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I just read a WSJ article about how some hotel chains are trying to woo people leaving negative remarks publicly about their brand.


'I Hate My Room,' The Traveler Tweeted. Ka-Boom! An Upgrade!


Generally speaking, the idea is crap.


In essence they are spending resources trying to make the most unsatisfied segment of their market happy, and rewarding people for trashing their brands with free upgrades & other perks. And so it teaches more people to complain & to find arbitrary things to complain about. Hence the friendly article offering the tip o

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n how to get free room upgrades, with tips like: "Have a lot of online friends or followers. Hotels will pay more attention to your requests."


Hey Ritz-Carlton & Shangri La ... we have 10,000's of readers and you suck! Please save my complimentary upgrades for the next time I am in town. :D


Does anybody think those leading brands got to where they are by tracking complaints on Twitter? The customers who have complaints actually worth listening to will probably give it to you directly rather than Tweeting it.


The people who are unhappy are often the type of people who shop by price and have 0 brand loyalty. And no matter what you do it is never enough. About two days after opening up our membership site (nearly 2 years ago) I got a phone call while on the road by someone who couldn't figure out how to log in. I pointed out where it was. That wasn't good enough. I spent about 6 hours digging through the PHP to try to make the login even more intuitive for them. The next day they asked for a refund because I didn't provide 24/7 phone support. The login wasn't the problem. It was just a handy excuse. The problem was that they were cheap and nothing was going to be good enough for them. And just to put a bit more salt in the wounds, about a week later someone else complained about how the login was changed. FAIL! :D


Since then we have increased our price 200% (as we have added more tools, more staff, and the value of my time keeps going up every day) and we still have many people who are happy as longterm customers at a higher price point. In fact when some people accidentally cancel their account I can get 3 to 5 emails in an 8 hour period when I sleep because they miss the site that much.


But there is the opposite end of the spectrum as well: potential "customers" who demand a free trial, beg for aggressive discounts, or have 50 "one more question" questions before joining. They probably are not sold enough on the solution to be worth the effort of selling to. No matter what you offer them its probably not going to be enough. Their lack of internal value is reflected into their perception of the works of others, and if they buy from you without being sold on you they will probably ask for a refund, or find a way to be abusive to make you want to can them.


In our support suite many non-paying non-customers mark their messages as critical. Whereas the people who are paying customers use a less extreme level, like normal. The levels that people can select are almost a filtering mechanism. Have you spent $0 with us & you mark your issue as critical & you use caps lock & rude slurs? Shift-delete.


I didn't intentionally plan it, but our old programmer even built another filter into our business model. The people who join and then cancel right away get locked out right away. We then send them refunds, but this level of filtering filters out a major type of potentially abusive customer. The type who generally won't read or research but will ask 5 different questions 8 different ways each every single day until they have annoyed your members so much that you are forced to boot them to lessen the noise. The person who makes over 100 posts in their first 2 days isn't taking any time to read or listen or implement, so they would just harm your community without getting any value out of it.


This leads to my theory of filtering: if a person needs lots of support becoming a customer (or before they become a customer) then they probably are not going to become a good customer. And if you take them on as a customer (or spend any money pushing in that direction) you will probably lose money.


The person who sends me an enraged email about "why should I install Firefox" just wasted 5 seconds of my life & will never spend a penny with me. And that is fine.


Many of the best companies aim to be polarizing. They pick their spots and define what they do, and work hard to make that market segment happy. That is how Steve Jobs views flash, and it is how Marc Andreessen likes to invest.


Find out what people smarter than you are doing and find a way to incorporate those themes into your business strategy. The smaller you are the more polarizing you can be, because you don't have to create something that feeds thousands of employees to be profitable.


You could spend every day trying to make any unhappy person happy with your offering.


... OR ...


What if you took those same resources that were spent trying to appease the angry and spent them on making those who are happy that much happier? Does the free upgrade go further when it is given to an enraged steroid addicted customer, or does it go further when given to someone who has stayed with your hotel multiple times in the past? Where are they on this circle?


The concept to think about here is that if someone is already fairly loyal it doesn't take much more marketing or attention to make them *super* loyal. And then they spread the word.


