Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Link Popularity

What is link popularity and how can you build link popularity to help your business?

Link popularity plays an important role in the visibility of a web site among the top of the search results.

Wikipedia defines link popularity as a measure of the quantity and quality of other web sites that link to a specific site on the World Wide Web.

There are all kinds of website design and search engine optimization terms out there that can be confusing especially when you are just getting started with your small business website.

Lets break down some of the definitions for easier understanding:

Link Popularity
Link popularity is the measure of the number of hypertext links coming into a website from other websites on the Internet. Although you obviously want to have several links incoming and outgoing, but it’s important to pay attention to the quality of your website inbound and outbound links. For instance, if you have several incoming and outgoing links to sites that aren’t relevant to your website, your links aren’t quality links. When browsing the web and you stumble upon a site with great information and you click on their resources, would you rather be directed to more information about the subject you originally searched for and related items, or links to widgets?

Anchor Text
The anchor text is the text that you click in a hyperlink. Many times you’ll see “click here” to view our pricing. Using click here rather than a keyword such as “widget pricing” takes away from your natural search engine optimization. The search engine algorithms use anchor text and can get you better ranking if you are using it correctly.

Reciprocal Links
Reciprocal links are two-way links from one website to another. Basically, you place a link on your website to the other company website and they in turn place a link on their website to your website. Often times you are allowed to include your anchor text in the link you are placing on the external site, other times – you can include your company name, website and a brief description. Again this practice is another important part of search engine optimization.

Non-reciprocal links
Non-reciprocal links are sometimes referred to as one-way links. It is just as it sounds, a link to your site, or a link from your site that isn’t returned. Meaning, I often link to Wikipedia for definitions to help explain items in my website articles. Wikipedia doesn’t link back to me for my articles.

Link Exchange
A link exchange involves reciprocal links and usually occurs when you or your Webmaster receive an email from a company that would like to exchange links with you or you can initiate a link exchange with a website that you think has valuable information and would benefit your site users. Always fully check out the sites that are requesting link exchanges with you to make sure that they aren’t part of linking farm or using practices that Google and the other search engines frown upon. You don’t want to accidentally get your site banned from the search engines!

Paid Links
Paid linking involves buying and selling links to improve a site’s ranking. Google and other search engines use linking in their algorithms to determine a sites “importance” which effects the site ranking. Google frowns upon the process in particular as well as other search engines and there has been quite a bit of controversy over Google suggesting that webmasters report paid links to them. There are instances where it is okay to purchase a link for advertising and you can check out the guidelines in Google’s Webmaster Help Center.

Now that you’re familiar with the terminology, it’s time to get out there and start building your link popularity! Remember quality and quantity and watch your website move up in natural search engine results.

Joanne Pele is the Vice President of Operations at Complete Business Systems. Complete Business Systems provides a ready-to-go branding package for your company, including website, logo, business cards and letterhead. Additional services include postcard design, databases, press release and web content writing. For more information, visit CompleteBizSystems.com, or call 800-479-9186


Monday, October 22, 2007

Business Branding

Whether you are just starting a new company, or have been around for a while and need some marketing tips, branding your business should be on the top of your list.

Marketing your business by building a brand name isn’t just for large companies. Branding your business is essential for growing your company, no matter what size it is. Repetition, consistency, and visibility are the key to success in achieving brand power.

What is branding?

Wikipedia defines brand as including a name, logo, slogan and /or design scheme associated with a product or service.

If you are in business today, it’s imperative that you brand your business first-rate including logo, website, business cards, letterhead, print ads, television, radio and signage.

Let’s break down the key elements for branding your business:


An effective logo should reflect your business. If you examine successful brands that have achieved instant recognition, you’ll notice they all have one thing in common – simplicity. It’s important that your logo design can be used in many different forms, not just on your website design, letterhead and business cards. Think of how you may want to advertise in the future – will you want to place print ads? Will your logo reproduce well in black and white, and in varied sizes? What about apparel? Will your logo hold up when printed on the t-shirts you’ll be passing out at the next trade show?


Your website is your online business card. Your logo should be presented on each of your website pages. Your website design should have intuitive navigation, clear navigation and valuable content. Once your website is up and ready to go, you should promote your site online via press releases and business networking sites. Don’t forget to register your site with Google and most importantly, your contact information should be visible on every page – especially your phone number.

Business Cards

Business cards should have a clean, uncluttered design. Make sure they display your logo and present a professional image of your company. Include all forms of contact, and don’t forget your web address! Some people choose to purchase double-sided business cards, and print just their web address on the back, so it stands out.
Business cards are often your first point of contact with a potential client, and we all know first impressions make all the difference.


Your letterhead should also include your logo and contact information. Use your company letterhead for all correspondence with potential and current clients.

All of your branding elements should coordinate with one another and present a consistent reflection of your company.

You now have all the tools you need to project a professional image and start getting your company name out there. Don’t try to cut corners and save money on these paramount items. Remember, you’re building a company brand!

Joanne Pele is the Vice President of Operations at Complete Business Systems. Complete Business Systems provides a ready-to-go branding package for your company, including website, logo, business cards and letterhead. Additional services include postcard design, databases, press release and web content writing. For more information, visit Complete Business Systems, or call 800-479-9186

Friday, October 19, 2007

Promoting Your Small Business Affordably

Making the most of a small business budget can bring big results.
While most business owners realize that having a good marketing plan is a must, often they don’t know where to begin.

