Google to Roll Out Call Metrics for AdWords to All End of June

This is great news for all AdWords customers, Marek at Google Agency Support told me that the plan is for Google AdWords to roll out call metrics to all US clients by the end of June 2011.

I have been testing call metrics and I think that it is a must have for anyone using Google AdWords. Once you turn it on in your account, expect about 30 days of service free (you will only pay a cost per click charge) and then expect to pay $1 per call on top of your cost per click charge.

For advertisers who have expected that AdWords has been driving phone traffic and not website form conversions you’ll now have the proof to evaluate further your success with AdWords. We have several clients who will really benefit from the new call tracking features.

This is how it works. Your ad will now have a click to call icon. The user can either click into your ad or click to phone you. If they phone you, they will be calling a phone number generated by Google that will then forward the call to your regular phone. Google will track the length of the call and time. They will then record the call as a conversion in your AdWords account in the call metrics section. We’ve long known that Google AdWords can drive off Web traffic and now we will have the proof.

We are excited about this new feature and plan on implementing it for nearly all our our clients. Watch for it to arrive in your AdWords account interface this month or early next month.

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ICANN Sets Up New Domain Name Endings

Coming in January 2012 are new domain name endings, but don’t get excited too fast if you don’t have $185,000 for the application fee. Yes, that is right, these new domain name endings called gTLD or general top level domains are pricey but for the right business a perfect solution.

A gTLD is a domain name ending that is a keyword. So for example I might have mccordweb.webdesign with webdesign now being my domain name ending instead of dot com. With Google stating that they are preferentially treating keyword domain names preferentially in the organic results (this may now cause a change in Google’s algorithm) a gTLD could be a real organic placement boon for a business.

However, the gTLD will be for the rich corporate client as the application fee is $185,000 per domain name request and then a hefty quarterly renewal of over $6,000. Wow, you’ve got to have deep pockets to get into this game.

What does this mean for small to medium sized businesses. Well, in the long run, I think that there will be some entrepreneurs who will pick up the keyword dense gTLD and then resell subdirectory domains on their domain name ending for way less than you would pay yourself.  So, in the long run you may be able to get a keyword domain but as a shared domain with others in your industry.

This should be interesting to watch as it unfolds. The application process starts in January 2012, so keep an eye out.

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My Preferred Blogging Frequency

A blog is not a blog if you never update it. From my experience the best scenario is to update your blog daily and at the minimum three days a week. Blogging one day a week or just several times a month will add content to your blog or website, but will never create the return on your time investment that regular blogging scheduled will.

I know this from personal experience. I have blogged for years on my own blog. Over the years, I have some blog personnel issues, one of my blogger’s father was in a slow decline and I ended up with some very serious blog coverage issues. I needed to blog for my writer on a regular basis but typically without any advance notice. As a result, my own blog suffered. I posted infrequently or sporadically. I saw my blog readership drop from nearly 40% of my website to under 5%. I saw a huge crash in my website traffic that was very concerning.

It took over eight months of consistent blogging, without fail, to rebuild my blog base of regular commenter’s, blog visitor traffic, and website traffic. It was very hard work and it was slow to regain what I have built and then lost.

Blog visitors will typically not come back to revisit a blog that is half heartedly maintained. I know I don’t. So if you want to get into the blog game, make the commitment to a minimum of three days a week and stick with it. Your traffic will build and your blog and website will benefit both.

As a side note, the exact same holds true with Facebook Business Pages and Twitter. Don’t lose the fans and visitors you have by dropping your regular updates. It is a very hard road to travel to rebuild once you lose momentum.

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Contact Form Woes And The Solution

Occasionally we have a client who is using a low-end web host or who is self-hosting and does not have a cgi-bin or scripting enabled in order for us to install a contact form processing script. Sometimes this has lead to expensive programming charges. We do not offer programming and so we have to contract out this portion of a project adding to expenses.

We have found a service that will process the script for you on their servers and so far it looks like a clean and elegant solution to a thorny problem for some clients. Our preferred site is MyContactForm.com. With a premium account for $24.99 per year, now any client can have a professional seamless contact form installed on their site without complex programming initiatives. I think that it is a very smart solution.

We have used this service on a number of client sites over the years and have had no issues in implementation or script processing. If you are in a similar situation, it is worth a look-see.

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Smartphones Are Changing the World as We Know It

We thought that the invention of the Internet was the most life changing thing to happen in our lifetime, but I am here to tell you that smartphones are the next big change driver. It just takes a few weeks of using a smartphone to know that the Web will never be the same and that the future is in the integration of the Mobile Web with the Internet.

In fact while you are reading this post, I will be up in NYC using my smartphone to help my family navigate the subways, find places to eat, secure tickets to events, and follow an itinerary mapped out by an Android application called  mTrip. I consider my Motorola DroidX smartphone such a revolutionary tool that my head is simply spinning with the future possibilities.

Here’s just an example of what I mean when I say smartphones are revolutionizing the world.

  • I downloaded mTrip. Planned our NYC itinerary with it. Used it to actually plan out each day based on activity level, types of things we were interested in, and our dates of visit, and location. We are able to follow an itinerary, get directions to get us from one location to another by walking or subway. We can find shops or places to eat by simply clicking virtual view and then holding the phone out and turning in a circle. Highlights appear on the screen over images shown on the phones camera. Click a highlight and see photos of the restaurant interior, pricing, menu, and even review specials or discounts.
  • I downloaded the subway maps for NYC so we could see the stop names by line and even watch for service delays by train or line number. There’ll be no delays for my group, we will simply work around the problems.
  • I browsed for several other travel apps like tripadvisor, GuidePal, and other NYC subway apps. With nearly one click I now have phone numbers, locations, and even coupon codes for dining specials.
  • On top of that we won’t ever be lost as I have Google Maps and full navigation on my Droid. What better way to be an out of town traveler than to have all the information you need in your pocket or purse for a terrific experience based on what you want to see and do.

With information at your fingertips where ever you are with your smartphone you are connected to the world. I consider this technology revolutionary in scope and know that the Mobile Web for smartphones will forever change our world for the better.

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Do Videos Help My Organic Placement?

Do videos help your website to place better on Google? Hmm, that is a good question and one that has several answers and this is mine. Yes… but.

First off I would not install Flash videos unless you have to. My preferred way of showing videos is to load them to YouTube.com (a Google property), and then embed the iframe tag into the website page. There are several reasons why I recommend this course of action.

  1. At YouTube, you can add tags, a keyword dense subscription that Google will spider and spider preferentially as YouTube is a Google property. By building a channel on YouTube you can actually get organic placement boosts by keywords and add to your own site authority with links from YouTube to your site.
  2. Others can link to your YouTube videos, embed them in blogs, and use them while you get the credit. Traffic can funnel to your website directly or to your website via your YouTube channel page.
  3. If the videos you have are not yours but you are authorized to use them, you cannot go the YouTube route and then your best scenario is to place them in a quick loading Flash player. You won’t get SEO juice from them, but you will improve website stickiness.

Video however is not the SEO placement magic tool that it was once thought to be as when Google bought YouTube and started pushing video several years ago. At that time, many SEO gurus claimed that adding videos would move your website up in organic placement. That however has simply not happened. Videos are just another great way to engage customers, get your message out, and if you are using YouTube potentially get some link juice and web authority back to your website.

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