Google's Panda update, released over a year ago, was designed to target low quality content. In June, Google pushed out two Panda refreshes. For those of you keeping score, we’re now up to Panda 3.8.
Note that a refresh is different from an update:
The original Panda update impacted about 12% of search worldwide and the refreshes in June impacted only about 1%. This is yet another reminder of the importance of online marketing diversification and producing quality content with the end user in mind.
Email marketing as many of us know, can be a powerful and inexpensive method of reaching our most active potential and/or existing customers. It can boost not only our direct sales, but also our credibility and referrals.
One of the major benefits of email marketing is that email is free, but obviously this is the same reason that spam has become so popular and so frustrating. With spam comes spam filters and with spam filters comes the blocking of legitimate email.
In this article I'll describe the basic steps you can take to help reduce the number of emails you send out that get blocked by spam filters -- hopefully resulting in a more rewarding marketing effort.
The right selection of words
Many spam filters work by analyzing the email based on its content and the words used. Many words -- such as free, sex and so forth -- are very heavy spam trigger keywords. Your priority should be to avoid such words while keeping your newsletter as professional as possible.
Later in this article I will show you a technique that I use to help me detect words that could trigger spam filters that I may have missed.
Pay attention to your formatting
When formatting your email, keep it simple and professional. Excessive use of different colors, fonts, sizes, images and so forth will result in a higher spam filtering rate. Keep your email as clean as possible, and try to stick to a maximum of 2 or 3 different font types and sizes. Overly large sized fonts will surely add to an email being flagged as spam, as will too many images (or not enough text).
Try and use a short and simple stylesheet rather than using font tags excessively. Most spam filters don't appreciate a multitude of font tags and inline formatting, and the more primitive filters can't detect stylesheets so they will not penalize as easily.
Consistency is king
Use a template if you plan on sending newsletters consistently. This will make sure that all your newsletters look and feel the same. It will also add a touch of professionalism and branding to your newsletters.
Whilst not directly affecting spam filters, this will enable your readers to distinguish your newsletter instantly, thus not reporting it as spam accidentally. Some spam filters work by querying a spam server, whereas others report individual emails as spam. If your email gets reported as spam, then more than likely multiple spam filters will flag your email.
Being consistent with your timing of the newsletter also helps. For example, if you send a newsletter once per month (I personally don't recommend you send out any more than this, unless you've got something really interesting to say), then aim to send it out at the same time, on the same day each month.
Once again, your potential readers will learn to expect your email, adding professionalism and often improving open rates, also reducing accidental spam flagging as well.
Always use Double Opt-in
Always make your contact lists double opt-in. This means that when a user subscribes to your contact list, they will be sent an email with a link that they must click on to confirm their subscription.
This is very important because many people can accidentally enter an incorrect email address, or even the email address of someone else on purpose. When that person receives a newsletter they did not subscribe to, they will assume they have been spammed, and your newsletter (and possibly your web server) will be reported as spam.
Unsubscribe and Contact Information
Every newsletter you send out should contain a way for the reader to unsubscribe. Not doing so is illegal in some countries and is an instant sign of spamming. You should also display your contact information (Phone, Fax and Address) clearly, as this greatly increases confidence in your email and your company, as well as conforms to spam laws in the United States. Contact information also allows a potential customer to contact you if need be.
Test, Test, Test
The key to avoiding spam filters is testing. The first method of testing I use is to send the newsletter to multiple email accounts with existing spam filters. For example, I have a Gmail (http://www.gmail.com) account and a Hotmail (http://www.hotmail.com) account that I make sure I send my newsletter to. If the newsletter ends up in the junk folder, then I've got some work to do.
I also have a couple of email accounts with different web hosts that have spam filters in place. In particular, they mostly use spam assassin -- a popular piece of spam filtering software. Spam assassin is useful because every email that it flags as spam is given a report and a list of why that email was considered spam.
I also have a local spam filtering application called No Spam Today! for Workstations, that runs a local copy of spam assassin on my PC. It acts as a very close replica to the same software used on thousands of servers world-wide. By sending myself copies of the newsletter No Spam Today! -- using the spam assassin checking techniques -- gives me feedback as to why my email may have been flagged. If I’ve used words or formatting that I shouldn’t have, or if I’ve included too many images, etc.
Avoiding spam filters when sending out legitimate newsletters can be a time consuming effort. However, as your contact list grows, it can also be a very beneficial exercise. I've watched open rates of just 2 to 3% soar to a massive 50% and over, simply by applying the techniques described in this article.
To the top with Video Search
Today I had a great conversation with one of my local SEO clients about the Video SEO . We are currently working a pretty aggressive SEO campaign for him and I asked if he would be open to taking some video of what exactly he does on a daily basis. He asked me if it would help him hit higher rankings for his keyword search terms. My response was absolutely, Google’s search and indexing algorithms continue to evolve in complexity, but one thing will always remain, and that is that Google loves video content. Google has given more and more of its search results real estate to “blended” search results, displaying videos and images towards the top of the first page, and pushing down traditional web results that would have otherwise competed for top rankings.