There is a concept of fairness which is preached in school, but you should overweight your business toward your best customers.


The person who has been a paying subscriber for years is worth thousands to tens of thousands of Dollars to our future business interests.


And for clarity purposes, I agree with Chris that their can be great value in being a guide & helping people out. But angry high-maintenance people are rarely where sustainable profit margins come from (unless, of course, you are a divorce lawyer OR a PR firm who gets paid to give hotels bad advice).


From the above WSJ article's comment section


It wasn't enough. It never is. :D

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When the internal Google remote quality rater guidelines leaked online there was a core quote inside it that defined the essence of spam:
Final Notes on Spam
When trying to decide if a page is Spam, it is helpful to ask yourself this question: if I remove the scraped (copied) content, the ads, and the links to other pages, is there anything of value left? if the answer is no, the page is probably Spam.
With the above quote in mind please review the typical Mahalo page

Adding a bit more context, the following 25 minute video from 2008 starts off with M
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att Cutts talking about how he penalized a website for using deceptive marketing. Later into the video (~ 21 minutes in) the topic of search results within search results and then Mahalo come up.


Here is a transcription of relevant bits...
Matt Cutts: Would a user be annoyed if they land on this page, right. Because if users get annoyed, if users complain, then that is when we start to take action.

And so it is definitely the case where we have seen search results where a search engine didn't robots.txt something out, or somebody takes a cookie cutter affiliate feed, they just warm it up and slap it out, there is no value add, there is no original content there and they say search results or some comparison shopping sites don't put a lot of work into making it a useful site. They don't add value.

Though we mainly wanted to get on record and say that hey we are willing to take these out, because we try to document everything as much as we can, because if we came and said oh removed some stuff but it wasn't in our guidelines to do that then that would be sub-optimal.

So there are 2 parts to Google's guidelines. There are technical guidelines and quality guidelines. The quality guidelines are things where if you put hidden text we'll consider that spam and we can remove your page. The technical guidelines are more like just suggestions.
...
So we said don't have search results in search results. And if we find those then we may end up pruning those out.

We just want to make sure that searchers get good search results and that they don't just say oh well I clicked on this and I am supposed to find the answer, and now I have to click somewhere else and I am lost, and I didn't find what I wanted. Now I am angry and I am going to complain to Google.

Danny Sulivan: "Mahalo is nothing but search results. I mean that is explicitly what he says he is doing. I will let you qualify it, but if you ask him what it is still to this day he will say its a search engine. And then all the SEOs go 'well if it is a search engine, shouldn't you be blocking all your search results from Google' and his response is 'yeah well IF we ever see them do anything then we might do it'."

Matt Cutts: It's kinda interesting because I think Jason...he is a smart guy. He's a savvy guy, and he threaded the needle where whenever he talked to some people he called it a search service or search engine, and whenever he talked to other people he would say oh it is more of a content play.

And in my opinion, I talked to him, and so I said what software do you use to power your search engine? And he said we use Twika or MediaWiki. You know, wiki software, not C++ not Perl not Python. And at that point it really does move more into a content play. And so it is closer to an About.com than to a Powerset or a Microsoft or Yahoo! Search.

And if you think about it he has even moved more recently to say 'you know, you need to have this much content on the page.' So I think various people have stated how skilled he is at baiting people, but I don't think anybody is going to make a strong claim that it is pure search or that even he seems to be moving away from ok we are nothing but a search engine and moving more toward we have got a lot of people who are paid editors to add a lot of value.
One quick thing to note about the above video was how the site mentioned off the start got penalized for lying for links, and yet Jason Calacanis apologized for getting a reporter fired after lying about having early access to the iPad. Further notice how Matt considered that the first person was lying and deserved to be penalized for it, whereas when he spoke of Jason he used the words savvy, smart, and the line threaded the needle. To the layperson, what is the difference between being a savvy person threading the needle and a habitual liar?

Further lets look at some other surrounding facts in 2010, shall we?
  • How does Jason stating "Mahalo sold $250k+ in Amazon product in 2009 without trying" square with Matt Cutts saying "somebody takes a cookie cutter affiliate feed, they just warm it up and slap it out, there is no value add, there is no original content there" ... Does the phrase without trying sound like value add to you? Doesn't to me.

