introduced, robots.txt has been a fixture on websites. With or without SEO, its purpose was clear: to request search engines to ignore crawling certain files and folders as specified in the protocol. These pages may have been placed on our servers for convenient access to certain people, but with the concept of open Web, whatever we uploaded can now be seen by anyone who has access to the Internet through search engines. That's where robots.txt comes into picture.

With SEO we have become more aware of what search engines can do. Our purpose of doing SEO is to make our pages more visible, thereby attracting more visitors who see its more prominent search engine placement. But prominent search engine placement for wrong keywords and pages is not only embarrassing, but also damaging especially if it involves moderately sensitive information such as next week's menu for a restaurant website or an upcoming promotion of a shopping mall.

Posted by Elmer in Marketing on July 10, 2009

Last Wednesday I wrote a post on whether businesses should start writing blogs. Now, should you decide to start writing blogs for your business, I am compiling a list of tips on how to get started with one and consistently keep these tips in mind when updating blogs in the future.

Posted by Elmer in Marketing on June 24, 2009

Bing is the latest reincarnation of Microsoft's search engine offering. After MSN Search and Live Search didn't impress users and instead prompted them to switch to other search engines, an overhaul took place and the result is a pleasant surprise: Bing search engine indeed delivers desired results, interesting new features and finally some challenge to Google dominance.

I wonder what took Microsoft's search team so long to unleash this innovative search power? Bing incidentally was launched just weeks after the long anticipated Wolfram Alpha was set live. I guess Microsoft prefers to be in stealthy mode and likes to talk more after its launched, even if there were already speculations swirling around about it before launch.

So what's so special about this new search engine? Even before you type your search query, you'll never fail to notice the presence of ever changing background of remarkable places; I even wrote something about Chocolate Hills of Bohol, Philippines. This is a contrast to Google and Yahoo's immaculate search layouts. But don't get deceived by the good looks. Let's get into the details. Bing was developed and aimed to address the following concerns:

Posted by Elmer in Marketing on June 17, 2009

Forrester Research recently released its findings that email marketing spend in the US will reach $2 billion by 2014. This year, the value is around US$1.2 billion. Some may wonder why is this so.

Email marketing has been with us for a while, longer than paid search or microblogging technologies and whose effectiveness coupled with bad reputation of spam. Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst David Daniels revealed that the increase of spending will just represent wasted marketing budgets as direct marketers will waste US$144 million on inefficient campaigns, and continuously lacking relevance. Therefore, more emails will be sent out, but most of them will not reach their intended audience.

The reason for the increased allocation is primarily because of lower costs of sending emails and increased popularity of email marketing to marketers and users. Unfortunately, the US$144 million is quite a hefty amount to waste, especially if it would mean email recipients get 9,000 more marketing emails yet their response remains unchanged. 9,000 more marketing mails in 2014 means 24 more emails per day will reach our inbox. That naturally leads users to be more discriminating on what they read; it's easy to dismiss an email if a user doesn't understand its message clearly in say, a few seconds.

Posted by Elmer in Marketing on June 08, 2009

Even before we build our first newletter release, one major element that needs to be addressed is the quality and quantity of our mailing list. Quality is determined on how we source our subscribers. Are they permission based? Or are they bought from a company involved in an email harvesting and recycling activity? Obviously we want the first type but starting it out can be really tough experience especially if we are just starting out.

So how do we start building our newsletter mailing list? Here are some tips that helps us get moving:

1. Use a confirmed opt-in subscription form.
Confirmed opt-in means every subscriber who signs up needs to click a link in a confirmation email. This method may build the mailing list at a slower pace than using the single opt-in, which simply asks for email address without confirmation, but no doubt the quality of email addresses is higher. That's because single opt-in subscription method is prone to prank email submissions and wrongly spelled email addresses.

2. Place subscription forms at popular pages.
Placement of email subscription form on homepage or any popular sections of the site definitely gathers more eyeballs and possible interest in subscribing to the mailing list. If I read a very informative article, I would think that the site itself is a good source of other informative articles. I would then be easily convinced to sign up.

Posted by Elmer in Marketing on June 05, 2009

Email marketing is an important aspect of online marketing. Many times it's poorly executed, and results are not measured. Success in an EDM campaign is not gauged by the percentage of emails successfully sent. Success means additional subscribers, more buyers, or more downloads driven from actions prompted by email messages. The following elements may help your campaigns become more successful.

Easily Recognizable "From:" Field
It is important that recipients know where an email blast comes from. It gives brand awareness that brings confidence to recipients that the email they're about to open is from reputable sources. Since they subscribed to the newsletter ("BeansBox E-Newsletter" instead of  an unknown employee named "Elmer Cagape"), they'll likely to open the message.

Attractive Teaser Message at Subject Line
It is easier for recipients to decide whether to open an email or not by giving them hints on what content to expect through the subject line. Of course we want them to open and read out message, so it is always good to review our subject line and ask ourselves, does this subject line entail prompt action?

Example: Last Day Today at Sogo Sale: Up to 70% Off

Put some sense of urgency on the subject line but don't overdo it.

Posted by Elmer in Marketing on June 03, 2009

We reckon that email marketing has been around for quite a while. Dragged into annoyance of unsolicited mails, and rendered irrelevant by people who choose to mark email messages as spam instead of unsubscribing to newsletters, and apparently outshined by its younger peers named SEO and social media, EDM continues to be among the easiest and cheapest way to communicate to our target audience.

However, we notice that many emails are sent just for the sake of sending. We still see many emails consisting of just big JPG file; I can only imagine marketers doing so think that sending emails is similar to outdoor advertising, only viewed indoors. We still see multiple instances where unsubscribe forms don't work. If such things continue to prevail, effectiveness of marketing through EDM will continue to be curtailed.

Posted by Elmer in Marketing on June 01, 2009

One of my blogs talk about my life in Hong Kong. I have been doing this for the past years and actually compiled more than 1,100 posts. It is rich in text content, and gets some generous portion of inbound links. I get fairly good search engine rankings. In fact, it's on the first page for "living in hong kong" and "hong kong blog". But reading Andy Beard's post related to this subject matter made me think where could I have ended had I chose to use WordPress instead of Blogger/Blogspot.

Blogger was built by Pyra Labs and was subsequently acquired by Google without getting renamed for good reasons. (Urchin became Google Analytics and Applied Semantics became AdWords/AdSense). But the association between Blogger and Google does not guarantee favors in search engine results. In fact it could even be detrimental to other search services. My last check on search engine referrals showed Yahoo! did not refer any traffic. Early this year, traffic dropped significantly as my blog relies heavily on search referrals. I then found out that Blogger inserted robots.txt restricting search engine crawls to labels / categories / tags. As I had no control over this parameter, I was at the mercy of how Blogger wants to restrict flow of visitor traffic.

It's understandable that Blogger does this control as many blogs are created with little or no significant contribution to blogosphere.

Posted by Elmer in Marketing on May 29, 2009

DMOZ or Open Directory is an online directory often mentioned by search marketers, as one of the most important directories to get listed to. Having a link from DMOZ, a website theoretically gets a boost of link popularity in hopes of achieving higher rankings on search engine results. Submission to DMOZ is free, but as with many other free offers it may take a long time before a site gets listed. There are no guarantees of getting listed at all so we could end up waiting for a directory listing that doesn't happen ever because our site was rejected and we were never notified of such rejection.

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