Affordable Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
The key to managing your marketing budget wisely is making every dollar count. Often, there are great ways to promote your company affordably.

The continued evolution of the Internet provides several ways for companies of all sizes to market themselves for little or no money. Most people realize that to be competitive in today’s business environment, having a website is an absolute necessity. Your goal should be to direct people to your website, not to tell your whole story in an online listing. List your website in relevant online business directories, join business networking sites, and submit press releases to the many free online wire services available. Include your website address on all your printed materials, such as business cards, letterhead, brochures, and in print ads. Remember that consistency is key. Your website, logo, and marketing materials should always use the same fonts and colors.

Take advantage of local low-cost marketing resources, such as joining the chamber of commerce, volunteering for charity benefits, and attending business fairs. Always have a ready supply of business cards with you, as opportunities to talk about your company often come up unexpectedly.

Complete Business Systems strives to make small business branding simple and affordable with its all-inclusive package. The package includes a professionally designed 10-page website with Flash introduction, website hosting and domain name, custom logo design, and letterhead/business card design and printing. Additional services include custom databases, press releases, and brochure and flyer design and printing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What are Keywords? Why Do I Need Them?

Keywords are words that may be used by viewers searching for information, search terms or phrases that are related to an advertisement or ad copy.

In search engine marketing the keyword or search phrase is crucial. Keywords can be a single term or keyword phases can be used which contain multiple words.

To appear on those first few pages of a search engine a website must contain a density of keywords or phrases related to the search terms used. It is an imperative part of search engine optimization for any website.

When you go to a search engine such as Google and search for something, you are using a keyword or keyword phrase. For example, if you do a search for "website design" you are using keywords for your search. The results that come up will be as follows:

The top two results are paid advertisements (a company paid for you to see their ad when you searched using those words).

The results listed over on the right are also paid advertisements

The results listed on the page underneath the top two are your natural search results. The words that you chose for your search are listed within the content of the websites and Google is showing you the most relevant results. (This is a simplified explanation, more information can be found in SEO articles.)

If you have ever tried to figure out keywords or keyword phrases, you know it can be a daunting task.

Some websites make the mistake of just listing anything and everything under the sun for their keywords. Major search engines take into account many factors. If you are listing a keyword that has no relevancy to your website and there is no copy on your website to back it up it will not be taken into consideration. Another mistake often seen is the over-use of keywords on a page. Again, if you are using a word over and over on your site, (when it isn't needed) in order to get higher rankings - you are barking up the wrong tree. It won't help you get any closer to the coveted "Top".

Keyword density is key. We'll write another blog on that subject soon.

Back to keywords and how to find them...

There are many tools out there, and even services you can enlist to help you choose your keywords. I suggest going with the freebies.

Here are three that I like to use:

1. Google Adwords - Keyword Tool
This is an excellent source for figuring out what your keywords should be. Simply type in a keyword or phrase that is relevant to your website (make sure you check synonyms) and get your information. Another excellent tool is the next tab over "Site-Related Keywords". You can simply enter your site url and see what keywords you should be using based on the content that's already on your site.

2. Overture Keyword Selector Tool
This is Yahoo's PPC campaign (Overture) tool. You can enter a keyword and search and you will be shown the keyword phrases and how many times they were searched for on Yahoo for the previous month. This is a fabulous way to see if you are on the right track. If people aren't searching for what you are advertising, you may want to take another approach.

3. Google Suggest
This is a fun tool that guesses what you're typing and offers suggestions in real time. It also shows you the number of times the phrases were searched for. It can be useful to give you ideas of what other searches were performed using one of your keywords and inspire you to find new phrases.

Remember, it's not just about what your keywords are, but how you use them on your site and in your advertising.

Joanne Pele is the Vice President of Operations at Complete Business Systems. Complete Business Systems provides a ready-to-go branding package for your company, including website, logo, business cards and letterhead. Additional services include postcard design, databases, press release and web content writing. For more information, visit Complete Business Systems or call 800-479-9186.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Choosing a Domain Name

What is a domain name? Your domain name, or URL, is your “address” on the Internet, with your website being your “home”. Take your time in selecting a domain name, as it will be a reflection of your company and its offerings, as well as instrumental in directing people to your website.

You may want to select your company name as your domain name, especially if your company name has good brand recognition. If this is the case, it’s often a good idea to buy different variations of your company name. For instance, three different domain names consisting of your company name, and ending in “.com”,”.net”, and “.org”

Another tactic is to choose a domain name related to your company’s product or service, especially if you’ve used your product or service as a keyword in your advertising campaign. This is also a good way to capture the attention of people searching the Internet using your product or service as a search term, e.g. “ driveway repaving”.

How do you know if the domain name you want is available? Go to a site that offers domain name look-up services, such as Whois.net. Simply type in your desired domain name to see if it’s available for purchase.

Whatever you decide on for your domain name, it’s important to cross-promote it in all your marketing and advertising efforts. Make sure to include it on your business cards, letterhead, email signature (with a hyperlink to your website), as well as in any print or broadcast ads.

Michelle Mizuno is the Vice President of Marketing at Complete Business Systems. Complete Business Systems provides a ready-to-go branding package for your company, including website, logo, business cards and letterhead. Additional services include postcard design, databases, press release and web content writing. For more information, visit www.completebizsystems.com, or call 800-479-9186 x 83