  • Matt stated that they do not want searchers to think "oh well I clicked on this and I am supposed to find the answer, and now I have to click somewhere else and I am lost" ... well how does Mahalo intentionally indexing hundreds of thousands of 100% auto-generated pages which simply recycle search results and heavily wrap them in ads square with that? sounds like deceptive & confusing arbitrage to me.

  • Matt stated "and if you think about it he has even moved more recently to say 'you know, you need to have this much content on the page,'" but in reality, that was a response to when I highlighted how Mahalo was scraping content. Jason dismissed the incident as an "experimental" page that they would nofollow. Years later, of course, it turned out he was (once again) lying and still doing the same thing, only with far greater scale. Jason once again made Matt Cutts look bad for trusting him.

  • Matt stated "I don't think anybody is going to make a strong claim that it is pure search" ... and no, its not pure search. If anything it is IMPURE search, where they use 3rd party content *without permission* and put most of it below the fold, while the Google AdSense ads are displayed front and center.
    • If you want to opt out of Mahalo scraping your content you can't because he scrapes it from 3rd party sites and provides NO WAY for you to opt out of him displaying scraped content from your site as content on his page).

    • Jason offers an "embed this" option for their content, so you can embed their "content" on your site. But if you use that code the content is in an iframe so it doesn't harm them on the duplicate content front AND the code gives Jason multiple direct clean backlinks. Whereas when Jason automatically embeds millions of scraped listings of your content he puts it right in the page as content on his page AND slaps nofollow on the link. If you use his content he gets credit...when he uses your content you get a lump of coal. NICE!

    • And, if you were giving Jason the benefit of the doubt, and thought the above was accidental, check out how when he scrapes the content in that all external links have a nofollow added, but any internal link *does not*

  • Matt stated "[Jason is] moving more toward we have got a lot of people who are paid editors to add a lot of value" ... and, in reality, Jason used the recession as an excuse to can the in house editorial team and outsource that to freelancers (which are paid FAR LESS than the amounts he hypes publicly). Given that many of the pages that have original content on them only have 2 sentences surrounded by large swaths of scraped content, I am not sure there is an attempt to "add a lot of value." Do you find this page on Shake and Bake meth to be a high quality editorial page?

  • What is EVEN MORE OUTRAGEOUS when they claim to have some editorial control over the content is that not only do they wrap outbound links which they are scraping content from in nofollow, but they publish articles on topics like 13 YEAR OLD RAPE. Either they have no editorial, or some of the editorial is done by pedophiles.

  • Worse yet, such pages are not a rare isolated incident. Michael VanDeMar found out that Mahalo is submitting daily lists of thousands of those auto-generated articles to Google via an XML sitemap...so when Jason claims the indexing was an accident, you know he lied once again!


Here Jason is creating a new auto-generated page about me! And if I want to opt out of being scraped I CAN'T. What other source automatically scrapes content, republishes it wrapped in ads and calls it fair use, and then does not allow you to opt out? What is worse in the below example, is that on that page Jason stole the meta description from my site and used it as his page's meta description (without my permission, and without a way for me to opt out of it).


So basically Matt...until you do something, Jason is going to keep spamming the crap out of Google. Each day you ignore him another entreprenuer will follow suit trying to build another company that scrapes off the backs of original content creators. Should Google be paying people to *borrow* 3rd party content without permission (and with no option of opting out)?

I think Jason has pressed his luck and made Matt look naive and stupid. Matt Cutts has got to be pissed. But unfortunately for Matt, Mahalo is too powerful for him to do anything about it. In that spirit, David Naylor recently linked to this page on Twitter.
What is the moral of the story for Jason Calacanas & other SEOs?
  • If you are going to create a thin spam site you need to claim to be anti-spam to legitimize it. Never claim to be an SEO publicly, even if you are trying to sell corporate SEO services.

  • If you have venture capital and have media access and lie to the media for years it is fine. If you are branded as an SEO and you are caught lying once then no soup for you.

  • If you are going to steal third party content and use it as content on your site and try to claim it is fair use make sure you provide a way of opting out (doing otherwise is at best classless, but likely illegal as well).