However there are two different ways of going about Video SEO.
1. Upload your video to YouTube.
The advantage of this is that Google owns YouTube and you can guarantee that your video will get index rather quickly, however this will not guarantee you’ll get a first-page result, but at least it ensures that Google knows your content exists.
The drawback, of course, is that anyone who clicks on a YouTube result will be taken to YouTube and not your website or directed link. This might be fine if what your after is straight up branding, but if your looking for traffic, I wouldn't consider this to be a successful strategy.
The other alternative is:
2. Optimizing the Video for proper Search Engine Indexing
Video SEO is a set of techniques designed to make sure that:
§ Google finds your video content
§ Google successfully indexes your video content
§ Google will display your video content when specific keywords are entered as search terms
This method is great for creating traffic to a particular URL.
Here’s how to make it work:
You Need Video Content
It doesn’t really matter what is in the video, as Google could really careless. You could use actual video from a smart phone, power point slide show, animated content, it really doesn’t matter at all. Google isn’t looking at what is in the video (Yet), so what is important is the title and other meta-data to determine what content your video actually contains.
Submission, Not Discovery
You will want to submit your video to Google using a Video Sitemap. This is similar to an XML sitemap, but is formatted specifically for video, and only contains information about your video content. It is submitted using Google’s Webmaster Tools.
Next you will need a robots.txt file for all video pages, this will ensure Google can verify that the locations on the Web do in fact exist and that you are real and contain proper embedded codes that indicate the presence of a video.
Title and Title Tags
Google primarily considers the match between search keywords and the video title. Google will give stronger weight for all videos that proper titles and Meta tags.
Once this is done you will see that the search engine will pick up your video and it will get ranked pretty quickly and start dominating for that keyword.
Every day I find myself educating business owners about email marketing and after about 100 of the same conversations, I figured it would be best to write a little piece and share it with everyone.
So the big question is: Why aren't my subscribers responding to my email marketing.
Here is a list of some things that you should be evaluating with each and every email marketing campaign you do.
1. Is your content relavent? - You don't have to send everything to everyone. Build your lists wisely make sure you are sending relavent content that your target email list would be interested in.
2. Is your email easy to read and to the point? - You will wan't to keep all sign up form short and sweet, focus on benefits, and not features, and get rid of the clutter, only use nice and clean email templates.
3. Is your subject line captivating? - Be specific and powerful (Car Wash - Tuesday @ 12:00 Denny's Parking Lot)
4. Are your images being block? - When designing an email template, make sure that it is designed properly for optimal visibility and deliverability. Make sure you test your email prior to sending in all mail clients, and when your done testing, test again!!
5. Do you have a Call to Action? - Don't set yourself up for failure before they begin. We can't stress enough how important the Call to Action is to your campaign, because with out it, no one knows what to do. You will want to use action verbs thought out the email. (CLICK HERE, BUY NOW, GO HERE, ENTER NOW, PRESS THIS, DO THAT)
6. Do you have a conversion/landing page? - Unless you are sending an event blast with no sign up, email marketing is typically a two step process. First you send out your initail blast template, then you direct traffic to the landing/conversion page. Conversion pages are for just that, they will help you convent leads to sales. This could be a contant us page on your website or it could be a buy now page that was specifically designed to convert. (You can find tons of landing page templates here).
7. Probably one of the most important questions you need to asking yourself is, are people receiving my emails? - Make sure that every email campaign comes with full statistics, you will want to check your opens, bounces, and click though rates. You will want to make sure your IP reputation isn't damaged, and that you are not on any blacklist. One of the easiest ways to protect your IP reputation and stay of any blacklist, is to use a third party email marketing company. They will handle as little or as much of your email campaign you need them to, but most importantly, they will be sending your campaign out on their servers and their IP addresses, keeping you safe and sound!
8. Another important question to asK, is how is the quality of the email list? - We can not express enough - STAY AWAY FROM THE $99 DATA LIST. It is junk and a waste of your time. Email data is graded on an A, B, C, D platform, with D data being the worst. Unfortunately, there are data brokers out there pushing D grade data and selling it dirt cheap, these are the $99 - $300 email lists you will find. Please save your money, you would be better off just sending me $300 and I will guarantee you will get me as a subscriber.....lol! These list are riddled with spam traps, honeypots, bots, bad emails, hard bounces, they are not scrubbed, cleaned, or verified. If you looking for good clean data, please give us a call and we will steer you in the right direction. We do not sell data, we send it! We know where the good data is and how to get it at a reasonable cost.
Experts in deploying third party cold emails push marketing using non-traditional
Is to bring creative like-minded