  • If you have venture capital and are good at public relations then Google's quality guidelines simply do not apply to you. Follow Jason's lead as long as Google permits mass autogenerated spam wrapped in AdSense to rank well in their search results.

  • The Google Webmaster Guidelines are an arbitrary device used to oppress the small and weak, but do not apply to large Google ad partners.

  • Don't waste any of your time reporting search spam or link buying. The above FLAGRANT massive violation of Google's guidelines was reported on SearchEngineLand, and yet the issue continues without remedy - showing what a waste of time it is to highlight such issues to Google.

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Back in December 2007, I observed that "Blogs Are the New Trade Press." Today, it appears that news blogs are becoming the new online newspapers, too.

According to "The State of the News Media 2009," an annual report by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, "nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009 may be the worst year yet."

It adds, "Perhaps least noticed yet most important, th
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e audience migration to the Internet is now accelerating. The number of Americans who regularly go online for news, by one survey, jumped 19% in the last two years; in 2008 alone traffic to the top 50 news sites rose 27%."

In other words, people are still looking for news, "But audiences now consume news in new ways. They hunt and gather what they want when they want it, use search to comb among destinations and share what they find through a growing network of social media," reported the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

A Pew Research Center Survey in December 2008, found the number of Americans who said they got "most of their national and international news" online increased 67% in the last four years. The presidential election was almost certainly a key factor in the growth. More than a third of Americans said they got most of their campaign news from the Internet in 2008 -- triple the percentage in previous presidential election year.

Although the growth in online news consumption cut across age groups, the growth was fueled in particular by young people. Young voters and activists now rank the Internet as a news source of importance parallel to television, according to the Pew Research Center Survey.

The State of the News Media 2009 added, "And the video site YouTube also became a major delivery system for people to get news posted and recommended by friends and associates, and often from political campaigns. The Obama camp reported more than a billion minutes of campaign-produced material was downloaded from YouTube. And Youtube reported that the Obama campaign's 1800 web videos were viewed 100 million times in total."

According to Pew Research Center data, as of August 2008 the percentage of Americans who went online regularly for news (at least three times a week) was up 19% from two years earlier to nearly four in ten Americans (37%). No other medium was growing as quickly. Most saw audiences flat or declining.

The new numbers put the Web ahead of several other platforms for the first time. In the same August survey, 29% of Americans said they "regularly" watched network nightly news, 22% watched network morning shows and 13% Sunday morning shows.

The percentage of Americans, who relied on the Internet regularly, according to this data, was now roughly similar to that who regularly watched cable television for news (39%). More people still read a newspaper "yesterday" (34%) or listened to news radio (35%) than had viewed news online "yesterday" (29%). But the gap was narrowing.

Although the shift in audiences from print newspapers to online newspapers is "old news," Newsknife, which rates the top news sites at Google News, has just reported some "new news" that indicates of source gathering the news is also shifting.

According to an article posted yesterday, Newsknife noticed changes at Google News at the beginning of March that could affect traffic to news sites.

It appears to Newsknife that Google News has significantly increased its listing of blogs. "Compared with our previous findings there's now a real blogstorm," it reported.

Newsknife found 150 blog sites at Google News during March. "The growing number of blogs appearing at Google News seems to offer a simple success formula to news site owners: start blogs for your site and increase your chances of being listed at Google News," it advised.

Many news site owners started doing this a year ago. For example, Newsknife reported on March 1, 2008, a that blogs from the Washington Post, New York Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today, and Los Angeles Times were starting to appear in Google News.

The topic of news business models for publishers in these changing times was addressed at SES New York last week. I moderated a panel that included (in aphapbetical order): Mark M. Edmiston, Managing Director of AdMedia Partners; Murray Gaylord, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Insights at NYTimes.com; Erik Matlick, CEO of Madison Logic; and Gill Torren, Associate Publisher of SC Magazine at Haymarket Media.

Following the session, Byron Gordon of SEO-PR interviewed Gaylord about the changing media landscape. Gaylord says The New York Times was aware of social media's impact back in the 1990's and has taken steps to integrate such developments into its brand making it the largest news site on the Web.

Gaylord added that NYTimes.com has more than 55 blogs and is integrating thousands of videos and related digital media into to its website, making the NY Times the most shared site on the Web. He went on to highlight a particular New York Times collaboration with Facebook, in advance of President Obama's inauguration.


S. Murray Gaylord, VP Marketing, New York Times, on social media's impact on publishing

What does this mean to readers of this Search Engine Marketing News Blog, which is also one of the more than 4,500 English-language news sources worldwide that have their headlines aggregated by Google News?

It means news search SEO is larger than press release optimization. It's larger than news article optimization. It includes blog post optimization.

And based on the latest Newsknife findings, it appears that news bloggers may be better at optimizaing their posts than traditional newspaper reporters. And this was happenening even before the economy collapsed.

What are the implications? The news industry has to reinvent itself sooner than it thought. And it has to do this at a time when economists are trying to draw the line between a recession and a depression.

In the meantime, marketers need to focus on the news blogs that are becoming the news online newspapers.


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Professional web design and internet marketing company in india.Our internet marketing strategy encompasses a wide range of activities, from optimizing websites, improving their indexing on search engines or building link programs to managing traffic generation lists or making your website more user-friendly.
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The other day a person contacted me about wanting to help me with ad retargeting on one of my sites, but in order to do so they would have had to have tracked my site. That would have given them tons of great information about how they could retarget all my site's visitors around the web. And they wanted me to give that up for free in an offer which was made to sound compelling, but lacked substance. And so they never got a response. :D


Given that we live in "the information age" it is surprising how little people value data & how little they expect you to value it. But ther

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e are still a lot of naive folks online! Google has a patent for finding under-served markets. And they own the leading search engine + the leading online ad network.


At any point in time they can change who they are voting for, and why they are voting that way.


They acquired YouTube and then universal search was all the rage.


Yes they have been pretty good at taking the longterm view, but that is *exactly* why so many businesses are afraid of them. Google throws off so much cash and collects so much data that they can go into just about any information market and practice price dumping to kill external innovation & lock up the market.


Once they own the market they have the data. From there a near infinite number of business models & opportunities appear.


Google recently became the #1 shopping search engine. How did they respond? More promotion of their shopping search feature.



All those star ratings near the ads go to a thin affiliate / Google value add shopping search engine experience. Featured placement for those who are willing to share more data in exchange for promotion, and then over time Google will start collecting data directly and drive the (non-Google) duplication out of the marketplace.


You can tell where Google aims to position Google in the long run by what they consider to be spam. Early remote quality rater guidelines have highlighted how spammy the travel vertical is with hotel sites. Since then Google has added hotel prices to their search results, added hotels to some of their maps, and they just acquired ITA software - the company which powers many airline search sites.


Amongst this sort of backdrop there was an article in the NYT about small book shops partnering up with Google. The title of the article reads like it is straight out of a press release: Small Stores See Google as Ally in E-Book Market. And it includes the following quote


Mr. Sennett acknowledged that Google would also be a competitor, since it would also sell books from its Web site. But he seemed to believe that Google would favor its smaller partners.


“I don’t see Google directly working to undermine or outsell their retail partners,” he said. “I doubt they are going to be editorially recommending books and making choices about what people should read, which is what bookstores do.”


He added, “I wonder how naïve that is at this point. We’ll have to see.”


If they have all the sales data they don't need to make recommendations. They let you and your customers do that. All they have to do to provide a better service than you can is aggregate the data.


The long view is this: if Google can cheaply duplicate your efforts you are unneeded duplication in the marketplace.


Look at the list of business models Google publicly stated they were leery on:



  • ebook sites


  • get rich quick
  • comparison shopping sites
  • travel aggregators

3 out of 4 ain't bad. But they even on the one they missed, they still have an AdSense category for it. :D


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Since we are now at the point that some search results don't have *ANY* organic search results, it is hard to see much purpose in SEO.


The old Google used to be so useful.. the new Google, not so much. pic.twitter.com/0CtbQYnd7u— SEA☂☂LE SEO (@searchsleuth998) March 31, 2016


It really is like Google is no longer a search engine, and more like a Yahoo! directory.— SEA☂☂LE SEO (@searchsleuth998) March 31, 2016


Maybe the doommasters who called SEO dead for over a decade were finally proved right about SEO?


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s/deathofseo.png" border="0" alt="SEO is dead." />


SEO was only ever a bug. And web users mostly didn't notice when the search results turned into nothing but ads.


Everything is going full circle. Ad heavy is bad to nothing but ads.


Webmasters are focusing so heavily on mobile-first that they are making their desktop sites unusable...


Some websites have become so mobile-first that they’re basically unreadable on a big desktop monitor.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) April 1, 2016


...at the same time usability experts are now recommending making things harder to save humanity.


Change creates opportunity. New changes, new channels, new options, new models, new methods.


I have decided to take a break from SEO and am transitioning to paid search, since clearly that is the future of all search marketing.


I've closed our membership site down to new paid member accounts & canceled all active paid subscriptions.


Perhaps it might be time for me to dust of PPCblog and shift most of my blogging to over there.


That is, if blogging still matters!


Maybe I’m super slow, but it sure seems Google has worked hard to destroy blogging as indexable content.— SEA☂☂LE SEO (@searchsleuth998) April 1, 2016


Going out on a positive note, the great team at Bing recently shared a promotional code with me to offer new advertisers a free $100 ad credit. Bing Ads clicks are a great value when compared against Google AdWords. You can access this coupon today via the following link:


For a limited time, get $100 in free search advertising with Bing Ads* and start tapping into millions of potential customers searching for products and services like yours on the Bing Network.


Categories: internet
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In this blog post I’m going to highlight the reasons why Broad Match Modifier (BMM) should be given some attention! It may not be appropriate for your campaign, or particular areas within your campaign, but you should be aware of its distinction from Broad Match, the benefits it can encompass, and some useful tips for […]

The post Broad Match Modifier – One Of The Four Match Types In The Mix! appeared first on White Noise.

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If you're the type of SEO who builds and markets a variety of sites, there's something very satisfying about spotting an area that few people occupy, and making it your own!


There are various software programs available that help you find niches, often based on finding keyword terms with high traffic and low, or no, PPC bids. These tools can be very useful for keyword list building, however finding great niches requires a little more analysis to establish viability.


Let's take a look at a few ideas on

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how to weed out the most lucrative possibilities.


1. Choose An Area Of Interest


It's not necessary to pick an area you're interested in, but there are strong reasons to do so.


If you're passionate about something, you're more likely to go the extra mile, especially when the going gets tough. Any endevour involves a period of struggle where it's difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and often the only thing that keeps us going is sheer force of will. If you're interested in what you're doing, it's easier to ride out this period.


This doesn't mean you must pick an area you already know. You could pick an entirely new area that you'd like to learn more about. Make a list of areas that appeal to you. Think about business transactions and purchases you have been involved with, and see if any hold appeal in terms of interest, as if your aim is take make money, it's important that any niche you choose has a commercial imperative.


2. Solve A Problem


Make a list of areas you're interested in, or would be interested in learning about. Next to each topic or keyword term, outline a burning problem that needs to be solved associated with that topic. For example, the term "fishing" may be associated with the problem "how can I compare fishing vacations easily?".


It is more likely you will find a lucrative niche if you attempt to solve a real problem for people. Be careful to avoid imagined problems. For example, we might find that there are no rasberry-flavored beer available, which may well be an untapped niche, but a lack of raspberry-flavored beer isn't a real problem for people.


Then again...


3. How Much Do you Know?


Once you have a list of topics you're interested in, along with associated problems that need solving, ask yourself how much you know about each area.


Obviously, you'll save time if you already know a lot about an area, and it's unlikely you'll be able to exploit a niche if you don't know much about it. It's never a great position to be in where the customers know a lot more about a product or service than you do!


4. What Type Of Operation Suits You?


You'll likely make your money in one of five ways: advertising (i.e. adsense), affiliate, selling services, selling information, or selling product.


You may combine them, too, of course. Each has pros and cons, in terms of what suits your circumstances. Do you have room to hold stock? Do you enjoy direct contact with customers? Do you want full control, or are you happy to hand over fulfillment to a third-party?


Does the niche have appropriate suppliers that match the type of operation your wish to run?


5. Does The Niche Have Online Potential?


It may sound obvious, but not everything is suited for selling over the internet. Gas, for example.


There may be a good reason the niche you've spotted hasn't been tapped. Perhaps it just doesn't work on the internet. This is why it's important to test market before you dive in deep. Try setting up PPC campaigns that lead to a site designed to collect, say, e-mail sign-ups. This will help you gauge the level of interest, to a degree, without the cost of gearing up the back end.


Cut the losers early, run with the winners.


6. Who Are Your Customers?


Demographic reports, market reports and data can make for interesting reading. Check out free reports from research companies, such as Nielsen.


When it comes to online commerce, one important aspect to consider is the access your demographic has to credit or debit cards. The children's/youth market, for example. Or people with poor/no credit.


In some international markets, credit card use isn't as widespread as in the US.


7. Do Visitors Have Commercial Intent?


As you probably know, there are three types of searches: navigational, informational, and transational.


Unless you're looking for a hobby niche, and whilst there is some cross-over between the search types, you'll likely focus on areas where the intent is to transact - to perform a web-mediated activity, and that that activity has commercial intent.


Clues regarding search type are hinted at in the keyword phrase, such as "buy x", "where can I order y", are transactional, whereas "Microsoft" is likely navigational. There are many less overt permeations, too of course, however the point is to hone in on keywords that hint at commercial endevour.


8. Estimate How Much The Niche Is Worth


Get a rough guide of how much a niche might be worth. This will give you a feel for how much you can spend carving it out, or whether your time may be better spent on a more lucrative niche instead.


It's a good idea to look up the Adwords bids and traffic volumes. The higher the bids, the more lucrative an area tends to be, however if your niche is genuinely undiscovered, then it's likely to have traffic volume, but little bidder competition, as few other advertisers have spotted it.


Again, you can test market a niche using PPC and a basic website, where the aim is to see how many people click through from an advertisement, and perhaps show a level of buying interest. Once you have some idea of traffic, you can guess at a likely conversion rate - common industry guesstimates are around 3-8% - and then run your numbers. Conversion rates can be a lot higher if what you offer is in high demand, and in short supply, of course.


Sometimes, the figure you end up with might be too low for you to make any money, but it's good to know that now, rather than commit a lot of time and resources to an unworkable niche.


9. Market Trends


Is the market you plan to enter rising or falling? You can make money in either market, of course, but people tend to want to enter either fast rising new markets, or markets where demand is fairly steady, as opposed to diminishing.



Check out trend tools, such as Google Trends, Trendistic, and Microsoft Ad Intelligence.


Also,resources such as Trendspotting and TrendHuter.


10. What Are Your Competitors Doing?


If you're lucky enough to have found a niche with no competitors, well done. However, it is likely you'll have at least some competitors. It pays to know what they're doing, so you can emulate them, and go one better, or blow them out of the water by offering something they are not.


Look to see who is advertising via PPC, and who is doing SEO in your niche. How agressive are they? What approach are they taking? Can you make better offers that they make? Can you modify the niche slightly so you've not competing directly with them? Your customers will compare offers, so make sure your offer is competitive.



Check out competitive intelligence tools, such as Spy Fu, KeywordSpy and SEMRush


Categories: marketing
66
So China just renewed Google’s license to operate there. Google has tried to “abide by Chinese law” as they prefer to put it. Chinese law says: The communist party decides what’s the truth and what not. What’s not true shall neither be published nor searched for. Are multinational corporations like Google good law abiding citizens? [...]

© SEOptimise - Thinking of attending SMX London in May 2010? get a 15% discount code!

Google China: Just Abiding by the Laws? No, Censoring!





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Crossroads by Captain DJ. Getting targeted traffic for a website is just the first step in a thorough SEO process. What comes next? Landing page optimization or conversion (rate) optimization/CRO follows. After all you want the visitors you get to stay on your site and perform the desired action (like ordering or subscribing). One of [...]

© SEOptimise - Thinking of attending SMX London in May 2010? get a 15% discount code!

30 Multivariate & A/B Split Testing Tools, Tutorials & Resources





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